Open Mike 17/02/2018

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 17th, 2018 - 220 comments
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220 comments on “Open Mike 17/02/2018 ”

  1. Just for the interest of readers of the Standard – the text of an email I sent to all Labour members of parliament.

    I don’t fool myself that it will make a scrap of difference – but at least I’ve had my say, which is what democracy should be all about.

    “Believe me, this is a very sad email to write!

    It hurts me personally that the Labour Party I campaigned for in the recent election is still the Labour Party I left in disgust in 1987!

    It was said of the late Jim Anderton that he never left the Labour Party, the Labour Party left him.

    Frankly, I had hoped for so much more from this new government, but truly, all I am seeing is ‘National-lite,’ business as usual.

    It’s bad enough seeing Stuart Nash kissing the boots of the fishing industry moguls, but the real betrayal is over the TPP, or whatever misnomer it is called now.

    What it comes down to is, whom do I believe: Jane Kelsey or David Parker. The same David Parker who, at a meeting I went to, spoke so vehemently against the very provisions of the then treaty which have been ‘suspended’ (until the USA demands they be reinstated!)

    In my mistaken belief, I thought the ‘little’ people of this country stood a chance with the election of the coalition government. But still the corporates have their feet on the throat of our politicians, and the TPP will reinforce and cement their control.

    I had hoped, to quote the worst prime minister this country has endured since William Ferguson Massey, the Labour Party would ‘get some guts!’ and begin to roll back the neoliberal monster that has eviscerated our society since 1984.

    “Last year saw the biggest increase in the number of billionaires in history, with one more billionaire every two days. There are now 2,043 dollar billionaires worldwide. Nine out of 10 are men. Billionaires also saw a huge increase in their wealth. This increase was enough to end extreme poverty seven times over. 82% of all of the growth in global wealth in the last year went to the top 1%, whereas the bottom 50% saw no increase at all.” – from Oxfam International’s annual report on global inequality [22 January 2018]

    Finally, let me say, any legislation that requires the support of the National Party to pass parliament cannot, simply cannot, be good for ALL the people of this country! The best intentions in the world will come to nothing if control of this country in essential areas has passed to the corporates!

    So, farewell Labour Party – I have quite deliberately not re-joined even though I worked for the election of a Labour-led coalition – my instincts didn’t let me down – but had intended to this year.

    God alone knows where the ordinary people will find someone to champion their causes now that Labour has, once again, so conspicuously betrayed them.”

    • chris73 1.1

      Its funny because I’m feeling more hopeful and positive towards this government and its good they need National because then it shows they running the country on behalf of most of NZ rather than a select few so its all good 🙂

      But then again are the Greens worth it:

      Maybe the Greens could change their name to the Micky Mouse party instead?

      • weka 1.1.1

        That adds even more weight to Tony’s comment.

        • chris73

          Oh come now Weka isn’t it democracy in action when the TPP has something like approximately 94% support? 🙂

          We don’t want the tail wagging the dog do we 🙂

          • greywarshark

            Dogs wag their tails to show emotion and a thought, which is more than we get from many people thinking about us being in TPPA or the like. If the process works in reverse then it could only be good if it induces thought and emotion in the response to the stimulus from TPPA enthusiasts.

          • The Chairman

            “Oh come now Weka isn’t it democracy in action when the TPP has something like approximately 94% support?”

            94% parliamentary support doesn’t necessarily equate to 94% voter support.

            The last poll I’ve seen, the vast majority of voters were against it.

          • savenz

            TPP has something like approximately 94% support?

            What a joke, more like 6% support. How do you think Labour actually won, they persuaded everyone to give them a chance not to be National Lite, and they said they would not put TPPA through. It’s weasel words to say their 5 non negotiable are met, similar to Phil Goff campaigning on not stealing the harbour.

            Righties hate TPPA too, look at how Trump got elected. The only people who like TPPA are Hillary democrat types and look what happened to her, nobody trusted or believed her that she would get rid of TPPA. At least Trump has kept his word on that.

            Labour only just made it thorough last time with Winston Peters, so it’s not like they have a landslide election and can afford to lose votes!

            But let they gamble the party away for what??? makes zero sense at all.

            • savenz

              P.S. Its the middle class that hate TPPA, so it’s not some hard left agenda promise Labour are breaking.

              My guess is NZ First is already gone. Their nationalistic supporters will not like the support of TPPA. They will get below 5% if they sign.

              The greens could pick up the voters but they won’t while they support development, development and more development and not be clearer about stopping immigration scams and face up to the problem globalism is creating.

              Instead Greens seem to feel safer and more at home in the less contentious pre 1980’s era of activism, 1980’s feminism, race and 1980’s gender rights.

              In the 21st century, money and power doesn’t worry about race, gender and sexuality – they embrace it, as long as it’s advancing their low wage neoliberal pursuits. More people, more consumption, more competition, more countries and less regulation to exploit resources from, is the 21st century mantra, in case the Green’s haven’t noticed.

            • Ed

              Chris73 knows that.
              However his masters pay him to say otherwise.

          • weka

            “Oh come now Weka isn’t it democracy in action when the TPP has something like approximately 94% support?”

            You might have missed the discussions about how the kind of democracy we have is really the most basic and not close to being the best or more representative.

          • KJT


            When 80% of the public are opposed. For very good reason.

        • OncewasTim

          I think they’re hoping for H1 and H2 style ‘incremental change’ and to not scare the horses.
          As Rache said “it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen”.
          If it doesn’t happen, then longer term……

          Interesting post btw on TDB re our public service. I’m quite sure Snr Mngmnt in various Munstries are busy bending their Ministers’ ears in the nature of self-preservation.
          Let’s hope those Responsible Ministers have the nous to distinguish bullshit and jellybeans.

      • Ed 1.1.2

        So Tony’s concerns are accurate then.

      • The Chairman 1.1.3

        “Maybe the Greens could change their name to the Micky Mouse party instead?”

        I see the Greens are saying Labour requested a list of NZF policies (off them, the Greens) that they don’t support, and while they went through, they didn’t even think of the waka jumping bill.

        Whereas, the Greens should have got Labour to get NZF (as the Greens and NZF didn’t negotiate directly) to give them a list of NZF policies, allowing the Greens to then go through them without missing any.

        More and more their incompetence is shining through.

        • OncewasTim

          And maybe WASP Chairmen should change their handles to Mr Hawty1,2,3 etc
          Strangely…I agree with Sanctuary….give it 18 months. (And that from someone running out of live and kicking).
          The risk of course is that Munsterial advisors force this gummint into a pickle they’ll find difficult to get out of.

          Nevermind tho’ eh?
          A qwik drive over the ‘Takas’ and a shot or two of Chardoñay from the local vinyard will enable them to convince themselves they did their best ….. or not

        • alwyn

          “I see the Greens are saying Labour requested a list of NZF policies”.
          Do you happen to know whether the Green Party put anything at all on the list?
          Even a single trivial little item?
          If they did can you tell us what they were?
          Or did they simply sum up their list as being like that song from the musical Damn Yankees.
          “Whatever Winston wants, Winston gets. We’ll support it too.”

          • The Chairman

            “Do you happen to know whether the Green Party put anything at all on the list?”

            No. But the question is being asked:

            “Is there anything else lurking there that this rather inept negotiating team might have signed up to?”

            “It’s one of the most inept pieces of negotiation I’ve ever seen, and I would hope that the Green Party will be taking a deep look at itself and its leadership over this,” Ms Bradford said.


            It will be interesting to see if the Greens take her advice or attack her for providing it.

            • alwyn

              Well, she isn’t a member of the party any more so she might not care in the slightest..
              I’m not sure whether she left in a huff or they “forgot” to send out her renewal letter after she left Parliament.
              I would also have to guess whether she chose to stand down or was told she just might be number 199 on the list after she lost the election for leader to Turei.
              I wasn’t a real fan of Bradford but at least she was honest and straightforward in he behaviour. Shame she didn’t win that election isn’t it?

            • Carolyn_Nth

              It could be that either NZ First, and/or Labour, kept the Greens in the dark about the waka jumping Bill.

              On 0ct 9 2017, Tracy Watkins said:

              But the Greens are not at the negotiating table with NZ First and Peters has made it clear they won’t be.

              That could either mean something, or it could be nothing. But history suggests it is something.

              And on Oct 11, 2017, Stacey Kirk and Jo Moir reported:

              Peters has suggested that if a Government was to be formed with Labour, then the inclusion of the Greens as a headline party would be a “gross misrepresentation”.

              The NZ First leader was responding to questions over whether it was his understanding that the Green Party would be voting to accept the Labour-NZ First deal, or whether they would simply be voting to approve their deal in separate negotiations with Labour.

              It comes from questions over whether the Greens were at the mercy of Labour to fight their corner in dealings with NZ First.

              Earlier, Shaw confirmed his trust in Ardern to negotiate a deal that won’t see his party locked out in the cold, or pushed beneath NZ First.

              Peters has has ruled out including the Greens in partnership talks, forcing Shaw and his team to negotiate with Labour in parallel and in isolation to NZ First negotiations.

              The Greens were in a fairly weak position re-the numbers of MPs they have. Maybe they could have demanded a look at what NZ First were negotiating, but it could have meant NZF going with the Nats.

              They may have been a good thing – to let that government fall over pretty quickly. But, it was a close judgement call.

              • alwyn

                “Earlier, Shaw confirmed his trust in Ardern to negotiate a deal that won’t see his party locked out in the cold, or pushed beneath NZ First. “.

                If that was a serious comment by Shaw I think I shall arrange an appointment to meet him.
                Boy do I have a bridge in New York that he will want to buy.

                • weka

                  Make sure you send Shaw an advance copy of all the lies you told about the Greens on TS over the years.

                  • alwyn

                    I confess I once said that some of their MPs were smart.
                    That definitely was a lie.

                    By the way. You appear to be reasonably conversant with Green Party matters.
                    Was there anything on the list of NZF policies that the Green Party could not tolerate that Shaw was talking about?

                    • weka

                      You spent years telling lies about the Green Party in the comments section of this site. I used to address the lies, and in the end I just started calling you a liar, because life is too short.

                      You obviously have a high antipathy towards the Greens, and it’s worth pointing that out as the context for your comments about them. There’s not problem with critiquing the Greens (I have my own set of criticisms), but mostly what I see from you is comments that look designed to undermine the Greens. You don’t lie outright like you used to but the agenda is still there as far as I can tell.

              • weka

                TC’s concern seems to be based on Bradford’s tweet. However I doubt that Bradford was party to the negotiation processes, so imo she’s running a certain line there because she opposes the legislation. As I’ve said elsewhere, I think it’s misleading on her part to frame it the way she does.

                Matt Whitehead summed it up thus,

                Actually, @jamespeshaw , it’s on Labour to make sure you positively support all of their and NZF’s policies as the leader of the govt. They shouldn’t even be asking about objections, they should be asking about support.


                The problem with the idea that the Greens fucked up on this is that it suggests they should be bound into all sorts of things they couldn’t have anticipated. And that would be ridiculous.

                • The Chairman

                  “So imo she’s running a certain line there because she opposes the legislation. As I’ve said elsewhere, I think it’s misleading on her part to frame it the way she does.”

                  That could be seen as an attack on Bradford.

                  “The problem with the idea that the Greens fucked up on this is that it suggests they should be bound into all sorts of things they couldn’t have anticipated.”

                  But isn’t that what actually resulted? Aren’t the Greens now bound by something they didn’t anticipated?

              • The Chairman

                While it was disappointing the Greens were shutout (perhaps due to their poorly thought out attack on Winston) it’s no excuse for not knowing what they were signing up too.

                And as they were shutout, demanding Labour get NZF to produce a list of their policies is far from being too onerous in such a situation.

            • weka

              “It will be interesting to see if the Greens take her advice or attack her for providing it.”

              Lol, when was the last time you saw the Green Party attack someone?

              • alwyn

                Remember Kennedy Graham and David Clendon?
                Apparently not.

                • McFlock

                  Apparently resignation is the best form of attack…

                • weka

                  sorry, who is meant to be attacking in that example and who is being attacked?

                  • alwyn

                    Given the way the first link starts I would say that Frank is clearly a Green.
                    Spends his weekends erecting billboards.
                    Door knocks and leaflet drops.
                    What would you call this diatribe if not an attack?
                    “this jaw-dropping act of betrayal;”
                    “makes them unfit to be in any political movement professing to be progressive”
                    “To hell with them”.
                    Clearly you see this as only a civilised discussion.

                    Of course we could look at the words of the leader.
                    From James Shaw
                    “Green co-leader James Shaw will move to suspend the two MPs who resigned and remove them from the party”
                    “the party would act to remove the pair as members of the Green Party as swiftly as possible during a caucus meeting”
                    “the pair’s actions had brought the party into disrepute – which was against its rules for MPs – and he’d be acting on that.”
                    It didn’t happen quite that way of course. James found out that if they were removed from the Caucus and party before the election the Green party would lose a great deal of, desperately needed Parliamentary funding.

                    That isn’t an attack I suppose. Just a polite little discussion over the teacups.

                    By the way, can you tell us about anything the Winston Party wanted that the Greens said they couldn’t vote for when the Labour Party asked them for a list?
                    Surely there was something that Winnie still had on his list they opposed?
                    Or not. Can’t upset “The Man”.

                    • weka

                      I thought by ‘Greens’ you meant the Green Party. I have no idea where Macskasy sits in relation to that. He’s obviously a supporter. His post is very angry, not what I would have written.

                      Shaw reacted in a very tense situation. I wouldn’t call what he did an attack, he was well within his rights to be both pissed off and to take action. Of course, you failed to notice what he did after that (because of your anti-Green agenda).

                      So that’s one example. Got any others?

                    • alwyn

                      Well, there are a few here.

                      Barry Coates one-time MP and before that a Male Policy Co-Convener said
                      “Green MP Barry Coates said that he thought Graham and Clendon had thrown the party under the bus.”.

                      The Green Party General Manager said
                      “Green Party general manager Sarah Helm said last night that the two MPs had been asked last year to stand down at the general election but had refused to.
                      As a result, they had received list rankings they were unhappy with, and had been disgruntled ever since, she said.
                      Helm also said that the two MPs had been “underperforming” in the election campaign so far. Clendon had made just one phone call, and Graham had done three to four hours’ campaigning work, she said.”

                      The Parties Youth wing co-convenor said, or at least tweeted
                      “Meg Harrison, who tweeted “F*** Kennedy Graham and David Clendon thb [to be honest]”,
                      Those were from a single story in the Herald.

                      Frankly though, when you get the leader of the party saying things like this (In the same story)
                      “Last night he said he would expel the two MPs from the Greens, meaning they would finish their decade-long Parliamentary careers as party-less MPs.”
                      I’m not really sure how much more evidence you need that claims that the Green Party doesn’t attack people is just a bit far-fetched.

                      You say “Of course, you failed to notice what he did after that ..”.
                      I did notice that he backed off afterward. As I commented though.
                      “It didn’t happen quite that way of course. James found out that if they were removed from the Caucus and party before the election the Green party would lose a great deal of, desperately needed Parliamentary funding.”

                      I may be cynical about it but I think it was probably a major reason. Shaw said after the election that the Party was pretty well broke and needed money.

                    • weka

                      That’s the same example. So you have one example of a situation where the Greens might be seen to have behaved badly and attacked someone. Got any others?

              • The Chairman

                The Greens attacking Winston Peters is one attack that comes to mind.

                And it may even explain why Winston didn’t want them sitting at the table.

                • weka

                  What attack?

                  • The Chairman

                    The one made at the Green Party campaign launch.

                    You know? The one that Peters warned there would be consequences for the Greens for doing so.

                    Here you go:

                    • weka

                      “Green go nuclear and blow up hopes of a left-centre coalition”


                      Turei pointed out Peters’ racism. What’s wrong with that? It’s hardly an attack. Or are you suggesting that the Greens aren’t allowed to politically critique other parties? That would be very odd.

                  • The Chairman

                    “Turei pointed out Peters’ racism. What’s wrong with that?”


                    How about the timing for a start. Not to mention the blow-back it generated. Is it any wonder why Peters shut them out after that carry on?

                    Then there is feeding the opposition fuel for their narrative of disunity among the potential coalition.

                    • weka

                      Peters has been sidelining the Greens the whole time they’ve been in parliament. There are some exceptions to that, e.g. where NZF and the GP have worked on issues together, but in election campaigns Peters is as ruthless as they come. He’s also made no bones about the fact that he believes the centre should control politics and the edges should be excluded.

                      The Greens would be well aware of that, and of the high likelihood that Peters would exclude them come coalition time not matter what they did. Why give up election advantage for no reason? Besides, they had a plan and it paid off. They’re in a pretty good position now.

                      Peters was being racist. Someone needed to say it, and the Greens did it as part of a strategy that by and large worked.

                      “Then there is feeding the opposition fuel for their narrative of disunity among the potential coalition.”

                      It’s a losing strategy to alter one’s behaviour to avoid the attacks from one’s enemies when they will come anyway. We know in hindsight that the undermining of the coalition wasn’t real, but some of us knew ahead of time too. This is because the Greens are good at relationships. Note, it wasn’t Shaw that got up and called Peters racist, it was Turei. There was no backlash and it help position them clear on racism and immigration, which is what they wanted to do.

                  • The Chairman

                    “There was no backlash”

                    They pissed Peters off and now they are paying the price for that. Shutting them out was just the start. How many dead rats now? And I don’t think Peters is done with them yet. Even Shaw warned there was more dead rats to come.

                    They were starting to build up a relationship with NZF and if they didn’t pull this stunt they may have had a shot at it this time around. But they put the shotgun to that.

                    In the process they risked giving National the advantage for little gain. And now look like two-faced idiots backing Peters after running him down.

                    There is a time and place for fighting and that wasn’t it.

                    • weka

                      “They pissed Peters off and now they are paying the price for that. Shutting them out was just the start.”

                      In your opinion. Whereas I’ve provided a good argument that Peters would have excluded them from govt anyway if he had the numbers to do so. You can ignore that, but you’re unlikely to get me to continue talking with you based on just your reckons.

                  • The Chairman

                    “You can ignore that…”

                    I didn’t ignore that. I countered it.

                    Unless, of course, you think the Greens are crap at building relationships, hence never really had a shot last time around?

        • KJT

          Only in your imagination.

    • Incognito 1.2

      I don’t fool myself that it will make a scrap of difference – but at least I’ve had my say, which is what democracy should be all about.

      Good on you!

      We must never give in to apathy and give up. We must always stay vigilant. And most of all, we must protect our humanity by being human; to give our lives meaning & purpose through our thoughts & actions towards others (Ubuntu), not about or for ourselves.

  2. Drum 2

    Tony I totally agree with your position. I’m a social worker in the disability sector. Every day I see the consequences of “Thatcherism”…..families barely surviving. If you do get a response from Labour please share it with us.

    • patricia bremner 2.1

      Yes Drum, if Labour lose support next election it will be CPTTA and disability pay.

      Wake up labour. Do something in the budget please.

      So far you have kept promises. These are huge areas of concern.

      • cleangreen 2.1.1

        Absolutely true Patricia

        I am getting rumblings also in the central North Island communities now in our NGO, with these two issues below all spelled out for labour to review Now,

        Labour have so far failed us all on after six months into their term!!!!

        Thats almost a sixth of there term gone already now and promises not kept?????

        Jacinda challenged us to “hold them into account”

        My blog, “Hold labour to account”

        Agreed fully with here as we have two issues with this new ‘left wing’ Government.

        First lack of labour promise to the voters; “Holding them to account”

        Labour promises free-to-air RNZ TV channel
        Last updated 10:52, September 12 2017

        1/ Labour has failed in their pledge to produce a fair free inclusive open honest publicly funded media called TVplus that they promised us voters in September 2017 ‘if elected’.

        The new Broadcasting minister Clare Curran needs a proverbial kick up the butt, for failing to honour this promise to us all up now and making Labour like fools.

        2/ Labour in 2015-2016 promised the Gisborne/HB voters in the Gisborne herald, Wairoa Star press HB Today papers that when elected Labour/NZF/Greens all would restore the rail service between Gisborne and Napier.

        Since the election of this new Labour coalition, no word of restoring this service has been made in the press to honour their promise to restore the Gisborne/Napier rail services. Another loss of “hold them to account”

        Labour need to come forward and show they are as good as their word.

    • OncewasTim 2.2

      I see it here everydy too @Drum….probably in even more trajic circumstances than you in a country that is eqipped with (at least) the last vestiges of a welfare state.
      It amazez me how NuZullners have come to be able to feel no shame, having taken part in some of the worst instances of a Joyce-designed rip. (And the blubbered ponce probably has no idea-which is NO excuse)
      I won’t forget to put roses on his grave if I outlive him-after I’ve taken a piss of course.

  3. Ad 3

    Finally, the start of the indictments over Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential elections.

    13 Russians is a good start:

    Now watch more of his campaign team turn.

    And then we’ll see all the US-citizen traitors who hired and helped them go down as well.

    • mikesh 3.1

      There doesn’t seem to be anything illegal here; doesn’t the American Constitution guarantee freedom of speech.

      It all assumes of course that the allegations are true.

      • Bill 3.1.1

        For christ’s sake, don’t read the Indictment document that I’ve linked below. And in particular don’t read from about paragraph 42 onwards.

        Fictitious on-line personae. (Unheard of!)

        Two(?) people visiting the US and saying it was for a holiday when (allegedly) it wasn’t actually for a holiday.

        Writing political opinions on twitter and facebook, and taking out $2 ads on fb.

        Suggesting people engage in “flashmob” protests at or around “x date”. (Para 51 onwards). I guess they must have been phenomenally successful if the date of their happening can’t be pinned down.

        Communicating with real US people! (To, for example, suggest to an individual they hire a flat bed truck and have an actor dressed as Clinton in prison garb in a cage on the back of the truck at a protest).

        I lost two cups of very nice coffee this morning reading through it. Not happy.

        Anyone not resident in the US and commenting on a US site could fall foul of half of the shit mentioned. It’s bullshit.

        For example –

        Arguing against the “lesser of two evils” rationale (if not a US citizen)
        Suggesting a vote for Jill Stein and the Greens.
        Being supportive of Sanders.
        Suggesting dodgy dealings in the Democratic nomination process.

        It’d be fantastic if they all actually turned up to court and the world left in no doubt as to how utterly laughable the US establishment is. (And fuck, I hope that comment doesn’t route through a US server, what with me not being a US citizen and disparaging the US Political establishment/process and all 🙂 )

        Here’s the link. If you’re going to proceed, then put aside any vessels of liquid you may be drinking from. You’ve been warned!

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Conspiracy to commit identity theft, wire fraud and bank fraud may look like small potatoes to you Bill, and yes, if you represent yourself as a US citizen in order to commit such crimes I’d expect you’d be in trouble.

          Just as we’re not that keen on Israeli spies stealing the identities of NZ citizens.

          Before you say it, the USA is a massive hypocrite to bleat about anyone interfering in their elections, but as you know, “he did it too!” isn’t a viable defence.

          Mueller has now documented the “underlying crime”, and that’s significant in other ways…

          Even if Democrats take control of Congress in November, most Republicans—like most juries in run-of-the-mill criminal cases—will demand significant evidence of an underlying crime as a motive for the obstruction before turning on President Trump, much less voting in the Senate to remove him from office.

          • Bill

            Using false ID for the sake of a facebook account isn’t really a thing, is it?

            And what wire fraud or bank fraud was committed? You referring to those paypal payments? Didn’t the recipient receive the paypal monies?

            I’m not suggesting nothing illegal or unlawful transpired. But to the extent that anyone could stand there straight-faced and claim the “American political process” was compromised!

            It’s a fucking joke. And only shows just how much the Est. has been blowing smoke out its arse. Yes. Something smells a tad.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              If something illegal occurred, and the word “conspiracy” is involved, that illegality is compounded, in seriousness and in the consequences of a guilty verdict.

              Whether it affected the election result is utterly irrelevant.
              To me at any rate. I believe I have made this point before.
              If someone tries to burgle your house, and fails, is it still a crime?

              Using false ID for the sake of a facebook account isn’t really a thing, is it?

              I’m not sure. I think it’s a breach of the contract with Facebook, and if that’s the case, a conspiracy to do it might prove problematic if brought before the courts.

              They’re still massive hypocrites though.

              • McFlock

                If they were purchasing ads for the fictitious accounts, that could also be a legal can of worms for them, as all payments would by definition be based on false documentation and therefore fraudulent.

                But identity theft is also listed, an hijacking someone’s account brings in hacking.

                So that’s a million USD a month hiring dozens of staff to hack accounts and commit wire fraud in order to try to skew an election. Cheaper than hiring a lobbyist, I guess.

                Still, from the other hemisphere it’s still a bit funny to see the US on the receiving end for once.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Cheaper than hiring a lobbyist

                  If I were [insert name of random world leader here], I wonder what it would be worth to me: the perception that I’d anointed the POTUS…

              • Bill

                I never offered any opinion on whether I thought it had affected the US election or not. You’re right enough that that’s utterly irrelevant

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Bill: But to the extent that anyone could stand there straight-faced and claim the “American political process” was compromised!

                  OAB: Whether it affected the election result is utterly irrelevant.

                  For “affected” read “compromised”. For “election result” read “American political process”.

                  Glad we agree on its irrelevance. Specifically, I think it’s irrelevant to Mueller’s case, whereas the “underlying crime” isn’t. I hope that’s clear.

            • rhinocrates

              But to the extent that anyone could stand there straight-faced and claim the “American political process” was compromised!

              And yet you’d agree wholeheartedly (and correctly) that this is exactly what has happened due to corporate campaign donations and lobbyists for decades.

              • Bill

                🙂 Whose democracy?

                • rhinocrates

                  What democracy? 🙂 It’s a plutocracy.

                  I find it truly weird that people on the left are insisting now that the American political system is an essentially incorruptible and uncorrupted system.

    • Stuart Munro 3.2

      It was good enough for the Rosenbergs, it’s good enough for Trump.

    • One Two 3.3

      Not one of your stronger subjects, Ad…

      The traitors are dual citizens holding foreign passports…

      Guess which state they’re citizens of…

      13 is a joke’ve been had

    • francesca 3.4

      So you’ve read the Guardian article?
      Have you actually read the indictment?
      Its a joke

      • joe90 3.4.1

        If Russian election help is viewed as violating campaign finance law it’s no joke for any American who knowingly accepted such help.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Charges of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud won’t be a ‘joke’ to any of the thirteen individuals charged, either.

          Algerian National Extradited from Thailand to Face Federal Cyber Crime Charges in Atlanta…

          The 23-count indictment charges him with one count of conspiring to commit wire and bank fraud, 10 counts of wire fraud…

          International arrest warrants are no fun.

          • Ad

            So far:

            – Paul Manafort. Trump Campaign Chair. Indicted. Fresh charges one day ago.

            – Rick Gates. Trump Campaign Adviser. Indicted.

            – Trump Attorney General. Recused over lying about Russia contacts.

            – Michael Flynn, Trump National Security Advisor. Pleaded guilty. Cooperating.

            – George Papadopoulos. Trump campaign foreign policy adviser. Indicted.

            – 13 Russian hackers. Indicted.

            – Richard Pinedo. Pleaded guilty. Cooperating.

            Nothing to see here.
            No connections.
            It was Hillary.

            • mauī

              All of that and basically no one has any idea about how Russia and trump conspired to win an election.

              • Ad

                Very possible that Mueller will not reach the conclusion of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian intelligence services.

                Except that, with every new indictment, every new guilty-and-cooperating plea, the gaps to full causality keep closing.

                Those gaps are going to keep closing for months and months.

                And so far, all President Trump is doing about it is denying anything is wrong, rather than acting as he should.

        • Bill

          I sent $20 to a mate in the US so she could do some photocopying of leaflets/posters. I didn’t declare myself to the US authorities as a “foreign agent”.

          Furthermore, I went to the US on a visitors visa (holiday) and I talked with my mate about what was going on in the US politically. In other words, I gathered information.

          Then, when back home, I noticed that some of my facebook posts on US stuff attracted more attention than others, and surmised that layout and emphasis had a lot to do with particular posts being popular. So I honed my posts.

          Oh. And I shared some posts on US politics that I thought were quite good and even paid for some facebook advertising to push an event my US mate was involved in organising.

          And I said some stuff about the Democratic Party that was “less than supportive” of the Democratic Party.

          That covers a fair whack of what that indictment’s been drawn up for.

          • McFlock

            Not really.

            If you sent the $20 to your mate while pretending it was from someone else, it’d be more similar.

            If you were going to be paid to share posts on US politics, so travelled to the US to find out how to make them more palatable to the US, that’d be more similar.

            If you were being paid to act for someone from outside the US, and didn’t register as a foreign agent for your US visit, that’d be more similar.

            If you then came back home and hed the objective of distorting the US election campaign, that’d be more similar.

          • Ad

            This operation wasn’t some practical joke.
            Or a set of noddie amateurs with their Dad’s Mastercard going $20, then ‘drink!’
            It wasn’t a collection of prank calls.
            It wasn’t a riff of schoolboy larks.

            This was Russian intelligence at its most ambitious.
            13 people. Three Russian organizations. Working in conspiracy.

            Never of course going to see a courtroom, of course.


            This was expensive.
            In the indictment yesterday it shows that this show was costing over $1 million per month.

            This started before he started his campaign, but straight after he came back from Moscow after Miss World. Who knows, coincidence.

            This Russian paid programme was extensive,
            well thought out,
            run by professionals,
            and it was effective.

            Plenty of gaps still, but if we are going to get surprise gap closures like this, we are going to get a lot more before we are done.

            • joe90

              In the indictment yesterday it shows that this show was costing over $1 million per month.

              Perspective – over the eighteen months of his campaign outside organisations spent $6,474,347 targeting Sanders.


            • Bill

              There’s evidence of Russian Government Intelligence Agencies now? Wow. Where’s that?

              Take out a company’s ordinary running costs (wages, plant etc) and how much money are we talking? Nothing like the $1 million per month mentioned in Joe’s comment. (The company – or should I call it “the ORGANISATION”, would have turned that over – close to that – regardless.)

              Assuming there was an intent to meddle…

              Social media platforms does not equate with “extensive”.

              What was there to “think out”?

              And it was effective? Really?! (I mean, you think some twitter and facebook stuff swung an election?)

              And there’s only one gap – the one all this Russian nonsense is falling through. And it’s looking as wide as a chasm.

              Still. I guess it keeps some folks entertained and breathless.

              • McFlock


                yeah, if everyone was doing it for free, there wouldn’t have been the same money spent, the organisation wouldn’t exist in the first place, and there’d be no charges at all.

                That’s sort of the point.

                Or was an organisation paid a million dollars a month to employ people to write memes and social media ads with no objective whatsoever?

                • Bill

                  I see. An organisation set up with a singular purpose in mind. No possibility of an org with a portfolio of activities (and quite large financial turnover) expanding its boundaries on the social media front? I guess not.

                  Though, maybe someone will come along and lay out the potential avenues for generating cash through social media that org (assuming it exists) hoped to exploit.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    The FBI has their internal comms, Bill (yes, I know, hypocrites). Read the indictment. Read the link at (Prigozhin bio from 2016).

                    Your “singular purpose” narrative falls over at first look. This was one campaign of many.

                    • Bill

                      Can you please start reading my comments in context?

                      That’s twice today I’ve read responses from you that have been treating my comments as stand-alone affairs when it’s pretty obvious I’ve been responding to points or suggestions contained in the the comments of others.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke


                    I’d still stress the point that the FBI has their comms – so the purpose in question is a known quantity.

                    And so is Evgeny Prigozhin (2015).

                    Concord, a company owned by Kremlin-connected restaurant owner Evgeny Prigozhin, apparently coordinates an army of pro-Putin “Internet trolls” through an outfit called the Internet Research Agency.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    my suspicion the so-called “troll factory” is a commercial enterprise,

                    It isn’t that long ago you were claiming that a troll army couldn’t accomplish anything. Now you’re claiming it’s an influential enough resource that you can sell its services for big moolah.

                    But the real question is “what was this troll army used for on this occasion?”

                    Because if the answer to that question is “information warfare against the US”, and “use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump—we support them)”, the owner of the troll army has a problem.

                    From the indictment:

                    U.S. law bans foreign nationals from making certain expenditures or financial disbursements for the purpose of influencing federal elections. U.S. law also bars agents of any foreign entity from engaging in political activities within the United States without first registering with the Attorney General.

                    PS: hope the windows are ok.

                    • Bill

                      Did you read the linked articles OAB?

                      I stand by what I said before (that any election influence from any “troll factory” would be somewhere between negligible and zero). The money comes from the ads. (And they all found that Trump stories got the best responses)

                      What those pieces are reporting is that “kids” (most of it centres on Greece) were skulling content from “wherever” and seeding it out through facebook. Some of them made very good money from the ad revenue. One guy (as reported) wound up hiring some English speakers to pen pieces. And using multiple fake fb IDs was par for the course.

                      There is nothing in those mainstream pieces that couldn’t easily be better and more profitably organised by someone with a bit of up-front cash and a little web savvy.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Did you read the linked articles…?

                      I confess I didn’t fully: I read the same set of arguments when you first drew attention to them (last year?).

                      And how do those arguments answer the question I asked?

                      “what was this troll army used for on this occasion?”

                      Answer: they don’t. They simply establish that such campaigns are considered effective enough for people to spend money on them.

                      The Latvian articles I linked earlier predate your Wired etc. stories by two years or so. Are they talking about clickbait and advertising revenue?

                      Nope: they discuss political propaganda, which the IRA had already established a reputation for.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Assuming there was an intent to meddle…
                Thought you said you'd read the indictment.

                The ORGANIZATION sought, in part, to conduct what it called “information warfare against the United States of America”

                My emphasis.

                And it was effective? Really?!

                You are the only person here who has made that claim.

                entertained and breathless

                Ad hominem argument says something about what again?

                Talking about “gaps”: that’s what Creationists do. The gaps keep getting smaller for them too.

                • Bill

                  There is an allegation of intent to meddle. That’s qualitatively different from there being an actual intent.

                  Ad wrote – This Russian paid programme was extensive, well thought out, programmatic, run by professionals, and it was effective.

                  That’s the comment I was responding to when I questioned the claim of effectiveness.

                  How is characterising the behaviour or reaction of a vast group of people (and most media reporting) an ad hom argument?

                  Ad mentioned gaps (and gaps closing). I merely suggested there is nothing but a gap- (ie, nothing much of anything there at all).

            • reason

              Russia is one of the 80 odd countries that has suffered electoral interference and influence from the usa……

              The American influence was apparently very successful in Russia …..
              “Yeltsin went into the election campaign with a rating hovering between 3%-5%, reflecting what must be the single most disastrous presidency of the 20th century: Under Yeltsin, Russia’s economy collapsed some 60%, the male life expectancy plummeted from 68 years to 56, millions were reduced to living on subsistence farming” …. “but about 3-5% of the population (plus or minus 3%) was making out like bandits. Probably because they actually were bandits.”

              “Enter the “political technologists”—Americans led by Dick Morris’ former partner Richard Dresner, and Russians at advertising behemoth Video International, led by Mikhail Lesin and former KGB spy Mikhail Margelov — who took credit for pulling off a credible stolen election for Boris Yeltsin. Time magazine wound up crediting the Americans with “Rescuing Boris,” which was turned into a B-movie, “Spinning Boris,” directed by “Turner & Hootch”‘s Roger Spottiswoode.”

              Present day russia is ‘blow-back’

              And the flow of dirty russian money into the or englands real estate….. is blow-back for the corruption in our western financial system … I imagine there’s a lot more dirty Chinese money sloshing around …. simply on the basis their economy is bigger than the Russian one.

              But None of the above is anyway specific to the claims Russia ‘hacked’ AIPACs bought and paid for USA political system …

              Trumps ‘lets go to Jerusalem’.. and slashing of Palestinian aid … show who’s tune he is marching to … and who hacked what.

  4. francesca 4

    good luck
    Still no collusion.
    Frankly I’m more concerned at the huge amounts of money from AIIPAC/Israel and the Gulf countries pouring in to US election campaigns
    Trump has shown far more eagerness to please Israel than Russia,(increased sanctions, allowing lethal weapons to be sold to Ukraine,actions in Syria)
    The NYT in 2014 had an article exposing the millions of dollars from foreign countries sponsoring Washington think tanks that then suggested and endorsed policies that would benefit those foreign entities.
    If Putin’s puny 48,000 on Facebook ads can counter those millions I take my hat off to him.

    • Macro 4.1

      If Putin’s puny 48,000 on Facebook ads can counter those millions I take my hat off to him.

      I don’t know where you get your “facts” from – maybe the boss? – but there is enough evidence out there from facebook twitter and google to show that that statement is minimalist in the extreme.

      ps From your replies here I suspect you are nothing more than a russian bot anyway.

      • Bill 4.1.1

        ps From your replies here I suspect you are…

        That would be fall about laughing funny if it wasn’t the kind of ridiculous nonsense that’s gaining currency among a whole segment of the population who can’t….think, and who don’t like to be confronted by thoughts, ideas or notions outside their little box of compliance where they spend their days alternately kneeling down or bending over.

        • Macro

          I’m pleased you managed to find the humour in my comment.

          Actually, I am well able to think for myself, thank you very much. However if you think that Russian interference in the US, and other elections is neither, here nor there, then you are a bigger fool than Trump.

          I shall leave my comment at that – I do not wish to engage in further discussion with you as I find your answers very one eyed, and only there is only one right answer and that is yours.

          • One Two

            …I find your answers very one eyed….

            Macro. It’s as if you can’t recall the comments you post on this, and similar subjects….

            Those defense roles and senior management classes do not play out favorably through your comments

            Ironic…or perhaps not…

          • Bill

            What Russian (as in Russian government) interference?

            RT programme schedules and a private company seeking (what?) ad revenue?

            Yourself, PM, Ad and McFlock seem to be the only one’s fixating any more and banging on about a nefarious Kremlin plot or whatever. Myself and a couple of others drop in with opposing perspectives while most people (it seems) just yawn.

            It’ll drag on through Trump’s entire first term fueled with allegations based on stuff that was initially and always only conjecture. And it might keep enough people “hooked” to have an effect on …well, the US political process. 😉

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Russian government…?

              That’s your position? That Yevgeniy Prigozhin (article from 2016) is doing this as a private citizen?

              That strikes me as a big risk to take, considering the potential to affect international relations and sanctions on other individuals in Russia.

              • Macro

                I grew up in the 50’s and my dad was a Union Activist, and remained so all his life, fighting for social justice. One of his friends was an active member of the communist party (nothing wrong in that per se) but he could see no further than “Russia is right”. He was always giving dad magazines which originated in the eastern block, full of propaganda. These magazines were sent to the “useful idiots” in the west to help promote dissent and keep them active. Dad was not taken in by these pamphlets, and as a teenager I read them more than he. Looking back I can see just what they were. There is nothing new in this propaganda war that Russia is currently carrying out energising “useful idiots” in the West- only the medium and the groups that they target.
                You couldn’t argue with them then, and there is little chance of it now.

                • joe90

                  My father-in-law, a stevedore for life, union activist and member of the CPNZ, preached class warfare and sung the praises of China, Albania and Enver Hoxha right up until the day he died.

                  • Bill

                    And what are you Macro? And what are you Joe? And why do both of you throw up caricatures to represent left thought and leftists?

                    Yes, there were many (far too many!) authoritarians who acted as apologists for Stalin et al. But today, the “useful idiots” are the more conservative liberals singing the praises of the more paranoid and backward elements of the US and other western “representative democratic” establishments.

                    Where once there was Pravda and The Party, there is now a multi headed liberal media that peddles liberal interventionism in foreign affairs – and that’s in line with the western business interests that dominate government policy.

                    And of course, there’s peddling of the arm waving variety of fear and loathing towards Russia. It was the same in the days of the British Empire when Russia was Tzarist. Some things never change.

                    Anyway, seeing as how we’re doing “family trees”. My grandfather was a life long socialist who had no truck for the USSR. My politics sit within the anarchist tradition.

                    • joe90

                      I’m one of nine from a socially liberal, fiscally disciplined, tribal Labour*, self employed trades family with a commitment to work, education, self reliance, and a conscience.

                      I’m an irredeemably liberal social democrat who supports representative democracy as a means to regulate the economy and redistribute income to provide for the needs of all in the society I wish to live in.

                      On Russia, refugees and the general awfulness of the world –

                      during an apprenticeship with the state I encountered assorted WW2 refugees from Soviet annexed Europe – Poles, Germans, Ukrainians, Georgians, Lithuanians, Latvians, Hungarians, etc.
                      The majority of these men and what was left of their families had endured terrible things and often, because they were too fearful for their lives to return to their homes. they had spent a decade or more as displaced persons.

                      These were the men who influenced me.

                      *My grandmother provided hot food and clothing to the 1951 waterside strikers and their families and the family was blacked. Consequently, and for her own reasons, my mother loathed Labour.

              • Bill

                My position is that I don’t think the Russian government’s security services hacked the DNC server and my position is that the Russian government didn’t “push” Trump or (as claimed in that indictment) Sanders.

                The facebook and twitter stuff is small cheese that I guess (because I’m buggered if I know the money making potentials of the net or how they work) was geared towards simply making money (ad revenue and a kind of public relations thing?).

                As you’ve written previously, there was some illegal activity involved in the twitter and facebook stuff. So there’s a basis for “9 to 5” criminal charges.

                Banging on about Kremlin conspiracies is what’s going to undermine the US political process (what there is of it that remains to be undermined).

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  From the indictment:

                  On or about February 10, 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators internally
                  circulated an outline of themes for future content to be posted to ORGANIZATION-controlled social media accounts. Specialists were instructed to post content that focused on “politics in the USA” and to “use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump—we support them).”

                  As we’ve previously discussed, according to The Intercept, Fancy Bear hacked the DNC, and notes however that there is no “smoking gun” to connect them with the Kremlin.

                  If, for the sake of argument, both the IRA (“ORGANIZATION”) and Fancy Bear acted independently of the Kremlin, I wonder what other aspects of its foreign policy Russia is going to leave to the whims of the private sector.

                  • Bill

                    I look forward to that internal memo being made public. ‘Cept it never will be, because there will likely never be a trial.

                    Yes, an author at the Intercept reckoned some outfit labeled “Fancy Bear” could have hacked the DNC. Other authors at the Intercept have other ideas and the basis for suddenly calling a known hacking group “Fancy Bear” and linking it to the Kremlin or Russian Secret Services has been seriously questioned (on The Intercept).

                    In terms of private sector and foreign policy, I’m far more interested in the likes of Adam Smith International that Panorama (flagship current affairs on BBC) details as giving UK public monies to Jihadists in Syria. And on that same front I’m far more interested in the hit job being done on Oxfam (they’ve dropped out of some current funding round, and it’ll be ‘interesting’ to see who or what picks that up)

                    Half an hour if it piques your interest. Panorama’s “Jihadis You Pay For”


                • francesca

                  Bill, background info on “Putin’s chef”
                  Good old moonofalabama does the legwork again
                  Worth a read


                  • Bill

                    Thankyou. From a very quick run-through, that makes far more sense than all this arm wavy shite people seem so keen to pick up and run with.

                    I guess any other articles pointing to that or similar will be buried and the authors castigated as puppets and stooges.

                    in 1917, it was the Kaiser who controlled dissident voices in the US. Then it was the Bolsheviks. Later, more broadly “Reds”. And now it’s Russians again and – this does make me laugh – a Russian President who wouldn’t have anything like the powers he has if the US hadn’t meddled heavily in Russian politics in the 90s to create that Yeltsin puppet.

                    edit – at some point when I have the time, I’ll explore those links given in comment 25 from The Guardian, NYT, Washington Post and Wired that are seemingly about very similar operations and that explain how the money is made.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      “making money” and “information warfare against the United States of America….use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump—we support them).”

                      One of these things is not like the other one.

                    • Bill

                      The additional links clearly explain that Trump pieces were far better click bait than Clinton ones (and so more profitable).

                      They also point out that most stories (as far as the Greeks who were being reported about) originated within the USA.

                      One person across those additional articles hired people to write pieces.

                      All the people used multiple accounts based on false IDs.

                      No doubt, people in Russia as well as Greece (or the US for that matter) jumped at the chance to make fairly easy money.

                      But “people in Russia” is not the same as “the Russians”, aye?

                      Is spreading info (bullshit or otherwise) “information warfare against the United States of America”? How can it be? That falls into the same league of nonsense as “unamerican”.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Interesting. The article doesn’t mention “information warfare against the United States of America” once. Which is odd.

                    Oh well, looks like Americans aren’t the only ones who see what they want to see. Germans too.

                    In Latvia, they also “see” various things about Evgeny Prigozhin.

                    …an army of pro-Putin “Internet trolls”…


                    The “documents” link is interesting, although it’s limited for me by Google translate. Prigozhin comes across as a regular Cameron Slater. He’s just a commercial marketing scheme too, eh.

      • francesca 4.1.2

        No, a dissenting commenter does not = a “russian bot”

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Tell Ed. He thinks anyone who disagrees with him is an agent of an organisation called “Bush/Blair/Clinton”.

    • cleangreen 4.2

      Whats so strange about this FBI/CIA investigation is why aren’t they also being investigated????

      Since we now know that FBI agents were working in Auckland under the national Government acceptance, by them stealing our public information through a “back tap” into our overseas cable, (that Johnn key Denied) just to send all NZ public data to NSA in USA.

      Isn’t that “meddling in a foreign Government activity” especially as it was done during the recent election here that we can assume they were collecting information on right?

      They could well have arranged some changes in voting during our elections when they were armed with all that first hand public data from us all?

  5. greywarshark 5

    For those who notice that our education has not given us the tools to handle our affairs sufficiently well to avoid being in a near disaster situation, expressed colourfully by the old saying of being up the creek without a paddle.

    I came across this idea on google, and it sounds like something we need now. Learn how to think, before we specialise in learning subjects. Sounds a bit like reading and understanding the instructions before manipulating your new object.

    Her very influential essay The Lost Tools of Learning[24] has been used by many schools in the US as a basis for the classical education movement, reviving the medieval trivium subjects (grammar, logic, and rhetoric) as tools to enable the analysis and mastery of every other subject.
    At its heart, Trivium education remains centered on the idea that understanding language, learning to think well, and learning to communicate well should be high priorities for the well-educated student. A Trivium education spends much time training students in the grammar of their own language and of foreign languages so that they understand the structure of language itself. This is what is meant by the Trivium art of grammar.

    Students must also learn to use language to articulate logical thoughts. They must practice the skill of forming logical arguments and of dissecting the logical arguments of others, looking for fallacies and bad reasoning. This is the second part of Trivium education—the art of logic. So, in a modern Trivium education, students take multiple courses in formal and informal logic.

    Finally, students in a Trivium education are expected to express themselves well as they seek to persuade others of the truth. This is the art of rhetoric. A solid Trivium education will expose students to lots of good literature so that they develop a refined style of using language. They practice these skills by writing and speaking frequently. They are expected to write persuasive essays, research papers, and original poems and short stories and to engage in policy and Lincoln–Douglas debates.

    Sounds like – what we need badly right now at all levels of society. Do we see it commonly? No. I think we are trying to practice rhetoric here on TS. Go TS!
    Let’s spread this throughout the country. Go NZ!

    • Antoine 5.1

      Dorothy Sayers is teh awesome

    • One Two 5.2


      Reason and logic have been on the decline for many years now…

      Weaponizing education around the world, is only part of the problem..

    • gsays 5.3

      Lovely GW, to support such thinking, turn off the tele, cancel the newspaper subscriptions etc.
      Also learn how to listen, truly listen.
      I learnt how to listen during training for Youthline.
      This was then reinforced when I learnt how important being present, being in the now, is.
      Your hearing is the most ethereal, most powerful of your senses.
      It doesn’t hurt that the quality of thinking is improved when the mind is still then directed to a task.

      • greywarshark 5.3.1

        Good if more educational moves could be made in this direction gsays. Now we haven’t got the square pegs/round holes syndrome of National Standards, perhaps teachers can listen to what the parents are hoping for and advise the steps to get there. They might like to try different approaches by different teachers, all aimed at providing a good education but finding how they learn best and teach how to sit exams as well as have one mid year test. It sets a goal to go for and a test on the way would show the weak spots. Just some thoughts. Setting achievable goals and reaching them gives a feeling of great happiness.

        • In Vino

          “Language is the instrument of thought.” This seems to be the basis of your post at 5. If one does not have broad vocabulary and ability to handle syntactic complexity, ones flair and genius may never see the light of day…
          I agree that linguistic ability is essential for the true genius. The problem is that most of the geniuses (?) in history have possessed that ability innately because they were geniuses.
          But I agree that everybody needs good linguistic skills, and this area is neglected by those who think education should be directed towards jobs.
          Neglect language, and you drive normal people backwards, not forwards.
          A big step for many of our politicians and businessmen to grasp this.
          Which is just one of the reasons why politicians/businessmen and educationists are so often at odds.

          • McFlock

            Linguistic ability is, to a large degree, a skill.

            Great orators and raconteurs were often geniuses, yes, but all the ones I can think of had formal training and, more importantly, prepared screeds in advance – some of the best ad libs in history weren’t quite as off the cuff as reputation implies (Winston Churchill was a great one for preparation). And once quipped, some geniuses tended to re-quip the same line at the drop of a hat. Wilde was a devil for repeatedly using variations of the same line. And then they worked on different lines for the same situation (Wilde again – how many different last words did he come up with…)

            Even today, rappers prepare mountains of verse to build material and also their skill at improvisation. And, like orators past, only the best verse gets recorded 😉

    • Incognito 5.4

      I may have the wrong end of the stick but I see an overly strong emphasis on logic and reason. We humans are in great danger of being surpassed and then supplanted (?) by AI when it comes to logic & reason IMHO. We have failed to fully integrate the trivium subjects with emotion and feeling(s). The result is that many (most) cannot easily express and communicate their emotions & feelings because they are kept completely separate from language, logic, and reasoning. The growing mental health crisis in NZ and in many other countries for that matter suggests, to me, that we need to change this. Interestingly, one of your links did actually refer to Jung. I am very keen to read the book Descartes’ Error

      • Psycho Milt 5.4.1

        Machine logic is very different from philosophical logic, so the likelihood of AI surpassing us on that score anytime soon is very low.

        It certainly is important to learn how your emotions affect your thinking, but that doesn’t make logic and reason any less effective, nor should it prevent us making them the primary basis for argument. Replacing logic and reason with “I feel very strongly about this” is a recipe for crap thinking.

        • Incognito

          Thanks for pointing out that machine logic and philosophical logic (whatever that is) are very different although you don’t explain/describe the difference so I am no further than I was before 🙁

          You have completely misunderstood and misinterpreted my comment about our emotional side and its place in our overall wellbeing; our (deep) emotions are cause & effect, driver & consequence. I find this quite ironic.

          Emotions go much deeper and originate in more primitive parts of our brain (and body!) than our so-called logical reasoning. Our brain is wired to integrate these but our education/pedagogy and general social conditioning strongly oppose this and prevent it from happening. Jung argued strongly for reconnecting and dissolving the dissociation with our true nature (as well as with nature and our environment). Coincidentally, emotion and emotional appeal play an important role in the (classical) art of persuasion AKA rhetoric.

          • Psycho Milt

            Sorry, I assumed the difference was general knowledge, but on reflection there’s no reason it should be. Machine logic is about mathematical equations, eg variable X = Y or it doesn’t. Philosophical logic involves knowing the meanings of the concepts involved, eg Quadrapeds walk on all four limbs; a cat walks on all four limbs; therefore a cat is a quadraped. You can get an AI to fake that kind of logic by having search databases containing information about what a quadraped is and the various attributes of cats, but it never at any point has an understanding of the terms “quadraped” or “cat.” They’re just matching entries in a database. Without that understanding, what they can do is fairly limited.

            I get that emotions go much deeper than our ability to reason. Problem is that logic and reasoning make for better analysis and decision-making than emotion, which is why education and modern social conditioning expect you to try and rely more on logic and reason than on emotion.

            • Incognito

              Thank you for your reply.

              I disagree with you on the limitations of AI relative to human intelligence and decision making – understanding in the classical sense may indeed not apply to machines & their algorithms although ‘self-learning’ is something that they’re highly capable of.

              As an example, you may want to familiarise with Dr Eric Topol and his assessment of the current state of digital & digitised medicine. He presents ample example of AI surpassing and supplanting highly trained medical experts and physicians but does argue for not going to Level 5 of automation, i.e. full system control with no human backup at all.


              In our reductionist and dualist Western world we have been trying, obsessing, about the complete distinction and separation of logic & reason on the one hand and emotion & feeling on the other. I was and am arguing that this is not possible and that this artificial self-imposed thinking (!) has led to poor or poorer decision-making and hampered & hindered human development. Along the same line, science cannot settle complex social and/or moral issues or dilemmas nor solve societal ills; it can (and must) only inform us. Science and scientists should never be in full control of our lives (Level 5, if you like) and for the same token neither should logic & reason.

      • greywarshark 5.4.2

        Yes, this is what has occurred to me. Soon we won’t try to think because ‘it is known that the Oscar, or other jokey name given to the machine, can make the best decisions’. They will be our gurus. And we will give up trying not to be stupid.

  6. Sanctuary 6

    Oh God, more whinging from people who seem to think parliament should be run like a strict small hotel, with presumably themselves reprising the role of Basil Fawlty.

    the “Labour didn’t implement my hard left agenda within 48 hours of taking office so I am going off in a huff to somewhere where I am relieved of the burden of reality and can whinge and whine happily again” crowd really get on my nerves.

    Would you all rather Bill English was PM?

    The OP himself says he trusts Jane Kelsey over David Parker. Fine, now we know where he stands in relation the main change agent of the centre left. Just remind me, how many votes did Jane Kelsey get, again?

    Would you rather Paula Bennett was still deputy PM?

    I love it how all these snivelling keyboard Che Guevaras demand Labour put in place a policy agenda they didn’t get a mandate for and don’t have the votes in the house to pass anyway. And do it all within four months of taking office after nine years in opposition and when they were a weak opposition who scraped home on the back of the charisma of their leader and vendettas of Winston Peters.

    Would you rather Judith Collins was still in cabinet?

    FFS, some people here really need to grow up.

    I am giving this Labour-led government 18 months to learn the ropes, shake out the non-performers, and get a handle on being in a job they were probably unsuited for five months ago. Then I’ll make up my mind.

    Because unlike a lot of people here, i am an adult and I’ve learnt the virtues of common sense, patience, and keeping an open mind.

    • greywarshark 6.1

      Yes we are all fearful. The trouble is we live in an age where people’s ability to help themselves is being stripped away, with sanctions here and barriers there, and people fear that there is an agenda to keep doing this while at the same time, for public consumption, announcing how useless certain people are, how their attempts to meet their own needs are not up to the standards of the wealthy etc. The cold heart of the stereotypical Victorian landlord evicting families into the snow, the Highland Clearances, the mind-twisting propaganda of connecting ghettoes and rats nests.

      It is fear that drives people commenting here. What we need is thinking hopefully, watching closely, helping with advice so the authorities are informed, following up on initial communication so that Tony Veitch ++ would follow up in another month with a shorter email with bulleted points and a because explaining the need briefly.
      Mosquito bites is what is needed, they can only be ignored for so long.

      And we need to have courage about the future, but keep passing on positive as well as the negatives about what’s happening.

    • What a fatuous post @sanctuary.

      Of course I wouldn’t rather Bill and Paula etc. were still in charge! And I like so much of what the coalition government have done/are proposing to do!

      But I didn’t expect them to act just like the National Party with their lack of transparency re TPP.

      And I’ve enough intelligence to realise that this international ‘free-trade’ agreement is fundamental to how they will potentially be able to govern ‘in the best interests of all New Zealanders,’

      Jane Kelsey may not have been voted into power (though what that has got to do with anything is beyond me) but she knows what she’s talking about, and I repeat, I’d trust her judgment long before that of David Parker.

      If enough of us wrote to our MPs expressing our concern about the TPP maybe, just maybe, we could get this government to have a thought or two!

    • JanM 6.3

      Thank you for that, Sanctuary, I was beginning to think it was just me!

    • One Two 6.4

      Because unlike a lot of people here, i am an adult and I’ve learnt the virtues of common sense, patience, and keeping an open mind

      And yet from the comment, you’re still not prepared to see the obvious flaw in that position…

      People with views such as this are responsible for the continued decline…

      They give oxygen to a system which is robbing living beings of their ability to draw breath…incrementally tightening the noose…slowly…surely…

      By the time views such as yours have made up their minds… [more like given yet another pass to a government that does not represent ‘all’]..

      More death, suffering and misery…

      What will it take to accept that to vote, is to vote for an agenda…

      The agenda, does not include ‘all’…

      And it never will…

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.4.1

        The agenda, does not include ‘all’…

        And it never will…

        Very true. It will never include rich libertarians who wish they had the right to enslave people with less money than them. It will never include human traffickers or Mr. Peter Talley.

        It will never include religious fundamentalists or white supremacists.

        No matter how much it hurts your feelings, so long as those people exist, there’s going to be an agenda.

    • Jilly Bee 6.5

      Thank you Sanctuary – I too agree with you. For you info TV, I’m tribal Labour and have been ever since my first vote in 1966 – I almost didn’t in 1990 to be honest, but have stuck in there for better or worse and do intend to keep an open mind with the new coalition government which may or may not end up being the equivalent of herding cats. Labour-led governments need to govern for the majority of the populace, not just the hard left which means there has to be a consensus with several of their policies and having read the N Z Herald this morning it reinforced my view. Yes, it’s a bugger that Jacinda Ardern has to go cap in hand to woo a meeting of business bigwigs and endeavour to convince them that her government is not going to drive them to the wall. I also read the column about Judith Collins having a winge that the last Key/English led government was far too ‘lefty’ for her liking – heaven help us if she snares the leadership of National and ultimately becomes PM. A truly horrifying thought.

      • Anne 6.5.1

        +100 Jilly Bee. Especially about Judith Collins. I’m hoping she’s done herself in with that comment but we shall see…

      • patricia bremner 6.5.2

        True JB, Collins is the opposite of Jacinda. I am not happy about the TTPA 11 nor am I happy that disabled people and their carers are so squeezed.

        I worry this will eat into support for the left, but that was never a whinge. I want this government to have 3 terms not one. And Collins… Horror!!

        Democracy requires examination of actions, and that shouldn’t be shut down just because it is annoying to some.

        I think we are lucky we have the people we do, but they need to be consistently reminded of our hopes.

    • Just remind me, how many votes did Jane Kelsey get, again?

      Not her per se but about 54%:

      A 2015 3 News poll showed 54% of voters disagreed with the TPPA and their concern has not diminished.

      I love it how all these snivelling keyboard Che Guevaras demand Labour put in place a policy agenda they didn’t get a mandate for and don’t have the votes in the house to pass anyway.

      Thing is, they do have a mandate for it – if they bothered listening to the populace who they’re supposed to represent.

      Representative democracy isn’t about democracy but about preventing it.

      And do it all within four months of taking office after nine years in opposition and when they were a weak opposition who scraped home on the back of the charisma of their leader and vendettas of Winston Peters.

      As soon as the US pulled out the TPPA was dead in the water and sinking. When Labour/Greens/NZ1st got in they simply could have pulled out.

      I am giving this Labour-led government 18 months to learn the ropes, shake out the non-performers, and get a handle on being in a job they were probably unsuited for five months ago.

      Most of them have been in parliament for years. They know how things work. IMO, that’s part of the problem.

    • John Shears 6.7

      Thanks Sanctuary, Saved me composing my own version.

  7. David Mac 7

    The anti ad guy gets me laughing out loud.

  8. David Mac 8

    What a great New Zealander Colin Murdoch was, changed the world for the better. I don’t recall ever hearing his name.

    “Colin Albert Murdoch ONZM (6 February 1929 – 4 May 2008) was a New Zealand pharmacist and veterinarian who made a number of significant inventions, in particular the tranquilliser gun, the disposable hypodermic syringe and the child-proof medicine container. He had a total of 46 patents registered in his name.”

  9. eco maori 9

    Well Whano I have a escort fit for a king today when I was travelling to Tauranga they are still hanging around about 12 to 15 vehicles 2 people per vehicle you see they are scared of ECO MAORI.
    When i sort the sandflys out my time will be devoted to he tangata the people improveing your lives as well as all the creations on Papatuanukue.
    Ka kite ano

    • OncewasTim 9.1

      Did you travel on Mr 10 Bridges toll road?
      You could have a claim for an exemption from Mr Freckles road tax.
      That highway is a monument to the trucking industry and the well-connected.
      Can you imagine the amount of money spent on that thing could have provided for more connected comunities.
      It’d actually be a good case study in a Soimun Bridjiss vushin going ford, en sensuble trenzport polsee

      • eco maori 9.1.1

        Boy this is no joke go play with your self oncewasdim

        • eco maori

          The tpp11 is a farcical contract if I promise to do something I do it. We cannot wait 18 months for labour AND NZF To get there _____together in 3 weeks they are going to sign our mokos grandchildren future fortune aways that’s a fact the neoliberals are lieing to them saying they can not pull out it will cost to much were is the neo liberals proof to back up there lies labour has to get back to reality that is that people in suites lie there ass off especially rich people and they laugh that the common people tell the truth that’s reality. What was the story when bill english got caught defrauding the MPs acomadation alounce The national party wasn’t upset that he was ripping the system off they were more upset that he got caught doing it that’s the type of people labour is dealing with wake up______ Ana to kai

        • Muttonbird

          EM, I’ve left you alone for the most part, in fact I can’t ever remember replying to one of your many, many, many, many comments.

          You are quite entitled to live within your own somewhat paranoid illusion, and are equally entitled to lay it all out here on this forum, but please don’t lash out at other commenters without having considered what they are trying to say.

          • In Vino

            Yep, I am with Muttonbird. OncewasTim was not criticising you EM – to my mind he was adding humour. I too will now be careful about responding to of your comments.

  10. Ed 10

    Neo-liberal New Zealand 2018.

    you work and work, you can’t save

    • Antoine 10.1

      Cheer up, she moved to Wanganui and got a new job and now she feels much better


      • Ed 10.1.1

        Be honest, you don’t care about other people.

        • Antoine

          I don’t think you read the whole article. It’s not a tragedy. It’s a puff piece for Wanganui! Published in the Wanganui Chronicle cos they want feelgood stories about what a nice place to live Wanganui is!!

          Now she runs a dance school with her partner and lives in a nice sizeable house by the Wanganui river and she isn’t as stressed as she was in Auckland and it all seems pretty good. So there’s no need for you to be gloomy on her behalf.


          • cleangreen

            Yep I do see you now Antoine;

            Just as another National Party minimalist’

            ‘Move along now; – nothing to see here’.

          • Ed

            And you don’t care about other people.

            • Antoine

              I think the reverse. I took an interest in this lady’s story and what is happening in her life, you just wanted to score political points off it.


      • Incognito 10.1.2

        Neoliberalism for dummies: have a (any) job, scrape together save for whatever commodity or consumer article, have a few happy pills or practice the power of positive thinking (it’s all in your mind, you know) and everything is sweet as. If you don’t feel happy there’s something wrong with you. If you don’t have work or get ahead in life (in dollar terms, of course, as that’s the measure of progress & success) you made the wrong choices or decisions.

        • Antoine

          Well all I can say is that she seems like a nice lady and she seems happy or happier than before. If you want to discuss her search for self fulfilment, you’re gonna need to get in touch with her directly.


          • Incognito

            Fascinating! Here I was thinking I was replying directly to you and your comment @ 10.1 and you appear to fob me off!?

            Anyway, it seems you’re not disagreeing with me that there’s no (self) fulfilment in chasing the neoliberal dream or in rather obediently (and desperately) staying in the rat race.

      • reason 10.1.3

        Cheer up indeed …. Here’s a couple of New Zealand Neo-Lib heroes for you to talk up Antoine …. Billionaire vulture capitalist ones.

        The Legatum Institute.” You may not have heard of the Legatum Institute; I hadn’t either, except for Legatum’s partnership with First Look Media billionaire Pierre Omidyar in a gruesome microfinance investment in India a few years back, SKS Microfinance.” … “a few wealthy insiders cashed out to the tune of mega-millions for themselves, while ruthless SKS debt collectors bullied hundreds of rural Indian villagers into committing suicide by drowning, drinking jars of pesticide, and other horrific means.”

        “Legatum turns out to be a project of the most secretive billionaire vulture capital investor you’ve (and I’d) never heard of: Christopher Chandler, a New Zealander who, along with his billionaire brother Richard Chandler, ran one of the world’s most successful vulture capital funds—Sovereign Global/Sovereign Asset Management.”

        “So secretive, that I only just recently learned that the Chandler brothers were the largest foreign portfolio investors in Russia throughout the 1990s into the first half of the 2000s, including the largest foreign investors in natural gas behemoth Gazprom. I frankly had no idea.”

        “The Chandler brothers reportedly were the single biggest foreign beneficiaries of one of the greatest privatization scams in history: Russia’s voucher program in the early 1990s,”

        And what did the privatization scams and corruption bring to the russian people ??? … ” Under Yeltsin, Russia’s economy collapsed some 60%, the male life expectancy plummeted from 68 years to 56, millions were reduced to living on subsistence farming for the first time since Stalin as wages went unpaid for years at a time. Russia was on its way to going extinct—but about 3-5% of the population (plus or minus 3%) was making out like bandits. Probably because they actually were bandits.”

        Chandlers = NZ Oligarchs ?

        “Putin’s Russia is a harder place for vulture capitalists like the Chandlers and Browders to swoop in, extract a few quick hundred millions, and disappear with to Monaco or Dubai. Putin’s cronies don’t need them; they replaced them and pocketed the money for themselves. Therefore, Russia is a threat to western civilization.”

        “In 2007, Chris Chandler, the billionaire behind Dubai’s Legatum Capital, launched the Legatum Institute, and staffed it with senior Bush Administration neocons. Legatum’s first leadership team was led by two former senior members of the Bush Administration’s National Security Council:”

        “……. the familiar, sleazy lobbying work he does, bridging the interests of global vulture capitalists like his boss Christopher Chandler with the interests of neocon regime-change groups like the National Endowment for Democracy, and more familiar neocon pro-war lobbyists like Michael Weiss.”

        Heavy hitting Neo Lib boys those chandlers … and Legatum

        • Antoine

          I really have no idea why you are telling me about this.


          • reason

            “Here’s a couple of New Zealand Neo-Lib heroes for you to talk up Antoine “..

            I thought you might like to give us the upside of these extraordinary NZ Capitalists ……

            show you do care and how its not just about your political point scoring 😉 .

            While your on a roll ….

            • Antoine

              I think you must be thinking of someone else. The stuff you posted has nothing to do with me and I have no interest in it.


  11. greywarshark 11

    The Standard in December 2017 had an informative post on the End of Life Choice bill reading by Matthew Whitehead with many comments.

    Can I ask that all who care about people’s rights to have a life, and end their life when wanted, go to the web site and make a submission this week preferably, on the right of very sick people to be as kind to themselves as they would be to their dying animals.

    The religious are massing with whole pages of google filled with them and other anti euthanasia rejecters. They are calling on their people to make a blanket no to people being able to assert their rights about their life and the practices required to end it. Churches don’t want to lose any of their control and power to decide right behaviour both of their followers and the rest of society. Hospice people too, regard looking after the dying as their right and their job to manage people through it. They comment on how often people say they would like to die, but never carry it forward. Of course the debilitated ill person hasn’t the strength to organise it, and knows they will be ignored, dissuaded from such foolish and wrong thoughts.

    It would be good if ordinary citizens with an open and fair mind, could call on their compassionate side and seek to enable others to be treated fairly according to their wishes, with a practice laid out in law to be followed by the afflicted person and those supporting him/her.

    The closing date for submissions to the End of Life Choice Bill was 20 February but is now Tuesday, 6 March 2018.
    There is nothing on the page that is dated 15 February that says that the closing date has been changed. What a crap piece of government information service. The information process should be seamless. This is confusing.

    This has not been well publicised by the media either. I couldn’t find anything in the mainstream about the change of date except on RadioNZ. Scoop hadn’t put it up.

    Family First called on the government to alter the closing date for submissions which was Tuesday, 20 February because people informed them there seemed a backlog of emails. note the closing date is now 6 March).

    Stories giving people’s anecdotal evidence mid-February 2018.

    Last information to hand:
    End of Life Choice Bill closing date Tuesday 6 March 2018

    • One Two 11.1

      ‘Society’ in NZ is not at a sufficient level of maturity to manage the consequences of such a bill, should it become ‘law’…

      Simultaneously, in a number of states/country’s, this very subject is being debated, and passed into ‘law’…

      How coincidental…

  12. Morrissey 12

    If not for the manipulation and hostility of Democratic Party “leaders” and their media accomplices throughout 2016, this man instead of the zombie version of Richie Rich would be President

  13. Ed 13

    Sabre rattling.
    The Guardian doing the US military’s work.
    It has become an embarrassment.

    Admiral warns US must prepare for possibility of war with China
    Harry Harris, the next US ambassador to Australia, says Beijing intends to control South China Sea

    John Pilger on the issue

    • greywarshark 13.1

      Why wouldn’t China want to create a safe zone around them. The USa has – Pearl Harbour was a warning shot against the USA right in the middle of the ocean. The USA is quite ruthless about attacking other nations if it thinks there is strategic advantage in doing so.

      John Pilger is a very focussed man when he gets going, and doesn’t lightly accept a differing opinion. I think there was a nasty joust with Kim Hill at one time, showing the uncompromising viewpoint of his.

      • Macro 13.1.1

        China may wish to create a safe zone around their sea coast Grey – but they do this in contravention of the Law of the Sea – a UN convention to which they are a signatory, and more importantly in absolute disregard for any territorial claims by Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines. The most recent international arbitration on this matter was in 2016 at the permanent court of Arbitration in The Hague which sided with the Philippines that China’s claim of historic sovereignty over the waters had no legal basis whatsoever.
        Their construction of military bases outside their waters is in complete disregard to the Law of the Sea and the peaceful passage of shipping going about their lawful business.
        As far as sabre rattling is concerned – this was the speech by the proposed new Ambassador to Australia to the Senate who is the Retiring Admiral of the US Pacific Fleet . You might recall the ANZUS pact – well surprisingly Australia still is a member and looks to the US for military support. If the Admiral of the US Pacific Fleet addressing the US Congress did not address this topic one would have to wonder what the hell he had been doing over the past few years!
        To report this address is what journalism is about. Don’t the people of Australia have a right to know what is in the thinking of the new US Ambassador – even if they disagree with his position? Frankly I’m not sure that you would find many in Australia who would challenge the military ties that they have with the US. They are far more proud of their military than we are here.

        • alwyn

          You are aware, aren’t you, that the United States isn’t a party to the Law of the Sea?
          They have never signed, nor ratified, the Convention and although they have signed the Agreement they have never ratified it.
          They don’t really seem to be in a position to harangue other countries on the matter do they?

          There are quite a number of other countries that aren’t party to it either. I doubt if it matters for some, like The Holy See. I suppose it is possible the Pope has a little rowboat but that would be about it.
          There are quite a few who do count though.

          • Macro

            Being a retired Naval Officer (and having been on the Naval Staff at the time it was being drafted) I am well conversant with the Law of the Sea. I don’t need your lectures on it thanks. I am simply commenting on the fact that there is growing tension over the South China Sea and the US Admiral of the Pacific Fleet is right to be drawing attention to that fact in his address to Congress.
            While the US has a major part in the drafting of the UNCLOS they were unhappy with Part XI of the Convention concerning deep seabed portions and mining of potentially valuable metals. Nevertheless they signed the Agreement in 1994 along with many other nations and still regard the Convention as general international law.

      • Molly 13.1.2

        Kim Hill was an idiot on that interview, part of which can be seen here.

        I remember watching this episode live and was taken aback on how resistant Kim Hill was to any criticism of the War on Iraq, and very aggressive to John Pilger on his stance that the war was illegal and misjudged.

        From my point of view, the uncomprising one was Kim Hill. The credit for being patient as long as he did, belongs to John Pilger.

  14. Sabre rattling.
    The Guardian doing the US military’s work.
    It has become an embarrassment.

    Or to put it another way:

    The Guardian reporting the content of a new ambassador’s speech.
    It has become… er, an online news source?

    Also (because I’m happy to point it out as often as I see you doing it): asking us to take John Pilger’s opinion on the subject as gospel is the logical fallacy known as “argument from authority.”

    • francesca 14.1

      John Pilger has a track record of accuracy over many years of journalism that beats the hacks at the Guardian hands down.
      It is no wonder that the Guardian no longer publishes Pilger ,and that we have to go to the Independent to get Robert Fisk or Patrick Cockburn

      • Psycho Milt 14.1.1

        Arguing from authority isn’t made less of a logical fallacy via the addition of assertions that this authority is a really authoritative authority…

    • Bill 14.2

      There was reporting. And then there was some “colouring in” to lend a certain air to the Admirals opinions.

      In 2016, the permanent court of arbitration in The Hague, sided with the Philippines in the dispute it brought, saying there was no legal basis for China’s claim of historic sovereignty over waters within the so-called nine-dash line in the sea.

      Regardless, Chinese military build-up continues in the sea.

      Wouldn’t pick that multiple countries are making claims to sovereignty in the area or that the dispute between the Philippines and China was resolved…by the Chinese and Filipino governments.


      Just big bad China trying to control the S.China Sea in much the same way as the US controls the N. Atlantic and anywhere else it has a mind to turn it’s attention to. (Not that you’re meant to turn any thought to that last bit mind 😉 )

      So with a little help from The Guardian’s framing and inclusions, the Admiral’s opinion begins to sound quite reasonable to the average ill-informed reader. But let’s just call it “reporting” shall we? 🙂

      • Psycho Milt 14.2.1

        You see “colouring in,” I see “the Guardian reporting relevant stuff that actually happened.” If there’s an “average, ill-informed” reader of The Guardian who’s unaware the US government has its own strategic interests and that the ambassador’s comments would reflect those interests, I’d be very surprised.

        • Bill

          Well, sure. The Guardian are reporting an Admiral’s speech.

          But when it comes to the background or context – China, Philippines, the Hague and the aftermath, we’re into the territory of mis-leading story telling.

  15. The Fairy Godmother 15

    Just heard that Denise Roche won the Waitemata By-election. Just waiting on the other results.

    • The Fairy Godmother 15.1

      Also Labour candidate Josephine Bartley won in the Maungakiekie ward so that is a positive change in the Auckland Council power dynamics. Labour candidate Brooke Loader came second second in the Manurewa ward.

      • Muttonbird 15.1.1

        Great news. Denise Krum vacated Maungakiekie in order to be gifted the electorate of the same name. Now it’s Labour who controls local issues and national issues. Denise only has the colour scheme in her new office on the Ellerslie high street to worry about.

        • The Fairy Godmother

          It is good news but i am very disappointed for Brooke Loader. Manurewa is a red seat but its Local body politics are a controlled by a right wing faction. It probably didn’t help that prior to Louisa Wall who is a proper Labour MP with Labour values they had first of all Roger Douglas followed by George Hawkins who when he left parliament stood with the right-wing Manurewa Action Team first of all in Manurewa and now in Papakura. This is one of the reasons it is important to be members of parties and vote to select decent candidates who won’t turn turn-coat.

  16. Morrissey 16

    There are liberal and decent Catholics in the United States

    Sadly, however, there are also Catholics like Paul Ryan and Bishop John Barres….

    Barnstorming Bishop John Barres looks to his second year on Long Island
    The Diocese of Rockville Centre’s spiritual leader, back to his New York roots, is racking up visits to parishes and intent on getting more people in the pews.
    by BART JONES, Newsday, Feb. 3, 2018

    Bishop John Barres, who took over the Diocese of Rockville Centre a year ago with a reputation as an energetic one-man whirlwind, has by one measure more than lived up to the billing: He has visited 81 out of 134 parishes and dozens of Catholic schools from Elmont to the East End.

    Marking his one-year anniversary as leader of Long Island’s 1.5 million Catholics, Barres said in an interview that he is launching a major effort to boost church attendance and vocations in the eighth-largest diocese or archdiocese in the nation.

    The bishop, who touched on a variety of issues, also said he will not declare Rockville Centre a “sanctuary diocese” for immigrants who are in the United States illegally and may seek safe haven from deportation in churches. ….

    If you want to read any more on this sanctimonious hypocrite, click on this….

  17. rhinocrates 17

    More on Peter Thiel and his overnight citizenship – and why he wanted it.

    In 2016, Sam Altman, one of Silicon Valley’s most influential entrepreneurs, revealed to the New Yorker that he had an arrangement with Thiel whereby in the eventuality of some kind of systemic collapse scenario – synthetic virus breakout, rampaging AI, resource war between nuclear-armed states, so forth – they both get on a private jet and fly to a property Thiel owns in New Zealand…

    Thiel is in one sense a caricature of outsized villainy… [but] in another, deeper sense, he is pure symbol: less a person than a shell company for a diversified portfolio of anxieties about the future, a human emblem of the moral vortex at the centre of the market.

    Does he know that we let women vote here and that we even have one as PM?

    Anyway, worth noting is that the companion to Atlas Shrugged amongst these plutocrats is The Sovereign Individual, a book co-written by the father of UK Tory leadership contender, Jacob Rees-Mogg (“looks like something shat out of a Jeeves and Wooster story” according to Jonathan Pie). It’s all standard libertarian wank of course.

  18. halfcrown 18

    I am reading a very interesting book called
    “Sapiens A Brief History of Mankind” by Yuval Noah Harari.

    Dr Yuval Noah Harari has a PhD in History from Oxford and lectures at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

    Now I don’t normally recommend reading material as we all have different tastes in reading, but I am sure some of the people who frequent this forum like greywarshark if they have not already read it may find it of interest.

    In part four of the book, he has a chapter titled “The Capitalist Creed” Most interesting, one of the things he writes about was the Mississippi Bubble which in 1719 the French were involved in this Ponzi scheme led by Louis XV. I quote some parts of the book to highlight this

    “The stock price plummeted further, setting off an avalanche. In order to stabilise prices, the central bank of France – at the direction of its governor, John Law-bought up Mississipi shares, but it could not do so forever.
    Eventually, it ran out of money. When this happened, the controller-general of finances, the same John Law, authorised the printing of more money in order to buy additional shares. This placed the entire French financial system inside the bubble. And not even this financial wizardry could save the day.”

    Further on

    “By now the central bank and the royal treasury owned a huge amount of worthless stock and had no money.
    The big speculators emerged largely unscathed – they had sold in time. Small investors lost everything, and many committed suicide.”

    Sounds familiar doesn’t, you would think 300 years later some lessons would have been learnt by now as this was only one of many “bubbles” At the time I think the Poms had something similar known as The South Seas Bubble.

    A quote from Albert Einstein.

    “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”

    • Incognito 18.1

      Whom did you have in mind when quoting Einstein?

      • greywarshark 18.1.1

        Thanks half crown – good to see you people are still around.

        I bought Gullivers Travels the other day written in 16th century which I will have a look at to see if I can stand it – am also reading old hat John Wyndham and his spot-on for human behaviour, logical fantasies, plus Terry Pratchett. There was a lively mind which got worn out probably.

        Incognito – That is what they call in law a leading question isn’t it. Or perhaps it is a mischievous one. Personally I think it is all of us as it takes a long and troubled time to realise that we are into process but not so good at envisaging outcomes.

        • Incognito

          Neither a leading nor a mischievous question. As usual, a lot of parties are being ‘fingered’ and I’m curious (!) to know whom halfcrown had in mind when quoting Einstein and in particular who is or are “doing” and “expecting” as per quote. There are clearly ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ in this perpetuum mobile so I think it is a perfectly valid and reasonable question. But you don’t have to agree with me on this.

          • greywarshark

            For sure. That’s what is good about TS, we can ask questions and tease out an understanding. I like discussing things with enquiring minds not set in concrete.

  19. RedBaronCV 19

    And the US embassy in Wellington flies its flag at half mast today for the victims of the latest school shooting. And a very large portion of the US wants proper gun control – sigh

  20. joe90 20

    Whiteness at work.

    Y'all, watch whiteness work. We will soon know everything about the suspects family life, his high school sports career, and favorite foods.— deray (@deray) June 13, 2015

    Nikolas Cruz is a ‘broken child’ who’s sorry about Parkland shooting, attorneys say

  21. Jum 21

    why can’t I seem to connect with a link to Jacinda Ardern actually in the Hero parade?

  22. Ed 22

    The tide has turned.
    This result is worth a thread.

    Labour candidate leads poll for Auckland Council seat

    Labour candidate Josephine Bartley leads the poll to be the new councillor for Auckland’s Maungakiekie-Tamaki ward.
    Of the votes cast up by Friday, she took 7073. The other candidate, Josh Beddell, of C&R/Future Auckland, received 5580 votes.
    The returning officer for the Auckland Council byelection will release the preliminary result on Monday, following the close of voting at midday today.
    Final results will be published on Wednesday – along with those for two other Auckland byelections running on the same timetable – after special votes have been counted.

    The ward byelection was needed because of the departure of councillor Denise Lee, a member of the National Party, after she became MP for Maungakiekie.

  23. Ed 23

    Rapturous welcome for Jacinda at the Pride Parade.
    Silence for the National float.
    The difference in the crowd’s response was dramatic.

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was the first PM to walk in the parade.

  24. eco maori 24

    What did ECO Maori say Here is a link to refresh your memory’s

    How World Rugby conspired against the All Blacks

    Ana to kai Ka kite ano

    • eco maori 24.1

      I’m watching BBC News Mechella Dewdess it’s a excellent talk back show they say that Britain loses 300 millions of foreign Aid money to corruption. I say foreign aid money is a tool use to influence poorer nations to comply with the western way of doing things its exactly what we do with our foreign aid money. What I like about the BBC Is they are less corrupt than privately owned media companies ECO MAORI IS BACKING TVNZ FOR THIS REASON the people get to hear the truth Ana to kai

  25. eco maori 25

    In my opinion the exporters are not marketing our products we are getting a commondity price for premium products WTF we need to change this antiquity way of trading the research says grass feed meat is good for you no cancer causing carcinogenic agents in our meat products some cleaver farmers by past all the bullshit middle men and are doing quite well by taking the intelligence initiative route.
    As for water well we haven’t even try to minimise water use in processing and prudicing our meat products we don’t have a water shortage so the attitude is W.G.A.F and that is the reason why we need to put a value on our WAI WATER.
    ECO MAORI SAY that people are suppressing Atoearoa export products potential earnings can not have a little country at the bottom of the Papatuanukue / making more money that the others neoliberals country’s of the world. We should be exporting chocolate Icecream all the niche products not bulk commitoties. Say Fonterra has not delivered any gain that Atoearoa needs to stay competitive there needs to be some research done into why we are not getting top dollar for top quality products. Ana to kai. Ka kite ano.
    Here is a link.

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  • Coastal court action flies under the radar
    Graham Adams says NZ’s coastline may end up under iwi control. Former Attorney-General and Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Chris Finlayson is known for his forthright and sometimes combative language. In 2022, in discussing opposition to co-governance, he referred to “the sour right” and “the KKK brigade”. Last week, in ...
    Point of OrderBy gadams1000
    1 week ago
  • Does a Fiscal Debt Target Make Sense?
    Do we treat the government finances with the common sense that household’s manage theirs?It is a commonly held view that we should treat the government as if it is a prudent household. We don’t when it comes to its debt. Currently the government says it wants to constrain its net ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Bryce Edwards: Why Shane Jones sunk the Kermadecs Marine Sanctuary
    Did vested interests prevent New Zealand from establishing a world-leading environmental marine reserve? There are strong signs that in killing off the proposal for a Kermadec Islands Marine Sanctuary, Shane Jones has been doing the bidding of several industries and groups that he’s closely connected with. As Oceans and Fisheries ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Spite destroys success
    The clean car discount was a real policy success in pushing electrification of transport. It worked so well that EV adoption was running five years ahead of the Climate Commission's targets, giving us a real shot at decarbonising light transport. National killed it out of pure spite. And as expected, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago

  • Huge interest in Government’s infrastructure plans
    Hundreds of people in little over a week have turned out in Northland to hear Regional Development Minister Shane Jones speak about plans for boosting the regional economy through infrastructure. About 200 people from the infrastructure and associated sectors attended an event headlined by Mr Jones in Whangarei today. Last ...
    13 hours ago
  • Health Minister thanks outgoing Health New Zealand Chair
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti has today thanked outgoing Health New Zealand – Te Whatu Ora Chair Dame Karen Poutasi for her service on the Board.   “Dame Karen tendered her resignation as Chair and as a member of the Board today,” says Dr Reti.  “I have asked her to ...
    14 hours ago
  • Roads of National Significance planning underway
    The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has signalled their proposed delivery approach for the Government’s 15 Roads of National Significance (RoNS), with the release of the State Highway Investment Proposal (SHIP) today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Boosting economic growth and productivity is a key part of the Government’s plan to ...
    18 hours ago
  • Navigating an unstable global environment
    New Zealand is renewing its connections with a world facing urgent challenges by pursuing an active, energetic foreign policy, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Our country faces the most unstable global environment in decades,” Mr Peters says at the conclusion of two weeks of engagements in Egypt, Europe and the United States.    “We cannot afford to sit back in splendid ...
    18 hours ago
  • NZ welcomes Australian Governor-General
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced the Australian Governor-General, His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley and his wife Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley, will make a State visit to New Zealand from Tuesday 16 April to Thursday 18 April. The visit reciprocates the State visit of former Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy ...
    19 hours ago
  • Pseudoephedrine back on shelves for Winter
    Associate Health Minister David Seymour has announced that Medsafe has approved 11 cold and flu medicines containing pseudoephedrine. Pharmaceutical suppliers have indicated they may be able to supply the first products in June. “This is much earlier than the original expectation of medicines being available by 2025. The Government recognised ...
    20 hours ago
  • NZ and the US: an ever closer partnership
    New Zealand and the United States have recommitted to their strategic partnership in Washington DC today, pledging to work ever more closely together in support of shared values and interests, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “The strategic environment that New Zealand and the United States face is considerably more ...
    24 hours ago
  • Joint US and NZ declaration
    April 11, 2024 Joint Declaration by United States Secretary of State the Honorable Antony J. Blinken and New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs the Right Honourable Winston Peters We met today in Washington, D.C. to recommit to the historic partnership between our two countries and the principles that underpin it—rule ...
    24 hours ago
  • NZ and US to undertake further practical Pacific cooperation
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced further New Zealand cooperation with the United States in the Pacific Islands region through $16.4 million in funding for initiatives in digital connectivity and oceans and fisheries research.   “New Zealand can achieve more in the Pacific if we work together more urgently and ...
    1 day ago
  • Government redress for Te Korowai o Wainuiārua
    The Government is continuing the bipartisan effort to restore its relationship with iwi as the Te Korowai o Wainuiārua Claims Settlement Bill passed its first reading in Parliament today, says Treaty Negotiations Minister Paul Goldsmith. “Historical grievances of Te Korowai o Wainuiārua relate to 19th century warfare, land purchased or taken ...
    2 days ago
  • Focus on outstanding minerals permit applications
    New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals is working to resolve almost 150 outstanding minerals permit applications by the end of the financial year, enabling valuable mining activity and signalling to the sector that New Zealand is open for business, Resources Minister Shane Jones says.  “While there are no set timeframes for ...
    2 days ago
  • Applications open for NZ-Ireland Research Call
    The New Zealand and Irish governments have today announced that applications for the 2024 New Zealand-Ireland Joint Research Call on Agriculture and Climate Change are now open. This is the third research call in the three-year Joint Research Initiative pilot launched in 2022 by the Ministry for Primary Industries and Ireland’s ...
    2 days ago
  • Tenancy rules changes to improve rental market
    The coalition Government has today announced changes to the Residential Tenancies Act to encourage landlords back to the rental property market, says Housing Minister Chris Bishop. “The previous Government waged a war on landlords. Many landlords told us this caused them to exit the rental market altogether. It caused worse ...
    2 days ago
  • Boosting NZ’s trade and agricultural relationship with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay will visit China next week, to strengthen relationships, support Kiwi exporters and promote New Zealand businesses on the world stage. “China is one of New Zealand’s most significant trade and economic relationships and remains an important destination for New Zealand’s products, accounting for nearly 22 per cent of our good and ...
    2 days ago
  • Freshwater farm plan systems to be improved
    The coalition Government intends to improve freshwater farm plans so that they are more cost-effective and practical for farmers, Associate Environment Minister Andrew Hoggard and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay have announced. “A fit-for-purpose freshwater farm plan system will enable farmers and growers to find the right solutions for their farm ...
    3 days ago
  • New Fast Track Projects advisory group named
    The coalition Government has today announced the expert advisory group who will provide independent recommendations to Ministers on projects to be included in the Fast Track Approvals Bill, say RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop and Regional Development Minister Shane Jones. “Our Fast Track Approval process will make it easier and ...
    3 days ago
  • Pacific and Gaza focus of UN talks
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters says his official talks with the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York today focused on a shared commitment to partnering with the Pacific Islands region and a common concern about the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.    “Small states in the Pacific rely on collective ...
    3 days ago
  • Government honours Taranaki Maunga deal
    The Government is honouring commitments made to Taranaki iwi with the Te Pire Whakatupua mō Te Kāhui Tupua/Taranaki Maunga Collective Redress Bill passing its first reading Parliament today, Treaty Negotiations Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “This Bill addresses the commitment the Crown made to the eight iwi of Taranaki to negotiate ...
    3 days ago
  • Enhanced partnership to reduce agricultural emissions
    The Government and four further companies are together committing an additional $18 million towards AgriZeroNZ to boost New Zealand’s efforts to reduce agricultural emissions. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says the strength of the New Zealand economy relies on us getting effective and affordable emission reduction solutions for New Zealand. “The ...
    4 days ago
  • 110km/h limit proposed for Kāpiti Expressway
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed news the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) will begin consultation this month on raising speed limits for the Kāpiti Expressway to 110km/h. “Boosting economic growth and productivity is a key part of the Government’s plan to rebuild the economy and this proposal supports that outcome ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand Biosecurity Awards – Winners announced
    Two New Zealanders who’ve used their unique skills to help fight the exotic caulerpa seaweed are this year’s Biosecurity Awards Supreme Winners, says Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard. “Strong biosecurity is vital and underpins the whole New Zealand economy and our native flora and fauna. These awards celebrate all those in ...
    4 days ago
  • Attendance action plan to lift student attendance rates
    The Government is taking action to address the truancy crisis and raise attendance by delivering the attendance action plan, Associate Education Minister David Seymour announced today.   New Zealand attendance rates are low by national and international standards. Regular attendance, defined as being in school over 90 per cent of the ...
    4 days ago
  • World must act to halt Gaza catastrophe – Peters
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has told the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York today that an immediate ceasefire is needed in Gaza to halt the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe.    “Palestinian civilians continue to bear the brunt of Israel’s military actions,” Mr Peters said in his speech to a ...
    4 days ago
  • Speech to United Nations General Assembly: 66th plenary meeting, 78th session
    Mr President,   The situation in Gaza is an utter catastrophe.   New Zealand condemns Hamas for its heinous terrorist attacks on 7 October and since, including its barbaric violations of women and children. All of us here must demand that Hamas release all remaining hostages immediately.   At the ...
    4 days ago
  • Government woolshed roadshow kicks off
    Today the Government Agriculture Ministers started their national woolshed roadshow, kicking off in the Wairarapa. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay said it has been a tough time for farmers over the past few years. The sector has faced high domestic inflation rates, high interest rates, adverse weather events, and increasing farm ...
    5 days ago
  • PM heads to Singapore, Thailand, and Philippines
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon will travel to Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines this week (April 14-20), along with a senior business delegation, signalling the Government’s commitment to deepen New Zealand’s international engagement, especially our relationships in South East Asia. “South East Asia is a region that is more crucial than ever to ...
    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister launches Government Targets
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced further steps to get New Zealand back on track, launching nine ambitious Government Targets to help improve the lives of New Zealanders. “Our Government has a plan that is focused on three key promises we made to New Zealanders – to rebuild the economy, ...
    5 days ago
  • Natural hydrogen resource should be free of Treaty claims entanglement
    Natural hydrogen could be a game-changing new source of energy for New Zealand but it is essential it is treated as a critical development that benefits all New Zealanders, Resources Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones is seeking to give regulatory certainty for those keen to develop natural, or geological, ...
    5 days ago
  • Government responds to unsustainable net migration
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand on stage at global Space Symposium
    Space Minister Judith Collins will speak at the Space Symposium in the United States next week, promoting New Zealand’s rapidly growing place in the sector as we work to rebuild the economy. “As one of the largest global space events, attended by more than 10,000 business and government representatives from ...
    6 days ago
  • $4.9m project completed with marae reopening
    A significant marae has reopened in the heart of Rotorua marking the end of renovations for the Ruatāhuna Marae Renovation Cluster, a project that provided much-needed jobs and regional economic stimulus, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones was at the official reopening of Mātaatua ki Rotorua Marae today. ...
    7 days ago
  • Pure Tūroa Limited to operate Tūroa ski field
    Ko Tahuarangi te waka – Tahuarangi is the ancestral vessel Ko Rangitukutuku te aho – Rangitukutuku is the fishing line Ko Pikimairawea te matau – Pikimairawea is the hook Ko Hāhā te Whenua te ika kei rō-wai – Hāhā te whenua is the fish (of Māui) whilst under the ocean ...
    7 days ago
  • Methane targets to be independently reviewed
    Rebuilding New Zealand’s economy will rely on the valuable agricultural sector working sustainably towards our climate change goals.  Today, the Climate Change and Agriculture Ministers announced that an independent panel of experts will review agricultural biogenic methane science and targets for consistency with no additional warming. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay ...
    7 days ago
  • NZ and Nordics: likeminded partners
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has highlighted the strong ties that bind New Zealand and the Nordic countries of Northern Europe during a trip to Sweden today.    “There are few countries in the world more likeminded with New Zealand than our friends in Northern Europe,” Mr Peters says.    “We ...
    1 week ago
  • First New Zealand C-130J Hercules takes flight
    The first New Zealand C-130J Hercules to come off the production line in the United States has successfully completed its first test flights, Defence Minister Judith Collins announced today. “These successful flights are a significant milestone for the New Zealand Defence Force, bringing this once-in-a-generation renewal of a critical airlift ...
    1 week ago
  • Government to rephase NCEA Change Programme
      The coalition Government is making significant changes to the NCEA Change Programme, delaying the implementation by two years, Minister of Education Erica Stanford announced today. “Ensuring New Zealand’s curriculum is world leading is a vital part of the Government’s plan to deliver better public services and ensure all students ...
    1 week ago
  • New Ngāpuhi investment fund Chair appointed
    Ben Dalton has been appointed the new board Chair of Tupu Tonu, the Ngāpuhi Investment Fund, says Treaty Negotiations Minister Paul Goldsmith and Associate Finance Minister Shane Jones. “Ben brings a wealth of experience in governance and economic development to the position. He will have a strong focus on ensuring ...
    1 week ago
  • Education should be prioritised ahead of protesting
    Students should be in school and learning instead of protesting during school hours, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. “If students feel strongly about sending a message, they could have marched on Tuesday when there was a nationwide teacher only day, or during the upcoming school holidays. It has become ...
    1 week ago
  • Delivering on Local Water Done Well
    Cabinet has agreed on key steps to implement Local Water Done Well, the Coalition Government’s plan for financially sustainable locally delivered water infrastructure and services, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says.  "Councils and voters resoundingly rejected Labour’s expensive and bureaucratic Three Waters regime, and earlier this year the Coalition Government ...
    1 week ago
  • Peters to visit New York, Washington D.C.
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters will engage with high-level United States Government and United Nations officials in the United States next week (6-12 April).    The visit, with programmes in New York and Washington D.C., will focus on major global and regional security challenges and includes meetings with US Secretary of ...
    1 week ago

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