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Open mike 17/05/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 17th, 2020 - 131 comments
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Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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

Step up to the mike …

131 comments on “Open mike 17/05/2020”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    "A new Māori Party candidate is accusing the Government of "ethnic cleansing" over its COVID-19 response. Donna Pokere-Phillips, who's standing in the Hauraki-Waikato electorate seat" https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2020/05/covid-19-new-maori-party-candidate-accuses-government-of-ethnic-cleansing.html

    She's demonstrating political nous, eh? Generate headlines is the best way to raise your public profile. She's not blaming govt pakeha, specifically. Nor is she blaming Maori govt ministers for the ethnic cleansing. Very clever!

    "The lack of Māori response by the Government to COVID-19, the lack of Māori engagement with Māori leadership during the lockdown, the removal by force of our rights protected under Te Tiriti o Waitangi and legislation rushed through under urgency further eroding civil liberties, in short is ethnic cleansing".

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    The bomber lists 27 things that are currently making him angry. I wonder if he has ever thought of taking a course in anger management? Could reduce the tally. https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2020/05/16/my-pandemic-of-rage/

    "I’m angry the NZ Herald dumped the horoscopes, it was the only quality journalism they did." Get real. Those were merely sun-sign generalisations. A horoscope is the diagram of an event in relation to local cosmos. Can't expect journos to grasp such depths.

  3. And he's still banging on about the "5 Eyes intelligence dossier "published in the Murdoch press despite the fact its been refuted several times over

    Here's one such in the Guardian

    "The deputy chair of the Australian parliament’s intelligence and security committee, Anthony Byrne, has been angered by the reported dossier, fearing the episode was reminiscent of the saga surrounding intelligence about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 2003."

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/07/australia-hits-back-at-us-claim-linking-coronavirus-to-wuhan-lab

    And Kevin Rudd not holding back

    https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/murdoch-media-s-china-coronavirus-conspiracy-has-one-aim-get-trump-re-elected-1.4250379

    • RedLogix 3.1

      Until someone can intelligently walk me past the fact that a virus closely linked to bats, has it's first major human outbreak in the same city that happened to have the only lab in the world studying the same family of virus from bats … all the self-serving denials in the world mean nothing.

      It could of course be an amazing coincidence, but then if I was found standing over a dead body holding a smoking gun, would any investigator accept my claim that "it wasn't me, it must have been some other bullet"? And then allow me to control access to the crime scene, control all the evidence and tell the police to go away?

      • Absolutely RL.

        Check out Chris Martenson in this postings and ones before it:



      • francesca 3.1.2

        Well , I guess its like John Key said ..more or less my experts against your experts, but lets keep it to science not "intelligence"

        Professor Edward Holmes is an evolutionary virologist and a member of the Charles Perkins Centre and the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity at the University of Sydney

        "There is no evidence that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans, originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

        Coronaviruses like SARS-CoV-2 are commonly found in wildlife species and frequently jump to new hosts. This is also the most likely explanation for the origin of SARS-CoV-2.

        The closest known relative of SARS-CoV-2 is a bat virus named RaTG13, which was kept at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. There is some unfounded speculation that this virus was the origin of SARS-CoV-2. However:

        (i) RaTG13 was sampled from a different province of China (Yunnan) to where COVID-19 first appeared; and
        (ii) the level of genome sequence divergence between SARS-CoV-2 and RaTG13 is equivalent to an average of 50 years (and at least 20 years) of evolutionary change.

        Hence, SARS-CoV-2 was not derived from RaTG13.

        In addition, we know that viruses related to SARS-CoV-2 are also found in pangolins. This suggests that other wildlife species are likely to carry relatives of SARS-CoV-2.

        In summary, the abundance, diversity and evolution of coronaviruses in wildlife strongly suggests that SARS-CoV-2 is of natural origin. However, a greater sampling of animal species in nature, including bats from Hubei province, is needed to resolve the exact origins of SARS-CoV-2."

        • mauī 3.1.2.1

          Martenson does a pretty good job of picking apart Holmes's statement at the 18:40 mark of Tony Veitch's video posted above.

          Holmes even reinforces the non-natural origin theory by saying that Covid is closest to RaTG13, the lab had access to RaTG13, and RaTG13 is naturally occuring in a different region of China to Wuhan.

          • francesca 3.1.2.1.1

            Hmmmm

            economic researcher and "futurist" spouting Trumpian conspiracy theories versus virologists and reputed medical journals

            https://www.vox.com/2020/4/23/21226484/wuhan-lab-coronavirus-china

            • Incognito 3.1.2.1.1.1

              I’m extremely reluctant to wade into this but the science aspect is mighty interesting.

              One of the many missing pieces of the puzzle is why there was a 7-year gap between discovering RaTG13 and publishing the data? If RaTG13 occurs naturally then it should be possible to isolate it from a (its?) natural source, e.g. in the cave where it was purported to have been found in 2013.

        • I Feel Love 3.1.2.2

          The reason that lab was studying diseases in bats is because … in that region are disease carrying bats. Even the US spies deny it's lab made.

        • aj 3.1.2.3

          A variation is that a bat urinated on a technician in the Wuhan laboratory. This really strengthens the laboratory theory, it ties so well into the 'bat-shit' crazy response to the epidemic from a number of world leaders

          /sarc

      • McFlock 3.1.3

        Maybe the person holding a gun was doing so because they were at a firing range?

        It's not uncommon to set up research centres in areas most convenient to conduct that research. Some might say it's almost sensible to do so.

        • RedLogix 3.1.3.1

          OK so let's go with that idea. Now if we had a terrible accident at this firing range … what would be the first thing the person in charge might do?

          Now compare this with what happened in Wuhan?

          • Pat 3.1.3.1.1

            "OK so let's go with that idea. Now if we had a terrible accident at this firing range … what would be the first thing the person in charge might do? "

            Well I'd hazard a guess it wouldnt be let the bent bat shit crazy chief of police that hates your guts and would love to send you down for anything run the investigation.

            • McFlock 3.1.3.1.1.1

              lol

            • RedLogix 3.1.3.1.1.2

              And in the meantime the person right next to the dead body, holding the hot smoking gun, gets to shutdown the scene, prevent any police from entering the property, control all the information and deny any possible guilt?

              A ten year old wouldn't buy it.

              The logical problem for anyone wanting to promote the idea that "there is no evidence" that it came from a lab, is they equally have no evidence that it came from a natural host either.

              It's like your local police chief standing up at a presser and saying "I don't have a fucking clue" and pretending that somehow solved the case.

              • Pat

                "And in the meantime the person right next to the dead body, holding the hot smoking gun, gets to shutdown the scene, prevent any police from entering the property, control all the information and deny any possible guilt?"

                What smoking gun?…your problem is there is nobody standing next to a body holding a smoking gun…theres somebody saying there MIGHT have been somebody standing next to the body holding a smoking gun…..or the corpse may not even have a bullet wound…it could have been a heart attack for all you know.

                • RedLogix

                  What smoking gun?

                  Now you are being obdurate, pretending there is no biolab in Wuhan, that it was not studying closely related virus's, that it hadn't published papers on the topic, that their top researcher was not well known for her work in this field … and that the first major COVID outbreak was not in Wuhan.

                  Yes I can see that if you make all those facts go away, then there is no smoking gun either.

                  • Pat

                    and everyone who dies in the presence of firearms has been deliberately shoot….good grief

                    • RedLogix

                      Every death in the presence of firearms is thoroughly and carefully investigated by a trusted authority.

                      Only then can the question of intent be resolved.

                    • McFlock

                      Indeed. And the question of whether the person had even been shot.

                      Forunately, just as a gun leaves a wound and powder residue genetic sequences provide information as to ancestry and provenance. There is no bullet wound.

                    • RedLogix

                      And the question of whether the person had even been shot.

                      I would have thought 311,516 deaths to date would have been enough for you.

                      Oh and that link you gave is to a paper, Holmes is one of the authors, published in early March (and presumably written in the weeks prior) that Martenson addresses in the light of subsequent understanding.

                      Just because Trump has gotten his sticky mitts on this story does not make him anyone's hero, and it certainly doesn't change the known fact that the CCP have done everything in their power to shut down independent investigation, and promote a narrative exonerating themselves at every step.

            • Pat, and others, you're missing the point. Chris Martenson is strictly apolitical. He's not trying to support any Trump conspiracy theories, he's looking at the evidence from an entirely logical and evidence based point of view.

              His point is that the coronavirus has 'gain of function' additives which could only – stress only – have been added in a lab. He backs up his conclusions with proof which seems convincing to my unscientific mind.

              Whether all this feeds into Trump's paranoia and politicising, he makes no comment on.

              • Pat

                The forensic evidence points to natural causes….I'll go with the evidence

                • Please watch the video before commenting – from about the 18 minute mark.

                  • Pat

                    no need to waste 18 minutes….those studying the virus (and without political motives) have determined it is natural in origin…if they change their minds I will re-evaluate.

                    • RedLogix

                      I've been listening to it for the past 38 min as I'm typing here. Martenson makes a logical and documented case.

                      And I’m curious how you know the other nameless experts you are relying on are ‘without political motives’.

                    • RedLogix

                      The first link relies on the idea that the closest known bat virus is decades apart in evolutionary terms, but selectively omits that it's routine procedure to force evolution in the lab in a matter of days.

                      The second link is just reporting assertions with no data

                      The third link is a re-run of the spike protein optimisation argument that Martenson suggests is not as water tight as being pretended.

                      The fourth link uses the argument that purposeful genetic manipulation always leaves behind 'telltale fingerprints', which is also not true. The method for avoiding this has been known since 2002, and is well known.

                      Now my quick scan of your four references is not terribly conclusive, except that even with my very limited understanding I can spot troubling questions and presuppositions in all of them. None of them even vaguely attempt to explain why the first major outbreak occurs in Wuhan, a city many hundreds of km from where the bloody bats live.

                    • According to Chris Martenson, and I paraphrase,

                      • a bat manages to pass a coronavirus to a pangolin, one of only a few thousand left in the world,
                      • which somehow manages to swap part of that virus with a variation already in the pangolin.
                      • This then picks up other critical parts of the virus composition present in pangolins, and –
                      • miracle of miracles – jumps from animals to humans.

                      All of the above can be done in a lab.

                      If you believe the above ‘natural’ selection process, I have a bridge for sale!

                      For a more scientific version, check out the video at about the 50 minute mark.

                    • Pat

                      thats 4 very poor summaries

                      Suspect the only solution is a hammer and a nail

                      https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/sunday/audio/2018746806/what-makes-us-believe-conspiracy-theories

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Agreed Pat. Human-mediated habitat destruction may have played a role in the formation of Covid-19; advocating that the virus was engineered in a lab is just (bat)shit-stirring – let's wait!

                      Novel human coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2): A lesson from animal coronaviruses
                      Our review was reasonably prepared also to highlight (once more!) how CoVs originate, evolve, jump, mutate and infect their host. Could have the current COVID-19 outbreak been avoided? Answering this question is not relevant now, but actions to avoid the next viral spillover from animals to humans is certainly a priority. This task needs to be coupled with massive genomic surveillance in wild animals not limited to CoVs. Massive sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 strains detected in humans and CoVs of wildlife will help further assess the origin of this novel human pandemic and plan future measures able to reduce the risk of emergence of new CoV spillover events.
                      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378113520302935

                      Origin and evolution of pathogenic coronaviruses
                      “…given the prevalence and great genetic diversity of bat SARS-rCoVs, their close coexistence and the frequent recombination of CoVs, it is expected that novel variants will emerge in the future”
                      https://www.nature.com/articles/s41579-018-0118-9

                      Watched the video at ~19 minutes, including Dr Martenson's first conclusion after 'analysing' "this Professor Holmes" statement:

                      "There is no evidence that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans, originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China."

                      The excitable Martenson accepted that statement, and then assigned equal likelihood to the contrary statement that 'the virus did originate in a lab', on the basis that there's no evidence either way. IMHO anyone still listening after that 'analysis' is wasting their time, me included.

                      Martenson is espousing a belief, and asserting that expert virologists are (deliberately) ignoring his ‘analysis’. The idea that Professor Holmes' job depends (somehow) on Holmes not understanding Martenson's belief is ludicrous – wacky stuff!

                      Martenson's smoking gun, the presence of a "polybasic furin cleavage site" encoded in the Covid-19 genome, was commented on over three months ago – it's nothing new.

                      https://www.virology.ws/2020/02/13/furin-cleavage-site-in-the-sars-cov-2-coronavirus-glycoprotein/

                      "…no clear evolutionary pathway has [yet] been identified that would explain the presence of COVID-19’s furin polybasic cleavage site…" – nevertheless, the idea that current molecular sequence databases magically contain a complete record of extant and transient/extinct coronavirus diversity – well, imagine!

                      Whereas conspiracy beliefs describing the pandemic as a hoax were more strongly associated with reduced containment-related behavior, conspiracy beliefs about sinister forces purposefully creating the virus related to an increase in self-centered prepping behavior.
                      https://psyarxiv.com/ye3ma/

                  • Pat

                    "a bat manages to pass a coronavirus to a pangolin, one of only a few thousand left in the world,"

                    in a wet market where both species were present and in close contact

                    "which somehow manages to swap part of that virus with a variation already in the pangolin"

                    which has occurred and been documented on many previous occasions

                    "This then picks up other critical parts of the virus composition present in pangolins, and –"

                    see previous

                    "miracle of miracles – jumps from animals to humans."

                    previously occurred

                    "All of the above can be done in a lab."

                    not easily and only with considerable luck as explained in the linked articles from my previous post…indeed the odds are far greater of it occurring naturally than by design.

                    Do you own a bridge?

                    • lol. My explanation sure does miss the make a bit – and that's because the science is way beyond me – in terms of explaining it.

                      But I hope you'll take the time to go to the video and the 50 minute make and spend a few minutes listening to the explanation given by Chris Martenson. Then get back to me.

                      Cheers.

                    • Treetop

                      What if there was a pangolin in the Wuhan lab which caught the virus from a bat and the pangolin was not disposed of properly and someone touched a piece of the pangolin or materials which were used in the disposal of the pangolin?

                      Without doubt the virus has occurred naturally and is not man made.

                      Does it really matter if the virus came from the lab or the Wuhan market?

                      How the virus jumped to humans from bats/pangolins is what I would like to know?

                    • Incognito []

                      Without doubt the virus has occurred naturally and is not man made.

                      Huh? How can one (e.g. you) be so absolutely 100% sure of this? Has anybody isolated it from a (its?) natural source other than infected humans and now cats, it appears?

                      If it was man-made we wouldn’t have to worry about how exactly it jumped species, would we?

                    • Treetop []

                      If it wasn't a natural source I think that this would have been picked up with the sequencing.

                      The virus is seen in bats, pangolins, humans and cats. There is a clue that the virus does jump in a natural way as it has jumped from humans to cats.

                      Nothing is 100% with science.

                    • Incognito []

                      How would sequencing pick that up?

                      Incorrect! The virus is not seen in bats and pangolins; there are similar viruses found in these species but they are not identical and definitely not close enough to be called “the virus”. There are some interesting questions hanging over the origin of RaTG13 based on close analysis and inspection of its genome (i.e. by sequencing). AFAIK, all reports of infected cats have been controlled experimental studies in the lab and large cats in zoos (https://thestandard.org.nz/dont-infect-your-feline-master/) and human-to-cat transfer, not the other way round. In any case, this is the same virus that jumps, not a similar one.

                    • Treetop []

                      I said human to cat transmission.

                      https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-05-08/Latest-finding-of-the-novel-coronavirus-origin-bat-and-pangolin-Qku7BSHP5m/index.html

                      I have not read a closer fit than the theory that a bat gave the virus to a pangolin and a pangolin is the likely transmission to a human host.

                      When it comes to what reservoir caused AIDS, Ebola, MERs and similar viruses a lot is still unknown. Maybe there is a connection and this needs research.

                      I cannot fix the link.

                      [Link fixed]

                    • Incognito []

                      Yes, I know you said that but the important (to me) point was that this is the same virus. They have yet to figure out where it came from and how and when it jumped and from which species to human.

                      Indeed, more research is needed and not just on SARS-COVID-2.

                      I’ve fixed the link.

          • McFlock 3.1.3.1.2

            Except observing gradually increasing numbers of people with pneumonia isn't quite as obvious as the firing range analogy would suggest. Analogies do have their limits.

            Did China act suspiciously slowly? I'm not so sure on that – they coded the sequence pretty quickly, got WHO in towards the end of January ISTR. Yeah, they did some "in denial" initially, but that seems to be common practise these days – very few of the top-tier nations can throw stones in that regard, so maybe China simply had the same motives as around half the members of the G7/8.

            • dv 3.1.3.1.2.1

              AND they released the genome sequence publicly early.

              • RedLogix

                How early? When do you know they first had it? Only by knowing that you can say it was 'early' or not.

                Sequencing these days is remarkably fast; once there were cases in other countries it was only a matter of days before the sequence became public domain anyway.

                • dv

                  This is dated Jan 11

                   

                  https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/01/china-releases-genetic-data-new-coronavirus-now-deadly

                  Chinese scientists submitted the gene sequencing data for posting on Virological.org, a hub for prepublication data designed to assist with public health activities and research. Earlier this week, they announced that they had isolated and fully sequenced the virus, setting off calls for full release of the details. The post was communicated by Edward Holmes, PhD, with the University of Sydney, on behalf of a Chinese group led by Yong-Zhen Zhang, PhD, with Fudan University in Shanghai.

                   

                  • RedLogix

                    The first known case is now thought to be back in November 13.

                    The first cases known outside of China was in Thailand early in January

                    This means there was a potential 8 week window in which the virus could have been sequenced in China before it reached the rest of the world.

                    In fact it was published in the very last week of that window. Holding this up as virtuously 'early' doesn't seem impressive to me.

                    • dv

                      May be not that impressive, BUT if you are developing a bioweapon why publish the plans?

                    • RedLogix

                      Because the virus comes with it's own plan, once it got out of China it was a matter of days before everyone had it anyway.

                      Nor is anyone here using the term 'bioweapon' because that implies malicious intent. Because to date we have no trusted investigation, and no evidence based chain of events, no-one should yet be claiming this virus was intended to have a military purpose.

                      But that is quite different to ruling out a lab origin.

                    • McFlock

                      Oh come on – there's a massive difference between a known case of a new syndrome and a retrospective diagnosis.

                    • RedLogix

                      @McF

                      Yes there is a massive difference; that's why I was careful to use the term 'potential window'. Yes it's highly unlikely anyone would have sequenced the new virus back in November, but equally releasing it just before it was going to become public domain anyway really doesn't mean much.

                      In essence it comes back to knowing exactly when Chinese first had a sequence for it, and until you know that for certain any notion of 'early' is arbitrary.

                    • McFlock

                      "Early" is always a relative term, but when judging actions it usually is in reference to something that could be known at the time.

                      24 december first test of an unresolved clinical case throws up the issue. Alert raised a few days later. Sequence released 11 jan.

                      I mean, good luck with pretending that the first case was identified as a new disease and covered up for six weeks. The coverup is plausible – we've seen it from a variety of regimes. Identifying case #1 at the time? Not so much, especially if it looks like pneumonia and is in winter.

                    • Adrian

                      Wrong. The first case was on December the 27th in Paris,spread by a food hall worker returning from a Xmas trip to Wuhan to a co-worker who gave it to her husband. Nice Chrissy pressie. All as widely reported a few weeks ago.

                      Now, if you can't even get that right, where does all this bat-shit crazy stuff come from. Out of the arse of some foaming RW nutjob?

                      [Please keep your tone civil, thanks – Incognito]

                    • Incognito []

                      See my Moderation note @ 1:05 PM.

                    • RedLogix

                      @Adrian

                      Indeed. The cases in Thailand were the ones recognised early, while the case in Paris has only been found in retrospect within the past week, so for the purpose of my argument it is absolutely irrelevant.

                      Hence the first cases outside of China that were diagnosed and could have been sequenced by non-Chinese researchers were sometime in mid January, which doesn't change the timeline at all.

                      In reality the Chinese lab in Shanghai (apparently shut down since) probably did the right thing and published the sequence pretty much when they first got it in early January. But to then claim this was somehow virtuously ‘early’, when the damned virus had already gone global is kind of stretching it.

                      As for my sources, I’ve been open on this for months. I am close to a well connected Chinese family, who have been conveying all this and much more to me since mid January.

              • Treetop

                Do you know if the genome sequence has been checked independently?

                • Incognito

                  What do you mean? Samples from patients have been sequenced all around the world, including New Zealand. Unless the Chinese scientists share the original sample for independent sequencing, it is just a long sequence of four letters. The similarity between the published original sequence and subsequent patient samples is very high.

      • Gabby 3.1.4

        Well, do people outside this lab have contact with bats? Are you suggesting the virus came first?

      • bill 3.1.5

        Why not ask the French since it’s a joint French/Chinese research facility? Or do idiot levels of xenophobia simply not extend beyond Asian peoples to European ones?

        • joe90 3.1.5.1

          The US outsourced it's bat virus research to China, too.

          Newsweek recently put out some surprising reports that the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) had funded the controversial Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). The WIV is the level four research facility suspected by some of being a possible source for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has already been on record confirming and defending this funding, saying it was “to protect American people from labs that aren’t up to standard.”

          […]

          A third reason could be the fact that the United States has long held a fierce debate about the ethics and risks of gain-of-function (GOF) research. Critics, such as Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch, have argued that such work “entails a unique risk that a laboratory accident could spark a pandemic, killing millions.” These objections motivated the Obama administration to halt all domestic GOF research in 2011, a restriction that was later lifted in 2017, following the implementation of new safety protocols. Although we do not know exactly what went into the decision to fund the WIV during this moratorium, it is likely that domestic restrictions may have played a role, forcing the proponents of such work to seek opportunities abroad. These proponents are of the opinion that GOF research is worth the risk, being the best way to understand, prevent, and treat pandemics, an argument that is not without merit

          https://thediplomat.com/2020/05/why-would-the-us-have-funded-the-controversial-wuhan-lab/

          https://asiatimes.com/2020/04/why-us-outsourced-bat-virus-research-to-wuhan/

        • RedLogix 3.1.5.2

          The French were involved in designing and building the WIV facility but not operating it.

          As for the 'idiot levels of xenophobia' my Chinese friends would like to explain that not all Chinese think the CCP is wonderful. They find the idea that they all think exactly alike a little bit patronising.

      • Ad 3.1.6

        Thank God Australia is breaking through all thise po-faced Chinese "you can't criticise us" crap.

        New Zealand is reportedly among 62 nations that have come together to back Australia's call for an independent inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

        The Australian newspaper reported that it had obtained a draft resolution to be put to the World Health Assembly on Tuesday which was backed by key nations including India, Japan, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Indonesia, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, and all 27 EU member states.

        It demands World Health Organisation director-general Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus "initiate at the earliest appropriate moment … a stepwise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation" of the international response to the pandemic, the actions of the WHO and its timeline of the pandemic.

        • RedLogix 3.1.6.1

          Yes my perspective here is probably coloured not just by my close contacts with Chinese locally, but because I'm reading a lot more Australian media than many people here.

          One thing that is quite remarkable is this CCP 'wolf warrior' diplomacy the CCP let loose in April, and just how many nations they have gone out of their way to pick a fight with in just the past six weeks. Here in Australia alone they have shutdown imports from four major abbatoirs on transparently bogus 'technical' grounds, are in the process of an absurd 80% tariff on barley (apparently due to govt subsidises), have threatened to go to Brazil for iron ore and beef, and are now hinting that Chinese will not 'want' to visit Australia nor send their children to University here.

          And Australia is by no means the only nation being threatened like this, the list is growing almost daily. Even NZ has gotten the treatment over Winston's proposal that Taiwan should be recognised by WHO.

          Much of this will turn out to be bluster, but then last week when Trump mused about 'shutting down the entire relationship with China', official state media reported senior CCP officials saying that if that happened then there would be no restraint stopping them from a military invasion of Taiwan.

          None of this strikes me as a China acting from a position of strength and confidence. The theory most plausible at the moment is the CCP is striving hard to inflame domestic nationalistic passions that can be directed toward internal repression, and maintenance of political control in the one party state.

    • Dennis Frank 3.2

      "The embassy in Canberra declined to comment on a report in the Nine newspapers on Thursday of suspicions within senior ranks of the government and the intelligence community about a staffer’s possible role."

      Blame a junior staffer has become popular of late. Usually interns or on short-term contracts, thus expendable. Also privacy law means you can never name them. Keeps the theory conjectural – anonymity plus obfuscation covers up reliably.

      Rudd advises not drawing conclusions "until all the facts are on the table". Reminds us why he was such a spectacular failure as PM. Has anyone ever seen China put all the facts on the table about anything? Of course not. Nor the US, in recent memory.

      • francesca 3.2.1

        You're suggesting that the wish to have all facts on the table before accusing another nation of the most dire malevolent actions disqualifies him from public office?

        Jesus, no wonder we have politicians of such low calibre these days

        • Dennis Frank 3.2.1.1

          No, just pointing to the fact that wishing to have all the facts on the table (about anything) is merely wishful thinking. An intelligent person would realise that before making a fool of themselves in public, right?

          I fully support the democratic right of wishful thinkers to have political careers, of course. Likewise the mentally ill. Those who complain about Trump having no right to be doing his deranged thing are exhibiting their discrimination against mentally-challenged folk…

      • Gabby 3.2.2

        Rudd didn't ask himself, what would the Generalissimo have done? An horrible herror.

    • Anne 3.3

      Thanks for the links francesca. To me the topic is summed up nicely at the end of the first link:

      “It’s puzzling to me, there is a perfectly natural or scientific explanation staring you in the face. But there seems to be a need from some people to say ‘that’s too simple, there must be a conspiracy here’.”

      It not just simplicity. It's politics – as opposed to a well researched scientific explanation which is not yet complete.

      A handful of leaders have good cause to introduce conspiracy theories despite the fact there is no evidential backing for them. Leading the charge is Trump. That tells me it is designed to cover his own appalling record of narcissism, arrogance, incompetence, stupidity and incoherence reminiscent of a two year old having a tantrum.

      • RedLogix 3.3.1

        Leading the charge is Trump. That tells me it is designed to cover his own appalling record of narcissism, arrogance, incompetence, stupidity and incoherence reminiscent of a two year old having a tantrum.

        Which is all true of Trump.

        But this does not speak to anything that happened in Wuhan or the subsequent actions of the CCP to close down any investigation. Trump's stupidity and incoherence does not erase the known perfidy of the CCP.

        And besides the work being done by many people trying to independently understand the origin of SARS-COV-2 was underway months before Trump got onto the bandwagon.

        • Anne 3.3.1.1

          No, it does not speak to what happened in Wuhan, but Trump is the one spreading the conspiracies (together with his influential supporters in the media and elsewhere) and he isn't doing so out of genuine concern to trace the origin of the virus.

          We don't yet know the truth of what happened in Wuhan but I'll wager a bet it was never part of the sinister conspiracy Trump and co. are trying to generate in an attempt to detract from his miserable performance.
          One theory I heard sometime back which has a grain of plausibility:

          this research centre in Wuhan might have been offloading some of its ' specimens' to the wet markets once they no longer had any use for them. Now, if that proved to be the case, it wouldn't surprise me if China is trying to keep it under wraps.

          I'll wager a bet any country including America would do the same thing under the same circumstances. That's not a conspiracy though. It's a guilty conscience that the local Chinese authorities took their eyes off the ball.

          • RedLogix 3.3.1.1.1

            There are a whole range of possibilities; everything from an engineered bio-weapon through to naturally occurring mutation, with a LOT of possibilities in between. At this point in time I'm willing to accept they're all in play, no-one has conclusively ruled anything in or out.

            But right from the outset the CCP has been acting as if they had something to hide. Sure there has been cooperation and apparent transparency where it aligns with their self-serving narrative, but no rigorous independent outside scrutiny by a trusted authority. Every week that has gone by has reduced the chance of anyone ever finding out the truth of this matter, and over time the CCP can probably count of people not caring enough to insist.

            Maybe Stalin was right when he said "the death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions a statistic".

            • McFlock 3.3.1.1.1.1

              How does the Chinese government behaviour differ from that of any other nation that has hidden the extent of its problem, gamed the data or testing to keep apparent numbers low, or simply claimed to have a minimal problem while its all-cause mortality rate seems to have gone through the roof?

              • RedLogix

                If the first outbreak had been in Auckland, our govt had badly mishandled it so that it got loose in the world, and then refused to engage with any independent accountability … would you be making the same excuse?

                Or do special rules apply to the CCP?

                • McFlock

                  It was a pretty simple question.

                  Asking for comparisons to the behaviour of countries like the US or Russia is quite the opposite of making excuses and a double standard for China.

                  Was it the question you objected to, or was it merely the answer that initially came to your mind?

  4. Muttonbird 4

    Will Star Wars be coming to New Zealand? Sounds far fetched but there is increasing speculation (not just this entertainment article) that our government's response could reap big rewards with the risk averse international film industry.

    Apparently, the NZ guilds and safety industry worked very hard to get their work protocol document signed off by Work Safe. A government sanctioned system in a one state country looks very attractive to both producers and cast alike.

    Capacity is an issue though.

    • I Feel Love 4.1

      They made those prequels in Aus, so why not. I just wish our big flash directors made NZ movies again, instead of easy cash cows.

      • Adrian 4.1.1

        Jojo rabbit was a NZ movie, Nelson author and huge number of Kiwis fought to stop the stupidity.

        • I Feel Love 4.1.1.1

          Wasn't a NZ story, which is what I meant. I also thought JoJo Rabbit was shite, had some laughs, but pretty Carry On really (yet I loved Thor Ragnarok so I'm not total kill joy). Looking forward to the Luminaries tonight.

  5. Bruce 5

    An idea moving forward . Move to a 4 on 4 off working week. Business open 7 days spreads the congestion over 7 days ,rather than 5 full on 2 less so. Increased employment opportunities And 4 day weekends will encourage more getaways to enhance local tourism. Work and life would be in balance.

  6. Adrian 6

    My statistician son has filled me in on a very comprehensive survey of the pandemic in Spain. Out of 230,000 cases and 29,000 deaths it leaves a mortality rate of 1.15%, almost exactly the same as NZs.

    But the key finding was that only 5% of the Spanish population were exposed to it which shoots down the whole "herd immunity" bullshit, unless you are happy to let it run wild and kill 1.15% of your population which in our case would be about 54,000 dead.

    So the projections that Jacinda and co were presented with were pretty accurate, so thank you very much to the Labour Government and the brilliant advisory team for keeping us safe and saving us all of the anguish and grieving.

    • Barfly 6.1

      "Out of 230,000 cases and 29,000 deaths it leaves a mortality rate of 1.15%, almost exactly the same as NZs."

      That's 12.6% by my calculator

      • Adrian 6.1.1

        Of the population, sorry should have clearer.

        • satty 6.1.1.1

          Spain's population is somewhere around 46 to 47 million and 29,000 deaths (worldometers.info has it 27,500 at the moment) I can't see how you got the mortality rate of 1.15%… that would mean somewhere around 500,000 deaths.

          My guess is someone used the 5% of exposed population in Spain, so around 2,3 million and 29,000 deaths. How do you precisely determine the “exposed population”?

          For me doing forward estimates the mortality is the number of know COVID19 related deaths by the number of known COVID19 cases. And therefore the number is for many countries closer to 10% than 1% (worldometer has a global average of 15%) and will probably reduce over time when the number cases will increase retrospectively (unknown asymptomatic cases at the moment, but known cases in the future, for example determined by blood-tests).

    • Drowsy M. Kram 6.2

      Not following your maths Adrian. 29,000 deaths / 230,000 infections = 12.6% 'mortality rate' for Spain, based on your numbers, so not sure where the "mortality rate of 1.15%" comes from. The apparent death rate in NZ is 21 deaths / 1,150 confirmed infections = 1.8%, or 1.4% if you include probable cases/infections.

      IMHO (and from my point of view) our government, public service health workers, and the NZ public in general have done an outstanding job of moderating the impact of Covid-19 on the health and welfare of NZers – long may that continue.

    • aj 6.3

      +1000 even with barfly’s correction

    • patricia 6.4

      Adrian plus 1000

  7. Dennis Frank 7

    Back in the day, people were obliged to read the Bible. If, like me, you had this brainwashing forced upon you, treat yourself to a fun literary nostalgia trip: https://www.pundit.co.nz/content/a-pandemic-parable

  8. Dennis Frank 8

    Oscar Kightley: "to some people, broadcaster and journalist Piers Morgan is the devil." Probably because they haven't noticed his lack of horns & forked tail.

    "You could hardly accuse Morgan of being a bleeding heart, liberal, SWJ, leftie socialist. He probably has more in common with Mike Hosking than, say, John Campbell. And yet even Morgan says that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has done a great job leading the country through the global Covid19 pandemic. Furthermore, Morgan wishes the UK had a leader like Ardern." https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/121535321/the-worlds-turned-upside-down-when-piers-morgan-praises-jacinda-ardern

    Well, there you go. Evidence of cross-over appeal established. Goldsmith will have to become heroic to prevail. I bet he doesn't know how.

    • Gabby 8.1

      Piers may have become less cunty because he can't threaten to sic his reporters on people he hates. Unlike the Generalissimo he doesn't have the apparatus of a fascist state backing him (officially).

  9. JanM 10

    Has anyone with a bit of knowledge on the matter got any idea of what is likely to happen with the NZME's attempt to take over Stuff, and what the implications are?

    It's giving me the willies!

  10. Dennis Frank 11

    Guerilla warfare by the 5G Liberation Front seems to be escalating. RNZ news at noon reported 17 tower attacks recently.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/300014192/fires-at-cell-phone-tower-power-box-in-south-auckland-investigated

  11. joe90 13

    Russia plays footsie with nazis, again.

    //

    On May 5, Allison, whose real name is being withheld for her safety, received a strange DM. It was from a woman she didn’t know, who informed her that she was on a disturbing website that was compiling information about white women in interracial relationships.

    When she went to the website, she found her name, photos, and social media handles under the label “traitors.”

    “It was weird, and strange, and creepy,” said Allison, 28. “I was thinking, ‘Who takes the time to do this?’”

    The website names, shames, and effectively promotes violence against interracial couples and families — and it’s been circulated in some of the darkest corners of the internet, including in neo-Nazi Discord servers and accelerationist Telegram channels.

    […]

    The website was created in April but was taken offline after their initial hosting provider cut ties with them. They then found a home with one of Russia’s largest domain registrars, R01. VICE News contacted R01 on Tuesday to ask whether the site violated their policies. An hour later, the site was taken offline, but as of Wednesday morning it was back up. Tatiana Agafonova, a spokesperson for R01, wrote in an email that the company would “diligently render its services to customers” unless a court rules otherwise or they’re contacted by law enforcement.

    https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/n7ww4w/white-supremacists-built-a-website-to-doxx-interracial-couples-and-its-going-to-be-hard-to-take-down

  12. observer 14

    There are always post-budget polls in NZ. This year?

    I wonder if Mediaworks have the cash. Otherwise it's just Colmar Brunton and TVNZ. And the fewer public polls there are, the more "private" polls get used to fill the gap (as we've seen with the UMR 29% story).

    Sun/Mon night, we'll find out. Save Our Simon!

    • Treetop 14.1

      I am sure that when a party is not doing well they would want polls being kept to a minimum months out from an election.

  13. Macro 15

    This is Trump's America…

    F**kin sick!

  14. Fireblade 16

    USA Covid-19 update. sad

    Cases: 1,507,773
    Deaths: 90,113

    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/

  15. Herodotus 17

    I am sure most (if not everyone) would support the wage subsidy that the govt implemented, a few less on the extension. Given the urgency of the situation at the time, I am pleasantly taken back by effectiveness of the response. BUT I hope that there is adequate follow up on those companies gaming the generosity of this country.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/opinion-analysis/121148182/coronavirus-wage-subsidy-biggest-money-scramble-nz-has-seen

    https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/business/restaurant-chain-good-group-makes-more-than-150-workers-redundant/

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/121500097/farmers-slammed-for-taking-covid19-wage-subsidies

  16. Fireblade 18

    Comedian Jim Carrey has a cough and a runny nose.

  17. Pat 19

    "Our form on this is deeply discouraging. We have already spent some $40b on Christchurch’s rebuild from its earthquakes – and the job’s far from complete. But all we’ve done is create a pleasant replica of a mid-20th century city. Not an exhilarating example of a 21st century city, with all the amenities, technology and liveability that would offer."

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2020/05/17/1173269/lets-buy-the-best

    a pleasant (badly built) replica at that…

    "If our businesses and government wonder how New Zealand could follow some of Vivid’s recommendations, they need look no further than The Green Covid Response written by Greenpeace New Zealand."

    Greenpeace…not the Greens

    "The worry is the coalition parties actually don’t know how to do that."

    • Ad 19.1

      Cheers to Rod Oram.

      He has the temerity to suggest this government should have future-focused ideals and form a plan that will deliver them.

  18. joe90 20

    Wilmes was Minister of Budget in the prior government when austerity measures were introduced.

    Prime minister Sophie Wilmès received a cold reception from staff at the Saint Peter hospital in Brussels yesterday on an official visit, when staff formed a reception committee and turned their backs on her ministerial car on arrival.

    […]

    The dialogue with the nursing staff and other front-line workers appeared slightly different on her arrival, however. As her car entered the Saint Peter hospital grounds and made its way to the entrance, a double row of health care workers lining the route ostentatiously turned their backs on her arrival, in what some observers described as a “guard of dishonour”.

    Representatives later explained that front-line workers were disappointed in the government’s handling of the crisis, and its approach to health care in general, including issues such as budget cuts, low salaries and staff shortages. They are also unhappy about the government’s attempts to recruit unqualified staff to provide support to nursing personnel, rather than pay for trained professionals.

    https://www.brusselstimes.com/all-news/belgium-all-news/112032/prime-minister-gets-a-chilly-reception-from-hospital-staff/

    • Ad 21.1

      Good read. Keen to see if that estimate upon which it's all based of 60% population infection to get to herd immunity holds up.

      This is the kind of analysis we need from similar academics for New Zealand.

        • Pat 21.1.1.1

          balance of trade seasonal…look at the long run data and you will see the pattern is (as yet) unchanged

          • KJT 21.1.1.1.1

            Yet to be seen I suppose. The current account is on that site also.

            Personally I don't think our, net! overseas earnings will be much affected.

            So many things balance out.

            • Pat 21.1.1.1.1.1

              from tourism at least it appears not to any great extent…there are still other areas that have a negative net impact….then there is likely commodity deflation to contend with.

              Hopefully much of that reduced activity will parallel property deflation.

              • KJT

                Land deflation would be a good thing to come out of this.

                Though we can already see the attempts, to get "high net worth immigrants" to keep the land speculation gravy train going.

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