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Open mike 17/05/2014

Written By: - Date published: 6:45 am, May 17th, 2014 - 153 comments
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openmike Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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Step up to the mike …

153 comments on “Open mike 17/05/2014”

  1. “..Will Marijuana Become the Next Sports Medicine?

    Some big-name athletes are calling for medical marijuana to replace dangerous and addictive prescription painkillers..”

    http://www.alternet.org/drugs/will-marijuana-become-next-sports-medicine

    • bad12 1.1

      Not in your lifetime Phillip…

      • captain hook 1.1.1

        thats right. you can grow your own marijuana but the manufacturers of opiate painkillers and other stuffed dreamed up in a laboratory are totally against anyone doing anything for themselves.
        and they are are all tories too.
        i.e. money grubbing bastards.

        • bad12 1.1.1.1

          Can’t disagree with you there, the question running through my mind as the ‘legal highs’ to ‘illegal highs’ saga played out the other week read something like ”this whole thing smacks of the usual suspects, all in each other pockets, getting a financial payoff for the initial ‘legal highs’ Legislation,

          Not an iota of proof to support such a question of course, just that nagging feeling of why would a bunch of reactionary red necks support such Legislation if not for the whiff of a financial payoff well hidden some place in the smoke and mirrors,

          The political will for looking at the Marijuana question is now of course set back by at least 20 years by the debacle surrounding legal highs and while i support outright Legalization i am pragmatic enough to not have this one issue sway where my votes will be going in September,

          Most smokers who also vote are probably of the same opinion and simply continue to use via the normal channels be that the tinny ‘house’ or ‘grow yer own’ we all do so knowing and having weighed up the risk,

          Have just sold off my 3 sets of 600’s and all the ancillary kit as i am not now a smoker of that particular substance i am as Slippery the PM would say ”quite relaxed ackshully” over the whole question of Legalization…

        • Murray Olsen 1.1.1.2

          You can also grow your own morphine. Good opium is 10% morphine, most of which is turned into codeine, which is much less effective as a painkiller but does have the financial advantage of being available over the counter. A lot of the other stuff, such as oxycodone, only seems to have a market on the basis that it’s not morphine.

          On the other hand, I have never personally noticed any analgesic effects from marijuana.

    • The Al1en 1.2

      ” “..Will Marijuana Become the Next Sports Medicine? ”

      Who’s to say? But for what it’s worth, back in the day when I indulged, and playing football or cricket game on my xbox, I knew I couldn’t have got through the rsi pins and needles in my thumbs without it.

      • Blue 1.2.1

        Xbox isn’t sport. It’s sitting down.

        • The Al1en 1.2.1.1

          And if zombie despatching were recognised by the Olympic committee, NZ would have a guaranteed gold medal in the bag, and all without the need for millions in sparc funding. Someone would have to stump up the $470.25 citizenship application fee, but apart from that, I’m ready to be left4dead for the pride of the nation.

          Earned my kill a witch with a single head shot award on expert the hard way. 😆

        • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.2

          It’s eye-hand coordination and using your brain. It’s actually quite exhausting just not in the same way that running around a field is. Get into the MMORPGs where you’re coordinating with 24 other people (And I’m not sure if I miss the old 40 man raids or not) and it can be very demanding.

      • lprent 1.2.2

        I’m not going to comment on your definition of “sport”…

        • The Al1en 1.2.2.1

          At the risk of having a Gosman type ruling in my honour, I’m a bit relieved. No one fears the big bold text of doom than I 🙂

          Not as in to it as these types http://www.majorleaguegaming.com/ but games do have a very competitive element. These days I’m old and slow, so shoot-em-ups are set to easy assists on. Unlike Mr .com, I’m not into call of duty, but I will admit to being a Halo die hard, Gordon Freeman and Glados’ nemesis. Portal 2 being my 12 year old daughters favourite, though the hunger games effect kicked in, and more recently an rpg fantasy thing with a female lead is top dog. Not on much, but hand eye co ordination is sharp as.

          If she played Fifa and a Cricket sim it’d be great, but a lot of the time she’s mostly adjusting her avatar’s outfit and accessories.

  2. Skinny 2

    If you want a cross section of views of the budget here is Edwards round up;
    http://m.nzherald.co.nz/editors-picks/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503539&objectid=11256288

    Now here is the bullshit contradiction that the media need to take Bill English to task over;
    http://i.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9664436/English-backs-boost-in-wages.                                                         

    In short remember back to January where Bill English & National spin merchants hatch the ‘rockstar economy’ phrase. Then English fronts the media with his own backslapping praise of how we have weathered the storm, and now it’s time for employers boost the workers pay packets.

     And now less than 4 months later he is in the media saying little, if any wage rises for public or state sector workers. Yesterday one of this group were protesting outside SkyCity after rejecting a insulting 0.5 pay rise offer. You would think Government workers could rightfully expect parity with MP’s who got 2.2 % late last year.

    I think all Unions representing Government worker need to fire up with a Nationwide campaign to expose to the public just why rolling strikes are about to occur. 

    How many of you here would hit the bricks in a mass protest against the elitist rogues screwing the masses down with their ruling class structure?  

    • Skinny 2.1

      This is the link to the news item I refer to above;
      http://www.3news.co.nz/Ministry-workers-call-for-wage-increase/tabid/1607/articleID/344558/Default.aspx

      National play a dodgy game of infuriating mainly unionised workers from these sectors. When the only bargaining tool workers have is their sweat and toil National are preempting industrial action so they can turn around and try justifying their harsh employment law changes. The problem for National is most non unionised workers directly benefit from wage rises achieved by union negotiated collective agreements. So expect Kiwi workers to jump aboard fighting the good fight in an effort to get a little slice of the pie. What these rich pricks in power want is a third term to drive the working class into the ground with slavery to NACT’s masters.

  3. “..Robert Reich: 10 Ways to Fix Inequality..

    A return to the Gilded Age is not inevitable.

    The former Labor Secretary’s prescription..”

    http://www.alternet.org/economy/robert-reich-10-ways-fix-inequality

    • ianmac 3.1

      It is funny phillip how nearly all of the fixes have been at least mentioned by politicians or commentators here in NZ. The responses from English/Key have been to rubbish that such problems exist let alone need fixing if they did.
      The collapse of democracy and of the economy and of society is imminent. Wonder why our top 1% retreat to gated communities?

      • phillip ure 3.1.1

        aye..!

        ..the wholesale denials/ignorings by this govt..and their refusal to even acknowledge the issues we face..

        ..ensures their places in the annals of infamy..

        ..history will not regard kindly this wholesale doing nothing..

        ..when they knew full well the problems..

        ..these inactions/doing everything wrong…

        ..will see this key administration – as one of the most reviled by future generations..

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1

          history will not regard kindly this wholesale doing nothing

          They’re not doing nothing. They’re rewarding the already rich for being rich and they’re doing it with our wealth. They won’t see what’s wrong because that would mean that they’d have to take our wealth back of the rich and that’s something that they won’t do.

  4. karol 4

    Give it back, Peter (and the government & NZ screen industries). Bring NZ/Aotearoa back home. Time to stop selling Kiwi culture and workers to Hollywood corporates.

    • Disraeli Gladstone 4.1

      As it’s actually said by Geoff Murphy, it’s not really Peter Jackson’s fault. Nor should he be obliged to create New Zealand-centric films. He’s a creative person. Forcing him to tackle areas he doesn’t want to do won’t work.

      I also don’t think it’s even much of Warner Brothers’ fault. They make films that they know will make money. A New Zealand-centric film won’t do that worldwide (as demonstrated by the fact that until coming to New Zealand, I hadn’t heard of any of those films listed in the articles).

      In Britain, we have Pinewood Studios (Warner Bros) creating big Hollywood flicks and we have the local film industry creating British-centric films, often a lot better for a lot smaller budget. Some of those films do well worldwide, some only in the UK. There’s a pretty supportive environment for both to flourish (somewhat poisoned with the Tories gutting of the UK Film Council).

      The real issue here once people get over the eye-catching headline of blaming it all on Jackson or Warner Bros, is that the government (the last two) have not tried to nurture a local film industry to exist alongside Hollywood. There should be a more attractive environment for local filmmakers to make local films while still also still having the big Hollywood films as well.

      It’s not time to stop Hollywood. It’s time to nurture New Zealand film.

      • karol 4.1.1

        Of course, there’s some room for both big international productions in NZ plus a strongly supported local produ tion industry. But Jackson has led the push for too much focus and givernment and tax payer support being given to the big Hollywood coporates, while not enough has been given to the local industries.

        You are mis-representing what I said by saying I want to stop Hollywood – without the extra bit I included. I said, it’s

        Time to stop selling Kiwi culture and workers to Hollywood corporates.

        There’s a difference.

        It’s not a great idea to compare the NZ screen industries with that of the UK. The UK has a much larger industry, that has been thriving for much longer, has more resources, and is on a bigger scale.

        Major productions like LOtR draws a major part of the resources and workers form the NZ industries, while also flying in a lot of overseas workers.

        The legislation that was put through at the request of Warners, and Jackson, skewed the industry in Hollywood’s favour and undermined the rights and conditions for NZ wokers in the industry.

        There has generally been too much cheerleading for Jackson, and not enough for the local screen industries. The NZ industries, because of their smallness of scale, need a lot of support and nurturing.

        • Disraeli Gladstone 4.1.1.1

          But, the second statement doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense. No one is actually selling Kiwi culture. That’s the problem. We’re making films in New Zealand but we’re not making films about New Zealand. That’s the issue.

          And selling Kiwi workers? Well, firstly, those workers have to work. So it’s all well and good to say that we should work more on local films, but until there’s a regime in place, those workers rely on the big Hollywood companies for their wages. If we were to tell Hollywood to bugger off before having spent some years nurturing the local industry, a lot of people will be in trouble and training would probably decrease since people would worry about not even having the chance of working on one of the big blockbusters for a wage.

          Secondly, we hear a fair bit about how the big Hollywood films don’t actually benefit a lot of New Zealand film workers because they fly in overseas workers. So, there’s clearly a section of the film industry that is ready for nurturing. As as the local film industry improves, more will people train in the area with the knowledge that they’re not plunging into debt with more chance of a job.

          Essentially, having a hit at Hollywood seems like a good idea and is popular because we all hate money-grabbing, corporate America. But it’s not the issue. And indeed, a retreat from Hollywood would probably hurt the New Zealand industry. Jackson and Hollywood are the boogeyman but they’re not the main problem.

          What is the issue is the disregard we have for New Zealand stories and culture being put on screen by the government. They see the New Zealand film industry as being Hollywood exports. It can be more than that: it can be Hollywood exports and local projects. It comes down to issues like public broadcasting, public funding, taxes, training and so on. That’s the issue that needs to be fixed first.

          • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1.1

            Viggo Mortensen: ‘the last two LOTR films were a mess’…risked going ‘straight to video’

            “They were in a lot of trouble, and Peter had spent a lot,” Mortensen told The Daily Telegraph. “Officially, he could say that he was finished in December 2000 – he’d shot all three films in the trilogy – but really the second and third ones were a mess.

            “It was very sloppy – it just wasn’t done at all. It needed massive reshoots, which we did, year after year. But he would have never been given the extra money to do those if the first one hadn’t been a huge success. The second and third ones would have been straight to video.”

            Mortensen went on to suggest that after “grittier” first film The Fellowship of the Ring, the trilogy became too reliant on CGI-heavy sequences and characters to the detriment of subtlety.

            http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/movies/news/a571238/viggo-mortensen-lord-of-the-rings-production-was-a-mess.html#~oEtf9KTQOsT9Wa

            • Disraeli Gladstone 4.1.1.1.1.1

              I have always been of the opinion that the best Lord of the Rings film was Fellowship, then Two Towers and then the Return of the King, which makes the Academy Awards somewhat a joke.

              Fellowship stayed closest to the book. Two Towers started to wobble but really highlighted the nature of Rohan that I suspect Tolkien would have enjoyed (and I definitely did, Theoden was masterfully portrayed). Return of the King became Jackson’s interpretation of Tolkien (which the Hobbit films have followed) and suffered for it.

              I don’t see the relevance to the discussion, though.

              • bad12

                i have always been of the opinion that the best Lord of the Rings film were the 3 of them that i didn’t watch having far better things to spend my meager income on than the absurd fantasies portrayed by the shoeless wanker who produces such rubbish…

                • Disraeli Gladstone

                  Fantasy is a very relevant genre when the writer is good (as Tolkien was). Indeed, fantasy can be a political genre. You only have to look as far as the magnificent and sadly departed Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his writings. Tolkien had a very strong strain of environmentalism in his works. Even Harry Potter is politically relevant.

                  The same is true of science-fiction. For instance, William Gibson’s works, or for a more contemporary point, Person of Interest is a great show watched through the lens of a world with the NSA, PRISM, GCSB, etc.

                  Only a fool disregards speculative fiction as “absurd fantasies”. Or indeed, judges a film that he apparently hasn’t watched…

                  • karol

                    I didn’t take bad’s comment to mean he dismisses all fantasy – just Jackson’s absurd versions of them.

                    • Disraeli Gladstone

                      Perhaps. The way the sentence reads, though, absurd fantasies “portrayed” by, rather than the absurd fantasies “of” Peter Jackson suggests a certain amount of distaste for the source material, as well. But it might have just been lost in translation.

                      I’d also say that you couldn’t really call Jackson’s versions “absurd” if you haven’t even watched them! I’d certainly call the Hobbit films absurd, though.

                    • karol

                      I was never able to get past the first few pages of the Tolkein LOtR or Hobbit books. The Jackson LOtR trilogy were a bit of a yawn for me – boyz-own stuff, with visual effects dominating.

                      That’s about all I remember of them. Haven’t watched the Hobbitt.

                    • tolkien was a pedestrian/muddy writer..

                      ..if you want ‘the good stuff’ of that style of writing..

                      ..go and read the gormenghast-trilogy..(by mervyn peake..)

                      ..and see how tolkien pales in comparison..

                      ..i tried reading l.o.r..

                      ..and ended up throwing it against the wall..

                      ..and would not recommend anyone waste time wading thru tolkien..

                    • Disraeli Gladstone

                      Both Peake and Tolkien are very acquired tastes. Both of them can get quite “muddy” to read. I think Tolkien’s work stand better not for the writing but for the mythology built. Indeed, I don’t think Peake and Tolkien are very comparable. They aim to do different things.

                      But I can see the frustration with Tolkien. Tolkien is far more of a linguistic, almost poetic process of reading, rather than the fantasy novel it is disguised as.

                    • i was steered to peake after expressing dismay about tolkien..

                      ..and shortly after throwing tolkien against the wall..

                      ..(but this was a while ago..tho’ i did have that close comparison..)

                      ..and i remember reading peake like a thirsty man drinking water..

                      ..dunno how i wd feel now tho’..

                      ..tolkien is a bit like chris trotter in full-flight..

                      ..never use one word..when you can use ten..

                      ..so so much puffery and padding…

                      ..so much pulling out and waving around of his ‘erudite’..

                    • Disraeli Gladstone

                      It’s the Old English flowing through. Anglo-Saxon poetry relied on kennings that quite literally is use more than one word to describe a one word thing. Blood becomes “wound-tears” or so on.

                  • bad12

                    Pfft Gallstone, the only relevant fantasy i see round here is at the Lotto counter in the supermarket, and being a realist to the core i do not indulge in that fantasy either…

            • karol 4.1.1.1.1.2

              That’ was an interesting revelation, because I have suspected for a while that was the case with how Jackson works – I had heard something previously from someone who once worked with Jackson, that led me to deduce that was the case – I had no real proof though. But it seemed to me that it was/maybe a source of dissatisfaction for at least one person who had worked with Jackson – ie that he doesn’t make the effort to get it right, or as near to right as possible, with the first efforts/takes. Big waster of time and energy.

              • Disraeli Gladstone

                I think at one point, the actors were getting daily rewrites pushed underneath their doors. That wouldn’t be the way I’d make a film!

          • karol 4.1.1.1.2

            Pter Jackson is promoted as an NZ icon in the selling of his Hollywood movies. Part of the deals with Warners was to use the promotion of the movies to promote NZ tourism – usually done as promoting NZ as Middle Earth.

            I agree with you to a point, that the whole “Middle Earth” promo is not actually NZ culture – Jackson is promoted according to some framing of the traditional Kiwi bloke – but largely false framing of NZ culture.

            These movies have been made for a while in NZ. They have provided a lot of upskilling and work. The opportunity has already been there for over a decade (2 decades, if you include the international TV series largely made in Auckland), for the nurturing of an independent NZ screen industry. But it wasn’t done. Once the movies/series stop being made, the industry starts to go into decline.

            International TV series made in NZ (largely Auckland) have actually been a more significant source of secure work and upskilling than the Jackson movies – mainly the Tapert productions, from Hercules to Spartacus, plus Power Rangers, etc.

            The biggest winners in NZ from Jackson productions has been the digital wing – Weta digital and visual effects (CGI) for screen productions and games. There long term value for movies and TV production and the other creative people working on them has been far weaker.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.2

        A New Zealand-centric film won’t do that worldwide (as demonstrated by the fact that until coming to New Zealand, I hadn’t heard of any of those films listed in the articles).

        What a load of bollocks.

        You hadn’t heard of them and so they hadn’t made money? pft. They actually did make money – here in NZ. And I’m pretty sure that Goodbye Pork Pie would have gone down well in the UK as well.

        There should be a more attractive environment for local filmmakers to make local films while still also still having the big Hollywood films as well.

        The big question is: Why are we nurturing Hollywood here? We don’t need to. They come in and pay the same taxes as everybody else. We get the small benefit of them having filmed here. If they don’t want to pay the same taxes, well, that’s their problem as wed still have our own film industry that would be marketed to the world.

        • Disraeli Gladstone 4.1.2.1

          “What a load of bollocks.

          You hadn’t heard of them and so they hadn’t made money? pft. They actually did make money – here in NZ.”

          That’s my point. They do make money in New Zealand. If they didn’t, we would struggle to have a local industry at all. The fact that they make money in New Zealand makes it easier to have this local industry.

          The comment you quoted and tried to misconstrue was that they didn’t make a great bag of money elsewhere in the world. Which they didn’t, really. That’s why multinational Hollywood companies aren’t making a bucket load of New Zealand stories into films. They want stories that can make money everywhere. Which is a shame because those stories need to be told, which is why we need to get the local industry kicking.

          “And I’m pretty sure that Goodbye Pork Pie would have gone down well in the UK as well.”

          It might. I don’t recall it at all. It definitely didn’t make a dent upon the cultural zeitgeist.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.1.2.1.1

            The comment you quoted and tried to misconstrue was that they didn’t make a great bag of money elsewhere in the world.

            But that comes down to another question: Were they marketed to the rest of the world or was it more of the ‘cultural cringe’ that NZ seems to have in fatal amounts?

            It might. I don’t recall it at all. It definitely didn’t make a dent upon the cultural zeitgeist.

            NZ has been referred to as More English than England so, no, it wouldn’t have made any major dents upon the “cultural zeitgeist” and my father, an English immigrant, thoroughly enjoyed it.

            And The Quiet Earth is getting good reviews from viewers in the USA now. Would it be a box office hit? Probably not but I figure it would do quite well.

            • Disraeli Gladstone 4.1.2.1.1.1

              A fair few former colonies and current dependencies are described as “more English than England”. New Zealand, Gibraltar, Falklands, it’s basically just a tag to try and connect to the motherland.

              But I do actually agree, that those films of that times were quite good. I just don’t think they had international pull.

              • Draco T Bastard

                The ratings on imdb.com would indicate that they do have international pull.

                • Disraeli Gladstone

                  Quality isn’t necessary an indication of international pull, unfortunately. There are so many great, local films across the globe that do not make it past their borders.

                  Meanwhile, the sample size of those imdb votes actually highlights how poorly known those NZ films are.

                  Goodbye Pork Pie has just under 700 votes. Utu has around 550.

                  In comparison, a 1998 straight-to-television film of Merlin (with Sam Neil) has over 15,000 votes.

                  Fellowship of the Ring has over 800,000 votes.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Meanwhile, the sample size of those imdb votes actually highlights how poorly known those NZ films are.

                    Which is the problem. This means we need to get the word out about them and new NZ films. Sure, those films don’t have a lot of votes on IMDB but they do have votes and they’re generally positive. Remember, those films are thirty years old – it’s unlikely that most people are even looking for them and have probably just chanced across them. One commenter on Goodbye Pork Pie said he Googled his name and that search came back with the film and so he watched and enjoyed it.

                    BTW, The Quiet Earth has some 17000 votes.

                    • Disraeli Gladstone

                      That’s quite impressive. Sci-fi films do lend themselves to becoming cult hits, though.

                      Still it does show the underlying possibility of some sleeper hits. True.

                    • karol

                      I was interested in the No Palce to Hide Snowden documents, there was a piece that said:

                      What’s the threat?

                      *Let’s be blunt – The Western world (especially the US) gained influence and made a lot of money via the drafting of earlier standards.
                      + The US was the major player in shaping today’s Internet. This resulted in pervasive exporting of American culture and technology. It also resulted in a lot of money being made by US entities.

                      There are now a lot of Kiwis who think US film and TV is where it’s at, and they don’t pay much attention to other countries. Similar in other countries re-many people’s awareness of NZ screen productions.

              • Murray Olsen

                Las Malvinas is more Welsh than Wales, what with all the sheep. Aotearoa is still quite English, not having suffered as much from Americanophile politicians as Australia until quite recently. I think that means in general that we can make better films than Australia, but Jackson no longer makes Kiwi films.

                As for Tolkien – I managed to read the first 100 pages of one of the books and nothing had happened. I gave up.

          • karol 4.1.2.1.2

            Actually, very few movies have made money solely out of the sales in NZ compared with the production costs. Just too small a market. That is a problem NZ has compared with countries like the UK.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.1.2.1.2.1

              Everybody always complains about the size of our market rather than looking for ways around it. WB didn’t shoot LOTR with the idea of only selling it in NZ or even only in the US. They planned, from the word go, to sell it worldwide. The NZ film industry needs to be doing the same thing.

              • karol

                Yes, trying to sell world wide is a necessity. But the Hollywood studios have long tried to dominate the international market. They appropriate anything that looks like competition – hence the Hollywood remakes of successful movies and TV programmes from other countries. It is also part of making Hollywood movies in other countries – inserting US culture and Hollywood values into local movie making in diverse coutnries.

                Looking beyond the US, and doing co-production deals with other countries is also a useful strategy.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  But the Hollywood studios have long tried to dominate the international market.

                  Quite aware of that as well but there must be ways to stop that dominance.

                  They appropriate anything that looks like competition – hence the Hollywood remakes of successful movies and TV programmes from other countries.

                  That’s why we have copyright laws.

                  It is also part of making Hollywood movies in other countries – inserting US culture and Hollywood values into local movie making in diverse coutnries.

                  Which would be another reason not to pay subsidies to foreign film makers.

                • Disraeli Gladstone

                  There’s a very interesting situation going on with grouping within European film companies. For instance, Working Title (UK) and StudioCanal (France) now do a lot of films together.

                  It’s definitely an approach to consider. I imagine New Zealand film companies working with Australia, British and Asian companions could have a decent go at things.

  5. Jenny 5

    Former US Military Leaders Warn about Climate Change

    All during the Vietnam war Senior and even esteemed “Former” or “Retired” US military leaders including retired generals regularly used to warn the public and their former colleagues of the futility and injustice of the war in Vietnam.

    That none had the guts to do so while they were still serving, even prosecuting that war somewhat discredited their message.

    Which saw them widely derided by the peace movement for their moral cowardice and ignored by everyone else.

    Though of course in the end they were proved right.

    So maybe it is time for us to take notice of this latest incarnation of missives from old non-serving military leaders warning us about the lack of action on climate change, especially as they have something to say about our public discourse on climate change.

    Swifter Combat Against Climate Change Required Per Former U.S Military Leaders

    the 16-man military team—including retired four-star Adm. Frank Lee “Skip” Bowman, former director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program; retired Gen. Charles “Chuck” Wald, former deputy commander of the United States European Command; and retired Gen. Gordon Sullivan, the 32nd chief of staff of the Army—concludes that its early fears about climate change were well-founded.

    The threats are worsening and the political discourse is discouraging….

    “We are dismayed that discussions of climate change have become so polarizing and have receded from the arena of informed public discourse and debate.”

    “The politics of absence” 2011

    “The politics of absence” 2014

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      That none had the guts to do so while they were still serving, even prosecuting that war somewhat discredited their message.

      Which saw them widely derided by the peace movement for their moral cowardice and ignored by everyone else.

      Military officers aren’t really concerned about what the peaceniks think of them. However the “derision” you spoke of led many thousands of injured and shell shocked Vietnam veterans – most of whom of course were just non-commissioned kids – being left to rot by their own society when they returned to the USA.

      In a more general sense, your expectation that military people should publicly speak up and out against any current war being prosecuted by the government they are sworn to serve is both unreasonable and unrealistic, unless you think that the precedent of senior military officeers actively campaigning against the instructions of a civilian elected government is a good thing.

      You saw what happened when Shinseki defied Rumsfeld and Cheney. It’s a career ending move because the establishment will not tolerate dissent or defiance.

    • Murray Olsen 5.2

      The US military is firmly convinced that climate change is real and are making all sorts of contingency plans. While the TeaBaggers in Washington talk rubbish, military planners have to deal with what is actually happening. Given their role, I suppose those still on duty don’t feel they can come out and make much noise about it.

      http://climateandsecurity.org/2012/04/27/u-s-department-of-defense-leading-climate-change-fight/

  6. felix 6

    Something stuck out of the budget speeches for me. It was John Key blurting out that Labour could do with stealing a few “decent ideas from the ACT party”.

    It stuck out because politicians don’t usually elevate other parties like this. Not even support parties, except in very special contexts, and this wasn’t one of those contexts. This was an off-the-cuff remark in a budget speech that would normally be strictly party-political, and officially Key is member of the National party.

    Off-the-cuff quips like that can be very revealing. It took me a while to remember when I’d seen Key expose himself like that before, and then it clicked. It was his “Fox News” bit. Remember?

    I’m paraphrasing but it’s pretty close, especially the last bit. He yelled at someone, in the house I think, that ‘Maybe they’d learn more if they watched Fox News instead of that lefty rubbish’.

    That was a really strange thing to say, especially for someone living in New Zealand. That one short sentence said more about his world view than all the carefully crafted CT lines could ever do. It told us that in John Key’s world of information there is Fox News and there is lefty rubbish. And presumably NZ news is all lefty rubbish, after all Key did tell the Americans he thought kiwis had a “socialist streak” that would prevent him doing some thing or other.

    Put it all together and he sounds like your average kiwiblog commenter: Fox News is the good info source, ACT has the decent ideas, kiwis are too socialist and the Slater boy is my mate.

    Yeah I know, he isn’t enacting a whole lot of hard-right policy all at once. But I don’t think it’s because he doesn’t want to. I think he just knows it wouldn’t be acceptable so he’s doing what he can get away with.

    Either that or he just becomes A LOT more right-wing when he’s drinking.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Even from young, Key likes to hang out and fit in with the “successful” crowd. So I don’t think that ACT and Fox News are necessarily his own core values, but they are certainly the core values of the “successful” crowd he has ingratiated himself with and essentially become part of.

      NB the most revealing thing IMO about the Fox News bit is that the power elite group he identifies himself are American-centric.

      • greywarbler 6.1.1

        CV you maker Key sound like John Mortimer’s upwardly mobile political character Leslie Titmuss. I think there are three books about his rise from the son of a workman to Tory pollie using all his wits to leverage himself up on the Establishment to higher places.

    • Disraeli Gladstone 6.2

      “Yeah I know, he isn’t enacting a whole lot of hard-right policy all at once. But I don’t think it’s because he doesn’t want to. I think he just knows it wouldn’t be acceptable so he’s doing what he can get away with.”

      Again, I say that Key doesn’t “want” to enact any policy at all. He just wants to be Prime Minister. It’s why he’s pragmatic. The only thing he cares about is winning elections and being popular so that when he retires he can ride off into the sunset as New Zealand’s greatest prime minister and go and throw his weight around the halls of America, Australia and Britain.

      • felix 6.2.1

        I think that’s his primary motivation, yes, but humans are far more complex than that.

        Why do you think he joined the National party at all?

        • Disraeli Gladstone 6.2.1.1

          Because the Prime Minister was only going to come from two parties and he couldn’t possibly run for Labour after working as a money trader.

          • felix 6.2.1.1.1

            Why not? If his ambition to reach the top job was really as one-dimensional as you insist then he would have simply stood for the party with the most upward trajectory.

            And if he really was as you suggest, an empty vessel devoid of ideology, he would have simply adopted and projected the values of that party as his own.

            But he didn’t, he stood for a party that was heading for a miserable failure because that was the party that most closely represented his value system AND had a chance of eventually delivering him to the top job.

      • Anne 6.2.2

        …Key doesn’t “want” to enact any policy at all. He just wants to be Prime Minister. It’s why he’s pragmatic. The only thing he cares about is winning elections and being popular so that when he retires he can ride off into the sunset as New Zealand’s greatest prime minister and go and throw his weight around the halls of America, Australia and Britain.

        In a nut shell, although I query the NZ’s greatest prime minister bit. That is a highly unlikely except for the demented, devoted disciples who traverse this site on a near daily basis. I don’t need to name names.

  7. amirite 7

    In an interview with Duncan garner yesterday, John Key hasn’t ruled out raising GST to neutralise the tax cuts he wants to hand out.
    Which was to be expected. Unfortunately the rich will not care at all, and the middle class stupids will just hear “tax cuts’ and nothing else, conveniently forgetting what happened last time – the rise in petrol taxes, the price of food and all living costs.
    So much for repaying the ballooning debt.

    • felix 7.1

      This needs to be sung from the rooftops, Labour.

      • amirite 7.1.1

        Surprisingly critical analysis of National’s economic polici from John Roughan in the Herald today, right on the spot:

        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11256372

        • bad12 7.1.1.1

          Yes, surprising from Roughman, a good piece of journalism pointing out there is only one reason that Slippery the Prime Minister would promise further tax cuts while the Government accounts are staggering around under a 60 billion dollar+ nett Government debt,

          That reason,???, Panic! Nationals private polling numbers taken on a weekly basis are on the slide, have been for some time, and, show no sign of the trend reversing…

        • RedLogix 7.1.1.2

          And a surprisingly uncritical analysis from that traitorous trout Fran O’Sullivan.

          She’s given up on aspiring to even making jonolist – and now just alternates between PR blow jobs for ACT and the Nats.

          • Anne 7.1.1.2.1

            Now, now RL. If Fran O’Sullivan is being a little traitorous to the right wing cause then we must resist temptation to call her a trout – at least for the time being. 😛

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.2

        This needs to be sung from the rooftops, Labour.

        Unfortunately no, National have already thought of that.

        “Not only did Labour introduce GST, Labour have always refused to roll back the GST increases to 12.5% and to 15.0%. Why? Because Labour know it is the fiscally responsible thing to do. David Cunliffe and David Parker have never before agreed to reduce the rate of GST. The only reason they are talking it up now is because they are playing irresponsible politics in an election year.”

        And that’s only one of many lines that Labour would face.

        • Lanthanide 7.1.2.1

          No, not really. National go into the campaign promising Tax Cuts, Cunliffe can reference this discussion about raising GST and Key can’t really respond, because these are future changes that would happen after the election. So there’s no GST rise to ‘reverse’ for Labour, just a rise that would never need to happen.

          • Colonial Viper 7.1.2.1.1

            Of course I get what you mean, but the clear implication of hypocrisy is there – by claiming that Labour has never rolled back a GST increase before, because they know it is the right thing for the country to put it up.

    • Lanthanide 7.2

      Interesting. I was picking that Key’s tax-cut bribe was going to be raising the threshold at which 30% tax cuts in from $48,000 to $50,000.

      This would result in an extra $250/year to those earning over $50k, squarely this “middle NZ” bracket he’s targeting. That’s a nice little bump in the back pocket – just over $20/month or $4.80 a week, but not something that would break the bank. This tax cut was actually passed into law by National shortly after they won the 2008 election, and was then reversed in their 2010 budget when they replaced it with the “fiscally neutral” tax cuts that also raised GST. So this means they already have some economic modelling to tell them how much it would cost.

      Or having just done the numbers there, raising it from $48k to $52k makes it $500 a year, which may be more politically palatable.

      But if they’re talking about raising GST again, then the tax cuts could once again be much larger than anyone sane would venture.

    • yeshe 7.3

      have a link for that please ?

  8. Chooky 8

    From Martyn Bradbury

    “If progressives in NZ want extra funding to combat inequality, the money has to come from somewhere. A Financial Transaction Tax forces those with the most to pay vast sums of revenue that can be ploughed into the social and economic infrastructure……

    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/05/16/hone-heke-financial-transaction-tax-now/

    • ianmac 8.1

      That was one of the 10 “.Robert Reich: 10 Ways to Fix Inequality” posted by phillip at No 3. But I imagine big business would tell Mr Key noway. It would cut into profits.

    • Colonial Viper 8.2

      If progressives in NZ want extra funding to combat inequality, the money has to come from somewhere.

      The Government can issue the money first and tax it back later as required.

      And to really fight inequality you have to do it at the source using a “pre-distribution” approach – by making far more democratic how profits from enterprises and assets are distributed in a community and how wages are set.

      • RedLogix 8.2.1

        Yes that was a point many people missed inThe Spirit Level – that different countries approached this issues in various ways and that using the tax mechanism was only one way to do it.

        The Japanese for instance traditionally approached it simply by not paying their executive class obscene salaries.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.2.1.1

          The Japanese for instance traditionally approached it simply by not paying their executive class obscene salaries.

          And still don’t and still get better management than US companies (Ha-Joon Chang, 23 things about capitalism).

  9. dv 9

    Can some one explain to me how the 300m “loan” to LTSA is a loan?

    The LTSA is expected to pay this back from future govt revenue.

    Thus the govt will give money to the LTSA for the LTSA to give it back.

    (Any GST in the payments?)

    • Kevin Welsh 9.1

      I think it then shows as an asset on the books. That way Bill gets his ghost surplus.

    • Lanthanide 9.2

      Effectively it’s deferred the funding into the future.

      Basically saying: you get to spend an extra $300m this year, but in a future year you will have $300m less.

      This isn’t actually a bad idea if the money will be used now to create additional benefits than could otherwise be realised with that same money. But of course the better approach would just be to can some of the Roads of Notional Significance that have C:B ratios of less than 1.

      • Colonial Viper 9.2.1

        Basically saying: you get to spend an extra $300m this year, but in a future year you will have $300m less.

        Which is what the US does – keep a rolling issue of Treasuries going to create new funds (out of thin air) as well as enabling the paying back of old borrowings (again using funds created out of thin air).

  10. on ‘the nation’..lisa owen quizzes english..

    ..and does a big fret for the ‘struggling’ middle-class..(‘only one o/s holiday this year darling..we must tighten our belts..!..why is this govt so cruel to us…?’..)

    ..and not one question/mention of those who are really ‘struggling’..

    ..our current affairs shows ‘care’ about the poorest/sickest..(adults and children..)..

    ..about as much as do most of our politicians..

    • update:..i may have to eat my words..the nation is promising to focus on inequality next wk..with an interview with spirit-level author..

      .i’m looking forward to it…

      • greywarbler 10.1.1

        I looked up the library copy of The Spirit Level and its not available till October. So it is getting a lot of interest apparently.

  11. bad12 11

    From Stuff.co.nz, a very interesting poll on the budget and a definite indicator as to why Slippery the Prime Minister starting yelling ”tax cuts tax cuts” even befor his Minister of Finance had finished delivering that budget to the Parliament,

    The numbers so far, only 619 had voted, so you wouldn’t hang your political career on the result, in the 3 ”like it” categories offered in this poll from ”gush” to ”ok” the Government scored a total of 47.5%,

    There are 2 categories for the opposition to vote in from ”yawn” to ”change the Government”, the result a combined 52.5% give this budget the thumbs down,

    Easy to see why the Slippery little Shyster we have as Prime Minister has gone over the top of His Finance Ministers head with early hints that He will offer the electorate another”tax switch”, a raising of GST while cutting taxes for the higher earners in our economy…

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      And they are a Tory bunch of voters on Stuff, which is why the result is even more surprising. Here’s hoping that the strategy of the Red Team isn’t to try and capture some of that soft right wing vote by becoming a shade of blue themselves, but by in fact offering a different narrative altogether.

      • newsense 11.1.1

        Also the possibility that a percentage of voters didn’t like it as it was too far to the left of what the Actoid faction of the Nats would like…

    • karol 11.2

      I can’t find that poll, but the poll with qualified choices between yes or no for Cunliffe’s criticism of the budget, has the yes vote ahead (ie for Cunliffe’s point)

      • bad12 11.2.1

        Sorry Karol, my linking is abysmal so i wont even try, it did appear and disappear on the Stuff.co site as i flicked between different stories and jumped from Stuff.co to the Dom-Post and the Christchurch Press,

        It could have been in either of those papers sites or apparent when i clicked on a political story on Stuff.co…

  12. karol 12

    Next week on The Nation, Sat TV3; on inequality looking at whether the left is correct (big inequality gap) or the right (no rise in inequality). They will also interview the Spirit Level authors. Great this is getting on the agenda of the MSM.

    My views are that the rising inequality gap in NZ is seen when comparing the income and wealth of the top 10% with that of the bottom 10%. Income inequality feeds into the longer term wealth inequalities, via asset ownership, property, etc.

    The US has a huge inequality gap and rising – more between the top 1% and the bottom 10-20%. The US wealthy elite, is also sucking money and resources out of countries like NZ – so the part of the top earners and hoarders of the inequality gap in NZ’s economy, is offshore, skewing the whole of NZ’s wealth and income sources downwards. I don’t know how easy it is to factor into data on NZ’s income and wealth inequalities.

  13. Clemgeopin 13

    I saw the interview with Cunliffe this morning on The Nation.

    It was one of the best Cunliffe interviews I have seen.

    The topics covered were the budget, immigration, housing issue and GCSB.

    • bad12 13.1

      We agree on something Clemgeopin, David Cunliffe’s budget speech i rated as good, the following speech by Slippery the Prime Minister i listened to with the thought running through my mind ”hope your stupid enough to start raving like that in the Television debates”,

      This mornings ‘the Nation’ interview definitely nailed by Cunliffe, relaxed, balanced, and, gently told Paddy Gower to shut it when the usual diversions were attempted by the Alfred E. Nuemann of television journalism,

      i rated that interview a 10 outta 10 for Cunliffe, top marks…

      • karol 13.1.1

        The interviews were very good as you say. I wasn’t so impressed by a lot of the Panels’ comments. They tendeed to support the line being run in the MSM that English’s budget was a vote winner and great for middle income Kiwis.

        Vance made some good comments on the drones issue and how it may impact negatively on Key.

        • karol 13.1.1.1

          NZ Herald now has an article on The Nation’s coverage of the drone issue.

          Scahill, author of Dirty Wars, was speaking on TV3’s The Nation programme about Kiwi Daryl Jones who was killed in a US predator drone strike last November alongside Australian Christopher Harvard and four other suspected al-Qaeda members.

          Scahill, who is in Auckland to speak at the Writers Festival, said he had studied the case.

          “There are real questions to which the New Zealand Government, the Australian government .. have provided the Americans with specific intel that could have led to the tracking and killing of their own citizens,” he said.

          “I’m not alleging that New Zealand did that. I’m saying that if you look at the top secret documents that the New Zealand Government has been provided by the United States it would be very difficult to believe that the New Zealand Government, if it had information about one of its citizens that the United States was tracking, that it wouldn’t share that information with the US government.”

          And john key must have known about the extent of the US drone assassinations, and the role of the GCSB in gathering intel for it:

          “The fact is that New Zealand, through signals intercepts, is directly involved with what is effectively an American assassination programme,” he said.

      • anker 13.1.2

        @bad12

        100+ for DC on the Nation this am. He looks like the PM already.

        Bill English, looking unconfident.

        Anyone noticed how tired and worn Key is looking lately? Something keeping he awake at night? Judith C and what she knows?

        • Clemgeopin 13.1.2.1

          [ Something keeping him awake at night?]

          [1] Stealing Labour’s ideas has shamefully demeaned National, Key and English.
          [2] Moving away from the right wing’s natural ideology for political expediency.
          [3] Numerous lies and misinformation, the present ones and the past ones.
          [4] GCSB’s possible involvement in illegal and unethical activities.
          [5] Things catching up : Judith Collins, Oravida, Corruption in high places, Dubious fund raising tactics, Cabinet Clubs, Cash for access, Polices favouring the elite and the powerful, Caucus displeasure, Internal leaks,
          [6] Shades of MSM revolt.
          [7] Labour party policies.
          [8] Cunliffe, Parker, Robertson, Norman, Winston.
          [9] Lass people getting fooled hook, line and sinker now.
          [10] KDC.

          Lots more insomnia inducing stuff. Add them on to the list.

          • Clemgeopin 13.1.2.1.1

            Oops,

            [9] Less people getting fooled hook, line and sinker now.

            • ianmac 13.1.2.1.1.1

              Probably, “Fewer people getting fooled…” (Pedantic?)

              • Lanthanide

                Yes, fewer.

                Less is for quantities that can be divided into small parts, such as liquids, kg weights of products and money. Fewer is for entire units that can’t be divided up further, such as people, cars, televisions, etc (eg fewer cars driving on a road).

          • blue leopard 13.1.2.1.2

            +100 Very very cool Clemgeopin 😎

      • Clemgeopin 13.1.3

        His budget speech I would rate at 8/10 [Made excellent points, but screamed a little too much at times]
        Key’s at 4/10 [Screamed rubbish most of the times]

        Today’s English interview 5/10 [Defended his policies as best as he could]
        Today’s Cunliffe interview 9/10 [Very competent performance]

        Cunliffe answered well with calmness, poise, clearly, intelligently and Prime ministerial like.

        He should do more of his interviews, statements and speeches like that. Less attacks on Key or National (not ignoring completely), but placing the emphasis more on the wisdom/fairness of the well thought out Labour’s policies and vision. His demeanor has to be confident, empathetic and humane without smugness or cockiness.

        • phillip ure 13.1.3.1

          “..Cunliffe answered well with calmness, poise, clear intelligently..”

          his media training seems to be working..

          ..he is less shouty/soap-boxy…

          ..seems more in the moment..less scripted..

          ..it’s all good..

    • Anne 13.2

      And did you note how respectful Gower was of Cunliffe this morning? He actually let him finish answering most questions. A sea change? Or maybe he was finally hauled over the coals for his previous disrespectful behaviour towards Cunliffe.

      Edit: although to be fair he wasn’t the only one.

      • Clemgeopin 13.2.1

        True. Although one can never take our ‘journalists’ for granted. The onus will always be on Cunliffe and other Labour leaders/spokesman to o their very best in an unflapping, implacable calm and intelligent manner. The audience are good and fair judges.

  14. Jrobin 14

    Yes agree Clemgeopin, he Is also benefitting from the fact that the media appear to have fallen out of love with Slippery, thanks Katie Bradford. Some great moments on the Nation when Lisa Owens really had Bill English squirming. Gst an obvious weakness for labour to hone in on not to mention spying and murder by drone. Great journalism they are doing their job at last!

    • Skinny 14.1

      Labour would be better to leave the mooting of a rise in GST by a third term National Government to the Greens & NZF.

      This is exactly why swing voters i’ve talked to are suspect about voting for National. Wage and salary earners get lumped with GST and the flow on costs, while those in the top quarter are able to skirt the full costs of GST through their business.

      I was sitting next to a lady on a plane yesterday, talking to her she was telling me that her State sector job is in the process of being restructured. So this is the consultation stage before being farmed out to one of Nationals expensive, ticket clipping mates, which shows what lies ahead.

      With ACT recently calling for further asset sales, this is to be the reality of a third term NACT Government. Key will just shrug his shoulders and say this is the reality of MMP ‘concessions that need to be made.’

      After being exposed of cronie capitalism with their murky political donations set up, there is now growing ‘trust issue’ that should be getting pumped out by all opposition party’s closing in on the election.

  15. bad12 15

    In local Wellington news that may well translate into far wider implications in September the NZTA has recieved what they say is an immense 1400 submissions concerning the proposed ‘link road’ from Tawa to Petone which on current plans will destroy what was once a peaceful Takapu Valley,

    Mr concerned, dare i use the ‘T’ word there, ‘the Hairdo’ Peter Dunne using the politics of the Two Faced has already met with residents in the area in an effort to ‘sensibly’ allay their fears over the proposed road,

    The 1400 submitters should have taken note of Dunne’s ”gush” after the reading of the budget that funding for ”major” roading projects in Wellington is still on track and vote accordingly,

    Accordingly would include NOT voting for Mr Two Faced to retain the Ohariu electorate in September because its obvious that despite all his ”concern” over the future of the Takapu Valley, Dunne once re-elected will literally bulldoze those concerns aside along with your property rights…

  16. blue leopard 16

    I think Michael Timmin’s article on The Daily Blog provides an excellent analysis of the budget and where to from here for the opposition parties.

    Some excerpts:

    The actions of this government speak to an arrogance and commensurate sense of entitlement. This is shared with our own economic elite and replicated across the western world through the tentacles of neo-liberalism – a failed economic experiment that holds on desperately through the continued corruption of political life and the imposed consent of the masses while entrenching inequality….

    …..What we have also seen is a relentless obsession with power, consistent with the neo-liberal doctrine. That doctrine is flexible, for it allows for a shift in ideology, so long as it is for the shortest time possible and results in a maintenance of power. This is particularly so in an election year. Power above principle, it would seem….

    ….We are left, then, with some unanswered questions. When we look at the content of the Budget, how does the Budget address the fundamental challenges we face?

    The whole article:
    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/05/17/crony-capitalism-and-voting-against-self-interest/

  17. bad12 17

    Just caught via RadioNZ National news befor i did a spot of weeding in the garden, a spokesperson for the Sallies?? i think saying there is trouble in the budget where a grandiose announcement that there would be 30 million of new spending for new NGO ‘social housing’ for the next 2 years,

    This was touted ”as on top of” the previous 130 or so million previously announced in last years budget which the spokesperson for the NGO’s pointed out has already been spent,

    Slippery the Prime Minister claimed the other day in His post budget speech that those clashing with police and security staff outside the venue ”probably didn’t even know what was in the budget”,

    Really??? ”stop the war on the poor” was the chant of those protesting the other day, ripping 20% of the poorest State tenants outta their homes and flicking those homes off to those with far more means while providing lip service and lies as the replacements is in my opinion just what the protesters at the PM’s speech were highlighting, a war on the poor…

  18. joe90 18

    Out of the pan and into the fire – corrupt nepotists replaced by authoritarian fasc**ts.

    .

    It’s easy to describe Modi to people who have never heard him speak, or read about his past. He is a depressingly familiar type. He is secretive; he is vindictive; he has creepily authoritarian tendencies (a woman in Gujarat was placed under surveillance by Modi for months in a controversy that somehow didn’t seem to register with voters); he ricochets between aggression and self-pity in a manner familiar to anyone who has heard nationalists of any stripe; and he is simply incapable of sounding broad-minded. During the 2002 Gujarat riots, hundreds of people (mostly Muslims) were killed in communal violence on Modi’s watch. (This is why he has been denied a United States visa for many years.) The extent of Modi’s role in spurring on the horrors has been extensively debated; suffice it to say that he once said his only regret about the mass murders was that he didn’t handle the media well enough.

    […]

    On a policy level, Modi’s has presided over strong economic growth in Gujarat, although his state has not done as well on various social development indicators. Still, the combination of corruption and inefficiency in the national government and within the Congress Party seems to have led many Indian voters to embrace the so-called “Gujarat Model.” (Texas, with its economic growth and lagging welfare indicators, is a very rough but not entirely inapt comparison.)

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117783/narendra-modis-election-and-future-india

    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/16/what-next-india-pankaj-mishra

    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/05/springtime-for-modi/

    • greywarbler 18.1

      I’m pleased to say there was a good analysis of the Indian elections this morning on RadioNZ.in Kim Hill’s morning.
      http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday

      Sekhar Bandyopadhyay: India elections ( 17′ 12″ )
      09:45 Director of the New Zealand India Research Institute, discussing the result of India’s five-week election process.

      Professor Sekhar Bandyopadhyay is the Director of the New Zealand India Research Institute and teaches Asian History at Victoria University of Wellington and is interested in the history of nationalism and caste in colonial and postcolonial India. He will discuss the result of the biggest democratic election in the world, in India.

    • Bill 18.2

      During the 2002 Gujarat riots, hundreds of people (mostly Muslims) were killed in communal violence on Modi’s watch

      That is far too kind! He’s been (and is) suspected of being very close to the arson attack on the train as well as stoking up the ensuing violence. Under this guy, India could prove to be a very dangerous and fucked place. I wonder if Mr P Goff is still sleeping easy in light of his responsibility for allowing India access to nuclear technology…sigh….he probably is.

    • Clemgeopin 18.3

      In the ‘guardian ‘ article, I found the following interesting and disturbing:

      His record as chief minister is predominantly distinguished by the transfer – through privatisation or outright gifts – of national resources to the country’s biggest corporations. His closest allies – India’s biggest businessmen – have accordingly enlisted their mainstream media outlets into the cult of Modi as decisive administrator; dissenting journalists have been removed or silenced.
      Mukesh Ambani’s 27-storey house in Mumbai. Mukesh Ambani’s 27-storey house in Mumbai. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

      Not long after India’s first full-scale pogrom in 2002, leading corporate bosses, ranging from the suave Ratan Tata to Mukesh Ambani, the owner of a 27-storey residence, began to pave Modi’s ascent to respectability and power. The stars of Bollywood fell (literally) at the feet of Modi. In recent months, liberal-minded columnists and journalists have joined their logrolling rightwing compatriots in certifying Modi as a “moderate” developmentalist. The Columbia University economist Jagdish Bhagwati, who insists that he intellectually fathered India’s economic reforms in 1991, and Gurcharan Das, author of India Unbound, have volunteered passionate exonerations of the man they consider India’s saviour.

      Bhagwati, once a fervent supporter of outgoing prime minister Manmohan Singh, has even publicly applied for an advisory position with Modi’s government. It may be because the nearly double-digit economic growth of recent years that Ivy League economists like him – India’s own version of Chile’s Chicago Boys and Russia’s Harvard Boys – instigated and championed turns out to have been based primarily on extraction of natural resources, cheap labour and foreign capital inflows rather than high productivity and innovation, or indeed the brick-and-mortar ventures that fuelled China’s rise as a manufacturing powerhouse. “The bulk of India’s aggregate growth,” the World Bank’s chief economist Kaushik Basu warns, “is occurring through a disproportionate rise in the incomes at the upper end of the income ladder.” Thus, it has left largely undisturbed the country’s shameful ratios – 43% of all Indian children below the age of five are undernourished, and 48% stunted; nearly half of Indian women of childbearing age are anaemic, and more than half of all Indians still defecate in the open.

  19. greywarbler 19

    Hi Bill. Good to see you. That Indian situation is about going for a supremacist religious party when the other one/s did not seem to be too good. The idea of having two few choices of big parties, can be as dangerous as numerous little ones all scrabbling for a useful well-funded powerful place in politics.
    The Hindus voted for the BJP Bharatiya Janata Party.
    Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bharatiya_Janata_Party

    The French vote in the right wing Le Pen party.
    These parties are impatient with social distress and economic barriers and slowdowns. There are going to be more of those.

  20. fisiani 20

    Out door knocking today and met someone who said he had “half a mind to vote Green” . I thought about saying “”apparently that’s all you need to vote Green” but said Do you want John Key as Prime Minister? He replied “Of course” It was then just a matter of less than a minute to get a commitment to Party Vote National.

    • Draco T Bastard 20.1

      Ah, so dim schmuck meets other dim schmuck and they agree that they should vote in psychopaths.

      • Chooky 20.1.1

        lol…oh dear…lol

        ….i think fisiani is telling fibs
        …or he lives in a dumb arse place like Epsom ?
        ..or maybe he just went door knocking at the local dementia or intellectually handicapped
        or preschool day care facility? ….sounds like the sort of tricky thing fisiani would do!

        …or shock horror!….John Key voters really are that DUMB!

    • Chooky 20.2

      QED!!!….Proof…John Key voters have half a brain!…fisiani has proved it!

    • Clemgeopin 20.3

      Shows how stupid and gullible these right wing voters are who will vote because of the cunning charm of Key without worrying about the nasty Nat’s nasty right wing nasty policies!

      A party of nuts and nincompoops!

  21. KMB 21

    Just highlights the DNA of a National voter as being a bunch of noncritical thinking,unsophisticated,dumbed down, simpletons!

  22. Jenny 22

    Chances are rising that climate change will kill you, or someone you know within the next 40 years.

    Coming to a town near you

    Hands up anyone here who has been in a city when a hurricane passed over it. Even in areas where these monstrous weather events can be expected to occurr, it is a truely terrifying and humbling experience. Where despite even the best preparations and early warnings, death and destruction always results.

    Typhoon Haiyan, November 2013

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19926725.200-strongest-tropical-cyclones-get-more-extreme.html

    Typhoon Haiyan, known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, which devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, on November 8, 2013.[1] It is the deadliest Philippine typhoonon record,[2] killing at least 6,268 people in that country alone.[3] Haiyan is also the strongest storm recorded at landfall, and unofficially the strongest typhoon ever recorded in terms of wind speed.[4] As of January 2014, bodies were still being found.[5]

    In cities or territories where there has been little, or no experience of hurricanes, it can be truely devastating. Storm shelters are rare, populations are unprepared, buildings are less resistant, and infrastructure more vulnerable, many deaths are caused by slips as usually stable hills, ridges and slopes succumb to the extremely high winds and rains. Storm surges and flooding, plus building collapse and flying debris, account for most other deaths. Sepsis from untreated wounds due to the devastation of health care delivery infrastructure is another

    Typhoon Bopha, December 2012

    Typhoon Bopha (international designation: 1224, JTWC designation: 26W, PAGASA designation: Pablo) was the strongest tropical cyclone to ever hit the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, making landfall as a Category 5 super typhoon with winds of 175 mph (280 km/h).[1] Bopha originated unusually close to the equator, becoming the second-most southerly Category 5 super typhoon, reaching a minimum latitude of 7.4°N on December 3, 2012. Only Typhoon Louise of 1964 came closer to the equator at this strength, at 7.3°N…..

    …..the JTWC noted [mistakenly], that Bopha was unable to intensify significantly due to its low latitude and correspondingly low Coriolis effect. Late on November 29, convection increased, aided by warm waters and low wind shear.[18] At 0000 UTC on November 30, the JMA upgraded Bopha to a severe tropical storm.[19] A few hours later, the JTWC upgraded the storm to a typhoon.

    Here is the LIST of all tropical cyclones that have existed between 5°N and 5°S of the equator.

    Tropical cyclones are very rare in this region due to a weak Coriolis effect, and only twenty known storms have formed since records began.

    The certainty is that your children or grandchildren will get experience this extreme weather phenomenon first hand without having to leave New Zealand.

  23. captain hook 23

    has john keys resigned yet?

  24. A VOTER 24

    Now that effing Fascist Key wants us to pay for his corporate rubbish by a tax on dumping electronic goods Get knotted you shit
    His corporate bastard mates who import this shit should pay for the dumping because of their planned obsolescence as part of their money go round If I could get away with it I would disable his hardware permanently and put it in a hot hole

    [lprent: Don’t threaten violence even in jest or veiled terms. It is both illegal and offensive to the moderators on this site. I seldom bother threatening before I ban. So consider this to be your only warning. Read the policy. ]

  25. Naki man 25

    A voter you are a very nasty twisted little shit for brains potty mouth

    • JanM 25.1

      He may not have expressed himself elegantly according to your lights but he does speak the truth, doesn’t he – do you have an equally valid opinion or are you just going to hurl personal abuse?

      • Colonial Viper 25.1.1

        Key may be many things but he is certainly NOT a fascist, and neither is the government he leads. Although some in his caucus have certain tendencies in that direction…we are better off as a nation not having these false extremist claims in our political discourse.

  26. Naki man 27

    So you think your electronic rubbish is somehow the PMs corporate rubbish, you are as stupid as A Voter. Threatening violence is not smart, some people need to grow up and stop blaming others for there own failings.

    • Colonial Viper 27.1

      The failings of a neoliberal economy and an individualistic, self centred society.

  27. Draco T Bastard 28

    This is why we need a CGT:

    Occupied by tenants – who Mr Trowbridge described as “artists and musicians” – property records show it was bought in March 2009 for $651,500.

    Mr Trowbridge said the property would be “pushing well over $1 million”. It will go to auction tomorrow.

    That would be in excess of $100k per year for doing nothing and paying no tax on it when they should be paying 33% for each of those ~$100k.

  28. Naki man 29

    CV I was replying to JanM

  29. Draco T Bastard 30

    Google Has Most of My Email Because It Has All of Yours

    I asked him why he would willingly give Google copies of all his email. Peter pointed out that if all of your friends use Gmail, Google has your email anyway. Any time I email somebody who uses Gmail — and anytime they email me — Google has that email.

    The numbers are higher than I imagined and reflect somewhat depressing news. They show how it’s complicated to think about privacy and autonomy for communication between parties. I’m not sure what to do except encourage others to consider, in the wake of the Snowden revelations and everything else, whether you really want Google to have all your email. And half of mine.

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