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Open mike 18/01/2020

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, January 18th, 2020 - 96 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

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 …

96 comments on “Open mike 18/01/2020 ”

  1. Andre 1

    Starr joins the Grab’em’fuhrer's impeachment defense team …

    oh, and other alleged sexual-predation-curious, alleged bribe-receptive, and ultra-partisan hacks sign up too …

    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/01/17/trump-impeachment-team-kenneth-starr-alan-dershowitz-100429

    • Macro 1.1

      🙄

      Unbelievable.

      Except in this case totally in line with current practice.

      • Dennis Frank 1.2.1

        Blech. In the interests of balance though, I'd rather the senate get the testimony of "President Zelensky himself, who has said numerous times that he felt no pressure from the United States whatsoever, and that there was never any “quid pro quo” tied to U.S. assistance." [Breitbart quote]

        I haven't seen the msm feature those statements from the Ukrainian pres – have you? If not, could be we have a teensy bit of antitrump bias creeping into our msm…

        • Andre 1.2.1.1

          First, that comment from Zelensky was indeed reported in a wide selection of msm. But it is fundamentally irrelevant to the issue at stake so its life in the news cycle was extremely short.

          Now, let me think; Zelensky had just suffered an attempted extortion, there is zero chance any Repugs will do anything to remove or rein in the extortionist (and a lot of evidence they will go out of their way to protect the extortionist), there remains an ongoing desperate need for any and all assistance that the extortionist still has the power to block, there's no domestic downside (and maybe even a small upside) to releasing short limited anodyne comments that could do a lot to get on the good side of the extortionist. What would you do?

          There's no shortage of witnesses that Ukraine was in fact aware of what was going on and felt pressured. This information came out after Zelensky's comments and clearly supersedes them.

          • Dennis Frank 1.2.1.1.1

            Doesn't seem irrelevant to me! Haven't the media been trying to create the impression that impeachment hinges on it?? If so, senators will want to go straight to the horse's mouth, to hear it from the horse.

            Zelensky, as a professional comedian, ought to be able to spice up the proceedings with entertainment. I'd be surprised if the top media CEOs and board chairs haven't been lobbying their local senator to make it happen.

            If his political survival as president requires Trump's support, the protection racket thingy is feasible, true. I'm agnostic about how much he needs help to keep Putin away.

            • Andre 1.2.1.1.1.1

              The core issue at stake is: is it OK for the president to withhold Congress approved and taxpayer funded aid to try to extort a foreign country into smearing a political opponent of the president?

              Whether or not that foreign country actually felt like they were being extorted (narrator voice: they actually felt extorted) is immaterial to the core issue of whether it is OK for the president to try to do the extortion.

              Zelensky may have been a comedian, but now he's the president of Ukraine. Apparently he has stepped up to the job and now feels the need to act in a way that promotes the interests of Ukraine as best he can, even if that means publicly uttering a minor fib, and not be an entertaining sideshow to another country's political problems.

              • Dennis Frank

                Well, I agree extortion is a moral issue. I suspect that the senate vote will pit those who see evidence of Trump doing it against those who don't. Perception vs reality. In reality, extortion must be proven to establish guilt. Proof is so damned subjective, eh? Opinions differ, so we go for majority rule, the traditional prescription.

                Trump's style of doing a deal runs along the lines of `you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours'. Traditional New York capitalism. Also, as it happens, how negotiations have been done in geopolitics since time immemorial. So the Dems think they can win by persuading the senators that Trump is somehow not doing what he did?? Or did something different to usual??

                Yeah, I know, it was getting dirt on Biden's son. Not a good look. Many would see that as the behaviour of a dirty, low-down schmuck. But illegal??

                • arkie

                  Quid pro quo ("something for something" in Latin[2]) is a Latin phrase used in English to mean an exchange of goods or services, in which one transfer is contingent upon the other; "a favor for a favor". Phrases with similar meanings include: "give and take", "tit for tat", "you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours", and "one hand washes the other".

                  The quid pro quo is for personal benefit, not for geopolitical reasons, that is the crime.

                • Andre

                  So you're running with the normalisation tactic? Ok then, which previous presidents tried to use the levers of their government office to extort foreign countries into acting against their political rivals?

                  There was Nixon, who secretly sabotaged Vietnam negotiations while he was still a candidate, but that was successfully covered up until long afterwards. Still, Nixon did it too! is a totes convincing argument.

                  There are persistent allegations about the Reagan campaign working to ensure the Iran hostages didn't get released before the election, but that particular story is yet to be convincingly proven.

                  But apart from those Hall of Infamy examples, geopolitical presidential games with withholding or dispensing aid are done to further the US national interest, not some petty personal political benefit of the president.

                  I really doubt there's any Dems in Congress that hold any hope of a conviction and removal. So that leaves two reasons for doing it: the political matter of demonstrating to the voting public how craven, corrupt, and unfit for office the current crop of Repug hacks really are in the hope of maybe tipping the balance on a few of them in November, and the simple good governance matter of if the outrageously blatant and over the line corruption that was actually done isn't enough to trigger impeachment, then what is? Where would the line be?

                  • Dennis Frank

                    I agree that one must fight a moral fight sometimes. Done that often enough myself in the past. I get why they feel the need – I'm just not confident that voters will get shifted across the line by it.

                    It's a gamble that it will make centrists look at Democrats as a positive alternative. I think centrists are reserving judgment until they see what the Dems are going to offer. Remember how lame they always become, so voters end up with Tweedledee & Tweedledum as their choice.

            • Andre 1.2.1.1.1.2

              Also, just a day or two ago, the Government Accountability Office concluded that the act of withholding the aid was illegal.

              The GAO, a nonpartisan congressional watchdog, said in a decision issued Thursday that the White House budget office violated the Impoundment Control Act, a 1974 law that limits the White House from withholding funds that Congress has appropriated.

              https://edition.cnn.com/2020/01/16/politics/gao-report-administration-violated-law-withholding-aid/index.html

              That the dayglo swampzilla added his personal touch of making it all about something that politically benefits him personally, with zero national interest justification, just compounds the wrongdoing.

              • joe90

                But repug crimes aren't crimes.

                • Andre

                  Indeed.

                • Andre

                  BTW, if anyone thinks there's anything to the accused-Epstein-associate-kiddy-fiddler Dershowitz's argument, here's some actual expert opinion on what "high crimes and misdemeanours" actually are:

                  https://www.lawfareblog.com/must-impeachable-offenses-be-violations-criminal-code

                  tl;dr; "High crimes and misdemeanours" are violations of the public trust committed by someone in high office. These are actions that aren't necessarily violations of some criminal statute, but are actions against the public interest that are made possible because of a high office and associated power an individual holds.

                  • Dennis Frank

                    Again, just a matter of perception though, leaving the judgement of such violations to a partisan group of senators. Your point about the GAO decision is worth noting. I expect Republican senators will respond by arguing that he didn't withhold the aid, he suspended it temporarily while trying to do the deal, but if the president lacks the power to do so according to the constitution then they'd be wrong. Perhaps we will see dueling constitutional lawyers…

                    • Andre

                      Article 1 Section 9 Clause 7 of the Constitution:

                      No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

                      It's long been a key principle of the way American government is structured that Congress holds "the power of the purse". That means Congress gets to choose what to spend money on and when to spend it. It was specifically intended as one of the checks on executive power.

                      The restriction on drawing money from the Treasury “was intended as a restriction upon the disbursing authority of the Executive department,” and “means simply that no money can be paid out of the Treasury unless it has been appropriated by an act of Congress.”2004 Congress may recognize and pay a claim of an equitable, moral, or honorary nature. When it directs a specific sum to be paid to a certain person, neither the Secretary of the Treasury nor any court has discretion to determine whether the person is entitled to receive it. …

                      https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution-conan/article-1/section-9/clause-7

                    • Andre

                      Here's Federalist 65 on the topic of impeachment:

                      A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself. The prosecution of them, for this reason, will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused. In many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.

                      The whole thing really needs to be read to get the sense of what it's about, not just that short excerpt.

                  • Dennis Frank

                    Thanks for those quotes Andre. It does look to me that Trump is in breach of the constitution, by interfering in the flow of money directed by congress.

                    I see Fed 65 acknowledges that partisan loyalty may prevail over perception of guilt, but offers no solution to that problem. My solution: make parties illegal. Okay, I'm not serious (and don't call me Shirley)… 😉

                    • Andre

                      Yeah. One side of the argument has facts, history, the constitution, law and principle on its side. The other side has bullshit, bluster, stonewalling, lies, and a spineless craven herd of suckups that adds up to a mathematical majority.

                      For this battle, there's no question about the outcome. How it affects the war is yet to be seen.

      • joe90 1.2.2

        He'll keep his pants on, too.

        Alan Dershowitz clarified his role on President Donald Trump’s legal defense team in an interview with Mediate founder Dan Abrams Friday, stating he is NOT a “full fledged” member of the impeachment defense.

        Dershowitz said on The Dan Abrams Show on SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel, that he will just provide an hourlong constitutional defense of the president before the Senate as Trump goes on trial next week.

        https://www.mediaite.com/election-2016/alan-dershowitz-distances-himself-from-trump-legal-team-im-not-really-part-of-it/

    • Macro 1.3

      Democrats Demand That Giuliani Be Trump’s Lawyer at Impeachment Trial

      WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Rudolph Giuliani’s offer to act as Donald J. Trump’s defense attorney at the President’s impeachment trial has received unanimous support from congressional Democrats, who are now demanding that he perform such a role.

      House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer told reporters on Tuesday that Giuliani’s participation as Trump’s lawyer during his Senate trial was, as far as they were concerned, “nonnegotiable.”

      “Rudy Giuliani has demonstrated over the past three years that he can represent the President as no one else can,” Pelosi said. “If he is not the President’s lawyer in the Senate, that would be a deal-breaker for me.”

      Concurring with Pelosi, Schumer added, “My Democratic colleagues in the Senate are prepared to pay Mr. Giuliani’s hourly fees, in cash, to make this thing happen.”

      Pelosi indicated that Democrats were now willing to back off their earlier demands for witnesses at the trial. “No witnesses,” she said. “Just Giuliani.”

      Appearing on Fox News, Giuliani said that he was “a little surprised” by the Democrats’ enthusiastic support, adding, “Nancy Pelosi even offered to drive me to work every morning, which I thought was really nice.”

      Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not answer reporters’ questions about a possible role for Giuliani in the impeachment trial, nor would he confirm reports that he had given the Senate’s security desk a photo of Giuliani with instructions to bar his entry.

  2. Jenny How to get there 2

    Adani must be stopped.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPUvbKAnVXQ

    • Jenny How to get there 2.1

      Adani must be stopped II

      Contrast the Australian Government's business as usual approach to the climate crisis to the government's of the Pacific.

      Fiji calls for urgent action on climate crisis as second cyclone hits in three weeks

      Kate Lyons

      @MsKateLyons

      Fri 17 Jan 2020

      The Fijian government has called for strong action on the climate crisis as the country is hit by its second cyclone in three weeks.

      Fiji opened evacuation centres, closed schools and urged businesses to close early as cyclone Tino barrelled towards Fiji’s second-largest island, Vanua Levu, on Friday…..

      ……The Fijian prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, who has been an outspoken leader on the climate crisis and was the president of COP23, the UN’s premier climate change body, retweeted Prasad’s tweet. He wrote for the Guardian earlier this month about the need for urgent action to combat the climate crisis as the impacts are felt across the region, including through cyclones in Fiji and bushfires in Australia.

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/17/fiji-calls-for-urgent-action-on-climate-crisis-as-second-cyclone-hits-in-three-weeks?fbclid=IwAR1ZKV1uU8fJWJ_ScF3OHF9S5cUy67ZchZCuvc1Ce1NC_sF8CF13NINFSPI

      • Jenny How to get there 2.1.1

        Adani must be stopped III

        The World’s Most Insane Energy Project Moves Ahead

        JEFF GOODELL Rolling Stone

        JUNE 14, 2019

        ……it may be the most insane energy project on the planet, and one that shows just how far supposedly civilized nations (and people) are from grasping what’s at stake in the climate crisis.

        The biggest myth associated with the Adani mine may be that continuing to mine and export coal is somehow vital to the Australian economy. It is not. As James Bradley points out, although coal accounts for almost 15 per cent of Australia’s exports, it contributes less than 1 percent of the Commonwealth government’s total revenue. And it’s not like the industry creates a lot of jobs, either. In 2018, it employed slightly fewer than 50,000 people. That’s less than 0.4 per cent of Australia’s total workforce, and, more importantly, it’s less that the 65,000 jobs created by tourism at the Great Barrier Reef…..

        https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/adani-mine-australia-climate-change-848315/?fbclid=IwAR3LADsIuKr0C6_8vjLSLskK8mtrwU51k5QnBm7VoDagftlbags8s0ym39A

    • Jenny How to get there 2.2

      Adani must be stopped IV

      Australia practices climate colonialism, ignores calls from the Pacific Island nations to stop opening new coal mines.

      Australia continues colonial dispossession of Australia's indigenous people to progress new coal mining.

      Queensland extinguishes native title over Indigenous land to make way for Adani coalmine

      Ben Doherty

      @bendohertycorro The Guardian

      Sat 31 Aug 2019

      The Queensland government has extinguished native title over 1,385 hectares of Wangan and Jagalingou country for the proposed Adani coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin – without any public announcement of the decision.

      The decision could see Wangan and Jagalingou protesters forcibly removed by police from their traditional lands, including lands used for ceremonies…..

      ……In a meeting with government officials Friday, seeking a halt on leases being issued for mine infrastructure, they learned the state government had instead granted Adani exclusive possession freehold title over large swathes of their lands on Thursday, including the area currently occupied for ceremonial purposes…..

      https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/aug/31/queensland-extinguishes-native-title-over-indigenous-land-to-make-way-for-adani-coalmine?fbclid=IwAR0pBQ080cQfA2bktBRS-Fwxiad30TgDN9D3AuNkP0UUyeDPKWLGSbYOGD0

    • Jenny How to get there 2.3

      Adani must be stopped V

      Open letter to Scott Morrison from bush fire victim.

      I lost my home in the South Coast bushfires. Here's what I'd like to say to the PM

      Dear Mr Morrison,

      Today I stand by the smouldering ruins of my beautiful home on the NSW South Coast. Since New Year's Day, climate change has suddenly become very personal for me…….

      ……You took no action when my Deputy Prime Minister called people like me a raving lunatic when we dared to link the bushfire emergency to climate change. By your silence you are complicit. May your God grant you the wisdom to understand that my rage at you and your predecessors is an entirely rational response to a set of present and oncoming unnatural disasters from which you have failed to protect me…..

      ……when you (and Labor) continue to promote the thermal coal industry, which is fanning the flames of intense suffering of humans and animals worldwide. Australian coal is out there in the world being burnt every day and night. Please Mr Morrison, if only for God's sake, join the dots…..

      …….I have been petitioning, emailing and calling you and your colleagues for over a decade to tell you that to stabilise our climate we have to leave Australian coal underground and unburnt. When I have tried to say that by carefully and compassionately winding back the coal industry we can be a shining example to other countries, you have ridiculed me and proudly paraded a lump of coal in Parliament…..

      …….You will not earn my respect until you and your colleagues dare to take the Australian public on a journey to transition away from thermal coal mining and exports. Tobacco farmers in the US transitioned away from their industry when the link between cigarettes and cancer become public. And when the link between asbestos and mesothelioma was understood, we left all known reserves in the ground. However, now that the link between the burning of coal and disastrous weather events is well established, both you and the opposition have thrown your support behind opening up the Galilee Basin, starting with the Adani mine……

      https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6580719/i-lost-my-home-in-the-south-coast-bushfires-heres-what-id-say-to-the-pm/?fbclid=IwAR2o9zIhv6FJG5kk9rTc8DG8kmG-KNWPoeUDZAqRBYNfJjgCTGC_zQvfpvY

  3. Dennis Frank 3

    UK Labour is now into selective recruiting: "In a joint article in the Daily Mirror, [Party chairman Ian Lavery and Jon Trickett, the shadow cabinet office minister] said: "Over the past few years Labour has become Western Europe’s largest political party and this is a welcome achievement. However our membership is now disproportionately one that voted to Remain in the referendum and drawn from the South, mainly from metropolitan areas and from the middle classes."

    "Our decision and policy-making is increasingly informed by the opinions and experiences of those groups. To win again the coalition of working and middle class people within our own party must be rebalanced. That is why we are calling for Labour supporters from working class backgrounds and from the North to join the party by January 20 and have their say in the upcoming leadership election." https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-leadership-election-corbyn-long-bailey-starmer-brexit-a9285821.html

    Too many remainers within!! Even though so many of them jumped ship to boost the LibDems, who were then deserted by voters. No wonder Corbyn was unable to sell Labour on a clear platform.

    So where's the remain vote going? This suggests it has been ahead of Brexit the past year, and leavers haven't been way ahead of remainers since 2012: https://whatukthinks.org/eu/questions/if-there-was-a-referendum-on-britains-membership-of-the-eu-how-would-you-vote-2/

    This one also suggests remainers are consistently ahead of leavers, although not by much: https://whatukthinks.org/eu/questions/if-a-second-eu-referendum-were-held-today-how-would-you-vote/

    This one suggests more think Brexit was a mistake than not, by plenty more than the margin of error: https://whatukthinks.org/eu/questions/in-highsight-do-you-think-britain-was-right-or-wrong-to-vote-to-leave-the-eu/

    This one shows that a week ago remain was still preferred over Brexit: https://whatukthinks.org/eu/questions/should-the-united-kingdom-remain-a-member-of-the-european-union-or-leave-the-european-union-asked-after-the-referendum/

    Seems to me the British electorate are deeply ambivalent, and remainers proved themselves totally inept at politics! In that sense, then, UK Labour are genuinely representative… 🙄

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    "By chance, in a bookshop in Beijing, I came across this wonderful book which outlined the whole system of political control and how to manage foreigners." – Canterbury University political science professor, Anne-Marie Brady

    "There's very few people worldwide who still research the Chinese Communist Party – its institutions and its policies," she says. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/118630157/christchurch-academic-in-global-demand-for-insight-into-chinas-influence

    "A fluent Mandarin speaker, Brady says the information is there to be found in the primary sources, the texts and speeches via which China's 80 million communist party communicate with each other. The Chinese pretty much assume foreigners won't be bothered reading it all, she says. And they are right. "I was frequently the only foreigner at the National Library in China because people thought, oh, it's only old ideology and nobody believes in it anyway.""

    "Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theory remains entrenched, Brady says. Control did get away from the CCP for a time. But under Xi, it has mandated that corporate bosses must be part of the state system. "Today, 75 per cent of the CEOs of all the major Chinese companies, and 100 per cent of the ICT companies, are party members. That means they're under party discipline, which is above international law and domestic law.""

    Giving a set of party rules more power than the law of the land and international law does seem vaguely Marxist-Leninist, eh? She mentions the adverse health consequences:

    "In a crunch, says Brady, they have to obey CCP instructions regardless of other considerations. For example, Fonterra's Chinese partner, Sanlu, kept quiet about melamine in its milk, a scandal that rebounded in New Zealand. "Their CEO had to follow party discipline above reporting to Fonterra.""

    ""I've had so many invitations to speak on my message. I've spoken to about 16 different governments in the last two years." It is all a bit unexpected for a West Auckland girl brought up in a state house. "I had one pair of shoes every year, one skirt every year. We were not well off," she says about her childhood."

    • Cinny 4.1

      Good article Dennis, thanks for sharing.

    • RedLogix 4.2

      Yes I read that one too Dennis. What I can say from direct personal experience is there are many ex-pat Chinese who are deeply disturbed at the direction Xi is taking China in the past few years … but self-censor for fear of the very personal consequences.

  5. Cinny 5

    It's a beautiful day out there. The Golden Bay A&P Show is on in Takaka today, well worth checking out if you are over that way. 🙂

  6. Dennis Frank 6

    Feeling the bern: https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/01/17/amid-raft-state-level-endorsements-sanders-leads-democrats-new-national-poll

    "On February 11, New Hampshire will be the second state to decide which Democratic candidate voters prefer to nominate on the 2020 ballot, and it will be the first to do so via primary… Sanders is leading the field in New Hampshire at 23 percent, followed by former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 18 percent, and former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren both at 14 percent." https://www.newsweek.com/bernie-sanders-new-hampshire-democrats-poll-1482782

    "The first Iowa survey was the one conducted by Ann Selzer and sponsored by The Des Moines Register and CNN. On Friday, it found Mr. Sanders with a three-point lead and 20 percent of the vote. Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg were at 17 percent and 16 percent. Joe Biden was in fourth, with 15 percent."

    "On Monday the other pollster, Monmouth, found Mr. Biden in first with 24 percent of the vote — nine points higher than in the Selzer poll. Mr. Sanders was in second, with 18 percent, while Mr. Buttigieg and Ms. Warren landed at 17 percent and 15 percent."

    "Either way, the race is close. Any of the four leading candidates could prevail, given the long history of late movement in Iowa caucus polling." https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/13/upshot/poll-2020-sanders-iowa.html

    "Sanders, when armed with momentum, may be more formidable than the Democratic establishment thinks. Seventy-one percent of Democrats view him favorably, a figure on par with Joe Biden’s approval rating. Moreover, per a recent Economist-YouGov poll, only 20 percent of Democratic primary voters would be disappointed if he were the nominee; Biden’s number was actually slightly worse at 24 percent. And more than half of Democrats think Sanders can beat Trump." https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/01/16/bernie-sanders-seemed-stuck-polls-that-may-be-about-change/

    • Cinny 6.1

      Bernie is the best choice, hands down. Also I really feel there's been too much bad press related to Biden because of the impeachment. If the Democrat's really want to win, Bernie is their only hope. Bernie v's trump, the debates would be out of this world.

      Bernie for the win, all day, every day 🙂

      • corodale 6.1.1

        The vast majority of GoldmanSachs emplyees are expecting another term of Trump, but when was the last time bankers got their way? Say what? But fair is fair, most folk would rather back Bernie then go to the Gulag. Hey, state by state, Virginia seems to be the one to watch.

        • Cinny 6.1.1.1

          My neighbour goes to the US regularly for work, he tells me that unfortunately middle america loves trump. He can't stand trump.

      • mosa 6.1.2

        Look the odds for Bernie are huge and he knows that but is convinced that after his progress in 2016 there is a real urgency being felt by many Americans that things must change and that the time is right too make that change.
        His fundraising efforts are amazing asking only small amounts of money doesnt matter when you have so many wanting to contribute to a fairer deal for themselves and their families and believing that the 99% together can beat the 1%
        He has been exceptional in conveying the evils of Neo liberal greed and corruption and how many American are missing out and being extorted by the system in place but they can change it by being organised too vote and that one person one vote resonates with a lot of the electorate.
        He has warned everyone that he will be under constant attack and that has already begun as after ignoring him in the media has not worked they will now go for the kill.
        The other strategy is his direct communication with the next generation of Americans who believe that things must change and that only progressive policies can deliver and reaching that audience has been a success since 2016 and the momentum has continued.
        This is not the UK and there is no BREXIT too muddy the waters here but there are huge obstacles that will need too be overcome but he is disciplined and on message and with his vast years of experience knows all the pitfalls and his enemies tactics they will use against him.
        The coming caucuses in Iowa on Feb 3rd are crucial and is where the work really begins.
        The momentum cannot be underestimated in the run up too the New Hampshire primary and that result will be crucial too every candidate as too whether they will surge or fall.
        Bernie is telling it like it really is and the reality is not lost on a lot of Americans when they look at how life can be better than it is now and the reasons why they are so disadvantaged.
        As he frequently reminds his audience ” real change never come from the top down but from the bottom up ”
        https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/us/elections/2020-presidential-election-calendar.html

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6x8Nwu4FTbc

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVxJQ6z8EBo

  7. mosa 7

    While we are discussing the upcoming electoral races this from the Washington Post about the consequences or not for electoral college members who ignore the popular vote.

    “With this petition, we are asking the Supreme Court to resolve a critical question that has gone strangely unanswered for two centuries: who are presidential electors, and can state officials force them to vote for certain presidential candidates?”

    Ten members of the electoral college attempted to freelance after the 2016 election between Clinton and President Trump. Five of the 58 presidential elections have been decided by smaller margins, most recently in 2000, when President George W. Bush defeated Democrat Al Gore by five electoral votes.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-will-hear-whether-states-may-punish-electoral-college-members-who-ignore-popular-vote-results/2020/01/17/ba02

    • Andre 7.1

      The Federalist Papers are a series of essays written by some of the authors of the Constitution explaining the reasoning behind the various clauses in the Constitution.

      Federalist 68 deals with the Electors:

      It was desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided. This end will be answered by committing the right of making it, not to any preestablished body, but to men chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular conjuncture.

      It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.

      It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so important an agency in the administration of the government as the President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an effectual security against this mischief. The choice of SEVERAL, to form an intermediate body of electors, will be much less apt to convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements, than the choice of ONE who was himself to be the final object of the public wishes. And as the electors, chosen in each State, are to assemble and vote in the State in which they are chosen, this detached and divided situation will expose them much less to heats and ferments, which might be communicated from them to the people, than if they were all to be convened at one time, in one place.

      • mosa 7.1.1

        Yes Federalist 68 is referred too in an article after the 2016 presidential vote as a number of electoral college members were under huge pressure not too support Trump

        The letters came from Washington state and from China, stuffed with copies of the U.S. Constitution or Alexander Hamilton’s writing in Federalist Paper No. 68, which states that the meeting of the electoral college “affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”

        I thought this opinion was interesting

        Norman Eisen, a former ambassador to the Czech Republic who has served as legal counsel to the Obama administration, began calling electors to explain that their job is not necessarily to certify the results but to have a reasonable discussion over whether the public made the right decision.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-last-shot-bid-thousands-urge-electoral-college-to-block-trump-at-monday-vote/2016/12/17/125fa84a-c327-11e6-8422-eac61c0ef74d_story

  8. joe90 8

    A thuggish oligarchy.

    There is no bottom.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-17/white-house-considers-changes-to-law-banning-overseas-bribes

    • Dennis Frank 8.1

      "The law is designed to prevent individuals and businesses in the U.S. from paying money or offering gifts to foreign officials as a way to win business overseas. Critics of the law complain that it puts U.S. businesses at a disadvantage in places where bribes are customary."

      You may be unable to see it from a business perspective, Joe. I'm not with Trump on this personally, but I will have a go at explaining where he's coming from.

      When in Rome, do as the Romans do. In leftist circles, signal virtue. In rightist circles, signal vice. So, to get a deal in a culture where vice is normal, go with the flow. You're at a competitive disadvantage if you don't. Fairness.

      Of course, what's wrong with this view of fairness is that the culture induces a race to the ethical bottom. I'd rather leaders were role models of ethical conduct.

  9. millsy 9

    Discovered the NZ Herald paywall hack this week: in the article URL replace the '.co.nz' with '.works.'.

    Happy free reading.

    • mosa 9.1

      Keeping in mind what you are skim reading is utter tripe with right wing sauce.

      • millsy 9.1.1

        But it is tripe that we don't have to pay for.

        • mosa 9.1.1.1

          Free is one of the most popular words in the english language.

          I hate tripe and would never eat it as a kid even when my mother tried to convince us it was fish.

          We knew better.

          Some love it and good on them.

          • Incognito 9.1.1.1.1

            It is also one of the worst understood and most dangerous words in the English language, IMFO.

    • alwyn 9.2

      It does indeed work.

      Unfortunately when you get to see the articles behind the paywall you discover that they really are just as much rubbish as the free ones. I am old enough to remember when the Herald had some decent content.

      Long, long, long ago though. Sigh.

    • Dennis Frank 9.3

      Doesn't work. I copied what you put between quotes, then inserted it as you specified exactly – I already had the article I wanted to read on-screen though.

      Are you instead suggesting that the method works if applied to a google page prior to clicking on the Herald. Tried that too, still didn't work:

      Cannot communicate securely with peer: no common encryption algorithm(s).

      Error code: SSL_ERROR_NO_CYPHER_OVERLAP

      Oh, I see that it worked for Alwyn. That must mean he’s meant to read the Herald but I’m not. Ok then…

      • millsy 9.3.2

        Dennis — what platform/OS/browser are you using?

        I am using Google Chrome on both Windows (PC) and Android (Smartphone).

        I clicked on the article, and then with my browser on the article, I remove the '.co.nz' and replace it with '.works'. Then I hit 'Enter" or 'Go' or whatever.

        It should work.

        If you are stuck, then go to http://nzherald.works – and follow the instructions.

        Courtesy of the NZ subreddit.

        • alwyn 9.3.2.1

          I just tried it with Microsoft Edge on Widows 10 and it works there. I had tried it previously with Chrome.

          I simply brought up the article with the nz.co ending, when I got the message I had to pay. Then I overwrote the .nz.co with .works hit enter and got the full story.

          Good one, although I feel just the slightest bit guilty. Not guilty enough to not use it occasionally though. Get thee behind me Satan.

    • Cinny 9.4

      Thanking you very much, that works yes laugh

      Have wanted to know if the sensational headlines for the premium articles reflect the actual stories. Now I can find out.

      For example…. https://www.nzherald.works/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12301398

    • pat 9.5

      that was fun while it lasted….seems theyve cut access

      • alwyn 9.5.1

        Yep. Doesn't work any more for me either. Well, now we know one site that the people working for the Herald read.

        No wonder their stories are so pathetic. The Standard as a source?

        • Incognito 9.5.1.1

          Alwyn, NZH staff only have access to your comments on this site as part of their company site license as only the best is good enough for them 😉

          • alwyn 9.5.1.1.1

            You mean that the Herald thinks my comments are the best thing on this site?

            Jesus, even the Herald staff can't really be that dumb ……. Can they?

            • Incognito 9.5.1.1.1.1

              There is no ghost in the machine and the Herald does not think as such.

              Quality is in the eye of the beholder or, in this case, of the one who writes the comment.

              • alwyn

                When you say the Herald does not think you are certainly correct, regardless of how you interpret the remark.

                On the other hand the people who work there certainly seem to think the The Herald has some intellectual attributes. In the headline to this article they appear to think that The Herald rather than it's staff can listen to people. I guess he must have held the paper up and yelled at it.

                "Huntly man Robert Strickland speaks to The New Zealand Herald about the house"

                https://www.nzherald.co.nz/national-video/news/video.cfm?c_id=1503075&gal_cid=1503075&gallery_id=208777

                I promise to not confer any such skills on The Standard though. I don't wish to get a spray on the matter from lprent. I am therefore entirely willing to take the viewpoint that The Standard is like the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz and certainly doesn't have a brain .

                There, how about that?

                Shame that we lost the ability to get an occasional glance across the pay-wall though isn't it? If Millsy finds another loophole I guess he will just have to keep it to himself rather than extending the knowledge to those of us who are ignorant of such matters.

                • Incognito

                  Lynn the TS Scarecrow, I like it, although he does have a brain and knows how to use it 😉

                  I don’t miss reading the NZH although I don’t know what I’m missing, of course. I did get vaccinated against FOMO.

                  • In Vino

                    I often go to the café alone, and consequently peruse the hard copy Herald. You are missing very little, Incognito, I can assure you. To my mind they often paywall the wrong articles, but that reflects only upon their general competence anyway.

                    • Incognito

                      Yes, that’s what others have been telling me too.

                    • weka

                      I'd read more of Kirsty Johnston and Simon Wilson if they weren't so often paywalled. Both are worth reading. No Heralds in my local cafes unfortunately.

                    • Sacha

                      I would gladly pay to read a handful of their writers including those two, or even story by story. I resent the very notion of subsidising Hosking's lifestyle.

                  • alwyn

                    Now, now. Be good. Otherwise you may get me into trouble with someone who doesn't read what I wrote with as much care as I wrote it. I was very careful to call The Standard itself the Scarecrow. Surely you can't believe that I could think, much less say, that Lynn was brainless? Me think such a thing? How could you suggest that?

                    I never did buy The Herald. Until about 3 years ago I got the Dompost but it got steadily thinner and less interesting. The final straw was when they stopped publishing a decent cryptic crossword. Every so often they try and persuade me to re-subscribe and I get it free for a month or 6 weeks. Then when they call me to cough up for the paper I tend to tell them I think I have been paying about what it is worth, ie nothing.

                    • In Vino

                      When the cryptic crossword is your main motive (as it is with me) you know that you are past your useful use-by date.

                    • Incognito

                      Don’t worry. Most people can distinguish between your and my words. But if you do get in trouble for things I said, I’ll put in a good word for you, I promise 😉

                      There are other sites and ways to keep up with the ‘real’ news.

  10. RedLogix 10

    Peter Zeihan on China and the USA. His view of the geopolitics is challenging and controversial … on some things he's clearly on the money, on others I get the sense he's glossing over some important details. But on the whole I find him uncomfortably informative more often than not.

    In particular he's very good on globalisation, the role the USA has played since WW2, how they are now retreating from this … and the turbulent prospect this creates.

  11. joe90 11

    Another pointless, petty act by a man obsessed with tearing down people more popular than he is.

  12. adam 12

    It's always about economics.

    And once again, those with money rig the game in their favour.

    https://publicintegrity.org/politics/trump-fec-campaign-election-quorum-pascrell

  13. Fireblade 13

    Iran's missile strike injured 11 U.S. soldiers and damaged assets. Trump threatened military retaliation, but did nothing.

    Iran is laughing at Trump's weakness, saying they slapped him in the face and he did not respond. Iran will be already be planning their next attack in the knowledge that Trump's threats are hollow.

    Meanwhile, Iran has increased uranium enrichment, primarily because Trump abandoned the Iran nuclear agreement and ordered the assassination of General Soleimani. Iran says future negotiation with the U.S. is now impossible. A nuclear expert on AlJazeera said Iran could now have a nuclear weapon within two years. What a mess.

  14. joe90 14

    heh

  15. Sabine 15

    i urge everyone to watch this from the beginning to the end.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0W7K8tYK-Y

  16. Cinny 16

    At 9.32 pm the best weekly media programme is on…. The Listening Post

    Here's the link if you're interested 🙂

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WisZM9CMlTo

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