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Open mike 18/09/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, September 18th, 2021 - 102 comments
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102 comments on “Open mike 18/09/2021 ”

  1. francesca 1


    The Pentagon acknowledged that a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan on Aug. 29 was a tragic mistake that killed 10 civilians, a military official said.

    Friday, September 17, 2021 3:04 PM EST

    The explosives the military claimed were loaded in the trunk of a white Toyota sedan struck by the drone’s Hellfire missile were most likely water bottles, and a secondary explosion in the courtyard in a densely populated Kabul neighborhood where that attack took place was probably a propane or gas tank, the official said.

    In short, the car posed no threat at all, investigators concluded

    There was no way the Pentagon could deny this, the target was well known as an aid worker

    • garibaldi 1.1

      No worries francesca- the guy sitting in front of his screen thousands of kms away doesn't give a damn about "collateral" damage when he presses the button. He is merely following orders. This is the wonderful America that we still seem to fawn over and do as they demand of us. Time to to have a truly independent foreign policy!! To hell with the American war machine.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 1.1.1

        In asymmetric warfare the word 'coward' seems less applicable to a suicide bomber than to a military drone operator firing a Hellfire missile, although both actions are repugnant. Cool name though, and a nice little earner for Lockheed Martin.

      • Molly 1.1.2

        Apparently the mental health of drone operators often goes rapidly downhill, they are tossed on the scrapheap and replaced.

        Ensure you keep some of that censure for the architects of these programmes, their disdain for human lives – on either side – is apparent.

        • alwyn

          "the mental health of drone operators"

          An interesting thought. Where did you see the evidence for this?

          • Molly

            Would've linked if I could recall, It may have been a link or follow on from watching testimony from the Winter Soldiers group regarding the Vietnam War, and then coming forward in time. It most likely was a video documentary, because I recall seeing one of operators give testimony on a stage to an audience, but I can't remember the name.

            I wish I had bookmarked it, but I remember being both surprised and not really, to discover that drone operators had quite a high burnout and suffered from PTSD. (Of course there are also the warhounds, but they are present in every deployment.)

            Duck duck go search brings up a lot of info from various perspectives.

            • McFlock

              yeah, an article I was reading a while ago was also talking about how their bosses piled on the pressure about saving lives, and treated them like shit over basic needs because "the guys in the field don't get that" (or something similar). And at that time there was little recognition for actual good work, like figuring out where there is a roadside bomb from scant indicators and warning the approaching convoy. I think they actually have a performance medal now (did that), rather than only a service ribbon (been there).

              Just another toxic workplace, with life and death as extra pressure.

    • Tiger Mountain 1.2

      “We give them money–but are they grateful?
      No, they're spiteful and they're hateful
      They don't respect us–so let's surprise them
      We'll drop the big one and pulverize them”
      Randy Newman Political Science

  2. Gezza 2

    Al Jazeera tv is showing a live press conference at the Pentagon with a General MacKenzie, who, after an extraordinary amount of military terms-laced verbiage setting out their drone observations that day, finally admitted that their rocketing of the white Corolla they mistakenly believed to contain a terrorist suicide bomber was “a tragic mistake”.

    Their investigations have established they killed 10 innocent people. They are “exploring the possibility of ex gratia payments to the family”.

    • Gezza 2.1

      Whoops – pipped at the post.

    • Cricklewood 2.2

      Didnt sound like their were any family left to make payments to… whata fucking shambles you'd have thought with Biden in charge the withdrawal would have been a bit more orderly I doubt Trump could have done worse.

      • Gezza 2.2.1

        It sounded like there was an extended family living in the house. They accidentally murdered a father, 7 children, & some brothers in law. Sounded like they were all in the street. Perhaps their wives and a few other family members were inside the house & have survived.

        Aljaz tv news keeps playing excerpts of McKenzie’s press conference speech where he offers his “full & sincere apology” and, as the Operational Commander, says he takes full responsibility for the decision to launch the missile.

        Not that that will be of any consolation to any surviving family members, their whanau, or friends & neighbours.

        About 90% of his prepared speech, & his answers to reporters’s questions, was about explaining the “intelligence” they had received about a white corolla threat to their troops defending the evacuation at Kabul airport, how many drones they had scanning cars on the ground for a total of 8 hours, what they saw & deduced from some of the people getting in & out of this car visiting suspected IS-sympathiser houses at various times.

        It was basically a plea for understanding speech to Americans, with the admission they were mistaken, & the apology dropped in virtually as an afterthought.

        They got caught out in this attack with the whole world looking on. They’ve been slaughtering innocents by mistaking what they see, or as “collateral damage” with drone attacks on actual militants for years in this neck of the woods and other places in Africa. The US & the world mainstream media haven’t shown any interest in reporting these constant blunders. There’s been thousands of cases now.

        • Gezza


          “How much is an Afghan life worth? That depends”


          This is all I can find on a quick google search – shows up in google list as dated 2017.

          Aljaz tv reports that even when the US Military does admit liability for killing innocents, they often don’t actually pay out the promised compensation because of claimed difficulty reaching the family “on the ground”. They cited some such cases of unpaid victims in Somalia.

    • Gezza 3.1

      Even if there’s a hint of personal animosity in there, Janet Wilson nails the National Party’s problem. The Old Guard ain’t the answer.

    • ianmac 3.2

      The current crop of Nat MPs are split between the far right religious and the few moderate. How can they meld together?

      Great column by Janet Wilson thanks Sanctuary.

      • Forget now 3.2.1

        I am less impressed by Wilson's opinion piece; ianmac, especially this last paragraph:

        National’s leaders are not fit-for-purpose in the way that John Key and Bill English were. How do I know? I worked with both for more than a decade, ahead of election debates and the Budget. Key walked softly and carried a big stick, while English’s big intellect was hidden behind his Southland drawl. Neither indulged in personal attacks and point-scoring for the sake of it.

        Which seems to be; either a misremembering of the previous government's personal attacks, or that Wilson was deliberately kept out of the Dirty Politics loop. I preferred Wednesday Spinoff interview; where she couldn't so much build a wall of her own words to block out the sight of inconvenient reality, but had to answer the questions put to her.

        It feels both like it can’t go on, but also that nothing will solve it. What’s your prognosis for the current situation?

        It will all come down to the appetite that the caucus has for where they sit in the polls. And I think the poll numbers will be the thing that will drive the change. The caucus described it as the nuclear option. So to get rid of the nuclear option, it’s going to take an equal and opposite force in its own way. And that would have to be a vote within caucus.

        Does the fact that caucus can’t physically assemble make that more difficult for them?

        That and the optics of being endlessly consumed with yourself at a time when your largest city, a third of your country, is in level four lockdown. The optics of that are very, very bad indeed. So they’re going to have to choose the right time.


    • Barfly 4.1

      Aukus…nah more like …. USukA

    • francesca 4.2

      Well now the Aussies have put back getting subs of any kind by another decade at least And no doubt they will be already obsolete by the time they arrive .The tomohawk missiles they will be armed with will also have been made obsolete by then. Russian hypersonic technology is ahead of the US.They may spend vastly less, but the money is targeted more efficiently than the private sector western arms corporations.

      And in 10 years will we still be at war with Eastasia?

      Meanwhile China will be spurred to forge on with its own weapons development to counter the latest threat.

      To the Australians a Kissinger quote

      Image result for Kissinger quotes about friends and enemies

      Henry Kissinger Quote: “To be an enemy of America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal.”

    • Janet 4.3

      ref excerpt from that article : “raises the strategic question of whether the ban on nuclear-powered (not armed) vessels should be allowed here. It is one thing to continue a ban on the Americans; it is another to effectively institute one on our closest ally.

      NO. A ban is a ban 100% and it wasn,t only on Americans.

      We could buy some of those submarines the French were to make for Australia – to help us defend our own land.

      We could introduce a period of compulsory military training for all our young people so that we can defend our shores. Even neutral Switzerland required all it’s young men to do 2 yrs of military training until quite recently – to be able to defend Switzerland had the need arose.

      • Gezza 4.3.1

        “In 2017, the Swedish government decided to reactivate military conscription, referencing increased threats to national security. Beginning in 2018, over 4,000 women AND men were called up for service. The conscripts were chosen from a pool of approximately 13,000 young people born in 1999 to serve for 12 months.” – Wikipedia
        … … …

        I recall reading that during WW2, in addition to having a standing army of well-trained conscripts who were called up, the Swiss military had also mined all the passess and tunnels their country is full of & had plans to blow them up with explosives to deny the German motorised forces invasion routes & mobility.

        Switzerland’s a comparatively small, land-locked country with topography that probably makes it comparatively easy to defend. With NZ’s small population & extensive coastline, I doubt conscripts could do much to put off a determined invader?

        • Janet

          Well what about we all learn a bit about "Home Guard" as well !

          • Gezza

            Are you maybe just having a leg-pull Janet? 😳

            I suspect NZ would be very easy to blockade these days, with the overfly intelligence capabilities a potential adversary like China would have.

            Not sure what satellites they’ve got up there, but the stunning successes of their ramped up space programme, & their steady pursuit of Western technological secrets suggests to me they’re probably already capable of quickly developing their own networks of advance spy satellites where they decide they need them.

            They’d likely also go hard out on cyber warfare, targeting what little online military systems capability we have as well as civilian infrastructure systems.

            I shouldn’t think they have any need to do this at the moment, though. With them being our biggest partner we’re trying to run a China-friendly independent foreign policy from Oz. We’re not any kind of a military or diplomatic threat.

  3. Stephen D 5


    The idea of a “Red Team” certainly has merit. Sounds similar to the group chaired by Sir David Skegg. Include a broader remit and bring in the social scientists.

    • Ad 5.1

      I posted on similar questions a few weeks back.

      Agree with the Red Team idea, but only so long as they have decisionmaking speed that matches the circumstances of further outbreaks and looming ethical decisions

    • Incognito 5.2

      I was expecting much more from this eminent and distinguished thought leader. He overlooked the obvious missing but critical piece, IMO, and I suspect it is because of his ‘paradigm blindness’ for want of a better description, i.e., a professional, intellectual, and possibly ideological blind spot. It is the same ‘weakness’ displayed by the likes of Professor Emeritus Des Gorman and the academics behind Plan B. But I don’t want to attack the messenger per se, so I point out the disconnect:

      These questions, which all have ethical and “social licence” dimensions, go hand in hand with the more obvious ones …

      He mentions “social licence” twice and “trust” four times.

      It is much more challenging to ‘open up’ than ‘close down’. In crisis and risk management, the concept of the ‘Red Team’ has emerged. Comprising a group of experienced and skilled people who have no responsibility for managing the crisis but have access to the same data as those who are, it can ask tough questions of the decision-makers, in real time. Given the complexities and the need to get beyond political point-scoring, trust could be enhanced for our ‘team of five million’ through using such a process. After all, we want our Government to continue to do the best job possible on all our behalf.

  4. Maurice 6

    The National Party does seem to be in terminal decline … let us be careful about its replacement though!

    • AB 6.1

      I doubt it's terminal – there's still a chink of 40% on the right (Nat 25, Act 15 roughly) and it's going to churn around till the Nats get a leader who doesn't expose their intrinsic awfulness to public view.

      • Gypsy 6.1.1

        It isn't. Labour came back from an equally dire period with little more than a change of leader and with only 37% of the popular vote. National have huge internal issues to resolve, but it's amazing what good leadership and unity can paper over.

  5. Jenny how to get there 7

    Kia ora Whanau

    What a gorgeous day it is here in Tamaki Makaurau

    To all my fellow Aucklanders on Level 4 lockdown.

    Drag all your teens away from their screens, put your masks on, place the toddlers in the stroller. lace up your loafers. Because today is that day to go for that obligatory walk in the sun, it would be a crime not to.

  6. Cricklewood 8

    Little this morning told Newshub Nation a possible mandate of vaccinations was under "active consideration".

    I really hope the govt doesnt go down this path, I've never protested in my life but a descion to mandate vaccines will do it. It shits on our Bill of Rights and would be a massive over reach into what is and should be a personal decision.

    • Andre 8.1

      What Bill of Rights right are you imagining might be shit upon with a vaccine mandate?

      The right to refuse medical treatment does not confer any rights to anything outside one's own skin. And I doubt Little is contemplating sending teams into people's homes to forcibly vaccination them.

      Meanwhile, actual Bill of Rights rights that are currently curtailed because of the threat of a nasty contagious vaccine reducible/preventable disease include:

      15: Manifestation of Religion and Belief

      16 Freedom of Peaceable Assembly

      17 Freedom of Association

      18 Freedom of Movement

      Notably, vaccination status is not one of the prohibited grounds of discrimination. AFAIK, that means anyone can go ahead and discriminate all they want on the basis of vaccination status and it's legit. Particularly when there's health and safety grounds for doing so.

      • Cricklewood 8.1.1

        Mandating it in a way that means you cant access basic services, schooling for example, earn a living etc is awfully close to forced vaccination.

        Its a step to far imo, yes people should get vaccinated and they are well protected from serious illness. Some people are anti vax etc thats life just like some people get pissed and kill people in cars…

        • Andre

          Those things aren't even close to forced vaccination.

          One can get their groceries delivered – plenty of people do. One can figure out how to earn a living from home – plenty of people do. One can home-school kids – plenty of people do.

          Meanwhile, everyone else at the supermarket, school, workplace etc should be able to expect that reasonable measures have been taken to keep them safe from willful disease spreaders.

          Vaccine mandates are a totally fair and reasonable measure to achieve that.

          • mauī

            Meanwhile, everyone else at the supermarket, school, workplace etc should be able to expect that reasonable measures have been taken to keep them safe from willful disease spreaders.

            What a load of twaddle… There's only expectation currently because people are scared. Pre-2020 there were barely any measures at all in these places to stop the spread of cold & flu.

            • Andre

              Cold and flu are far less dangerous than covid.

              We've already had court decisions handed down that health and safety grounds justify dismissing workers that refuse vaccination.

              "In our view, this decision licenses employers to adopt a No Jab, No Job policy," the Whitehead Group managing director added.

              He said the decision legally obligated Customs to protect the health and safety of all who interact with its business.


              Also, one of the very minor silver linings to come out of this may well be that people and workplaces and businesses become far more conscious of not transmitting colds and flus and other diseases. We've all had another week of sick leave already given to us for that.

              • Gypsy

                "Cold and flu are far less dangerous than covid."

                For now. But I wonder how long before it is just another respiratory disease that we learn to live with and manage.

                • Andre


                  It seems that at this moment in the pandemic, for the vaccinated, covid is sorta kinda in the same ballpark as flu. Serious enough to take some precautions against even if there weren't unvaccinateds to make things more dangerous.

                  So if I had to predict a future trajectory, I'd guess it will keep circulating at low levels among the vaccinated and hitting hard when it finds pockets of unvaccinated. That low level circulation and ongoing low level re-exposure might keep immunity up in the vaccinated and revovereds. Since it's rare for infants to get hit hard, and there is some evidence that maternal antibodies get passed along, maybe it won't even be considered worthwhile jabbing the youngest kids and they'll develop immunity through getting mildly infected while still very young.

                  It may well indeed end up like the other common human coronaviruses that cause some of our colds. But there's an awful lot of hurt to go through to get to that point. If indeed that's where it ends up.

                  But don't take my word for it. My record for predictions is craptacularly bad.

            • Incognito

              To be fair, this Covid-19 pandemic has taught us much about how we can minimise the negative impacts of other infectious diseases such as the flu. Despite the availability of effective and safe vaccines against the flu, often targeting three or more strains in one vaccine, hundreds of Kiwis died every year from the flu. This pandemic has opened a can of worms and it seems that some (!) sleepy dogs are now barking loudly to mandate Covid-19 vaccination for all Kiwis aged 12+, but possibly soon aged 5+. We live in interesting times.

            • Anne

              There's only expectation currently because people are scared.

              Too damn right they're scared. They don't want to catch Covid 19 and end up in hospital and perhaps die. They want the government and all establishments including supermarkets to take every possible precaution to protect the health and safety of the population.

              Pre-2020 there were barely any measures at all in these places to stop the spread of cold & flu.

              Your ignorance is profound. Still trying to equate ordinary colds and flu bugs with Covid 19. The hall mark of deniers (and nut-bars) the world over.

              And you’re wrong. Every year we all have the opportunity to get a flu vaccination which is extremely effective for most people.

              • Incognito

                And you’re wrong. Every year we all have the opportunity to get a flu vaccination which is extremely effective for most people.

                I think the point that mauī is trying to make is that despite the impact on health (and life!) no extra additional measures were put into place to combat those other well-known endemic infectious respiratory diseases beyond offering the choice of vaccination. If so, I think that is a solid point, IMO.

                • Anne

                  Imo, its a false equivalence because Covid 19 is far and away the most deadly virus the world has faced in a long time. The potential to kill many millions of people in a short space of time make it imperative that we use every measure available in order to save the lives of as many people as possible. Simple as that.

                  Yes, there have been global pandemics in the past and the best example in our time was the 1918 flu pandemic which did kill many millions of people. Unfortunately they did not have the ability to reduce the impact that we have today.

                  As far as most endemic respiratory illnesses are concerned, they do not kill people on a scale that Covid 19 is capable of doing – and is doing – and therein lies the obvious reason for the difference in the response.

                  • Gezza

                    I’m waiting to see if someone puts out a combined annual Covid+Influenza vaccination. From a quick Google search it seems Moderna, & possibly AstraZeneca, are looking into this.

                    Doesn’t seem that Pfizer is yet. Although something I saw indicated Pfizer may be looking into developing mRNA vaccines separately for influenzas.

                    • RedLogix

                      Got my my second AZ jab at a local pharmacy this afternoon. No queue, and all done inside 10 minutes. I noted that a flu shot was available, but I didn't think to ask if both could be done at the same time.

                      So far so good, although I do keep encountering people – like the lass who administered my shot, or our IT leader yesterday – who've needed to take time off work as a consequence.

                    • Gezza

                      @ RL

                      Here in NZ we were told to get our flu shots at least two weeks before our 1st Covid jab.

                      But I did note when checking out whether anyone was working on a combined Cov/Flu vax:

                      “Sept. 16, 2021 — When the CDC released its latest round of recommendations regarding seasonal flu vaccines, the agency made one notable update: Flu vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines can now be given simultaneously.

                      The guidance is a marked change from previous agency recommendations, which said that other vaccinations should not be administered within a 2-week window before or after the COVID-19 vaccine.”


        • Macro

          Some people are anti vax etc thats life just like some people get pissed and kill people in cars…


          You do realise that there is a law that bans people getting drunk and then hopping into their car and driving it. And there is another law that forbids people using a car to kill people.

          So what you have successfully argued is that it is quite possible to forbid people from attending a crowded environment and possibly spreading a dangerous virus if they refuse to be vaccinated.

      • Incognito 8.1.2

        Right to refuse to undergo medical treatment
        Everyone has the right to refuse to undergo any medical treatment.

        • Andre

          That right ends precisely at one's skin. It does not confer any rights about anything that happens outside one's own skin. Not housing, not work, not access to businesses or even public spaces. It doesn’t even confer the right to get medical treatment, only the right to refuse it.

          If the government were sending teams into people's homes to forcible vaccinate them, the right to refuse medical treatment would indeed be violated. But afaik, that's not on the table.

      • Andre 8.1.3

        Ooops, wrong link for prohibited grounds of discrimination. Here's the correct one:


        Since nobody called me on it, I kinda guess nobody followed the original link to see what it said in order to develop a counterargument.

    • Have you been vaccinated Crickle?

  7. Anker 9
    • When people aren’t vaccinated then it endangers others. It also puts our health professionals at risk and our health system under strain.
    • I don’t know about mandating vaccines though. Education is a betting option.
    • watching clips of people who were anti Vax fighting for their life. And urging people to get vaccinated could help. Also nurses telling them about the stress they are under due to covid. Even get them to sign a form saying they will forgo medical treatment if they get covid (although the latter is quite heavy handed but choices do have consequences
  8. Andre 10

    As far as I'm concerned, we owe it to our medical workers to do everything we can to limit the impact of covid on our medical system, consistent with maintaining other rights.

    So we don't end up doing this to our medical people when lockdowns are no longer palatable or politically sustainable and covid rips its way through our population:


  9. Gezza 11

    France said late Friday (local time) it was immediately recalling its ambassadors to the US and Australia after Australia scrapped a big French conventional submarine purchase in favour of nuclear subs built with US technology.

    It was the first time ever France has recalled its ambassador to the US, according to the French foreign ministry.

    Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a written statement that the French decision, on request from President Emmanuel Macron, “is justified by the exceptional seriousness of the announcements” made by Australia and the United States.

    He said Wednesday’s announcement of Australia’s submarine deal with the US is “unacceptable behaviour between allies and partners”.

    … … ….

    Macron & Co are obviously really peed off.

    Wonder if it’ll beome a NATO crisis?

  10. georgecom 12

    4 and a half weeks of hard lockdown should have strangled the heck out of Covid you would have though, but the alan b'stard is still running at daily double digit new cases in Auckland. Sure, some big family units in the initial outbreak but after 2 full cycles, how many more family members can there be left (tempted to put in a ffs out of frustration here).

    In the early days of the virus making it's way around the globe medical experts warned of the risk of virus mutation running ahead of vaccination and other efforts to stamp it out. We saw the development of the English, Brazilian and South African variants. Here in NZ we are now dealing with the Indian (delta) variant. Vaccinations rates in India have ramped up considerably in the past 2 months but still a way to go. The virus keeps going and potentially mutating until it runs out of people, until we reach a point where people no longer get infected or our corporate immune system is strong enough to open the door, kick covid out and tell it to piss off before it can mutate.

    A section of the world doing well at getting vaccination rates high, NZ is fast joining that group. Other parts of the world lagging way behind. Yes, there are issues with equitable vaccine sharing – developed countries hogging vaccines through the first half of 2021 and India clamping down on COVAX exports to combat it's own dire emergency. There are also logistical problems in under developed countries frustrating roll outs. Close aligned with that s the suitability of some vaccines life Pfizer to countries with such challenges. There have also been reports of vaccine doses being dumped in some Africa countries. So even when vaccines are available in the developing world, no guarantees they will be put in peoples arms where they best belong. Not a one size fits all blame situation here.

    This leads me to one thought, the race to get ahead of covid to minimise mutation, herd immunity might arrive the hard way rather than the vaccine way. By that I mean the only salvation might lie in a virulant strain, like Delta, rapidly making it's way through unvaccinated populations and conferring some degree of natural immunity. Continued vaccination efforts, but the virus delivers vaccination itself to a large swathe of the worlds population via infection. Not a particularly pretty option for those poor souls facing that option, quite brutal, if you survive you have some immunity. Not one I would welcome for my loved ones. Might be the most probable 'herd immunity' outcome however in parts of the world.

    • Andre 12.1

      This leads me to one thought, the race to get ahead of covid to minimise mutation, herd immunity might arrive the hard way rather than the vaccine way. By that I mean the only salvation might lie in a virulant strain, like Delta, rapidly making it's way through unvaccinated populations and conferring some degree of natural immunity.

      That is indeed what is going to happen. Shortly after the 2023 general election at the latest, if the current government are foolish enough to continue lockdowns after the strong majority have got vaccinated.

      The bottom line is, the Delta variant is sufficiently infectious, and the vaccine is low enough in real-world effectiveness against Delta, that even 100.00% vaccination rate isn't enough for herd immunity. (if you want to get mathy about it, the vaccination rate needed for herd immunity is greater than (1-1/R0)/e. If R0 is 6, vaccine effectiveness is 80%, then the vaccination rate would need to be 104%)

      So we're all going to get exposed to the virus sometime in the next wee while. The question everybody needs to ask themself is whether they want to do it with the protection of the vaccine, or not. With the vaccine, they're most likely to be asymptomatic, or if you're somewhat unlucky it'll be like a nasty flu. But without the vaccine, you're up for the whole smorgasbord of nastiness including a fair old chance of death.

      • georgecom 12.1.1

        a diminishing population in which the virus can not just replicate but mutate, how that will come about, whether that is feasible, and how long it will take. Vaccination + infection immunity, possibly or at least lets hope so, how quickly will the delta strain cut through the swathe of unvaccinated. More so than that, what will be left afterward in countries with very low vaccination rates, what will 'survival of the fittest' look like and how ugly will it have been getting there.

        • RedLogix

          how quickly will the delta strain cut through the swathe of unvaccinated.

          Tone down the fear mongering. At least 99% of everyone who has contracted COVID are still alive. It's a serious illness but not the new Black Death.

          • dv





            That is 89% recovery


            • RedLogix

              'Cases' is not a good measure. There are plenty people who have contracted the virus yet either never got tested or didn't need medical treatment.

              Estimating IRF is a very difficult matter during a pandemic – and the paper I linked to below discusses this in some detail. But the bottom line is that COVID is not going to kill 11% of the human race as your calculation implies.

              (Or the media would have you believe.)

              • dv

                The data is a point in time.

                The 89% is what i said recovered (to be fair I should have added todate)

                18,731,801 still active

                100,649 serious critical

                Didn't say 11% would die

                Actually that site records 4,692,850 deaths
                From 228,379,098 cases
                so a Death rate of 2.05%
                to date

                • RedLogix

                  While death is relatively easy to measure (dead bodies are obvious enough to count although determining exactly what they died of is less so) – the difference between an 'infection' and a 'case' is very much larger and much harder to pin down

                  Again read the paper below. The only thing that matters to most people is their personal IFR – ie what are the chances that if and when you contract a COVID infection (as distinct from becoming a 'case'), that you will die? Across the whole human race that number looks like it's under 0.2% and the author also says later in the same paper:

                  Infection fatality rate may change over time locally and globally. If new vaccines and treatments pragmatically prevent deaths among the most vulnerable, theoretically global IFR may decrease even below 0.1%.

          • georgecom

            cut through meaning run through, infect rather than kill

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          The roll-out of vaccines against Covid-19, plus improvements in COVID-specific treatments for hospitalised cases, have and will continue to lower case fatality rates (CFRs). Whether new variants will change these trends is unknown.

          Towards the global equilibrium of COVID-19: statistical analysis of country–level data
          The mean values of country–level moving averages of R and CFR went down from 1.114 and 5.51%, respectively, on July 31, 2020 to 1.059 and 2.35% on January 31, 2021 and to 1.010 and 2.17% by July 31, 2021.

          • RedLogix

            It's my sense that when the numbers are finally done at the end of this pandemic the IFR will be under 0.2%, or 2 -3 times worse than seasonal influenza. This very recent paper from a well recognised epidemiologist puts the current global estimate at 0.15%

            Conclusions: All systematic evaluations of seroprevalence data converge thatSARS- CoV- 2 infection is widely spread globally. Acknowledging residual uncertainties, the available evidence suggests average global IFR of ~0.15% and ~1.5- 2.0 billion infections by February 2021 with substantial differences in IFR and in infection spread across continents, countries and locations

            Which makes language like 'cutting a swath through' more than a tad unhelpful.

            Of course given COVID's extreme age stratification the actual number for people like you and I is much higher – probably over 1% but did you plan on living forever? All the older people I'm meeting here in Australia, their view is that they're not willing to cower in fear, hiding away from a virus they know they're going to catch sooner or later. They want to do what they can to prepare and then get on with what life is left to them.

            • Andre

              How does Ioannidis reconcile his claimed 0.15% infection fatality rate with the observed population fatality rates of 0.2% (United States and UK and France) or 0.3% (Hungary, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina)?


              Has more than 100% of the population been infected in those countries?

              Ioannidis' other work with respect to covid has been heavily criticised for making the kinds of junk science errors he made his name pointing out in other people's work.


              • RedLogix

                Your reliance on smearing sources is noted.

                Obviously you haven't even bothered to scan the paper before attacking it – because the point you make is precisely the one made by Ioannides himself – that IFR's are very heterogenous across time, age and place. Junk science indeed.

                However you care to cut it though I still stand by my original claim that roughly 99% of people who have contracted a COVID infection are still alive and that maybe the fear-mongering and gloating over Delta cutting ‘swaths through the i unvaxxed’ is less than helpful.

                • Andre

                  So what's Ioannidis' estimate of the IFR for the US? Or some other nation that might be even vaguely considered comparable to New Zealand?

                  You'd think he'd have an interest in the US specific number, being that's where he lives and has been trying to influence public policy. Never mind his early estimate that US COVID-19 fatalities would be around 10,000? (from the link above)

                  Pointing out that someone has been just plain wrong in their previous work on a topic is not smearing. Even if they have an outstanding reputation for their work on some other topics.

                  Just because you found it somewhere on da webz and it feeds your confirmation bias does not make it exempt from scrutiny and criticism.

                  • RedLogix

                    Maybe you could tone down the confrontation and contempt and accept that the idea that there is no one single source of all knowledge and truth about this pandemic.

                    Yes there is a hatful of craziness out there (and I have to say my 5G phone reception has improved out of sight since my first jab) – there is still a wide range of divergent views and legit research we can and should be talking about.

                    • Incognito

                      – there is still a wide range of divergent views and legit research we can and should be talking about.

                      Indeed, apparently, there is no legal or ethical minefield and no therefore public debate needed as to where to draw the line, if at all? All good then.

                      Many seem to have taken up their position already and the concrete is hardening fast.

                      Some seem quite prepared to throw the unvaccinated under a bus and turn them to pariahs in their own country because personal choices and freedoms are no longer valid arguments when it comes to protecting the collective AKA the herd.

                      Unfortunately, for the absolutists, the vaccination issue is much more nuanced and thus complex than a simplistic B & W scenario.

                      The public health measures aimed at Covid-19 are not as unique as many seem to want to believe and Covid-19 cannot and must not be seen this way, IMO, but in and with appropriate perspectives.

                      As with so many controversial and complex issues, the debate is on the back foot before it even started and I lay some of the responsibility for this firmly and squarely at the feet of Government, again <sigh>. The official messaging is way too subtle, timid, reflective & reactionary, and I’ve switched off following to 1 pm updates with interest and fervour because it has become a dreary distraction in my dull depressing lockdown bubble.

                      In my opinion, Government should start the public conversation ASAP and they have been shying away from taking the lead on this and showing Leadership. These and other difficult questions will need to be addressed sooner rather than later. The best way to avoid showing that you don’t know/have all the answers is not to put the questions out in the open. I know this is slightly unfair, but we don’t need to hear excuses, but to start having an open and honest conversation with each other and with our representatives in Parliament, without the usual petty point scoring; a weak Opposition is not much help either with this.

                      PS the research is far from certain and settled on Covid-19 and current generation of vaccines, but this shouldn’t hold up public debate

                • Muttonbird

                  A simple calculation using stats from Worldometers proves 98% of people who have tested positive for Covid are still alive. A 1% difference might not seem like much but this is 2 million souls you just blanked.

                  Part of the reason our government is trusted. They prioritise lives.

                  • RedLogix

                    When it comes to COVID there are five categories of the roughly 8b people on the planet:

                    1. Some 6b people who have yet to encounter the virus.
                    2. Roughly 2b who would who have been infected and would test positive for antibodies if they were tested.
                    3. Roughly 200m who have been tested positive at some point and are classified as 'cases'
                    4. Another fraction of these – maybe 20m who have been sick enough to have been medically treated in a hospital.
                    5. And around 4.6m who have died while diagnosed with COVID. (Given that a large fraction of these people had serious pre-existing co-morbidities it's not always strictly easy to determine exactly what carried them off, but for the sake of the argument we'll overlook this technicality,)

                    It's the second and the fifth category that count when it comes to calculating IFR. All the others are important in their own way, but not relevant to calculating your individual chance of dying when you encounter the virus.

                    And the crude aggregated number that falls out is an IFR of 0.23%. (And even this is likely to be an over-estimate if you follow Ioannides reasoning.) Of course this number varies enormously by age so it's almost meaningless on it's own except as a comparison point with other diseases. The work has been done for us here:


                    Note the comparison with seasonal influenza – COVID is definitely more lethal and increasingly so with age. Note this data is before we apply the impact of vaccines – which in principle should reduce the IFR rate to below that of influenza.

                    But however you cut it, the claim that at least 99% of people who have been infected with the virus are still alive still stands; if anything I was being conservative. Yes it's serious but we don't need to scare ourselves to death over it.

                    (Caveat: Unless it throws up a new variant that is as infectious as Delta but more lethal – that is the nightmare that should scare us and is what I do think we should be taking a lot more account of.)

            • Poission

              The covid numbers vs excess deaths are telling,where due to health interventions such as lockdowns Aus/NZ showed decreases,a number of jurisdictions showed substantial increases.


              Here is the model (open source ) for verification.


            • Drowsy M. Kram

              Of course given COVID's extreme age stratification the actual number for people like you and I is much higher – probably over 1% but did you plan on living forever? All the older people I'm meeting here in Australia, their view is that they're not willing to cower in fear, hiding away from a virus they know they're going to catch sooner or later.

              Redlogix, your question is a little disappointing, and silly imho. I'm not cowering in fear, although I can see how it might be convenient for some to imply that prudent health precautions are an indication of cowardice.

              Bolsonaro says Brazilians must not be ‘sissies’ about coronavirus, as ‘all of us are going to die one day’

              Actually, I'm more than a little disappointed – but not surprised.

              • RedLogix

                In terms of personal courage Bolsonaro was right, although his lack of collective caution was at the same time reckless.

                Two different things although I see you attempt to conflate them for the purposes of disappointing yourself.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  Obviously I'm not planning on living forever, but neither am I planning on dying anytime soon – how about you?

                  Regarding the continuously updated COVID-19 IFRs and CFRs, as a very intelligent person once wrote (of the pandemic):

                  Only in hindsight will we ever properly understand what has happened this past 18 months.

                  The COVID-19 pandemic is one of many on-going global 'death engines' that have each snuffed out several million lives since the 3rd of October 2020 – not too many Kiwis though. That could still change before it's over, and I'm sure you're with the team in spirit as Aucklanders try to end community transmission of Delta so that NZ can once again join SA, WA, NT and TAS – even QLD’s doing OK. Wish us all luck.

            • georgecom

              the delta variant is certainly capable of cutting a swathe through the unvaccinated, travels quickly and r value up to 6. with unrestricted movement it can fairly quickly run through a population I would imagine. This isn't about mortality rates, this is about how transmissible it is.

      • Anne 12.1.2

        Andre @ 12.1
        Well, there's one positive. We could lose a few of the vexatious anti-vaxxers. smiley

    • Gezza 13.1

      Yes, I noticed that article this morning. Especially this:

      “Commerce Minister Wang Wentao submitted China’s application to join the free trade agreement in a letter to New Zealand’s trade minister, Damien O’Connor, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.

      New Zealand is the CPTPP’s repository for documents, and Wang had a telephone conference with O’Connor to discuss the next steps following China’s application.

      The 11 country agreement, which includes New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Chile, and Japan, accounts for about 13 percent of the world’s economy, and China’s formal bid follows that of the United Kingdom earlier this year.

      Former New Zealand trade negotiator and current executive director of the International Business Forum, Stephen Jacobi, said China’s application was a positive sign and to be welcomed.”

      Biden’s administration doesn’t appear to have made up its mind whether to join it not, so far. Wonder what they’ll do about it now?

      • Gezza 13.1.1

        *join it OR not.

        Gawd. My proof-reading is shit. I plead difficulty concentrating cos of the excruciating migraine I’ve had all day. Out of migraine meds, I haven’t been able to eat anything all today cos once a migraine really takes hold you can’t keep anything down that you put in your stomach.

        Thank goodness it finally seems to be subsiding.

        • RedLogix

          What I found the simplest and in the end the most reliable measure was two double strength aspirins (the gold packet) and going to bed in a dark room as soon as possible. (By all means use the meds if you have them available – I’m not prescribing here.)

          I'd usually have a few unpleasant hours, but once I got to sleep the recovery was relatively smooth. Soldiering on through was a recipe for an awful day.

          And I note that it's Saturday – this is apparently a pretty common pattern in men. I had mine every second Sat for around 15yrs. It's a response to unresolved, accumulating stress – and the mind stores up the necessary demand to resolve it on the one day of the week it's knows is safest to do so.

          • Gezza

            I’m getting clusters. Several migraines a week. I have a raft of medical issues that are worrying & so there’s been plenty of stress & often too little sleep – which is a common contributor to a migraine for me.

            I’m burning through 30 Sumatriptan in 2 months. They usually work if taken at first hint of a migraine coming on. But there are limits to how many can be dispensed. I usually run out in month 3 & have been trying ibuprofen since panadols are useless.

            I might try those aspirin you recommend.

            • RedLogix

              Fuck me – that sounds like no fun at all. They badly undermined my life for a period from when I was about 32 to 47. I still get about 3 -4 a year, but I know how to manage them better now. It’s apparent that I’m prone to them, but it took a specific trigger of some kind to get an episode.

              I cannot know the underlying details of your life – and this forum is not the appropriate place to share them – but in my case the root cause was definitely psychological. It just wasn't obvious until afterward.

              • Gezza

                Re details of medical issues not being shared here – noted. I only mentioned that briefly because I’m sure they’re related. And I’m posting under a pseudonym.

                Not really what I’m here for, RL. I’m finding the recent topics & discussions here very interesting. And I’m learning stuff.

                • Ad

                  Hang in there Gezza you're a good commentator here.

                  RL is one of our most diligent and empathic contributors.

                  My Other Half had catastrophic migraines for years and cutting out refined sugar and drinking a lot of Kombucha appeared to help. I was surprised how the gut seemed to alter the head.

                  • Gezza

                    Cheers Ad. 👍🏼

                    I had a bit of success last year with raw ginger.

                    Inherited the migraine-tendency from my mum, I think.

                    She got absolute shockers. My 2 brothers have blessedly avoided getting them. Our kid sister (60 🙂 ) gets them.

                  • Gezza

                    PS: Just googled “What is Kombucha?”

                    A lot of hits, most indicating that its claimed benefits have not yet been clinically proven in proper randomised medical trials, and also noting many reports of adverse effects.

          • francesca

            That was totally my pattern too, except every Saturday .And a lot of chucking up then sleep in a darkened room for up to 14 hours Terrible., now I never even have a headache.

  11. McFlock 14

    11-minute video on the different levels of social movements and how they all need each other to progress change.

    I think I've linked to Beau of the Fifth Column before, I don't always agree with what he says but they usually strike me as being thoroughly-considered items.

    Basically, part of his point in this one is that the dilettantes and performative folk who show up to an event for the instagram and then leave immediately are still a necessary part of the movement that help push the tip forwards. I found it to be a ponderable.

    • Ad 14.1

      Beau is a good unit trying to gain audience across a bitterly piartisan country.

      I like him too.

      • RedLogix 14.1.1

        A good analogy but the unasked question is – in what direction is this spear being thrown? And who by?

  12. Gezza 15

    Interesting Opinion Piece in Stuff:

    I think NZ certainly needs to be urgently looking hard new markets to reduce our export dependence on China.
    … … … …

    “Australia has learnt about China the hard way. When will NZ wise up?”

    “…the last thing we want is to be squeezed by a great power, as Australia has been by China.

    Lest we forget, in November 2020, the Chinese ambassador to Australia passed on to the media a list of 14 grievances China had with the Morrison government’s policy.

    This prompted Morrison to declare that Australia’s values, democracy, and sovereignty are “are not up for sale”.

    Australia has learnt a hard lesson about geopolitics 21st-century-style. To avoid a replay of that movie, New Zealand needs to wise up to a new era of great power rivalry.

    [Nicholas Khoo is associate professor in the politics programme at the University of Otago. His research focuses on great power politics, Chinese foreign policy, and Asian security.]”


    • Morrissey 15.1

      This prompted Morrison to declare that Australia’s values, democracy, and sovereignty are “are not up for sale”.


      Scott Morrison and values and democracy. You're having a laugh, right? Morrison certainly is.

      In Canberra last week I met some Australian members of parliament. It gave me hope, because until I heard them speak I had always thought that Israel’s right wing politicians were the worst. —-(LAUGHTER)— I’ve never heard any Israeli politician speak about the Palestinian people the way that those Australian politicians did. But they are Australia’s problem, not mine. (LAUGHTER) I spoke with the Australian foreign minister; she talked and she was very nice but we could not agree on anything. (LAUGHTER)

      —-Gideon Levi, speaking in Auckland, 3 December 2017

      Open Mike 16/12/2017

      • Gezza 15.1.1

        That’s a quote from an author, M, not my words. I personally don’t like ScoMo. He comes across to me generally as a pillock. But the author was clearly referring to his own preference to live in a democratic society where free speech is allowed & criticism of leaders is often rampant. Unlike in the PRC.

  13. Scud 16

    Crikey NZ, only needs to live at old mate in the Phillipines, who tired to accomodate China demand and got burnt more as China demanded more. In the end he had to go back to the Yanks, and our fellow Commonwealth Member Nation Malaysia had the same issues with China.

    Even Indonesia has finally dropped China over its lies with its Sinovax, Airspace, Maritime Violations incl the those Underwater UV’s that were fish up by a couple of fishermen.

    Me personally as a ex-serviceman/ Veteran & a old school Trade Union Socialist lefty, I’m amaze how the left in NZ have their head still buried in sand! As this shit sandwich that was slowly heading our way has finally arrived in our Area of Influence (been building the midnight oil here for sometime say this would eventually happen even under my other Non de plume “Ex Kiwiforces”) and it’s real. Ah What the heck I’ll repost it. Over at the Nuke Thread.

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