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Open Mike 19/02/2017

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 19th, 2017 - 113 comments
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113 comments on “Open Mike 19/02/2017 ”

  1. Andre 1

    Will Slavoj Zizek be correct, that Trump will be so bad it will bring about the left revolution?

    I suspect it’s more likely Dems will look at how far left they moved their platform because of pressure from Bernie, look at how hard-lefties still put more effort into bagging Clinton than fighting Trump and voted for Stein or stayed home, and conclude that trying to attract hard-lefties isn’t worth it. After all, Obama was quite centrist and look how popular he finished up.

    http://www.salon.com/2017/02/18/out-of-darkness-light-will-the-trumpian-nightmare-lead-to-a-real-political-revolution-after-all/

    • JanM 1.1

      And if they do ‘stay put’ as you seem to imply they will do, what do you think will happen, given that it appears that many younger voters are rejecting their essentially conservative approach? Do you think perhaps that after a substantial dose of Trumperism even the hard left will run back to mother? – Can’t see it myself!

      • Andre 1.1.1

        I think the way hard-lefties didn’t support the Dems and Clinton even after they moved their platform a long way left is going to produce the really crap result of further reinforcing status quo politics and further reducing engagement and turnout, particularly among the young.

      • garibaldi 1.1.2

        I can’t see the Dems emerging from the depths they have plunged to for a very long time. Imo they are corrupt to the core, just like the whole ” American Dream”.

    • Will Slavoj Zizek be correct, that Trump will be so bad it will bring about the left revolution?

      No, he won’t. I hate these communist “After Hitler, us!” fucks. They’re happy to see right-wing authoritarian nationalists wrecking the country because the resulting cruelty and destabilisation may create the conditions for a boot stamping on a human face forever, sorry I meant a communist revolution.

      • reason 1.2.1

        .. do you mean the u.s.a boot stamping cruelty in south America and other places … under the guise of fighting communism ….. remember the u.s.a calls health systems like NZ has ‘communism’.

        William Blum ‘killing hope’ : …… ” every socialist experiment of any significance in the twentieth century—without exception—has either been crushed, overthrown, or invaded, or corrupted, perverted, subverted, or destabilized, or otherwise had life made impossible for it, by the United States.

        Not one socialist government or movement—from the Russian Revolution to the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, from Communist China to the FMLN in Salvador—not one was permitted to rise or fall solely on its own merits; not one was left secure enough to drop its guard against the all-powerful enemy abroad and freely and fully relax control at home.

        It’s as if the Wright brothers’ first experiments with flying machines all failed because the automobile interests sabotaged each test flight. And then the good and godfearing folk of the world looked upon this, took notice of the consequences, nodded their collective heads wisely, and intoned solemnly: Man shall never fly. ” …

        “” By the summer of 1918 some 13,000 American troops could be found in the newly-born Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Two years and thousands of casualties later, the American troops left, having failed in their mission to “strangle at its birth” the Bolshevik state, as Winston Churchill put it.”

        ————————————————————————-

        and John stockwell : …. ” President Reagan allocated 19 million dollars to form an army, a force of contras, they’re called, ex-Somoza national guards, the monsters who were doing the torture and terror in Nicaragua that made the Nicaraguan people rise up and throw out the dictator, and throw out the guard. We went back to create an army of these people. We are killing, and killing, and terrorizing people. Not only in Nicaragua but the Congress has leaked to the press – reported in the New York Times, that there are 50 covert actions going around the world today, CIA covert actions going on around the world today.

        You have to be asking yourself, why are we destabilizing 50 corners of the troubled world”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmYZ_kWHk3Q

        “[When the U.S. doesn’t like a government], they send the CIA in, with its resources and activists, hiring people, hiring agents, to tear apart the social and economic fabric of the country, as a technique for putting pressure on the government, hoping that they can make the government come to the U.S.’s terms, or the government will collapse altogether and they can engineer a coup d’etat, and have the thing wind up with their own choice of people in power.

        Now ripping apart the economic and social fabric of course is fairly textbook-ish. What we’re talking about is going in and deliberately creating conditions where the farmer can’t get his produce to market, where children can’t go to school, where women are terrified inside their homes as well as outside their homes, where government administration and programs grind to a complete halt, where the hospitals are treating wounded people instead of sick people, where international capital is scared away and the country goes bankrupt. ”

        “The Indonesian covert action of 1965, reported by Ralph McGehee, who was in that area division, and had documents on his desk, in his custody about that operation. He said that one of the documents concluded that this was a MODEL operation that should be COPIED elsewhere in the world. Not only did it eliminate the effective communist party (Indonesian communist party), it also eliminated the entire segment of the population that tended to support the communist party – the ethnic Chinese, Indonesian Chinese. And the CIA’s report put the number of dead at 800,000 killed. And that was one covert action. We’re talking about 1 to 3 million people killed in these things. ”

        “”Just to give you an example of how complete this is, and how military this has been, between 1900 and W.W. II, we had 5,000 marines in Nicaragua for a total of 28 years. We invaded the Dominican Republic 4 times. Haiti, we occupied it for 12 years. We put our troops into Cuba 4 times, Panama 6 times, Guatemala once, plus a CIA covert action to overthrow the democratic government there once. Honduras, 7 times. And by the way, we put 12,000 troops into the Soviet Union during that same period of time.”

        The Narcissistic Billionaire Trump can be criticized for many many things …. but it seems bizarre to me that stopping or lowering The U.s.a’s role in feeding these death-spots with weapons and support is one of them.

        How many people are aware of the war against russia which started in 1918 ?

        How many russians would know ?

        • Psycho Milt 1.2.1.1

          .. do you mean the u.s.a boot stamping cruelty in south America and other places …

          No, I mean the people Orwell was actually referring to when he wrote that phrase. Still, kudos for the lengthy apologia for the worst totalitarian regimes in the world’s history – most people are too duplicitous or have too strong a sense of shame to be up-front about it.

          • reason 1.2.1.1.1

            You quote Orwell …. in a cartoonist way

            “Washington policy makers and diplomats saw the world out there as one composed of “communists” and “anti-communists”, whether of nations, movements or individuals. This comic-strip vision of the world, with righteous American supermen fighting communist evil everywhere, had graduated from a cynical propaganda exercise to a moral imperative of US foreign policy.

            John Foster Dulles, one of the major architects of post-war US foreign policy, expressed this succinctly in his typically simple, moralistic way: “For us there are two sorts of people in the world: there are those who are Christians and support free enterprise and there are the others.”14 As several of the case studies in the present hook confirm, Dulles put that creed into rigid practice.”

            Over 2 million Vietnamese Killed…. freedom???

            800,00-1.5 million Indonesians Murdered …. and a natural partner for NZ according to our nZ mfat webpage … Joshua Oppenheimer’s description of present day Indonesia … Where workers get threatened with the death squads that killed their parents https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orD_WOrEN5o

            South America …. running drugs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIVbFhVYB64

            And Sorry if I find John Stockwell,…. an ex cia officer …. to be more credible on cia/usa policy and actions …. than your opinions .. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmYZ_kWHk3Q

            Nicaragua for Instance …….. “To destabilize Nicaragua beginning in 1981, we began funding this force of Somoza’s exnational guardsmen, calling them the contras (the counter-revolutionaries). We created this force, it did not exist until we allocated money. We’ve armed them, put uniforms on their backs, boots on their feet, given them camps in Honduras to live in, medical supplies, doctors, training, leadership, direction, as we’ve sent them in to de-stabilize Nicaragua.

            They use terror. This is a technique that they’re using to traumatize the society so that it can’t function. I don’t mean to abuse you with verbal violence, but you have to understand what your government and its agents are doing. They go into villages, they haul out families. With the children forced to watch they castrate the father, they peel the skin off his face, they put a grenade in his mouth and pull the pin. With the children forced to watch they gang-rape the mother, and slash her breasts off. And sometimes for variety, they make the parents watch while they do these things to the children. This is nobody’s propaganda. There have been over 100,000 American witnesses for peace who have gone down there and they have filmed and photographed and witnessed these atrocities immediately after they’ve happened, and documented 13,000 people killed this way, mostly women and children. These are the activities done by these contras. The contras are the people president Reagan calls `freedom fighters’. He says they’re the moral equivalent of our founding fathers. ”

            Sounds like Ukraine Banderist nazi methods if you ask me ….

            You know the ones ….. resurrected and backed up by trade sanctions against their enemy’s … solidarity from little ol NZ

            Another natural partner perhaps ?

            • Psycho Milt 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Sounds like Ukraine Banderist nazi methods if you ask me ….

              No-one did. But you do get today’s High Score for false equivalence.

              • reason

                well you did say …. “kudos for the lengthy apologia for the worst totalitarian regimes in the world’s history – most people are too duplicitous or have too strong a sense of shame to be up-front about it.”

                …are you unaware of approx 8000 unkraine SS officers given sanctuary and some even recruited by the us.a and other good guys after WWII??? …… Of the Banderist nazi flavor ….. some ended doing operations back home( killing/destroying ) …. and some taught torture.

                Which brings me back to Nicaragua …. but I’d like to explore our/Nzs links with Indonesia more next time ….

                Given our ‘natural partnership’ with them …. and the flurry of National party + business activity with this gangster nation ….before key made off …

                ********************************************

                Ronny Raygun:”The Contras are the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers.”

                http://thewe.cc/contents/more/archive2006/torture_death_and_nicaragua.htm

                “The United States supported the brutal Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua for over 40 years.

                The Nicaraguan people, led by the Sandinistas, overthrew this regime in 1979, a breathtaking popular revolution.

                Sandinistas

                The Sandinistas weren’t perfect.

                They possessed their fair share of arrogance and their political philosophy contained a number of contradictory elements.
                But they were intelligent, rational and civilised.
                They set out to establish a stable, decent, pluralistic society.
                The death penalty was abolished.
                Hundreds of thousands of poverty-stricken peasants were brought back from the dead.
                Over 100,000 families were given title to land.
                Two thousand schools were built.
                A quite remarkable literacy campaign reduced illiteracy in the country to less than one seventh.
                Free education was established and a free health service.
                Infant mortality was reduced by a third.
                Polio was eradicated.

                Dangerous example was being set

                The United States denounced these achievements as Marxist/Leninist subversion.
                In the view of the US government, a dangerous example was being set.
                If Nicaragua was allowed to establish basic norms of social and economic justice, if it was allowed to raise the standards of health care and education and achieve social unity and national self respect, neighbouring countries would ask the same questions and do the same things.

                There was of course at the time fierce resistance to the status quo in El Salvador.

                I spoke earlier about ‘a tapestry of lies’ which surrounds us.
                Taken generally by the media

                President Reagan commonly described Nicaragua as a ‘totalitarian dungeon’.
                This was taken generally by the media, and certainly by the British government, as accurate and fair comment.

                But there was in fact no record of death squads under the Sandinista government.

                There was no record of torture.

                There was no record of systematic or official military brutality.

                No priests were ever murdered in Nicaragua.

                There were in fact three priests in the government, two Jesuits and a Maryknoll missionary.

                El Salvador and Guatemala
                The totalitarian dungeons were actually next door, in El Salvador and Guatemala.

                The United States had brought down the democratically elected government of Guatemala in 1954 and it is estimated that over 200,000 people had been victims of successive military dictatorships.

                Six of the most distinguished Jesuits in the world were viciously murdered at the Central American University in San Salvador in 1989 by a battalion of the Alcatl regiment trained at Fort Benning, Georgia, USA.
                That extremely brave man Archbishop Romero was assassinated while saying mass.

                It is estimated that 75,000 people died.

                Why were they killed?

                They were killed because they believed a better life was possible and should be achieved.

                That belief immediately qualified them as communists.

                They died because they dared to question the status quo, the endless plateau of poverty, disease, degradation and oppression, which had been their birthright.

                Poverty stricken once again — ‘Democracy’ had prevailed

                The United States finally brought down the Sandinista government.
                It took some years and considerable resistance but relentless economic persecution and 30,000 dead finally undermined the spirit of the Nicaraguan people.

                They were exhausted and poverty stricken once again.

                The casinos moved back into the country.

                Free health and free education were over.

                Big business returned with a vengeance.

                ‘Democracy’ had prevailed.

                But this ‘policy’ was by no means restricted to Central America.
                It was conducted throughout the world.

                It was never-ending.

                And it is as if it never happened. ”

                http://thewe.cc/contents/more/archive2006/torture_death_and_nicaragua.htm

                whose shameless?????

                My Grandfather got sent to war and fought the Nazis …. Unlike you he knew what to do with them.

                It would be a disgrace to shut up and now pretend there are good nazis …. like some do.

                Mind you, I doubt he went to war so a sleaze like Key could sell out his great grand-kids futures either ….

      • rhinocrates 1.2.2

        Another quote from Orwell that seems appropriate:

        Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.

        1984 Book 3, Chapter 3

        And from Gustave Flaubert:

        Inside every revolutionary there is a policeman.

        I agree, ‘accelerationists’ as they are called are despicable – they’re happy to see other people suffer even more than they are now for the sake for the sake of the precious revolution, then jerk off over the thought of being in the Inner Party because they’re the ‘pure’ ones. If they want to burn a house down, they should start with their own.

    • DoublePlusGood 1.3

      So your take-home message from the large popularity of Sanders is to move the Democrats away from Sanders back toward what lost them the election.
      Please go work for the Nats as a tactician.

      • Andre 1.3.1

        Registered Democrats are the big leftie group in the US. Clinton won the primary by 55% to 43%. That’s a very clear margin, and a clear signal that leftie Americans were more comfortable with Clinton’s offerings than Sanders. Nevertheless, Clinton and the Democrats changed their platform to align more closely to Sanders’ platform. Then lost the general election. To Trump!!!! How does all of that add up to an argument the Dems should have gone even further away from the mainstream?

        • DoublePlusGood 1.3.1.1

          They didn’t lose the election because of the slight changes in platform, which did nothing to win voters in the rust belt – by comparison, Sanders’ platform would have been vastly more popular in the rust belt. That would come at a cost of votes in conservative states where he was losing anyway.

    • Gabby 1.4

      The dems might consider supporting an honest unentangled candidate.
      Or not.

      • Andre 1.4.1

        Gotta say that I’m not aware of anyone in the Dem pipeline that has quite the blindness about how their actions can be made to look that Hillary had, let alone doing that stuff while wearing the stains from 25 years of smears.

    • McFlock 1.5

      The overwhelming weakness of the left is a tendency to believe that if things only get a little worse, they will suddenly flip into a revolution that creates utopia.

      Fuck Hegel.

      Eager anticipation when things get worse is a clear conflict of interest to actually getting off your arse and improving things.

      • Andre 1.5.1

        I’ve mostly thought the biggest weakness of left politics is a lot more lefties are into purity and principle politics to the point of being willing to vote for parties/candidates with no chance, even though it helps their polar opposite opponents win.

        Whereas as righties seem to be a bit more pragmatic about voting for the possible winners closest to their views.

        In New Zealand, just look at the peak vote for ACT (7% in 2002) and compare to pre-96 votes for say Greens or Alliance.

    • weka 2.1

      Thanks, will have a proper read later. I cam across something recently that said one of the core disagreements between Lange and Douglas was Douglas’ UBI proposal. Might be worth looking up to see the NZ neoliberal version.

    • red-blooded 2.2

      An interesting read, Xanthe. This guy explores some of my gut-instinct feelings about the current push for a UBI. I do see this in effect becoming a subsidy for employers and landlords. Current policies such as WFF and accommodation grants for people on benefits also work this way, of course, but not in such a wholesale way.

      I can’t say I’ve done a lot of research into the issue, and could still be convinced – there probably are models which address my concerns, but any move in this direction would need to be very strongly designed in order to achieve its goals rather than (perversely) acting as a transfer of wealth into the pockets of those who least need it.

  2. Anne 3

    Trump’s pick for diplomatic posting an “insult to NZ”.

    http://i.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/89560459/its-an-insult-backlash-against-trumps-pick-for-diplomatic-post-to-new-zealand

    former US intelligence advisor Paul Buchanan said Brown’s appointment was an “insult”.

    “It just shows you what importance we have to the Trump Administration.”

    Buchanan said Brown’s support of waterboarding was “very troubling”.

    • He’s also a Fox News commentator accused of groping a female colleague – which makes it clear why he appeals to Trump, but that’s not exactly a great CV when it comes to dealing with New Zealanders.

    • Wayne 3.2

      I imagine for the US (for any administration), picking an ex Senator is seen as a good thing and an affirmation of the relationship.

      Obama’s first Ambassador was an ex Senator.

      Senators, even when they have lost elections, are usually highly regarded in the US political system. And the fact that he is a Fox commentator would be seen by the Trump administration as a demonstration of his connectedness in the political system.

      However, I did not know about the groping accusation referred to by Psycho Milt.

      • Andre 3.2.1

        Wayne, how do you feel about Brown’s reported enthusiasm for waterboarding?

        Any view on Jonathan Milne’s opinion that Brown’s support of waterboarding is a good reason for New Zealand to say no, we don’t accept him?

        http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/89507191/jonathan-milne-if-we-as-a-nation-find-senator-scott-browns-actions-abhorrent-we-can-do-more-than-talk–we-can-say-no

        • Wayne 3.2.1.1

          Andre,

          I think it would be going too far to say “no” to him on that basis.

          However, I would expect him to acknowledge that is not New Zealand’s view, and to recognise that he needs to adjust his position, given the strong New Zealand position on this.

          It is worth recalling that in 2003/2004 that NZ SAS soldiers strongly protested about American treatment of detainees, and took the issue up the command chain.

          Reason,

          I strongly protest about what you have said about me. And by implication that National supports torture.

          In relation to Afghanistan (your link) in fact I made sure we deployed additional legal officers to Afghanistan so we could ensure, as best we could, that any detainees that the CRU arrested were not ill-treated. This whole issue was a major concern for us. One of our goals during the deployment was to improve the behaviour of the CRU.

          A general dilemma that all western nations faced in Afghanistan (in fact in any country where the West or the UN gets involved in) is that the Afghans did not act in accordance to the standards we would expect. NATO/ISAF put in a huge effort to with the Afghan authorities to improve respect for human rights, to improve their prisons and their legal system. Are they yet like out courts and prisons?

          No, but they are way better than they used to be.

          As a general point, no matter the divergence of view we may have on various things, I don’t think it is necessary to demonise one opponents like that.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2.1.1.1

            You’re out of touch.

            I would expect him to acknowledge that is not New Zealand’s view, and to recognise that he needs to adjust his position,

            For those that don’t have our back, we’re taking names.

            The problem here is that your torturer mates aren’t from Afghanistan, and your desire to appease them looks a lot like being an accessory.

            [lprent: You and Andre Reason are starting to go too far. Whilst I have serious doubts about Brown as being inappropriate for NZ, you have to remember that he isn’t here to represent NZ. He is here to represent the USA.

            If there was anything definitive in his history (for instance a conviction for groping a fellow Fox presenter) then at a government level we could (maybe) refuse to accept his credentials. However having opinions that are distasteful and obnoxious isn’t a ground for rejecting them. Ambassadors and ambassadorial staff are there for a purpose and are covered by some pretty specific law. We don’t have to like them, we just have to put up (with limits) what they say. ]

            • Wayne 3.2.1.1.1.1

              OAB,

              Did you not read or understand my comment. I expect Brown to change his position on this issue.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2.1.1.1.2

              Lprent, I’m more interested in Wayne’s movable feast of ethics than Brown’s. Warning noted.

            • Andre 3.2.1.1.1.3

              lprent, maybe I’m being thick but I’ve carefully re-read what I wrote and I don’t see where I’m near a line. I was genuinely interested in Wayne’s views on the waterboarding and potential rejection as ambassador issues, particularly given the positions he has held in his service to NZ, and didn’t attack him or anyone else. Now that Wayne has shared his views, I’m not inclined to have a go at him for those views.

              I’d be grateful if you have the time to explain where I’m close to the line. Or perhaps there was some mix-up between what I said and what Reason said?

              [lprent: You notice that I put the warning (from memory) on Reason who was over the line (as Wayne pointed out), and on OAB who was continuing the same theme. I may have copied it on an additional comment of yours? Your first one was ok and from memory Wayne treated it by explaining his opinion. Edit: Oh I see what you mean. I said Andre where I meant Reason. I will adjust. It is because I see the comments running in reverse time order…

              However OAB and Reason were effectively saying that the personal actions and opinions of an ex-minister and national party member were those of the government and national party. They were doing it on a topic that even National and their government have little to no leeway on. The law covering diplomatic embassies is pretty draconian.

              It amounted to pointless abuse of a person for something where there was absolutely no effective relationship between Wayne and what they were objecting to. It was liable to drop into even more pointless flaming. I intervened to make sure it didn’t escalate into a bullying flamewar I’d have to start banning people for. Like the policy says, we prefer to warn rather than ban.

              With that kind of brushwar, I tend to put the warning on each branch of an issue to make sure that everyone is aware of an issue and has no excuse to work around it. That is because of the tree structure of our comments. It is far too easy to miss warnings as the debate branches. ]

              • Andre

                Thanks. Your warning to OAB started “lprent: You and Andre are starting to go too far…”, so I take it it should have been reason there instead of me. I was worried maybe I was violating a policy about being too beige or something.

                • lprent

                  Yeah, unless I jump tabs, when I start editing (rather than quick edit) a comment on the backend comment list. I lose all context. I usually rely on memory. Screwed up this time..

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Lprent. Thanks for the longer explanation. It’s Wayne’s opinion as a law commissioner I’m interested in, although I think it’s fair to say that many of the experiences he cites derive from his time as a Minister.

                (Sorry to discuss you in the third person Wayne.)

                I agree that Browne is the US representative here, and from the sounds of it, he represents POTUS quite well. What I’d like to know is where the line is, for establishment figures like Wayne. How far does the US have to descend before they would consider “cutting ties” (whatever that means to them). Or is there no line – for similar reasons to Hobbes’ dictum that the worst dictator is better than the alternative, or whatever.

                I’ll try and be more polite in trying to find out.

                • lprent

                  I remember going through a rather horrendous set of lectures and readings in dual areas; about the history of diplomacy and the law governing diplomacy in the commonwealth and NZ. Some of those lessons came from my military training and lifelong interest in the military and military history – the application of which is often viewed as being the failures of diplomacy. Being born 14 years after WW2, I grew up in the shadow of the ex-servicemen where i could see the consequences of diplomatic failures.

                  What you realize after looking at it is that the primary reason for diplomats is to keep open lines of direct communication to stop various types of warfare (from weaponry to trade). The actual quality of the diplomats is of far less importance than that they can accurately reflect both parties to each other. That is because the consequences of miscommunication between monarchs and states will often tend to be somewhat horrendous.

                  As someone who did law, military and government somewhat more than I did, Wayne probably got a whole lot more of that particular set of horror stories than I did.

                  But my view is that diplomacy is one area that needs to be somewhat isolated from populist thinking so that it can concentrate on downstream consequences. Of course that is because I know somewhat more clearly what the downstream failures of diplomacy can be than most of the recent generations. But you only really need to reflect on the diplomatic miscommunication and the miscalculations that fell out of the diplomatic schism between the USA/UK and Iraq to see a recent example.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Perhaps “cutting ties” is a poor choice of words.

                    Global Legal Action Network and the Stanford International Human Rights Clinic have taken a case against Australia and various private companies to the ICC.

                    Should the case proceed, law enforcement officials in New Zealand may be put in the invidious position of having to protect visiting heads of state for whom there are outstanding international arrest warrants. As Idiot Savant has pointed out, these individuals would also be wanted under domestic law.

                    As someone with a foot in both diplomatic and legal camps, Wayne can shed some light on the practical issues that arise. I still reckon he’ll give them (torturers) a free pass.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    PS: in case you’re wondering why I switched from the USA to Australia, the legal and ethical issues are similar: the practical and diplomatic considerations are slightly different.

                    • lprent

                      Not that much. If they are coming under a diplomatic credentials/passport, then there will be bugger all that we could do except to deny their visa or reject their credentials and ship them home.

                      Visiting heads of state typically come under diplomatic credentials. We’d be more likely to deny entry if they had an ICC warrant.

                      It is pretty much the same rules as any diplomat, like that guy from the Malaysian embassy a few years ago. We can boot them but that is about all unless they or their country waive immunity.

                      The alternative for inter-state communication is that effectively every diplomat is a probable hostage. Because trumped up charges could be made for literally anything. Laws could be passed purely to entrap. And no-one would send diplomats anywhere.

                      If you want to see an example, have a look at the terrible economic price that Iran faced for more than 25 years (and arguably on to today) after a state mob stormed the US embassy in Tehran. Apart from the ongoing sanctions, they were literally starved on any significiant capital and were shunned during a major war that they barely survived.

                      After all who in the hell would want to send diplomats into the precedent hellhole that the Iranian revolution created.

                      People who are not currently travelling under diplomatic immunity are private citizens and are fair game. That is what happened to Pinochet and Dotcom. However a case to extradite has to be made under the laws of the arresting country.

                    • Macro

                      That’s true..
                      But didn’t stop the US border officials stopping the ex Norwegian PM travelling on a diplomatic passport to a prayer meeting in the US because he had visited Iran on a humanitarian visit a few years back..
                      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/03/former-norway-pm-bondevik-held-washington-dulles-airport-2014-visit-iran
                      What’s good for the goose….

                • Wayne

                  OAB

                  I really don’t have any more to add.

                  But I can assure you we (NZDF and myself) put a lot of effort in trying to ensure fundamental human rights were protected in Afghanistan.

                  An interesting and insightful discussion on the role of Ambassadors by Iprent.

                  Presumably during the confirmation hearings Brown will have the opportunity to say the right thing. Surely as relatively senior JAG officer he must know the law in this area in detail. And he should be well informed by State of the New Zealand view.

                  I am certain the ICC will refuse jurisdiction in the Australian case. Whatever the Australian defaults, they do not reach the threshold required by the ICC.

            • reason 3.2.1.1.1.4

              Sorry Lprent …..

          • reason 3.2.1.1.2

            good on you wayne… for your strong protest…. about you , the nats and torture…………. I legally accept your plausible deniability

            Its a shame about the mass amounts of torture and brutal killing of civilians that have directly resulted from the bits of war you do support ….

            ………..http://www.juancole.com/2016/07/real-problem-illegal.html

            “The Iraq War was an act of pure aggression, no different in moral or legal standing from Hitler’s invasion of Poland. That is what Bush and Blair made themselves. Small Hitlers, betraying all the hopes of the generation of 1945, which dreamed of forestalling further such atrocities.

            Had the war been launched in response to Saddam Hussain’s own attack on Iran in 1980, and had there been a consensus at the UNSC for such a move, it could have been justified. But in 2003 there was no international emergency calling for such a war. The level of Western hypocrisy can be measured, however, by the lack of any move to punish Iraq for invading Iran and starting an 8-year war that killed hundreds of thousands. Worse yet, the Reagan administration actually swung behind Iraq in 1983, allied with Saddam, and shielded him from charges brought by Iran to the UNSC that he used mustard gas and perhaps Sarin on Iranian troops at the front. And then the Reagan administration authorized the sale to Iraq of precursors for anthrax. ”

            And your wanting NZ not to be bound by international law … ” the fact remains that under international law, any non-defensive war waged without its approval is illegal and a crime. So when Wayne Mapp says he doesn’t want our foreign policy to be subject to a UN veto, what he is really saying is that he wants to wage war in contravention of international law and the UN charter – in other words, he wants us to be a rogue nation, just like the US… ”

            I just presumed a little water boarding …. would be water of a ducks back among a few million dead Iraqis …or Afghans .

            Don’t be so racist about the Afghans wayne ………… how come if they are naturally so bad …. how is it that Afghanistan was a safe place for women and others to travel too and through? …. in that the time before the usa armed Muslim extremists there ….

            It was on the hippy trail and a nice country http://www.messynessychic.com/2014/03/11/road-trip-to-afghanistan-snapshots-from-the-lost-hippie-trail/

            Apart from bombs, shells and troops …. the usa brought the ‘Phoenix /El Salvador option’ to Iraq and Afghanistan

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TN4Sn5u_pK0

            very very nasty stuff …. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxHEI603bF4

            My research has found that vicious dog handlers were in big demand and paid very well in Iraq post invasion …..

            Given all the torture and prisoner abuse ……… should mark Mitchell clear up exactly what he was doing over there earning his money ….

            Just so we know Mike Sabins replacement is squeaky clean ..

            ….. after that whale oil email in Nicky Hagers ‘Dirty Politics” book ….something about ‘bite em till they scream’

            Mark Mitchell said he was gong to sue ………………… http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10429236/MP-considers-legal-action-against-Nicky-Hager

            Any info on that? …. or Judith … I think she threatened to sue too ?

      • Anne 3.2.2

        I don’t regard a person who has openly advocated torture methods like waterboarding is a suitable person to send to NZ, but I appreciate in Trump’s world it would be seen as a plus…

        • One Two 3.2.2.1

          Barack Obama…

          “..We tortured some folks”…

          • joe90 3.2.2.1.1

            Dishonest cocksplat quote mines.

            • One Two 3.2.2.1.1.1

              Would you like to back up that statement Joe, and or disprove the quote?

              Repeated use of insults, no matter how much of a release from the issues you refer to in your life this blog provides you, is no excuse

              [lprent: While we are on that subject – where is the source of that quotation? That was what you rightfully were pulled up on.

              Since you objected to being pulled up, then I will object to you avoiding substantiating your out of context quote. Banned for 2 weeks. Read the policy and look at your own damn behaviour before trying to exercise moderator powers on this site. ]

              • joe90

                Incomplete citation is technique used by the dishonest.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Joe’s right: what you did is called “quote mining”, and is a form of lying. Hence “dishonest”.

                Did you think no-one would notice?

            • McFlock 3.2.2.1.1.2

              cocksplat? Nice one.

        • reason 3.2.2.2

          Browns endorsement of torture, would make him not suitable for most NZ citizens ..

          He would be ok by the Nats …

          And perfect to someone like wayne …. http://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/search?q=mapp%2Btorture

          … there might even be a trade deal in it.

          [lprent: see my note above ]

      • lprent 3.2.3

        However, I did not know about the groping accusation referred to by Psycho Milt.

        One of his ex fellow Fox presenters has alleged that he groped her at work. She is suing Fox, him, and I believe several managerial staff at Fox both for the grope and that her complaint caused her bosses to push her out, She alleges that Fox is a hotbed of misogyny.

        I can see how Trump might see groping female workmates as a plus. I can’t see how it would endear him to most of NZ.

        Edit From the link that Anne put up

        Former Fox News contributor Andrea Tantaros filed a complaint with the New York Supreme Court against the Fox News Network, its former president Roger Ailes and four others alleging sexual harassment.

        She claims: “Fox News masquerades as defender of traditional family values, but behind the scenes, it operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency, and misogyny.”

        Tantaros also mentions being groped by Brown in documents filed with the court.

        “On or about August 18, 2015, former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown appeared on (Fox panel show) Outnumbered.

        “Brown made a number of sexually inappropriate comments to Tantaros on set, including, and in a suggestive manner, that Tantaros “would be fun to go to a nightclub with”.

        “After the show was over, Brown snuck up behind Tantaros while she was purchasing lunch and put his hands on her lower waist. She immediately pulled back, telling Brown to ‘stop’.

        “Tantaros then immediately met with (Fox News co-president Bill) Shine to complain, asking him to ensure that Brown would never be booked on the show again. Shine said that he would talk to Scott. Thereafter, Shine and Scott ignored Tantaros’s complaint, and continued to book Brown on Outnumbered.”

        Tantaros also alleged she rejected the Ailes’ advances and was punished by being removed from Fox shows.

        Brown has denied the allegations, and the lawsuit is ongoing.

    • Yes waterboarding is one enhanced interrogation technique – there are many other ones within that category. Brown endorsed them all not just waterboarding. This is important because when you search and read the list of what they do under enhanced interrogation techniques it will turn your stomach.

  3. joe90 4

    David Dunning of Dunning-Kruger effect fame reckons Trump is the most public example of the Dunning-Kruger effect he’s ever seen. Ouch.

    In hindsight, this kind self-reflection may have been useful in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election, when mentions of Dunning-Kruger on social media reached a new high. In the beginning, many of them were in reference to the candidate Donald Trump, whose combination of over the top blustering (“My IQ is one of the highest,” he has claimed) and obvious ignorance in areas such as foreign policy struck many Twitters users as, “the personification of the Dunning-Kruger effect.”

    http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2017/01/why-donald-trump-will-be-the-dunning-kruger-president.html?

  4. dv 5

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/89560459/its-an-insult-backlash-against-trumps-pick-for-diplomatic-post-to-new-zealand

    The 57-year-old supports torture, posed nude for a photoshoot, and was named as having groped and made sexually inappropriate comments towards by former Fox News contributor Andrea Tantaros. Brown denies the allegations.

    May we should refuse to give him a visa because he is not fit and moral character.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      Does he need a visa to travel to US territory? They’d just put him in the diplomatic bag 🙂

  5. Andrew 6

    Andrew Littles handling of the Willie Jackson selection/waiver debacle has finally lost the votes of myself and my wife. I’m a middle of the road swing voter and my wife is/was true Labour (she is a union rep). I change between parties but my wife has never even thought of anything but Labour. The biggest problem for Labour is I will never vote green and she may or may not. If Andrew is still looking for the missing million he can add one maybe two more to that number.

    • Tautoko Mangō Mata 6.1

      Why will you never vote Green?

      • Andrew 6.1.1

        My personal dealings with the Greens have been arduous. I won’t go into specifics but I was left with a bad taste in my mouth.

    • Tony Veitch (not the partner-bashing 3rd rate broadcaster 6.2

      Oh, well done, Andrew. One issue, the selection of a mouth as a candidate has put you off voting Labour. Great.

      So you’d rather have another three years of the most appalling government this country has had since the last National government.

      And very likely you will not even be in the same electorate as Willie. But take your principled stand – and suffer the consequences.

      You give short-sightedness a whole new dimension!

      • Andrew 6.2.1

        It’s not one issue Tony, for me it’s the culmination of scores of issues. For my wife however, I believe it does rest on the Willie Jackson issue.

        • Bearded Git 6.2.1.1

          @ Andrew

          I would be interested to see a list of the “scores of issues” you refer to

    • Muttonbird 6.3

      I detest swing voters. They’re even worse than National voters. Swing voters are fence-sitters, without the courage or conviction to stand by their principles.

      • Andrew 6.3.1

        I have always been a swing voter, you detest me? I don’t detest you muttonbird. Do you blindly follow one party no matter what policy they do or don’t produce?
        My needs from my government have changed over the last 40 years.

        • red-blooded 6.3.1.1

          “My needs from my government have changed over the last 40 years.”

          Andrew, has it ever occurred to you to vote on the basis of others’ needs, and not just your own?

          I’m less than thrilled by the Jackson selection. I do understand the reasoning behind it, though, and I would like to hear from the guy himself. Willie, if you’re out there, how about fronting up like Greg O’Connor and putting your side of the story? I would have questions for you and I’m sure others would too.

          • Andrew 6.3.1.1.1

            Can you give an example or two of Labour policies which will help the Country. I’m struggling to find any I think would work.

          • Karen 6.3.1.1.2

            Red-blooded –
            Re Willie Jackson you may find the piece from Moana Maniapoto in today’s
            e-tangata interesting:

            http://e-tangata.co.nz/news/moana-maniapoto-the-willie-jackson-i-know

            Make sure you also read the comments esp. the one from Stephen Ihaka. I still have many reservations about Willie but without he has done a lot for poor, urban Māori over the years.

            • weka 6.3.1.1.2.1

              I’m going to try and put a post up about that in the next day or so. I disagree with her evaluation of the relative treatments of Māori and Pākehā radio hosts (but based on memory, I haven’t gone back and looked), but more interesting to me is that I read her piece as an example of how Māori handle things differently than Pākehā. More willing to forgive and be understanding of frailty and find ways of being inclusive as part of the solution.

              A lot of the arguments about WJ in the past few weeks look to me to have been (white) feminists arguing with (white) men over rape culture issues and how they play out in Pākehā cultures. Not that all the people arguing have been white, but that the discourse I saw has happened in predominantly Pākehā spaces and those values are there. If women had equitably shared power in Labour, this would have played out differently, and the whole thing is a showcase of the patriarchy within Labour, and the wider culture as much as anything. It’s the still relative powerlessness of women in Pākehā society that jumps out.

              Good to have a wahine Māori perspective just to bring that into focus as well as just hear how it looks from that side.

              One thing I am tired of though is this idea that a good person can’t be misogynistic in certain areas. We really need to get over that.

              • weka

                then there’s this, which is a very good example of exactly why so much is still made of the issue and will continue to be despite WJ’s other good works.

                “Sean Plunket
                ‏@SeanPlunket

                @etangata good piece. Way to much made of roastbusters affair willy was asking legit questions that reflected the position of many kiwis.”

              • Karen

                I agree with most of your points.

                My ongoing problem with Willie is that he still seems to play down the effect of homophobia, misogyny, rape culture etc although I do think he has more understanding now than in the past (I am mainly basing this on tweets from Alison Mau and comments made to me by a couple of Māori friends who know him well).

                He is also a bit of a loose cannon and a better talker than he is a listener. These traits can cause more problems than they solve sometimes.

        • DoublePlusGood 6.3.1.2

          Translation: I am now wealthy enough that I can afford not to give a toss about the people who are struggling to get by. The Willie Jackson issue is a smokescreen to justify to myself voting National so I can stay wealthy, even though I know deep down that National are full of far worse people than Jackson and their policies are terrible for New Zealand as a whole.

        • Ad 6.3.1.3

          Make them work for their vote Andrew.
          You do not owe it to them or to any other party.

          Labour’s got a long, long way to go before it can show it’s bringing back swing voters.
          The great majority of whom will be women.

        • mary_a 6.3.1.4

          @ Andrew (6.3.1) you state …
          “my needs from my government have changed over the last 40 years.”

          This attitude is the reason we still have a National government. People voting for THEIR personal needs, with little thought as to what’s beneficial for the nation as a whole, is what’s destroying NZ.

          If more voters gave considered attention to what’s best for their country in general, instead of themselves, NZ just might become a more egalitarian place for all Kiwis to live and enjoy.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 6.3.1.4.1

            Part of the problem is that the Right spends all its time destroying society, and then says it’s all about choice.

      • One Two 6.3.2

        The system and players are the problem…(let’s ignore those behind the curtain for now)

        And when combined with folk who believe that a regular vote equates to ‘freedom/democracy’…

        The decline rapidly increases

        Voting/voters are the problem you’re incorrectly identifying!

  6. Poission 7

    pentagon pays 500m to UK PR firm to create ministry of truth in Iraq,who would have though that?

    http://labs.thebureauinvestigates.com/fake-news-and-false-flags/

  7. Skinny 8

    Well here is an almighty one $Billion dollar Government stuff up. Joyce and Bridges are going to have egg on their faces over this;

    “Transport blogger Patrick Reynolds said the purpose of the western ring route was to provide free-flowing traffic but it had been badly designed and would open to gridlock.”

    “The reason for that is because of the failure to build parallel rapid transit. There is no busway,” Reynolds said.

    “He claimed the ramp signals were being installed because of limitations on the ventilation system in the event of traffic coming to a standstill inside the tunnels.”

    I recall Transport Minister Simon Bridges saying “the Waterview tunnel and ring route would be a faultless marvel” kind of thought at the time he would put the kiss of death on the ‘faultless’.

    Bound to be hotly debated at the Mt Albert By-Election Transport Debate next Wednesday night.

    http://m.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11803442

    • BM 8.1

      If you watch the video it says there’s dedicated bus shoulder lanes.

      • Sacha 8.1.1

        There is no separated congestion-free busway on either North-Western or South-Western motorways like the one on the Northern motorway from Albany to the Harbour Bridge.

        Buses have to merge back into clogged traffic at every overbridge where the shoulder lanes disappear. Transport agencies are only belatedly adding shoulder lanes to the SW motorway in any case.

        Seems like another very expensive stuff-up like when the SW was first connected to the Southern motorways, requiring urgent remedial work to correct problems. The whole Western Ring Route from Manukau to Albany totals $4b, yet people have been giving its sub-projects a free pass and whinging instead about the core rail link budgeted at half that amount.

    • tc 8.2

      Akl has suffered under every single national govt when it comes to transport.

      Muldoon wouldn’t finish the suburban rail network, Williamson sat by whilst Bolger and Shipley plundered the fuel and RUC charges to use elsewhere and now this mob.

      Not only has the shonky reign screwed over public transport since day 1 it’s double whammied it by flooding akl with moneyed migrants.

    • Ad 8.3

      Patrick would do well to keep his powder dry until the SH20 Waterview system actually opens. Lest he’s wrong and looks like a complete dick.

      And who would have thunk it? The interviews for the three vacant Auckland Transport Board appointments are in a matter of days.

      • Macro 8.3.1

        Ad you should know by now that it’s not too far in the future for complete gridlock in Auckland. The situation deteriorates by the day. It’s very obvious to someone who travels into the city once or twice a month, and not on a daily basis. Over the past 2 – 3 years the traffic flows have become slower and slower and gridlocks occur at anytime of the day. The opening up of SH 20 at Waterview onto SH16 will simply sift the problem from one point to another.

        • Ad 8.3.1.1

          I agree it’s getting worse – and more brittle. Only takes one crash at AM or PM peak to really throw things for an hour.

          But NZTA are not proposing SH20 Waterview as a solution to gridlock.

          • Macro 8.3.1.1.1

            Gridlocks are not necessarily caused by accidents. They invariably occur when too many vehicles all want to be in the same place at the same time – ie the roads become choked and cannot carry the number of vehicles wanting to use them. All over Auckland now this situation is occurring on a daily basis at almost any time of the day. It can take up to 2 hours now in the late afternoon to travel from Auckland airport to Pukekohe a distance of around 40 km.
            Accidents of course exacerbate the problem.

            • marty mars 8.3.1.1.1.1

              it is an interesting area of study

              • Macro

                Yes – a picture (or in this case video) is worth a thousand words.
                That is what we are now experiencing daily on Auckland’s motorways. It’s obvious that what is really needed is not more motorways. What is needed is better public transport thereby relieving the pressure on over crowed motorways.

  8. Muttonbird 9

    The Standard leading the political news with Newshub quoting directly from Greg O’Conner’s guest post.

    http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2017/02/labour-s-h-riu-candidate-greg-o-connor-takes-aim-at-critics.html

    Farrar will be spewing.

    • weka 9.1

      Heh, thanks for that.

      “Labour-aligned blog”. Hmmm. Is that them shit-stirring, or them simply not grasping what TS is? Maybe just being lazy in explaining it properly.

  9. red-blooded 10

    I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that they’re ramping up the conflict angle. The post I read was balanced and good-humoured, and the comments have had a similar tone. Hardly “taking aim at critics”. Plus the old chestnut “Labour-aligned bog”. Sigh…

    • Muttonbird 10.1

      Yep, it’s all in the headline; ‘takes aim’, ‘gun-toting’, ‘fascist cop’.

      Poor old Dan Satherley had to get the Standard to do his work for him today though.

  10. adam 11

    Got to love the out going President of Bolivia. President Correa talks to Abby Martin, about what the last 9 years have meant for him, his administration, and the people of Bolivia.

  11. adam 12

    I think I’m going to post more from this site, which I really enjoy reading. This arrived into my mail box this morning, be prepared to be challenged.

    “WE’VE ALWAYS BEEN HERE”
    ONE MUJERISTA TALKS BACK TO INTERSECTIONALITY AND WHITE FEMINISM

    https://bitchmedia.org/article/dont-let-intersectionality-be-years-buzzword/one-mujerista-lays-out-harmful-realities-white

    • The Chairman 14.1

      The defense of qualified privilege permits persons in positions of authority or trust to make statements or relay or report statements that would be considered slander and libel if made by anyone else – Wikipedia.

  12. I’m worried about these people.

    “Emotionally fragile farmers still trying to rebuild their lives after the earthquake are at breaking point, with police having to confiscate guns for fear of self-harm.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/89383876/Gun-confiscated-as-Marlborough-farmers-battle-quake-trauma

    Often we think when things have tidied up after a traumatic event that people just get on with the job. But for many it just doesn’t work like that. It can take years if not a lifetime to work through some trauma and the fallout from it. Trauma has a cascading effect into relationships, self esteem, financial issues, motivation and depression and for most it takes expert help to navigate through these very dangerous shoals.

    I know mental health resources are scarce and it can take severe behaviour to trigger them sometimes.

    I suppose what I am saying is that if you know someone who may be affected then it is worthwhile offering a compassionate ear to listen to them – it is possible to validate how they are feeling without agreeing with what they are saying eg “It must be really difficult to be feeling that way.” At the bottom of the article are the links to the support services out there – they are important and necessary for helping people and they can help people.

    Let’s try and help them if we can.

    • marty mars 15.1

      rich, poor, famous, unknown, father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, young, experienced, talented, loud, quiet – don’t be fooled into thinking some are not living in a very difficult place…

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11803773

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/wanganui-chronicle/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503426&objectid=11802202

    • mauī 15.2

      Interesting topic MM. I think people who have gone through trauma carry it with them for a long time. From what I’ve seen it’s often dealt with not by talking but its released through other outlets, violence, depression, anger, addictions. Especially men I think find it hard to discuss these/their issues and probably struggle with these things for longer.

      I’m not sure what the answers are, a free availability of all kinds of mental health care would be great, getting it out front and centre would reduce the stigma of people too scared to go for help. Maybe also having a compulsory counsellor/psychotherapist always present and available at the local doctor’s practice, so anyone can drop in and know they can get mental health help at any time. That could also help with making people aware that going to the doctor is not about just physical health too. Integrate it so noone bats an eyelid.

  13. rhinocrates 16

    Lots of attention given to Peter Thiel’s fast-tracked citizenship, so here’s a bit of context.

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/30/doomsday-prep-for-the-super-rich

    To Levchin, prepping for survival is a moral miscalculation; he prefers to “shut down party conversations” on the topic. “I typically ask people, ‘So you’re worried about the pitchforks. How much money have you donated to your local homeless shelter?’ This connects the most, in my mind, to the realities of the income gap. All the other forms of fear that people bring up are artificial.” In his view, this is the time to invest in solutions, not escape. “At the moment, we’re actually at a relatively benign point of the economy. When the economy heads south, you will have a bunch of people that are in really bad shape. What do we expect then?”

    […]

    By January, 2015, Johnson was sounding the alarm: the tensions produced by acute income inequality were becoming so pronounced that some of the world’s wealthiest people were taking steps to protect themselves. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Johnson told the audience, “I know hedge-fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway.”

    • repateet 16.1

      I read quite a bit of stuff about Peter Thiel’s citizenship. It got all political, no surprise, and there were all sorts of angles, all sorts of pros and cons and explanations.

      To sum all that up without the politics and put it into the sort of succinct reality that big business people like:

      Peter Thiel bought citizenship in New Zealand.

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