Open mike 19/09/2015

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, September 19th, 2015 - 56 comments
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For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

56 comments on “Open mike 19/09/2015”

  1. KB 1

    The worm has turned in the latest Roy Morgan Poll!

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1

      RM polls are too ‘bouncy’ for a single one to mean much. The trend is encouraging though.

  2. Jan Rivers 2

    Kia ora all,

    Conference Invitation
    People who are in, or can get to Wellington on the weekend of 9 & 10 October – 3 weeks away would enjoy Information, ethics and the public good.
    Conference info at http://bit.ly/whocanwetrust

    The mini-conference will be held at St Andrews on the Terrace church and conference centre. It follows on from one held last year titled democracy, ethics and the public good when Sandra Grey, Bronwyn Hayward and Jane Kelsey were amongst the speakers. 2014 Conference report

    This years conference has come directly out of the recommendations of last years which were that the lack of reliable information and problems with information flows to and from the media were amongst the most important challenges to NZ’s democracy. Like last year the focus is as much on participation as listening.

    If you’d like to support this but can’t come you can donate to help us cover the costs of videoing, facilitation and some of the speakers travel costs.

    The conference is part of the programme of lectures and seminars put on by the St Andrews Trust for the Study of Religion and Society and also Public Good whose kaupapa is to defend strong public services and a good quality democracy.

    • greywarshark 2.1

      Jan Rivers
      Thanks for the heads up on that conference. I hope you will get good numbers and help with donations. It is good that there are meetings for thought and discussion in other places than Auckland. I hope people will be able to go. You can get cheap hotels in the weekends in Wellington when the political tide is out. Myself I have another project on just now but will try to get to Wellington from Nelson. There are lots of airlines available for from here to there now.

  3. b waghorn 3

    There’s a couple of feel good stories on rural delivery this am (will be on tv1 delay at 8) one’s a young orchard grower that employs local and pays a living wage the other one is for Draco T B about growing pine nuts on hard country.

    • Rosie 3.1

      Noms Pine nuts! A crop we should be growing instead of importing the korean ones. Theres many years wait before the tree is mature enough to harvest, but those little beauties are worth the wait. Once you’ve had a NZ grown pine nut you’ll never go back.

      Buy NZ grown walnuts too. Support our local growers (lots of walnuts come from Canterbury) and wow yourself with their superior taste and freshness

      Is the show about pine nuts on tvnz on demand?

      Sometimes country calendar has good news shows about sustainable agricultural and cropping practices. Nice antidote to the horror stories about pollution, unsustainable irrigation and farmed animal cruelty.

        • Rosie 3.1.1.1

          It’s yourself!

          Thank you Robert. I missed that show. I’ve watched a few minutes and put it in a file to watch the rest later.

          I love what you both have done with your land. The food forest and native forest look’s like it’s bursting with life as a result of the methods you’ve used for cultivation. What an achievement!

          Lowers my blood pressure just to see all that green and hear the bird song. I live on a wasteland of a development and really do feel the loss of connection to nature. You actually feel it almost as a physical loss, because the psychological loss is so great.

          Look forward to watching the rest of the show when chores are out of the way.

        • ianmac 3.1.1.2

          I had a look today. Once traversed the TV1 On Demand (!)it was an inspirational program. Thanks Robert.

        • greywarshark 3.1.1.3

          Great to see your picture on promo on TV on Demand. Sounds great what you have done but don’t want to get on TV1 list of addresses. So can’t get access to this public service. I don’t need their sort of service, just would like to catch up on occasional archives.

  4. save NZ 4

    Dotcom case sets Crown back $5.8m

    – More corporate welfare – if the big 4 media companies were so sure he was guilty (Unlike Sony who kept out of it) why is the NZ taxpayer paying this legal tab. Shouldn’t the overseas media companies be paying the bill as this is a civil claim! Of course to make the corporate welfare work they had upgrade the charges. Hmmm – this is a good way to waste NZ taxpayers money on red herrings for the movie industry. They have the money to fight, but why should they, when John Key will get the NZ public to pick up the tab to get back at him.

    Did he even get compensation when the GCSB illegally spied on him?

  5. Tautoko Mangō Mata 5

    ISDS; privatized justice system, conflicts with human rights, rubbished in
    UN report published 17 Sept 2015

    UN expert: UN Charter and Human rights treaties prevail over free trade and investment agreements

    GENEVA (17 September 2015) – United Nations Independent Expert Alfred de Zayas today urged the UN system and Governments across the world to radically reform the international investment regime by putting an end to free trade and investment agreements that conflict with human rights treaty obligations. In his full-length report* to the Human Rights Council, he also called on States “to conduct human rights, health and environmental impact assessments before and after entering into bilateral and multilateral investment agreements.”

    “In his report the expert deplores the paradox resulting from assuming conflicting treaty obligations. “States that ratify human rights treaties also enter into agreements that prevent them from fulfilling their human rights obligations. Revision of the investment treaties must ensure that in case of conflict, human rights prevail,” he noted.

    “In the light of widespread abuse over the past decades, the Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism, which accompanies most free trade and investment agreements must be abolished as contra bonos mores, because it encroaches on the regulatory space of States and suffers from fundamental flaws including lack of independence, transparency, accountability and predictability,” he stressed.

    In his report, the expert observes that: “This dispute settlement mechanism has mutated into a privatized system of ‘justice’, incompatible with article 14(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, whereby three arbitrators are allowed to override national legislation and the judgments of the highest national tribunals, in secret and with no possibility to appeal. This constitutes a grave challenge to the very essence of the rule of law”.

    http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=16439&LangID=E

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Mr. de Zayas also recommends that the International Court of Justice issue an advisory opinion clarifying that in case of conflict between human rights treaty obligations and investment treaties, priority must be given to human rights. “Moreover those provisions of international investment agreements that violate fundamental principles of the UN Charter including State sovereignty and self-determination must be declared invalid under article 103 of the Charter, and eliminated pursuant to the doctrine of severability” he says.

      This.

      It is this that pretty much rules invalid all of the present FTAs.

  6. Penny Bright 6

    TPPA developments – we need to keep the pressure on PM John Key and Trade Minister Tim Groser!
    ————————————————————————————–

    Last ditch TPPA Ministerial in 10 days

    Press Release – Professor Jane Kelsey (17 September 2015)

    Last ditch TPPA Ministerial in 10 days – is Groser preparing to swallow the rat? Canadian officials have confirmed rumours that the trade ministers from the twelve countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) plan to meet …Last ditch TPPA Ministerial in 10 days – is Groser preparing to swallow the rat?

    Canadian officials have confirmed rumours that the trade ministers from the twelve countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) plan to meet in Atlanta, US at the end of the month in a last ditch attempt to conclude the deal. The chief negotiators are set to meet on 26 September to try to clear the ground for the politicians.

    The ministers’ meeting coincides with the UN Sustainable Development Summit when their political leaders will be together in New York, giving US President Obama the perfect opportunity to pressure John Key and the others to accept US demands, according to Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey.

    Of the three big outstanding issues – market access on automobiles and dairy and longer monopoly protections biologic medicines – autos is the only one where there have been public moves to settle the differences.

    Mexico and Canada object to a deal on autos reached by the US and Japan. The four said progress was made at a meeting this week and will meet again early next week in the US.

    ‘Whether the Atlanta ministerial would proceed without agreement on autos remains to be seen’ Professor Kelsey said. ‘Another failed ministerial would doom the negotiations. But they are between a rock and a hard place, as the controversial deal is now hostage to the US presidential election cycle and this is really their last chance to conclude it under Obama’.

    The market access issues are especially sensitive for Canada, which has an election in a month from now, but the details of the deal would not be released until after that date.

    ‘In contrast to autos, there has been no noise about dairy at all,’ Kelsey said. ‘This lends support to the view expressed to me by informed people in other countries that autos is the bigissue and once that is settled dairy is not expected to delay a final agreement.’

    ‘Put another way, Groser is expected to swallow the rat, rather than hold up the deal, and wear the flack at home by saying New Zealand couldn’t afford not to be part of the TPPA. The details of the final deal won’t be available for another 30 days so he can talk up the benefits without any facts to get in the way.’ *

    Professor Kelsey called on Minister Groser to ‘abandon his carefully ambiguous language and set out some real bottom lines on pharmaceuticals, investment, state-owned enterprises, and dairy so New Zealanders know where he stands before the secret deal-making resumes in Atlanta.’

    * New Zealand officials have confirmed inevidence to the Waitangi Tribunal that no substantive changes can be made after the negotiations are concluded. The US Fast Track law then drives the timetable. The President must give 90 days notice before signing the TPPA and the text must be made available 30 days after that – but too late to change anything in the text.
    ————————————————————————–

  7. veutoviper 7

    Could not resist reposting this for a LOL on a cold, wet Saturday.

    So – many – ponytails …

    https://twitter.com/Muntedone/status/644634520822480896

  8. RedLogix 8

    National still a pack of obdurate ideologues:

    Energy and Resources Minister, Simon Bridges, refused to answer questions over the bulbs, instead sending a statement via his private secretary Stephanie Edridge.

    It read: “The Government believes that consumer choice should be preserved, and so does not support the phasing out of whole categories of lighting. Instead, our focus has been on encouraging consumers to make informed choices about their lighting needs.”

    It stated that market share of “efficient lighting for the year ending July 2015 has reached around 27 per cent of total sales in supermarkets, where most consumers buy their lightbulbs,” but did not define efficient lighting.

    The statement said the numbers showed Government did not need to get involved.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/72167422/consumer-nz-calls-for-incandescent-bulbs-to-go

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      Of course the government needs to get involved – inefficient lighting shouldn’t be on the shelves.

      • greywarshark 8.1.1

        It happens that if you are very short of cash, had $5, and need to buy a light bulb, some bread and stuff for sandwich lunches, you will buy a bulb for $1, some white bread for $1, and have $3 for a couple of bananas and some other fillings. Buy a long-last bulb and you are lucky to have any of that $5 left. They are too dear for poor people, and will lead to a rise in candle use.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.1

          They are too dear for poor people, and will lead to a rise in candle use.

          Interestingly enough the solution to that is to get the cheap, inefficient light bulbs out of the market pushing demand for the efficient ones and thus shifting the resources used for the bad light bulbs to efficient light bulbs.

          BTW, if I had $5 and had to buy a light bulb and food I’d go hungry for a meal or two to get the efficient light bulb because I’d save more money and thus be able to get more food.

          Of course, in reality I plan it so that I don’t get into that position.

          • greywarshark 8.1.1.1.1

            DTB
            You are so wise, objective, efficientand with a touch of austerity.. Why can’t we all be like that. It’s a puzzle.

            • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.1.1.1

              /facepalm

              People need to do what they can – not try and do what they wish.

              In the mean time we try and change the system so as to eliminate poverty.

              • weka

                I think the point is that not everyone has the same choices you do.

                btw, have the pollution issues been solved with CFLs? If not, it’s just swapping one set of problems for another. What we should have done is worked towards transitioning to LEDs and then we wouldn’t have wasted all that industry on tech that too many people didn’t want to take up and that was always going to cause environmental problems. I agree with you that the govt should have regulated this process.

                edit, myself, I’d rather we had a choice, and I’d choose incandescents where appropriate and save power in other ways. But really the whole notion that we would increase efficiency via light bulb change when we ignore conservation and sustainability in almost every other area kind of makes a mockery of the conversation.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  btw, have the pollution issues been solved with CFLs?

                  Nope because we still don’t have proper recycling processes. That said, it was never really that much of a problem. A concern that should have been addressed, yes, and now that LEDs are available it probably means that we should be banning CFLs but watch as National and other idiots scream blue murder over that one.

                  Shifting over LEDs would also give us the excellent excuse to shift house lighting over to 12v DC as well thus improving safety there.

                  edit, myself, I’d rather we had a choice, and I’d choose incandescents where appropriate and save power in other ways.

                  I’m happy for people to have that choice – as long as we get to charge for the extra power that they use. I suggest a selling price of $20 each with $19 of that going to lower power prices for everyone else.

                  Or perhaps we could have it so that the price per kilowatt went up with the more you used on the basis of supply and demand. You demand more (use inefficient light bulbs) you get charged more.

                  Or, the better option, is to just ban inefficient light bulbs (it is possible to get efficient light bulbs that look like incandescent bulbs and even have similar colour).

                  And then read this article to find out why you’d never, ever buy an incandescent light bulb ever again if you were smart:

                  Of course, that same math could indeed kill the incandescent light bulb one day. While a compact fluorescent might cost you $2 each, or $13 for a 60-watt equivalent LED, they use closer to $1 a year in electricity, and since they last much longer that yearly savings can stack. The expected life of a halogen bulb is just one or two years, but compact fluorescents can sometimes make it to ten. According to manufacturer estimates, an LED bulb can last 15-20 years before it even starts to dim by a perceptible measure. That’s why savings-conscious consumers already stocked up on fluorescents years ago, and why they might pick LEDs now.

                  Going hungry for a day is worth it to buy an efficient light bulb so that you’ll eat better for years to come.

                  • greywarshark

                    Interesting DTB about DC lighting. Going hungry to afford a better light bulb is making a sacrifice for the future public good. Austerity touch.

                    But when each day there is something one has to sacrifice food as a gesture of public good, rational choice for the future you can end up with a starving child and a parent with insufficient energy to even think and cope with today. That’s the reality.

                    Going without now to make a better future is only possible if you are in the precariat and managing your way through the present with time to think and hope for a future that’s better.

                    There is a lot we don’t know about the new lighting, its effects on the human brain through changing light levels and spectrum, then there is the extra bulb cost, noticeable for multiple lights. There is a lack of information and effective regulation with new lighting being placed into old fittings some of which can be a fire hazard,

                    And not overlooking that there may be extra energy and resource required to make these bulbs. Is there a sufficiency of the raw materials for them? Will the gas in them add to greenhouse gases, or mix with other gases resulting in another problem. Perhaps we should start burning rushes again, be collecting fat from meat eating households and making old fashioned tallow candles?

                    Then there are the manufacturers statements about their efficacy. How many people know how long their bulbs last? I have marked the base of my incandescent ones and get about 6 months. How many people do that with their new bulbs, said to last four years, actually much less – who would remember, who would note the placement date?

                    And the lightness comparison doesn’t seem correct. Supposed to be 75 watt equivalent, it seems more like 60watt. I fear that we will never get a true statement of equivalence on the packets and we will end up disagreeing with scientific findings presented to us and have to go by our own findings. This could be like television advertisers saying that ads are not louder, they just sound that way because of compression (whatever that is. And don’t anyone bother to tell me –
                    I will just accept that and put my time into thinking about the news and information about the world falling to pieces round our ears.)

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Going hungry to afford a better light bulb is making a sacrifice for the future public good.

                      Actually, it was for your own personal good. And I did point out that people should plan these things so that they’re not in that position. It is possible to do that.

                      And not overlooking that there may be extra energy and resource required to make these bulbs.

                      There isn’t. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up using less.

                      Is there a sufficiency of the raw materials for them?

                      Yes – once we get recycling going properly.

                      Will the gas in them add to greenhouse gases, or mix with other gases resulting in another problem.

                      No, because the gases used in them are inert.

                      How many people do that with their new bulbs, said to last four years, actually much less – who would remember, who would note the placement date?

                      Occasionally you’ll get a bad one. I’ve personally had one last for more than ten years. The one in my bedroom is more than two years old.

                      And the lightness comparison doesn’t seem correct.

                      It’s correct. The problem seems to come from the fact that a lot of modern ones have a lot of blue light in them which looks darker to many people. If this is true for you then look for ones that have more yellow light in them (usually advertised as warm).

                      There is a lot we don’t know about the new lighting, its effects on the human brain through changing light levels and spectrum

                      Probably somewhere between zero and none.

                    • McFlock

                      Long term good.
                      Short term not-so-good.
                      That’s actually one of the prisons of poverty – you end up paying more because you can only afford to pay less at the time.

                      It’s like stocking up on cheap specials on groceries, or buying good quality (as opposed to just plain expensive) clothes, or paying the power bill early to get the discount, or getting the vehicle serviced regularly to avoid breakdowns – richer people can afford to do that, so end up spending less than poor people.

  9. Penny Bright 9

    Remember the stated reasons for the establishment of the United Nations?

    If the underpinning ‘Purposes and Principles’ were actually PRACTISED – would there be such an international refugee crisis happening now?

    As New Zealand is currently a member of the UN Security Council – what steps are being taken to advocate, promote, implement and enforce the following underpinning ‘Purposes and Principles’ of the UN Charter?
    —————————————————————————

    CHAPTER I: PURPOSES AND PRINCIPLES

    Article 1

    The Purposes of the United Nations are:

    To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;

    To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;

    To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and

    To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.

    Article 2

    The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles.

    The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.

    All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.

    All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.

    All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

    All Members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action.

    The Organization shall ensure that states which are not Members of the United Nations act in accordance with these Principles so far as may be necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security.

    Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter Vll.

  10. Chooky 10

    ‘Obama’s Syria’

    https://www.rt.com/shows/crosstalk/315495-syria-war-isis-rise/

    “Ending Syria’s horrific civil war is possible, but the political will to do so remains elusive. Over the years the facts on the ground have changed in Syria – with the rise of the Islamic State being the deadliest new reality. But Washington and its regional allies remain focused on an illegal regime change in Damascus. The west is fighting the wrong war and will surely lose the peace.

    CrossTalking with Kapil Komireddi, Scott Bennett, and Richard Murphy.”

  11. Olwyn 12

    Sigh. I take it some developer or other has their eye on Jollie St in Christchurch. McGehan Close, Madeline Ave, now the whole of Glen Innes – the list goes on. The subtext is always the same – this place will be lovely once we remove the scary poor people. They could basically have a standard form newspaper article ready for download and just change the street name as each one becomes ripe for middle class/developer colonisation:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/72095461/life-in-jollie-st-you-wouldnt-last-a-week

  12. Draco T Bastard 13

    The Allure of an Ad-Free Internet

    The rise of ad blockers isn’t just a clash of sensibilities, though. The major leaders in tech are all trying to leverage their advantages at the expense of their competitors. “So it’s Apple vs. Google vs. Facebook, all with their own revenue platforms,” Nilay Patel wrote, in his article for The Verge. “Google has the web, Facebook has its app, and Apple has the iPhone.” It’s also no mistake, as Newitz pointed out, that Apple starting allowing ad blockers on the same operating system that features a news app that can’t be deleted from people’s homescreens.

    Bold mine.

    Can’t say I’m surprised by Apple’s tactics there. It’s pretty much the end of ‘competition’ where each ‘player’ is out to destroy the others rather than working together to develop better products.

    I use ad blockers. I’m paying for my bandwidth and not the advertisers. I’m also against ads anyway as I view them as psychopathic manipulation of the people and thus think that they should be banned. There has got to be a better business model than manipulation.

    • gsays 13.1

      hi draco
      “I’m also against ads anyway as I view them as psychopathic manipulation of the people and thus think that they should be banned. There has got to be a better business model than manipulation.”

      amen brother.

      minutemen “fuck advertising,
      psychological methods to sell,
      should be destroyed.
      let the products sell themselves.”

      and don mcglashan re ads,
      “with their enticements and their threats.”

      i feel the same as you have described, and that is partly why i have kicked the habbit of ugly fm,newspapers and most tv.

    • Kevin 13.2

      And where does iOS force you to use that news app? I have used iOS for around 7 years and never used it.

      • Draco T Bastard 13.2.1

        Have you removed it from your homescreen?

        But to answer your question: I didn’t say anything about force did I moron?

      • lprent 13.2.2

        It has always been there. However it has become mandatory on iOS9 which got released some time last week. It was a bloody nuisance as I was direct updating an inhouse app (that I’d fixed bugs in) on a pile of iPod touch. That useless behemoth iTunes kept prompting me for each of them about an upgrade to the iOS.

        Takes about 4 minutes to boot a iPod, update the app, check that it works, and shut it down. Takes about 15 minutes to update the iOS.

    • lprent 13.3

      One of the problems with the Apple ad blocker is that it also blocks trackers like google analytics, sitemeter, and wordpress stats.

      We depend on those for figuring out loads. I can tolerate robots that do that because I have many mechanisms to limit their access and cut them off. At present the only limits on humans are the numbers of pages per minute and no cutoff, just a throttle. The reason that works is because trackers allow the databases for not-humans to be updated automatically. They don’t execute the JavaScript. If we lose the trackers, then we lose that ability.

      To keep loadings under control, I will probably set up a JavaScript feedback system that looks like a tracker and eliminate anything that doesn’t use it apart from google, natlib, and wayback.

      Bye bye new safari users and a whole lot of bots. It lowers my costs and eliminate a browser that just became threatening to the net – safari heads off to extinction.

      I couldn’t give a damn if apple eliminates ads. But when they start eliminating something useful for our site, then they can get stuffed.

      • Sacha 13.3.1

        “the Apple ad blocker … also blocks trackers like google analytics, sitemeter, and wordpress stats.”

        Ridiculous. Richly deserve your response.

  13. greywarshark 14

    There was a Radionz report on what it is like on a small poor Greek island getting an influx of refugees whose bags and their resources have been thrown over the side by their ferry masters – to fit the maximum people in without sinking.

    I have just put $20 into helping through Give-A-Little. I have some big bills to pay but thought I’d keep feeding money in to various money ports set up by communities to go direct to their needs, toilet paper, feeding bottles, food, footwear, probably spades to dig graves, drinking water bottles, sanitary pads? You name it the refugees will need it – except clothes they have plenty. It is better to give money at this time from here. And Greece is still trying to run a country and may have to charge duty on gift parcels which no-one will be able to pay.
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/201770839
    09:05 New Zealander on front line of refugee crisis in Greece
    As Europe fails to reach an agreement over how to share the burden of the massive flow of asylum seekers out of Syria and Iraq, we meet Christchurch woman Anne Tee, who has lived on the tiny Greek island of Leros for 25 years. Leros has been inundated by refugees, mostly from Syria, and Anne is co-ordinating volunteer aid to them.Just yesterday a boat from Turkey sank off the nearby island of Farmakonisi – the BBC are reporting that 34 people drowned, amongst them four babies and 11 children.

    Give a little: Help a Kiwi care for Syrian refugees in Leros, Greece

  14. Draco T Bastard 15

    From the What you already knew but were too afraid to believe file:

    Secret Pentagon Report Reveals US “Created” ISIS As A “Tool” To Overthrow Syria’s President Assad

    But it’s one thing to speculate; it’s something entirely different to have hard proof.

    And while speculation was rife that just like the CIA-funded al Qaeda had been used as a facade by the US to achieve its own geopolitical and national interests over the past two decades, so ISIS was nothing more than al Qaeda 2.0, there was no actual evidence of just this.

    That may all have changed now when a declassified secret US government document obtained by the public interest law firm, Judicial Watch, shows that Western governments deliberately allied with al-Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups to topple Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad.

    According to investigative reporter Nafeez Ahmed in Medium, the “leaked document reveals that in coordination with the Gulf states and Turkey, the West intentionally sponsored violent Islamist groups to destabilize Assad, despite anticipating that doing so could lead to the emergence of an ‘Islamic State’ in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

    Newly-Declassified U.S. Government Documents: The West Supported the Creation of ISIS

    Yes, you read that correctly:

    … there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime ….

    In other words, the powers supporting the Syrian opposition – the West, our Gulf allies, and Turkey wanted an Islamic caliphate in order to challenge Syrian president Assad.

    Apparently our troops are over there to help stop the allies that the US built up to topple Assad.

  15. adam 16

    I’m so slow – I was sent this a couple of days ago.

    Are people seeing this?

    Not, bad. Not bad at all.

    https://leapmanifesto.org/en/the-leap-manifesto/

  16. joe90 17

    Like the tobacco companies and their research, the oil industry knew decades ago about the potential for disaster.

    At a meeting in Exxon Corporation’s headquarters, a senior company scientist named James F. Black addressed an audience of powerful oilmen. Speaking without a text as he flipped through detailed slides, Black delivered a sobering message: carbon dioxide from the world’s use of fossil fuels would warm the planet and could eventually endanger humanity.

    “In the first place, there is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels,” Black told Exxon’s Management Committee, according to a written version he recorded later.

    It was July 1977 when Exxon’s leaders received this blunt assessment, well before most of the world had heard of the looming climate crisis.

    http://insideclimatenews.org/news/15092015/Exxons-own-research-confirmed-fossil-fuels-role-in-global-warming

  17. The lost sheep 18

    A survey of 2,000 people found that Mr Corbyn’s election as Labour leader has made one in five people who voted for his party at the May general election more likely to vote Conservative next time. Some 37 per cent of Labour voters say they are less likely to back the party at the next election.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-corbyn-loses-a-fifth-of-labour-voters-with-critics-already-plotting-to-oust-leftwinger-10508584.html

  18. Katipo 19

    A long but interesting review of a book by Kevin M. Kruse
    ‘One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America’
    The secret history of the 1950s Christian right and its zeal for capitalism.
    http://www.democracyjournal.org/38/laissez-prayer.php?page=all

  19. North 20

    Apologies in advance folks for being a prick but just talking on phone with a right-wing-ish mate in Aux (not by philosophy or considered application…….by default really) – prosaic Aux media type if you know what I mean.

    Me: “Donald Trump reminds me of one of those blow-up plastic fuck dolls……mouth all circular and ready for use.”

    My mate (belly laughing): “You’re right you’re right !”

    Anyone else ?

    I’m afraid that even if I was a coiffed, silver-haired, Viagra spruiked, Mid-West, GOP arsehole…….like the fruit loop who told Old Fuck Mouth that Obama’s a Muslim, that vision would haunt me……

  20. Tautoko Mangō Mata 21

    So the EU don’t like the current ISDS setup and have proposed changes.
    Will the TPPA be rushed through with the existing ISDS system (with its faults pointed out in the link in my comment #5) or will they take the time to look at alternatives, like those proposed below.

    European Commission publishes draft investment chapter for the TTIP, including investment protection provisions and the establishment of an International Investment Court

    “The proposed new Investment Court system

    The Commission proposes the establishment of a new court system to resolve disputes under the TTIP, to be comprised of a Tribunal of First Instance (to be called the “Investment Tribunal”) and an Appeal Tribunal.

    The Investment Tribunal would consist of 15 judges appointed jointly by the EU and US governments, with 5 EU nationals, 5 US nationals and 5 nationals of other countries. This standing body of judges would be appointed for a six-year term, renewable once. Tribunals would be appointed at random from the 15 members with no party influence over who would hear any case, although always comprised of one EU, one US and one third party tribunal member (with the third party member as chair). However, the disputing parties could agree on a sole arbitrator (to be appointed out of the 5 nationals of third countries). Once appointed, the tribunal would resolve the dispute under the rules chosen by the investor in the case in question from the ICSID rules, UNCITRAL rules or “any other rules agreed by the disputing parties”.

    The permanent Appeal Tribunal would be comprised of six members, each appointed for a six year term, with two EU and two US nationals, and a further two nationals of third countries. The Appeal Tribunal would have a President and Vice-President selected only from the nationals of third countries. The composition of each Appeal Tribunal would be “random and unpredictable” (albeit that each tribunal would need an EU, US and third country national). The Appeal Tribunal would be there to ensure that there (to quote the Commission) “could be no doubt as to the legal correctness of the decisions of [first instance] tribunals“. There would be strict time limits for the parties to appeal an award (90 days from issuance) and for the appeal proceedings themselves (usually not to exceed 180 days from notification of appeal to decision, but subject to a longstop of 270 days).

    All judges of the Investment and Appeal Tribunals would be required to have high technical and legal qualifications, including having demonstrated expertise in public international law. They would also be subject to strict ethical rules under Article 11 and a Code of Conduct under Annex II. In particular, Article 5 of Annex II requires that they “shall not be influenced by self-interest, outside pressure, political considerations, public clamour, loyalty to a Party or disputing party, or fear of criticism“. They would be prohibited from taking on work as counsel on any investment disputes under the TTIP or any other agreement.”

    http://hsfnotes.com/arbitration/2015/09/18/european-commission-publishes-draft-investment-chapter-for-the-ttip-including-investment-protection-provisions-and-the-establishment-of-an-international-investment-court/

    • Tautoko Mangō Mata 21.1

      This is the way an agreement should be attained- by openly discussing the terms and rules of the agreement in the way that the European Commission has published this draft investment chapter for discussion.
      The secrecy of the TPPA has been a total abuse of process. Sure, there are some aspects that needed to be treated in a confidential manner, but the blanket secrecy and shutting out of any public input (as if the public are not stakeholders when their sovereignty is being threatened) is downright shameful.

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