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Open Mike 19/12/2016

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, December 19th, 2016 - 170 comments
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170 comments on “Open Mike 19/12/2016”

  1. Jenny 1

    The Trump, Putin, Assad, axis.

    Don’t support fascism.

    While the extreme Right and the extreme Left write posts in support of Assad;s genocide and incite murder against the First Responders known as the White Helmets.

    On Saturday in Auckland a protest rally by Syrian refugees and their supporters, protesting the ongoing genocide being conducted by the regime, and in Solidarity with the besieged citizens of Aleppo, were confronted by a small group of counter-protesters draped in Russian flags and wearing “Make America Great Again” baseball caps.


    • Paul 1.1

      The White Helmets are not the charitable organisation they appear to be.
      Again a wee bit of research would uncover this, Jenny.
      Do you know who founded this group? Easy to find out.
      Yet you persist in disseminating propaganda.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1

        Googling is not “research”. You are not the arbiter of truth.

      • Jenny 1.1.2

        I notice Paul, that you didn’t post to any of the links to some of the notorious pro-regime posts, that incite violence and murder against the Syrian First Responders known as the “White Helmets”.

        Maybe it is because, the main reason that supporters of the regime like yourself, give for rationalising these attacks, is that the White Helmets accept money from the US.

        Maybe you could extend the same rational to the bombing of hospitals, that because hospitals also take charity from Western countries they also deserved to be bombed.

        Syrian Solidarity NZ is also fund raising to send money to the White Helmets, maybe you could also use this as an excuse for inciting murder against the White Helmets.

        • Paul

          @aob I agree with you. Neither Jenny, yourself or I are the the arbiter of truth on this issue. There is a fog of propaganda operating in both directions ( as in all wars) to persuade people of the rights of their cause.

          Jenny says ‘Don’t support fascism.’
          I shall allow readers to decide whether groups like Al Nusra, Al Qaeda and ISIS are anti-Fascist and therefore what is the ‘truth’.

      • Psycho Milt 1.1.3

        The White Helmets are not the charitable organisation they appear to be.

        However, they are the first-response emergency service they appear to be, which is a good thing because the people you’re posting propaganda for have been giving them a great deal to do.

        • mauī

          Watching the White Helmets mannequin challenge video should ring alarm bells.

          • Paul

            SCD was started by James Le Mesurier, a former British Army officer and private security consultant, in early 2013,while working as Director of the Syria Civil Defence support programme at the UAE consultancy Analysis, Research and Knowledge (ARK). SCD claims to be a neutral and impartial humanitarian NGO, with no official affiliation to any political or military actor and a commitment to render services to any in need regardless of sect or political affiliation. Like all NGOs operating in opposition-controlled areas, SCD negotiates humanitarian access with organizations such as local councils, provincial councils, and armed groups, with relationships varying widely from governorate to governorate.

          • Psycho Milt

            Watching the White Helmets mannequin challenge video should ring alarm bells.

            Why? All those newsreels from all sides in WW2 showing “our brave lads” attacking enemy positions were staged for propaganda purposes – so far, no historian’s suggested this proves that the armies involved were fake and no fighting actually occurred.

            The people spreading regime propaganda about the White Helmets being a fake emergency service have a big logical hurdle to get over: Aleppo actually is having the shit bombed out of it by the regime and its patrons, civilians are thereby being killed, injured and/or trapped in the rubble, and somebody is digging them out and getting them to the city’s hospitals. What’s the compelling case for people other than the White Helmets being the ones doing it?

            • Paul

              The ‘White Helmets’ Controversy

              Across the mainstream Western media, the “White Helmets” are hailed as heroic first responders rescuing injured civilians in rebel-controlled parts of Syria. The U.K. Guardian and The Independent urged the Nobel Committee to award this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the “White Helmets.” As it turned out, they didn’t get that one, but they did receive the prestigious 2016 “Right Livelihood Award.”

              On the U.S. side of the Atlantic, the “White Helmets” are treated with similar uncritical acclaim. They were the subject of the Oct. 17 TIME magazine cover story. Netflix has released a special “documentary” movie about them. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has gushed over them for years, helping the group’s one-sided depiction of events inside Syria shape the pro-rebel narrative that is pretty much all the American and European publics hear about Syria.

              The “White Helmets” symbol, expropriating the name of “Syria Civil Defense.”
              The “White Helmets” symbol, expropriating the name of “Syria Civil Defense.”
              And, this love-fest is not just confined to establishment media. DemocracyNow! ran a puff piece interview with the White Helmet infomercial directors. The Intercept published an uncritical promotion of the “White Helmets” and the group’s controversial leader. Codepink recommended the Netflix movie (though after receiving criticism about the endorsement, the anti-war group removed it).

              Yet, despite the favorable “group think” regarding the “White Helmets” – and more broadly about the rebel cause in Syria – there is another side to the story, including the fact that the “White Helmets” are not just some well-meaning Syrians who emerged to help all civilians suffering from the five years of war.

              Not only do they only operate in rebel-controlled areas but they are a source of propaganda about the war, indeed their very existence is an element in the larger propaganda campaign to rally international support for a “regime change” war in Syria. The “White Helmets” brand was conceived and directed by a New York-based marketing company named “The Syria Campaign,” which itself was “incubated” by a larger politically oriented marketing company called Purpose.

              Along with managing the online and social media promotion of the White Helmets, the Syria Campaign has parallel efforts in support of “regime change” in Syria. One of these efforts has been to criticize United Nations and humanitarian relief organizations that supply aid to displaced persons living in areas protected by the Syrian government.

              “The allegations made by the Syria Campaign and others were written by people who know nothing about the UN and how it must work,” according to an NGO worker operating in Damascus.

              For more, read here….

              The ‘White Helmets’ Controversy

          • Paul

            Clearly not for PM.

        • Paul

          Do you call Robert Fisk and Patrick Cockburn propaganda?

          • Psycho Milt

            More like “Assad-regime propaganda cranked up as the battle for Aleppo comes to an end.”

            You post that steaming turd of a piece and then try to claim you’re not promoting regime propaganda? Seriously?

            Consider this: the groups the USA and its cronies were fighting in Iraq 13 years ago included many very evil people responsible for some terrible crimes. For some people in the West, that was the most significant information that needed to be provided about the conflict. They were wrong, just as you are wrong now.

            • Broze

              What is your standard operational definiton of ‘evil’ ? Uruguay 1964-1970 ?

            • garibaldi

              Sorry PM we seem to be forgetting that the Americans are squeaky clean and that we should all pay heed to Hillary’s American Exceptualism.

              • Paul

                And they never ever lie to us…..

              • Sorry PM we seem to be forgetting that the Americans are squeaky clean and that we should all pay heed to Hillary’s American Exceptualism.

                Oh, right – it’s all the Americans fault. Something bad’s happening, so it must be their fault one way or another, if we just dig deep enough and go back far enough. After all, it’s just beyond comprehension that this could be about the Assad regime, Russia and Iran destroying east Aleppo with its people still inside it – those are the good guys, so it must be someone else’s fault.

            • Paul

              “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

              Many were fooled by the WMD lie.
              Most learnt from it.

      • reason 1.1.4

        I enjoy and appreciate Pauls links and postings ….

        Here’s one back for him …..

        Trigger warning for butchered and bombed children …

        Shows the truth of war ……

        … and an older doco showing different children ,,,, but the same country killing, burning and maiming them/ http://johnpilger.com/videos/do-you-remember-vietnam-

        • Psycho Milt

          So, if I understand this correctly, you think stuff the US has done in other countries is somehow relevant to what the Assad regime, Iran and Russia are doing in Syria? Or do you just like to post links at random?

          • Paul

            Of course the events in Syria are connected to what happened in Iraq and Libya. If only you read more widely.

            • Psycho Milt

              So, just links at random then.

              • Paul

                You struggle with viewing as well as reading?

                • I was being kind. If these links aren’t contributed at random, we’ve reached the level of tin-hattery in which people post links about “the GREAT Muammar Gadaffi” and America’s secret plan to invade seven countries, thinking they’re contributing something relevant.

                  • Paul

                    General Wesley Clark seems a fairly reliable witness.

                    From wikipeida.

                    Wesley Kanne Clark, Sr. (born December 23, 1944) is a retired General of the United States Army. He graduated as valedictorian of the class of 1966 at West Point and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford, where he obtained a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He later graduated from the Command and General Staff College with a master’s degree in military science. He spent 34 years in the U.S. Army, receiving many military decorations, several honorary knighthoods, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

                    Clark commanded Operation Allied Force in the Kosovo War during his term as the Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO from 1997 to 2000.

                    Clark joined the 2004 race for the Democratic Party presidential nomination as a candidate in 2003, but withdrew from the primary race in 2004, after winning the Oklahoma state primary, endorsing and campaigning for the eventual Democratic nominee, John Kerry. Clark leads a political action committee, “WesPAC”, which he formed after the 2004 primaries and used to support Democratic Party candidates in the 2006 midterm elections. Clark was considered a potential candidate for the Democratic nomination in 2008, but, on September 15, 2007, endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton. After Clinton dropped out of the presidential race, Clark endorsed the then-presumptive Democratic nominee, Barack Obama.

                    • First, my standard attempt to educate you: argument from authority is a logical fallacy and you should stop doing it.

                      Yes, Clark seems a fairly reliable witness. No doubt there was talk in the Pentagon of invading Iraq as far back as 2001, and no doubt the loons advising Bush Jr came up with a range of contingency plans that included wholesale invasions of Middle East countries they weren’t happy with. However, only the Iraq disaster went into production and none of the loons Clark is talking about have been in positions of influence for a decade, so at issue here is why you feel this interview is somehow relevant to the thread it appears on.

                    • Paul

                      I give up.
                      Psycho Milt knows more than everyone else who is an expert.

          • reason

            No You’ve misunderstood me Psycho Milt ….. My point is war butchers children in the cruelest and most evil of ways and to a large extent it is hidden from us ….

            If Anzac day showed posters of innocent children with their jaws blown off and severed limbs dangling by skin as in the video I posted up the glory would soon go out of it…. it is the ultimate crime

            Being lead by liars cheats and psychopaths has been a large part of the problem for humanity …..

            Two wars based on lies and manipulation have been unmitigated disasters for the children and people of both Iraq and Libya …. Yemen is also a country of death and starvation for them.

            I’d like to see less wholesale slaughter anywhere with more justice everywhere …. harder faster, even with smart bombs, will make things worse in the middle east …..

            Rather than more war for freedom and democracy …..an easier answer without the broken bodies of children would be for the west to be less corrupt ……

            Wage war on the bankers and accountants who launder the stolen and plundered funds of corrupt dictators and regimes which enables them to buy weapons, fund militias and stay in power.

            Bankers and the financial system are more of a threat than any Russians … They also help fuel russian corruption with 50% of it’s wealth hidden/ stashed “offshore” ….

            Prosecute multinationals more severely if their business activities result in killings or displacement by corrupt states or officials

            Less tolerance of brutal killers anywhere……. and war crime prosecutions instead of trade deals with tax haven help on the side which is how things are presently done …… https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/07/28/indonesia-indicted-general-unfit-cabinet-post


            A interesting doco involving Lockerbie and Libya … they tried to kill Gaddafi back then ….. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0B5hv6scbBo

        • Paul

          Vietnam…when journalists did their job.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2

      As the Grand Wizard emboldens his followers, they’ll pose an increasing threat to society, and will not hesitate to use violence when it suits them.

      The SIS and GCSB will be looking the wrong way. The media will not refer to them as terrorists.

      • Psycho Milt 1.2.1

        On the plus side, the loonier fringes of the right and left are starting to look remarkably similar so the SIS and GCSB might well end up investigating the right-wing loonies by accident.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Watching the video in the link, I began to wonder about the two “counter-demonstrators” – the two yelling at 1:59 – ACT on campus? Young Nats? Comedians? Can anyone tell the difference?

        • Provocateur

          By accident ? That is what they are *paid* to do.

    • Broze 1.3

      ‘ .. as one very observant Twitter user searching for the origin story behind the viral #StandWithAleppo campaign has since discovered, Becky Carroll and Wendy Widom, the “two ordinary moms” who launched the campaign, are anything but ordinary.’


    • adam 1.4

      If ISIS and Assad are the enemy, then why is this happening?


      P.S. The government has done the same here, so no thinking of going to help the Kurd’s folks – that would put you in jail if you return.

      P.P.S. she also has a bounty on her head from ISIS.


    • Brigid 1.5

      If you really want to know the truth Jenny, you could watch Vanessa Beeley’s video. And then you could read and watch everything else she’s published since reporting from Syria.

      “[Had he ever heard or seen the #WhiteHelmets]
      No! Never I never saw them.”

      https://www.facebook.com/vanessa.beeley/videos/10155906961623868/NUSRA FRONT HAD THEIR OWN CIVIL DEFENCE. #WhiteHelmets

      Hanano, East #Aleppo. Interview with civilian queuing for food in the recently liberated area of East Aleppo. This area had been liberated two days before we visited by the Syrian Arab Army and their allies.

      This is one more of dozens of testimonies describing the joy at being liberated and re-united with families in West Aleppo and freedom from being starved, beaten and tortured by the NATO and Gulf State terrorists.

      Transcript [paraphrased in parts]

      “Life under occupation was not the same for everyone, for those close to the terrorists life was good. Sometimes the terrorists wanted to gain support so they would give money and food just so people would go with them. They would give them aid and food destined for the Syrian people, but they took over it and distributed it.

      The terrorist group controlling everything was Nusra Front [Al Qaeda in Syria] The rest of the factions were working under Nusra Front control.

      [Talking about the SAA liberation] Is there anything sweeter than coming back home? This is the most beautiful feeling anyone can ever have. I prefer to have my house back and to put a tent on the ruins of my home rather than living away from my home.

      [points to children in the queue] I have children like these

      [Had he ever heard or seen the #WhiteHelmets] No! Never I never saw them.

      [Were there any paramedics available] We the people of Aleppo we are brought up to help each other so if we saw our brothers and our relatives being injured we would help them nobody else.

      The terrorists had their own civil defence. Sometimes they would help civilians but most of the time they were working with the terrorists.

      They were wearing clothes that said “Civil Defence”

      • Paul 1.5.1

        Vanessa Beeley is a British investigative journalist focused on the Middle East. On her return from Syria in September 2016, she reported how 600,000 people moved from East to West Aleppo to take refuge when the NATO-backed rebels attacked the city in 2012.

        Vanessa Beeley is clear that Syria’s White Helmets, lauded in the West as a group of volunteer first-responders, funded by the US, Britain and others to the tune of $100 million and nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, are nothing but terrorists. She accuses the White Helmets of stealing ambulances and fire engines, and even killing Syria’s real Civil Defence officials

        Another link to Vanessa Beeley’s video.

      • Bill 1.5.2

        Very white helmets. Y’know, just an observation in relation to any builders wearing hard hats who I see as I pass any building site….

      • Psycho Milt 1.5.3

        If you really want to know the truth Jenny, you could watch Vanessa Beeley’s video. And then you could read and watch everything else she’s published since reporting from Syria.

        She and Eva Bartlett were there on behalf of the Assad regime. “Independent” journalists don’t get Syrian government assistance to report from Aleppo. Assad’s shills do, though, and both of these shills peddle his propaganda to gullible suckers on the right and left. It would be nice if people would stop promoting it on this blog.

        • Paul

          So how come the White Helmets got special access in East Aleppo when all other independent journalists and aid workers got their throats cut?
          The White Helmets were there on behalf of some shady organisations, supported by the US and others wanting regime change.

          • Psycho Milt

            So how come the White Helmets got special access in East Aleppo when all other independent journalists and aid workers got their throats cut?

            Uh, duh-uh – because the White Helmets are working for the rebel groups in east Aleppo, just like the Syrian Civil Defence gets “special access” to the government-held areas because it’s working for the Assad regime. And most of them don’t need “special access” because they live there.

        • Paul

          Is Patrick Cockburn an Assad shill?

        • Paul

          Is Robert Fisk an Assad shill?

        • Paul

          Is Peter Oborne and Assad shill?

        • Brigid

          “She and Eva Bartlett were there on behalf of the Assad regime”
          And you know that…. how?
          Psycho Milt aka Jenny.

        • Provocateur

          .. so what exactly is your involvement in Syria ?

    • Paul 1.6

      Syrian Government Gives Evidence of ‘Rebels’ Using Mustard Gas Against Civilians

      ‘Just when you thought things could not get any worse for the US State Dept’s dynamic trio of John Kerry, Samantha Power and John Kirby, and President Obama too – another damning piece of evidence surfaces which implicates Western and Gulf state-backed “moderate rebels” in Syria.
      Documents containing evidence of chemical weapons use by ‘rebel’ terrorists have been handed over to the Technical Secretariat of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) international mission in Damascus.
      The attack in question is said to have involved the use of Mustard Gas and took place near the village of Maarat Umm Hawsh village in Aleppo province back in September.
      Numerous other incidents of ‘rebel’ militants using chemical weapons have been documented in Syria, even by the OPCW, but unfortunately, the only reports the US and its allies seem to interested in are those which implicate the “Assad Regime.”’


    • Paul 1.7

      “Moderate rebels” torch buses in Aleppo evacuating civilians

      ‘Demonstrating again their relentless sectarian agenda Al-Qaeda led Jihadis attack and burn buses tasked with evacuating Shiite fighters and civilians from besieged Shiite villages despite this putting the withdrawal of Jihadi fighters and civilians in Aleppo in jeopardy.

      This incident reveals a number of important truths about the Syrian conflict.

      The first is that the Western media is actually reporting it. The probable reason for that is that with the end of the fighting in Aleppo Western journalists are at last able to go there and to report on the spot. Though most of them doubtless remain intensely hostile to the Syrian government, the mere fact that they are now engaged in some actual on the spot reporting means that the coverage has suddenly become fractionally more balanced and nuanced.

      More importantly, this episode shows who is really responsible for the suffering of civilians in Aleppo, and who is intent on pursuing a murderous and fanatical sectarian agenda in Syria.

      Though the Western media failed to report the fact, the Russians and the Syrian government have offered since the summer to allow the Al-Qaeda led Jihadis and the civilians in eastern Aleppo who want to leave to withdraw peacefully from eastern Aleppo. The negotiations between the Russians and the US which were underway from June to early December were focused on that goal. In early September the Kerry-Lavrov agreement appeared to provide for it.’


      • Psycho Milt 1.7.1

        It does show a few things.

        It shows that the Iranians’ hijacking of the ceasefire deal had some unintended consequences. (The Iranians were unhappy that Turkey and Russian negotiated an evacuation deal for the rebels instead of letting Iranian militias carry out the liquidations they were hoping to – that’s why the militias blocked the first convoy of buses out until Iran got its own deal, including for the evacuation of these two villages. Of course, the guys besieging the village aren’t part of the same crew as the fighters in Aleppo, so perhaps don’t feel obliged to accept the Iranians’ terms).

        It also shows that Paul reads some incredibly dodgy propaganda sites and posts links to them.

    • One Two 1.8

      Jenny, if you are prepared to believe the narrative surrounding the White Helmets being ‘good guys’ all you claim to stand up for is clocked in slime

      There are numerous angles surrounding the situation in Syria which are not as they are being told, but the lies about the White Helmets, who funds them and what they actually are…is hard to ignore

      Are you aware there is a Syrian Civil Defense force who are internationally recognised for more than 50 years?

      The position you take on this, is terribly misguided

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    Sun Tzu concludes that to neglect the use of spies is nothing less than a crime against humanity.

    Can the CIA’s public statements be trusted? Sometimes.

    Our Reference tab includes: maps of the major world regions, as well as Flags of the World, a Physical Map of the World, a Political Map of the World, a World Oceans map, and a Standard Time Zones of the World map.

    As for the Grand Wizard, if he’s Putin’s puppet, it’s neither hype nor hysteria, and he hasn’t de-escalated a damn thing: he’s opened up two new fronts, one agin China and the other against science.

    Edit: this was in response to a comment which was deleted (?) in the meantime, to the effect that the Democrats/Wall St./Military want perpetual war and Trump will “interrupt” it.

    • garibaldi 2.1

      Apologies AOB. I deleted my thoughts on the issue because of lack of evidence…. the very thing I am opposed to!

  3. Morrissey 3

    George Zimmerman and virtually every murdering cop gets away with it,
    but mass murderer Dylan Roof has been found guilty on every single count.


    Luckily the trial wasn’t in Florida, otherwise Dylan Roof might be out on the streets again. If that HAD happened, there’d be one “liberal” New Zealand commentator in full support of the acquittal….

    Open mike 19/07/2013

  4. ianmac 4

    This makes great sense to me:
    I have always wondered how people decide who to vote for.
    Here is Danyl Mclauchlan well considered article on Spinoff

    “The eminent American political scientists Chris Achen and Larry Bartels estimate that about 3% of voters in western democracies cast their votes based on policy and ideology, and that these are all members of ‘the political class’: party members, activists, intellectuals etc. Everyone else – ie, for electoral purposes, everyone – is interested in and motivated by other factors. The economy, famously, is one; the personality of the party leader and the ability of voters to trust and identify with that leader is another.”

    I always wondered.

    • Whispering Kate 4.1

      Ianmac – that spinoff article explaining Key is the best I have ever read. What a tosser the man was and he will probably always win at everything he does and like the article says, leave some poor sucker to pick up the pieces of his work he never did after he has buggered off. We are better off without him – Duncan Garner said the other day he is old news – he is absolutely correct. Easily forgotten.

    • ropata 4.2

      McLaughlan is amazingly perceptive and a huge asset to the Greens. I liked his insight into the counterintuitive nature of money and how the banker class go about investing and divesting. Making money is just an intellectual game to these guys.

  5. Paul 5

    China and the United States on the Brink of Nuclear War?

  6. Paul 6

    I have just read a fascinating article by Paul Craig Roberts. He’s not someone you’d expect to be criticising the US, as he was once in Reagan’s administration. Therefore his point of view on the events in America at the moment is very inetresting.

    Here is his most recent article.

    The Striking Audacity of the Coup-in-Process

    Unsubstantiated stories have been planted throughout the presstitute media by anonymous CIA officials that Donald Trump’s electoral victory was the result of Russian intervention. This absurd claim has now been elevated to the even more absurd claim that Putin himself oversaw and even conducted the manipulation of the US presidential election.

    No evidence has been provided for these amazing claims. The presstitutes are reporting unsubstantiated wild accusations that portend both a constitutional crisis in the US and a crisis with Russia. We know that the presstitutes lie. The presstitutes lied when they reported contrary to the weapons inspectors in Iraq that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. They lied about fake evidence of yellowcake and alumninum tubes. They lied about Saddam Hussein’s al-Qaeda connections. They lied about Iranian nukes despite the unanimous report of all US intelligence agencies that Iran had abandoned interest in nuclear weapons years ago. The presstitutes lied about Assad using chemical weapons against the Syrian people. They lied about Gadaffi. They lied about Russian invasion of Ukraine. They lied about the cause of the Russian/Georgian conflict. They lied about the Sochi Olympics. Now the presstitutes are claiming that Russian interference determined the outcome of the US presidential election and the Brexit vote.

    As a result of the prestitutes’ lies, millions of peoples have been killed and dislocated. This blood is all on the heads of the American media. So we know for a proven fact that the US media has no integrity and no conscience.

    Now the presstitutes have surpassed their previous level of criminality. They are part and parcel of fomenting a coup against the president-elect and throwing the country into a crisis of unknown proportion.

    Tomorrow the Electoral College meets to cast the ballots for president. There is a well organized effort to disrupt this normally routine procedure. Based on CIA lies spread over the country by the presstitutes, 62 electors have requested a CIA briefing prior to the vote on Russian interference in the election. As there is no formal CIA report and no evidence in support of the allegations, the briefing would consist of the allegations.

    The Striking Audacity of the Coup-in-Process

    • Paul 6.1

      Here is a brief bio on him.

      Paul Craig Roberts is an American economist, journalist, blogger and former civil servant.

      He reached the height of his government career when he became the United States Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy under President Reagan in 1981.In office he and his staff successfully combated the stagflation (price-inflation and stagnation) then plaguing the American Economy. Tighter monetary policy was used to restrain inflation, in addition lower marginal tax rates were used to increase the rewards to work and investment. In recognition, he was awarded the US Treasury’s Meritorious Service Award for “outstanding contributions to the formulation of United States economic policy”.

      A strong critic of the Bush (and later Obama) administrations’ handling of the War on Terror, he has taken positions strongly at odds with mainstream politicians: harshly criticising the ineffectiveness, severity and high rates of incarceration associated with the War on Drugs, excessive police violence and use of SWAT teams against civilians. He has criticised the law and order politics and congressional approval of increased government surveillance associated with the War on Terror age, which he views as fundamental threats to the civil liberties and Right to Privacy enshrined in the US constitution, opening the way for an oligarchic police state to be imposed upon the US population.A vocal critic of neoliberalism, US oligarchy and the financialization of the economy.
      , his articles have addressed and criticized outsourcing, economic deregulation, privatisation of social services, Wall Street finance fraud and lax enforcement of environmental protection laws. He has also been a vocal opponent of taxing social-security payments, holding that this amounts to a “tax on a tax” or privatising social-security believing this would create and opportunity for speculators to play with and lose the hard-earned savings of retirees.

      • Andre 6.1.1

        You left out some of his …more interesting opinions.

        From the wikipedia article your excerpt above apparently came from:

        “2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School attack[edit]
        In March, 2016, Roberts published an article claiming that many pictures associated with the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting were “doctored.” He further claimed that he was unable to determine if the shootings had actually taken place or not.[65]

        2015 Charlie Hebdo attack[edit]
        In a column for the Ron Paul Institute, Roberts said that the U.S. government executed the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris to punish France for its independent foreign policy. He cited its vote to recognize Palestine as a state at the United Nations and French President Hollande’s call to ease sanctions on Russia.[57][66][66]

        2016 Orlando attack[edit]
        Roberts has questioned the official account of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, stating that “the visual evidence does not match the verbal reports”.[67]

        He has said that a lack of body bags, security footage, and general primary sources, should warrant suspicion in regards to the authenticity of the official account for the attack.[68]

        He has suggested that this attack might be a false flag operation, conducted for increased public approval for- and eventually, the implementation of gun control.[69][70]”


      • garibaldi 6.1.2

        Well done Paul. You have come up with the evidence I was lacking when I deleted an earlier comment I made today.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    Scientists confirm that warm ocean water is melting the biggest glacier in East Antarctica

    Scientists at institutions in the United States and Australia on Friday published a set of unprecedented ocean observations near the largest glacier of the largest ice sheet in the world: Totten glacier, East Antarctica. And the result was a troubling confirmation of what scientists already feared — Totten is melting from below.

    The measurements, sampling ocean temperatures in seas over a kilometer (0.62 miles) deep in some places right at the edge of Totten glacier’s floating ice shelf, affirmed that warm ocean water is flowing in towards the glacier at the rate of 220,000 cubic meters per second.

    These waters, the paper asserts, are causing the ice shelf to lose between 63 and 80 billion tons of its mass to the ocean per year, and to lose about 10 meters (32 feet) of thickness annually, a reduction that has been previously noted based on satellite measurements.

    This matters because more of East Antarctica flows out towards the sea through the Totten glacier region than for any other glacier in the entirety of the East Antarctic ice sheet. Its entire “catchment,” or the region of ice that slowly flows outward through Totten glacier and its ice shelf, is larger than California. If all of this ice were to end up in the ocean somehow, seas would raise by about 11.5 feet.

    • Cinny 7.1

      Last week over at Kaiteriteri there were MILLION’s of jellyfish eggs all over the beach and in the water, was like wading in wall paper paste, super creepy. Never seen anything like it, not there, would have been very strange for any first time visitors and I imagine rather gross.
      Was like beads of soft silicone, kids were collecting buckets full of it, they don’t sting, they are just ewwww’s slimy.

      Apparently it is a result of the sea temperature rising, an el nino, but we are not in an el nino. Climate change is real and visible.

      • Hey, Cinny
        I’ve had that very same experience at a beach not far from Kaiteriteri, only that was 40 years ago 🙂 I thought though, that they were fish eggs. Either way, it was an experience as weird as you are describing. The whole bay was filled with them, at least from 1 meter out to 4 metres, right around the curve.

        • Cinny

          yup that’s how it was, freaky stuff indeed, nothing in the papers here, don’t tell the tourists

  8. Ever noticed how, whenever the Israeli government decides to lay waste to Gaza City again, blogs soon fill up with comments from amateur Israel enthusiasts who want us all to know that the media is very biased against Israel and we shouldn’t fall for its biased propaganda; and how these links prove that Hamas is a terrorist organisation that’s carried out the following terrible crimes against the people of Gaza City; and how these other links show that those photos of victims of the Israeli attack were totally faked; and how these independent, respected authorities have all written about how terrible Hamas is, and who are you to question them. The idea that maybe it isn’t right for Israel to be laying waste to Gaza city somehow doesn’t get dealt with among the bombardment of bullshit.

    I’ve been thinking about that lately because something, ooh, let’s just say, things appearing in comments threads on this blog, remind me very much of those amateur Israel enthusiasts and their attempts to excuse the inexcusable. I think it’s important to write back pointing out what they’re doing, same as I do for the Israel enthusiasts, because it’s effectively the same obnoxious propaganda. So, my apologies to those sick of seeing me taking up a significant proportion of the recent comments list. It’s likely to go on for a while yet.

    • Andre 8.1

      If it’s worth anything to you, I appreciate your efforts, and I know how much time and effort it takes to counter one-sided misrepresentations or outright bullshit.

      Since I have zero useful knowledge or insight into Syria, and only the minimal insight into Islam that comes from a few months travelling in Islamic countries, I’ve kept my yap shut. But the mind-set that comes through in many of the comments you’re pushing against is that “America does a lot of evil around the world (no argument from me), therefore all evil happening must be from American meddling (WTF??!?) and anyone anti-American must be a good guy (Oh really?)”

      • Paul 8.1.1

        For someone who has ‘zero useful knowledge or insight into Syria’, you can pretty quickly notice ‘one-sided misrepresentations or outright bullshit.’
        I suggest you read Patrick Cockburn, Robert Fisk and Peter Obrone – actual independent experts. It is clear you haven’t read a word they have written.
        Alternatively, you could believe everything pm says.

        • Psycho Milt

          …and how these independent, respected authorities have all written about how terrible Hamas is, and who are you to question them.

          Still ticking those boxes…

        • Andre

          Paul, some kinds of bullshit are easy to detect. To just point out the nearest example of something that raises a flag, PCR continually referring to “presstitutes” is a hint that the piece is not serious fact-checking journalism but is intended to appeal to gullible people holding a particular world-view. Further checking on the author shows he’s in the habit of making completely unsubstantiated outrageous claims that also appeal to that particular worldview.

          Then there’s your personal credibility. On several topics that I know a bit about, you’ve gullibly posted widely debunked bullshit, which again tells me your checking of sources is spotty at best. But I’ve yet to see Psycho Milt doing that. PM and Jenny also seem to have personal experience of the area and cultures (or very nearby, at least).

          While it’s not a matter of “believing everything PM (or Jenny) says”, comments they’ve made line up with my limited personal experience of the area and cultures involved. So I find their opinions of interest, with the proviso that those opinions are coloured by their worldview. I read Fisk, and respect him enormously. But his work is also coloured by his worldview and where he’s coming from. To be honest, Syria doesn’t mean that much to me, so I’m not going to go to the effort of trying to work out what’s “really going on”.

          • Paul

            Have you read Patrick Cockburn and Peter Oborne?
            Which topics that you know about have I ‘posted widely debunked bullshit”?

            • Andre

              Nice edit on your first go at a reply.

              I prefer to spend the time I have reading up on topics of more interest to me than trying to tease out an accurate picture of what’s going on in Syria. The total picture there is way too complicated and shifting so quickly. So no, I don’t read much of Oborne or Cockburn.

              Just the first two topics that spring to mind that you keep posting bullshit about are allegations of coverups and nefarious government doings around the structural collapse of WTC towers, and McPherson’s “only 10 years left”. I really can’t be bothered searching up more. but there’s been enough that now I mostly just scroll on past your offerings.

              • Paul

                I regularly post about climate change and present for readers’ enlightenment a variety of opinions on the issue. As I believe this is the most pressing issue facing us all, it is a regular topic for me. I think the Standard is guilty of not covering the topic sufficiently.

                I also have posted occasionally about 9/11 – aspects of which have never been ‘debunked’.
                People who believe the official narrative on weapons of mass destruction also tend to fall for stories about Aleppo and for stories of steel framed buildings that collapse at freefall speed in their own footprint.

                You are free to scroll past.
                Just today you appear to have engaged.
                On a subject you know nothing about.

      • Morrissey 8.1.2

        Since I have zero useful knowledge or insight into Syria…

        But you’ll still add your 0.5 cents worth. Why bother? Why not just ring Leighton Smith, where your input would be at least par for the course?

        Here, we expect a little better than what you have offered.

        • Andre

          Re-read my comment carefully. You will see that I expressed no opinion on Syria. If you still have comprehension difficulties, I let Psycho Milt know I appreciated his efforts, and sympathised with the amount of work necessary to clean up after bullshitters.

          • Morrissey

            You knew nothing about the topic under discussion, yet you chose to weigh in on the side of a malicious troll. You knew nothing, yet you still commented.

            That’s wasting our time as well as your own.

            • Paul

              Andre is becoming tiresome……
              Apparently he is an expert on climate change and on 9/11.

          • Psycho Milt

            Andre, Morrissey’s comments are like a case study in the Dunning-Kruger effect. From his perspective, you clearly lack the intellectual horsepower and breadth of knowledge and understanding he brings to the subject, this being evidenced by the fact that you’ve disagreed with him, and he immediately lets you know it – for all the world as though his intellectual superiority were self-evident, rather than something that needs demonstrating. I’d find it sad if I didn’t find it so funny, but then in many respects I’m not a nice person.

            • Andre

              Yeah, I find it funny too. What I find sad is people like that become a very powerful Exhibit A whenever anyone wants to talk about the loony left.

              • ropata

                PM and Andre thanks for bringing some balance and sanity to the threads getting spammed by endless RT regurgitation. I might actually stop scrolling past now

    • Stunned Mullet 8.2

      ..just imagine if CV wasn’t currently in absentia…

      What we really need is a post on vaccination to calm everyone down and gain a lovely consensus.

    • Morrissey 8.3

      The Syrian government is battling an Islamist insurrection funded and diplomatically backed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United States, Britain and France.

      There is no serious comparison to be made with Israel.

      You are fallaciously equating the Israeli and Syrian regimes. Your argument, based on that false premiss, is absurd.

      • Psycho Milt 8.3.1

        The Syrian government is battling an Islamist insurrection funded and diplomatically backed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United States, Britain and France.

        That’s one view of it. My view is that a guy who inherited a country from his dad is fighting to hold onto his “property” so he can pass it on to his own children, no matter how many people he has to imprison, torture and kill to achieve it, and in the process has put himself under two masters (Iran and Russia), who are now going to kill a lot more people because a man can’t serve two masters. All views of a foreign conflict are deluded or mistaken to some extent, but I think mine reflects reality a lot more closely than yours.

        There is no serious comparison to be made with Israel.

        No indeed. However, the comparison was with the bullshit propaganda techniques that are common to enthusiasts of either government, and it’s a very apt comparison.

        • Morrissey

          It’s not “one view” of it, it’s an irrefutable fact, which even the U.S. government admits to.

          Your point about Assad’s criminality is a fair one. I don’t support him or his methods, but he’s Albert Schweitzer compared to the United States, Saudi Arabia, the U.K. and Turkey.

          • Psycho Milt

            It’s not “one view” of it, it’s an irrefutable fact…

            My view of it? Sure. But yours seems to be a tinfoil-hat job, except for the bit about Saudi Arabia and Qatar (they’re definitely players).

            • Paul

              Try to debate without recourse to insults. (e.g.tin foil hat.)

              • Morrissey

                A very good point, Paul. Last night I was just about to post a conciliatory comment, actually praising Psycho Milt for his rather admirable maintaining of an even temper, even though I had hurled all sorts of nasty epithets at him.

                Then he goes and uses the nasty—and desperate— “tin-foil hat” insult against me.

                Maybe, just maybe, such an insult would be justified if I had posted something outlandish or bizarre. But what he was attempting to ridicule me for was my list of the regimes that have been supporting this bloody ISIS insurrection: “United States, Saudi Arabia, the U.K. and Turkey.”

                Psycho Milt opined, in apparent high seriousness, that it was okay to list Saudi Arabia and Turkey—“they’re definitely players”—but to even mention the involvement of the United States and its vassal the United Kingdom “seems to be a tinfoil-hat job.”

                Psycho Milt’s post was, of course, of no value whatsoever in terms of contributing to a serious discussion, but it was nonetheless valuable: it demonstrates how much credibility he has as any sort of a commentator.

                • The “tinfoil-hat” comment was aimed at your contention that the Syrian civil war didn’t arise from an uprising by Syrian citizens against the Assad regime, but was actually a project of foreign countries including the UK and USA. Not only does the evidence point the other way, the conspiracy theory is pretty conclusively refuted by the complete failure of the UK and US governments to actively assist the uprising. To continue to present as plausible an implausible conspiracy theory is tinfoil-hat territory, so it seemed fair comment.

                  • Bill

                    The fact that police and others were killed by armed protesters in the days before any crackdown (reported in the NYT) supports the contention that the uprising wasn’t a simple spontaneous and non-violent ‘happening’.

                    The history of armed uprisings by ‘The Muslim Brotherhood’ (1980s) that led to the imposition of martial law that was never really lifted, also points to violence as being a first port of call for some interested in ridding Syria of its secularism.

                    But hey…

                    edit. The fact that the first sanctions (illegal) imposed on Syria by the US hark back to the 80s and have only increased in severity with the passing of time is indicative of ‘support enough’ for those seeking regime change. But again – hey…

    • Draco T Bastard 8.4

      The problem seems to be that the people you’re railing against are actually the ones showing the truth.

      Yes, there’s a lot of propaganda but it’s mostly coming from the side that actively destabilised Syria in the first place.

      • Psycho Milt 8.4.1

        Well, they’re showing the “truth” in the same sense that Pravda did, at least. I guess it depends on whether you hear 9/11 “truth” and subconsciously put quotation marks around it or not.

        It’s curious that you think there’s a side that “actively destabilised Syria in the first place.” You’re thinking that there’s no way a hereditary ruler running one of the most brutal dictatorships remaining in the Middle East could have had people rise up against him just because they were sick of living in a giant Baathist concentration camp? Because that would be a bold claim.

        • Draco T Bastard

          You’re thinking that there’s no way a hereditary ruler running one of the most brutal dictatorships remaining in the Middle East could have had people rise up against him just because they were sick of living in a giant Baathist concentration camp?

          No. I’m saying that the US actively encouraged a rebellion against the Assad Regime. Same as they did with Chile and other countries where they’ve worked to overthrow the regime that was there that they didn’t like because it was stopping their corporations from stealing from that nation.

          And then they actively denied that involvement same as they did all the other times as well.

          • Psycho Milt

            No. I’m saying that the US actively encouraged a rebellion against the Assad Regime.

            Oh noes, evil USA actively encourages people to overthrow a despotic hereditary ruler! Of course they fucking did. Big whoop, they’ve been encouraging it for decades, to no discernible effect – it was the locals who decided to do it, and any attempt to give the US credit for it is laughable.

  9. Ovid 9

    Bill English has announced National won’t stand a candidate in the Mt Albert by-election. Which makes sense given the large majority of over 10,000 in 2014. It also allows them to shrug off an attempt by Labour to use the by-election to set the political agenda next year.

    It still gives Labour the opportunity to test out their campaigning system and continue rebuilding connections with Aucklanders, though. But winning’s not much fun when your opponent has taken the ball home.

  10. greywarshark 10

    @Colonial Viper. How’s things. Marry Christmas. Had a nice rest, and released stress?
    Is there any chance of seeing CV back here. There are enough Psycho Milt Wellfed Wetas etc etc and we need some balance from feisty lefties to raddled righties.

  11. ropata 11

    The Herald proves that Gareth Morgan is correct. Their latest story about a young couple who made $10.5 million by investing in property shows that the NZ economy is fucked. Working is for mugs, the real game is tax free capital gains and houses that earn 80k per year.

  12. Cinny 12

    Hey Maureen, looks like you’ll be heading for another loss in West Coast /Tasman… you’ve neglected our region the Tasman area since you entered the house via the list.

    Where do you stand on Pike? Nowhere… you don’t care do you? The only time your name comes up is on your FB and Twitter as well as the Patsy questions you ask. Never see anything of you in either the Nelson Mail or Greymouth Star.

    ‘The West Coast-Tasman electorate is the second largest in the country, and includes some of our most remote communities, so it’s crucial we have a strong, local voice in Government.’
    yes it is Maureen and how many meet the candidates meetings did you avoid last time? Heaps huh? That sure made the papers, you absence and failure to front up. And we have a strong local voice for our remote communities and it sure aint you Maureen. Remember what happened last time, even the National voters voted for Damo, because he cares, makes himself available, is wide awake and gets things done.

    See you at the meet the candidates again, this time better make sure you know your material, cause just like last time I will call you out if you attempt to lie, mhmmm you know I’m bold enough to do it, can’t stand liars.

    Are you brave enough to have an electorate office in Motueka again? Still waiting… waiting… and waiting.. gutless career politician that one.

    Maureen Pugh time for you to go, you do nothing for our region, many locals don’t even know whom you are, well the ones in Hokitika do, you sure screwed them over as Mayor.

  13. ropata 13

    Govt’s handling of migration & housing, reckless or incompetent? Take your pick

    Migration now accounts for two thirds of Auckland’s population growth and is the main reason for the region’s housing shortage

    Statistics NZ estimates that Auckland’s population increased by 44,300 people in the year to June, with 69.5% of the increase (30,800 people) coming from migration and just 30.5% (13,500 people) due to the natural increase in population (the excess of births over deaths).

    As the graph [see original] shows, that’s a dramatic turnaround from the situation just three years ago when migration increased Auckland’s population by just 7000 and accounted for just under a third (32%) of its population growth. The biggest surge in migration occurred from 2013/14 onwards as the Government encouraged immigration on a number of fronts to try and spur economic growth.

    That included creating what became known as a “pathway to residency” for overseas students studying here, which resulted in a huge influx of overseas students applying for residency at the end of their studies, a scheme that has since run into numerous problems.

    The Government’s response to the unfolding housing crisis in Auckland was two pronged. Firstly it would stridently avoid admitting there was a crisis, it was merely a “challenge,” we were told. Then when the size of the problem became so big it could no longer be denied, blame was shifted elsewhere, and Auckland Council became the whipping boy for the housing shortage.

    How could any council have foreseen the huge influx of migrants that was about to arrive in the city, and even if it did, capacity restraints within the construction industry meant the supply of new homes wouldn’t have kept up anyway.

    It is also worth remembering that if the Government had kept migration at around the same level it was in 2013, then more than enough new homes would be being built now to cope with the region’s housing needs.

    These problems should all have been foreseen when the Government left the immigration taps open three years ago. If it didn’t, that suggests incompetence. And if they did see the problems and proceeded anyway, it reeks of recklessness.

    So take your pick. Reckless or incompetent?

    • Paul 13.1


      • ropata 13.1.1

        I’m going for “reckless”, the Nats knew exactly what they were doing with immigration and student visas but just didn’t give a fuck, as long as they could keep up the pretense of economic growth. Pretty much sums up their entire bullshit administration of the last 8.5 years.

  14. Whispering Kate 14

    We even made it on Aljazeera this morning listing Auckland as the fourth most expensive city in the world, more expensive than London – one way to make headlines for little ol’ NZ.

  15. Peroxide Blonde 15

    Scandal in Belfast to bring down First Minister Arlene Foster (DUP) today.

    Cash for Ash: The Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme
    Arlene Foster set up a scheme when she was a minister which subsidised heat generation at 5.9pence per Kw when the cost to generate a kw from wood pellets is 4.4pence.
    The more you burn the more you make. And unlike similar a scheme in England there is no cap. When a whistle blower, civil servants and the auditor raised concerns the DUP SPADs surrounding Foster pressed for the scheme to continue.

    Shortly after Foster became the First Minister the new minister, Jonathan Bell, announced the scheme would be suspended. Between then and the suspension hundreds of farmers and businesses got their applications in. Some are very close to the DUP leadership and SPADs. This will cost the Northern Ireland taxpayer $400 million over the next number of years.

    There is talk of bullying, intimidation, featherbedding and more. No mention of sex. Yet. There is plenty of religious humbug of course. Hopefully sex will rear its head: sex and religious pomposity are fun.




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