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Open mike 20/05/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 20th, 2011 - 108 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

108 comments on “Open mike 20/05/2011”

  1. Jim Nald 1

    John Key’s “brighter future” for NZ: KiwiSlaver

  2. logie97 2

    Joky Hen wouldn’t know what a contract or honour is. His whole philosophy on life is typical of the dog-eat-dog business environment. Their whole raison-d’etre is to do their competitor down. That’s how they increase their share of the cake. The true Joky Hen shone through when he played along with Paul Henry’s game over the Governor General – the man doesn’t have the wit to recognise bad taste or dishonour.

  3. todd 3

    The week that was 14 – 20 May

    This week, the Jackal has a look at ACC’s hardline on elective surgery, just how much food is wasted globally, Shell’s annual assembly gets a visit from friends of the earth, Another NATO raid into Pakistan, Donald Trump, Huge protests in Spain, MP’s pecuniary interests, Farmers tax dodge and New Yorkers suing China’s biggest search engine.

  4. Morrissey 4

    Prof. Callaghan enthuses about Rakon, the bringers of death
    National Radio, Friday 20 May 2011

    In a panel discussion about the budget, Professor Paul Callaghan lamented the government’s lack of support for “entrepreneurship and industrial research”. He said that high-tech innovation is a field in which New Zealand does very well, and he cited as an example of excellence, a company called Rakon. “Now not many New Zealander people or politicians know much about this good news story,” enthused Prof. Callaghan. “But it’s a case of knowing your customers and providing what they want.”

    Well, Rakon certainly knows its customers, and Rakon also knows what its customers use its technology to do. In August 2005, the New Zealand Herald quoted Rakon marketing director Darren Robinson as saying that the company’s technology went into “smart bombs and missiles” used by the US military. Rakon denied the claims, stating the company was not privy to the “end-use systems, equipment or applications used by its customers.

    In May 2006 the Herald ran a large expose around Rakon products being supplied to Rockwell for incorporation in U.S. military “smart bombs”. [1] The claims were based around the facts that Rakon had known of the end-use of their products since 1994 and may in fact be in breach of New Zealand export restrictions.

    In July 2006, Rakon was the target of protests by Global Peace and Justice Auckland(GPJA). During the Israeli attacks on Lebanon in July 2006, GPJA issued a media release appealing “to the Prime Minister to close the loophole which allows New Zealand’s Rakon Industries to export parts for Israeli bombs being dropped on Lebanon and Palestine.” [2]

    Nothing was done, of course, and Rakon, maker of crucial components for the bringing of death and destruction to hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of men, women and children in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Lebanon, Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

    As Professor Callaghan noted, it’s a pity that more New Zealanders don’t know more about Rakon.

    Doesn’t it make you proud to be a Kiwi!

    [1] http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=1
    [2] http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0607/S00365.htm

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      I just wish we developed and made our own weapons here. That way we wouldn’t be screwed if the supply lines get cut when we need weapons.

      We may not want to use them but that won’t stop someone from using weapons against us which, considering the global collapse that is going to happen due to Peak oil, will happen. It really is time to get our defense forces actually capable of defending us.

    • Colonial Viper 4.2

      High precision frequency generators are a crucial part of military electronics/RF (and civilian electronics and RF). That’s just the way it is.

  5. just saying 5


    From the budget protest:

  6. just saying 6


    A good round-up of left wing and centrist perspectives on the budget from stargazer at the handmirror.

  7. Morrissey 7

    More evidence of slipping standards at National Radio

    Just heard on the 11 o’clock news on National Radio that Obama has said that the Palestinian state “should be based on the contentious 1967 borders.”


    Excuse me? “Contentious”?

    Almost the whole of the international community recognizes that Israel must return to the 1967 borders, and that the Occupied Territories must be part of the new Palestine state.

    Why would that newsreader have read out that these borders are “contentious”?

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      Evidently Israel doesn’t agree, therefore making it “contentious”.

      • Morrissey 7.1.1

        Evidently Israel doesn’t agree, therefore making it “contentious”.

        No, it makes Israel a scofflaw regime. That, and its massive use of firepower against civilian populations.

    • The Voice of Reason 7.2

      The word ‘contentious’ is not included in the online report, however, it might be that a reporter put it in while reading the news out. It’s an unusual word to use, I agree, but it may be that it is Israel’s theft of the land after the 6 day war that is contentious, not the borders prior to that.

    • joe90 7.3

      Why would that newsreader have read out that these borders are “contentious”?

      Just saying….

      The U.S. policy shift on 1967 borders explained.

      After the U.S. government called settlements “illegal” for years, President Reagan said they were “not constructive.” President Clinton changed it again, saying that “natural growth” was acceptable. President George W Bush went further to say that it was “unrealistic” to expect any kind of peace based on old borders.

      So in effect, President Obama’s endorsement of the 1967 lines is a return from the shifting positions taken by his predecessors.

      The fallacy of the 1967 ‘borders’

      THE TERM “1967 lines” refers to the line from which the IDF moved into the territories at the start of hostilities on June 4, 1967 (the Six Day War).

      These lines were not based on historical fact, natural geographic formations, demographic considerations or international agreement. In fact, they had served as the agreed-upon armistice lines from the termination of the 1948 War of Independence, pursuant to the armistice agreements then signed between Israel and its neighbors – Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon – in 1949. These lines remained valid until the outbreak of the 1967 hostilities.

      The armistice lines represented nothing more than the forward lines of deployment of the forces on the day a cease-fire was declared, as set out in Security Council Resolution 62 of November 16, 1948, which called for the delineation of permanent armistice demarcation lines beyond which the armed forces of the respective parties would not move. The line was demarcated on the map attached to the armistice agreement with a green marker pen and hence received the name “Green Line.”

      • Morrissey 7.3.1

        The international consensus is absolutely clear. Where did you cut and paste that nonsense from?

        • joe90

          Where did you cut and paste that nonsense from?

          The blue bit Morrissey, the blue bit.

          • Morrissey

            Good Lord, joe90! ABC and the Jerusalem Post are about as reliable and trustworthy as President Obama’s statement that from now on the U.S. is going to “support democracy” in the Middle East.

            • joe90

              And you appear to have missed the Just saying… part of the post where I try to show that Obama seems to be backing the Palestinians by going back to the original US stance on the issue of the 1967 borders.and that the Israelis don’t like it.

              Perhaps you should read the speech before you go into wingnut mode.

              • Morrissey

                joe90, I read what you posted. Obama’s words are nothing new: the U.S., like every other country in the world (bar one), says Israel is violating international law by its occupation of the West Bank and its blockade of Gaza. There is NOTHING contentious about saying Israel must observe the law.

                And….did you just call me a wingnut?!?!?!?!?!?

                • joe90

                  So we’re back where it all started.

                  Morrissey…I don’t like the word contentious.

                  Me….what’s contentious, the US position is bla .bla, the Israeli position is bla..bla..

                  Morrissey…..I’m right and all the world thinks so too.

                  Me…ask a stupid..get a stupid

                  Morrissey…I’m right and all the world agrees with me…how dare you use.. MSM …

                  Me….I’m just saying..nothings really changed…and you’re starting to sound like…..

                  Morrissey…..bla bla ..and you called me a name.

                  Me…. Palestine is a fuck up but at least someone is trying, .. you’re starting to mirror the wingnuts who as long as they get to be on what they think is the right side don’t give a rats about the people on the other side ..

                  Last word to ME.. he may not have met my expectations but Obama winning another term is the first real opportunity since Begin and Sadat for a lasting peace in the region.


                  • Morrissey

                    Nice attempt at dramatisation, my friend. You should approach that tired old codger John Barnett about a screenwriting job; the ones he employs on his movies are certainly not much chop.

                    However, while your dialoguing shows promise, you need to pay attention to your understanding of content, which is sadly lacking. I’ll deal with just the most glaring errors….

                    1.) Me….what’s contentious, the US position is bla .bla, the Israeli position is bla..bla..
                    Actually, it’s the US and the whole world versus Israel.

                    2.) Morrissey…..I’m right and all the world thinks so too.
                    That is correct. You are trying to scoff at this writer (i.e., moi) as out on a limb; actually, my position is the mainstream one.

                    3.) Me…. Palestine is a fuck up but at least someone is trying,
                    WHO is trying, Joe? And who is it that is responsible for it being a “fuck up”?

                    4.) …you’re starting to mirror the wingnuts who as long as they get to be on what they think is the right side don’t give a rats about the people on the other side.
                    There you go again! It’s easy to throw around empty epithets like “wingnuts”, especially when you aren’t up to speed on an issue. Have you been listening to that penetrating analyst Leighton Smith on NewstalkZB, by any chance?

                    5.) Last word to ME.. he may not have met my expectations but Obama winning another term is the first real opportunity since Begin and Sadat for a lasting peace in the region.
                    On what basis do you make that statement? Obama has done precisely nothing to stop Israel’s depredations in Gaza or the West Bank. You would know that if you had any familiarity with Israeli and Palestinian politics.

              • Pascal's bookie

                The difference between ’67 borders’ and ‘facts on the ground’ as starting points is nicely captured in this french map:


        • Lanthanide

          And yet Israel doesn’t agree. As ultimately they are the ones that have to do something about the issue, their opinion matters, I think.
          In other words – talk is cheap. I’m there are members of the “international community” that think the Israel borders issue is cut-and-dried, but those members may be having their own border disputes with their neighbours.
          I think ragging on National Radio by saying that “it isn’t contentious because the international community thinks x y and z” is making a fuss out of nothing. Clearly there is contention about the borders (otherwise they would already be the borders), and so using the word is accurate. You may not agree with it, but that doesn’t mean that National Radio are ‘wrong’.

          • Morrissey

            As ultimately they are the ones that have to do something about the issue, their opinion matters

            Ultimately it is Israel’s sponsor, the United States, that has to do something—other than its occasional wringing of hands and the odd stern word to its Israeli protégé.

            Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, and its blockade of Gaza, are in flagrant violation of international law. The whole world recognizes that fact—except Israel. The U.S. has chosen to ignore Israel’s multiple violations, just as it chose to ignore similar behaviour by the apartheid regime in South Africa, the Suharto regime in Indonesia, and Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq.

            …there are members of the “international community” that think the Israel borders issue is cut-and-dried…
            Every country in the world bar Israel recognizes that Israel must return to the 1967 borders.

            but those members may be having their own border disputes with their neighbours.
            Which of those countries occupies, locks down the towns, demolishes private homes as punishment for resistance, demolishes hospitals and schools, and systematically terrorizes its neighbours? Which of those countries has its troops treating civilians like THIS?…

            • Lanthanide

              Here’s a dictionary definition for you:

              con·ten·tious  </a[kuhn-ten-shuhs] Show IPA


              tending to argument or strife; quarrelsome: a contentious crew.

              causing, involving, or characterized by argument or controversy: contentious issues.

              Law . pertaining to causes between contending parties.
              • Morrissey

                Here’s a dictionary definition for you:

                None of which applies to the issue of Israel’s violation of international law. There is unanimous agreement on this, even from Israel’s sponsor and enabler, the United States. There is nothing contentious about it whatsoever; the only question is, when will the international community act against this scofflaw regime?

  8. Bunji 8

    A couple of perspectives on the budget as to how it will actually affect people, rather than numbers on a balance sheet:

    Chris Trotter‘s well worded fictional tale, and Ruby Martin‘s reality.

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      I think Chris Trotter really over-egged it a bit, to the point that it won’t really convince many people. This budget really didn’t do very much at all, and it’s difficult to believe there would be a family that was specifically afflicted by all the changes the budget did actually make. Throwing in other, wider issues from Nat’s previous legislative work would’ve been better I think (no night schooling, an unemployed nephew who goes off the rails…).

      But good attempt anyway.

      • Sam 8.1.1

        So it is a “bad” budget, but Phil Goff won’t promise to reverse cuts too Kiwisaver and WFF.
        Shades of the”axe the tax” campaign?
        Now that Labour has a realistic change of getting back into power in November, is it time now to ditc Phil Goff and replace him with a 21st century person? Goff is so 1980s!!

        • Colonial Viper

          Why should Labour commit to these kinds of fiscal decisions now when it has no idea how much extra shit English is going to place the country in over the next 6 months?

          Its not logical to expect that Labour will simply reverse this National tax move or that National tax move as a policy foundation. Labour has got initiatives planned which go much further than simply negating the moves National has made in this budget.

          And thanks for vainly trying to stir up the leadership debate again when it’s John Key who is going to leave National early and leave the stoush between English and Joyce, why don’t we talk about that for a bit.

  9. Leo 9

    Re asset sales. Can somebody tell what Govt revenues currently are from Power companies, Solid Energy and Air NZ?

    NZX is rubbing its hands over the thought of the income they will make from Asset sales.

    I want to know what we will lose!

    • RobC 9.1

      go to the COMU website (part of the treasury) and look for the 2010 Annual portfolio report

      if you cant be bothered, total dividends for the 4 power companies according to the cash flow statements therein was around $730 million for 2010

  10. lprent 10

    I haven’t and there is nothing in trash or spam. It may not have saved?

  11. I want to dedicate this video to Lanthanide who with his comments made the events on Fukushima another taboo subject and whose comments were of the Oh, she’s just a conspiracy nut sort.

    Three fucking meltdowns and not a peep in the mainstream media. A million people died as the result of the Chernobyl meltdown which is a walk in the park compared to the hideous events in Fukushima. Millions of people will die as the result of what is currently happening in Japan and the radiation will damage the entire gene pool of planet Earth and not even a tiny wee peep in the mainstream media.
    Oh shit thought I’d uploaded this comment but made a mistake. This is what you get when you have 39 pages open and flick from one to the other. Sorry.

    • wtl 11.1

      Repost from the other day (with a slight edit):
      So basically the Fukushima incident resulted in a release of a huge amount of radioactive material into the environment because there was a meltdown (or >1) and meltdowns always mean that radioactive material will be released environment (not that the fuel rods have just melted)? And we don’t know about this because Tepco/the Japanese government/whoever are controlling the release of information from all the detectors of radiation in the whole world in a giant conspiracy (just like 9/11 I guess)? Even though radiation is relatively easy to detect and there are numerous detectors worldwide? And this poses a huge risk to the whole world (not just the immediately surrounding area where the material would be most concentrated) because we are all going to get cancer, after all its not as if the release of radioactive material across a huge area such as the Pacific ocean/the whole world would have resulted in the radioactive material being diluted at all?

      p.s Lan: it looks like you made a new friend 🙂

      • travellerev 11.1.1

        Here is some <a href=’http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2011/05/simulation-shows-high-levels-of.html’>info</a> you might want to read up on.

        • Lanthanide

          It’s a worst-case scenario simulation. If you look in the comments, someone linked to actual monitoring being done in Oregon that shows there is no cause for concern.
          I remember reading about a university that set up some monitoring stations within 3 days of the event, so they could monitor when the radiation first hit California. Sure enough, they got results showing they could detect it.
          If there were an actual public health or environmental risk posed to the US, you can be sure it would be in the media. The US media loves to hype that sort of stuff up (as witnessed by the reports in the immediate days following) and there’s no way you could cover it up. I guess Hawaii might be at higher risk, but again that’s US soil. Other smaller pacific islands or parts of Asia could be covered up or simply not alerted, however.

          • wtl

            I didn’t bother visiting the link (it was from to a blog, hardly a reliable source), but as you’ve eluded to, a key point is radioactive material is trivial to detect these days, and can be detected in minute quantities. It is simply not possible that a harmful level of material being released could be covered up. You would have to get to far too many people (yes, even more than you would need to cover up something like 9/11).

            • travellerev

              Washington’s blog is so incredibly well backed up with reliable sources you would be hard pressed to find anything like that in the Mainstream media.

              And if you still believe that 19 young Saudi Arab men can force a 47 floor building to implode in 6.5 seconds into it’s own footprint with only a couple of relatively cool office fires breaking all Newton’s laws of Physics I’ve got a bit of rainforest in the middle of the Sahara to sell to you.

              • The Voice of Reason

                Oh, great, back to the madness. You really have the attention span of a gnat, don’t you? Not every debate has to have your 9/11 fantasy trotted out for public ridicule, you know. You could try focussing on the issue you raised about Fukushima and which you seem to be unable to back up, but no, you have insult the 3000 killed in those attacks yet again.
                Speaking of insulting the dead, somewhere between 4 and 5 thousand people were lost in the decades after Chernobyl that can be directly related to the event. Many thousands more will have lives possibly shortened by the effects. A million dead is bullshit, utter bullshit.

                • VoR,
                  These are a series of Ads we all helped to finance in which representatives of the families who lost someone in those attacks ask for a new and independent investigation.
                  You see for them 9/11 never stopped. They want answers to their questions. Neither did it stop for the 70.000 first responders who are all falling ill and are dying as a result of the dust they breathed in on that day and the days after.
                  Neither has it stopped for families of the hundreds of thousands of Afghanis and Iraqis who died in the wars started as a result of that day so if it is all the same to you I will keep bringing it up until all those people feel that their questions have been answered and they can get on with their lives too.

          • Armchair Critic

            I don’t get it L. Do you think ev doesn’t read the pages she links to, or she reads them but doesn’t understand what they say? Either way, it’s a bit of an own-goal.
            I’m beginning to wonder whether the accusation of lacking acumen that she levelled was, in fact, a self-reflection.

            • McFlock

              Yep – she seems to have a fundamental inability to distinguish between statement of fact, expert opinion, calculated broad estimate, educated guess, baseless assumption, blind guesswork, urban myth, common misconception, uncommon misconception, barefaced lie, outrageous allegation, borderline delusion, outright delusion, and generalised bullshit.

              And unfortunately teh interwebz is a gloriously colourful milieu of everything above.

    • Lanthanide 11.2

      “who with his comments made the events on Fukushima another taboo subject”
      I don’t mind having reasonable discussions about Fukushima based around factual information.

      • Armchair Critic 11.2.1

        If you want a reasonable discussion then maybe follow the link ev provided in 10.1.1. There’s a (single) comment on the link with another, interesting, link attached.

        ev’s link says:
        Because [the data ev is relying on to prove her point]comes from an internal – rather than publicly-released – portion of Nilo’s website, it cannot be confirmed that these are real readings, as opposed to some sort of fictitious simulation.

        and the link from ev’s link says:
        This is archived information from the 2011 Japan Radiation Event (March 11, 2011 to May 15, 2011). This information is no longer being updated as this is not considered a local hazard at this time.

        Which is not to say that Fukushima isn’t a massive fucking disaster, or that the plant owners and government of Japan haven’t been covering stuff up (I’m not going into that in this comment), it’s just to say there’s no need to get your tinfoil hat out. Yet.

        • Lanthanide

          “Which is not to say that Fukushima isn’t a massive fucking disaster, or that the plant owners and government of Japan haven’t been covering stuff up (I’m not going into that in this comment), it’s just to say there’s no need to get your tinfoil hat out. Yet.”
          Definitely agree, and that’s my position.

          • wtl

            Indeed, it is a bad disaster for that local area. But not any sort of worldwide threat like certain people would have us believe.

            • travellerev

              Chernobyl killed almost 1 million people

              • Armchair Critic

                The study was not peer reviewed initially. The Ney York Academy of Sciences published it as a book, not a study. Subsequently it was found:
                ..the book achieves this figure [985,000] by the remarkable method of assuming that all increased deaths from a wide range of diseases – including many which have no known association with radiation – were caused by the Chernobyl accident. There is no basis for this assumption…
                More information here.
                Which is not to say Chernobyl was not a giant fucking disaster.

                • todd

                  One of the reason’s TEPCO is trying to keep secret just how much radiation has been released is because there is a clear link between diseases such as cancer and radiation. You can check out some of the things TEPCO and the Japanese Govt have been trying to cover up in the link below.


                  I think that a shit load of people died from Chernobyl, more than will ever be admitted to by the authorities. People will still be prematurely dying today from that disaster. You might also like to read this:

                  Within four years at least 5,000 of the more than 600,000 decontamination workers (“liquidators”) had died from various causes; the fraction of deaths attributable to Chernobyl is unknown, but this figure represents less than 1% of the total.


                  • Armchair Critic

                    Yes, there is a well established link between radiation and cancer.
                    I think saying TEPCO are “keeping it secret” is stretching the facts. Truth is they probably don’t know how much radiation was leaked, nor are they in a position to know exactly what happened, ATM. So sure, maybe they aren’t telling, but that is different to keeping it secret.
                    We may find that there are a lot of liability issues around the whole thing. Someone has to pay for it all to be cleaned up. Chances are TEPCO’s insurers are crapping bricks and aren’t keen for TEPCO to admit too much liability, so TEPCO will be very careful with what it says, in case it opens itself and its insurers up to enormous costs. However, that’s entirely speculation on my part, and before you challenge me to provide links, I won’t. My objective is to demonstrate there is an alternative explanation. Obviously I think it’s a plausible explanation, I’m not fussed if others choose to see the whole thing as a giant conspiracy.
                    Also, while TEPCO and others may have an interest in limiting their liability, there are other affected parties (again, large insurers, probably of the “health” variety) who will have an interest in telling a different story, to avoid having to care for people with mild radiation sickness for the next 40 years.

                    • todd

                      So they released details about the fire that happened on May 8th did they? I must have missed that. What about the fact that unit #1 had melted down within 16 days of the initial earthquake and tsunami? Not telling people about things that could adversely affect their health because they are scared of prosecution is keeping a secret Armchair Critic. TEPCO and it’s insurers have made a decision to put peoples lives at risk to avoid prosecution, there is no question about it.

                    • Armchair Critic

                      So they released details about the fire that happened on May 8th did they?
                      As per my previous comment, I doubt they have details yet. Perhaps we could debate around our different interpretations of what constitutes details.
                      I must have missed that.
                      I doubt it.
                      What about the fact that unit #1 had melted down within 16 days of the initial earthquake and tsunami?
                      Do you mean 16 hours?
                      16 hours after the enormous earthquake, I expect they were busy doing stuff and not in a position to have a press conference. After that, they were probably in damage control mode and didn’t care whether it was 16 hours or 16 days. Fact is they had a huge mess on their hands and were still busy trying to stop things getting any worse than they already were.
                      Not telling people about things that could adversely affect their health because they are scared of prosecution is keeping a secret Armchair Critic.
                      Unless, of course, they don’t know. The it’s not very much like keeping a secret at all. It’s more like when John Key started on about how many houses needed to be demolished in Canterbury, before he had the full story.
                      TEPCO and it’s insurers have made a decision to put peoples lives at risk to avoid prosecution, there is no question about it.
                      And that’s their job. Kudos to you for being more open in your opposition to them doing their job than I am (my blog pales in comparison to yours). I don’t think that them doing their job is right, either.

                    • todd

                      Would you have a link to your blog Armchair Critic?

    • The Voice of Reason 11.3

      Not a peep, eh? Well, just 2265 news reports pop up when you google Fukushima, so you’re nearly right, Ev.
      Report: Japan utility’s chief out

      msnbc.com – 11 minutes ago

      President Masataka Shimizu reportedly is resigning more than two months after an earthquake and tusnami crippled the company’s Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear

      Tepco told to avoid sale of national park land‎ – The Japan Times
      Japan’s Fukushima Reactor May Have Leaked Radiation Before Tsunami ‎ – Bloomberg
      Financial TimesBBC News
      all 2265 news articles »

      • travellerev 11.3.1

        Compare that to the 18,345 hits on Kate and William or 5,588 for Britney Spears or 37,862 for osama bin laden and you get my drift.
        And y’all thanks for admitting that TEPCO and the Japanese government have indeed been covering up all kinds of stuff.

        • The Voice of Reason

          Yeah, but Kate and Wills and OBL are actual news events of significance and Fukushima has turned out to be nowhere near as bad as it could have been. The point I was making is that you don’t think or research before commenting. Far from not being a peep, it has been the major science related news story in the last two months and has been covered in depth by people who know what they are talking about.
          Just because other actual journalists don’t share your desire to see Japan glow at night to prove an obscure point doesn’t mean their work should be ignored by you. 2265 new stories vs your claim of zero news stories makes you look even less credible than usual, EV. As does the Million dead at Chernobyl claim, which is again completely lacking in research, just a number pulled out of your arse.

          • uke

            “…a number pulled out of your arse.”
            Not quite. Check the link provided above. It comes from a book published last year by the New York Academy of Sciences that reviews 5000 scientific articles and studies on the Chernobyl aftermath. Key quote:

            “Drawing upon extensive data, the authors estimate the number of deaths worldwide due to Chernobyl fallout from 1986 through 2004 was 985,000, a number that has since increased. By contrast, WHO and the IAEA estimated 9,000 deaths and some 200,000 people sickened in 2005.”

            • travellerev

              Here’s a glossary of some facts collected by a concerned citizen from Canada.

              • Armchair Critic

                Wow, it’s on youtube – it must be true.

                • Oh, you really took the time to watch this didn’t you?

                  • Armchair Critic

                    Once bitten, twice shy, ev. You have a habit of linking to youtube videos as a source of reliable information.
                    I’ve watched enough of them to have discovered the following relationship:
                    youtube video linked to by ev = full of wild theories, vaguely plausible stories and the rantings of supporters of right wing conspiracies.
                    If the best you can do is a youtube link, I have better things to do than waste any more of my time.

                    • 1,502 verified architectural and engineering professionals and 12,041 other supporters have signed the petition demanding of Congress a truly independent investigation into the events of 9/11.

                      Yep, we’re all nutters.

                    • Armchair Critic

                      So? A greater percentage of the population than your 12,041 other supporters think ACT’s policies rock. I still disagree.
                      1502 verified architectural and engineering professionals is a tiny proportion of the combined membership of ASCE and AIA, which is, in turn a small proportion of the number of architects and engineers.
                      Numbers alone aren’t enough to create a convincing argument.
                      Neither are links to youtube, which is what I hoped you would respond to. Instead you are arguing the significance of google search results to support your position. Is that the best you have?

                    • Let me respond to that with a couple of questions.

                      If you look at the video of the collapsing WTC 7 what do you see?

                      A/ a building collapsing naturally as they always do when office fires burn for a couple of hours.

                      B/ A building collapsing as the result of as yet unexplained natural phenomena since the only two other buildings to ever collapse as the result of fires collapsed on that same day.

                      C/ A building collapsing into its own footprint in 6.5 seconds strongly resembling the only comparable events; controlled demolition!

                      If you read the New Zealand newspapers are you being kept abreast of the latest developments with regards to the events in Fukushima Japan?

                      Do you know for example what the no go zone size is and that high radiation levels have been found at twice the distance of the official no go zone?

                      Do you know that the safety level of radioactivity permitted in foods has changed in the aftermath of the meltdowns? here and here

                      Do you know that 50 cars (Of which we import a great deal) coming from Japan have been stopped and send back because of high levels of radiation in Russia.


                    • Armchair Critic

                      Let me respond to that with a couple of questions.
                      I’d prefer you responded with some answers.

          • Lanthanide

            See and Armchair’s reply.

          • travellerev

            Somebody gets married at the other side of the world a fake story about the 9th death of OBL is News?

            • The Voice of Reason

              Yes, its news. The first one is not relevant to me personally, but it’s still news by any definition. And finally killing bin Laden is the biggest news story of the year, so far. The point is that you claimed that there was no Fukushima news stories, yet they are thousands.
              Still, I agree with the idea of you rolling on the floor laughing. My mental image of you is still the Simpsons’ cat woman, but I can visualise her rolling on the floor laughing, no problem at all.

        • Pascal's bookie

          Comparing apples with apples then Fukushima gets 22,176 ‘hits’.

          • travellerev

            I used the same Google News search as Voice of reason. The normal Google search gives 1,030,000 hits on beheaded grandma (The poor lady beheaded by a crazy maniac last week.) to give just a sample.

            • Pascal's bookie

              This is silly.

              But go ahead and search Fukushima on google news. VoR’s lower number is not the total number of hits. You are comparing an orange to an apple. Bringing an eggplant into the mix won’t help.

              Doesn’t change the point that the story is getting a lot of coverage in the msm.

              • VOR wanted to establish the amount of actual articles in the “Mainstream News” as I said that there was not a peep in the mainstream news about the seriousness of what is happening in Fukushima.
                I used the same method to come up with other “News” articles to stay within the chosen parameters.
                So yes, the times Fukushima, Will and Kate, beheaded grandma will be higher in a general search but that is neither here nor there. That would be comparing apples with pears.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  You’re still not getting it ev. I’m not talking about a general search.

                  You used a different thing than the thing VoR quoted.

                  VoR’s 2265 number is the number of news stories related to just the first item on the google news search.

                  So comparing apples to apples, the number for ‘britney spears’ would be the:

                  “all 42 news articles”

                  from the first item listed at your link (10.3.1)

                  I just went to your britney link (comment 10.3.1). It’s now showing, by your method 5673 hits.

                  Put ‘Fukushima’ into the search field, hit go, and I get “20,525 hits” showing up in the spot where Britney got her “5673”.

                  Apples to apples.

                  If I put “fukushima nuclear plant” in I get 14,015 hits.

                  Not general searches, news searches.

                • McFlock

                  All these technical terms being used by non-professionals:
                  a news “peep”  is a million media articles globally inside of 6 months,
                  a “whimper is half a million,
                  a “purr” is an average monthly article rate of around 20,000, sustained for 8.3 months,
                  a “bang” is more than a million articles inside of a week,
                  and a “britney” is a photo that shows everything you want to know about a situation, goes viral, and when it is finally published in the MSM it’s all blurry.

                  • The Voice of Reason

                    Thanks for clearing that up, it all makes sense to me now!

                    • VoR
                      Hmm, and here’s me thinking you would actually want to know answers to the questions I put to you. But it seems that denial is more than a river in Egypt with you.

                  • Lanthanide

                    I really wish we could vote comments up here :/

                    • lprent

                      Ok, we’ll try it for a few days and see what happens – but without hiding or highlighting comments and some higher trigger values. *grumble*

                    • Armchair Critic

                      Don’t like it. Won’t vote Lanth’s suggestion down out of spite, though.

  12. idlegus 12

    Great stuff from Goff on Morning Report

    [audio src="http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/mnr/mnr-20110520-0813-labour_says_budget_is_bleak-048.mp3" /]

    • Peter Johansson 12.1

      National made a strange strategic move in the budget and it seems Goff has seen his window of opportunity. With so much resting on asset sales and imaginary tax takes on an economy that isn’t growing, the left have an old axe to grind and can also extend their market to include the middle income folks. Either the government is asleep, complaicent or apathetic (very likely) or they saw the next ten years were to be tax increases, no growth, regardless, and decided other people could sell it and take the responsibility. No reason why a coalition government couldn’t cobble together the same tired old slogans of the past and beat National/Act easily.

      • RobC 12.1.1

        That sorta had crossed my mind as well. I thought earlier this year Labour didn’t really want the Govt benches, certainly acted like it. Now I think National are weather-beaten by the dog-turd of an economy they’ve had to deal with for far too long so apart from Key playing comedian with Goff any chance he gets they don’t look that enthusiastic. If anything, it’s Labour that’s fired up recently.

    • Aye, he did really well.  Keep it up Phil.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.3

      Hah, that was good. The interviewer sounded quite upset that he got his arse handed to him on a platter for trying to defend what Nact were doing to the economy.

  13. randal 13

    bread and circuses still work dude.

  14. uke 14

    Further erosion of civil liberties in the “land of the free”:
    US Supreme Court gives green light to warrant-less searches of homes

  15. Draco T Bastard 15

    I see Bill English is in a rush to sell NZ off to overseas owners.

    • uke 15.1

      Perhaps time to begin a “Defend NZ Party”?
      Focus on securing a sustainable and self-determining future for NZers, reducing foreign control of government policy and foreign asset ownership. Introduce “economic terrorism” legislation to combat tax avoidance. Restore NZ Army as a credible military force for protecting strategic resources such as fisheries. (A ready-made political anthem is already available.)
      Unfortunately, at the moment most NZers seem remarkably apathetic about the slow erosion of their birthright and sovereignity. “I’m gonna leave for Australia” seems to the most fashionable way to avoid the issue at present.

      • McFlock 15.1.1

        Um – shouldn’t it be the navy that protects our fisheries? 🙂

        The trouble is that if you get too nationalist Kyle Chapman starts dropping leaflets…

        • uke

          “…the navy…”
          Yup, duh. Probably also the Air Force would defend the fisheries too; like a coupla Orions try and do at present.
          It’s funny how patriotic sentiment is currently so discredited that the likes of Kyle Chapman seem to naturally spring to mind when one raises it. (Perhaps I shouldn’t have used that word “birthright”…)

  16. Colonial Viper 16

    Anyone going to a Political Party? 🙂

    [lprent: Ruled out of bounds and moved to openmike. ]

  17. Campbell Larsen 17

    The Ocean of Liquidity and the Moral high ground.

    A question was raised as part of the debate on the budget “do we thing we should keep funding items within the governments portfolio regardless of deficit or surplus?”(I believe it was Blinglish – but don’t quote me on that)

    This is an important question which deserves some discussion.

    I have raised previously the notion of some budget line items being determined by something akin to a human rights charter. [My post her onMay 3rd, 2011] This is an attempt to enshrine in law the notion that there should be a minimum spend on looking after your society and that this %/Sum should not be subject to the vagaries of chance as determined by the creative accounting of Politicians and the Treasury.

    At what point does a country/ society go broke exactly?

    Answer: when it no longer looks after is weakest, poorest and most vulnerable.

    Everyone now understands the merry-go-round of international indebted-ness – Blind borrowing encouraged by institutions which then go onto gain tremendously from collapses in sovereignty that they have induced. The Budget rhetoric is currently fixated on the unpalatable policy which National is passing in order to keep some economic disaster at bay – but I believe the discussion should not be about particulars necessarily, but about the philosophy behind a government and the governance of a society.

    I do not believe we can subscribe in honesty to a policy position which attempts to assert that ‘in order to be able to care later we must be brutal now’

    This path is fraught with danger – the promised caring never eventuates once the brutality has been justified.

    Compassion and capability must be the defining characteristics of governance – the National government is really saying that its mismanagement of the county has gotten so bad that it can no longer look after the citizens of New Zealand. We are bankrupt already – National has failed.

    The time has come for a more inclusive approach which puts people first – the compass of our nation should be the compass of compassion. There is no point having an ‘economic surplus’ if one has squandered ones heart.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.1

      We can easily afford for everyone to have a decent living – we just can’t afford to have rich people at the same time. This is a truth that has been forgotten or, perhaps, never learned.

  18. RobC 18

    Rating comments? Wooohoooooooo

    Edit: Moderation??? Booooooooo

  19. RobC 19

    Parliament has been quite entertaining today.

    Cosgrove slam-dunking Foss over democracy is worth a look.

    Best Freudian slip – Shane Ardern – “I say to that Labour Government over there” … must be getting practice in for 2012

  20. Pascal's bookie 21

    Bit weird, that Israeli line that keeps getting used about how various borders that they used to have are ‘indefensible’, even though when wars broke out with those borders in place Israel not only defended them, but expanded her territory.

    They should get laughed out of court every time they say it, but people just nod at them as if to say ‘good point’.

    It’s fucking barking.

  21. Draco T Bastard 22

    This is an absolute must read:

    But what’s wrong with privatisation? Three examples should suffice – Telecom, the Railways, Air New Zealand. You don’t need me to spell out the details of all that was wrong with their respective privatisations (necessitating renationalisation in the case of two of them). Read the Roger Award’s Judges’ Reports where you will find copious material, year after year, on the corporate misdeeds of both Telecom and the former Tranz Rail. People say “who cares who owns the power companies? The State-owned ones behave like bastards anyway” (and don’t I know it, I’m a customer of Meridian – which gave us a $5 rebate off our power bill for our place having no power for five days after the February earthquake. I’m pretty sure we get charged more than $5 when we actually use power for five days). True, but the solution is not to flog them off to a private owner but to enact a policy that State-owned companies supplying an essential service actually be a public service rather than profit-obsessed corporations, which are publicly-owned whilst exhibiting all the worst characteristics of privately owned Big Business corporations. That requires a political decision to change the business model of those and other State-owned Enterprises from profit to service. Both the Railways and the Post Office could have been fixed, updated and recapitalised without needing to be flogged off. They are both textbook examples of what is called socialising the losses whilst privatising the profits.

    So, when are we going to get a political party that has the gumption to actually state that we need these public services as public services rather than as profit making corporations?

    • Neoleftie 22.1

      Methinks, in the short term our SOE should have the mandate of less profit return back to the Govt coffers and more on investment and expansion, with the long term objective of stabilising the economic influencers. During the late 90’s an SOE bought an small australian company in the same sector ( brisbane from memory ) but had to sell due to ministerial decree – not due to lack of profit or australian Govt concerns.
      SOE or any other State owned entity are or could be such a positive influencer on society and the economy – point in case the Tories desire for selling State assets off to the elites. This century will be not about outright speculative wealth but who controls or owns a states infrastructure, assets, water and resources.

  22. jellytussle 23


    This link to an interactive pie chart that shows a breakdown of the 2011 budget expenses is truly eye opening. Everyone should check it out. In fact maybe Iprent could repost or transfer it to a main posting. It gives a tremendous ability to see the real proportions of the budget spend on working for families and the unemployment benefit for example.
    Hats off to the creators.

  23. Pascal's bookie 24

    This rapture business, if no one disappears that just means the church is wrong about what god wants.

    • Armchair Critic 24.1

      I’m hoping that people like Bill English, the SS Trust and maybe even the Exclusive Brethren will all be gone by Monday.

  24. logie97 25

    has anyone pointed out to our brethren mate in the US that New Zealand will making it to the 21st of May before California (by about 18 hours) – we will have all gone and left him – poor bugger

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