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Open mike 21/07/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, July 21st, 2021 - 125 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 Policy).

Step up to the mike …

125 comments on “Open mike 21/07/2021 ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    I've been wondering if Pence will run against Trump next time. A youngster compared to Biden & Trump (he's 62), his solid fundamentalist credentials would pull plenty of votes away from the top flake – who mysteriously held up a Bible for the tv cameras during last year's campaign without explaining why.

    In response to a reporter Trump said "It's a Bible." There was no poll of how many viewers knew he was lying. Anyway, this report suggests Pence has a huge hill to climb before he seems sufficiently competitive: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/07/19/pence-flatlines-2024-499919

    “There are some Trump supporters who think he’s the Antichrist,” said one Iowa GOP official. Obviously not protestants (who traditionally believe that's the Pope).

    "“He’s got to justify to the Trumpistas why he isn’t Judas Iscariot, and then he’s got to demonstrate to a bunch of other Republicans why he hung out with someone they perceive to be a nutjob,” said Sean Walsh, a Republican strategist who worked in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush White Houses and on several presidential campaigns."

    "Many Iowa Republicans had seen the results of the most recent Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll, released just days earlier, in which Pence flatlined, drawing no more than 1 percent support."

    That would be due to the charisma deficit. The rabble do like a rouser & Trump gets them fired up. So looks like the Bible reader won't stand a chance against the Bible place-holder.

    • Ad 1.1

      De Santis is odds on (once the courts are finished with Trump), with a Senate Democratic majority to leaven him.

      Can anyone see a decent Democratic nominee contender against Biden yet?

      • SPC 1.1.1

        If De Santis wins the Presidential election in 2024, there is unlikely to be a Democratic majority in the Senate.

        • Ad 1.1.1.1

          Naturally I'm ever hopeful that the United States electorate will, state by state, start to reward the Democrats. Here's my quick reasons:

          – Ohio. Retirement of Republican Senator Rob Portman puts that fully in play for the Dems

          – North Carolina. Republican Bill Burr not standing again. My bet is Jeff Jackson takes it.

          – Wisconsin. Republican Ron Johnson will either not stand, or he will lose to a Democrat.

          – Pennsylvania. Republican Pat Toomey is retiring. Plenty of good Democratic contenders there including Fetterman

          – Ohio is such a Republican political mess maybe the Democrats will find a good contender

          – And they have a good shot against Rubio in Florida this time with Val Demings who is a female black police captain and solid Blue Dog Dem

          Democrats also have a good shot at defending their marginals in:

          – Arizona

          – Georgia

          – Nevada, and

          – New Hampshire

          I'm not even going to bother with Missouri or the rest.

          If anyone complains that this is simply managing the decline in US democracy, well of course that's true. But you deal with what you're dealt.

          • SPC 1.1.1.1.1

            2022 will be telling (2016 reprise). The Democratic Party did well in 2018 (so might lose ground if the de Santis wins in 2024).

            The unknown is the impact of GOP state voter suppression and whether this will get more extreme if they lose races in 2022.

          • RedLogix 1.1.1.1.2

            The US democratic system is going through one of it's periodic re-arrangements. While the nature of their voting system will ensure that the two big brand vehicles (Dem and Rep) will endure – their support factions and what they stand for, every now and then undergoes a dramatic reshuffle. It's happened before, and we're roughly in the middle of another one.

            Reports of a democratic US in terminal decline are premature.

            • SPC 1.1.1.1.2.1

              They so need preferential voting – within party candidate selection and to allow a third party Independent candidate to beat extremists who cannot get to 50%.

              • RedLogix

                Yes. I'm on record here has regarding the democratic West and the US in particular being flawed but still better than all the proven alternatives.

                What I do expect from the US is a capacity to change and evolve in response to an always shifting world. And in particular it needs to find a path to unshackling it's electoral system from 19th century. The US Constitution has largely served that nation well for a very long time, but nothing can stand untouched forever. Electoral reform has to be at the front of the queue.

                The big challenge is that once the door is cracked to changing the electoral system, a flood of competing self-interests inevitably barge into the room. I'm not sure how to have such a discourse in the present circumstances. Maybe the reform we need runs deeper than an electoral system.

                • SPC

                  Reducing the risk of swings to the extreme helps lower the social media temperature a notch.

                  The problem in their system is that GOP use the Senate filibuster to block federal government while they assert their power at state level – gerrymander, voter suppression, conservative social regimes, low MW, minimal public health in their states (which just expands the old southern order nationwide into other GOP regions). This is leading to a fracture as distinct as the one of the 1850's and one now under protection of a GOP controlled SCOTUS (and likely to be so for a generation).

    • Pete 1.2

      Pence hasn't a hope. Reason? So many Republican/Trump supporters see him as evil for doing what they think he should've done on January 6th. No, not be slain, (although that would have been acceptable), but stopped Biden being declared President.

      Which he couldn't do, but who cares about trivialities?

    • Molly 2.1

      Yes, but for me more middle class incentive than rewards for those that were early adopters and current users.

      I would have preferred to see RUC deferred as long as possible. All EV owners would have had equal benefit, and we would not be subsidising those that could have afforded it already, but just couldn't be arsed.

      • Sabine 2.1.1

        How many of these vehicles are bought on tick, based on housing equity and such? Anyways the floodwaters of the future will not care one bit.

        I am just "hoping" that there will be some government largesse trickling down to public transport users maybe in a rebate at the end of the tax year? 🙂

        • Ad 2.1.1.1

          Only those with no choice will continue to take public transport under a global pandemic. We are heading for the lowest public transport use since the early 1990s.

          This is the magic to the privacy, security and autonomy of your own car.

        • Molly 2.1.1.2

          Public transport improvement and affordability should be the number one priority for transport.

          I see the narrative around this being morphed into alternative transport systems that often benefit recrational middle class users. The focus should primarily be on commuter traffic – for all.

          • Patricia Bremner 2.1.1.2.1

            Molly half the folk I know including both our sons and most of their friends work from home.laugh They avoid Public transport because of the virus, they find it hard to believe a piece of cloth will help. They shop by click and collect as a rule.

      • Ad 2.1.2

        For the remaining aspirant middle class that we have, Mercedes have finally decided to step into the higher-end market that they had ceded for 6 years to Tesla.

        https://www.mercedes-benz.co.nz/passengercars/mercedes-benz-cars/models/eqa/charging-and-range/overseas-disclaimer.module.html

        The XPeng seems to be taking too long to get here. Otherwise it looks pretty shiny.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qd0PeHZt4lU

        The rest can go for the Toyota Camry hybrid once all those taxi drivers have run them into the ground.

  2. SPC 3

    Ken Hall on People of Earth

    Jeff the Gray leaves People of the Earth, then returns to his Amazonian (reptilian) sidekick.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-57849364

    • Dennis Frank 3.1

      devil The obvious problem with all these billionaires heading off into outer space is that they keep coming back.

      Jimmy Buffet sang about a Beach House on the Moon (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beach_House_on_the_Moon) a while back, so the billionaires ought to acquire real estate as per usual. Sailing on the lunar seas requires novel technology, of course. No water, so wheels. No wind, so Tesla batteries…

      • SPC 3.1.1

        It's interesting that our Jeff thinks that in the future we can do dirty industrial stuff and mining in space – an all we can eat Warren Space Buffet – and keep the Earth green.

        • Dennis Frank 3.1.1.1

          Indeed an interesting scenario. Long been a staple of sci-fi. Asteroid mining ought to be a goer. Residential hotels on hollowed-out & honeycombed asteroids would then become the next step (developed from initial miner habitat).

          • Forget now 3.1.1.1.1

            If there is a sci-fi comparison to be made. It seems less to the a cyberpunk Schismatrix, than to Elton's dark comedy; StArk.

            • greywarshark 3.1.1.1.1.1

              If you feel like some intelligent goofiness thought up by clever collegians and profs, you can't go beyond Tom Lehrer's lucidity.

          • WeTheBleeple 3.1.1.1.2

            Except it's utter bollocks. We can barely keep the astronauts in the space station up there and that's an international effort using vast resources.

            Space tourism is utter BS both now, and in the forseeable future.

            • Dennis Frank 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Yes, your view has been mine since the tide went out on the promethean stance in the '70s. The Russian/American collaboration on the space station was excellent but you did always have that sense that they were fighting a losing battle to maintain momentum.

              My positive comment earlier was due to seeing a resurgence of promethean endeavour into space. First from Musk, now with the other two megadudes.

              The difference is primarily due to the shift from public funding of space exploration to private funding. Think of it as x zillion dollars with nowhere to go since the megadudes already have all the toys they want. The scenario opening up is capitalists co-creating a new market. The bandwagon effect then takes over and drives the enterprise forward.

              That said, I'm just as sceptical as I ever was re tech `perfection'. To keep people alive in a vacuum requires it. Shit always happens eventually…

        • McFlock 3.1.1.2

          The nice thing about the first few seasons of the Expanse TV show was that no society had a particularly good life – Belters had it tough, Mars was totalitarian, and Earth was a shithole. And this applied to everyone except the privileged few.

          Space mining will not keep the Earth green, because we've already fucked it. The overlap is too long – 20-30 years at the earliest for scaled-up space mining, and we're already getting severe climate conditions.

  3. Dennis Frank 4

    Al Gillespie (Professor of Law @ University of Waikato) points to the crux of the problem: "most cybercrime originates overseas, and global solutions don’t really exist."

    https://theconversation.com/calling-out-china-for-cyberattacks-is-risky-but-a-lawless-digital-world-is-even-riskier-164771

    "In theory, the attacks can be divided into two types — those by criminals and those by foreign governments. In reality, the line between the two is blurred. Dealing with foreign criminals is slightly easier than combating attacks by other governments, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has recognised the need for a global effort to fight this kind of cybercrime."

    "To that end, the government recently announced New Zealand was joining the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime, a global regime signed by 66 countries based on shared basic legal standards, mutual assistance and extradition rules."

    "Unfortunately, some of the countries most often suspected of allowing international cybercrime to be committed from within their borders have not signed, meaning they are not bound by its obligations. That includes Russia, China and North Korea. Along with several other countries not known for their tolerance of an open, free and secure internet, they are trying to create an alternative international cybercrime regime, now entering a drafting process through the United Nations."

    So we're part of a global network of 66 nations operating independently of the UN, and the baddies are using the UN to compete with us. Shows how low the UN has now sunk in international esteem.

    • Morrissey 4.1

      Along with several other countries not known for their tolerance of an open, free and secure internet…

      Those "several other countries" include, of course, the notorious regimes in Washington and London. Any principled analyst or commentator would make that clear—but this is Professor Al Gillespie, who after the Key government had sustained serious and prolonged criticism for secretly negotiating the TPPA in 2015, expressed his faith that they would "not be as secretive in the future. … I think they will learn from this, and negotiations will not be as secretive in the future.”

      Open mike 17/08/2015

      • Dennis Frank 4.1.1

        As a critic of the US/UK establishment my entire adult life I'm happy to acknowledge that the goodies vs baddies framing is simplistic at best and serves to mask the truth at worst. However, it does persist as our cultural norm. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Thus nuance gets sacrificed on the altar of convention.

        • Morrissey 4.1.1.1

          However, it does persist as our cultural norm.

          Rhetorically, it persists. In reality, as evidenced by the state persecution of (to name just a few) Daniel Ellsberg, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, and the destruction of (to cite just a few) Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, the reality is something else entirely.

          By the way, I forgot to add this damning statement from that little homily by Professor Gillespie: “To a degree we have to trust the government.”

  4. Dennis Frank 5

    "New Zealand’s version of quantitative easing will die on Friday" https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/125769412/quantitative-easing-an-obituary

    "Quantitative easing spent its life buying up government and local government debt with the Reserve Bank’s money, effectively keeping the price of this debt low by moving around a couple of numbers on a spreadsheet. However, this is not how most people will remember it. They will instead fondly look back on it the way they imagined it: an inkjet printer in Orr’s office spitting out banknotes with an audible “brrrr”, and assistant governor Christian Hawkesby running the printouts down to Finance Minister Grant Robertson".

    Our qe was gifted a lengthy name: "So the Large-Scale Asset Purchase (LSAP) programme was born. It started out capped at $30b with the Reserve Bank only able to hold a maximum of 50 per cent of all government bonds, but later expanded to $100b with a limit of 60 per cent. Its spending would never get anywhere near this last total; when its death was announced just $53b had been spent."

    "Buying up so many of these bonds forced investors to put money into riskier assets. In New Zealand the word ‘’asset’’ is pretty much synonymous with the word “house”, which is one reason why property prices soared. ​Kerr said everyone was a little awkward about this very much intended side-effect now". No shit! Some are even a lot awkward. “We’ve found ourselves with this gaping hole and councils which are insufficiently funded. That is the New Zealand problem right there,” Kerr said. “That is the reason why we have a housing market which is up 30 per cent."

    Given that qe was created in the US to save the capitalist system with imaginary money, the learning seems to be that usage of magical thinking in government policy produces big holes in other parts of the economy.

    • Nic the NZer 5.1

      Not really buying that QE was a cause of house price increases.

      The lockdowns definitely took the smashed avocado away from potential buyers causing savings (also due to the wage subsidy providing lockdown income). Once the lockdowns ended this enabled house buying to continue apace, with buyers being even more willing to push out fully paying off their mortgage. Also some long meaningful zoom calls with the parents (and future co-owners) were involved.

      QE reduced what interest rate the govt pays on its debt and gets it paid to itself (RBNZ profits are rebated anyway). But it should be pretty obvious that if the govt paid more stiff interest rates but still had a lockdown and wage subsidy similar house price rises would have occurred.

      • SPC 5.1.1

        The OCR rate drop, the greater availability of money to banks, and the suspension of the deposit requirements were the more direct reasons for the house price increase.

        • Nic the NZer 5.1.1.1

          Banks don't need deposits to make additional loans, at last resort the funds to complete the transaction can always be borrowed at the OCR from the RBNZ.

          The most important criteria for borrowing will be ability to repay the loan and having a deposit to complete the house purchase.

          • SPC 5.1.1.1.1

            I was referring to the lack of need for a 20% deposit to buy a house, a requirement suspended by the RBG in 2020.

      • Herodotus 5.1.2

        So as Robertson and yourself don’t believe yet we have had massive property increases (just as the experts predicted) what now? The last 9 months increases will take 10years of wage growth at 2% before we are in the same position as late last year and that is with a stagnant property market for 10 years 🤬

        So when warned, Robertson did nothing but play his fiddle, he had options open. Yet have we not been told how this government is to implement policies to improve the situation, the actions suggest otherwise. Over promised to act and deliver nothing but dissappointment.

        • SPC 5.1.2.1

          The Treasury advise Robertson and they forecast a fall in the property market.

          It was because of Treasury advice that Orr of the RB decided to lower the OCR, expand money available to banks and suspend the equity/deposit requirement for bank lending.

          • SPC 5.1.2.1.1

            But from about Oct 2020, it was becoming obvious Treasury was wrong and Orr did nothing for months.

            • Herodotus 5.1.2.1.1.1

              How about this warning – and Robertson was …. Doing nothing, I know is is not normal to expect to ignore advice that holds true that Robertson and con are accountable for the balls up , unless the govt want property to dramatically increase in value. I am sure the promise regarding housing was made in the previous election but was it intended to be acted on ?

              https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/300223358/reserve-bank-repeatedly-warned-government-money-printing-would-lead-to-house-price-inflation

              • SPC

                The article says

                1. In Jan 2020 Orr advised the government that LSAP would cause house price inflation (this was not being practiced at the time).
                2. In March Orr begins LSAP as a pandemic response – as Treasury expects there to be a recession (and fall in property values).

                Since then

                1. The governments incomes support, and successful end to community spread prevents a recession (two terms of decline).
                2. Orr maintains the low OCR and suspension of the equity/deposit for home loans for 6 more months (rather than actively intervene in a market rising in value).
                3. After we continue without community spread well into winter 2021 and look to have vaccination roll out in play with inflation rising above 3% and unemployment below 5% and falling he formally ends LSAP – presumably because we still have some money set aside for another lock down.
                • Nic the NZer

                  Experts or no, I really just don't think a lot the stories projecting where the economy (and particularly inflation) is heading in response to govt economic policy are credible. For this case we are told by Mr Kerr that the 30% increases only happened because of QE. But whats his counterfactual, because there were a bunch of policies around the lockdown not just QE.

                  And yet the QE program didn't do much for several recent months while further price increases continued and its hardly like house price increases were unprecedented before QE started either.

                  If you look further into QE you will find its just a permitted (e.g market inclusive) way for the RBNZ to fund the govt at low interest rates. Notice the RBNZ holds 53% of govt debt presently. Once you have that understanding the idea that the govt owning its own debt influences house prices seems a bit weird.

                  The minimum standard for claiming QE is causing a 30% house price appreciation should be, explain how these transactions influence people to buy into housing at 30% higher prices.

                  Also keeping amo spare is not a thing, the RBNZ can at any time repeat its QE policy to fund the govt further. It can do that while being in negative equity because the only institution it answers to is parliament and their not going to do anything if the RBNZ is in this state. This means (if it mattered) that govt debt held by the RBNZ could just be written off by mutual agreement.

  5. tc 6

    Shock jocks who ran interference about vaccinations in USA such as Hannity are asking their audience to basically forget what they said and get the jab.

    Interesting times…..Tucker’s unmoved as expected as Dominic Cummins keeps giving it up.

  6. Stephen D 7

    https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2021/07/21/is-there-a-case-for-an-overnight-sleeper-train-between-auckland-and-wellington/

    Lots to recommend it. Especially the low carbon footprint.

    My wife and I would use it.

    • Ad 7.1

      The Milan to Paris overnight is not too bad; 7.5 hours.

      Kiwirail would need to assure us that our carriage would still be attached.

    • SPC 7.2

      There was one back in the 1970's. I used it the following day to journey north on annual holidays.

      • Treetop 7.2.1

        I travelled from Wellington to Auckland a return trip with a 12 month old in the mid 1980s on the over nighter. I shared both ways in a single bunk bed. The bed was to narrow for an infant and a skinny adult. I ended up sleeping on the floor so the infant got a good sleep.

    • bwaghorn 7.3

      Whack a car carrying bogey on the back so you can take you wheels with you.

      I recently drove to gaore fron picton if a coulda out the wagon on a train and had a few cold ones then woken up down there it would be ace.

    • KSaysHi 7.4

      I'd use it as I dislike flying and long drives.

    • Macro 7.5

      We had one of the 1970's Auckland/Wellington silver star carriages here in a paddock behind A&G Price for years. Gone now – probably to a tramcar Bay 🙂

      I used to have to travel on it frequently when I was on the Naval Staff in Def HQ and had to visit the Auckland Naval Base as part of my duties. It was either that or spend a day travelling on the Air Force Shuttle. (If you have time to spare – go by Air!). It wasn't the most comfortable of conveyances and although it was supposedly a sleeper – sleeping was pretty hard to do. The following day was pretty much a write-off.

  7. Ad 8

    For those who like to keep tabs on how corrupted Donald Trump was by foreign agents and foreign countries, we have a new addition to the current list of his indicted and convicted White House staff:

    – Paul Manafort, his Campaign Chairman, acting for Ukrainian interests

    – Rick Gates, another senior Trump campaign official, country name redacted as part of FBI deal

    – Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, Trump's National Security Adviser, for Russian interests

    – Michael Cohen Trump's commercial lawyer for years, for Russian interests

    – Ken Kurson, President Trump's speechwriter, cyberstalking, country name redacted

    – Roger Stone, Trump and Republican Party senior operative, for Russian interests

    – George Papadopoulos, another Trump campaign aide, acting for Russian interests

    – Elliott Broidy, senior Trump campaign fundraiser, operating for Chinese and Malaysian interests

    – George Nader, for the United Arab Emirates. And child pornography.

    – Imaaz Zuberi, major Trump donor, country redacted as part of deal

    – Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, major Trump donors, for Ukrainian interests

    – Sam Patten, senior Republican lobbyist, for Ukrainian interests

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/all-of-the-trumpworld-figures-whove-been-arrested-indicted-or-jailed

    Today we can now add:

    – Tom Barrack, Chair of Trump's Inaugural Committee, charged with supporting the United Arab Emirates

    https://edition.cnn.com/2021/07/20/politics/tom-barrack-arrested/index.html

    I don't need to bother with Steve Bannon, Brad Parscale, Elliott Broidy, George Nader, and all the rest about to come out in the wash.

    Trump's government was totally corrupted by multiple foreign governments.

    • Nic the NZer 8.1

      Wasn't Paul Manafort supposed to be a Russian intelligence asset, rather than Ukranian?

    • SPC 8.2

      Donald Trump's onetime campaign chairman played an instrumental role in helping a pro-Kremlin party take power.

      The Ukrainians were after Manafort because of his assistance to a Russian backed Ukrainian politician (a former President of Ukraine).

    • Gosman 8.3

      What policy position did Trump pursue that was not what you would have expected him to do prior to him getting elected?

      • Ad 8.3.1

        Actively seeking to be corrupted by foreign governments.

        • Macro 8.3.1.1

          Actually Ad that is precisely what I thought he would do, and hoped he would resist the temptation. He was already compromised by foreign powers prior to his election having been bailed out financially through backhand deals through Deutsche Bank and money laundering for Russian billionaires through his property deals and casinos.

          • Ad 8.3.1.1.1

            I'm not convinced that Deutsche Bank dirt will ever properly see the light of day with Trump and the house Democrats likely to "resolve issues" surrounding congressional subpoenas of his financial records from that bank.

            "The parties are “continuing to engage in negotiations intended to narrow or resolve their disputes and believe they are close to an agreement,” the filing said. They asked a federal judge in New York for another 30 days to continue negotiations.

            The House Financial Services Committee and the House Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Deutsche Bank in 2019, seeking years of the president’s personal and business records. Trump challenged the subpoenas as an intrusion on his powers as president.“:

            https://fortune.com/2021/05/17/donald-trump-house-democrats-deutsche-bank-2019-subpoenas-financial-records/

            Also:

            https://www.reuters.com/legal/transactional/trump-house-democrats-working-resolve-dispute-deutsche-bank-subpoenas-2021-06-18/

            Maybe if the New York indictments are successful, the broader team will go the next stage.

            • Macro 8.3.1.1.1.1

              That may well be true – but the stench will continue to linger. What other explanation can there be for the many millions in "loans" to a bankrupt when almost every other major bank in the US wouldn't touch him again with a barge pole.

              The dislike is mutual. After Trump's first bankruptcy, major banks grew considerably more skittish about doing business with him.

              "When underwriting some of these very large loans with very visible borrowers, there is an element or the possibility of headline risk," Chandan says.Lenders tend to look askance at borrowers who have a history of walking away from debts too quickly, says economist Sam Chandan, who is the Larry & Klara Silverstein chair of New York University's Schack Institute of Real Estate. They also avoid borrowers whose exploits can generate bad press.

              To borrow money, Trump has had to turn to smaller and less conventional sources of capital, such as Ladder Capital Finance, a New York real estate investment trust that holds mortgages on several Trump properties. Ladder doesn't keep the mortgages it issues and instead packages them into securities and resells them to other financial institutions. It therefore has somewhat more freedom to take risks with its customers than more heavily regulated banks.

              More troubling is Trump's relationship with his other major lender, Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, a subsidiary of the giant German bank, says Eisen of the Brookings Institution.

              Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas is in talks with the federal government over various financial irregularities and faces big potential fines over its handling of mortgage-backed securities. Like other big banks, it will be affected by Trump's vow to overhaul bank regulations.

              "Here you have one of the world's largest financial institutions, Mr. Trump's principal lender, whom he owes many, many millions of dollars to, that creates a conflict that cuts across Mr. Trump's job as president, " Eisen says.

              https://www.npr.org/2017/06/20/533552769/trump-may-have-a-lot-of-money-but-documents-show-he-owes-a-lot-too

              • Ad

                Agree generally, though I think Trump Org will just trade their bank debt into lower-tier banks i.e. even below Deutsche Bank who are pretty scummy already. That's a pretty useful escape route.

                Problem is those lower-order banks tend to co-operate when squeezed, apropos the Cyprus bank that became a co-operating witness in the 2018 Manafort trial.

                https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-paul-manaforts-trial-a-cyprus-bank-is-a-cooperating-witness-1533643200

                My instinct is that he will go to a very friendly Gulf State bank to re-set himself.

                Trump is doing remarkably well to survive all of this since 2016, and while it would be great for some moment of high hubris to descend, I'm not counting on it.

  8. SPC 9

    Stuff has an article calling for the end of the Olympics on grounds of cost.

    I suspect the same person who wrote it gets jobs writing music for the Jackson movies made here on the taxpayer dime.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/olympics/125806596/why-the-olympic-games-should-be-scrapped-forever#comments

    • tc 9.1

      Cost and relevance as it's neither amateur or the pinnacle of (insert sport/activity here) anymore in the 21st century which were almost a quarter through.

      But then cost is all relative as Tokyo whined about the fine they'll cop if it doesn't go ahead. So on we go, fingers crossed for our competitors and support crews.

    • SPC 9.2

      It is written by a sports journalist.

      • RedLogix 9.2.1

        Yup. While I think we can all hold some nostaglic regard for the original Olympic ideal, the ever advancing professionalisation and multiplying diversity of sports themselves has rather overtaken it.

        Worse has been the exploitation of the Olympics for nationalistic purposes. The prospect of the 2022 Winter Olympics looking like a re-run of 1936 brings no-one any joy either.

        It occurs to me that several thousand years ago, some Greeks and Romans were probably holding exactly this same conversation.

        • Poission 9.2.1.1

          The Greeks were indeed having this conversation Isocrates in the Panegyricus argued strongly for wisdom over athletics.

          Many times have I wondered at those who first convoked the national assemblies and established the athletic games,1 amazed that they should have thought the prowess of men's bodies to be deserving of so great bounties, while to those who had toiled in private for the public good and trained their own minds so as to be able to help also their fellow-men they apportioned no reward whatsoever.

          when, in all reason, they ought rather to have made provision for the latter; for if all the athletes should acquire twice the strength which they now possess, the rest of the world would be no better off; but let a single man attain to wisdom, and all men will reap the benefit who are willing to share his insight.

          http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0144%3Aspeech%3D4%3Asection%3D2

          Greek thought,outlasting the memory of who one the Javelin at marathon.

          • greywarshark 9.2.1.1.1

            Brilliant Poission yes

          • SPC 9.2.1.1.2

            A fit man is no burden, but the indolent man behind the keyboard eating junk food, while gaming or blogging, is only a decade from consequences for the taxpayer.

            No “one” venturing forth, nothing “won”

            • Gabby 9.2.1.1.2.1

              A fit man constantly in physio through overexertion is a bit of a burden.

    • alwyn 9.3

      "the end of the Olympics on grounds of cost".

      Wouldn't it have been wonderful if the New Zealand Government had said this a couple of years ago before we blew hundreds of millions on the fiasco that was the America's Cup?

      Could even have been able to pay the nurses a bit more and have kept those heading off to the greener fields in Australia here in New Zealand where we need them.

      • SPC 9.3.1

        I guess you have never worked in finance.

        One does not afford an annual expense by pruning capital spending (and the assets that remain in Auckland are real assets and are worth more than the net cost of the event).

  9. Forget now 10

    This is kinda nice. Lots of businesses jump on the Pride bandwagon for marketing, only to send their ad money elsewhere on the first of July. So it's good to see a small gesture of inclusion actually progresses outside the month of June.

    It's more shutting off the road for the paint to dry that would be difficult. A few litres of paint don't cost much on DCC scale of expenses.

    https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/rainbow-crossing-supported

    • KSaysHi 10.1

      How can that be anything other than distracting? Surely a safety issue. We have the Carmen lights in Cuba street. Maybe something like that.

    • alwyn 10.2

      "A few litres of paint don't cost much".

      That is what our last, unlamented, Mayor Justin Lester claimed in Wellington. Then the Wellington ratepayers found out that Lester had managed to blow $40,000 on the stupid thing!

      https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1803/S00375/the-40000-price-tag-for-justin-lesters-rainbow-crossing.htm

      • McFlock 10.2.1

        Funny how it came in well below budget, and ended up costing about the same as a regular crossing.

        But I wouldn't expect you to let reality get in the way of parroting whatever the state-funded taxpayer's "union" complains about.

        • alwyn 10.2.1.1

          Gosh. The Council come up with a claimed $27,000 and you think that is an acceptable number?

          Where did you ever work? It sounds as if you never worked at anything outside of the Public Sector. Only people there would think that painting a few coloured stripes on a road was worth spending that sort of money. You certainly wouldn't think so if it was your own money, that is for sure.

          • McFlock 10.2.1.1.1
            • The painting of the crossing itself cost $3,990.
            • Traffic management – including closing Dixon Street and diverting traffic while the installation was underway – cost $11,710.
            • Security guards were employed at a cost of $2,304 to make sure the rainbow crossing was installed safely in the heart of Wellington’s bustling entertainment district over the weekend of 6 and 7 October 2018.
            • We also took the opportunity to install and upgrade safety features in Dixon Street at a cost of $3,998.61
            • The remaining expenses (security fencing, signage and communication to neighbours) totalled $4,841.86.

            $4k for a few coats of what I'm assuming is something more substantial than timbacryl and applied by people earning a living wage.

            As for where I've worked, you seem to be confusing "spending your own money" with actually knowing the cost of doing the job.

            You'd want to spend the minimum amount on inadequate paint and less on the people to do the job. I've definitely worked for arses like that before, generally in hospo. They looked a lot like the ones now bitching about a "skills shortage" because they don't have enough unemployed people to exploit.

  10. francesca 11

    AD
    Why is it you totally missed out the immense influence Israel had and has on the US govt?

    Under Trump , even more so

    • SPC 11.1

      Because there has been no official investigation of any such influence by any branch of the American government – so he cannot refer to it.

      Which means it's a conspiracy theory … unlike UFO's (the cover up created by the US Air Force in 1947 to suppress public reference in media to sightings of spy craft in test flight development), esp since Space Force …

    • RedLogix 11.2

      In a globalised world it's quite unrealistic to imagine every nation can politically stand in isolation. Influence will always be sought and wielded to some degree. In the absence of a formal, function global scale governance – all the more so.

      The real question I would ask – how transparent is this influence? Right now the answer everywhere seems to be 'very opaque'.

  11. Dennis Frank 12

    Digging down in steps:

    1. "GCSB Minister Andrew Little said that the foreign intelligence agency has established links between Chinese state-sponsored actors known as Advanced Persistent Threat 40 (APT40) and malicious cyber activity in New Zealand. The GCSB had "worked through a robust technical attribution process" to establish its conclusions, Little said." https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/447239/government-points-finger-at-china-over-cyber-attacks
    2. "The term "advanced persistent threat" has been cited as originating from the United States Air Force in 2006 with Colonel Greg Rattray cited as the individual who coined the term." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_persistent_threat
    3. "APT40, also known as BRONZE MOHAWK, FEVERDREAM, G0065, Gadolinium, GreenCrash, Hellsing, Kryptonite Panda, Leviathan, MUDCARP, Periscope, Temp.Periscope, and Temp.Jumper, is an advanced persistent threat located in Haikou, Hainan Province, People's Republic of China (PRC), and has been active since at least 2009. APT40 has targeted governmental organizations, companies, and universities in a wide range of industries, including biomedical, robotics, and maritime research, across the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and the South China Sea area, as well as industries included in China's Belt and Road Initiative."

    So it's official from the government that these cyber attacks emanate from a threat located in China (APT40) and this entity consists of "Chinese state-sponsored actors" which have been producing similar organised attacks against diverse targets in various countries for 12 years. Other western govts accept this reality also. Forensic computer analysis seems to have confirmed the identity of the source.

    Assumption of Chinese state sponsoring the organisation derive, presumably, from the expectation that the state would eliminate the organisation if it were not operating in accord with state policy. Makes sense, but a sceptic would point out there's no proof and the authorities are basing foreign policy on blind faith in their spooks…

    • Ad 12.1

      Plenty of nut jobs here still support the Chinese Communist Party, headed by the Chinese Head of State XI Jinping.

      This sustained attack is but one of their gifts to the world.

  12. weston 13

    So wer,re expected to believe now that china is behind the latest cyber attacks in this country really ??what could they possibly gain from the somewhat seedy takedown of a hospitals network system ?Call me a CT if you wish but i seem to remember amongst the very large disclosure of documents released by wikileaks a few years ago called vault 7 there was evidence of american abilities to falsely attribute hacks and computer intrusions to another party .Personally given their past record for fabricating untruths i wouldnt trust any american intelligence source to tell me the time of day !

    • Ad 13.1

      That's the spirit. It's Something Else. And Russiagate OMG.

    • Brigid 13.2

      "Personally given their past record for fabricating untruths i wouldnt trust any american intelligence source to tell me the time of day !"

      Obviously plenty of nut job propagandists here would.

    • SPC 13.3

      Is it a matter of trust, or competence? Most of them could be misled by colleagues and not realise it.

      Most of the Senate did not know the difference between Sunni and Shia when voting on regime change in Iraq – that sort of advanced knowledge was to be found only on the Foreign Relations Committee.

      And then again if you rang up Foggy Bottom or Langley and asked for the time and they got it right, you would have to suspect they were using NSA tracking sources to know your location.

      According to the leaked documents, the NSA intercepts and stores the communications of over a billion people worldwide, including United States citizens. The documents also revealed the NSA tracks hundreds of millions of people's movements using cellphones' metadata.

      NSA warns that the location of any powered-on smartphone can have its location tagged. … “Even if cellular service is turned off on a mobile device,” NSA says, “Wi-Fi and Bluteooth can determine a user's location

      Yeah they would know the time where you lived.

  13. Dennis Frank 15

    Seymour frames PM: "One has to ask, is the real reason we do not have a plan to get our way of life back is that the Government is still focus-grouping it?"

    Flawed premise right there! We don't plan to get our way of life back while in the midst of a pandemic, so why expect the govt to do it for us??

    "It's time to start treating New Zealanders like adults. Let us know what's going on in a timely way. Be up-front with us as issues arise instead of relying on polls and focus groups. Our COVID response is more important than Jacinda Ardern's popularity."

    She doesn't need to worry about that – it's already right up there! Haven't you noticed?? She's crowd-sourcing feedback, obviously. Only people who volunteer it are those with a chip on their shoulder, eh? So making an organised effort to evaluate how folks see the thing going is sensible. You could even call it adult.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2021/07/prime-minister-jacinda-ardern-under-fire-for-spending-250-000-on-covid-19-polls.html

    Seymour's childish need to get the govt to return his privileged way of life is just nanny-state thinking. Yet he can't see that he's just complaining about the pandemic tugging his security blanket away. A mental age of two years…

  14. SPC 16

    It's behind a paywall … so I have not read it.

    Apparently hate speech can be managed by ending online anonymity.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/ben-goodale-why-the-hate-speech-law-change-could-be-meaningless/NQDTAECXUBJDFEZTYCIQPEH34M/

    For mine that would mean the independently rich and publicly involved (as group leaders or associates) would retain freedom of speech, the rest would risk consequence – in employment, elsewhere online on other platforms and harrassment where they lived.

    • greywarshark 16.1

      SPC indecision you nail it – Free speech can never be truly free, but especially when you fix your moniker to it, it can be like punching yourself somewhere vital.

    • Descendant Of Smith 16.2

      I sat on a board of trustees and we needed to do some recruitment. Most of the trustees wanted to scan the applicants social media accounts before shortlisting. I put my foot down and said that if they thought that was the right thing to do then w needed to be upfront about it with the applicants, tell them what we had found and how we used that information in our decision-making.

      In the end they didn't want to be held accountable for their desire to be nosy. Trolling peoples social media as part of the recruitment of staff is the refuge of cowards for the most part.

  15. Dennis Frank 17

    Israel & the Saudis have been collaborating: "NSO Group had been given explicit permission by the Israeli government to try to sell the homegrown hacking tools to the Saudis. It was a classified arrangement and resulted in the sale later being sealed in Riyadh in a deal reportedly worth at least $55m." https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/20/pegasus-project-turns-spotlight-on-spyware-firm-nso-ties-to-israeli-state

    “In Israel there is a strong political movement to make diplomacy through business,” said the person, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “Business first, diplomacy later. When you make a deal together, it opens a lot of doors to diplomacy.” It is common for governments to help companies export their products. NSO, after all, employs former Israeli cyber-intelligence officials and retains links to the defence ministry."

    "In the case of Saudi Arabia, sources familiar with the matter said the kingdom was temporarily cut off from using Pegasus in 2018, for several months, following the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, but was allowed to begin using the spyware again in 2019 following the intervention of the Israeli government. It is unclear why the Israeli government urged NSO to reconnect the surveillance tool for Riyadh."

    "NSO's founders are ex-members of Unit 8200, the Israeli Intelligence Corps unit responsible for collecting signals intelligence." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSO_Group

    • SPC 17.1

      Benjamin Netanyahu once said that "Talpiot" was better than Five Eyes. His meaning would not be an elite unit within the IDF (10 year service and training in maths, physics IT), but the areas where they dispersed to – Shin Bet, Mossad, military intelligence and various tech firms like NSO.

  16. joe90 18

    Kushner and co – play nice with Israel and we'll flog you suites of nifty, purpose built tech to surveille and repress any and all domestic opposition.

    Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, Turkey, Morocco, Saudi Arabia- righto!

    Bibi and the Donald – we'll call it the Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People plan.

    • SPC 18.1

      Qatar as well? Despite the Kushner family business not getting the loan …

      • joe90 18.1.1

        Israel and Qatar have been besties for years so they probably got the extended warranty, too.

  17. SPC 19

    The Greens want a WOF for rental property, rather than require tenants to complain about the property meeting the standard (often renters are being offered dubious property and take it rather than miss out).

    The Healthy Homes Standards, which became law on July 1, 2019, outline the minimum standards for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture ingress and drainage, and draught-stopping in rented properties.

    Last month, the Government announced that all private rentals must comply with the Healthy Homes Standards within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy after July 1, with all private rentals complying by July 1, 2024

    At current, all houses rented by Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand) and registered Community Housing Providers must comply with the Healthy Homes Standards by July 1, 2023.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2021/07/rental-property-wofs-greens-chl-e-swarbrick-says-rental-property-wofs-would-protect-good-landlords-as-well-as-tenants.html

    For mine what is needed is a random check policy between now and 2024 (covering all properties by July 2024), with a short period of notice to the landlord (tenants being able to "anonymously" notify the agency concerned about properties of concern, so the problem ones are sorted out more quickly).

    • greywarshark 19.1

      Sounds like good thinking SPC. And on why everything is SNAFU on housing and everything:

      Here is some more – a Ted talk on capitalism by someone who says he is at the top level of the 1% wweeaalltthhyy – people who have multiples of everything!

      • SPC 19.1.1

        The point of course being to provide free checks, rather than charge for a WOF, and cover the cost by fining those landlords whose properties were not up to standard.

        • greywarshark 19.1.1.1

          Right on SPC. Make it easy to be gooder, until the whole lot go up on a rising tide. Carrots needed more with sticks available to be used, that do get used.

    • RosieLee 19.2

      And what about if you're renting a sound place at a really reasonable rental – and you can't afford any more. It has full spec insulation and an extractor fan over the oven. I keep it clean and well ventilated, there is no mould and it doesn't need a heat pump or extractor fans in the bathroom. Why should my landlord be forced to do unnecessary stuff – resulting in me paying more rent? Where is the common sense?

  18. Jimmy 20

    Poto Williams – You need to up your game. You need to represent all NZ'ers not just Maori and Pacific communities. What a train wreck of an interview – luckily it wasn't Mike Hosking.

    https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/mike-hosking-breakfast/audio/poto-williams-public-and-cops-react-as-police-minister-says-she-is-not-in-favour-of-general-arming-of-police/

    • SPC 20.1

      There are all sorts of people around New Zealand who no more want the police armed than those of south Auckland.

    • David 20.2

      Yes, as an elected member from Christchurch and a Minister of the Crown you would think she represents (1) the people of her electorate and (2) all New Zealanders. Clearly the Minister thinks otherwise. Doh!

  19. greywarshark 22

    Energy wind, solar, nuclear? 2019 Ted talks

    Questions about our green accepted wisdoms.

    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciStnd9Y2ak
    Why I changed my mind about nuclear power | Michael Shellenberger

    …………………..

    Why renewables can’t save the planet | Michael Shellenberger

    • SPC 22.1

      Sure wind/solar being intermittent require a spare capacity such as gas (better than coal). Even our hydro based system needs back up in dry years (battery dam maybe) or we use Huntly (at some point only gas and no longer any coal).

      He seems to be arguing for 100% nuclear as per France as better for AGW and the local environment. But how does anyone go from zero to 100% nuclear quickly?

      There are all sorts of combinations possible 33%+- nuclear, 33%+- hydro and or dry year battery and 33%+- solar/wind with gas back up.

      • lprent 22.1.1

        or we use Huntly (at some point only gas and no longer any coal).

        The local gas is drying up.

        From memory there hasn’t been a decent sized field found since Kupe in about 1986. That is despite significiant searches for new fields from the 2000s until recently. A couple of onshore small oil fields with a small gas compenent..

        The large Kapuni was discovered when I was born (1959) and the massive Maui was when I listening to the moon landing (1969).

        Our geology around the Zealandia continental area doesn’t really make it likely that we’ll find large cheap viable fields. Kupe has only recently started being exploited simply because it was far more expensive than Maui to exploit.

    • WeTheBleeple 22.2

      Yes, because clearly we have nothing to worry about with regards to nature destroying reactors.

      • Robert Guyton 22.2.1

        It's come down to the wire now, and the wire is consciousness/spirituality; that's where our only chance lies 🙂

    • Macro 22.3

      Nothing could possibly go wrong!

      But.

      Fukushima nuclear disaster haunts Japan’s climate change debate

      Ten years after the tsunami struck, most citizens are vehemently opposed to restarting the reactors

      • RedLogix 22.3.1

        Fukushima is widely regarded as the second worst nuclear power incident ever. It should however teach us two important lessons.

        One is the inherent vulnerability of large reactor designs that use water as their coolant/moderator. The critical necessity of needing to maintain both high pressure and high flow of this water through these reactor types even after the reaction has been shut down, was always their Archilles Heel. This is why all new Gen 4 designs eliminate this requirement in one manner or another, directly leading to substantial improvements in both innate safety and costs at the same time.

        Lesson 1: Plan to replace the existing fleet of Gen 3 PWR type reactors as they reach the end of their life with better designs with innately lower risk profiles and costs.

        The second idea to be learned is this, that the second worst nuclear power accident of all time has directly caused zero deaths and zero demonstrable harm to anyone. (This sets aside the 1600 odd deaths indirectly attributed to authorities panicking and evacuating many vulnerable people, completely unnecessarily, in sub-optimal circumstances.)

        The reality is that we evolved and live on a planet bathed in a certain low level of ionising radiation. Below a certain level (probably about 100mSv) there is no possible harm, because the body repairs DNA damage much faster than the radiation causes it. In fact the data suggests that people living in areas with elevated background levels have somewhat lower rates of cancer. A fuller explanation here.

        Lesson 2 : Not understanding that modest levels of ionising radiation is a normal and natural aspect of our world has led to irrational fearmongering that closed off decades ago the best path we had to avoiding climate change. This has been an incalculably high opportunity cost we have to address before any real progress in reducing CO2 levels (ie getting the atmospheric CO2 number back down under 350ppm) can be made.

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