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Open Mike 23/04/2017

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 23rd, 2017 - 109 comments
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109 comments on “Open Mike 23/04/2017 ”

  1. mauī 1

    90% of prisoners have a mental health problem and one homeless man racks up 400 convictions without it seems getting the medical help he desperately needed. Brilliant journalism on the Nation.

    The general police approach of using force to resolve problems with mentally ill people seems totally wrong. I think the approach should be compassion and containment first, not rushing in and in some cases traumatising people further.

    • greywarshark 1.1

      I think this is an appropriate song to go with your comment maui,
      There is no depression in NZ with blam blam and views of the country we love to love.

      (Mods still haven’t looked into my computer’s mind to see why it is caught up in pending. This will be the last one I put through today so that’s good to hear I bet.)

  2. xanthe 2

    This is a very interesting source of anti neoliberalism commentary from an irish perspective

  3. Infused 4

    So oab… what was it i said about nk?

  4. dv 5


    Prof Schofield said the fact some schools sent children home with 60 chocolate bars for their families to sell showed there remained a “systemic failure” in attitudes towards food.

    I would interpret that a systematic failure of the ATTITUDES towards FUNDING for schools!!!!

    • weka 5.1


      • gsays 5.1.1

        I would suggest more funds are raised for the foreign owned confectionary corporation than for any school.

        • weka

          probably true.

        • Craig H

          I’ve looked at various options for fundraising by selling food and other products, and most of them make far more money for the manufacturer than a club or school would.

    • BM 5.2

      How much of this fundraising is for trips overseas? and not for important stuff like new sports equipment, computer gear, etc.

      I was talking to one parent and their intermediate child went on two (could have been three?) last year and they’re currently fundraising for another one this year, apparently, this is not that uncommon.

      Not a high decile school either.

      • dv 5.2.1

        Don’t know BM, perhaps you could find out.
        There will be some fund raising to do nice things.

        • BM

          How would you find out what % of school fundraisers are for “nice things” and not for important equipment that will help children get a better education?

          I don’t think you can bag a government for underfunding schools without knowing what this fundraising is going towards.

          • DoublePlusGood

            I dunno. Are Boards of Trustees or school accounts subject to the OIA?

            • Craig H

              Not sure, but if the money is raised via a PTA, that’s usually a charity, so the accounts are available online.

          • North

            Yeah you never know until you find out BM. Bet you don’t even want to find out though. Just want to be a naysayer. How come you’re no naysayer about Kings College being the Middlemore franchise of the Koru Club ? Equal education for all ?

      • millsy 5.2.2

        Personally I dont really see the point in overseas trips, aside from sporting tours, etc. For example, a French language class is probably better off getting members of the local French community around for tea and biscuits.

        • mpledger

          I would rather see school trips overseas be for academic reasons then sporting reasons. There are plenty of sports teams around the country for school kids to play against. There is no need to go overseas to get competition – they seem more like junkets for the parents rather than for gaining sport skills.

          At least a trip for academic reasons has some merit in a school setting. A school I know has a trip to Europe and they travel through Italy, France and England visiting museums, art galleries, etc, etc. As well as talking to the locals and eating locally.

        • North

          Goodness me. First school trip South Island 1963. Cup of tea with Holyoake in Wellington (fascinating!). Second ‘school’ trip China 1977. Both more memorable in so many aspects for being a group away from its common base NZ. And you know……..the camaraderie and all that.

        • The New Student

          Strongly disagree with you there millsy. I went to a decile 4 school and was fortunate enough to participate in a cultural exchange with Japanese student. Being able to live and breathe the culture, if only for a short time, taught me so much and it’s something I will treasure forever. Likewise when the students came to stay with us. There were 1-2 overseas trips per year, usually the Japanese or French language class. We did all sorts of fundraising, odd jobs and such. I remember it was a major effort for the families but so worth it.

      • Psycho Milt 5.2.3

        How much of this fundraising is for trips overseas?

        All of it, in my case. Have only ever been offered fundraising chocolate by a school to help pay for overseas trips. If Dr Schofield’s school is sending him unsolicited chocolate bars he’s expected to sell, he should take it up with the board of trustees.

        • McFlock

          lol I suspect it depends largely on the school decile, having had friends’ kids plying me with chocolate bars and cheese rolls. Just seems wrong somehow lol – teach them not to take candy from strangers, then get them to get strangers to take candy from them…

    • Incognito 5.3

      Sex sells.

      But this obviously won’t work for school fundraising.

      The next best thing to sex is chocolate. Arguably, chocolate is even better …

    • millsy 5.4

      I dont think schools should be going cap in hand to corporates for this sort of thing anyway. They have heaps of assets they can use as revenue streams, for example leasing out school houses on AirBNB, starting a school garden and selling the produce (teach the kids some good schools), leasing out schools and classrooms to community groups, hiring the hall out, evening having some sort of op-shop. The list can go on,

      • dv 5.4.1

        There are all those class rooms too.

      • mpledger 5.4.2

        What school houses? What school is this?

        Do you know how much time and effort would be required to make enough produce to sell regularly? The adult time wouldn’t be worth it. That’s why commercial growing isn’t done in a 10m by 2m garden. Being outside, all the produce comes on line at the same time as all the local home gardener’s so prices are low.

        Schools have stuff in classrooms they don’t want moved or stolen (microphones, speakers, phones, computers, specialised equipment for the disabled) or broken or vandalised. That’s why they don’t lease them out (even the Saturday Morning Music School got kicked out of a school because they were creating too much hassle). There is usually a community hall about the place that is cheaper to hire and has all the facilities – kitchen, toilets etc – in the right places and meets legal standards. And the MoE has got a bit shitty over using school grounds as money making schemes – they shut down a Saturday market at Newtown School (IIRC) because of some dispute over it – I think it was running again although I assume it’s stopped now because of the new building work.

        Most schools are getting out of school fairs e.g. op shop type sales, because trademe has killed the market. At one school fair I was at people were shoplifting stuff that was on sale for $1 or $2 so they could put it on trademe. And the storage cost of stuff that doesn’t sell, sorting of junk and dumping of junk racks up costs. It’s ok-ish when it’s for a fair because people will donate their time but as a full time activity people have better things to do.

        (As you can probably tell, I’m involved somewhat with a parent’s support group for a school – we spend a lot of time looking at *efficient* ways to do fundraising. People are getting asked to fork over money for fundraising all the time, from many directions, so it’s quite challenging. )

    • greywarshark 5.5

      One of my boys was sent home with Easter eggs and ate half of them himself. So that cut down the hard work of traipsing and door knocking, only vaguely enjoyable if you have a mate with you.

      And the secondary school they went to had a trip to California to study geology particularly earthquake faults. Considering we are riddled with them I thought this was over the top. Schools with high decile attitudes and wants make it hard for children from ordinary homes.

  5. bwaghorn 7


    the government should find some higher land handy to these peoples towns and provide a house moving company and shift these houses,

    • Sabine 7.1

      that would be in the too hard basket

    • Ad 7.2

      Doesn’t EQC count as government action?

      It puzzles me that these landowners have been there for several decades, seen the same thing happening consistently right across that coast, and done either nothing about their own property, or built temporary walls knowing that they would be knocked down by the sea a few months later. Could they not figure out something was happening and act?

      • weka 7.2.1

        What action do you suggest?

        • Ad

          The first action would be:
          Respect that nature is stronger than you are.

          Then work out collective actions from there.

          • marty mars

            “Respect that nature is stronger than you are.”

            is not an action

            • Ad

              Thinking is an action.

              Changing your attitude to nature is the hardest and most important act.

              But I’m sure you already knew that.

              • thinking is NOT action – it may be a precursor to action but it is not action ad – you may have hit on the big issue for today though – “hey I’m thinking about climate change so it’s sweet, in fact I’m getting a bit of a sweat up with all my thinking and stuff.” see, it is ridiculous

                • Ad

                  The whole framing of the article cited was about individual property rights and how everyone else through the taxpayer in some unspecified form has to defend that single individual’s major asset for as long as they need and for as much as it costs.

                  Every other point and action and story that stems from that framing will come to the same sets of futile responses.

                  Which as you know will be repeated in all the other low-lying areas of New Zealand. “Managed retreat” does not mean wait until it’s too late.

                  It’s as if someone forgot to imagine anything different.

                  Changing the framing from one of victimhood to one of action responding to facts is a really really hard act.

                  • bwaghorn

                    i suggested a plan of action at the start , it was you who came in on your high horse named personal responsibility , what is the point of paying fuckers to sit in government if they won’t preempt ruin for their people. shift the houses it’s cheap and simple , which is why the fools won’t do it.

                    • BM

                      So recreate a portion of the town somewhere else?

                      Wouldn’t be that cheap, roading, utilities like phone, power, sewage, water, bit more than just slapping a house down in a paddock.

                    • weka

                      That’s pretty much what will have to happen to South Dunedin. I don’t see how individuals can be left to sort that out themselves, any more than people living on the fault line will be left to it.

                    • BM

                      It’s unfortunate but I think that’s what’s going to happen.

                      A bit like all those building owners been told they have to shell out a ton of money to get their buildings up to the new earthquake standards.

                      No government help, either do it or knock it down.

                  • weka

                    I agree with some of that, but you still haven’t said what someone in that situation could actually do. Are you suggesting that they sold earlier? Or what?

                    • bwaghorn

                      i guess forward thinking people would get out while the getting is good , but it’s still going to leave you with people in houses that won’t last, i think a managed retreat saving /shifting what houses can be will still be cheaper than cramming coastal refugees into cities they most likely don’t want to live in.
                      so yes bm it will cost but everything costs , of course there is no shortage of money but that’s another yarn.

                    • weka

                      It’s an interesting problem to have to think through. At what point should an individual be held solely responsible. I think if anyone builds a house in a stupid place from now on, that’s their loss. But people that bought a place say 5 years ago, what choices to they have other than if they’re lucky passing the problem to someone else? Such is the reality of the property market.

      • Sabine 7.2.2

        Can you give us one good reason then why CHCH was not evacuated and left to rot after the earth quakes, or at least after the second earth quake?

        and could they not figure out that there might be another earthquake in the future and just move somewhere else?

        How many times do you want the EQC to bail out irresponsible landowners, who have been there for several decades, seen the same thing happen a few times now at least, and either do nothing about their own properties, or ‘earthquake proof’ their properties knowing that they would be knocked down again by another big earthquake in the future?

        • Ad

          Have you been to Christchurch recently and seen where the Red Zones were?

          Have you been there and seen how much of the city is now permanently evacuated?

          Do you really as a taxpayer want to keep underwriting people from doing the same dumb thing again and again to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, when all kinds of environmental signals are saying to them for years and years:
          Do Something Different?

          • weka

            The difference is that most people in Chch got some kind of insurance payout (albeit hugely stressful ones). But you still haven’t said what an existing homeowner on the coast could actually do. Keeping saying ‘do something different’ doesn’t help.

            Building new on the coast, that’s a different thing, and those people can lose their money/equity.

      • bwaghorn 7.2.3

        why wait till the houses are smashed ,

        ” Could they not figure out something was happening and act?”

        acting costs money ,they can’t insure the houses , the section would be unsalable .
        a simple house shift costs $15k , be a good way to upgrade the sewerage etc.

        • Ad

          If after that severity of environmental signal over that many years they can’t save or pay off $15k over 20 years to shift their foundations, and EQC and private insurance has come to its limit, and the community hasn’t figured out a way to approach this together, then seriously they can’t afford a house.

          • bwaghorn

            you live in auckland ? auckland at some point going to get flattened by a volcano , what are you doing about it?

            • Ad

              Building in Wanaka.

              • Dv

                Alpine fault shift?

                • Ad

                  Spread your risk if you can.

                  Failing that, base isolators and a really stable foundation raft.

              • bwaghorn

                aah your right that’s what those fools from granity should do

                • Ad

                  I was asked what I would do, which had nothing to do with the article you cited, but out of politeness I answered anyway.

                  I replied to Weka about what they should do.

                  Start there.

                  • bwaghorn

                    just pointing out your simplistic right wingness that shines through sometimes . small government do it ya self ness works if you are agile minded or rich ,

                    • Ad

                      What you were pointing out was the standard position of those who have lost all credibility to their answers: a simple ad hominem attack.

                      I don’t need to do that.

                      It amazes me that after hundreds of posts on The Standard about climate change, floods, earthquakes, and sea level rises, you still can’t get nature’s message.

                  • bwaghorn

                    i get it and i just got you, survival of the fittest in wanaka if the shit hits the fan , that’s not an attack btw , i like the central north island for the same reason.

                    • Ad

                      As requested, start with my reply to Weka. Start from:
                      “Respect that nature is stronger than you are.”

                      Or have a few alternatives to this:

                      “If after that severity of environmental signal over that many years they can’t save or pay off $15k over 20 years to shift their foundations, and EQC and private insurance has come to its limit, and the community hasn’t figured out a way to approach this together, then seriously they can’t afford a house.”

                      Maybe they could figure out exactly what it’s going to cost to move their house.

                      Maybe they could ask family for help.

                      Maybe they could band together as neighbors, or even as a community.

                      Maybe there are friendly farmers who can help with land.

                      Maybe both settlements need to move.

                      Maybe they could step out of the little realm of single tiny bits of uneconomic private property and form a collective or two.

                      Maybe it’s time to link this to New Zealand’s broader responsiveness to environmental change on a lot of fronts over the last decade.

                      All would have made excellent investigations.

                      But, no, none of that suited the framing of the article.

                • got to have bushells of money for that waggy

                  granity people will have to move – all 216 of them – at least to over the road

                • AB

                  Or band together and sell all the houses for whatever they can get – maybe $20k each. Pool the money to buy one 2-bedroom furnished apartment in Auckland and and them all 200-odd people could move in and work as baristas on round the clock shifts so there are no more than 5 people to a bed at any one time.
                  I abhor their idleness and lack of initiative for not acting on this or any number of similarly brilliant ideas.

    • weka 7.3

      I can’t get past Stuff going all glossy magazine and then quoting the woman as saying “I looked out and went oh my f…ing God”

      (and have given up reading now, that format is just too weird).

      • Sabine 7.3.1

        It is a good article.

        i like how they point out the median wages….63.000 NZ total vs 36.000 – 38.000 local.

        which may explains why people don’t just up and go, cause a. all their worth is in the house, b. jobs, c. age, d. all the other shit that people hang on to cause its life, and then really, where should they move to?

        It is however a good study of what is going to come to a coastal area near you, and I am looking at the huge developments near papamoa and the likes and yeah, words fail.

      • bwaghorn 7.3.2

        i liked its format ,the pictures suit my short attention span

  6. The Chairman 8

    Waikato health leaders are at odds over the key drivers of mental illness, with the DHB chair disagreeing with a report that inequality is behind many issues.


  7. The Chairman 9

    Helen Clark has been approached to come back to Parliament to talk about drug law reforms.


  8. Bill 10

    The US now admits to paying mercenaries to fight in Syria. Of course, they’ll be ‘good’ mercenaries 🙄

    I kind of love how they’re selling this line that they’re paying people to fight against headchoppers (not the Syrian Arab Army or the Syrian government) when they’ve been busy funding, arming and training headchoppers to undermine the Syrian government and giving them unprecedented access to western media into the bargain.

    • Red 10.1

      Bill your misplaced sympathies are well known, no matter what you put up still won’t justify supporting Assad, Russia and RT spin,nor will dropping F bombs improve a line of arguement

      • Bill 10.1.1

        Explain or take a stab at those sympathies in the context of a worthwhile debating point Red and stop trolling.

        Hint: – they aren’t for Assad or Russia, and as I just told your wee twinset mate on the other thread, I can’t access rt, so…

        And F bomb. What?

        edit – have just noticed the piece is from 2015 – which leads me to wonder what became of it all and if it still survives in any way, shape or form today. I know an incurious knuckle-head like yourself just wouldn’t care one way or another, so see this edit as in no way applying to you.

        • joe90

          – which leads me to wonder what became of it all and if it still survives in any way, shape or form today.

          Dated search – it never went anywhere.


          • Bill


            From July 2015 CBS News WASHINGTON — The U.S. military’s program to train and equip thousands of moderate Syrian rebels is faltering, with fewer than 100 volunteers, raising questions about whether the effort can produce enough capable fighters quickly enough to make a difference in the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

            And from Sept 2015, the New YorkerThe U.S. campaign to create a new ground force to fight the Islamic State appears to be a flop. The program, designed to train some fifteen thousand Syrians in the course of three years—at a cost of five hundred million dollars—has only a handful of fighters in Syria. “We’re talking four or five,” General Lloyd J. Austin III told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. Austin heads Central Command, which runs U.S. military operations in the Middle East and South Asia, a position made famous by former General David Petraeus. Austin conceded that the rebel program is “off to a slow start.”

            And yet….we still keep being told there are ‘moderate rebels’ fighting in Syria. Now sure, maybe there are indeed thousands of them but they just thought they’d pass on receiving paid training. Or not.

      • reason 10.1.2

        The last war ….

        Mad dogs and englishmen

        When arguing with a war luster…, here at the standard …… I was told that after the NATO led destruction of Libya …. its people were better off …. as they were free from Mad Dog Qaddafi …

        Sounded like bullshit ….. given the loss of life, invasion by extremist head choppers … A failed state with religious warlords.

        I did a search on mad dog Qaddafi … just to see how bad he was …

        Was he anything like Saddam? …. a murderous man installed by a cia coup to kill the communist party members in Iraq … “The CIA also played a central role in preparing the death lists of those who were to be eliminated after the coup by squads from the Ba’ath party” ….


        “Saddam Hussein, who had rushed back to Iraq from exile in Cairo to join the victors, was personally involved in the torture of leftists” ….

        Later on Saddam was sold the ingredients, the technology, and given detailed satellite information to launch Sarin Nerve gas attacks … repeatedly. …

        ” we supplied him with intelligence about what Iranian targets to hit with the expectation that he would attack with chemical weapons. We then proceeded to block Iranian attempts to bring a case against Iraq to the United Nations.” https://www.antiwar.com/blog/2013/08/26/us-supported-iraqs-use-of-chemical-weapons-even-as-it-inches-to-war-with-syria-on-lesser-allegations/

        The biggest use of chemical warfare in modern times … killing thousands … but it was ok …….as they were Iranians ….. Untermensch

        ” would the Americans and British dare touch a trial in which we would have not only to describe how Saddam got his filthy gas but why the CIA – in the immediate aftermath of the Iraqi war crimes against Halabja – told US diplomats in the Middle East to claim that the gas used on the Kurds was dropped by the Iranians rather than the Iraqis (Saddam still being at the time our favorite ally rather than our favorite war criminal ” http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-this-was-a-guilty-verdict-on-america-as-well-423147.html

        Qaddafi could not have been more different…..

        Starting with his bloodless coup …. when he outed a corrupt king …. and British petroleum, BP . … stealing as the british do.

        He took over one of poorest, undeveloped, barren backward countries in the world … Nelson Mandela stated…”One could not but be struck by the sights of poverty from the moment of arrival, with all of its usual corollaries: hunger, illness, lack of housing and of health-care facilities, etc.”

        Qaddafi promoted economic democracy and used the nationalized oil wealth to sustain progressive social welfare programs for all Libyans …


        Things like … Lowered baby mortality from 105 per 1000 live births … to 18 … (pre-Nato

        Free health-care and free education .. Illiteracy rates in Libya had fallen from 61 per cent in 1971 to 14 per cent in 2001.

        The United Nations Human Rights Council praised Gaddafi for his promotion of women’s rights…. One of the first laws Qaddafi passed in 1970 was an equal pay for equal work law….in 1969, few women went to university. Today, more than half of Libya’s university students are women.

        Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy on the continent….

        Had helped Africa fund its own telecommunication satellite …

        And was completing the largest fresh water infrastructure projects for Libya …. with plans to extend the benefits into arid africa … http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/30999-war-crime-nato-deliberately-destroyed-libya-s-water-infrastructure

        ‘Mad dog Qaddafi ‘had done far more for his people than any other ‘free’ Africn states … like any who dealt with western corporations ,,, and their ‘”off shore tax structures” ….

        Qaddafi supported freedom elsewhere …. “the actual close and crucial alliance between Mandela and Qaddafi. Back in the 70s and 80s, when the West refused to allow sanctions against Apartheid in South Africa and used to call Mandela a terrorist, it was none other than Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi who kept supporting him.” http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37301.htm

        He also spoke out for the Palestinians … Israelis hated him for this.

        Lockerbie …. Qaddafi s main ‘crime’ …. would never get a conviction now …. with counterfeit evidence and million pound witnesses http://www.lockerbietruth.com/2017/01/lockerbies-28-year-lie-take-two.html

        By design of Nato and Hillary …..Libya was destroyed and looted …

        Women and children will especially suffer …. black Libyans and Africans have suffered a genocide ….. and have been ethnically culled from the land.

        The war was based on lies….. by the same people who brought about the destruction …..and unnecessary wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

        None of these wars has finished ……….

        Millions killed, wounded, starved and traumatized …. and millions made homeless refugees

        Is it racism against Muslims …which allows us to accept and forget all this……

        As they load up syria with HuGE amonts of weapons, explosives and trained up extremists…. with a bit of gas on the side.

        It’s quite fitting that croation and ukraine nazis are involved in the weapons ‘ratlines’…… Untermensch indeed https://www.thetrumpet.com/13871-is-croatia-embracing-its-nazi-era-past

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

          I read somewhere – sorry, can’t give a source – that the real reason Qaddafi had to be overthrown was his attempt to set up an alternative international currency opposed to the US dollar.

          Understanding a little how the oligarchy in the states works, this makes sense to me!

          • reason

            I think your right there TVntpb3rb …..

            Libya had billions in gold …….and was looking at helping to fund an African currency …… with a true investment fund/Bank

            It would have curtailed predatory lending …

            “Christoffer Guldbrandsen reveals how one Swiss company, Glencore, is making billions from copper mining in Zambia while the country remains one of the poorest in the world. You won’t be surprised to learn that……. the IMF and World Bank…… were involved in the sale of the mines that led to this situation. https://www.themindfulword.org/2013/stealing-africa-resources-poor/

            And those dirty french foreign legion pirates wanted to loot and dominate …

            ” the huge threat that Qaddafi gold and silver reserves, estimated at “143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver,” posed to the French franc (CFA) circulating as a prime African currency.” https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2016/01/06/new-hillary-emails-reveal-true-motive-for-libya-intervention/

            I think the young people of Libya wanted more freedom …. like night clubs, alcohol and ‘choice’ …

            What they have been given ….is destruction and suffering in a horrible cruel deception …Tens of thousands dead

            Nato U.s Freedom comes with ethnic or sectarian culling.. croaatia …. Kosovo ….right sector Ukraine….. division of Iraq.

            What type of ideology is for ‘national purity’ and non mixing ????

            This doco mentions Hitler & Satan …. or Putin and the Assad as war lusters call them ( but it does feature a genuine nazi ) ….. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtvaNIQN0DY

            As it shows one of the almost vital support structures … for corrupt dictators, regimes or warlords

            It also shows the means to fatally wound and weaken All of them …. without the genocides …. or killing of anyone at all …

            Apparently for Governments …. its a lot easier to go to war …. kill huge amounts of women, kids and civilians … lie like hell …

            Than it is to clean up our collaboration corruption …..

            ..”an industry which has been painstakingly built up over the last 25 years or so” … In our (Nz) case

    • marty mars 10.2

      “Rye denied a news report that the group withdrew because its members did not want to sign a contract agreeing not to fight the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad.

      He said that, while U.S. officials had been clear the program was to train fighters to combat Islamic State, the only document participants had to sign was one committing them to promote respect for human rights and the rule of law, a mandate issued by the U.S. Congress.”

      more disinformation from the head burners?

      wouldn’t good mercenaries WANT to have permission to fight assad under your scenrio bill? Seems so under your last paragraph. Seems like anything that is said is spun into what is already believed and somehow some people believe THEY know the truth – silly head knockers.

      • Bill 10.2.1

        What’s the dis-information? I assume you’re not suggesting that reuters could ever be guilty of spreading false-hoods? It would be good to know what report suggested they withdrew because they didn’t want to not fight against the Syrian Army.

        Regardless, it seems odd – it actually doesn’t make any sense – to claim that the US was looking to train up moderate rebels to fight on the same side of the government/terrorist divide as the Syrian Army when the US is repeatedly banging on about “regime change” and has (along with the UK) been reasonably open about how it funds and helps those it calls ‘moderates’ in their opposition to the Syrian government.

        The funding and whatever isn’t “my” scenario marty. It’s the scenario.

        Mercenaries fight for who-ever pays them on whatever terms their employers want. In that respect there are no ‘good’ mercenaries – they are all just people who are willing to kill others for the sake of money.

        edit – in lieu of the links above given in addition to Joe 90s comment…so there are apparently no moderate rebels to be found for the sake of training, but the AQ and Al Nusra affiliated White Helmets, who openly operate in ISIS held territory; who openly carry guns; who openly spout sectarian muck – they’ve received in excess of $100 million from the US and UK, been feted by Hollywood, given ‘no questions asked’ access to western media outlets and awarded an alternative Nobel Peace Prize after their nomination for the recognised one fell short.

        And that’s not “my” scenario either marty. You can look it all up – it’s either verifiable or on official record.

        • marty mars

          “Regardless, it seems odd – it actually doesn’t make any sense”

          surely it just shows the utter confusion of trying to understand what is happening there from here.

          • joe90

            surely it just shows the utter confusion of trying to understand what is happening there from here.

            Fifty years ago a South East Asian nation was on fire. An elitist regime was under attack by their ideological opponents but a deeply unpopular government enjoyed financial support from the west and initial military support in the form of advisors.

            After several years of a worsening insurgency further military support was forthcoming and following an off-shore engagement with the regime’s Imperialist backers, a large body of foreign troops and their allies were deployed.

            The conflict deepened and a year later the regime’s Imperialist backer doubled the number of troops deployed.

            A year later and with an increasingly popular insurgency controlling even larger portions of the country, the regime’s backers poured more troops into a worsening security environment.

            Two years later the popular insurgency began a major offensive with a direct assault on the nation’s capital with the Imperialist occupiers suffering heavy losses.

            Civilian casualties mounted.

            The same year, with worsening losses and news of alleged war crimes dominating domestic headlines, the regime’s Imperialist backers were losing popular support at home and once muted opposition was becoming increasing vocal in efforts to end the war.

            Two years later peace talks began and after a further five years of bloodshed the Imperialist dogs packed up and fucked off home with their tail between their legs.

            Fifty years later, same fight, different dogs.

          • Bill

            Only if you take things at face value, but not if you pick your way through with an eye out for consistences and contradictions.

            For what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s difficult to understand at all. There are large and powerful contingents within a number of western democracies who view the overthrow of the Syrian government as being more important than the defeat of ISIS, Al Nusra, AQ.

            The rationale (according to Clinton emails on wikileaks which are probably only reflective of a broader or widely held perspective ) is that Israel is absolutely adamant that it remains the sole nuclear power in the region. That’s why the whole hullabaloo about an Iranian nuclear programme (scrapped). And with the state of Syria out of the way, western powers get to ‘knock on the door’ of Iran while Israel gets to live with a greatly diminished and probably terminal Hezbollah in Lebanon.

            And Wahhabism takes root in Iraq and Syria as well as Libya.

            For my money, none of it can end well and ought to be exposed and opposed at every turn.

            • Psycho Milt

              Or, a large enough number of Syrians got sick enough of living in a murderous hereditary dictatorship that a civil war started and has continued due to various local and global powers having interests in the matter. Singling out the western democracies only marginally involved in the conflict for criticism is ridiculous, given the wide range of more eligible candidates.

              • mauī

                Doesn’t wash with me. The Assad Government has overwhelming public support going by their last election result, although I guess you will say they rig the elections there. They also provided humanitarian corridors for fleeing civilians in Aleppo, and civilians were moving back to the Government held areas for safe haven. The other thing is that their Government is secular meaning that the mix of faiths within the country can safely coexist. While the rebels appear to align with an extremist Islamist ideology, something a populace you would think would be more willing to overthrow. From these factors I really don’t know how you come to the conclusion that a civil war was waiting to kickoff.

                • McFlock

                  I guess there’s something about a forty year hereditary dictatorship, violently suppressed protests, and a wave of unrest sweeping the region at the time that just plain makes a chap suspicious about the results of an election, even if it weren’t happening well after the various (secular and non-secular) rebel lines had been drawn.

                  • Yep funny how dictators are always well loved and voted for – guess people don’t want to end up with a bag on their head and a bullet in the face – like so many others have.

                    • Bill

                      People who are of the impression that the Baathist government in Syria was the worst thing since “anything ever” might be a bit shocked at the results of a google search for between the years 2000 (when Assad became president) and 2010 (just before all this shit hit the fan).

                      Try it.

                      There is no extensive catalogue of endless abuses or extra judicial killings/murders. There is a HRW report from 2007 that comes off the back of mounting US pressure on Syria (Iraq had made allegations about Syria being used as a transit for jihadist types and had blamed Syria for a bombing that ISIS later claimed responsibility for).

                      The HRW report lists concerns I’d put in the ball-park of any HRW report on the UK before the peace accords in N Ireland. (90 political prisoners, mostly receiving sentences of five years or so)

                    • the msm is compromised bill – searching via google just buys into their narrative – why would I trust ANY report or article.

    • McFlock 10.3

      Not according to the laws of war they’re not. The list of characteristics required to be a mercenary include:

      (c) is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party;
      (d) is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict;

      Although FWIW, ISTR the yank’s last attempt at something like this was an expensive and dismal failure.

  9. capn insan0 11

    A couple of times now I’ve been sitting in a Labtest waiting room with not much to read but women’s magazines, magazines on caravans and some editions of a magazine called e-local. I have noticed two things; they often have a piece by Don Brash [or contact him about things] and they seem, to me, to be anti-treaty and are making an issue or Maori co-governance [that they are not being elected to their positions]. They also had a piece about farmers and, in particular, taking a dig at Dr Joy for blaming farming for the Havelock North water issues. I thought I’d do a search on them to see if there’s any bias and the first link I see is for an interview with David Fruitbat Icke!
    Is anyone else familiar with this publication?

    • Molly 11.1

      E-Local is a privately owned publication, that is often used as a platform for anti-treaty, anti Māori articles written as “FACT”.

      Scott Hamilton did a good article a few years back, on the misinformation they continue to post.

      Every edition will have some form of anti-Māori diatribe. Living in Franklin, getting the free editions delivered in the letterbox is like being a unwilling recipient of a white-rights magazine subscription.

      • marty mars 11.1.1

        + 1 yep they are very dim racist bulbs – good for laughing at, although it amazes me that the good people of franklin tolerate this constant hate speech in their letterboxes.

        • McFlock

          Goebbels theory: include just enough hate in an otherwise inoffensive publication, and it’ll slip through.

          Rich bigots have an automatic advantage in getting their bullshit out over everyone else.

      • capn insan0 11.1.2

        Bloody hell, I hadn’t heard of this ancient Celtic New Zealanders assertion as detailed in that link, this is this sort of drivel I’d expect to see on Infowars.

        I guess the impressions I had on this magazine were rather accurate.

  10. Incognito 12

    What is the best way to submit for a possible Guest Post nowadays? Don’t want to waste anybody’s time, least of all my own.

    • Bill 12.1

      Either use the submit function on the site or send to me at dunedinjamsquirrel “at” gmail.com

      • Incognito 12.1.1


        I will try the ‘official’ way first and see how it goes; not so much success in the past though …

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