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Open mike 24/04/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 24th, 2022 - 164 comments
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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 …

164 comments on “Open mike 24/04/2022 ”

  1. Ad 1

    I'm beginning to think the US will not seek to bring the Russia-Ukraine war to any end soon – most usefully Russia will be weakened down by sanctions for several years to give breathing room to then focus hard on China (Not sure what that means from November when the Republicans likely run Congress and Senate majorities).

    But it means that for years this is a world in which food and oil prices are high, some food commodities are scarce, and inflation and interest rates stay really high. I'd be interested to hear opinion on local impact from sustained supply chain disruption.

    I can't remember that kind of world since the late 1970s and early 1980s. It's Muldoonist in tone.

    New Zealand faces that kind of context quite differently to that time.

    We are now more unequal, with a much smaller state. But we also have a much stronger and larger economy delivering higher-value products and services than we did then. We are far more mobile, less able to be isolated. We rely on exports and imports, supported by a net of trade deals. And we start 2022 off with exceedingly low unemployment and many unfilled positions.

    With both the Carbon plan and the Budget due out in weeks, and also the Australian Federal election, we will also see the limit that politics can have on any of this.

    It's a more enduring crisis than the GFC – it feels more like the start of a long recession.

    • If only Zelensky had accepted that Ukraine didn't need to be in NATO, and instead had negotiated an "understanding" with the West, this carnage could have been avoided.

      But then he is a comedian.

      • Peter 1.1.1

        There are always lots of 'if onlys.'

        If only countries could act freely to do what they wanted as long as it didn't materially affect others.

        If only years ago Russia had attacked Ukraine for Ukraine becoming part of the UN. I mean if a country wants to tell a neighbour what it can and can't do, which others it can forge relationships with, why not?

        If only things were that simple. It's all a bit like the Killa Wasps talking to the Hills Angles, the Headmunters not liking that and invading their house

      • Ad 1.1.2

        The more useful question is the impact of multi-year east European instability on New Zealand.

        • aj 1.1.2.1

          The world is changing so rapidly now it's going to be hard to keep up, and the ripples from the war are spreading far and wide. It's no longer a simple case of 'east European instability', it will be world-wide on many fronts. The USA is going to fight tooth and nail to prevent itself losing dollar hegemony but that is a possible outcome. How a small trading nation such as NZ position themselves is going to be a huge balancing act. 'When Elephants Fight, the Grass Gets Trampled'

          Are approaching the point where Xi, perhaps the last rational leader on the world stage, will become convinced that Putin, Biden, Johnson and Zelensky are mad men, fully capable of blustering and blundering into a nuclear war, which–even if survivable–won’t be good for business. Who else has the power to bring them back from the brink?

          The world's new monetary system, underpinned by a digital currency, will be backed by a basket of new foreign currencies and natural resources. And it will liberate the Global South from both western debt and IMF-induced austerity.

          https://thecradle.co/Article/interviews/9135

          Companies in the EU may have discovered a way to pay for Russia’s gas in rubles without violating sanctions, the European Commission said on Friday.

          https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/EU-Can-Pay-for-Russian-Gas-Without-Violation-Sanctions.html

          • RedLogix 1.1.2.1.1

            More delusional nonsense. Russia is an political and economic pariah and the ruble is worthless in the long run. It is only being propped up short-term by a number of manipulations:

            The Russian Central Bank has been using what foreign reserves it can still access to to buy rubles.

            They have effectively bribed people holding rubles not to sell by jacking up internal interest rates to something like 20%.

            Those Russian entities that still earn or hold Euros and Dollars have been forced to convert 80% of their holdings or more into rubles.

            Ban people from selling the ruble with things like massive commission fees or low limits on how much people can take out of the country.

            And generate so much revulsion at your orc-like behaviour that the rest of the world sanctions the shit out of your economy and imports crater.

            All measures that increase the demand for rubles and reduce selling pressure – but none of them remotely sustainable – the ruble is a zombie currency. Even if the war stopped tomorrow as long as the current Kremlin regime is in power their political and economic isolation will tighten. Over time their impact will escalate as the Europeans find ways to turn off the gas and secondary sanctions slowly start to bite. The impact of this will last decades – if not all but ensure that which Putin feared most of all – the end of Russia as a functional nation.

    • Adrian Thornton 1.2

      "I'm beginning to think the US will not seek to bring the Russia-Ukraine war to any end soon" you think….I mean seriously, hasn't that been plain as day light to you from the beginning?

      As far as Western Super powers are concerned the Ukrainians are the least important component in the conflict, and anyone who thinks that the USA/UK give even the slightest fuck about the lives of Ukrainian civilians are just deluded…and personally by extension I believe anyone who supports the extending of this stupid pointless war by mindlessly swallowing the western propaganda fantasy world belief that the Ukrainians can win are only helping to prolong the awful suffering of the Ukrainians.

      • Ad 1.2.1

        It's been going since 2014 but this more intense form has only been on for 2 months.

        So I'm happy for patterns to reveal themselves rather than jump to conclusions.

        It's the impact on New Zealand of multi-year east European instability that needs our thinking.

        • Adrian Thornton 1.2.1.1

          Sorry I should have clarified my previous comment, I meant that it has been obvious that the US (to a lesser extent the UK) have been dictating the terms of negotiations from the Ukrainian end of the Russian/Ukrainians negotiations from 2014…or to be more precise it would be better described as deliberate 'Non-Negotiations' on the part of the Zelensky and the Ukrainians.

          Zelensky has been a disaster for the Ukrainians and Europe…but good for the Imperialist West and the arms industries of the world.

          Isn't it interesting how the geo-politics of the Western Liberal class has meshed so seamlessly with that the US foreign policy over the past decade or so…I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that if the Iraq war were to happen today the same useful idiots who have backed every US/UK led intervention of late would be pushing that one just as hard today…it just shows quite dramatically how effective propaganda actually works.

          • RedLogix 1.2.1.1.1

            So your preferred response to Putin's invasion of Eastern Europe is to surrender?

            Over and over?

            • Adrian Thornton 1.2.1.1.1.1

              No, Zelensky should have, when he had the chance, negotiated a neutrality that not only Russia felt comfortable with, but a huge majority of Ukrainians wanted themselves, not to mention also fully supported by France and Germany..however it is plainly obvious now that neutrality was never going to happen for the Ukraine while the USA and the Nationalist in the Ukraine had the direction of the country in their hands..which did and still do.

              • RedLogix

                This same 'neutrality' had already seen Russia tear up the 1994 Belgrade Agreement and occupy by one means or another large swaths of their territory. Why would Ukraine believe anything Putin said when prior agreements had already been proven worthless?

      • Bearded Git 1.2.2

        Yep the Ukranians are canon fodder for the West.

        Biden happy to announce $800 million of military aid this week as though this is a big deal…that will be gone in a week.

        • Adrian Thornton 1.2.2.1

          True that…bleed those poor Ukrainians out nice and slow seems to be the US strategy, though for some reason that doesn't seem to bother their English speaking supporters one bit.

          • RedLogix 1.2.2.1.1

            It is blindingly obvious the Ukrainians are nobodys pawns.

            We have been watching the geographically largest country in Europe, with a population of more than 40 million, struggle over a period of decades to transform into a European liberal democracy. These people are nobody’s pawns.

            So why treat them this way? Why indulge the fantasy that everything is really being run out of Washington, DC, or maybe Brussels? Denying the agency and choice of the Ukrainians is an authoritarian outlook, because that is precisely how a strongman leader views the people whose lives he presumed to dispose of.

            • Bearded Git 1.2.2.1.1.1

              Not sure that Quillette is the most reliable source Red. From Wikipedia:

              "In an article for The Outline, writer Gaby Del Valle classifies Quillette as "libertarian-leaning", "academia-focused" and "a hub for reactionary thought"

            • Adrian Thornton 1.2.2.1.1.2

              I could start to dismantle that ridiculous article but I have to go and do some work now..but as an example of the flawed logic that permeates that piece …on the one hand he is bemoaning the stance of the 'anti-interventionists' with statements like…."So why treat them this way? Why indulge the fantasy that everything is really being run out of Washington, DC, or maybe Brussels?" …I mean is he serious…if it wasn't for the intervention of the West the Ukraine would have lost this war weeks ago..that is a plain fact, so what the fuck is he talking about?…

              If a country can only conduct a war solely through the constant supply of weapons from outside of that country by various world Superpowers (not to mention nearly all repair and maintenance) and we are meant to believe that those same Superpowers are now (and have been) and will not in the future dictate the politics of that country for their own Geo-Political ends would be naive in the extreme.

              btw, thanks for this link, I am seeing for myself where you have been getting your lack of balance and rage at any one who pushes back to your point of view from…
              "One suspects much of this is a dodge by those who have long been sympathetic to Putin’s regime" etc and so forth…where have I heard that one before…..

              • RedLogix

                Hiding behind a blatantly one-sided 'neutrality' to cover your constant cheerleading for Putin is wearing thin. To quote an article joe90 referenced below:

                ‘Berlin’s preachy pontifications about democracy, decency, and human rights are customarily aimed at NATO allies, seldom at Moscow.’

                • Adrian Thornton

                  " your constant cheerleading for Putin is wearing thin"

                  Listen RedLogix..for the last time…either paste up one time when I have said anything positive about Putin or his politics…or if you can't, then how about you and all your warmongering friends around here that always all immediately resort to ad hominem name calling when confronted with logic just shut the fuck up.

                  I have only ever advocated for a negotiated peace..like all sane people who care about human suffering should do.

                  And yes I care about the Russian soldiers lives as much as I care about the Ukrainian lives, I make no apologies for that…all I see when I see those poor boys of both sides dying and being maimed pointlessly are the faces of my own boys…I find the whole stupid thing heartbreaking.

                  • RedLogix

                    Every single comment from you is some preachy nonsense about how evil the West is and how we should roll over and let the poor misunderstood Russians have their Soviet Empire back.

                    Early next week the UN Secretary General is visiting both Putin and Zelensky. There is your chance for a negotiated peace – but the open question remains on what terms and who will guarantee it?

                    Because Putin's word has been repeatedly proven to be worthless.

                    • mikesh

                      Russia has never given any indication that they "wanted their empire back". Wars in Chechnya, South Assetia, and now Ukraine, have been and are defensive moves on their part. Aggressive moves against Russia have come from the West, with NATO moving as close to Russia's borders as they can manage.

                    • RedLogix

                      have been and are defensive moves on their part.

                      Exactly who ever proposed to invade Russia?

                    • joe90

                      Russia has never given any indication that they "wanted their empire back".

                      Quacks like colonialism…

                      A senior Russian military commander has said the goal of Russia’s new offensive is to seize control of southern Ukraine and form a land bridge to Crimea, indicating that Russia plans a permanent occupation of Ukrainian territory taken in the war.

                      Rustam Minnekayev, acting commander of the central military district, also told members of a defence industry forum on Friday that control over southern Ukraine would give Russia access to Transnistria, a pro-Russian breakaway region of Moldova, indicating that Russia may attack the port city of Odesa or launch an economic blockade of the area.

                      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/22/ukraine-south-occupation-russian-military-chief-rustam-minnekayev

                    • mikesh

                      "A senior Russian military commander has said the goal of Russia’s new offensive is to seize control of southern Ukraine and form a land bridge to Crimea, indicating that Russia plans a permanent occupation of Ukrainian territory taken in the war."

                      A defensive move, as I said. It would be a catastrophe for Russia if it lost Crimea, and the two naval bases on the Western seaboard of Crimea fell into the hands of the Americans.

                    • joe90

                      A defensive move,

                      And the deliberate targeting of civilians in their homes 500/1000 kilometres from the Western seaboard of Crimea. Is that a defensive move, too?

              • RedLogix

                if it wasn't for the intervention of the West the Ukraine would have lost this war weeks ago..that is a plain fact,

                Without a shred of doubt this means your desired outcome is a Ukrainian surrender.

                Got it.

                • Adrian Thornton

                  Grow up.

                  • RedLogix

                    Every comment from you demands Ukrainian people roll over and allow the Russian army to exterminate them.

                    You need to be honest about this.

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      "Ukrainian people roll over and allow the Russian army to exterminate them"…..come on man…try and at least feign some sort of seriousness.

                    • RedLogix

                      .come on man…try and at least feign some sort of seriousness.

                      What exactly do you think is happening on the ground right now if it is not a war of extermination.

                      What we are seeing is the Russian military resorting to about the only thing they are good at – endless, indiscriminate barrages of artillery that completely level everything – murdering thousands, rendering the place uninhabitable and forcing the survivors to flee. Captured civilians get transported to slave camps in Siberia – also something the Russians are good at.

                      Putin inherits a wasteland pitted with mass graves. And you think this is not serious?

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      I think..no actually I know that you are not a serious interpreter of Geo-Politics RedLogix, how could you be, you, by your own admission have "picked a side" therefore there is never any attempt at any sort of balanced detailed examination of any event related to the war in the Ukraine from you..no just this sort of thing….

                      "Hiding behind a blatantly one-sided 'neutrality' to cover your constant cheerleading for Putin"

                      "Every comment from you demands Ukrainian people roll over and allow the Russian army to exterminate them"

                      "your desired outcome is a Ukrainian surrender"

                      "Every single comment from you is some preachy nonsense"

                      "How about just coming clean and saying that you support Putin and want to see Ukraine defeated?"

                      "yet you cheer on their invasion and extermination"

                      " Yet as with all totalitarian thinkers you deny them their agency"

                      ..and that is just from today!!!!…talk about wearing thin.

                    • RedLogix

                      Yet in this entire thread today you have done nothing but provide cover for Putin – even while pretending otherwise.

                      Yes I have picked a side. The side that doesn't pretend that NATO planned to invade Russia and that this sickening war Putin has launched – along with the unforgiveable, city-killer first-strike nuclear threats – are somehow entirely justified 'defensive measures'.

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      I don't believe backing negotiated peace would be considered by any sane human to be backing Putin/Russians….except of course in your demented world.

                      So no I haven’t “picked a side” …that is what you really believe, because ironically, it turns out that it is you who are the closest to that authoritarian Putin around here…everyone who doesn’t agree with you and your views is your enemy and must be pushed down and silenced…which everyone here knows you would do if you could.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Putin and his totalitarian thugs have no more reliable supporter than Adrian.

                      Ukrainians aren't entitled to democracy – they must roll over for the tyrant – sez Adrian.

                      Oh, and WW2 was a mistake too – should've just let Hitler win.

                      [Looks like another blatant and deliberate attempt at starting another flame war. I hope for your sake as well as his that Adrian is not going to take the bait this time – Incognito]

                    • Incognito []

                      Mod note

                    • mikesh

                      The side that doesn't pretend that NATO planned to invade Russia

                      It is Ukrainian government policy to recover Crimea. However, since Russia is unlikely to ever relinquish Crimea voluntarily, that can only mean an invasion is on the cards. And Ukraine is, at least, a de facto member of NATO.

              • alwyn

                "If a country can only conduct a war solely through the constant supply of weapons from outside of that country"

                I guess from that remark we have to assume that Russia (or the USSR as it was then) has been run by the USA ever since 1941. There was an enormous quantity of war material supplied by the US during WW2 that was essential for the USSR to be able to keep fighting during that war. Did the USA gain from this? Certainly. It kept the Russians fighting. There was no way they could have survived without Lend/Lease, even if it was help yourself for the Soviet Union.

                For example "Most visibly, the United States provided the Soviet Union with more than 400,000 jeeps and trucks, 14,000 aircraft, 8,000 tractors and construction vehicles, and 13,000 battle tanks."

                "Under Lend-Lease, the United States provided more than one-third of all the explosives used by the Soviet Union during the war. The United States and the British Commonwealth provided 55 percent of all the aluminum the Soviet Union used during the war and more than 80 percent of the copper."

                You will find many apologists for the Soviet Union who will say that is was nothing but I will settle for one quote from Khrushchev

                ""If the United States had not helped us, we would not have won the war," he wrote in his memoirs "One-on-one against Hitler's Germany, we would not have withstood its onslaught and would have lost the war. No one talks about this officially, and Stalin never, I think, left any written traces of his opinion, but I can say that he expressed this view several times in conversations with me."

                He clearly thought they couldn't have survived without foreign supplies. Do you?

                https://www.rferl.org/a/did-us-lend-lease-aid-tip-the-balance-in-soviet-fight-against-nazi-germany/30599486.html

                • Adrian Thornton

                  Good try, except you don't take into account that Russia was a Superpower and the only reason they suppied them was to lessen their own losses…also post war, the Russian militarily was fully mobilized, manufacturing at huge volumes some of the most feared weapon systems in the world, and had just proved that they had a fighting force that could and would sustain a level of total war that no other Western country was (rightly) prepared to test …though we know now Churcill and other warmongering Imperialists dearly wanted too…there obviously no way that any foreign power was ever going to dictate terms to the Russians just because they supplied that equipment…your comparison just doesn't hold any water sorry.

                  The British planned to start World War III by invading Russia with the German army
                  https://www.businessinsider.com/churchill-world-war-iii-invade-russia-german-army-2016-12

                  George S. Patton
                  "We may have been fighting the wrong enemy all along. But while we're here, we should go after the bastards now, 'cause we're gonna have to fight 'em eventually"

                  "I'll say this; the 3rd Army alone with very little help and with damned few casualties, could lick what is left of the Russians in six weeks. You mark my words"

                  From 1945-49 the US and UK planned to bomb Russia into the Stone Age
                  https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/from-1945-49-the-us-and-uk-planned-to-bomb-russia-into-the-stone-age#:~:text=Winston%20Churchill's%20Operation%20Unthinkable,States%20and%20the%20British%20Empire.

                  • RedLogix

                    You really are a complete idiot. Are you for a moment suggesting that the West should have meekly surrendered to Stalin rolling his military machine across the whole of Europe? It was of course blindingly obvious that the USA despite its massive manufacturing capacity was not going to directly confront the Red Army in Europe. The supply lines were simply too long and both France and Germany lay in ruins unable to assist. Despite Patton’s idiotic boast – there was simply no conceivable way the 3rd Army was going to invade all the way across Russia and Siberia to the extent necessary to achieve any sane political goal.

                    The answer they came up with was Bretton Woods, the Marshall Plan an the Cold War containment of Stalin. This plan worked brilliantly, averting a direct confrontation between the West and Russia all the way up until about 60 days ago when your hero Poots fucked it all up.

                    (And sometime you might want to ask a Polish woman about the experience of that generation – the Germans murdered going east, while the Russians raped going west. Yet here you are again cheerleading for the orcs.)

            • mikesh 1.2.2.1.1.3

              It is blindingly obvious the Ukrainians are nobodys pawns.

              True. It is just a pity the same thing cannot be said about the Ukranian government.

              • RedLogix

                It is amazing how you would never criticise the Belarus government who have cravenly allowed Putin to use their territory to invade another nation.

                Silence on this.

                • mikesh

                  Why would I criticize Belarus for that; and why would you use a pejorative word like "craven". Why not, instead, criticize the West for supplying the Ukrainians with weapons. An appropriate word for that might be "venal".

                  • RedLogix

                    Why not, instead, criticize the West for supplying the Ukrainians with weapons

                    How about just coming clean and saying that you support Putin and want to see Ukraine defeated?

                    • mikesh

                      Why don't you "come clean" and admit to being a Russomyse.

                    • RedLogix

                      You consistently advocate actions that would ensure Ukraine's defeat – such as not supplying them with weapons. Or suing for a ceasefire and surrendering to a murdering tyrant whose word has proven worthless.

                      All these are consistent with you supporting Putin and the defeat of Ukraine.

              • Adrian Thornton

                “It is blindingly obvious the Ukrainians are nobodys pawns.
                True. It is just a pity the same thing cannot be said about the Ukranian government.”

                Well put, +1

                • RedLogix

                  And yet like mike you remain silent on the state of the Belarus govt – who are without any doubt at all an absolute puppet of the Kremlin.

                  At every point the Ukrainian people chose to move closer to Europe and away from Putin's dysfunctional shit-hole. Yet as with all totalitarian thinkers you deny them their agency and demand that the only permissible fate is for them to forever be enslaved as an impoverished 'buffer state' to a paranoid regime.

                  Weird how you characterise a government wanting to become closer to a liberal, democractic west as being 'pawns' – yet you cheer on their invasion and extermination by a totalitarian Russia as a good thing.

                  • mikesh

                    At every point the Ukrainian people chose to move closer to Europe and away from Putin's dysfunctional shit-hole.

                    I don't think we can be sure of that. I think a "silent majority", to use Nixon's term, was actually happy with the status quo until the invasion; after all they voted for the pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovich prior to the fascist takeover in 2014. I think the maidan protestors were just a small vociferous minority. I could of course be wrong, but that is my belief.

                    • RedLogix

                      That is what Putin thought as well, yet this belief stands is belied by the huge numbers of Ukrainian men laying their lives on the line for what they truly believe in.

                      If Zelensky was not authentically backed by a solid majority of his people – his government would not have lasted even the first Russian assaults. Instead we have seen the Ukrainian military and people astonish the entire world with their determined and effective resistance.

                      Now we are in what – Day 59 of Poots 3 Day War?

                    • mikesh

                      That is what Putin thought as well, yet this belief stands is belied by the huge numbers of Ukrainian men laying their lives on the line for what they truly believe in.

                      Obviously the invasion would have turned the Ukranian people against Russia, but I was thinking about the situation prior to the invasion.

    • RedLogix 1.3

      The war would stop in a moment if Putin decided to. I am really underwhelmed at how many left wingers have been sucked into the 'look at what she was wearing, she was gagging for it' victim-blaming game here.

      As for the wider global impact – start here:

      (Note the date – the Ukraine war has yet to factor into much of this.)

  2. pat 2

    Muldoonist?

    • Ad 2.1

      You can look him up.

      It's a combination of recession+international instability+strong government+socialist state+low value narrow economy

      • pat 2.1.1

        Big night last night?

        I looked it up and it appears to be one those terms that means whatever the espouser wants it to mean…..I was curious as to what it meant to you.

        • Ad 2.1.1.1

          That's what the term I used means to me. You can see it in the first quarter of Smith's Dream.

          • pat 2.1.1.1.1

            Which the author stated wasnt modelled on Muldoon.

            Facts and beliefs.

            • Ad 2.1.1.1.1.1

              If you like I'll do a post comparing the Muldoon recession to the coming one.

              History is often best read through fiction.

              • pat

                Go for it….if you are the owner of a crystal ball.

                • Ad

                  History is only at best an analogy, but they are our closest approximations to how we will react to similar crises in future. They are at their most useful when – as now – forecasting the future is exceedingly hard. It's the primary reason we have old people.

                  • pat

                    History is of limited use as the starting points are different…..consider the conditions of the NZ and world economies when the 70s recession hit and the responses…..the same options are no longer available.

                  • Poission

                    History is a useful analogue,however there are differences.

                    Underlying inflation was present before the war shock,and even with it historically the prices are still low by comparison.

                    There was both excess liquidity in all economies,and excessive wealth expectations in housing and share prices especially in the real value of shares in the service sector ( a lot of it unrealistic.)

                    Housing here became a substantive problem with unrealistic expectations (over valued inventory) FOMO and low bank interest rates,where savers looked for higher returns.

                    There was a lot of media beatup in the housing,fuelled by excessive demands by those on house detention over covid,binge watching the Block and grand designs.

                    Inflation is being fuelled by housing costs (rents,large mortgages,interest rates and utilities) and excessive trade costs.

                    The central bank policies that are now entrenched,are for the removal of wealth expectations at the top end of town such as the sharemarket,especially in the non productive sectors.So expect significant depreciation in the share portfolios, pension funds and sovereign wealth funds.

                    Historically during the oil shock forced depression,a sense of hoplessness on the part of the elected, and was a reason we ended up with with Thatcher,Reagan et al.

                    An inability to take ownership by the Government now,with some clear messaging on Fiscal responsibility,will see the arrival of the Wreckers.

                    • Ad

                      That Lawrence Summers graph on Average Gas Price Per Mile seems less interesting than I wanted.

                      Do we have graphs showing the degree of petroleum density in our GDP?

                      Are we making more of our exports with more petroleum inputs than say 1979?

                      Are we more reliant as a society and as an economy on petroleum products than we were in say 1979?

                      If our higher-input and higher-value economy is more indebted to petroleum products, does this make us more vulnerable to price changes in petroleum price than we were in 1979?

                      I have only an inkling that our world-leading car ownership rates and massively expanding Auckland has made us more vulnerable rather than less.

                      I think this is the kind of debate we need to start having.

                    • Poission

                      Well its not a gasoline shortage that prevails,its a lack of refined distallates such as av gas and diesel.The later being the product that does connect the economy,harvests the food and transfers the food to market,wether by train or truck.

                      the car in Auckland brings nothing to the NZ economy.Would be a good time to have a spare refinery,with diesel and avgas capacity,with conversion rates at 40$us bbl.

                      Just as well the pension funds,got out of refining and into investments like Netflix.

            • alwyn 2.1.1.1.1.2

              And the book was published before Muldoon was a major figure in New Zealand politics. He was at the time, 1971, Minister of Finance but was not yet a dominant figure in the National Party.

              • left for dead

                Sorry to intrude alwyn but @Poission you mean JetA-1 (parraffin/kerosine) Avgas is for combustion engines.

      • arkie 2.1.2

        Former Cabinet Minister Hugh Templeton argued Muldoon's lack of "strategic vision" denied New Zealand a careful, measured economic restructuring that paved the way for Rogernomics.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Muldoon#Public_image_and_legacy

        I can see the comparison here. The Governments lack of "strategic vision" in regards to anything other than the initial COVID response has denied Aotearoa New Zealand any strong or socialist restructuring out of the 40 year disaster of Rogernomics.

        • Ad 2.1.2.1

          The NZ state within COVID is at its most interventionist point in my lifetime, but its power is receding quickly as it should.

          Muldoon and Kirk before him were very strong socialists in stabilising prices, retaining tariffs, retaining and advancing state owned business, and controlling many aspects of society we would consider just weird now. Templeton just didn't fit that.

          I'm skeptical about "vision" or whatever. We've gone through a decent crisis every two years for nearly a decade now, and are more resilient in our responses after each one. Wasn't much need for any such "vision" through any of them. Just good specific coordinated action.

          • arkie 2.1.2.1.1

            I see the importance of "vision" or "values" in producing leadership that isn't almost entirely reactive; it stops being leadership at that point, it is crisis management; This is laudable in and of itself, but it has come at a cost; It has led to some poorly thought out and publicly rationalised policies and a real lack of action on the larger, existential crises of our time, including on winding down failed neoliberalism and addressing the nuclear-free moment of a generation. This can convince the public that despite all their successes this Government is incapable of meeting their own rhetoric, which is dangerous electorally.

            Either way, as I do, I will quibble regarding the conflation socialism with interventionist government. Keynesianism is still capitalism.

        • pat 2.1.2.2

          Thats a curious position ….if theres one thing Id suggest Muldoon had, rightly or wrongly it was a 'strategic vision' for NZ…it was called 'Think Big'

          The question is the timing and implementation.

          • mikesh 2.1.2.2.1

            Muldoon believed in Keynesianism. However, the RBNZ in his time was not independent, so he was able to control the reserve ratio himself, and kept it at around 20 to 25 percent. He should have imposed a 100 percent ratio. If he had put a stop to fractional reserve banking we might still be using Keynesian economics today.

            • pat 2.1.2.2.1.1

              As I see it his 2 main problems were (personality aside) the rapid decrease in the price of oil and the fact he was rowing against the OECD tide…..the powers that be had decided globalisation was to be the paradigm.

              • mikesh

                Inflation started to increase in the late sixties (in NZ), probably as a result of the two devaluations of the NZ dollar that had occurred earlier. The first I think was in sympathy with a British devaluation, and then we did another one later. This was before the "oil shocks",

                Another factor was America's departure from the gold standard in the early seventies. The abandonment of Bretton Woods, and Britain’s ill advised entry into the EEC, left NZ rather exposed.

  3. aj 3

    Clutha District Mayor Bryan Cadogan is one of a small number of rational voices amongst the councils grappling with ( mostly opposing) the Three Waters Reforms, and doesn't hold much back again in this article.

    There have been calls to “Stop 3 Waters”, which is problematic to say the least. Virtually all ratepayers are taxpayers.

    Councils have already received, and no doubt spent, the half billion dollar three waters “stimulus funding” offered last year, and are now applying for the $500 million second tranche funding from the Government.

    As a nation do we really want the situation of having paid for the reforms only to stop proceedings, inflict more unnecessary pain on ratepayers, and still have to solve the problems sometime in the very near future. There could be no sillier scenario than this.

    Sadly, I still expect councils that have been blowing their tin whistles to grab the money on offer with one hand, will continue to bludgeon the provider with the other. This only adds to the publics confusion and angst, and Clutha along with all but one council in the south remains committed to working constructively to establish the best outcomes for our collective wellbeing.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/local-government/128425173/the-longer-we-wait-the-greater-the-pain

    • Sabine 3.1

      Ah, so we can't/ shouldn’t't reconsider/debate/inform properly/convince and maybe generally just take some more time to get the tax payer on board of the ship called 3 waters, because some of the councils would like to have that next lot of several hundreds of millions extracted from the tax payers to spend on stuff, even if the tax payer disagrees with us.

      sounds solid and democratic.

      How much does this persons wage depend on getting that money that is extracted from the tax payer? And how much will his future depend on it? He maybe hoping for a nice cushy " you are very polite and accommodating " 6 figure job somewhere in that mess? Or would that be rude to speculate? Surely this guy only has the best of the country and himself in mind.

      There is a phrase that says: throwing good money after bad; but then i guess the life and wages of this person is depend on getting good money from the tax payer to throw after something many don't want and even more are suspicious about.

    • Ad 3.2

      Clutha District is fairly competent and their Mayor can at least see who prints the money.

      It is an impressively resolute opposition to 3 Waters from Selwyn Council given that they still have Boil Water notices that have been dragging on in some areas since 2019 and in many areas continue.

      E coli boil water notice for Selwyn to last 'several days' | RNZ News

      That, together with one of the highest colon cancer rates in the world, ought to give them a moment in front of the mirror.

      • pat 3.2.1

        "Question: Will the Three Waters Reforms take private water supplies / take back water allocations

        Answer: No. The Three Waters Reforms aim to reform council-owned services only. This discussion is not about taking over operation of privately-owned supplies. However, the Government is working with a Rural Supplies Technical Working Group to understand how the proposed entities may support private supplies who currently receive assistance from councils The proposed entities will continue to operate within the resource management system – the Three Waters Reforms will not alter resource consents, allocations, or address ownership of freshwater. This is subject to work of the Ministry for the Environment"

        https://www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/Files/Three-waters-reform-programme-2022/$file/Three-Waters-Reform-boiled-down-1.pdf

      • Hongi Ika 3.2.2

        So the Selwyn District Council are Anti 3 Waters despite all there problems ? WOW ?

    • Robert Guyton 3.3

      I have met and talked with Bryan. He's a clear-thinker. I support his position on 3 Waters.

      • aj 3.3.1

        I fear a lot of opposition comes from it being fronted by Nanaia Mahuta. How dare such a policy be fronted by a Māori woman. You don't have to move much around certain circles in the south to pick this up.

        • Sabine 3.3.1.1

          That is some fine sexist and racist malebovine poo poo you are throwing at a hole lot a people.

          a. Firstly define the word women.

          b. Has Nanaia Mahuta self ided as a women and statee their preferred pronouns as she/her, if not be careful that you don't accidentally misgender someone – even in good faith.

          c. most of us have had very little information from anyone including Nanaia Mahuta other what is peddled every now and then on the MSM which we all know we can't trust because maybe they received part of that 55 million dollar package or because they are rightwingers or or or.

          d. most of us would like some more information on how exactly this will work out for the USER of these services in the future. I.e. how much will it cost to use water, discharge used water, recycle used water and how will it be charged? And will there be any safeguarding to assure access to people who may not be able to pay for water in the future. Maybe a televised roundtable with a highly educated panel and a moderator who is not a breakfast host but maybe with someone who knows a bit about water and how it gets into our glasses and cups.

          Personally i have nothing against a better/fairer model, but in this case the government has failed to make its case by simply not making a case to the public.

          That has nothing to do with Nanaia Mahuta, but rather with a government policy of 'no debate' 'we know better' 'do as yer told' and 'shut up if you don't agree'. Non which reflects well on this government.

          And non which is the fault of Nanaia Mahuta, irrespective of the fact that they are born in a female body and are Maori, and may or may not have a gender identity that goes hand in had with their female sexed body.

          But yeah the easiest solution to the fact that people don't like what government is doing must be the fact that the messanger arrives in a female body and is Maori.

          My definition of the term female:

          Of or denoting the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs, distinguished biologically by the production of gametes (ova) which can be fertilized by male gametes.

          And "can bear offspring" does not mean they will, plan to, or want to bear offspring, or have not lost that 'can' to illness, genetic defects, or surgery/medication.

  4. Ad 4

    A way out of the 3 Waters crisis is to do with water what they did with health:

    merge all the regions and effectively nationalise water into one state controlled entity.

    Wouldn't help Ardern's Maori caucus but it would reassure the majority.

    Might be a bit late now.

  5. joe90 5

    Deleted post by pro-Kremlin media outlet Readovka.

    Readovka 15 minutes ago ?

    At a closed briefing, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced data on losses during a special operation on the territory of Ukraine. Irretrievable losses on the Russian side amount to 13,414 soldiers. About 7,000 more people are considered missing. Figures for the cruiser Moskva were also announced: 116 dead were confirmed, more than 100 people are considered missing. The Deputy Minister of Defense noted that at the moment the calculation of the number of dead is difficult due to the intensity of hostilities and inaccessibility to the bodies at the battlefield.

    google translate

    https://web.archive.org/web/20220421195045/vk.com/wall-163061027_2109268

    • RedLogix 5.1

      Which adds up very closely to the 20,600 that the Ukrainians are currently claiming.

    • joe90 5.2

      Czechs know a thing or two about appeasers. And Russia.

      The German army has largely exhausted the possibilities of supplying additional weapons to Ukraine, says Scholz. He wants to prevent NATO's conflict with Russia.

      The United States is once again pulling hot chestnuts out of the fire for Europe, and then we will criticize them for being too militarily involved in the world. Cowardice and disgrace of Germany.

      • RedLogix 5.2.1

        Yes – Putin has really thrown Germany under the bus in this war. Led by the German Greens and dominating figures like Merkel, the Germans pursued the idea that nations who trade with each other do not go to war. The reasoning was that if the EU was able to prevent war in Western Europe, then the same principle might work in across the whole of Eurasia.

        I would argue that while open trade and the movement of people and ideas is a necessary condition – it turned out not to be a sufficient one.

        To their credit the Germans have pivoted against Russia pretty hard, yet clearly have yet to fully let go of the old dream. I can only wonder for example if anyone has interviewed Merkel herself recently and how betrayed she must now feel.

        As for supporting Ukraine with weapons – that is not necessarily a simple matter. I have just finished this excellent clip that does a really excellent deep dive into the logistics and economics of doing this for an extended period.

        • joe90 5.2.1.1

          More than a few national security types called Merkel and her government on their obeisance to Poots.

          Yesterday, Bild ran the sensational story “Former spy chiefs settle accounts with Merkel,” which revealed to the public for the first time just how subservient Germany’s chancellor has been to Moscow. Several retired spy bosses took Merkel to task, denouncing her conduct towards the Kremlin with harsh words: “Obsequiousness” and “Cowardice” were cited, while one former spy chief stated that the chancellor “blamed her own intelligence services” rather than Putin for problems in the bilateral relationship.

          Bernd Schmidbauer, who served as the cabinet-level coordinator of Germany’s intelligence and security agencies (a position roughly equivalent to the U.S. Director of National Intelligence), denounced Merkel’s handling of German security vis-à-vis Russia as “worse than bad,” adding it is “a disgrace to our country” how weakly Berlin responded to Khangoshvili’s brazen assassination. This cannot be dismissed as partisan grousing. Schmidbauer, a lifelong member of Merkel’s own party, termed the expulsion of two Russian spies “laughable” given the gravity of the crime perpetrated by the Kremlin in Berlin.

          https://web.archive.org/web/20191219082429/https://20committee.com/2019/12/17/top-german-spies-unload-on-merkels-kowtowing-to-putin/

          • RedLogix 5.2.1.1.1

            Interesting – that goes a lot deeper than I had imagined. The other very weak EU response was to the 2014 invasion of Crimea – something must have surely played into Putin's delusion that he could take the whole of Ukraine with impunity.

            • mikesh 5.2.1.1.1.1

              I guess you think that Putin should relinquish Crimea and hand its two naval bases over to the Americans. After all that is what would have happened if Crimea had remained Ukranian, and the Crimean people had not wanted Crimea to become a Russian oblast once again, and made application to Putin accept them back.

              • RedLogix

                Ah yes – that 2014 referendum overseen by Russian troops and widely rejected by most countries.

                And widely boycotted by the indigenous Tartars.

                And why would the US possibly want a naval base in Crimea? The most stupid place on earth to have one, totally vulnerable to enemy missiles and no-where to escape. As the Russian navy knows only too well.

                • joe90

                  As the Russian navy knows only too well.

                  Long remembered.

                • Macro

                  And why would the US possibly want a naval base in Crimea? The most stupid place on earth to have one, totally vulnerable to enemy missiles and no-where to escape.

                  QFT. Seems that some people have never learnt from history. Just as we are about to commemorate an abortive invasion by allied troops 107 years ago in support of Russia!

                  On 25 April 1915, 16,000 Australians and New Zealanders, together with British, French and Indian troops, landed on the Gallipoli peninsula. The invasion was part of a campaign to:

                  • capture the peninsula and help naval operations in the Dardanelles straits
                  • relieve pressure on Russian forces who were fighting Turkish forces on the Caucasus front

                  British forces landed at Cape Helles on the southern tip of the peninsula while French troops carried out a feint landing at Kum Kale on the Dardanelles' Asian shore. Units became separated as they moved through the tangle of complex spurs and ravines in the darkness.

                  Turkish resistance was fierce. By mid-morning, Turkish reinforcements had arrived under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Mustafa Kemal.

                  In the evening, Major-General William Bridges, commander of the 1st Australian Division, and Lieutenant-General Sir William Birdwood, commander of ANZAC, both advised General Sir Ian Hamilton, Commander-in-Chief, to withdraw the Allies from Gallipoli.

                • mikesh

                  Ah yes – that 2014 referendum overseen by Russian troops and widely rejected by most countries.

                  Just because it was supervised by Russian troops doesn't mean the result wasn't kosher; and of course it was rejected by most countries. Its rejection suited the west's anti Russian narrative.

                  And widely boycotted by the indigenous Tartars

                  Natuarally, but the Tatars were only a small minority.

                  And why would the US possibly want a naval base in Crimea? The most stupid place on earth to have one, totally vulnerable to enemy missiles and no-where to escape. As the Russian navy knows only too well.

                  The naval bases give the Russians better access to the Black Sea than they would have without them. From the Black Sea they have access to the Mediterranean via the Bosphorus and the Dardenelles.

          • Ad 5.2.1.1.2

            Same for Schroeder still deep in there with the Russian gas company.

            Perhaps unsurprising that German Federal politics replicates the German economic addiction to Russian gas.

            • RedLogix 5.2.1.1.2.1

              My trusted insider source – sadly I cannot reference – has claimed that the German Greens opposition to nuclear energy was heavily driven by pro-Russian influencers who saw it as a means to make Germany dependent on the Kremlin.

              After all no rational person can justify shutting down six perfectly good nuclear power plants this year – while at the same time claiming it would be too traumatic to stop Russian gas. The logical answer must lie elsewhere.

              • Ad

                That's a Pierce Brosnan-era Bond film right there.

                Does Le Pen have a policy on nuclear energy generation?

                • joe90

                  Up to her eyeballs in Russian debt with plans to ditch the EU and pull France out of NATO's command structure.

                  She'll do whats she's told.

                  PARIS—The far-right party of French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has begun paying a settlement of 12 million euros—equivalent to $12.94 million—to a Russian military contractor under U.S. sanctions, part of a debt restructuring that granted her party more time to repay a loan it took from a Russian bank, according to Russian and French government records.

                  Aviazapchast JSC—a Moscow-based company that supplies Russian military aircraft and parts across the Middle East, Africa and Asia—took over the €9.4 million loan in 2016 after the bank that originated it, Moscow-based First Czech-Russian Bank, went bankrupt, the records show. Holding loans is well outside of Aviazapchast’s normal line of business, according to the company’s corporate reports, which contain no mention of the transaction.

                  https://www.wsj.com/articles/marine-le-pens-far-right-french-party-to-pay-nearly-13-million-to-russian-military-contractor-11650644840

                  • RedLogix

                    Yes. The German energy gambit was never going to work with France as they were in a very different context. So they went for the reliable old 'put money in the pollies pocket' approach instead.

              • mikesh

                Obviously good for Russia, but so what.

  6. Jenny how to get there 6

    All the world's a stage and all men and women simply players, they have their exits and entrances.

    Testing, testing, 123

  7. Adrian 7

    Germany is by no means nuclear free, it buys all of its shortfall from closing its own nuclear plants by buying power from French nuclear providers.

  8. joe90 8

    In May 1944 Stalin's regime started deporting Crimea's indigenous people. It took 3 days to remove every Crimean Tatar on the peninsula. Deportation and inhuman conditions killed nearly half of them.

    Stalin's heirs are at it again.

    The deportation officially was intended as collective punishment[15] for the perceived collaboration of some Crimean Tatars with Nazi Germany; modern sources theorize that the deportation was part of the Soviet plan to gain access to the Dardanelles and acquire territory in Turkey where the Tatars had Turkic ethnic kin.

    Nearly 8,000 Crimean Tatars died during the deportation, while tens of thousands perished subsequently due to the harsh exile conditions.[4] The Crimean Tatar exile resulted in the abandonment of 80,000 households and 360,000 acres of land.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deportation_of_the_Crimean_Tatars

  9. Blazer 9

    I find it interesting that many think Russia should not be concerned about NATO /U.S on its border,but are very worried about Chinese influence in…the Solomon's!

    • Macro 9.1

      I find it very interesting that many who provide apology for Putin's invasion of Ukraine saying that it is all NATO's fault, completely overlook the fact that Putin's invasion has had the opposite effect to that which he intended. Rather than dividing NATO, this war has only strengthened its resolve and prompted two other bordering countries, Finland and Sweden to apply for immediate membership of NATO.

      • Blazer 9.1.1

        I guess it depends on what you perceive the intention to be.

        I can't see anything pointing to it being to…'divide NATO'.

    • RedLogix 9.2

      Maybe if China was governed by a democratic polity, or was not in the process of one of the most rapid military expansions in all of human history, nor prone to expansionist territorial claims that piss off all their neighbours – then maybe we would not be so concerned at all.

      And here is the blatantly stupid thing about these claims that Russia was justified in being concerned about NATO aggression. For a start there was never any evidence that NATO nor any member country was in the slightest bit interested in invading Russia. Indeed Europe had embarked on a decades long project to normalise the relationship and build trade on the basis this would prevent conflict.

      But assuming even this was a lie and NATO secretly harboured the desire to crush Russia all along. Yet right now with the invasion of Ukraine providing the perfect pretext to launch a fatal attack on Russia no-one has done so – and have even had to be dragged with some reluctance into supporting Ukraine's defense once the horrors of Poots invasion became the undeniable reality.

      • Blazer 9.2.1

        Over 70% of the worlds population regard America as the 'Great Satan'.

        This war in the Ukraine is a proxy vs Russia.

        America cares not about ukrainians.The real agenda is Russia challenging U.S hegemony.

        Ukraine is not a democracy,even Trump said it is one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

        American democracy is an illusion.American style freedom,a …delusion.

        China does not have a record of military expansion in the last 100 years.

        • Macro 9.2.1.1

          Over 70% of the worlds population regard America as the 'Great Satan'.

          You can back up that claim with verifiable evidence?

          Ukraine is not a democracy,even Trump said it is one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

          Well Trump is certainly an authority of corruption – but hardly an authority on Ukraine. He couldn't even point to it on the map! So another load of bollocks from you

          • Blazer 9.2.1.1.1

            Comprehension is not your forte.

            Which Country Is The Greatest Threat to World Peace? – Brilliant Maps

            ' an interview Trump gave last November with "Fox and Friends" where he called Ukraine the "third-most corrupt country" in the world.

            Zelensky: Donald Trump's claims of Ukrainian corruption are 'not true' (usatoday.com)

            Where's the…bollocks?

            • Macro 9.2.1.1.1.1

              I think comprehension is not your forte.

              From your link (a pre 2013 survey BTW)

              The US was the overwhelming choice (24% of respondents) for the country that represents the greatest threat to peace in the world today.

              So no; that doesn't return an over 70% of the world's population.

              You know – repeating a lie, doesn't make the lie true. Anything Trump has to say is simply bullshit mixed up in a word salad, and to quote Faux News! Well that's laughable.

              • Blazer

                Maybe you should try adding up the populations of non english speaking nations in Asia ,Africa,Sth America and compare it to the total world population.

                «An end-of-the-year WIN/Gallup International survey found that people in 65 countries believe the United States is the greatest threat to world peace», as the N.Y.

                There is video evidence of Trump saying what I quoted.

                • RedLogix

                  Oh look 2014

                • Macro

                  2014 COUNTRY POPULATION (MILLIONS)

                  China1,364 India1,296 United States318 Indonesia251 Brazil203 Pakistan194 Nigeria177 Bangladesh158 Russia144 Japan127

                  If you were to look at the "brilliant map" you linked to above you would see that India, and Afganistan thought Pakistan was the greatest threat. Almost the whole of Africa had no opinion whatsoever and only 3 countries in Africa considered the USA to be the Greatest threat. Japan considered Russia to be the greatest threat. The USA, Canada, UK, Turkey, considered Iraq. Nigeria the 6th most populous country was not surveyed. Bangladesh the 8th most popular country thought Israel to be the greatest threat.

                  So a large proportion of the most populous countries did not hold the US as the greatest threat and I'm sorry but you cannot extrapolate the 24% of 66,000 respondents surveyed out to the whole of the world population.

                  I'm sure if a similar survey was conducted today there would be a very different out come – particularly in western Europe.

                  • Blazer

                    India and other countries look at it as 'domestic' threats ,not on a macro level.

                    Population of China,India and Indonesia would be over 1/2 the worlds population.

                    None of those countries are condemning …Russia.

                    • Macro

                      Population of China,India and Indonesia would be over 1/2 the worlds population.

                      No they are not. World population in 2014 was 7.2 billion

                      China + India + Indonesia population totaled around 2.9 billion in 2014.

                      They were not all condemning the US either – India for example. Check your map.

                    • Blazer

                      My bad…I overestimated Indonesia.

                      Still maintain the U.S is seen as the biggest threat to world peace…and with good reason.

                    • RedLogix

                      You might want to look at the data.

                      What you are proposing that the US is the most dangerous nation on earth – yet in the post WW2 era during the world order they have dominated has been remarkably peaceful by comparison to any era before. In 2020 your chances of dying in a war were lower than at any time in all of human history.

                      You can of course claim that ideally no-one would ever die in state conflict, but given humans have never been able to sustain such a state of affairs for any extended period this is an unreasonable benchmark.

                      You might want to claim that if Hitler had prevailed in WW2, or Stalin and his successors ruled the world in a glorious workers paradise that all would have been much better – but these claims are untestable. As are all other counterfactual versions of history.

                      What we can know is that the US dominated period since WW2 has seen the lowest comparative levels of state violence since forever. No-one is claiming their record is close to ideal – but you might want to pause and think what might replace them if the hated Yanks really did go home and left the rest of the world to marinate in it's own toxic juices.

                      You might even want to think about what the US almost accidentally achieved – and think how we might more consciously improve on it future.

                    • Blazer

                      @Red,White & Blue logic….do behave!

                      The merkins have invaded 37 countries since WW2…killed millions.

                      Try ex State dept man John Perkins…or Noam Chomsky…and learn the…reality.sad

                    • RedLogix

                      Evades the careful point I was making.

                    • Blazer

                      @Red…have you looked at your link?

                      God knows what 'careful point' you think that…makes!frown

                    • RedLogix

                      You need to scroll through the pages.

        • RedLogix 9.2.1.2

          Yet perversely enough this war will create a Ukrainian state with more legitimacy and democratic capacity than ever before:

      • Ad 9.2.2

        We could do a quick post-WW2 tally of what different kinds of colonial takeover are like:

        USA: Marshall Islands still a protectorate – new military base, tribalised democratic state. Guam – military base, limited representation. Philippines – no more military bases and a fully fledged if slightly imperfect democracy. American Samoa – developing state with some democratic representation. South Korea – US military bases, fully fledged democracy now. Marshall Islands – military bases, Free Association with USA. Japan – Okinawa base, fully operating democracy. Australia – Roberston Barracks+Pine Gap+Other key comms+full interoperability, fully fledged democracy.

        China: Multiple new military bases in South China Sea, hostile to democracy. North Korea – defence treaty, hostile to democracy. Hong Kong – fully takeover and democracy rapidly degraded. Taiwan – prepared to defend against hostile mainland takeover – currently a strong democracy.

        USA is by no means a good colonial power, but on balance …

        • Blazer 9.2.2.1

          Democracy/Merriam/Webster-'

          Definition of democracy

          1a: government by the people especially : rule of the majority

          From what I can see western democracy is usually a choice between left and right,or blue and red.

          In effect tweedle dee or tweedle dum.

          It functions o.k provided the wishes of the corporation/banking sector are met.

          If they are not,the non complying democratic regime is discarded and replaced with…a new one.

          It is very,very rarely a majority govt when all eligible voters are considered.

          An illusion.

          • Ad 9.2.2.1.1

            Thankfully there are whole institutions devoted to evaluating kinds of democracy, and the elements that go into them, and don't decry against the world with foolish absolutes like you just did.

            Home | Democracy Matrix

            • Blazer 9.2.2.1.1.1

              'there are whole institutions devoted to evaluating kinds of democracy, and the elements that go into them'

              Well if it's that complex….I wonder if the average Joe Lunchbox …even understands it!

              Can't see anything 'foolish' at all in my post.

              • RedLogix

                If they are not,the non complying democratic regime is discarded and replaced with…a new one.

                It is very,very rarely a majority govt when all eligible voters are considered.

                An illusion.

                You seem very prone to the Perfectionist Fallacy.

                By contrast no-one pretends the liberal democratic order is perfect – quite the opposite, we spend much time here finding fault with it and sometimes having constructive debates on how to improve it. (A privilege you do not have in the totalitarian nations – protest being frequently rewarded with long prison sentences or worse.

                What I do not tolerate is lazy idiots who rather than put the work into building on what we have already achieved – argue that everything is corrupt, vile and hopeless and therefore the system must be torn down. And imply somehow magically out of the rubble will appear a new utopia that will solve all problems. Vaguely specified always.

                • Blazer

                  So what have we already achieved….that say Singapore has…not?

                  The U.S is supposedly the benchmark for liberal democracy.

                  Look at the ghetto the U.S really is…low wages,40 million on food stamps,highest incarceration rate in the world,horrific homelessness,weekly shootings of civilians because of their gun laws…and aggressive foreign policy to promote U.S interests.

                  Throw in the Assange travesty , look at the incumbent Dem president and his Rep predecessor and… what have you got!!!!!

                  • RedLogix

                    The U.S is supposedly the benchmark for liberal democracy.

                    Who said that? Most people here recognise the US as something of an outlier in democratic norms. It is well understood that their democratic sausage has many ingredients and not all of them wholesome.

                    As for Assange – I spent the best part of a decade here defending him from many on the left who constantly libeled him with false allegations and told us that the US desire to extradict him was a silly fantasy. Those relative few of us who saw through the bullshit all along have been proven right, but as events have turned out it has been a pyrrhic victory and a bitter disappointment. Those on the left who should have supported Assange early when it might have made a difference can now only hang their heads in shame on this.

                    And I can only imagine that events in Ukraine have only stacked the cards against Assange even more than they were already.

      • mikesh 9.2.3

        Yet right now with the invasion of Ukraine providing the perfect pretext to launch a fatal attack on Russia

        Of course not. Nobody wants to start a nuclear war. But without 'mutually assured destruction' you can be pretty certain American would be in the Ukraine, boots and all, fighting on the side of the Ukranians. But without ‘MAD’ they need a more indirect means of getting at Russia.

  10. Stuart Munro 10

    @Incognito – no reply option on your comment.

    Looks like another blatant and deliberate attempt at starting another flame war

    Is that all you think is going on?

    You have a real life fascist running rampant all over the site – how much of this shit are we supposed to put up with?

    I cannot believe it.

    What public good is served by circulating Putin's disinformation – because make no mistake, that is ultimately Adrian's only source – and it is not ever factual – there are Russian sources out there that are, and they never run the unadulterated Kremlin line.

    • RedLogix 10.1

      @Incognito

      You will have noted that you got no reply from AT to your 8.1.1.1.2 request. Crickets.

      Unlike AT I have lived and worked in Russia and retain a respect and fondness for the people. I have written to this many time over the past decade. Every wrecked Russian tank we see in the media represents a handful of incinerated young men and this is heartbreaking at a human level. No mature person can look at the images of this war unmoved – for all the losses.

      Yet AT exploits this legitimate human response as cover for a fake neutrality, and insisting Ukraine negotiate for peace – when he knows dam well this means nothing more than a surrender to a tyrant whose word is worthless. And the surety that within years Poots would simply leverage the same strategy again.

      In an ideal world we would have political and global mechanisms to prevent a nation going rogue and a legitimate means to prevent conflict – but for the moment we do not. By analogy AT is suggesting that the only method of dealing with crime is to disband the police and require the victims of rape, theft and assault to 'negotiate' terms with those who prey upon them. Yet for some reason Ukraine is meant negotiate 'peace terms' with those would are offending against them – an absurdist perversion of justice if there ever was.

      It is this contradiction AT cannot resolve – he knows full well the moment he attempts to outline any concrete details of a peace settlement under the terms he has in mind – the rank injustice of it would be laid bare.

      • Incognito 10.1.1

        Yes, I know your long record here, which is not in question as far as I am concerned.

        Yes, I tend to agree that Adrian Thornton is stretching our imagination and challenging our intelligence with his alleged stance of neutrality.

        Indeed, Adrian Thornton has failed to respond to and answer my probing questions in the past. However, that is his prerogative if I submitted these as a commenter rather than as a Mod. Nonetheless, his refusal to engage when challenged is telling. If all we hear is crickets I or maybe another Mod will act.

        As I just mentioned in my reply to Stuart Munro, I don’t want to get dragged into this particular discussion about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is something for and between commenters who are interested in debating these issues; they should be asking the probing questions, et cetera. If you think that resolving the contradiction is the key then focus on that and nothing else till it has been resolved, one way or another. In other words, sharpen the questions and turn up the heat.

        I loathe to silence one of you because it would instantly kill off any chance of robust debate. Thus, silencing a voice is a (the) last resort.

      • Anne 10.1.2

        Unlike AT I have lived and worked in Russia and retain a respect and fondness for the people. I have written to this many time over the past decade. Every wrecked Russian tank we see in the media represents a handful of incinerated young men and this is heartbreaking at a human level. No mature person can look at the images of this war unmoved – for all the losses.

        Well said Sir @10.1

        My father – a former British soldier- spent some time in Northern Russia in the 1920s. He lived with a Russian family and he came to respect and admire the Russian people. He never lost that respect and went to some trouble to bring us up with an understanding that the Soviet government of the time and the Russian people were not one and the same thing. Thus, I never grew up with a notion that all Russians were evil. After all, countless millions of them lost their lives at the hand (directly and indirectly) of the tyrannical despot, Stalin.

        That is why we should grieve for the loss of these young Russian men as much as we grieve for the Ukrainians who have lost their lives or had their lives torn apart in some cases forever. They are both the victims of serial psychopaths at the top of the Russian political tree.

    • Incognito 10.2

      Ok, let’s assume for argument’s sake that there’s indeed a fascist running rampant here on TS. Do you think it us up to the Mods to judge and reach this verdict and then ban this person? If yes, for violation of which TS policy? Or do you think it is up to commenters such as you to attack this person for their beliefs & opinions? Or do you think the commentariat should counter this person’s reckons with facts and sound arguments that show the person is wrong about (certain) things? If you pick the third option, and there might be more, what do you expect to happen if this person does not budge? Is that a free invitation to launch personal attacks to bully the other person into submission or to shut them up? In other words, the second option, which is a violation of TS policy especially in the absence of any points of substance that can be debated.

      I took your comment in isolation and it contained nothing (!) of substance, and you made quite specific allegations and accusations.

      The bigger picture is that you all fail to take the debate to the next level and just keep going around in circles in very predictable ways. Find a way to pull specific information or opinion or whatever out of the other one. If you think they’re so wrong give them enough rope to hang themselves and show their true colours. However, and obviously, you cannot force other commenters to give the replies you want them to give, in fact, you cannot force them to reply at all. However, if they continue to refuse to engage in genuine debate a Moderator might step in and call them out for trolling, for example. The more specific it is, the clearer it is that someone is trolling and not interested in genuine debate.

      Calling another commenter names is hardly a good debating strategy and after a while it is getting tiresome.

      I’m keen to have a serious discussion about this because something has to give. Actually, I’m frustrated that I have to spend time on trying to sort out something that a bunch of you cannot or won’t sort out yourselves.

      • RedLogix 10.2.1

        Do you think it us up to the Mods to judge and reach this verdict and then ban this person?

        Moderation has on many occasions in the past determined that a line of argument was out of bounds and no longer tolerable. I can think of quite a few examples over the years. Starting with climate change deniers back around 2013 for instance.

        I do appreciate the very difficult balancing act this creates. TS has a long and proud tradition of robust and open debate despite what I have said above. For the moment I am not advocating AT should be banned – but as far as I am concerned he is fair game.

        • Incognito 10.2.1.1

          Fair point. For this to occur there has to be a clear consensus, so that a line can be drawn or some touchstone developed to which we can hold commenters accountable. And even then it can be hard to make a fair and proper judgement. I also note that in OM, for example, we still tolerate CC sceptics or even deniers, as long as they make some debatable comment. In other words, it is not TS policy to ban (cancel) all CC deniers outright, at least not that I’m aware of. And not all Mods are the same, as you know; I wasn’t around here in 2013.

          I’m going to have a few drinks now, as I’m thirsty.

        • DB Brown 10.2.1.2

          Anyone else notice that hard-right and hard-left are barely distinguishable from each other these days. The rhetoric, methods, inability to compromise or reason… Shaved head or fly bitten feral they're just clowns parading their own version of the same hateful bullshit. (tear it all down, me and my commune/club have better ideas).

          Sure they've got different (versions of) flags and symbols. And let's not forget different (versions of) the same religious nonsense. 6% on the far right and 8% on the far left drowning out moderate voices. They're all wannabe killers.

          The fact I spend most of my time on ecological subjects has many folk insist on classifying me here in TS as hard left. Not bloody likely. Though I'm personally against people victimising others, skinhead or feral twat, that's a result of being a human with PTSD, I know what it's like and I stop bullies with zero compunction. But this craven cancel culture posing circle jerk of cunts who think they're the holders of all that is correct… it's just mob rule and bullying en masse – disgraceful bullshit.

          And playing the victim. Goddamn what a pack of whingers the fringes are. They call for or justify violence, and the minute you call them on it they claim they've been joking, misunderstood, and there we go again victimising the poor wee dears.

          The fringe groups are coalescing over incomprehensible conspiracies. And they're getting religio-frenzied over it all. The binary (which really exists only as a construct) is being forced into conversations everywhere:

          Pick a side they say. Join us in our idiotic blathering. Gush over grief porn, be outraged by the deaths. Pick a side, and wreak death upon the other. After all, isn't thinking soooo confusing lately!

          Pick a side – where the sides stretch out, curve round and coalesce into a murderous merging of fuckwits, left and right wing villainy and extremist ideology none of which we'd give time of day for in any other circumstance.

          Pick a side, they demand. We're going to execute the press.

          Pick a side, they say. We've victims of unreasonable people.

          Pick a side!

          AT has laid out a pattern of calling everyone else stupid and incapable of reading/researching themselves – and the moment he's called on it he claims he's a victim, and then goes so far as to pretend he's the only adult in the room.

          I got no time for such BS. Hence instead of debating the same drivel day in day out I declare – a twat.

          My aspie superpower is assimilating huge volumes of text to gain pattern recognition.

          A complete twat.

          • RedLogix 10.2.1.2.1

            Anyone else notice that hard-right and hard-left are barely distinguishable from each other these days.

            Yes – extremists are people who fail to recognise boundaries. They all believe their cause is so important that any means is justified to promote it. Which is why they all wind up 'barely distinguishable'.

            I attempted to write to this a while back.

            • DB Brown 10.2.1.2.1.1

              "The centre is perhaps better conceived as that political space which is the sum of those ideas and agendas that all sides will concede legitimacy to."

              Yes, legitimate ideas!

              Not these climate denying, science bashing, extreme fucking idiots and all the garbage they've picked up along the way. The 'health food' fad industry and their army of idiot influencers: those vacant fucking lots. God botherers of various Gods, drumming up their believers. Then the social justice warrior armed with their lists of historical grievances, looking to set the rest of us straight. And who could miss those celebrity fools with more followers than facts or fucks given, in the media sowing discord for clicks, trained by the algorithms to be shit.

              6% on the right, 8% on the left. Joined forces to throw feces at parliament. Met each other on social media. The elites and the bottom feeders, best pals (while it's convenient to the rich).

              These people are not sitting at the table, they want to cut the table up for firewood for their silly camps.

              There's a long history of not taking the village idiot seriously, and for good reason. Thanks to the internet they're now a village of idiots. Their ideas are nonsense, their intent is deadly serious. They want to be avenged for all the petty shit they carry about as facts. They want to die on their own respective hill of beans and be martyred because immaturity, insecurity, etc.

              Yes that's a bit of a rant, but to be fair I've held back.

          • Incognito 10.2.1.2.2

            Speaking from personal experience, your aspie superpower has let you down and your PTSD has clouded your judgement before here. I do agree that trolling is not limited to one side only, as some of the comments here on TS can attest. But trolling is at least something that can give clear guidance to Mods because it is a behavioural pattern and not just an opinion – we don’t ban just opinions.

            You know what to do to expose a troll and drive them into the sunlight – simply pointing the finger and labelling them a troll or calling them names is not sufficient and can even backfire on you if it is a lazy and repeated attempt to cancel another commenter with whom you disagree.

            HTH

            • DB Brown 10.2.1.2.2.1

              Actually, there's a half dozen here I called out years ago and they've not changed one bit. Not at all.

              Making mistakes, well, we all do that. Getting het up is not when I am losing an argument it is when the other side is not acting in good faith. Aint got no time for that it's nonsense, time wasting – call it what you will.

              I say trolling.

              you refute bad links and nonsense sentences – I see multiple instances in one statement that show the person's talking shit in order to win. At that point I've lost all interest in spending energy on that person other than to tell them to fuck off.

              • Incognito

                Exposing a troll for content and consistent troll behaviour is good. To expect a troll to change because you called them out is wishful thinking at best. Mods can ban trolls without too much trouble; if they were to ban commenters just for talking shit TS would become a deserted wasteland in no time. The bar for banning is deliberately set high here and in my view this is fine albeit extremely frustrating at times.

                If you have tried dozens of times and failed it proves that your way is ineffective and that you’ve reached the end of the line by resorting to telling them to fuck off, et cetera. All this reinforces the futility and creates a bad vibe.

                So, either you sharpen up or leave it to others with more patience and cooler heads to smoke out the trolls from their dingy holes.

                Edit: permanent bans are not the default.

      • Stuart Munro 10.2.2

        Do you think it us up to the Mods to judge and reach this verdict and then ban this person? If yes, for violation of which TS policy? Or do you think it is up to commenters such as you to attack this person for their beliefs & opinions? Or do you think the commentariat should counter this person’s reckons with facts and sound arguments that show the person is wrong about (certain) things?

        There's a real can of worms there – but – is it up to the Mods?

        I would expect that on a progressive site, fascist trolling would be no more welcome than far-right trolling. The boot was long on the other foot however, and some of my encounters with Bill ended badly for me.

        up to commenters such as you to attack this person for their beliefs & opinions

        That is the way many RW trolls have been handled, the process being generously described as 'robust debate'. Though robust, it was often not much like debate, and the imposition of sourcing requirements went some way to improving the comments of both sides.

        Or do you think the commentariat should counter this person’s reckons with facts and sound arguments that show the person is wrong about (certain) things? If you pick the third option, and there might be more, what do you expect to happen if this person does not budge?

        My feeling is that the Putin dupes have had the benefit of this process already, and are presently not budging.

        what do you expect to happen

        Let me answer a question with a question – would Mods find it difficult to deal with a more familiar species of fascist, a neoNazi for example?

        There is a reasonably strong international consensus that the Putin regime is objectionable – sufficient to get them thrown off the UN Human Rights Council.

        The duty could be imposed on the Putin dupes, to explain how their views, whenever they intrude them upon public discourse here, are in some way consistent with a progressive or enlightened politics – because it is a fair presumption that in general they are not.

  11. Temp ORary 11

    Huh! A bit tipsy and seem to have deleted my comment. More about NZ culture (specifically music) than politics anyway. Irritating!

    Basically, I was pre-ANZAC day watching the Pogues "& the band Played Waltzing Matilda" on YouTube, and left it on autoplay while Irishing up some coffee. Turned into (NZ{ish} band{ish}) The Cake Kitchen by the time I got back. I had thought that Maxine Fleming (keys/ vox on Messages for the CK) was the same musician as the bassist/ vocalist for the early couple of CK albums – turns out that was Rachael King!

    Peter was always the more front-manish of the two Jeffries brothers (NP, TKP etc), but to me it always felt like he was singing on top of the music rather than inside it. Graeme was (and is still) just so good in his own understated way.

    But however authentic GJ is, Fleming/ Jeffries' Prisoner of a Single Passion is simply one of the best songs to come out of this country. Though very melancholy (and that's compared to &TBPWM!). Compare with Tomorrow came Today off the World of Sand LP – which I love in itself for having almost two parallel yet interleaved choruses "I remember that you bet me a million dollars on the outcome of a TV show – how am I going to pay you back now?" & "I thought we were different, we're exactly the same: Must have had sun in my eyes – wish you hadn't left me there, why'd you have to leave me that way?". Versus "There's a pleasure that we rarely find, but when we do we pride ourselves to keep it", on top of those (fragile and almost broken, yet somehow cohesive) instrumental lines.

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