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Open mike 24/10/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, October 24th, 2021 - 161 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 …

161 comments on “Open mike 24/10/2021 ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    Intelligence in the USA (yeah, I know most readers will reject the notion):

    The first ever National Intelligence Estimate on Climate Change looks at the impact of climate on national security through to 2040… The 27-page assessment is the collective view of all 18 US intelligence agencies. It is their first such look-ahead on what climate means for national security.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/454153/climate-change-will-bring-global-tension-us-intelligence-report-says

    Since it's so hard to find, the USA has had to create 18 separate agencies to hunt it down. The story of how they got together around a big table to cohere a report remains untold, but here's their appraisal in time for COP26:

    The US intelligence community identifies 11 countries and two regions where energy, food, water and health security are at particular risk. They tend to be poorer and less able to adapt, increasing the risks of instability and internal conflict. Heat waves and droughts could place pressure on services like electricity supply. Five of the 11 countries are in South and East Asia – Afghanistan, Burma, India, Pakistan and North Korea – four countries are in Central America and the Caribbean – Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua. Colombia and Iraq are the others. Central Africa and small states in the Pacific are also at risk.

    The report is a sign that climate is now a central part of security thinking and that it will heighten existing problems as well as create new ones.

    "Governments increasingly recognise that climate change is shaping the national security landscape like never before," Erin Sikorsky, the director of the Centre for Climate and Security who formerly worked on the National Intelligence Council, told the BBC.

    So after a couple of decades of denial, the establishment has finally figured out what's going on. Will suitwearers have to conform to the new world? Can dinosaurs fly?

    • Jenny how to get there 1.1

      It is not all bad in America.

      Maybe America’s Intelligence agencies could go outside and look on their own doorstop for solutions.

      Giving back;
      The Deliveristas – the new climate friendly delivery business being embraced in US cities, heavily reliant on immigrants. (legal, and undocumented)

      All they ask in return is some spending on cycle safety infrastructure.

      New Zealand cities could learn something.

      “Inside Climate News”

      Pulitzer Prize-winning, nonpartisan reporting on the biggest crisis facing our planet.

      Clean Energy

      New York’s ‘Deliveristas’ Are at the Forefront of Cities’ Sustainable Transportation Shake-up

      As cities and companies push to move people and goods around with cleaner forms of transportation, food delivery workers on bicycles show what laws and infrastructure are needed…..

      …….As a member of Los Deliveristas Unidos, Ramírez said he’s ultimately fighting not just for delivery workers, but for the future of his children and the safety of all New Yorkers.

      He moved to the United States from Mexico when he was 19 years old. In the years since, New York City has “embraced me,” he said. “It’s given me a family. And I want to give something back to this beautiful city.”

      Delger Erana

      By Delger Erdenesanaa

      October 18, 2021

      https://insideclimatenews.org/news/18102021/new-york-bicycle-food-delivery/?

      • Dennis Frank 1.1.1

        Indeed. I've long framed this combo of free enterprise with Green thinking as bluegreen, but folks here are averse to that meme due to usage by the Nats. However it is likely to remain integral to sustainability as this example suggests…

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Obama: "When Bruce and I first sat down in the summer of 2020 to record Renegades: Born in the USA, we didn’t know how our conversations would turn out. What I did know was that Bruce was a great storyteller, a bard of the American experience – and that we both had a lot on our minds, including some fundamental questions about the troubling turn our country had taken." https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2021/oct/23/bruce-springsteen-and-barack-obama-on-friendship-and-fathers-book-renegades

    But for all the change we’ve experienced as a nation and in our own lives since Bruce and I first sat down together, the underlying conditions that animated our conversation haven’t gone away. And in fact, since the podcast was released, both of us have heard from folks from every state and every walk of life who’ve reached out to say that something in what they heard resonated with them, whether it was the imprint our fathers left on us; the awkwardness, sadness, anger and occasional moments of grace that have arisen as we navigate America’s racial divide; or the joy and redemption that our respective families have given us. People told us that listening to us talk made them think about their own childhoods. Their own dads.

    I share with these guys the life-path produced by a defective fatherhood role-model, and how willpower & lateral-thinking can be combined to make success happen despite that handicap.

    Springsteen:

    When President Obama suggested we do a podcast together, my first thought was: “OK, I’m a high school graduate from Freehold, New Jersey, who plays the guitar … What’s wrong with this picture?” My wife Patti said: “Are you insane?! Do it! People would love to hear your conversations!”

    Their book release happens in a couple of days. Funny how imprints from childhood resonate down the years, eh?

    Obama: You end up wrestling with ghosts.

    Springsteen: I guess that’s what we all do.

    • Tiger Mountain 2.1

      and…Codger Sunday is declared open…

      Bruce is not everyone’s 32 oz. soda, but I have a lot of time for him. “Born to run”, “Darkness on the edge of town” and “The River” were definitely on the Galaxie/Fairlane cassette players in earlier times. He donated to the UK Miners strike in the 80s, played for No Nukes and many other worthy causes. A decent man and hard worker who lives the dream while providing a critique of the dream. Fair bit of online grumbling about him these days for “being political” from blue collars who possibly turned to Trump.

      Barrack Obama’s main achievement really was being black and US President. He broke the ice. The US electoral and Govt. system is designed expressly to block people that think they can close down the likes of Guantanamo.

      Bruce and Barrack are privileged in various ways, and shaped by dodgy dads, so good on them for exploring it publicly for others to reflect on.

    • Adrian Thornton 2.2

      What a shame Springsteen did this….just legitimizing another US war and class criminal, all Obama ever used all his considerable willpower and lateral thinking to do, was dupe the US public and many many others around the world into believing he was something he was not..a good man with a plan for a better world..no, it turns out that just like our own Ardern, he was never anything more than an fundamentalist leader of an extremist death cult known as Free Market Liberalism.

      And btw just keep in mind Obama's main legacy to the world was Trump..

      “Can dinosaurs fly?”….no.

      • Dennis Frank 2.2.1

        Yeah, their leftist coin has two sides. As mainstreamers (compared to me) they represent typical Democrat voters. Yet they use Renegades as their book title – as if to signify that they're really non-establishmentarian. I wonder if anything in the book actually validates the title!

      • Tiger Mountain 2.2.2

        An old dialectic in politics–do certain people go bad or were they always bad?–such ponderings don’t matter much I guess if you are on the nasty end of a drone strike.

        No one that attains the position of US President is allowed by the corporates and military and lobbyists or the cumbersome dual house and Federal/State structure to achieve much at all apart from increasing 1%ers wealth.

        • Adrian Thornton 2.2.2.1

          "…such ponderings don’t matter much I guess if you are on the nasty end of a drone strike."…that is 100% correct.

          let's not forget he was also a complete failure for the vast majority of Black Americans as well…

          How Obama Destroyed Black Wealth
          https://jacobinmag.com/2017/12/obama-foreclosure-crisis-wealth-inequality

          I just fucking cannot stand the way that pretty much anybody who has achieved political power never have to answer for their policies after they leave their seats of power..infact it is worse than that, they nearly all get rehabilitated by a compliant press..just look at the way Helen Clarke and John Key get to talk about our Covid response, not once being questioned on the fact they both ran our health care system on austerity budgets, thereby are directly responsible for our current shitty public healthcare system that can't cope with this emergency…

          • Descendant Of Smith 2.2.2.1.1

            Yeah Clark (and her government) should never ever be forgiven for cynically putting Ruth's $20-00 per week back on NZS and not on benefits – which was cheaper to do then NZS and NZS had rocketed well away from benefit rates by then as well (remembering that previously they were the same).

            The current government though is worse because they had a pretty clear mandate from both winning the election on doing something about poverty and the WEAG recommendations – fuck how much more support do you need to fix something that is broken!

            Oh that is right public servants said not to increase it – the same WINZ and Treasury public servants that thrived under National no doubt.

            They, this Labour government, then Judith Collins doubled down by developing a two tier benefit system as a big influx of white people were laid off – people who would go back to work much more quickly than Maori and PI – cau
            se clearly they were more deserving to not live in poverty.

            Just put the rates back to the same as NZS and pay compensation to every single person who has been on benefit since Clark put the NZS rates up as a way of saying it was wrong. Everyone on benefit would have incurred debt over the years as a way of surviving.

            Rent freeze would be useful as well – that should have been done following the Christchurch earthquake – it set a trend for extorting rent money that has run unabated ever since.

            And we shouldn't forget that it was under Clark we saw the rise of spin merchants in the public sector. Nurses would have actually been better and ironically cheaper – two nurses for one PR person.

  3. chris T 3

    It is kind of funny in a grotesque kind of way.

    I spent many a holiday at my grandparents farm when a youngster. Mum taking a break from the kids for once type thing, which is all cool.

    They had sheep.

    The lamb shanks in those days went to the dogs. My mum used to cook them for us as yummy. Now some stupid 20 bucks for 2.

    Just looking at Countdown doing an online shop now and thought I might do a rack of lamb. Just as a surprise for my wife. Crumb and herb covered thing. Masterchef style with a jus

    A rack of lamb is now $44 a kilo ffs! That is just silly

    • Patricia Bremner 3.1

      Sounds lovely Chris T. Remember if you went to out to eat you would pay $200 odd for two lamb meals sweet/cheese board and wine. So it is all relative. Meat is so expensive in every way, climate and purse. I have looked up vegetarian recipes and discovered other delights, and have meat three times a week as a treat and for iron.

      • Sabine 3.1.1

        you would be paying 200 for at least 4 people plus drinks and a little snackage before eating with the drinkies, you might even squeeze in coffee and tea after dinner. I did just that the other day for a birthday.

        Pro's

        you would not be cooking

        you would not be setting the table

        you would not be going to the supermarket to get the ingredients

        you don't need an oven a kitchen and electricity to get it all cooked

        and you don't need to clean up and do the dishes after the fact

        you would be spending 15% of that total on GST for the government

        you would be spending a part of that total on wages and paye

        you would be spending a part of that total on lease, insurance, rates

        and when i combine that, and add it up, it is prolly cheaper to eat lambshanks, mash, peas and a redwine jus in a restaurant then to buy it in a supermarket and cook it at home.

        but lets not forget that we can eat all vegetarian, there are lovely recipes around, i hear Kale is a good thing for everything from morning tea to late night snack, just add salt n pepper. Lambshanks are now luxury goods and thus not for the average kiwi.

        • Andre 3.1.1.1

          mmmm … eating lambshanks, mash, peas and a redwine jus in a restaurant … I vaguely remember doing stuff like that in the distant past. I'd like to be allowed to do it again someday …

          • chris T 3.1.1.1.1

            There needs to be a dribble in need of that food again emoji. Homer Simpson and donuts style lol

            Seriously though. Why the f are we paying 44 dollars a kilo now for a rack of lamb?

            I get they say they are just matching export prices. But we actually live in the same country the things grew up in. The ones I am buying did not have to travel halfway around the world.

            They just announced the trade agreement with no tariffs (202026 I think. But might be wrong) What is going to happen then? Logic alone tells me they will send more decent stuff overseas ans the less lovely stuff we get stuck with.

            Might be cheaper, but doubt it given the supermarket duopolly.

            I should apologise for being in a tedious to read moany mood today btw 🙂

            Completely get I am coming across as just a moaning prick. It was just annoying that my surprise dinner for my wife is probably going to be not what I wanted to do.

            • Sabine 3.1.1.1.1.1

              I agree with you totally on hte price of anything lamb. As i said, i found NZ lamb cheaper in Europe then in NZ. Go figure.

          • Sabine 3.1.1.1.2

            I do it twice a year – his bday and mine and that is all the bday festivities we have, and when i do it I usually order stuff like that. Simply because it has become so expensive to buy and it takes a lot of energy and ingredients to cook.

            Virgils birthday dinner was for 4 people, 4 different dishes and the total came to 200 and then his plate was deducted cause it was his birthday. So the total was 160 NZD. Drinks, coffee and mains. We brought our own cake.

          • Ad 3.1.1.1.3

            (Sigh)

    • Gezza 3.2

      Lamb's priced off the market for very many in NZ today. They just can't afford it.

      • Sabine 3.2.1

        When i was last in Europe i found NZ lamb leg and rack of lamb in the local Carrefour. It was way cheaper then French lamb, and so much cheaper then here.

        And yes, lambshanks used to be cheap, as i used to buy several of them and make one big boil up and freeze in portions. No longer doing that. .

        • Tricledrown 3.2.1.1

          I found NZ lamb in French supermarkets the same price as in NZ.But old stock cheaper.

      • chris T 3.3.1

        Sorry mate. Not sure what your point is. causelegs aren’t connected to ribs etc

        • joe90 3.3.1.1

          NZ lamb is cheap compared to it's milder cousins.

          So cheap that NZ producers can ship and sell leg internationally for the same price they charge domestically.

          • Tricledrown 3.3.1.1.1

            Buying power bulk buying.

            • joe90 3.3.1.1.1.1

              11% of NZ lamb goes to the EU. One French supermarket chain would buy SFA.

              • Sabine

                Carrefour is a bit more then just a supermarket chain.

                https://www.carrefour.com/en/

                Carrefour is a French multinational retail corporation headquartered in Massy, France. The eighth-largest retailer in the world by revenue, it operates a chain of hypermarkets, groceries and convenience stores, which as of January 2021, comprises its 12,225 stores in over 30 countries

                to sad we don't have them here, because our food would be cheaper and that would include cheese.

                • Tricledrown

                  Carrefour is not as cheap as either lidl or aldi nor as fresh . Carrefour have a huge variety but lack the freshness or the much lower prices of lidl or aldi.

                  • Sabine

                    I have lived for over ten years in France and i know Aldi from Germany. Carrefour has the best open cheese, charcuterie, seafood and fresh food aisles i have seen anywhere. Lidl and Aldi are both quite different as they have smaller fresh food section and no open meat, cheese and charcuterie – but both have a good section on quark, kefir, youghurts etc. But equally good.

                    Sadly, in NZ we are still being charged more for fresh food, cheese and lamb. But then we here don't have competition, and in France, Germany etc they have. And that is why we pay stupid prices like 27.90 per KG for lamb shanks and our leg of lamb is 5 bucks dearer per kg today at Countdown then the ones sold in Carrefour France today.

                    • Matiri

                      I can smell those open cheese, charcuterie, seafood and fresh food aisles now!! I miss food like that.

                    • chris T

                      "charcuterie"

                      I have to say when I discovered this thing existed I was literally like a pig in shit.

                      I think the first time it arrived at my table I was a bit uncommunitive for about 1/2 hour.

                      Still have dreams about it.

                      lol 🙂

                      Can’t get a decent one here though 🙁

                    • Tricledrown

                      Matiri I could smell the meat and fish departments through most of the giant carrefour supermarkets its pukeish.

                      But they weren't as anywhere near as fresh as lidl or aldi because lidl concentrate on fresh local produce and much lower prices.I only went to the bigger supermarkets when I couldn't find a product at aldi lidl or farmers markets cheaper again.Carrefour prices were on par with our supermarket prices except processed food is cheaper.

          • Sabine 3.3.1.1.2

            Countdown today,

            leg of lamb – 2 kg min order – 20.90 NZD – Countdown

            so we are literally paying 5 bucks more for the same product without the shipping over seas.

            leg of lamb roast – 19.90 Pak n save

            lambshanks – 27.90 New World

            https://www.newworld.co.nz/shop/category/fresh-foods-and-bakery/butchery/fresh-beef–lamb?pg=1

            https://shop.countdown.co.nz/shop/browse/meat-seafood/lamb

            https://www.paknsave.co.nz/shop/product/5104657_kgm_000pns?name=nz-lamb-leg-roast

            you get nothing for your 15.92 NZD in NZ. Must be good to shop for it in France though.

            • Tricledrown 3.3.1.1.2.1

              France has good points and bad our fresh food on the whole tastes better. To find good cuts of meat and nice tasting food you have to pay a premium.

              Housing is cheaper in more rural areas much cheaper better insulated .

              Travel can be much dearer fuel and then endless toll roads cost a lot of money. Cars are dearer because of stricter pollution controls cars older than 5 yrs are difficult to keep registered.

              Public transport is cheap except for high-speed trains.

              Taxes that's the killer income taxes are much higher nearly double for an average or above average income earners. Then rates are very high as every little Borough/village has a oversize bearaucracy

              With that you get better access to healthcare.

              Better funded education system.

              Benefits and Public housing is funded better.

              But France has a lot of homelessness much of it undocumented as migrants cross borders and are not looked after so a lot of street beggars in the bigger cities.

      • chris T 3.3.2

        Your link from the leg thing seems a bit dodge as well by the way. So The mods might want to think of removing it

        • joe90 3.3.2.1

          It's a link to a French supermarket chain.

          WTF are you going on about?.

          • chris T 3.3.2.1.1

            Has dodgy pop up in a language I do not know when you click it. After taking you to a language I do not know.

            All cool. If you want people to be hesitant to click your links that is your thing.

            • joe90 3.3.2.1.1.1

              Aww….poor boy.. the world is a scary place where scary AF furriners speak scary furrin languages, eh…

              /

          • Sabine 3.3.2.1.2

            i put up some prices in NZ for comparison, spoiler, what we get is more expensive. go figure.

    • bwaghorn 3.4

      Farmers are getting about $9 to $10 a kg at tis time of year, (an all time record) it will come back to $7 or less at peak season in February.

    • McFlock 3.5

      Getting old, lol

      Mind you, the gap between the usual cuts of meat and the cheapest cuts is getting smaller, too. I blame Jamie Oliver teaching people what slow cookers were good for in rhe 00's.

      In the 90's, if you were on the dole and met someone who knew how to cook, you could still have one good meal that was fit for a king. Might have been the only good meal that week, but still felt great.

      Nowadays you'd be competing with some lawyer to buy the same cut (shank, tail, whatever).

      • chris T 3.5.1

        Lol

        My heart died when I saw the price of ox-tail and chicken livers go up!

        Let's face it. As a country we need to put as much effort we do to Covid, into killing Jamie Oliver.

        We can make it a team of 5 million mission thing.

        Edit: (That was a joke btw!) before someone rings the cops

      • joe90 3.5.2

        Lamb flaps. Once dog tucker but now, the best bit's boned, stuffed and sold as rolled breast while the rag-end's pared of a little fat, marinated, and flogged for top dollar as lamb spare ribs.

  4. Gezza 4

    In breeding season, a mallard drake will sometimes, to get the females’ attention, suddenly bob down in the water and raise himself up again – and whistle. Once I had read this, I saw them doing it everywhere – but it happens so quickly, and at such random times, that it took me several days to actually get one doing it on video.

  5. Dennis Frank 5

    I, Warbot is a riff on the scifi book I read as a kid long ago: I Robot. It's a thoughtful survey of the AI scene and military applications.

    https://www.hurstpublishers.com/book/i-warbot/

    The problem with logic as a tool is the alarming tendency for it to fail to produce results according to plan. Thus AI expert Marvin Minsky's opinion that `AI has been braindead since the 1970s (Wired, 2003).

    Doesn't stop the funding streams, on development, by nations in the Security Council! The deep context of the design difficulty lies in metaphysics: meaning. Robots are even worse at metaphysics than humans.

    AI as an intelligence analyst is looking for meaningful correlations, or patterns in data.

    One AI found a link between the make of car on driveways and the voting intention of householders. This pattern recognition is just the sort of thing that AI excels at. Or rather, excels up to a point. Finding patterns using its immense capacity for statistical processing and accurate memory is one thing. But finding meaningful patterns is quite another.

    So interpretation is the key. Murphy's Law suggests screw-ups defeat seemingly intelligent design often – drone strikes taking out harmless families after identifying them as terrorist targets became the new norm a while back in consequence.

    • joe90 6.1

      "Monarchist" 'Murica.

      In Thursday’s post, I imagined a world in which conservatives placed equality at the center of their sensibilities. It was fun, though hardly realistic. As one reader said, conservatives never do that. If they did, they’d be liberals. But the goal of the exercise was less practical than imaginative. At the root of the many problems we face are thorny questions difficult to answer. But there’s also a failure of imagination.

      I don’t mean to say we need “attitude adjustments.” I mean to say we tend to accept conditions as if they were natural rather than what they are, which is constructed. So today, I want to stretch our imaginations by asking a deceptively simple question.

      Why does our democratic republic, founded in opposition to monarchy, tolerate billionaires?

      https://www.editorialboard.com/why-does-a-democratic-republic-founded-in-opposition-to-monarchy-tolerate-billionaires/

    • garibaldi 6.2

      Thanks KJT, that's a brilliant summary of American Conservatives. Totally cringe worthy.

    • Gypsy 6.3

      Thom Hartmann article is lazy. Not all conservatives think the same way about issues any more than progressives do. As to Merkel, she considered herself a conservative, she led a conservative political party, but yet managed to walk a line between her conservatism and liberal values. That is the character of good leadership when western nations are increasing splintered.

      • KJT 6.3.1

        Too accurate for you?

        • Gypsy 6.3.1.1

          His piece is lazy. A lot of claims about what he thinks conservatives think, but no supporting references or links.

        • Gypsy 6.3.1.2

          And his claims are full of inaccuracies. For example:

          "In America, conservatives say that if you can’t afford a place to live, you can always live on the streets,"

          That's just plain bs. Conservative faith groups are providing emergency and term housing for needy families across the US. He could have found a number of them with a google search.

          • KJT 6.3.1.2.1

            Charity to aviod paying taxes or to take less of “the commons” to really solve poverty.

            He has it correct.

            Not a fan of the Catholic church, but this Pope hits the nail on the head frequently. https://catholicleader.com.au/news/vatican/selfish-lifestyles-help-fuel-poverty-pope-says-in-world-day-of-the-poor-message/#:~:text=POVERTY%20is%20the%20result%20of%20people%E2%80%99s%20selfishness%3B%20it,the%20fault%20of%20the%20poor%2C%20Pope%20Francis%20says.

            • Gypsy 6.3.1.2.1.1

              "He has it correct."

              No he doesn't and not do you. The reality of conservative faith groups working to alleviate homelessness is the opposite of them claiming "if you can’t afford a place to live, you can always live on the streets".

              Many of his other claims are equally illogical.

          • McFlock 6.3.1.2.2

            Glad to know that the US doesn't have any homeless, the churches have solved it all.

            • Gypsy 6.3.1.2.2.1

              The reality of faith groups even attempting to fix the problem makes a nonsense of Hartmann's claim.

              • RedLogix

                I'm backing you on this one.

                The real world does not run like social media. In order to get anything done ordinary people with a range of moderate views learn how to listen to each other and quietly make the adjustments and compromises necessary for everyone to co-operate.

                By contrast on social media a large fraction of people pitch camps on either side of an ideological ravine and throw rocks at each other. Like any play fight it can be fun or even cathartic for a while – but eventually the kids have to be cleaned up, tucked into bed and real life resumes.

                • Gypsy

                  Indeed. Merkel successfully bridged the divide between her own natural conservatism and the broader beliefs that exist across her party and her constituency. Unfortunately the US, as an example, is hopelessly divided by an ideological chasm.

                  • RedLogix

                    Hartmann's article does usefully ask a good question – why among all the developed, liberal democracies is the USA such an outlier on the measures he outlines?

                    Because while it's possible to quibble with some of his more sweeping generalisations find his political tribalism a tad predictable – the broad points being made do stand scrutiny.

                    Let's set aside one obvious canard – by temperament Americans are similarly distributed between conservative and progressive instincts as anywhere else. What seems to differ is the cultural narrative around which this is organised. It's my sense that the origins of this are rooted in their unique history and geography. I'm not going to attempt to address the complex historic aspect – aside from noting that more than anything else the modern US is a nation of immigrants many of whom at some point in their family history have a story of individual struggle to achieve success.

                    Stripping away any moral or political argument however, the reality is that the Americans just happen to live on the most desirable piece of real-estate on the planet.

                    • It has totally secure borders, two oceans their navy controls, two neighbours who are strong allies or trade partners, and no historic threat or memory of invasion.
                    • The Mid-West is the greatest food basket on the face of the earth. It's irrigated by two separate weather systems which feeds not just their own population plentifully, but exports substantially as well.
                    • There is an extensive network of internal transport, ranging from a massive, low cost (if underutilised) network of navigable waterways, through to a rail network designed to move large volumes of freight, through to highways and airports everywhere they could be needed.
                    • The fracking revolution ensures they are now for all practical purposes energy independent

                    Just these factors alone ensure that the US would be the most economically successful nation on earth – no matter how hard they tried to stuff it up. Throw in a demography that is still relatively young compared to the rest of the developed world – and predictions of their imminent demise a probably pre-mature.

                    But perhaps the most interesting consequence of this underpins the original question – why is the US so different? One possible answer is that the natural advantages of the land they lived in meant that perhaps more than anywhere else, individuals could work hard and thrive. For many generations the American Dream was real enough even if arguably less so at the present.

                    But perhaps the more subtle impact has been that the Americans were at the same time never really driven to be all that efficient at anything – they could do well enough without having to bother with collectivism. As a result they never really developed an efficient public sector, health care and education. And while pockets of the nation were always good at innovation, much of it could get along just fine with quite dated systems and technologies. Policing, education, roading and services all remained largely local concerns – Federal agencies always being something to be held at bay.

                    This simple insight is perhaps the best explanation for why the centre of gravity of US politics – progressive and conservative – has always been placed closer to the individual and the community, than the collective.

                    • Gypsy

                      The US was founded on a strong sense of individual liberty, and a deep suspicion of a state with an inflated view of itself. Those are part of the core of conservatism. They are also at the heart of a wider set of 'American values' that helped establish the US as one of the greatest, if not the greatest modern democracies. It was this liberty and the opportunities you describe that attracted the 'poor, tired, huddled masses', and still attracts them today. And of course you are right, that dream has faded. Since the 1950's, the US has increasingly inserted itself into the affairs of other nations, fallen into the trap of valuing welfarism over individual effort, and given way to the lure of debt to fund consumerism.

                      All of that said, Hartmann's article is all too typical of the political tribalism that plagues the US today. The days of 'Reagan democrats' or the type of cross party support enjoyed by JFK seem to be consigned to the past.

                    • RedLogix

                      Yes that makes complete sense.

                      Part of my approach at this time is to set aside the moral arguments and look more to the fundamentals of geography, demography and continuity that more than anything else will drive the fate of a nation and it's peoples. I'd suggest these are a more useful platform for understanding and developing a constructive politics than merely yelling at each other.

                      And while I accept the moral arguments will always drive some degree of political tribalism – and rightfully so in my view – they don't have to occupy centre stage all the time.

                    • swordfish

                      .

                      You've put me in mind of the first & second (early-mid 20C) phases of the French Annales School of historiography … focussing on the longue durée … in contrast to previous orthodox historiography which emphasised specific events & leading personalities … Annales prioritised long-term, slow-moving historical structures … the importance of the long-term evolution of economy, society & civilisation … starting with the way fundamentals like geographic location profoundly shaped & circumscribed the history of particular countries & regions.

                      The groundbreaking & relatively recent Guns, Germs, and Steel (which I know you've mentioned here in the past) could probably – at least loosely – be placed in this tradition.

                    • RedLogix

                      Thanks – I will look that up.

                    • Gypsy

                      "I'd suggest these are a more useful platform for understanding and developing a constructive politics than merely yelling at each other."

                      Amen.

              • McFlock

                Nope.

                Are you saying no conservatives have ever expressed that sentiment?

                Sure, it was a generalisation. I'm sure some conservatives work tirelessly for patently inadequate charities while continuing to vote for the system that makes those charities necessary.

                But I'd go so far as to say that many don't care about the problems of others, at all.

                • Gypsy

                  "Are you saying no conservatives have ever expressed that sentiment?"

                  Nope. I'm saying Hartmann's generalisations and lack of evidential support in the form of references makes a nonsense of his assertions.

                  • McFlock

                    Keep telling yourself that.

                    But doesn't that make your comment at 1:11pm equally as nonsensical?

                    • Gypsy

                      Conservative faith groups providing emergency and term housing for needy families across the US is inconsistent with a broad claim that conservatives somehow want people living on the streets.

                    • McFlock

                      Hypocrisy, by its definition, involves inconsistency.

                      But the fact that the sum of their individual charitable efforts is minute when compared to the sum of their electoral efforts speaks volumes. We know them by their works.

                    • Gypsy

                      "But the fact that the sum of their individual charitable efforts is minute when compared to the sum of their electoral efforts speaks volumes. "
                      You do know that Democrats have been in the White house for close to half of the last 60years? If the US has a housing problem, it can;t only be conservatives who have created it.

                    • McFlock

                      Ah, the progression from "fake news" to "they did it too".

                      Always funny.

                      Nobody said they didn't.

                    • Gypsy

                      "Ah, the progression from "fake news" to "they did it too"."

                      That's precisely what I'm NOT saying. Whereas you claim somehow that "the sum of their electoral efforts" created the housing problems, I'm pointing out that Republicans and Democrats have pretty much shared power in recent decades. But whereas conservatives are working on solutions, progressives seem to be missing the point once again.

                    • McFlock

                      Homeless people are 100% more likely to be locked up for vagrancy than people in homes.

                      But then sure, argue that conservatives are trying to solve homelessness by linking to an article that call people without homes criminals.

                    • Gypsy

                      "Homeless people are 100% more likely to be locked up for vagrancy than people in homes."

                      Which has absolutely nothing to do with whether the electoral efforts of conservatives caused homelesness.

                    • McFlock

                      So you're blaming me because a relevant response to your link was not related to the rest of the thread?

                      Ah, I see. Derail achieved. The last refuge of the internet disingenue.

        • Gypsy 6.3.1.3

          Here's another one:

          "conservatives say there shouldn’t be any minimum wage and “the market” should determine all wages. "

          Again, a claim with no links or references. And again it's shallow, because commentators such as Pedro Gonzales and Oren Levin-Waldman, have put the conservative case for a minimum wage.

    • joe90 6.4

      Dude left out the bit about how much conservatives like child labour.

      Wisconsin moves to let 14-year-olds work till 11 pm

      The proposed bill, SB-22, would allow the group to work between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. on workdays before a school day and between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. when there is no school the next day.

      […]

      State Sen. Mary Felzkowski (R) and state Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R) said before the state's Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform in June that expanding the laws for younger people could benefit smaller businesses during peak seasonal rushes.

      https://thehill.com/changing-america/enrichment/arts-culture/577754-wisconsin-moves-to-let-14-year-olds-work-till-11-pm

      Say, Didn’t The Labor Movement Already Fight To Stop Child Labor?, Wisconsin Republicans Vote To Allow Children ‘To Work Without Parental Consent’

      (MADISON, WISCONSIN) – The Wisconsin State Legislature passed a bill this week that eliminates requirements that 16-and-17-year-olds get parental permission to work and Republican Governor Scott Walker is expected to sign it into law. Under existing law, a child must pay $10 and provide a parent’s written consent to obtain a work permit.

      Grocers and other members of the corporate sector that employ teens have been pushing for the change.

      https://www.wnylabortoday.com/news/2017/05/13/national-labor-news/say-didn-t-the-labor-movement-already-fight-to-stop-child-labor-wisconsin-republicans-vote-to-allow-children-to-work-without-parental-consent/

  6. chris T 7

    104 to 14 ABs v USA

    Know it sounds stupid, but fair play to the US dudes. Tiny game in the US. First two tries ever for them against us I think. May be wrong.

    Free drinks for life in their home towns, I would imagine Lol

    • dv 7.1

      Number players in USA is abt 125,000

      In NZ 146,893 (total) 28,648 (adults)

      Sound odd!!

      Is that right?

      • chris T 7.1.1

        Numbers sound to low. Will look

        • joe90 7.1.1.1

          More surfers than rugby players in NZ.

          Greed at the top sold the game and the end of free-to-air coverage has reduced rugby to a minority sport

          • bwaghorn 7.1.1.1.1

            Itll be more reasons than that imho.

            The emptying out of new zealands rural communities killed of lots of clubs, parents worried about injuries, and the rise of football are a huge part of it.

            • solkta 7.1.1.1.1.1

              That and a general decrease in toxic masculinity. Young men are realising it is better to avoid pain than seek it out and be stoic.

              • gsays

                Howzabout, as consequence of the decline of the local rugby club, masculinity lost yet another avenue of expression, leading to the toxicity?

            • McFlock 7.1.1.1.1.2

              Also the seven day work week has screwed a lot of players being able to turn up to every match. Really difficult finding regular times to suit everyone, even for a meeting.

      • millsy 7.1.2

        1) moving of rugby to pay TV.

        2) milking of the All Black brand and the game in general by the fish heads for profit, leading to tests losing all meaning.

        3) Disinterest by immigrant communities in the game, they would rather play football/soccer, etc.

        4) Growth of the likes of basketball, and other sports.

        5) way more stuff to do in general.

        It has to be remembered that rugby was never a working class sport. It was always chiefly played by farmers and the middle classes.

      • chris T 7.1.3

        Not sure how old this archive is and when they turfed the resource but what I looked at for years as official. They seem to not show player numbers on their new site

        https://web.archive.org/web/20120624031635/http://www.irb.com/unions/union=11000008/index.html

    • Peter 1 7.2

      Tiny game all round the world, Where I come from only ponces down the south of England played it, there was one field that had ruby posts and was only used by the university.

      • chris T 7.2.1

        Sorry mate.

        Hate to break it to you, but there are players 1,428,862 just in England.

        • rod 7.2.1.1

          Rugby is a game played by people with odd shaped balls.

          • bwaghorn 7.2.1.1.1

            It's a game that suits od shaped fallas, how many 100kgs lads gonna make it in football doya think. ?

            Definitely a route out of the shit parts of town for some.

        • Peter 1 7.2.1.2

          Ponces from down South there's about seven million in London alone. Up North they play league.

      • Andre 7.2.2

        A long time ago as a recent immigrant youngster trying to get my head around different kinds of football, I had it explained as "rugby is a game of gentlemen pretending to be thugs, soccer is a game of thugs pretending to be gentlemen, and rugby league is a game of thugs being thugs".

  7. Gezza 8

    I'm posting on my phone from Welly Hospital, where I was admitted via ED on Wednesday. Probably gonna be here all this week, undergoing various tests, & perhaps next weekend too. 😖

    Curious thing is I can't post on TS using iPad or this phone if I'm using the free inpatient wifi. Safari on iPad & Google Chrome of this smartphone refuse to connect to the TS site because it says SSL security certificates have expired.

    Same for RNZ & Herald websites. Stuff's ok. If I want to connect to & post on TS or those other sites I have to turn off wifi & use Mobile Data?

    • Macro 8.1

      Have the same problem on my dear old and beloved Airmac. Not enough memory left to upgrade the OS and browser. So have to resort to using my wife's Airmac which has updated OS and can run the latest browser version.

      All the best for your stay in Hospital. Hope you will soon be back looking after your stream and the wildlife 🙂

    • Ad 8.2

      Crikey that's terrible Gezza. Hang in there.

      It's great to have a post-public-service perspective here.

      • Gezza 8.2.1

        Aw … cheers guys. I'm doing ok. Meals here have so far been very tasty. The ward staff are invariably friendly & helpful. I'm not in any acute danger. So far I've been lucky to get a room on my own – with a great view. The consultants are being very thorough tracking down a final diagnosis by a process of elimination. I've decided I might as well treat the experience as a holiday! 😀

        • RedLogix 8.2.1.1

          Good luck mate – it sounds like you’ll likely bounce back, but keep us in the loop.

          My father always said the best thing about hospitals is that there is always some poor bastard in there worse off than you. devil

    • mary_a 8.3

      Here's hoping everything is well with you Gezza (8). Take care.

      Enjoyed the video from you earlier today @ (4) about the Mallard male duck. Is his name Trevor by any chance?

      • Gezza 8.3.1

        Thanks Mary. The stream's always got plenty of mallard drakes & ducks. I tend not to name them all Trevor & only name those that hang around my area after pairing up with a female.

        Many ducks n drakes are hybrid mallard/grey ducks

    • dv 8.4

      Sorry to hear that Geeza.

      Hope all goes well.

    • Patricia Bremner 8.5

      Get well Gezza. All the best. Your Pukeko will miss your treats.

  8. Ad 9

    Hope everyone's getting ready to make their own Christmas presents this year.

    • Robert Guyton 9.1

      I grow mine.

      • Patricia Bremner 9.1.1

        Oh Robert I had a flash of memory with that wee post heartMy Dad had a great home garden, and when we lived in Gisborne before leaving Waihi he would pack a box of fresh goodies. How I loved his beans carrots and the radishes spring onions chives and apple cucumbers. They were all crisp. Great bunches of rhubarb parsley tomatoes and in season fijoas. It was always a joy to make dinner with the fresh produce. He loved the buttered corn on the cob which was grown locally. Memory lane.

        • Macro 9.1.1.1

          Bart: Grampa, Matlock's not real.
          Grampa: Neither are my teeth, but I can still eat corn on the cob, if someone cuts it off and smushes it into a fine paste. Now that's good eatin'!

          Image of Neither are my teeth, but I can still eat corn on the cob...

        • Robert Guyton 9.1.1.2

          Mmmmmm….

    • joe90 9.2

      California based freight forwarding CEO on one of the bottlenecks affecting US supply.

      https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1451543776992845834.html

      • RedLogix 9.2.1

        That reads very plausibly to me; it's exactly the kind of unintended cluster-fuck that happens when you start taking a crude regulatory hammer to a complex machine like a supply chain.

    • millsy 9.3

      Plenty of stuff at charity stores.

    • Herodotus 9.4

      I thought Father Christmas was able to visit & leave presents under level 2. It is only under either level 3's that we currently have in operation within NZ (Waikato original 3 and Auckland level 3 step 1) that he was unable to visit and enter indoors to deliver.

      • mac1 9.4.1

        Herodotus, you realise there are probably some 1.2 billion household units on the planet and 52 hours for Christmas day in all time zones. Father Christmas therefore has to visit over 23 million houses in an hour, or about 6500 per second. The covid virus couldn't keep up, let alone get past that beard……..

  9. McFlock 10

    The Baldwin film set accident is beginning to present a lot of details. Looks like an accidental discharge in a sho- "film segment" that didn't even require him to pull the trigger (so why live rounds in the weapon? see below).

    There are systemic factors:

    • Repeated safety failures not being addressed
    • safety rituals rather than procedures (calling a gun cold without apparently checking it)
    • [probably] placing loaded and unloaded firearms in the same prop space
    • rush-hiring locals when the union staff walk off set, rather than fixing the conditions
    • Live rounds on a film set that doesn't need live bullets is just wrong
    • [looks like] tight budget leading to rushed schedules, cheaper staff, and accidents.
    • chris T 10.1

      That is screwed up. I always thought you weren't even allowed live rounds on film sets and those sorts of shots where needed for things like close up impact shots of objects were done at proper shooting ranges.

      Remind me to never star in a film in New Mexico which has guns in it.

      • Pete 10.1.1

        Guns are a common part of life in the USA. Guns that injure or kill unintentionally?

        Every day, 22 children and teens (1-17) are shot in the United States. Among those:

        • 8 children and teens are unintentionally shot in instances of family fire — a shooting involving an improperly stored or misused gun found in the home resulting in injury or death

        Every year, 7,957 children and teens are shot in the United States. Among those:

        • 89 are killed unintentionally
        • 2,893 are shot unintentionally and survive

        As well every year, 115,551 people are shot. Among those:

        • chris T 10.1.1.1

          Yeah I know, but believe me the filing industry there is powerful as f there

          And they have very strict rules with the various Guilds about actor and crew safety.

        • McFlock 10.1.1.2

          All true, but this ain't that.

    • Gabby 10.2

      It sounds as if nobody gave a shit.

      • McFlock 10.2.1

        Too busy or too poorly-trained to do it properly, and tight budgets and a star on set might be a powerful blinker for she'll-be-rightism.

  10. Maurice 11

    This is a little concerning

    Yesterday, in a press conference, the director of the CDC warned that they may have to “update” the definition of “fully vaccinated”.

    The “updated” definition would potentially mean only people who have had the third “booster” shot would be considered “fully vaccinated”, while people who have had the two original shots are no longer “fully vaccinated”.

    Whilst the warning might just be a ploy to scare people into getting their “booster” without forcing them to, it should be noted a revised definition of “fully vaccinated” has already been adopted in other countries.

    For example, it is already policy in Israel where, in early September they “updated what it means to be vaccinated,”. You now need a third shot, or else you are no longer considered vaccinated.

    LINK: https://off-guardian.org/2021/10/23/cdc-director-we-may-need-to-update-our-definition-of-fully-vaccinated/

    We already know that, in the US and others, you’re not considered “vaccinated” if you’re only single-jabbed, or double-jabbed for less than two weeks. So any patient infected with “Covid” in that time is considered “unvaccinated”, NOT a “breakthrough infection”.

    • Andre 11.1

      So how is that concerning?

      Even if maintaining protection means a booster every six months, it just doesn't seem like a big deal. Certainly a lot better than getting the disease.

      Checking my yellow book, rabies and Hep B were three jabs spread over six months. So it's not like a three jabber would be unprecedented. The first cholera vaccines were developed over a century ago, but last time I checked there still hadn't been developed any that didn't start dropping off protection within six months and really needed boosters well within two years.

      That just looks to me like monitoring is being taken seriously and recommendations are getting revised as more data comes in.

      • Maurice 11.1.1

        The concern is that the "vaxcinated" become "unvacinated" in a constant roll over and may even end up with very compromised immune systems – see further post below that concerns me even more.

  11. chris T 12

    I missed Q and A this morning so just watching it via the old on demand and chromecast.

    Reti is a pretty bloody straight up bloke really in his interview.

    Ignores Collin's rhetoric.

    Can see him as Nat leader more and more after that.

  12. Maurice 13

    Andre
    Even more concerning:

    URGENT: Covid vaccines will keep you from acquiring full immunity EVEN IF YOU ARE INFECTED AND RECOVER

    Alex Berenson

    Oct 221,642

    Don’t take it from me, I don’t even get to tweet anymore.

    Take it from a little place I call the British government. Which admitted today, in its newest vaccine surveillance report, that:

    “N antibody levels appear to be lower in people who acquire infection following two doses of vaccination.” (Page 23)

    What’s this mean? Several things, all bad. We know the vaccines do not stop infection or transmission of the virus (in fact, the report shows elsewhere that vaccinated adults are now being infected at much HIGHER rates than the unvaccinated).

    What the British are saying is they are now finding the vaccine interferes with your body’s innate ability after infection to produce antibodies against not just the spike protein but other pieces of the virus. Specifically, vaccinated people don’t seem to be producing antibodies to the nucleocapsid protein, the shell of the virus, which are a crucial part of the response in unvaccinated people.

    This means vaccinated people will be far more vulnerable to mutations in the spike protein EVEN AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN INFECTED AND RECOVERED ONCE (or more than once, probably).

    It also means the virus is likely to select for mutations that go in exactly that direction, because those will essentially give it an enormous vulnerable population to infect. And it probably is still more evidence the vaccines may interfere with the development of robust long-term immunity post-infection.

    Aside from that, everything is fine.

    LINK: https://alexberenson.substack.com/p/urgent-covid-vaccines-will-keep-you/comments

    • Andre 13.1

      Guessing from the comments, it would appear the author attracts a more than slightly kooky audience. A quick google finds that Alex Berenson has indeed been called "the pandemic's wrongest man".

      Moving on to what he's actually written, Berenson notably omits any mention of the way hospitalisation and death rates are much much lower among the vaccinated than the unvaccinated. (Tables and charts on pages 12 through 18)

      The full context of what he's quoted from is discussing trying to work out actual previous infection rates from the prevalence of different kinds of antibodies, and says

      Seropositivity estimates for S antibody in blood donors are likely to be higher than would be expected in the general population and this probably reflects the fact that donors are more likely to be vaccinated. Seropositivity estimates for N antibody will underestimate the proportion of the population previously infected due to (i) blood donors are potentially less likely to be exposed to natural infection than age matched individuals in the general population (ii) waning of the N antibody response over time and (iii) recent observations from UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) surveillance data that N antibody levels appear to be lower in individuals who acquire infection following 2 doses of vaccination.

      The report doesn't discuss potential physiological reasons for this, but it would appear quite plausible that if someone is primed to produce S antibodies by being vaccinated and the S antibodies are effective at suppressing the virus, then there is simply much less need to produce N antibodies.

      Nevertheless, it would appear Berenson is trying to make some sort of bizarre argument that getting immunity from surviving the full-on disease might result in stronger immunity than vaccination, so don't get vaccinated. Get the disease to get protected from the disease, instead of getting vaccinated to protect from the disease.

      Which seems .. at best, slightly odd thinking. But it certainly seems to appeal to somewhat odd-thinking idiots.

    • Ed 13.2

      Please do not spread this disinformation.

      Berenson’s claim: In country after country, “cases rise after vaccination campaigns begin,” he wrote in an email.

      The reality: In country after country, cases decline after vaccination campaigns begin.

      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/alex-berenson-banned-from-twitter-after-spreading-false-info-on-israeli-vaccines-1.10162481

      https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/04/pandemics-wrongest-man/618475/

  13. Joe90 14

    Best you familiarise yourself with Berenson and his anti-vax lunacy.

  14. Maurice 15

    There lies the great problem – which purveyors of THE TRUTH are we to believe?

    Time will surely tell – if ANY of us are here to see it

    • Ed 15.1

      Berenson is not a purveyor of the truth. Have you read the Atlantic article?

    • Andre 15.2

      The first step is to look at the source info someone is basing their argument from. If someone has clearly omitted relevant parts and taken parts out of context, as Berenson has, then they are trying to mislead the gullible.

      That method helps weed out some people to not believe.

    • McFlock 15.3

      the dude literally opens by saying he's been kicked from twitter. There's a clue.

    • alwyn 15.4

      "which purveyors of THE TRUTH are we to believe"

      That's easy. Did Jacinda utter it while standing behind her pulpit in the theatre in the Beehive or did you read it on the website covid19.govt.nz? If YES then you must believe it as that is the font from which all truth comes. If NO then it is false and is never to be listened to or heeded.

      We know this because it was proclaimed by the oracle herself.

  15. Joe90 16

    Berenson has form as a purveyor of junk science and lies, not truth.

    https://amp.theguardian.com/society/2019/feb/17/marijuana-book-tell-your-children-alex-berenson?

    • RedLogix 16.1

      My position on marijuana is less informed by dilettante Western dabblings with punk weed, and more by centuries of Middle Eastern and Asian experience with hard-core hash.

      On that score – nah.

      • Joe90 16.1.1

        Mine is 50+ years participating and observing.

        Sure, young folk and a goodly proportion of the community should avoid weed like the plague but the downsides pale in insignificance compared to the havoc wrought and damage done by the universal gateway drug, alcohol.

        [RL: The word ‘plague’ is in pre-mod. Cheers]

        • RedLogix 16.1.1.1

          Yes that comparison is a stark and obvious one. Indeed if alcohol was hypothetically discovered tomorrow it would be banned by lunchtime as the very dangerous drug it is.

          But like the ME has a long and complex relationship with hash, we have a similarly long and complex relationship with alcohol. Which for both societies has made it very hard for us to disentangle from either.

  16. Ad 17

    Great to see Colombia's greatest drug lord, "Otonio" Usaga, taken down.

    500 Police and 22 helicopters to take out his deep jungle headquarters, that's a pretty focused effort there.

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