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Open mike 24/01/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 24th, 2011 - 62 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

Comment on whatever takes your fancy.

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Step right up to the mike…

62 comments on “Open mike 24/01/2011 ”

  1. jcuknz 1

    A private CIA!
    Interesting as I just finished reading ‘Killing Rain’ by Barry Eisler 🙂

    • NickS 1.1

      Great, as if US intel gathering wasn’t already politicised enough, we now have a cowboy outfit that will merrily go along with any intel that matches what’s wanted, or matches it’s owner’s myriad biases.

  2. Did John Key really give $2.7m to Ratana for housing upgrades, presumably with the intent of currying favour?

    What is that word starting with “C” again?

    • Deadly_NZ 2.1

      More like B for Bribe. But are the Ratana Church able to be bought for that much?? That said an interesting weekend up there, today should be interesting with the arrival of Goff, prob on his own or with one other person, and Shonkey with his sunglassed, earpieced, thugs in suits. about 10 of them what a waste of money.

    • BLiP 2.2


  3. Wyndham 3


    Was it a long or short word ?

  4. ZeeBop 4

    Germany is led by a scientist, and is a post war success story!

    NZ is run by a currency trader….

    We should pick our leaders better.

    • joe90 4.1

      The Economist on selection bias.

      Why do different countries favour different professions? And why are some professions so well represented in politics? To find out, The Economist trawled through a sample of almost 5,000 politicians in “International Who’s Who”, a reference book, to examine their backgrounds.

      • lprent 4.1.1

        Interesting link.

      • ianmac 4.1.2

        Interesting that the US is the only country with apparently no Pollies from Economics. Umm. Is that a good or bad thing?

        • mcflock

          Probably a bad thing.

          Having a government made up of economists too religiously aligned to a particular ideology would also be bad, but they also need a certain amount of knowledge to spot the idiocy when someone claiming economic expertise asserts that “inflation is an increase in the money supply”.

          One perspective of the 4th labour govt is that if the rest of cabinet had had more economic knowledge, they would have been able to point out why douglas was full of shit. And he wouldn’t have been able to say TINA.

      • Lanthanide 4.1.3

        “Why do different countries favour different professions?”

        In Germany you can use the prefix “Engineer” instead of Mr, much as we allow Doctor here.

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    The Collapse Gap – Parallels Between the US and the USSR

    No doubt some of you have already seen this one before. But very good and amusing. In a slow motion car crash kind of way.


    • ianmac 5.1

      Yep. The Rise and Fall of the Roman………………………… but in slow motion.

    • M 5.2

      Yes CV, read this when it first came out and it changed the way I think about everything regarding politics, industry, economics and society. I also enjoy reading Dimitri’s blog Cluborlov.

      Being a peakist means I have a fairly good idea of how things will play out as I’ve read many books and watched a lot of films on PO. For many people PO is paramount but the way I view it is that life will continue on as it has for a while until energy constraints really start to bite and in many cases all bets will be off; however, I think that people will have a better chance with left leaning parties, if indeed they really are left leaning, than they will have with the rapacious money-grabbing RWNJs.

      Of course having always been left leaning I attract charges of being a commie but always correct such rubbish by calmly stating I’m a social democrat and believe everyone needs a basic income to live decently and if that requires the more fortunate to share – a word they seem especially allergic to – then so be it.

      Don’t know if you’ve seen the film ‘When the Oil Runs Out’ but it’s a drama set in 2016 about a geologist searching for the last wildcat well in ANWR – had a look on YT but it’s not there anymore.

  6. Scott 6

    Is The Standard wrong about Sarah Palin and the Tea Party?
    Interesting ‘discussion’ with assorted Tea Party wingnuts under the post…

    (apologies for posting twice – put it in on yesterday’s open thread earlier today…)

    [lprent: Read the policy.

    Attacking the blog site or attributing a mind to a machine (ie talking about The Standard as if it had an opinion) is not allowed.

    You will often get the sysop answering you, because he considers that those are comments directed at him personally. He does like to point out in a humiliating manner that machines are not intelligent. Programmers know exactly how dumb machines are.

    You should know better. People have opinions and machines are incapable of that function. We don’t run an editorial policy so the ‘organisation’ doesn’t have opinions either. Don’t attribute a mind to something that doesn’t have it – attribute it to the author(s) and commentators that have expressed opinions. ]

  7. Scott 7

    I appreciate the point about a publication having varying opinions, but what I was discussing was a point of view which I felt was ubiquitous amongst contributors at the site who addressed the issue under discussion. It’s not at all unusual for people to talk about publications in this way – to give one example, the ‘Guardian’s criticism of Blairism’ is a phrase which was used often enough a few years ago. The people who used it weren’t under the illusion that every op-ed writer for the Guardian adhered to a party line.

    • lprent 7.1

      …was a point of view which I felt was ubiquitous amongst contributors at the site who addressed the issue under discussion.

      Not really. Just doing a couple of searches amongst the posts shows that you’re looking at Eddie writing the following:-

      Tea Party turns violent

      Back from the brink?

      Militant reactionarism coming to NZ

      Giffords shooting fall-out

      Hoots overshoots


      Eddie was the only author really writing at that topic. Other authors amongst the dozen or so who are active may have discussed it in comments – but clearly not interested enough to post on it.

      The only other post that I can recall was that by Irish on a related topic.

      Rise of the right-whingers

      If I’d had time, I’d have written about the stunning hypocrisy of Sarah Palin with her “blood libel” (ie collective labeling) statement. As this article in Slate pointed out, she is one of the worlds biggest users of “blood libel” arguments – for instance with the Islamic centre going up a few blocks from the twin towers site.

      As far as I’m concerned the idiotic rhetoric in the US is part of a pretty cyclic pattern that I’ve seen many times before.

      The people who used it weren’t under the illusion that every op-ed writer for the Guardian adhered to a party line.

      The point is that if you look at what various authors write about here – there isn’t a party line. It is isn’t that frequent that you get multiple authors writing about the same topic. When they do they often wind up disagreeing with each other either on emphasis or detail. The most that we usually agree with each other is that it is fun writing a blog site together on an agree to disagree basis that allows us to look for the commonalities that we do agree on.

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      Not unusual for people to talk about publications this way, but at the same time its also pretty lazy.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    The Competition Myth

    The financial crisis of 2008 was a teachable moment, an object lesson in what can go wrong if you trust a market economy to regulate itself. Nor should we forget that highly regulated economies, like Germany, did a much better job than we did at sustaining employment after the crisis hit. For whatever reason, however, the teachable moment came and went with nothing learned.

    And that would also be true of NZ and the NACTs. They failed to learn anything from the GFC. Where it could be proven that lack of regulation and tax cuts that caused the GFC their prescription for fixing it was more deregulation, tax cuts and “increasing competition”.

  9. Scott 9

    Certainly the attribution of a single unchanging set of views to a diverse group of people is one of the features of the dumbing down of political discourse which Palin et al exemplify. At the same time, though, we need to be able to generalise where appropriate about the worldview of a particular publication and its readers, and about the dominant view there on a particular subject. You’re right of course that not many writers at The Standard have tackled the Tea Party, but I was really thinking about the hundreds of comments Eddie’s pieces have attracted, and the assumption of almost all commenters, barring a few blow-ins from right-wing blogs, that Palin and the Tea Party represent a very serious and coherent movement of the far right. Such a view can be found on many other left-wing blogs. I think it’s mistaken.

    • lprent 9.1

      … that Palin and the Tea Party represent a very serious and coherent movement of the far right. Such a view can be found on many other left-wing blogs. I think it’s mistaken.

      And I’d agree – for the moment. For me it is a case of been there and seen it all before – which is why I wasn’t commenting on it. In US terms it is like the previous levels of activism that arose from opposition and support of the Vietnam war, the rise of tele-evangelistic church, etc…. If you go back further you’ll see the same kinds of hysteria around the eras of McCarthy, Wilson, WWW’s, etc. Personally I think a lot of the commentary was from our younger or less knowledgeable commentators, and it basically helps with their political/historical education.

      For that matter you can see exactly the same kinds of inflated causation happening in NZ on both the right and the left in politics over the last 35 years that I’ve been interested. There is a certain amount of puffery amongst the self-important in the media and in the political chattering groups. In the end it doesn’t matter much when the puff runs out against the underlying fundamentals of the economy and society. Of course you have to keep an eye on it because sometimes it does turn septic and some action to derail the puffery becomes required.

      Personally I think that Irish’s point about the rise of the right-wing whinger as framing themselves as the ‘victim’ (when they clearly are not) is a more salient development – just read burt whining for a good example. It isn’t a new development, but I think that having the blogs allowed them to form a mutual whinging society. That would be funny if it wasn’t quite so pathetic.

  10. Pascal's bookie 10

    Other folks have linked to it, but we’d all be sinful wee beasties if we didn’t take the opportunity to drive Wishart a little bit more crazy by filling out his reader survey:


    Be honest now kids.

    • mcflock 10.1

      that was fun.

      Talk about how to conduct a survey to get the responses you want…

    • Lanthanide 10.2

      Question 3 doesn’t even make sense. I had to answer it from the perspective of the ‘average NZer’, but it’s not clear whether they want my opinion or what I think other people are thinking.

      Question 4 is also stupid because I would rather see Winston in government if it was a National-led government (moderating influence), otherwise I’d rather see him out of parliament altogether.

      Question 9 and 10 draw false conclusions, especially if you indicated you’d be voting Labour already. Many voters would “consider” voting Labour regardless of their stance on these issues. The questions should be “If Labour were to promise to repeal the ETS, would you be ____ to vote for them” with options “more likely, less likely, unchanged”.

      Question 13 is silly for numerous reasons, but “Politicians and big industry are using climate change to control nations” can easily be interpreted in two diametrically opposite ways – eg oil companies are manipulating the climate change debate to show that anyone who is concerned about global warming is a hippie.

      Question 17 doesn’t differentiate between household or personal income, so you can’t tell who interpreted the question each way (do housewives choose less than 10k or put the household income, or should they be giving this important survey to the Head of the Household to fill out for them?).

      • orange whip? 10.2.1

        Yeah it’s almost as if it were designed for complete idiots. Funny that.

        • Rosy

          and you can fill it in more than once 🙂

          • Anne

            Indulge in a bit of political schizophrenia folks. So far, I’ve done it three times. As a Lab. lady… a Winnie Peters fan… and an Actoid. Great fun.

      • Colonial Viper 10.2.2

        Since when did primary schools start arranging abortions for their pupils? Who does that exactly at the school, the caretaker?

        • Lanthanide

          Yeah, never heard of that one either.

        • QoT

          My understanding of the current law is that if, say, a school student (let’s say a 15-year-old so as to stay in touch with reality) goes to her school counsellor or favourite teacher or dean and says “I am pregnant and want an abortion” (or conversation to that effect), there is no obligation on the teacher/school to inform the parents. There’s also no obligation on them to arrange or support said abortion, but where the prolifers get all shrieky is that teachers can know a teenager is pregnant and exercising her own reproductive options without dobbing her in.

          • Rosy

            That’s sounds sensible to me, there might be fewer hidden pregnancies and tragedies of hidden births if teens can have a trusted adult to confide it.

          • Armchair Critic

            Three questions:
            1. Why is there no obligation to provide support? Surely it would be obligatory.
            2. To whom would the teachers “dob her in”?
            3. Why is not “dobbing her in” a problem?

            • QoT

              1. Well, to phrase it better, teachers have no legal obligation to say “yes I support your choice to abort and will take you to the clinic myself”. Imposing such an obligation would be … interesting.

              2. Teachers could “dob her in” to her parents, whom she’s probably not telling if she’s turning to a non-family adult for advice.

              3. Because some people (certainly not me!) feel that parents have the right to know everything that goes on in their children’s lives. Some people feel that young women should be forced to inform their parents if they become pregnant and want to have an abortion. (Some people would like to control *all* women’s reproduction and will use any methods they can to do so.)

              • Armchair Critic

                Nothing personal, QoT, but I doubt discussing this subject with you will broaden my horizons.
                1. I don’t know that every teacher should have the obligation to go that far, but every school should. Well, I don’t even agree with the wording you used. I’d run with “I understand your choice to abort and will ensure (a) you get a safe and timely abortion and post-abortion care”. Every teacher should be obliged to refer their pupil to someone within the school who will help them.
                2. The teacher’s primary responsibility should be to the pupil.
                3. I suppose those same people think the parents of the provider of the other chromosome should also be informed.

                • QoT

                  I think you’re misunderstanding me, AC.

                  I am completely prochoice. I think young women have every right to seek their own reproductive choices without fear of their parents finding out if that’s what they want.

                  With regards to point 1, my concerns about enforcing or codifying that obligation – which I think is basic ethics, really – comes from the fact that a lot of religious schools with a lot of money would object, not to even touch the antichoicers we have in mainstream politics.

                  Of course the teacher’s primary responsibility should be to the pupil, what I’m saying is a lot of people (who are people I completely disagree with on just about everything) think it’s immoral or downright evil for a teen to be able to get her own healthcare without parents knowing and consenting to every step of the process.

                  (Hilariously, they don’t seem nearly as concerned that a teen could get pregnant and theoretically have a baby without anyone being obliged to tell her parents.)

                  • Armchair Critic

                    Nah, I’m not misunderstanding you QoT, I’m agreeing, or at least trying to.
                    Oh, and religious schools are an anachronism.

                    • QoT

                      I went to one. Believe me, I know. (That being said, bizarrely my Catholic high school provided better, more comprehensive sex ed than many state schools my friends went to … luck of the BoT draw I guess.)

          • Lanthanide

            I went with “only if they’re over 14” or whatever the particular wording was. I think if someone is under 14 and pregnant, the family really should know about it – simply from a protection and welfare angle, as being sexually active (or raped) at that age and getting pregnant from it is really a terrible way to start your adulthood.

            In terms of the school actually arranging an abortion for the student – I’m a bit torn on that point. I think that should only be done as a last resort, and the student should be given counselling and encouraged to confide in their family, but ultimately an abortion should be organised if that is really what the student wants and the school feels that appropriate support is available to them.

            captcha: choose

            • Rosy

              One of the problems with that is what are the chances that if a girl under 14 is pregnant the family is also dysfunctional? Knowing that a non-family member is available for support could be the only way a child will confide about a pregnancy.

              • Lanthanide

                True, but this would also give a chance for the school to assess the family’s response to the news, and get CYF involved if they thought the family’s response was lack-lustre.

                • Rosy

                  The fact that she’s pregnant can give the school an opportunity to assess the family situation, without telling the family. Telling the family she is may only put her in a more untenable situation. Can you imagine the strength it must take for some girls to confide in anyone at all if the family is a danger to her?

            • QoT

              Lanth, the anecdotal evidence last time this issue was raised said that the vast, vast majority of teens *do* eventually tell their families.

              The small minority who don’t probably have some pretty fucking goods reasons and are probably better judges of their own welfare and protection needs than strangers.

          • millsy

            From where I am sitting, if you oblige a school to inform a child’s parents that she is having an abortion, or on the pill, etc, your going to see a lot of teenage girls thrown out of their homes, or getting 7 different types of crap being slapped out of them, especially in so-called ‘Christian’ households.

            Parents arent perfect. This law takes that into account.

            I wonder if Bob McCroskie, Larry Baldock and Sherill Savill would throw their kid out if she had an abortion?

            • Vicky32

              “if you oblige a school to inform a child’s parents that she is having an abortion, or on the pill, etc, your going to see a lot of teenage girls thrown out of their homes, or getting 7 different types of crap being slapped out of them, especially in so-called ‘Christian’ households.”
              Yeah. Right…

              • millsy

                This is one of your few occasions when your coherency is in doubt, Vicky…

                • Vicky32

                  Oh? Please elaborate…

                  Parents, especially mothers, are usually much more understanding than you assume, and this is especially true of ‘Christian’ households.

                  I was amazed at how much calmer my parents were about *my* long ago teen pregnancy than I had expected them to be.. I had honestly expected to have “7 different types of crap being slapped out of me” but my parents simply said that family comes first.

                  • millsy

                    Fair enough….

                  • QoT

                    I really didn’t want to get into tragic, gross detail, Deborah, but here’s my question.

                    What happens when a young woman is pregnant to her own father? To a grandfather? An uncle? What if the young woman’s parents are a latter-day Fred and Rosemary West? (Yeah … don’t google that one.)

                    You were very lucky to have very understanding parents. A shitload of teenagers don’t, and thankfully we don’t make policy on the basis of “one person’s experience was OK so everyone should be forced to risk it.”

                    And when Wishart isn’t talking teens but primary-school age girls, what do you think the odds are that 10-year-olds are (a) not being abused and (b) coming from warm fluffy compassionate family situations if they ARE sexually active (not that they can consent to anything BECAUSE THEY’RE 10.)

                    • rosy

                      mmm I was attempting to allude to this – both physical and/or sexual abuse in the family, or close family contacts. I heard that sexual abuse in childhood is correlated with promiscuity in teens… is this correct?

                      If so it’s even more important that the child has a trusted adult outside the family.

        • Vicky32

          It has happened. Like it or not.

  11. Rosy 11

    This refutes views of those who think the Palestinians were never interested in peace with Israel. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/23/palestine-papers-expose-peace-concession.

    • Pascal's bookie 11.1

      That’s going to have ramifications methinks. I suspect the west will not be calling for elections in the west bank any time soon. Hamas just got much stronger.

  12. seeker 12

    @lprent- “just read burt whining for a good example”-

    I did, and scrolled down and down and down until I came across a comment on his comment on “Comment: The widening gap” and it said:

    “burt. yet another piece of insightful drivel from the high priest of natland.” –

    I just cracked up and am still laughing as I type – thank you bbfloyd – I go to bed still chuckling, why this was SO rib tickling I can’t tell, but it just was- cheers in more ways than one!


  13. George D 13

    Do any New Zealand political parties support overtime?

    By which I mean, penalty rates for working longer than an 8 hour day, or longer than a 38 hour working week. Seems to me that any party that campaigned on an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work would get votes, and be doing the right thing besides. Pretty basic stuff, I would have thought, but you just don’t know these days.

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