Open mike 26/01/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 26th, 2022 - 221 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 …

221 comments on “Open mike 26/01/2022 ”

  1. Jenny how to get there 1

    Omicron is coming. – We have a leadership willing to follow the science, prepared to implement the policies to contain it. And with the courage to face down their critics and enemies, both foreign and domestic.
    Omicron is a metaphor for climate change.
    Climate change is coming.
    We don't have a leadership willing to follow the science and the courage to act on it, yet.
    But we still could.
    Success breeds, breeds success.

    • Only radical change can hope to have any effect on climate change, and at this point in time, only in New Zealand. Incrementalism, as practised by this government and by 26 Cop-outs, will not stem the exponential changes that are coming.

      It is time to cut NZ adrift from the rest of the world and look to our own (and ultimately humanities) survival.

      ‘Fortress NZ’ Martyn Bradbury calls it, ‘Smug Hermit Kingdom’ from John Key.

      So here’s a timeline: when (not if) ice disappears from the Arctic, probably about September next year, all hell will break loose with the weather.

      While it is uncertain what exactly will happen, habitat loss is guaranteed. Habitat loss will come from massive rainfall or prolonged drought, storms or other adverse weather events, depending where you are in the world. The North Atlantic Drift, already slowing, could cease altogether, plunging northern Europe into a mini ice age.

      The warm Arctic Ocean, without the ice albedo effect, will cause global temperatures to rise quickly, reinforcing other feedback loops.

      And just a simple little thing like the disappearance of bees will spell the end of homo sapiens.

      Of course this country will not be exempt from the rapid changes, but we could prepare ourselves to hunker down and become self-sufficient.

      But that, of course, would require the rich give up their demands for overseas travel, and imported garbage, and the government to have the courage to act radically.

      We will act, but it will be too little, too late.

      Check out Guy McPherson or Kevin Hester https://twitter.com/iconickevin?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor on Nature Bats Last. (I know McPherson’s name is like a red rag to a bull with a lot of people but his conclusions are all from peer-reviewed articles and not the musings of a doomster crackpot).

      On the edge of extinction, only love remains.

      • weka 1.1.1

        Is McPherson still saying it's too late and we can only prepare for the end? Fuck that shit, that's traitorous. It's also incredibly self defeating to look to humanity's survival without looking to the survival of nature/gaia generally. We are part of the whole and we cannot survive without the wellbeing of the whole. When ecosystems collapse nature will adapt and we will be gone.

        The problem with making NZ a fortress archepalego is that we are very reliant on the rest of the world for essential goods. Not saying we couldn't transition if we had to, but it's not the best or most useful direction imo. Am completely happy with the borders the way they are currently, although they would need to sort out the mess around Kiwis getting back.

          • weka 1.1.1.1.1

            so you don't want to be taken seriously?

            • I feel like I've done all I can at the moment.

              The shit is going to hit the fan for world climate very soon, very possibly as soon at late next year.

              But I know that 'Fortress NZ' is just a figment of my imagination. I know we, NZ and the world, will do nothing substantial until it is too late.

              Of course I would like our government to begin future-proofing this country as much as it is able, but it won't happen.

              I'd like to think that my rather over-the-top pessimistic posts might make some people think seriously about climate change and what we need to do to counter the worst effects of it, but I'm also a realist.

              Hence my shrugging shoulders. So yes, I'd like to be taken seriously but don't think that is possible.

              • I'll tell you what, though, Weka, this country is tense and divided in a minor way about vaccine mandates etc.

                Wait until climate anxiety kicks in – you ain't seen nothing yet.

                I expect civil society to break down in a year or two; not perhaps so seriously in NZ, but catastrophically in the US and Europe.

                The very helplessness people will feel will precipitate despairing actions.

                • weka

                  thanks Tony. You must have seen me writing about how serious I think the situation is. I'm not a fan of timed predictions, seen too many come and go (David Holmgren, Sharon Astyk, Dmitri Orlov) and then people watching say 'see, it's not that bad' and then don't act.

                  But I agree it's important to keep naming it and keeping it visible.

                  I also think there is time to change. As things become more intense, we will have more social and political tipping points which contain places to intervene that give us some chance at agency. This is what we should be preparing for imo as well as holding the line. NZ has the potential to lead on this, and this in turn is an intervention into other tipping points that can ripple out.

              • Robert Guyton

                I'm with you, Tony. I take you seriously. So do many others (imo).

                Hold your line. These are testing times. NZ is a special case.

                I don't know how that came to be, but I believe we are.

                So, your view is valuable. Do not fade/expire.

      • Ad 1.1.2

        You could write mid-'90s U2 lyrics.

      • Jenny how to get there 1.1.3

        Compare our Government's covid response to the Australian Federal government.

        Covid-19: Police and Defence Force will be required to be vaccinated

        RNZ – 26 November 2021

        https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/456606/covid-19-police-and-defence-force-will-be-required-to-be-vaccinated

        In comparison, the Australian government are so incompetent and ineffectual that they won't even enforce vaccine mandates in their military.

        The result of this weak leadership reckless and dangerous verging on farcical if it wasn't so tragic.

        23 members of crew on Australian aid ship bound for virus-free Tonga test positive for COVID

        Megan Baynes, news reporter 14 hrs ago

        Tongan authorities had been wary of accepting international aid – due to the risk of Covid-19 – after the South Pacific island nation was hit by a tsunami following an undersea volcanic eruption almost two weeks ago.

        Since the pandemic began, it has recorded just a single case of COVID-19 and avoided any outbreaks – and it is one of the few countries in the world that is currently completely virus free.

        'They need aid desperately – but don't want the risk of COVID'

        Australia's defence minister Peter Dutton said he was working with the Tongan authorities to keep HMAS Adelaide – which left Brisbane last week – at sea to make sure there is no threat to Tonga's 105,000 residents, after 23 crew members tested positive for the virus.

        https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/23-members-of-crew-on-australian-aid-ship-bound-for-virus-free-tonga-test-positive-for-covid/ar-AAT7tzx?

  2. aom 2

    The Government and in particular. the Minister of Foreign Affairs never cease to disappoint. There was a new dawn when we were led to believe NZ would adopt an independent foreign policy. Now the US chain has been yanked and officially we are dancing to the 'might is the law' tune over Ukraine having already sold out elsewhere.

    While making out that Russia is the sole evil and about to take drastic military action, our fuckwit Government seems to think it fine that we align with a puppet government engineered by a NATO and the US coup which has blatant Neo-Nazi underpinnings. No-one would have given a stuff about Russia's military exercises had it not then been followed by NATO's call to arms led by the usual suspect.

    Mahuta wrote, "We call on Russia to act in a manner consistent with international law and to take immediate steps to reduce tensions and the risk of a severe miscalculation,” Mahuta said in a written statement." A country with a neutral approach would have clearly outlined the fact that NATO also needs to take steps to reduce tensions. Instead NZ is condoning the funneling advisors, troops and an endless supply of arms into the Ukraine to exacerbate a situation brought about by the NATO expansion. That of course contravened an agreement reached when the Berlin wall came down, which is hardly consistent with international law.

    No doubt, NZ will also dance to the US tune if Russia choses to establish a NATO type organisation in South America.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/127593116/nz-calls-on-russia-to-reduce-risk-of-severe-miscalculation-as-troops-mass-at-ukraine-border

    • Dennis Frank 2.1

      Your view of recent Ukrainian political history seems incompatible with Wikipedia!

      On 21 February 2019, the Constitution of Ukraine was amended, the norms on the strategic course of Ukraine for membership in the European Union and NATO are enshrined in the preamble of the Basic Law, three articles and transitional provisions.

      The 2019 Ukrainian presidential election was held on 31 March and 21 April in a two-round system. There were a total of 39 candidates for the election on the ballot. The 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia and the occupation of parts of Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast prevented around 12% of eligible voters from participating in the election.

      As no candidate received an absolute majority of the vote, a second round was held between the top two candidates, Volodymyr Zelensky, who played the role of Ukraine's president in a popular television comedy and the incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko, on 21 April 2019. According to the Central Election Commission, Zelensky won the second round with 73.22% of the votes.

      Snap elections to the Ukrainian parliament were held on 21 July 2019… after newly inaugurated President Volodymyr Zelensky dissolved parliament on 21 May 2019, during his inauguration. The election result was the one-party majority, a novelty in Ukraine, for President Zelensky's Servant of the People party with 254 seats.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukraine#Euromaidan_and_the_Revolution_of_Dignity

      Dunno why you would want to try & con readers into believing that Ukrainian democracy didn't actually achieve all these political events. Trying to pretend that NATO & the US control political outcomes in Ukraine is more likely to make readers aware of your disinformation agenda, don't you think? Since you didn't actually provide any evidence as the basis for your claim.

      Do you really believe the readers of TS are stupid enough to fall for such an inept ploy?? Or do you believe puerile political analysis is what leftists want?

      • francesca 2.1.1

        Dennis, did you miss 2014?When extremists on the Maidan openly wore nazi insignia and were cheered on by Pyatt and Nuland?

        You were listening to a talking book when Nuland and Pyatt were pinged deciding the leadership after the coup?

        Were you asleep in following years when far right groups like Right Sector and Azov Batallion fought alongside government troops in attempting to smash the Donbas into submission?

        Are you now unaware of lethal aid pouring into Ukraine from Nato countries(but notably not Germany) and the USA ? Under the pretext of a Russian invasion

        Weapons which can now be deployed to attack the Donbas and provoke a response from Russia

        • Dennis Frank 2.1.1.1

          Yeah I saw all that stuff at the time. Competing narratives are definitely part of the situation. Just a question of which ones bystanders decide to believe.

          I've no idea what relation pseudo-nazis have to the comedian Zelensky who got elected. Nor has anyone in the media attempted to delineate any such relation to my knowledge. Feel free to have a go at filling that vacuum!

          lethal aid pouring into Ukraine from Nato countries(but notably not Germany) and the USA

          Of course NATO sensibly responds to Putin's troop build-ups in border regions. So what? Geopolitics as usual.

          Weapons which can now be deployed to attack the Donbas and provoke a response from Russia

          Macho posturing sometimes leads to hostilities. Other times it doesn't…

          • francesca 2.1.1.1.1

            And who is telling you of the Russian build up?

            KIEV, January 25. /TASS/. Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov said early on Tuesday he had received no information so far indicating the possibility of Russia’s invasion of his country in the near future.

            "As of today, the armed forces of Russia created no strike groups, indicating they were ready to launch an offensive tomorrow," he told Ukraine’s ICTV television channel, adding that a scenario of a Russian attack in the near future was also unlikely.

            When asked about the likelihood of Russia attacking Ukraine on February 20, the final day of the Olympic Games in Beijing, the minister said the probability was "low.

            https://www.moonofalabama.org/2022/01/a-parthogenetic-conflict-there-is-no-russian-invasion-threat-to-ukraine.html#more

            Zelenskiy's links with neo nazis?

            Confirmation of the offer demonstrates that the administration of Zelensky, who came to power in 2019 due to widespread disillusionment and disgust with his right-wing nationalist predecessor Petro Poroshenko, has in fact continued and increased the conspicuous alliance of Ukraine’s oligarchy with neo-Nazi thugs.

            https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2021/05/01/ukr-m01.html

            And don't forget Zelenskiy's sponsor was his former boss Kolomoisky, who, although Jewish himself , funded the neo nazi Azov battallion and also the far right Aidar battallion

            https://www.reuters.com/article/idUS60927080220150505

            • Dennis Frank 2.1.1.1.1.1

              I agree those first two links are insightful. Nationalism is obviously a primary force in the country and if neo-nazi posturing makes it effective people will do that. I was intrigued by Zelensky’s Magic Wand:

              https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/trends-shaping-ukrainian-politics-in-2021.html

              The first trend relates to the sanctions introduced by Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) against Ukrainian political figures. The sanctions against Putin’s crony, Viktor Medvedchuk, and his TV channels had an explosive effect and came as a complete surprise.

              Zelensky’s Magic Wand

              From a legal point of view, the NSDC’s sanctions were beyond its usual remit – they don’t usually apply to citizens of Ukraine. But from a political point of view, they have proved to be very effective, especially with regard to Medvedchuk and his TV channels.

              The effect was immediate and strong. In my opinion, this is exactly what President Zelensky enjoyed most. He got his “magic wand” and it yielded fast and tough results. The head of state became fearsome again and this helped the president’s ratings go up. So they used this tool more, but gradually its effect weakened: the targets of the sanctions got smaller and their effect less dramatic, while the scandals grew in number.

              However, it was the sanctions against Medvedchuk that reshaped the line-up of political forces (Medvedchuk’s influence decreased significantly, his personal rating fell, as did that of his political party, Opposition Platform — For Life. as well as the structure of the information field and the TV audience along with growth of the NSDC’s role in government.

              It is no coincidence that the NSDC became the operator of the so-called Register of Oligarchs. In its form and content this bill had no international precedent; it looked quite populist. But it outlined President Zelensky’s aspirations to control and limit the oligarchs’ political influence, and in the long run to squeeze them out of politics altogether. Despite resistance (especially prior to its second reading), this bill was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada in late September 2021.

              The law on oligarchs has brought the presidential team into conflict with a “broad oligarchic coalition” (Akhmetov – Poroshenko – Medvedchuk), as well as with a majority of the opposition forces.

              President vs oligarchs seems like a rerun of Putin's path to supremacy though both sides will have learnt from the Russian mistakes. So how is popular support for the comedian holding up?

              President Zelensky’s rating situation in 2021 is a kind of “Ukrainian political roller coaster” or a ratings swing. There was a drop in the ratings in January; then from late February to September, there was a rise in the ratings – primarily due to the sanctions against Medvedchuk. October saw another significant decline, mainly due to Razumkov’s dismissal. At the end of the year there has been some improvement and stabilization. Despite various problems, Volodymyr Zelensky remains the sole leader in the ratings race.

              The pack of his rivals remains almost unchanged since the 2019 presidential election. In 2021, only one new face appeared in this group – Dmytro Razumkov. The situation is similar in the ratings race of the political parties.

              It should be noted that the ratings of the ruling Servant of the People Party are significantly lower than President Zelensky’s own ratings. According to most polls, his party remains the most popular, although, according to some other findings, it was overtaken by Petro Poroshenko’s European Solidarity.

    • Ross 2.2

      Yeah it’s hard to understand why we would align ourselves with the US. Biden has already indicated that NATO might tolerate a “minor incursion” by Russia. Would NZ tolerate a minor incursion? I suspect so, although Jacinda would likely give the Russian ambassador her most severe frowny face that emojis don’t do justice to. 🙁

      http://edition.cnn.com/2022/01/19/politics/russia-ukraine-joe-biden-news-conference/index.html

    • Sanctuary 2.3

      Any attempt by Russia to interfere in the Western hemisphere would simply not be tolerated under the Munroe doctrine by the United States – it would literally start a major war.

      • alwyn 2.3.1

        I'm sure the people of Cuba will be interested to know that they were never part of a USSR supported Communist Government.

        The US did not allow the Russian nuclear weapons to remain in Cuba in 1962 but they never actually went to war or overthrew the Castro led government.

        It is, by the way, the Monroe Doctrine having been proclaimed but President James Monroe in 1823. It also included the premise that the United States would not interfere in the internal affairs of or the wars between European powers.

        Hmm. That last bit went well didn't it?

        https://www.britannica.com/event/Monroe-Doctrine

        • Nic the NZer 2.3.1.1

          Bay of Pigs?

          • alwyn 2.3.1.1.1

            It was certainly hoped that it would lead to Castro being overthrown but the US military weren't directly involved. If it had been a full scale invasion by the US military I don't think it would have ended the way it did.

            Basically the invasion force were a bunch of Cuban refugees who had been organised and encouraged by the CIA but who were, at the end, just an embarrassment to the US. I think Kennedy simply let them go while hoping they would just get into Cuba and into the highlands and let him forget them.

            • Nic the NZer 2.3.1.1.1.1

              Wikipedia thinks a small number of the Alabama Air National Guard were involved directly. Well beyond the well known extent of CIA training and material assistance provided. Whether or not the attack ended as a fiasco the CIA involvement makes it part of official US government policy, and sanctioned by the president (as you note).

              Though it failed the attempt was taken seriously enough by Castro that he allowed Nuclear weapons to be housed in Cuba precipitating the Missile crisis a year later.

    • Sanctuary 2.4

      The government statement is an entirely uncontroversial restatement of mom and apple pie platitudes and is the minimum expected to keep Washington happy. I am not sure quite why it has so torn your nightie.

    • joe90 2.5

      a puppet government engineered by a NATO and the US coup which has blatant Neo-Nazi underpinnings.

      The notion that some sinister Western influence somehow compelled millions of people to demand a better life, and risk life and limb confronting Yanukovych's brutal riot police denies the agency of colonised Ukrainians. Classic orientalist nonsense.

      And those Neo-Nazi underpinnings barely broke 2% in the 2019 elections and more recently Svoboda All-Ukrainian Association party leader Ruslan Koshulynskyi couldn't crack a third of the vote in a parliamentary by-election.

      • francesca 2.5.1

        You don't need to be a political party to have influence.

        Of course the majority of Ukrainians aren't neo nazis , but all Ukrainian politicians are well aware that their power can be seriously challenged by well armed and trained far right militia, thus they tread very carefully

    • Corey Humm 2.6

      Except New Zealand is NOT a neutral country, we never have been a neutral country and we never will be a neutral country, the public of this country is not neutral and while it values fairness it almost always sides with western allies , while we will only usually intervene in wars that have a UN mandate and we strongly believe in multilateralism we're a five eyes western aligned nation. One that so clings to it's western ties even most left lefties didn't wanna change the colonial flag.

      That may upset some people who are furious that the Berlin wall fell and that the USSR lost the Cold War and see in Russia only good and in USA and NATO only evil but it is what it is, hell we're even divesting from China with the government saying don't put all your eggs in one basket to exporters.

      There seems to have been a referendum (the legitimacy of that not withstanding and when it comes to anything democratic you can't trust anything Russia is involved in and no I don't believe Russia had much influence on 2016 I think that was all murika but I don't think Puting Is out there getting 80% of the vote I believe the videos of vote stuffing more than mr Kgb ) if you give a place like Russia a CM they'll take a squared km.

      That said if the people of that part of Ukraine genuinely want to be part of Russia they should be allowed, but again if you give Russia a small area they'll want the whole country.

      Your attitude to Ukraine sovereignty is just wow.

      Many people who lived through Russia's stranglehold over their country's would be deeply offended by some of your words calling post Soviet states puppet states, they would counter they were once puppet states.

      Ukraine does have a right to defend itself and expect it's allies to defend it especially if the validity of that referendum isn't legit or recognized.

      As for South America New Zealand should always call out American subterfuge in our own back yard and despite what many think south America is comparitively in our back yard and being western aligned doesn't mean we always have to agree and can't call out American interference, we should have more trade and travel between south America.

      I will also say that America is no innocent player but Russia defenders refusal to accept the sovereignty of places like Ukraine is rather insulting, their insistence to point out every western ill but defend or refuse to acknowledge the disappearances of dissenters, the poisoning of opposition leaders, the assassinations, the mass kidnaping and torture and murder of lgbts , the clear and proven evidence of electoral fraud the illegal and proven funding and trade with north Korea and the cyber security and human rights breaches all get swept under the rug because once upon a time Russia attempted an arse backwards authoritarian form of Marxist ideas.

      As somewhat socially libertarian but economically democratic socialist (key word democratic) the constant defense of tyrants and human rights abusers by elements of the left when it comes to certain countries simply because of those countries politics or simply because america bad, is really sad.

      You know you can call out American imperialism and Russian and Chinese imperialism with the same mite.

      You may hate this country and it's government but unlike in Russia, you're allowed to vocally say as much, try standing against Putin and lasting till the election.

  3. Stephen D 3

    Boy, somebody has swallowed the Putin kool aid!

    • aom 3.1

      Expecting our Government to follow its stated principles is swallowing Putin kool aid is it? However, if you believe being a poodle to the US and its machinations is in our interests, go for it!

      • Stephen D 3.1.1

        https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/map-russian-empire-1914

        My suspicion is that Putin's long game is to repeat this map.

        Couldn't figure out how to embed it, sorry.

        • Subliminal 3.1.1.1

          Good grief! I think you might need a reality check there! Anyone believing that kind of idiocy is trapped in 1950's reds under the bed. Finland as part of a Russian Empire? You need to get out in the world more.

          Putin has stated numerous times he does not even "want" the Ukraine. He prefers that the UN security sanctioned Minsk agreements be followed through on. Russia would prefer that the West take responsibilty for the failed state they created but will not stand by if Nato succeeds in prodding Ukraine to attack the Donbass. They have asked, nicely enough, for dialogue and been met with blinkin' intrasigence. If the West had supported Russia in pressuring Zelenski to implement the Minsk agreements we wouldn't be here. Now that we are, there is still a choice. Dialogue and a comittment to adressing security issues are being offered by Russia. They have asked for a written response. They do things quite delibrrately. Rationally even if you care to read beyond the beltway screech. There will be no invasion even if provoked. But there will be resolution of security issues.

        • francesca 3.1.1.2

          Stephen D on Putin’s supposed Napoleon complex
          Never come across the Putin quote?

          “;Whoever doesn’t miss the Soviet Union has no heart

          Whoever wants it back has no brain ”

          So many Putin mind readers these days, joining up very disparate dots to come up with a monster to frighten themselves in the dark

  4. Sanctuary 4

    The extension of NATO into Eastern Europe was as stupid as it was reckless given the Soviet/Russian experience of aggression from the west in the 20th century. The creation of a string of buffer states is basic Russian policy, especially as they seek to assert themselves as the pre-eminent regional power in Eastern Europe. At the moment, a situation similar to that of the post-Great War era exists – a string of corrupt and politically unstable central and eastern European states unable to defend themselves from the regional hegemon whose security is guaranteed by western powers who have neither the domestic political will nor the military means to defend them if push comes to shove. The danger is the west will chose confrontation with Russia on "principle" in defense of countries that are strategically irrelevent to their security.

    None of this means Russia has the right to invade sovereign countries – unprovoked wars of aggression are as illegal now as they were when the United States invaded Iraq – but the bottom line would be well recognised by Bismark – that the basket case of an alliance between far-right nationalists and liberal elites that is the Ukraine governing class is not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier (Pommeranian grenadiers being notoriously lax and ineffective soldiers and the butt of many jokes in pre-WW1 Germany).

    • "The danger is the west will chose confrontation with Russia on "principle" in defense of countries that are strategically irrelevent to their security."

      Oh come off it Sanc nobody has ever started a pointless war. (sarc).

      For what its worth I think the whole "Russia is going to invade Ukraine" is a beat up and will never happen and America knows this (8500 troops mobilised, wow that will show them-the Russian army has 900k active personnel, the PLA has 2.2 million active personnel) but the MSM loves it.

  5. Dennis Frank 5

    A key dimension of the Ukraine crisis is this:

    An undersea pipeline set to deliver gas from Russia to Germany has become exactly what the two countries have always insisted it would never be: A weapon in a geopolitical crisis.

    The United States, United Kingdom, Ukraine and several European Union member states have fiercely opposed the pipeline ever since it was first announced in 2015, warning the project would boost Moscow's influence in Europe. The 1,200-km (750-mile) pipeline was completed in September and is now awaiting final certification.

    https://edition.cnn.com/2022/01/25/business/russia-putin-nord-stream-2-gas-pipeline-intl-cmd/index.html

    Germany's foreign minister is co-leader of the German Greens.

    Under pressure from the US, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock acknowledged last week the Nord Stream 2 pipeline could be included in a package of sanctions against Russia over its involvement in Ukraine. At the same time, the US has somewhat scaled back its vocal opposition to the pipeline.

    Earlier this month, the US Senate voted down legislation from Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas to sanction entities associated with Nord Stream 2. The main argument from the Biden administration was that sanctions on the pipeline would undercut US efforts to deter the Russian threat by giving the West less leverage.

    Europe's crisis management therefore hinges on the Russia/Ukraine/Germany/USA nexus. Multipolar geopolitics, despite commentators preferring to simplify that into the old Russia vs USA binary. Putin's applying pressure to Ukraine yet experts still seem to be opining that he's unlikely to invade. Our foreign policy ought to address the actual multipolar context. Only an invasion will make the banal binary realistic.

    • Sanctuary 5.1

      The Greens were major players in Germany shuttering it's nuclear power plants (they just get their nuclear electricity from France now) – so they've got skin in the game in Germany's current energy insecurity and dependence on Russian gas.

      • Dennis Frank 5.1.1

        Indeed. It's quite a test of Baerbock's skill at balancing competing pressures at the top level of geopolitics quite early in her career. Make or break…

  6. Dennis Frank 6

    Another key dimension of the Ukraine situation:

    Angela Stent is the director of Russian studies at Georgetown University and one of the best international experts on Russia. She has repeatedly argued that Putin’s goal was not to revive the Soviet Union but to have the Russian Federation treated as if it were the Soviet Union. As Stent explained in a recent NPR interview, Putin wants the West to accept a Russian sphere of influence. From this perspective, Russian actions around Ukraine make sense. Putin has already made significant gains without firing a single shot.

    Let’s start with the most obvious point: Ukraine has no chance of joining NATO anytime soon. Putin no longer needs to invade Ukraine to prevent it from joining the military alliance of the West. How so? Well, if there had ever been a chance for Ukraine to join NATO after Poland and the Baltic states, that chance went away after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

    NATO had signalled in 2008 its willingness to accept Ukraine (and Georgia) into the alliance. The organisation, however, cannot, by its own rules, accept new members with open border disputes. Thus, Putin effectively blocked Ukraine’s entry into NATO by creating such a dispute.

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/russia-has-already-won-the-war-without-firing-a-single-shot

    I find this view – that Putin is using the geopolitical stage to exhibit his skill with political theatre – persuasive. Russia gets to be a player in the global game by displaying its capacity for regional leverage. Without actually invading…

    • Gezza 6.1

      And I find the end of that article also quite telling.

      None of the above is to say that Russia will not invade Ukraine in the end. As mentioned before, Putin keeps us guessing about his ultimate goal – and that may include annexing Ukraine.

      But it is worth asking if Putin may have just built up the threat of an invasion as a bluff. And why would he now want to risk economic sanctions following a war when he has already achieved his major objectives without one?

      The coming weeks will give us an answer, one way or the other.

      As with so much of the analysis of the current Ukraine-Russia situation that I've seen, many commenters – while making good, interesting points – still end up hedging their bets because they're just not sure what Putin will do.

      My own opinion is that Putin and Lavrov have said so many times in recent weeks that they don't intend to invade Ukraine, they probably won't.

  7. arkie 7

    Breaking! Headline!

    Property market hits peak, but unemployment poses risk to prices

    CoreLogic NZ's latest property market and economic update said the total value of residential real estate reached $1.72 trillion in the three months ended 2021, compared with $1.35t the year earlier.

    Mortgages were secured against 19 percent of that value, while household equity accounted for the balance of 81 percent.

    Despite the high rate of homeowner-equity, CoreLogic chief property economist Kelvin Davidson said there was reason for caution as the level of household debt was high relative to income.

    But wait, Ardern is possibly getting what she hoped for:

    Despite the price pressure, Davidson said anyone hanging out for a major bargain may be disappointed.

    "With unemployment still low, the story is more about much slower growth in prices rather than meaningful falls."

    He estimated average property value growth could slow to single digits in 2022, from almost 30 percent in 2021, as rising interest rates drive up household costs, in addition to other bank lending restrictions.

    Meanwhile:

    Rising cost of living in Aotearoa may trigger civil disobedience, social service says

    Petrol, food and house prices are all increasing faster than wages.

    He Korowai Trust provides housing and social services in Kaitāia, and chief executive Ricky Houghton said things have never been so bad for poor people in Northland.

    He said the cost of living was out of control, and people would do what they had to do to get by.

    "It's on the verge of civil disobedience. [The] people who 'have-not' will be taking what they need – and food is a basic human right – they will be taking from those that 'have'.

    "It has to be fixed, the government has to intervene.

    "People will be sleeping in their cars [if they can't] pay their rent. But if they can't afford to get petrol for their cars, they'll be sleeping in tents and cow sheds and buses and lean-tos, and they won't be eating."

    How kind.

    • Ad 7.1

      Approximately the same percentage of New Zealanders own at least one house as they did in 1956.

      Wages are up, unemployment is the lowest in 15 years.

      Government intervention in the economy and in society is about as strong as it has been since the 1970s.

      CPAG in particular is tracking the long lines for food parcels etc, but weirdly the government policy indices aren't changing much.

      With government books this healthy, what we need is a massive decrease in tax in the 2022 Budget for the lowest incomes – including benefits and NZSuper.

      • arkie 7.1.1

        Approximately the same percentage of New Zealanders own at least one house as they did in 1956.

        Also known as the lowest level of home ownership in 70 years.

        Wages are up, unemployment is the lowest in 15 years.

        In 2021 73% of wage earners received pay rises less than inflation.

        With government books this healthy, what we need is a massive decrease in tax in the 2022 Budget for the lowest incomes – including benefits and NZSuper.

        I don’t disagree with this but I will not hold my breath, this government thinks the marginal benefit increase of $20 was sufficient, while rejecting the WEAG recommendation of $50.

        I think the best method would be to raise the pre-tax threshold significantly.

        • Ad 7.1.1.1

          Home ownership was only ever above 70% of the population for 15 years in New Zealand: 1981-1996. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be; the change in the population over 75 years isn't major.

          No one was going to get a pay rise in 2021, because few businesses were making much of any profit: without the depth and extent of government protection of most jobs our unemployment rate would be massive now.

          It will be a budget to look forward to, I'm at least confident of that.

          • arkie 7.1.1.1.1

            It will be a budget to look forward to, I'm at least confident of that.

            Well, we can look back on this, and if it ends up being insufficient then hopefully we can be more forgiving of increased civil disobedience.

      • weka 7.1.2

        With government books this healthy, what we need is a massive decrease in tax in the 2022 Budget for the lowest incomes – including benefits and NZSuper.

        Have you actually looked at how that works for beneficiaries who aren't working? What would stop landlords putting up rents in response?

        There is not easy fix for poverty in NZ, and certainly not for welfare. We need a strategy that uses multiple tools concurrently, and core to that is housing costs. I can think of lots of ways to mend parts of WINZ relatively easily, but without addressing the chasm between benefits and housing costs it's going to be of limited use. Even if you removed all the tax that beneficiaries pay, that's soon going to be sucked up in rising housing, transport and food costs.

        I'll also note from my own experience, that being able to pay off large bills is harder now than it was two years ago. That's a killer for people on a benefit, because that's often the only way to get essential things done like car repairs or buying a new washing machine. There are lots of pressures on benefits now.

        • Ad 7.1.2.1

          Poverty will not be solved just by tax changes.

          • weka 7.1.2.1.1

            You said,

            With government books this healthy, what we need is a massive decrease in tax in the 2022 Budget for the lowest incomes – including benefits and NZSuper.

            I'm pointing out the problems of thinking a tax reduction for benefits is the next right move.

            • Ad 7.1.2.1.1.1

              Your point isn't about tax changes per se, but about any form of increase in income to poor people. Nothing is stopping any form of price increase on rentals, irrespective of where the income is coming from.

              • weka

                true, which is why beneficiaries need to be protected better from that because they're the ones with the biggest gap between income and housing costs.

                Hence not focusing on tax reduction (which would be of limited use). We need a strategy specifically for people on benefits, separate from wage earners, and that takes into account the specific situation they are in.

                Much of what could be done is anathema to Labour eg rent caps. Accommodation Supplement is a gnarly issue that can't easily be resolved by sequential one off actions, it needs to be changed within a range of actions. I don't trust Sepuloni to know what to do.

                The abatement rate likewise.

                It's complex.

        • weka 7.1.2.2

          current benefit rates https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/products/benefit-rates/benefit-rates-july-2021.html#null

          People on the dole pay $36/wk in tax. Not saying that is nothing, but on it's own it's weak.

          Then there is the abatement rate, the tax on benefits for people earning over $160/wk. That's 8 hours on minimum wage. Benefit is taxed at 70c in the dollar after the first $160. Some supplementary benefits are also reduced (from memory TAS is taxed at 100%)

          Then there is paying secondary tax on earnings (which I guess wouldn't exist if they completely scrapped taxing benefits, but would Labour actually do that?)

          Then there's the messy and complicated reporting system for all of that.

          • weka 7.1.2.2.1

            that's for a single person no kids. Much more complicated for people with kids or in relationships.

          • Ad 7.1.2.2.2

            An extra $36 per week if you were on a benefit and nothing else would be quite a lot.

            Labour improved the abatement rate from April last year:

            Abatement rate for Jobseeker went from $90 to $160

            Abatement rate for Sole Parent and NZSuper went from $115 to $160

            Those are fairly big jumps from previous governments.

            • weka 7.1.2.2.2.1

              An extra $36 per week if you were on a benefit and nothing else would be quite a lot.

              Yes, but on its own it's still weak. If someone only gets the base benefit, it's $36. If someone gets supplementary benefits, it's likely to be less, in some cases quite a lot less. This happens a lot with benefit rises, because the government won't develop a strategy.

              Labour improved the abatement rate from April last year:

              Abatement rate for Jobseeker went from $90 to $160

              Abatement rate for Sole Parent and NZSuper went from $115 to $160

              Those are fairly big jumps from previous governments.

              Yes! This was a very good move. Here's the problem now though: if someone wants to earn more than that (and presumably we want people to be getting more work, not being restricted to 8 or less hours/wk), then they get taxed on those wages at secondary tax, and they get taxed on the hours above $160/wk at 70%. And they have to do a whole bunch of overly complicated accounting, which is difficult and time/energy consuming if they have variable hours each week (which is a lot of people).

              If they have to pay childcare it's often just not worth it.

              So the government is clawing back a lot there. I'm not saying that Labour have done nothing. I'm saying that we could be making changes that fundamentally change how welfare works for the benefit of recipients rather than tinkering around the edges.

        • Jimmy 7.1.2.3

          They should change the tax brackets. Income under $14k is taxed at 10.5%, and income between $14k and $48k taxed at 17.5%. Perhaps the first $48k should be taxed at 10.5%. which would give people an extra $45.77 in their hand each week.

          These tax brackets are well out of date. Wages have increased significantly over the years.

          • weka 7.1.2.3.1

            how would that help someone on the dole?

            which would give people an extra $45.77 in their hand each week.

            No it wouldn't. People would get an extra amount relative to how much they earn and that would vary from very low up to $48,000

            • Jimmy 7.1.2.3.1.1

              Then what would you suggest? Perhaps a tax rate of 5% (or even Nil) on the first $25k of income?

              • weka

                are you asking about benefits or wage earners?

                • Jimmy

                  Both really. I thought benefits were taxed at same rates as earnings from employment.

                  • UncookedSelachimorpha

                    I believe that when you take abatement rates into account, beneficiaries face the highest effective tax rates of anyone in NZ. Far higher than a billionaire's capital gains, for instance.

                    • weka

                      blows my mind that we think it's ok to tax beneficiaries at 70c or 100c in the dollar, but it's not ok to raise tax on billionaires.

                      Some heavy duty protestant work ethic shit right there. Imagine if we looked at income in terms of need.

                    • The Al1en

                      blows my mind that we think it's ok to tax beneficiaries at 70c or 100c in the dollar

                      I've failed to find out online and someone may know. If you declare cash jobs (so not paye), do those 70% deductions of gross income over $160 square you up with IRD as well? Or are you also left with a tax bill at the end of the financial year, too and made to fill out an ir3? Presumably that would also have to be on gross and double dipping on top of unfairness.

                    • UncookedSelachimorpha

                      Reply to The A1ien (reply button missing?).

                      The $0.70 faced by beneficiaries is simply their benefit being reduced – it won't count towards income tax.

                      Disclaimer: I'm not a tax consultant, accountant and hate doing my own accounts!

                    • The Al1en

                      There's incentives and then there's incentives 🙄

                  • weka

                    As I've been outlining to Ad above, in addition to secondary tax, beneficiaries lose 70c in the dollar on earnings above $160/wk, and 100c in the dollar if they get TAS (not sure what the abatement is on Accommodation Supplement).

                    To answer your question, I think that tax reform for wage earners should be dealt with separately from welfare, but it's complicated because of what happens to beneficiaries who also work. My main point today was that generic 'lowering tax rates will help people on benefit' approaches are not that helpful because of the complexity.

      • Herodotus 7.1.3

        Comparing our situation to 1956 are we allowed to find some obsecure date to cherry pick to promote this governments performance regard housing?. Some are very desperate it seems.

        Look what followed 1956 regard house ownership, do you really think that current policy settings will allow for the increase in home ownership that followed 1956 ?? I would say NO.

        • Ad 7.1.3.1

          Honestly I don't think any policy setting would help a dramatic increase in home ownership in NZ right now. We have such a gross distance between what people earn and housing prices that there’s little wrong with Jane Kelsey’s FIRE Economy written 7 years ago.

          I certainly agree with Weka that an unregulated rent market for price is pretty disgusting for those renting. For those owning rental properties it's great.

          • arkie 7.1.3.1.1

            an unregulated rent market for price is pretty disgusting for those renting. For those owning rental properties it's great.

            And therein lies the contradiction of neoliberal capitalism that the Labour government must overcome if they actually intend on meaningful change for the vast majority of NZers.

            But the wide-reaching impact on our society also means that if we solve the housing issue, we all benefit, not just those struggling to find decent housing."

            The report finds that in 2019, nearly a third of Kiwi households spent 30 percent of their income on housing costs with a quarter of renters spending 40 percent or more.

            "This level of expenditure on housing affects wellbeing – cutting into budgets for food and other necessities like electricity and heating. By international comparisons, New Zealand households in the bottom fifth of incomes are severely overburdened by housing costs. Affordability is rated worst by single parents and disabled people."

            With home ownership rates dropping – down from 74 percent in the 1990s to 65 percent in 2018 – the gap between the haves and have-nots is widening.

            https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/money/2021/10/significant-proportion-of-kiwis-income-going-towards-housing-costs-affecting-wellbeing-report.html

            • pat 7.1.3.1.1.1

              If you want to see the future…

              "In 1991, 61 percent of people aged 25 to 29 years lived in an owner-occupied home. By 2018, this had dropped to 44 percent. Similarly, for those aged in their late 30s, the rate dropped from 79 percent in 1991 to 59 percent in 2018."

              And then consider this data only goes up to 2018….it has only travelled in one direction since, at breakneck speed.

              https://www.stats.govt.nz/news/homeownership-rate-lowest-in-almost-70-years

    • vto 7.2

      With regard to the property market: the stat to watch is number of property sales per month, year on year, not property prices.

      December sales numbers were down 29.4% on the year before.

      The market has gone off a cliff.

      Nobody has noticed yet.

    • According to those figures there is $327 billion of mortgage debt (19% x 1.72 trillion) secured against property.

      If there is a major price correction the banks could be in for some serious losses…watch this space.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 7.3.1

        If previous corrections are a guide, banks will be protected from their losses by the public purse, while individual citizens are the ones who will suffer.

  8. Dennis Frank 8

    Amazing photo of a mirage: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/25/ghostly-iceberg-canada-superior-mirage

    But wait, there's more!

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/mar/18/pop-up-enabled-ship-hover-dorset-coast-superior-mirage

    Just goes to show that sometimes you just can't believe your eyes. Airborne cruise ships!

    BBC meteorologist David Braine said it was common in the Arctic but can appear “very rarely” in the UK during winter. It is caused by a meteorological phenomenon called a temperature inversion.

    Normally, the air temperature drops with increasing altitude, making mountaintops colder than the foothills. But in a temperature inversion, warm air sits on top of a band of colder air, playing havoc with our visual perception. Both the Cornwall and Bournemouth instances were caused by chilly air lying over the relatively cold sea, with warmer air above.

    Seemingly the differential temperature creates a boundary, with one layer of air then acting like a lens to elevate ship relative to horizon…

  9. tsmithfield 10

    Contradictory statements from the PM and the MOH with respect to RAT tests:

    https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-health-advice-public/assessment-and-testing-covid-19/rapid-antigen-testing

    "General availability for the public and community groups

    Purchase of self-test rapid antigen tests will be available for the general public in the first quarter of 2022."

    Note, this wording seems to have changed from last time when I looked when it was suggesting availability to the public early in 2022. I wonder why?

    But then this statement from the PM:

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/300503479/covid19-nz-some-essential-workers-will-be-able-to-get-out-of-isolation-with-a-rapid-antigen-test-80-million-on-order

    "Ardern said she was not all that keen on providing abundant RAT tests at pharmacies for anyone who wanted one, as they were less accurate than PCR tests."

    Hmmmm

    And it looks like the government is trying to mitigate it's own incompetence by confiscating RAT tests from organisations that have had the foresight to import them.

    https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA2201/S00084/government-hiding-incompetence-by-seizing-rapid-tests.htm

    • Jimmy 10.1

      There is a bit of ass covering going on.

    • weka 10.2

      Note, this wording seems to have changed from last time when I looked when it was suggesting availability to the public early in 2022. I wonder why?

      Almost like health policy adapts during a pandemic.

      • weka 10.2.1

        honestly, you quibbling over "first quarter" and "early 2022" makes you look like you are more interested in having a go at the government than wanting to discuss RATs.

        • tsmithfield 10.2.1.1

          My main point was about the contradictory positions from the PM and MOH which you haven’t answered.

          It doesn't really matter about what the MOH says.

          There is a snowball's chance in hell that RAT's will be available to the public in the time frame from the MOH.

          As I said in previous posts, we will probably need over 300 million of them this year to be used widely.

          At the moment the government claims to have millions on order, and is planning to use them for essential/critical workers.

          So the chance of anyone else getting them is virtually nil I suspect.

          • weka 10.2.1.1.1

            I'm good with trusting the actual public health experts on best use of limited resources.

            • tsmithfield 10.2.1.1.1.1

              And the seemingly contradictory positions of the MOH and the PM?

              Should the public be able to have access to RATs or not (assuming there were any available to be had).

              • Gypsy

                Well it's not the first time the government has ignored health advice.

                And now the government has gone full soviet and 'requisitioned' incoming stocks from the private sector.

                I wonder if they'll follow this advice and scrap MIQ?

                • Shanreagh

                  You need to catch up with the latest on the Omicron virus and the stepped out, staged process that has been put in place.

                  At the moment your commentary is just clanging and showing a bias and a lack of understanding of what is going on.

                  Did you not know that there are other things to that the Govt can requisition and it has nothing to do with Soviets or any rubbish like that. Perhaps go back a bit further to King John, the Magna Carta and the robber barons and the ability of the state to tax (take your money), to sentence you (take your life/liberty) and take your land (for Public Works etc)

                  The requisition will have been done against a background of the pandemic and the knowledge that health aids are better in the hands of those who can have a process to make sure they are used by, and for, those with greatest need. It will be done following regulation and there will be compensation given.

                  Sadly for those who see everything in an economic framework above everything else, again it seems that the Govt has made the decision that those in greatest need are are those whose health needs are greatest or by those whose essential worker status makes them important to us all.

                  If you read the latest on the processes on Omicron you will see that the staged process of greatest need at the most optimum time will mean that we will all have a chance to get these tests.

      • Shanreagh 10.2.2

        @ weka 10.2 Good heavens have they forgotten that this is a novel virus and despite this we should have fixed views and ways of doing things all the time. The value of learning on the job is grossly overrated especially when human lives are involved.

        /sarc.

        • weka 10.2.2.1

          it's not good when people can't admit that things need to change or that a mistake was made.

          • Macro 10.2.2.1.1

            Completely Off-topic (well sort of) But have you read this OP – a letter from Australia to NZ

            A letter to New Zealand, from Covid-ravaged Australia

            A really thoughtful letter, respectfully written, and full of advice as to what we might expect as we move into this next wave of the pandemic.

            On the other hand perhaps we might also take some comfort from the West Australian experience where their Covid response mirrors pretty much our own here in NZ. Admittedly they have far fewer in-bound travellers bringing the virus than we get. But they had their first community Omicron case before us. To date the numbers of Omicron cases presenting are around 20 per day.

            Latest WA covid update

          • Shanreagh 10.2.2.1.2

            Agree, whether we like it or not this is a new happening, we learn on the job, things are not static, we change the way we do things because the we think the way we did it before may not have been the best way. To me this shows maturity and fore thought. Others unfortunately think it is is weakness.

    • joe90 10.3

      And it looks like the government is trying to mitigate it's own incompetence

      Looks more like another of The Bish's reckons that may or may not be true.

    • Enough is Enough 10.4

      I cannot see how we are going to be able to manage this thing without widely available RATs that can be purchased from supermarkets and pharamacies.

      With thousands of positive cases a day likely, there are going to be hundreds of thousands of contacts that need to be tested, or self isolate. Our current PCR testing regime will not be able to cope with that at all so we are going to have huge chunks of the work force stuck at home isloating becuase they can't get a test, or are waiting days for a test result.

      There is no downside to widely available RATs so I think your opinion on Ardern's comments are very plausible.

    • weka 10.5

      “I have been approached by a series of organisations today, all of whom have orders for rapid antigen tests about to be filled. They have been told that those orders cannot be filled because the rapid antigen tests are now going to the Government instead.

      “That the Government has now resorted to requisitioning rapid antigen tests from the private sector is a stunning indictment of the Government’s incompetence over rapid antigen testing.

      From your National Party link.

      Where were the organisations ordering from? Was it from NZ wholesalers or overseas? Has the government actually requisitioned or do they just have more buying clout?

      And, are you suggesting that private businesses should have first access to test kits before the government, during a pandemic?

      • tsmithfield 10.5.1

        My understanding is that the only organisations able to import the RATs at the moment are those involved in the approved pilot program last year, including large organisations such as Silver Fern Farms.

        So, if the government is snatching them, then most likely it is from those from whom the government has already approved.

        Note, the likes of Silver Fern Farms are major food producers and considered essential services under previous lockdown settings. So, I would be very disappointed if the government is grabbing tests from them.

        • weka 10.5.1.1

          in other words, you don't know. And National probably are manipulating the wording to make it sound worse than it is.

          Would you mind answering this?

          And, are you suggesting that private businesses should have first access to test kits before the government, during a pandemic?

          • Enough is Enough 10.5.1.1.1

            Just to your question, it is RATs which is allowing many private businesses internationally to operate. I have a friend in Austria who is a lawyer. She must complete a RAT every day before entering the office.

            No, its not 100% accurante, but yes, it mitgates the risk in a private work environment

            • weka 10.5.1.1.1.1

              yes, and when NZ reaches the kind of omicron spread that warrants that, my understanding is we will start using RATs more widely (subject to stock).

              Why is this so hard to understand? We're not in the same situation as Australia, or most other countries with omicron outbreaks/spread.

          • tsmithfield 10.5.1.1.2

            I haven't seen any denial from the government yet that it has happening. Will make for interesting questions at question time I guess.

            Actually if the private sector have had the foresight to get them ordered, then, yes, they should have them, especially if they are using them more efficiently.

            If they are helping stop the spread amongst the community then it is effectively achieving the same end as the government.

            • weka 10.5.1.1.2.1

              what about going forward? Who should have first access, private buyers or govt?

              If they are helping stop the spread amongst the community then it is effectively achieving the same end as the government.

              Except they won't to the same degree and thus won't be achieving the same end, as has been explained to you many times now.

              Why are you so opposed to the government controlling pandemic supplies?

              • tsmithfield

                Companies that were approved last year were 29 companies. The names of the companies aren’t detailed in this link. But I know one of them to be Silver Fern Farms.

                https://www.mbie.govt.nz/about/news/rapid-antigen-tests-now-being-trialled-by-new-zealand-businesses/

                Thus, it is likely that those importing the tests are some of the biggest employers in NZ. Those companies using the tests to keep their employees safe will actually be protecting a lot of workers. Surely, as a socialist, you would see that as a good thing?

                If the government is having to confiscate tests from the private sector because they didn't have the same foresight to get them in earlier, then your last question is neatly answered.

    • weka 10.6

      It's been explained to you many times why the government doesn't want free for all use of RATs at this point in the omicron outbreak. I can only assume now that you want businesses to go against public health advice designed to protect the whole country, so that businesses can look after their business.

      I'm not unsympathetic to the stress the situation places on business owners and managers, but not managing omicron well will just place a different kind of stress on them.

      • tsmithfield 10.6.1

        "It's been explained to you many times why the government doesn't want free for all use of RATs at this point in the omicron outbreak."

        As I pointed out above, that depends on what part of the government is stating it's position on this.

        And, we are currently investigating saliva tests from Rako as an alternative for our business since we can’t get RATs.

        That looks like it will work well unless the government exercises it’s new power to confiscate its resources.

        As I indicated above, the MOH states the RATs will be available to the general public in the first quarter. That would be by the end of March when the Omicron outbreak will likely be in full swing.

    • Jimmy 10.7

      Mainfreight interview on One ZB says they are using RAT tests almost daily for employees before they start work over in Australia and pretty much no longer bothering with PCR tests. If only we had them here.

      https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/mike-hosking-breakfast/audio/don-braid-mainfreight-chief-executives-says-rapid-antigen-tests-are-working-well-for-colleagues-over-the-tasman/

      • weka 10.7.1

        and do you want NZ to have the same health outcomes as Australia?

        • tsmithfield 10.7.1.1

          There is a lot to learn from countries that have had to deal with large amounts of Covid or Omicron.

          Granted, they shouldn't have got into that position in the first place, but they have had to adapt and manage the situation they have found themselves in.

          And we might find ourselves in the same position, whatever we do.

          • weka 10.7.1.1.1

            we might, but at the moment we are trying really hard to avoid that. And part of that is making informed decisions about what tests to use when.

            • tsmithfield 10.7.1.1.1.1

              You still haven't answered about which you think is right: the MOH's position on RAT's (available to the general public this quarter) or the PM's position (not comfortable about the being available to the general public).

      • joe90 10.7.2

        If only we had them here.

        Because no one would hoard them, employers would be lining up to supply them and things would be as peachy AF, right?

        /

        The health minister has also noted that the hoarding of rapid tests has played a part in Australia’s spluttering rollout, but unlike his Nationals colleague Barnaby Joyce, he seemed to focus the blame on bad-faith suppliers and re-sellers rather than individuals.

        Hunt says anyone caught hoarding or price gouging RATs will face “the wrath” of the ACCC.

        Hunt:

        There were clear cases where there had been some hoarding. Unfortunately it does include people that were scooping up to resell at inflated prices and that’s why the anti-hoarding measures are in tandem with the price gouging measures which we have been pursuing, and what we have seen is that … there is increasing evidence that those who sought to do that are very quickly realising that they will face the wrath of the investigative body.

        https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2022/jan/24/australia-news-live-covid-coronavirus-omicron-nsw-victoria-qld-wa-weather-scott-morrison-rapid-antigen-tests-case-numbers-wa-qld

        Unions are threatening industrial action if employers do not agree to cover the cost of rapid antigen tests for staff, but business groups have already labelled the request "unworkable".

        https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-18/unions-call-employers-cover-covid-rapid-test-cost/100763218

      • pat 10.7.3

        What would you do if you had at positive RAT test result?

        • Jimmy 10.7.3.1

          You isolate. As they do in Mainfreight Australia they test before starting work. If a positive test you go home and isolate. Could then get an up the nose test to confirm.

          • pat 10.7.3.1.1

            They have announced the new regime, but i would have suggested a positive RAT test would have then led to a PCR test and with Omicron that PCR testing will soon be swamped but more importantly the subsequent contact tracing will not have a hope of keeping up….which brings into question the usefulness of RATs in the restriction of the spread of Omicron.

            • McFlock 10.7.3.1.1.1

              Yeah, but the point with regular testing of asymptomatic workers is that most of their exposure to the workplace is minimised. So there's not that day or so wait for the result, and you get them before symptoms are noticed.

              Whereas in a low-infection population, regular testing of most staff is a waste of RATs. Or they only get used if someone has symptoms, and then false negatives really come into play. I test negative, so I think my sniffle is just a cold, and infect everyone else at work/gym.

              General use of RATs is about funnelling cases into the regular testing and treatment system before they would otherwise have been detected (e.g. via symptoms or a close contact).

              • pat

                The impact with a highly transmissible variant like omicron will be marginal at best….and many will seek confirmation (if they can) via a PCR test. I view them as little better than a placebo, they make people feel like they are doing something constructive when in effect they are of very limited use….again I point to Australia, high vaccination rates, boosters, RATs, contact tracing, masks et al and daily (yes daily) cases peaked at almost 90,000

                We may do better than that but Id suggest we wont do that much better (per capita)

                • McFlock

                  For the workplaces concerned, slowing the spread of covid through that workplace could be the difference between reduced organisational effectiveness and none. RATs can help with that, in a high-covid environment.

                  • pat

                    In a low covid environment there may be a case….but as said a RAT is only indicative, it demands a follow up….but in a high incidence environment they are almost worthless because that follow up becomes constrained to the point of collapse.

                    Consider a home pregnancy test….you dont fit out the nursery, seek the services of a mid wife and arrange leave without first having it confirmed by further tests and ultrasounds.

                    • McFlock

                      Well, pregnancies are a bit different because a significant outcome is guaranteed – either good or bad.

                      Especially with omicron, asymptomatic cases are not a significant out come – but you don't want them spreading to someone who might have a significant outcome, because those are always bad.

                      So in a high-covid environment, we mark off positive RATs as "probable covid" and isolate them, but they self monitor for symptoms and the biggest govt issues would be testing their flatmates, and/or ensuring they have all the stuff they need, food etc. If they get bad symptoms, they go to hospital.

                      In a low-covid environment, we do the batch testing etc to confirm the cases, strains, and track the generations to observe missing connections between current cases, as well as extended contact-tracing interviews, identifying possible cluster connections, tracing and contacting possible contacts, and so on. All in addition to the stuff done in a high-covid environment. That's too much work for 20k cases a day, or whatever.

                    • pat

                      Think you have that backwards….in a low incidence environment you have the resources to do the required (and potentially effective) follow ups…confirmation, contact tracing etc.

                      In a high incidence environment you lack the confirmation capacity, and the contact tracing so every positive RAT result self isolates (if they decide to) but likely after they have already transmitted.

            • Enough is Enough 10.7.3.1.1.2

              We don't have the resources to be PCR testing everyone who has a positive RAT test

  10. joe90 11

    On the bright side, dude's pigheadedness makes him an ideal candidate for a pig heart.

    /

    The family said he was at the front of the line to receive a transplant, but because he has not received the COVID-19 vaccination, he is no longer eligible, according to hospital policy.

    And Ferguson said his son refuses to get the shot.

    “It’s kind of against his basic principles. He doesn’t really believe in it,” he said.

    https://www.kktv.com/2022/01/25/man-who-refuses-covid-19-vaccination-denied-heart-transplant/

    • Robert Guyton 11.1

      Nobody's putting anything in his body!!!

    • weka 11.2

      I'm kind of at the point now of letting the chips fall where they may. If he doesn't want to get vaccinated in order to have a life saving operation, that's actually ok. We can respect his decision and he can live and die with it.

      • Shanreagh 11.2.1

        I agree though I don't think his decision making process is yet at this stage.

        He is still at the stage of trying to force the authorities by various means to do the transplant without the vaccine. US being such a litigious society it is not beyond the bounds of possibility to see legal challenge on the requirements for transplants.

        In dealing with covid in unvaccinated people there have been at least a couple of cases where pro ivermectin spouses got the right to ask the hospital to administer Ivermectin and in one case to stop a hospital turning off the ventilator.

        https://abcnews.go.com/Health/judge-blocks-hospital-turning-off-ventilator-severely-ill/story?id=82332446

        He moved to Texas and died 3 days later.

        • weka 11.2.1.1

          In dealing with covid in unvaccinated people there have been at least a couple of cases where pro ivermectin spouses got the right to ask the hospital to administer Ivermectin and in one case to stop a hospital turning off the ventilator.

          different order of challenge though. Treating someone with ivermectin doesn't harm others or waste a heart. Not turning off a ventilator has been managed before.

    • McFlock 11.3

      Apparently the first recipient of a GMO pig heart is still alive.

      Interesting times, indeed.

  11. Gosman 12

    This is how radical socialism ends. Not with a counter-revolution but with untrumpeted return to the previous way of doing things but just with most people worse off than before and crony capitalism much more prevalent.

    "The second stabilizing factor is that a more pragmatic government has made a kind of pact with the private sector. “To the degree that you don’t get involved in politics, the government will let you be,” Oliveros said. Gone are the frequent attacks on the private sector and threats to expropriate businesses and property; the government has eliminated many of the price controls that once choked the economy and has stopped enforcing those that remain."

    https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2022/01/dollar-venezuela-economic-collapse-maduro-bolivar-devaluation/621119/

    • joe90 12.1

      "The second stabilizing factor is that a more pragmatic government has made a kind of pact with the private sector.

      So it's back to business as usual, Venezuelan style; the corrupt mob running the shop have agreed to share the spoils with the corrupt mob who used to share the spoils with the corrupt mob who preceded the corrupt mob running the shop.

    • Blazer 12.2

      interesting …link…sounds alot like…New Zealand…

      'Here, as the crisis grinds on, the middle class is squeezed ever thinner and the country is left with a small elite and a massive underclass. Venezuelans will tell you that the Bubble is an illusion. But it is a seductive one,'

  12. arkie 13

    Minister Sepuloni not only has beneficiaries to worry about, as Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage she should probably have anticipated this too:

    Many musicians, actors, technicians and crew in the live events industry are facing months without any income because of the move to the red traffic light setting.

    The wage subsidy scheme and resurgence payments are no longer offered, leaving those who still are restricted from doing their jobs all on their own.

    Opera singer Angus Simmons was not suggesting the restrictions on gatherings should not be in place.

    "But you can't just disregard a whole industry and not provide them support. Because people's work has disappeared, and they don't know when they'll be able to work again, and they're staring down the barrel of months and months without any income whatsoever," Simmons said.

    At the time of writing, 9278 people had signed a petition asking for some sort of payment for people who cannot work because of the red traffic light rules. Most in the industry are contractors too, so if they do not work, they are not paid.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/business/460234/events-industry-workers-face-months-without-income-due-to-red-traffic-light-setting

  13. Ad 14

    Good to see Efeso Collins break out and say he's standing or Auckland Mayor.

    Hope his fundraising is up to it.

    And hopefully put to bed those rumours that Goff is supporting Richard Hills, who is wet as 9-day cardboard.

    • Blazer 14.1

      Could be a hope.

      The contestants announced so far are….underwhelming.

      • Ad 14.1.1

        The question really is:

        What is the actual job of a city mayor and council once water is stripped off them, transport is mostly funded and directed by NZTA, and their regulatory role weakened substantially in the RMA changes?

        It's like 1989 again.

        • Blazer 14.1.1.1

          Diminutive Leo Molloy, the 'poison dwarf' is a candidate and has an ego the size of….Trump.

          Seems to have the backing of John Tamihere and his resources.

          Hard to understand as the dwarf is very right wing.

          Splitting the votes may result in a surprise…winner.

  14. joe90 15

    An astrologer who didn't see it coming…

    /

    Olavo de Carvalho, the coronavirus-denying mentor of Jair Bolsonaro and Brazil’s radical right, has died in the United States, with one of his children citing Covid-19 as the cause.

    “The family … asks for prayers for the professor’s soul,” relatives said on Twitter after announcing the death of the 74-year-old polemicist – a towering figure in contemporary Brazilian politics who was adored and abhorred in equal measure by millions of followers and foes.

    The statement did not say how Carvalho – a former astrologer who repeatedly trivialized Covid as the “moronavirus” – had died. However, his estranged daughter, Heloísa de Carvalho, said coronavirus was the cause.

    “He has blood on his hands,” she told the magazine Veja, blaming her father’s “denialist ideas” and dissemination of fake news for the Brazilian government’s delay in purchasing Covid vaccines. “But I do not celebrate his death.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/25/covid-denialist-bolsonaro-ally-olavo-de-carvalho-dies-coronavirus

  15. tsmithfield 16

    Here is the answer to the shortage of RATs in NZ:

    The government just needs to launch a policy called, say, KiwiRAT, and promise to create a 100 million of them in the next two months.

  16. tsmithfield 17

    In a comment above Weka asked me:

    "Why are you so opposed to the government controlling pandemic supplies?"

    I thought that question deserved a fuller answer.

    The problem I have with the MOH is that it is a huge organisation. There is a well known maxim that small organisations tend to be much more nimble than large ones. I think this issue has been well demonstrated with the MOH over recent times. I think the MOH is too stuck in processes that work well in stable situations but are far too slow when situations are changing rapidly.

    There are other examples too, such as Whanau Ora having to sue the MOH to get details to enable them to reach out to unvaccinated Maori populations.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/covid-19-delta-outbreak-30000-plus-maori-receive-first-jab-over-the-last-three-days/XHOW4HPOI3ZZZWFVXKIMCQ54DI/

    There is the issue of RAT tests that has already been well discussed here. But another example is the several Covid antivirals, that are still waiting to be approved by Medsafe and aren't even in stock here yet anyway.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2022/01/covid-19-antiviral-medications-may-not-be-available-until-after-omicron-peak.html

    The approval process should have been fast-tracked. And the fact we haven't got stock here now indicates to me that they weren't willing to pay the price for earlier delivery.

    So, those poor individuals who end up desperately sick in this outbreak probably won't have access to life saving anti-virals.

    If anything will get us through this pandemic it is all the individual organisations in this country that, out of their own self interest, are taking steps to minimise the spread of Omicron. Sometimes greed is good.

    The same with RAT tests. If had been able individual organisations were able to import/purchase them then the combined effect of acting out of self interest would be to minimise the spread of Omicron.

    None of this gives me much confidence in the MOH, and I am surprised that others seem to have supreme confidence in them.

    • Enough is Enough 17.1

      I also feel this just falls along party political lines. Almost everyone on the left is parroting the PM, with the majority of the right parroting Bish.

      They will become an everyday part of life that we will all end up using regularly. I can't wait for that day so we can put this silly argument to bed.

      • tsmithfield 17.1.1

        In this case, its not party-political. I don't think the situation would be much different under a National government so far as the MOH goes unfortunately.

    • Ad 17.2

      MoH's purchasing moves this week are minor compared to the fully nationalised buying power already in place in PHARMAC, ACC and the combined Waitemata/Auckland/Manukau DHB's.

      Has been that way for over a decade.

      Once all DHB's are merged third quarter this year they will form a third bulk purchaser and they will rock the international markets with their essentially unionised purhasing power.

      Relax. Everything is done for you.

    • weka 17.3

      I thought that question deserved a fuller answer.

      Appreciated 👍

      I disagree about the RATs, in the sense that timing matters and we shouldn't be using them *yet. But the rest I generally agree with. MoH is a big organisation, it's conservative (a feature of public health for obvious reasons) and yes it's not nimble on its feet.

      Thing is though, it's actually having to hold the responsibility for the whole of public health in NZ. No other organisation has to do that, and certainly individual businesses don't.

      I agree that businesses are a big part of the pandemic response, and it's clear the government is relying on them to do their part. However I can't see the rationale for them being allowed to independently of the pandemic response where that runs counter to policy. Will have to have think if there is a precedent for that.

      I don't know if there was another way this could have been handled where by businesses were allowed to buy as many RATs as they wanted, but were still restricted in when they could use them. Are there limits on current RAT purchases?

      • weka 17.3.1

        btw, many of us that have had to use MoH services pre-pandemic are not particularly surprised by the limitations on the department, and the problems that arise from that. But I think it is news to many New Zealanders.

  17. McFlock 19

    Little tip for folks who have found a way to get one over on the system, be it vax passes, taxes, workplace safety, building construction, etc: if, when describing your activity, you feel compelled to utter something along the lines of "it's not illegal, is it?", you might want to get some professional advice on that before proceeding.

    Stuff got a fake vax pass off some dude with a printer and a laminator. Police popped around soon afterwards.

    A bit concerned that he reckons he has mates who will soon have a campaign to send pass-checking establishments "a message", though. Probably going to fall flat, but whackos be whackos.

  18. Robert Guyton 20

    Claimed he was doing it for nothing, but accepted a $40 koha.

  19. tsmithfield 21

    Further to my earlier post about the government nicking RAT tests from private companies. Looks like it wasn't just the National Party imagining it:

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2022/01/covid-19-omicron-health-works-group-says-government-has-seconded-incoming-stock-of-rapid-antigen-tests.html

    And from the Yeah Right file:

    “Health Director General Dr Ashley Bloomfield said no on-shore tests had been requisitioned but the Government had asked its suppliers to consolidate all forward orders so they went to the Government.

    He promised these would get to the businesses who ordered them, however.”

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/300504120/covid19-nz-ashley-bloomfield-says-government-is-taking-over-incoming-orders-of-rapid-antigen-tests-but-not-seizing-them

    LOL. “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

  20. The latest on the phasing etc for the Omicron outbreak.

    Seems pretty helpful/positive/sensible

    https://covid19.govt.nz/news-and-data/latest-news/government-announces-three-phase-public-health-response-to-omicron/

    The devil will be in the detail for sure…..hopefully we can find this out without an upsurge in reinfections from the Moaning Minnie virus that came in at the same time as Covid initially.

    This isn't a moan (ha ha) but I am over people/news saying we are in a lockdown…..if you read what we can do now as compared with what we could do with the highest lockdown levels we have much more freedom now. The key though, as someone mentioned earlier, is will we want to go out and about while this virus is about? So we might impose things on ourselves to help ourselves and so help our communities.

    Livestream from Assoc Health Minister Ayesha Verrall
    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2022/01/livestream-associate-health-minister-ayesha-verrall-outlines-three-phase-approach-to-managing-omicron.html

  21. Puckish Rogue 23

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/celebrities/127597957/neil-young-gives-spotify-an-ultimatum-me-or-joe-rogan

    Hes taking a stand and putting his money where his mouth is…except he forgot something slightly important:

    https://www.bbc.com/news/business-55557633

    'An investment firm has bought 50% of the rights to all Neil Young's songs.'

    'Hipgnosis Songs Fund spent an estimated $150m (£110m) on 1,180 songs written by the Canadian folk rocker.'

    'Founded by music industry veteran Merck Mercuriadis, Hipgnosis turns music royalties into an income stream.'

    • millsy 23.1

      Rogan is a rasict, homo/transphobic, misogynistic fascist who condones police brutality. He should be drive from public life

      [I just looked up what Puckish Rogue says here about claims you have made about his historic views and statements. I did a quick key word search and I can see you made the claims multiple times. I can’t see anything from PR’s comments to support that. I’m making a note in the back end. If you make such claims again about PR, or any other commenter on TS, your comment will need to pre-emptively include a link to a specific TS comment backing up your claim. Count this as a warning. – weka]

      • Puckish Rogue 23.1.1

        Joe Rogan is a not a very good racist then:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGc4mg5pul4

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pmviUS1Zac

        [embedded YT clips converted to links]

      • Puckish Rogue 23.1.2

        He also isn't very good at being homo/transphobic:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gG_D5UBS0Uw

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6IonRH1-ow

        [embedded YT clips converted to links]

      • Puckish Rogue 23.1.4

        As for being fascist, well he does have questionable politics…

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve7ccl3YrHU

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O-iLk1G_ng

        [embedded YT clips converted to links]

        [Stop spamming the site with loads of YT clips without any given reason plus time stamp why people should click on these and spend hours of their precious time watching them. Are you a diversion troll? – Incognito]

        • Robert Guyton 23.1.4.1

          Joe Rogun's an idiot, imo.

        • Incognito 23.1.4.2

          Moderation note for you.

          • Puckish Rogue 23.1.4.2.1

            Seriously, do I need to spell it out for you?

            Well ok then I was using the clips of Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who you may have noticed is black, to show that Joe Rogan is not racist

            If you like I can provide more clips of Joe Rogan interviewing black people, Asian people, Jewish people, all kinds of people

            All to show he promotes people of colour therefore it is unlikely he is a racist.

            I then showed a clip of gay strongman Rob Kearney and Trans youtuber Blaire White to, once again, show the type of people Joe has on his show

            You'll also see how he interacts with them as well.

            I then showed clips of his viewpoints of and, again, interviewing women to…well I'm sure even you can work out why (if not let me know)

            Lastly I used a clip of him endorsing Bernie Saunders, I suppose I could also used a clip of him with Tulsi Gabbard or Andrew Yang but I thought this was the best way of countering Millsys claims.

            Now did you get all that or was that a bit much for you?

            Now I wouldn't have to do things like this if you and the other mods actually sorted stuff out rather than leave it for others, this is why I'm pissed at Millsy:

            .https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-22-12-2021/#comment-1846061

            millsy…

            22 December 2021 at 10:13 pm

            'Why dont you just admit, Puck, that you want the USA to return to the days of the KKK and lynching, and segregation and where cops could just kill people and get away with it.'

            'You are on record, as saying that Chauvin did nothing wrong and that George Floyd was a dirty ‘nigger’ who deserveed to die.'

            I asked for links or evidence (which is a thing you mods apparently like, when it suits you) and got none.

            Post a few youtube links to prove a point gets you a mod note, say someone used the n word without proof and no worries

            Balls in your court

            [I hate having to waste my time on commenters such as you who:

            1. should know better than to argue with a Moderator;
            2. tell Moderators what, how, and when they should moderate;
            3. threaten to double down on the same offence (after spamming the site with 9 YT clips, some of which very long) and thus completely ignoring the moderation.

            Linking without clear purpose has been an issue and Moderators (incl. lprent) have started to give out warning about it. However, as you know, this has been a longstanding issue. For example:

            https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-25-01-2022/#comment-1854504
            https://thestandard.org.nz/going-red/#comment-1854271

            I’d taken a break from moderating when millsy made that comment, but I’m moderating you now. Simply take heed and move on before you waste more of my time – Incognito]

            • Incognito 23.1.4.2.1.1

              Moderation note for you.

              • Puckish Rogue

                Whatever.

                • weka

                  to be fair, I was getting close to saying something about the number of youtubes you were linking generally. The banter/funny ones are good, but it has been getting over the top in quantity. We're not FB 😉

                  What Incognito is pointing to here is an additional thing. If you want to make a political argument, then make it, in your own words, and provide some back up (quotes and links, or youtubes and time stamps) where that's meaningful or where asked.

                  eg you could explain why you think that millsy is wrong about Rogan.

                  I agree that millsy's comments you quote are not ok, and will keep an eye on that.

                  • weka

                    I've modded millsy now. If you see this happening again, please should tap me in a reply to any of my comments and please make sure you include direct link.

                  • Muttonbird

                    Agree with the policy on video clips. It's lazy commenting from Puckish Rogue, even though it probably took a while to trawl through his massive archive of Joe Rogan videos!

                    Simply, no-one has the time to watch video, they're often far too long, and so I think it's incumbent on the commenter to provide a synopsis to go along with it the same way we provide comment when posting a link to an article.

                    • weka

                      I suspect that there will be some moderation around this over the next few weeks to tidy things up. We've had to do this in the past when people just put vids up with little or no explanation and it settled down again.

                    • joe90

                      Short, illustrative, whimsical, amusing, newsworthy and it's a whacked out world are just fine. So too are music, beasties, not pets, and ain't it gorgeous vids.

                      But please, no monetised reckons of internet randos.

                    • weka

                      Some of the music vid convos have been good.

                  • Puckish Rogue

                    'eg you could explain why you think that millsy is wrong about Rogan.'

                    (The following rant is not getting at you, I'm just trying to explain)

                    I just thought that was obvious.

                    Millsy called Joe Rogan racist so I posted clips (entire episodes even) of Joe Rogan interviewing the same black guy twice to show that Joe isn't racist because why would Joe promote a black guy if hes racist (

                    I also could have posted Joe talking to Asian guys, Jewish guys etc etc

                    Its also the same reason I posted clips of gay guys and trans women and Bernie Sanders (that could have been Tulsi Gabbard or Andrew Yang)

                    I posted them to refute what Millsy said and, once again, Millsy gets to say whatever he likes, doesn't have to provide anything to back up what he says and gets no push back.

                    Which is why he continues to act the way he does and it just pisses me off however I've seen what you put on Millsys post so I'll apologise to Incognito for my behaviour and I'll take on board what you say and reel myself in a bit

                    • weka

                      thanks for that PR.

                      1. not it's not obvious. I have no idea if JR is racist or not. That he talks to black people don't make him not racist. I also have no idea what millsy is on about. This is what happens when people don't explain their thinking.

                      2. but, this sounds more about a pattern re millsy. I will say I checked the moderation thread and they're one of the more modded people, for the same issue generally. It's useful to have those examples from December, now linked. Mods take notice of patterns of behaviour, and also generally don't like having to repeat themselves this much.

                • weka

                  I've modded millsy now. If you see this happening again, please shoulder tap me in a reply to any of my comments and please make sure you include direct link.

                  • Muttonbird

                    Could I please point out that PR went on a deliberately provocative several day binge promoting Kyle Rittenhouse before Christmas. I'm not surprised Millsy was upset by it. I was too.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      I was upset that people on a left wing blog were more than happy, ecstatic even, that a boy was all but railroaded into prison

                      The left wing media were against Kyle

                      The democrat party were against Kyle

                      The social media companies were against Kyle

                      The evidence exonerated Kyle and yet people on here still thought Kyle should go to prison even though all the evidence gathered proved his innocence

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Let it go, Pucksy!

                    • Muttonbird

                      Yeah, lovely wee boy with an AR15, wasn't he? ​​​​​​​ 😕

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      Innocent until proven guilty.

                      Trial by a jury of your peers.

                      Due process.

                      Think any of this is important?

                    • Muttonbird

                      I hear the judge was a full noise Trumpist. That's US justice for you.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      I heard something as well, heres what I heard:

                      https://www.npr.org/2021/11/16/1056181659/kyle-rittenhouse-trial-judge-bruce-schroeder-kenosha

                      'He was first appointed in 1983 by a Democratic governor and has continuously won election since, often running unopposed.'

                    • weka

                      Could I please point out that PR went on a deliberately provocative several day binge promoting Kyle Rittenhouse before Christmas. I'm not surprised Millsy was upset by it. I was too.

                      Unless he broke some of the site rules or flaming etc, too fucking bad. Sorry, but we're here for the robust debate. People say all sorts of stuff here that I disagree with, or sometimes upsets me. The point is you still have to argue the politics. Not make shit up about the person you are arguing with.

                      I haven't followed either issue closely (Rittenhouse or Rogan), so going forward I will just be looking at these kinds of things,

                      • are people making actual political points or arguments?
                      • are they making claims of fact, and if so, are they backing them up on request?
                      • is the back up in a form that people can generally access easily? eg explanation, quote and link, or explanation, video and timestamp
                      • are people starting to snipe at each other and do ad homs?
                      • is anyone trolling or flaming?

                      and so on. In that sense I don't actually care too much about the moral rights and wrongs*, I care about whether the atmosphere is conducive to intelligent, informative and enjoyable debate.

                      *not in the way I would care if I was involved in the discussion, but that would take a lot more time and work on my part.

      • Puckish Rogue 23.1.5

        Could I have a link to Joe Rogan condoning police brutality

        Also, just out of curiosity, is it the corpulence of your body or your unpleasant personality that explains why you can't attract a mate and is that why you come off sounding like a 'nice guy'

      • swordfish 23.1.6

        Rogan is a rasict, homo/transphobic, misogynistic fascist who condones police brutality. He should be drive (sic) from public life

        That was a highly articulate outburst, Millsy ! … welcome back … love the dispassionate nuance … the careful, even-handed weighing up of right & wrong:

      • weka 23.1.7

        mod note, please acknowledge.

    • pat 23.2

      I imagine there was a clause about use that Young will be invoking.

  22. Jenny how to get there 24

    From the good news files; Two weeks after the operation David Bennett is still alive, his pig’s heart beating soundly with no signs of rejection.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/health-family/two-weeks-after-his-operation-david-bennett-is-alive-his-pig-s-heart-beating-soundly-1.4783776

    And in other good news teenage pregnancies (and abortions) in the Republic of Ireland are in sharp decline. Put down to societal changes, sex ed. and greater acceptance about sexuality and contraception from parents.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/health-family/parenting/teenage-pregnancies-drop-73-in-ireland-in-20-years-1.4779434

    It seems that after two hundred years the enlightenment is still delivering for humanity.

  23. Tricledrown 25

    After all the church abuses in Ireland the Catholic Church has lost its power. And is shunned.Nuns hide their uniform as now they are looked down upon.

    After the 2 homes for pregnant unmarried women where dozens of murdered children were found buried in a cesspool that put an end to the Moral superiority the Catholic Church lived behind.

  24. Grant 26

    Tricledrown @25. No doubt the children were abused (certainly by modern standards) but I’ve never read anything about them being murdered. If you can provide a link to a reputable source which indicates that such was the case I’d be most interested. Cheers.

    • Puckish Rogue 26.1

      I think it was Molly that posted a documentary on this subject

      Next time you see her see if she can post it again

      Harrowing in a 'how does this kind of thing happen kind of way

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