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Open mike 26/04/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 26th, 2022 - 71 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

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 …

71 comments on “Open mike 26/04/2022 ”

  1. Jenny how to get there 1

    Elon Musk while rummaging around down the back of his couch finds $44 billion.

    On a whim decides to spend it on buying Twitter.

    Tax the rich.

    • Dennis Frank 1.1

      The board of Twitter has agreed to a US$44 billion takeover offer… Musk is the world's richest man, according to Forbes magazine, with an estimated net worth of US$273.6b mostly due to his shareholding in electric vehicle maker Tesla which he runs. He also leads the aerospace firm SpaceX.

      "Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated," he said in a statement announcing the deal.

      "I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans.

      "Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it."


      The bit about "authenticating all humans" seems too aspirational, perhaps? How to measure the authenticity of even one human seems problematic. I hope he starts with Donald Trump – the verdict would be good for a twitterstorm.

      Focus would shift onto the parts of the Don deemed to be lacking in authenticity, and the methods of remediating those defects. It would then become a model of reform to inspire all the other humans. Well, that's looking on the bright side. He could wheel in Google's quantum computer to finesse the process design…

      • Nic the NZer 1.1.1

        Sorry to disappoint you but, Musk has a habbit of marketing existing technologies as both new and revolutionary. Authenticating all humans already comes in Microsoft and Google flavours, so apparently Twitter wants in on that. I don't think its going to provide any guarantees about the behaviour of those humans however.

        • Puckish Rogue

          That is something that is troubling for me, anonymity is a good thing on the internet so for me it depends on how far the authenticating goes

          One of those click here to prove you're not a robot is fine, adding in personal details not so much

          • Nic the NZer

            This is how it works. First off Musk will talk about envision authenticating your Dna through a finger swipe or something, fictional advanced technology is after all basically indistinguishable from magic. Eventually you end up logging into Twitter with a password, and other sites can check if you are logged into Twitter.

            • Puckish Rogue

              Well if I had to put my trust in Elon or the board that banned a sitting President of the USA, the Babylon Bee, Tucker Carlson, Charlie Kirk and Libsoftiktok while allowing groups claiming to be Isis to continue posting I'll go with the lesser of two evils on this one

      • swordfish 1.1.2

        DF 1.1

        This is deeply troubling.

        If I can't have a quiet word in the ear of Twitter's designated censors in order to permanently silence anyone who disagrees with me … then we're heading towards something approaching full-on Fascism at a fair old rate of knots.

    • Puckish Rogue 1.2

      Do you have a problem with other billionaires owning social media and other tech companiess or just Elon Musk?

      • Jenny how to get there 1.2.1

        You too can have unlimited freedom of speech if you can pony up $44 billion

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Scientist shifts from tech to nature. From his website:

    I was named as one of the 1000 Most Influential People in London by the Evening Standard in 2007, and one of the 100 Most Influential People in Europe by WIRED Magazine in 2015. I hold a Master's Degree in Computer Science and Cognitive Science from University College, London, and wrote my dissertation on creative applications of Artificial Intelligence. http://jamesbridle.com/about

    I’ve been working with researchers in northern Greece who are farming metal. In a remote, beautiful field, high in the Pindus mountains in Epirus, they are experimenting with a trio of shrubs known to scientists as “hyperaccumulators”: plants which have evolved the capacity to thrive in naturally metal-rich soils that are toxic to most other kinds of life.

    They do this by drawing the metal out of the ground and storing it in their leaves and stems, where it can be harvested like any other crop. As well as providing a source for rare metals – in this case nickel, although hyperaccumulators have been found for zinc, aluminium, cadmium and many other metals, including gold – these plants actively benefit the earth by remediating the soil, making it suitable for growing other crops, and by sequestering carbon in their roots. One day, they might supplant more destructive and polluting forms of mining.

    The three plants being tested in Greece – part of a network of research plots across Europe – are endemic to the region. Alyssum murale, which grows in low bushes topped by bunches of yellow flowers, is native to Albania and northern Greece; Leptoplax emarginatataller and spindlier, with clusters of green leaves and white petals – is found only in Greece; and Bornmuellera tymphaea, the most efficient of the three, which straggles across the ground in a dense layer of white blossom, is found only on the slopes of the Pindus


    The science points to a resilient future via agriculture but the economic dimension remains to be explored yet. Here's the relevant knowledge base though:


    • DB Brown 2.1

      This is old news in a field I've had not inconsiderable effort in. However, any publicity for better ways is good publicity, and there are many accumulators people may harness for their own purposes. As outlined below.

      Here I qualify an urban myth (Dynamic accumulators), outlining plant physiological mechanisms and biological symbiosis to explain phenomena in this context, and introduce the hyper-accumulators as extremes of dynamic accumulating.


      Here I begin the work of quantification:


      And here is the USDA database of plants, using my methods above, that may now inform farmers, nutritionists, food producers, compost manufacturers, gardeners, DIY soil detoxers, etc. This database is also dynamic, and is constantly being added to.


      There's 300K polluted sites in Europe alone. They charged 1M per acre clean up over ten years ago. And cleanup is not even clean up it is: removal, concrete cap, or chemical drench.

      NZ has a very serious cadmium problem.

      This tech is vital, it is also another slowly drawn out crock by most companies and researchers involved. Gravy on all their chins and they all act like they got the secret sauce. Read above, I give you the keys to their kingdom.

      • Molly 2.1.1

        Those are great resources thanks.

        I'll check to see if our local riparian community project has the links.

        "NZ has a very serious cadmium problem."

        Our local Landcare tests water in our region which is a food growing one, and high cadmium levels are almost guaranteed.

        Residential development of established horticultural fields was delayed by the required removal of extra metres of cadmium contaminated topsoil. (Which according to locals, was trucked off to various farmers as 'infill'.)

        • Robert Guyton

          A"Cadmium Group" has been established to kill off any questions or media interest in the scandal that is the broad scale application of cadmium to farmland in New Zealand.

      • Dennis Frank 2.1.2

        Excellent, thanks. Allow me to be your publicist:

        DC Brown is an ecologist, microbiologist and keen student of permaculture and traditional agriculture. Residing in Auckland, New Zealand, Dean is currently researching and writing a book: Heavy Metal Detox: The Holistic Treatment of Undesirable Elements.

        I've only scanned that first linked article so far- always doing plenty of other stuff like home improvements & maintenance in between commenting so will get around to the others eventually. Thing is about specialists, though, they do need generalists to perform the medial connecting link to society.

        Well, that's the functional view, as produced by the archetype (3). Three relates stuff to other stuff – interprets & translates (Mercury/Hermes). Mediation for Dummies would therefore explain such gibberish as the process by which the expertise of specialists gets filtered down into comprehensible usable chunks (which then circulate value in the community) by generalists doing that filtering.

        Value of apparently esoteric knowledge therefore is derived from currency achieved as a result of generalising. The trick is to ensure that dumbing down doesn't lose the essence of the gnosis! So the economic benefits of cultivating heavy-metal extractor plants must be the lure that pulls the gnosis into the community. When applied as techne, gnosis achieves cultural transformation…

        • DB Brown

          Was hoping the above mentioned book (Heavy Metal Detox) would be the medial link. For the subject matter it's relatively light, funny, and armed with facts. Unfortunately the UoA wants hundreds of dollars per year of my money (after already taking ~ 40K in fees) to allow me access to databases of the science all our taxes already paid for. The movement of corporations into institutions now exacerbates the situation lending them the argument that corporates now have proprietary rights to the stuff.

          Or short version, can't finish the book without access to the science for references, and awesome useable charts! It needs to be done right.

          I've used my artistic side alongside my education to try and make it all accessible. The articles read more science-like than the book, but I'm only just past half way… really wanted it done by now but a (more recent) lit review is called for. Could bite the bullet and shell out money, but it's 'spare money' I don't have. I want an e-bike and ditch the car forever type dream. Replace a few tools that got pinched from the garden – all that big ticket stuff.

          Anyway, an excerpt/example of my attempt to 'speak prole'. HA!


          1. Introduction

          Step 1. We admitted we were powerless – that our soils had become unmanageable.

          We’ve all got, or had, some type of self destructive behavior. Admitting there is a problem is the first step in fixing it. Heavy metal is a problem. Whether it’s immunity to color and hair flaying air guitar, or widespread and progressive environmental destruction – it’s not that cool, man.

          While Led Zeppelin were dominating the music scene, lead paints and fuels were dominating the landscape. Heavy metal sources include pesticides, fertilisers, effluents, oil, mining, smelting, roading, construction, industry and military. A 1980’s assessment of global air, water and soil contamination showed we have corrupted the cycling of trace elements; heavy metals are increasing in concentrations in our water bodies, soils and food chains. Recent changes in legislation regarding some compounds have reduced a portion of sources of contamination, while little has been done for existing problems. The majority of sites remain problematic, while in many cases, the pollutants continue to gather. Most toxic compounds can be broken down, but metals cannot. Metals settle in soils and may remain there for thousands of years.

          Sites contaminated by military, mining, construction and industry are a small part of the picture. Many agricultural landscapes are contaminated or approaching contamination with heavy metals. New Zealand’s fertiliser use by the dairy industry now threatens their major export earner – the dairy industry. Vast tracts of land could be taken out of production from phosphate fertiliser increasing cadmium in soils. These fertilisers are widely used throughout the globe, and their use is increasing.

          Cities may be no better off: With higher building and vehicle densities combined with a history of lead products; higher usage of pesticides and fertilisers per area compared to farmers (a budget thing); proximity to industrial zoning; and more. One urban study points to poor children’s exposure to metals in New York’s inner city playgrounds and parks; another finds metal toxicity on Long Island golf courses.

          Plough men, poor or strolling out in your plus-fours – are there undesirable elements in your neighborhood? A Google Scholar search for ‘domestic heavy metal contamination’ yielded close to 100 000 academic articles and references to the subject; it seems we have established there is a problem; but what of solutions?

          Industries response for dealing with heavy metal contamination includes the following:

          1. Remove and dump the dirt as landfill, and bring new topsoil to the site.

          2. Use chemicals to immobilise the metals in the soil, and further chemicals to make the soil surface impermeable.

          3. Remove soil, use proprietary acid solutions to desorb and leach metals out, and put the soil back.

          My concern with these methods is as follows:

          1. Moving the problem is not fixing the problem. Besides, if we dumped all the polluted soils on the planet, the pile might upset the axial tilt.

          2. Water impermeable land is not a solution to fixing land.

          3. ‘Proprietary acid solutions run through the soil to desorb and leach the metals’… amuses my poetic side, but instils no confidence in the scientific or eco-centric sides at all.

          Shift the problem, cap the problem, or make more problems. The price for the methods to ‘clean-up’ contaminated sites in the US alone was estimated around $300 Billion – or $1M per acre.

          If you are waiting for government and industry to solve things, be patient. Chemicals used to clean up the Gulf oil spill were more toxic than the oil itself. Months after the Chernobyl disaster, cesium in Swedish and German field mushrooms was such that toxicity could occur from a single meal. People were poisoned months later, more than 1000 km’s from the disaster. Yet nuclear power plants continue to be built, and catastrophes continue to occur. This wilful ignorance that somehow an even thicker wall and protocol manual makes us immune to weather events, seismic activity, and space rocks… it is insanity.

          Is it the end, my friend?” – Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath.

          • Dennis Frank

            No problem with style or clarity in your writing. Pivot from problem to solution is crucial & earlier the better (even if you only outline it in principle in the intro), but best to have expert input from the marketing side. And I'd suggest that even if money weren't a priority. Sooner you achieve liaison with a publisher the better.

            Presuming you are addressing a global readership (not writing just for kiwis) probably a good idea to solicit advice from a bunch of science publishers. Normally writers must sell the concept first, then the design of the book, which (unless you're into product control like me) ought to be open to tweaking because publishers bring market savvy to bear on proposals. Essential to approach them as prospective partners then!

            You get an editor to work with (I did mine myself due to professional expertise). So, for instance, Industries response for dealing with heavy metal contamination will become Industry's response for dealing with heavy metal contamination if you intended a collective noun. If you wanted to specify how industries respond (instead) you'd need a rewrite to describe how they collectively respond as an industrial ecosystem.

            Nifty triad here (I googled science publishers nz):

            The objective is to drive outcomes which are useful, usable and used. https://sciencenewzealand.org/publications/pathways-to-the-future/

            So that provides a significant clue for how to frame your pitch, eh? Remember too that publishers are medial. The triad is author/publisher/buyer. That's the triad driving their business model. In respect of culture shift, the triad expert/ publisher/user conveys knowledge helping to upskill.

            Re money to complete the project, successful publishers can & do provide advances to authors. Whether they still do in a tight economy is moot. No harm asking, I guess, so best to work out what you need beforehand. Funding from a suitable quasi-govt org could even be possible so if you found one you could negotiate a partnership…

            • DB Brown

              That's good feedback.

              I was kind of down on myself for not 'finding' the time and the funds, but it's not such an easy task I'd set myself, with life and all that stuff going on as well. I feel 'seen'.

              I'm also wrapped my work in the area led to that database.

              You've given me good food for thought. Appreciated.

              I'd hoped to make it so the book is practically free or at least digital versions free to countries with no disposable incomes. Publishers struggle with my ideas like that haha.

              On the book – It goes to solutions quickly. It (roughly) follows 12 step programs – a parody of sorts.

              Step 2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
              Assuming you haven’t just purchased a beachfront property in Fukushima, it is possible to remediate mild to moderately contaminated sites. It is even possible to have land in production during the decontamination process. While scores of scientists worked to point out the problem exists, many more turned to seeking solutions.
              On serpentine soils, mine tailings and highly radioactive sites some plants survive and even thrive. These are the metallophytes. Some metallophytes are excluders – they exclude certain substances from being taken up, and grow despite high metals in the soil. Other plants are accumulators, they accumulate things from the soil. Hyperaccumulating plants accumulate high concentrations of substances from soils. Metal hyperaccumulating plants (MHP’s) extract high concentrations of metals. In some cases MHP extraction is > 1% metal per dried weight of plant material.
              MHP’s use photosynthetic power to mine metals for us. Theoretically, we decontaminate soil if we can grow then remove sufficient plant mass. The drawback was that the MHP’s initially observed were not really suited to the task; they were small, or slow growing, or both. Widespread screening for better plants began in earnest.

              Initially, over 400 MHP’s were identified. Further criteria narrowed the pool considerably, including: grow in damaged environments; grow large enough to extract significant metal, and grow fast enough to produce growth in a timely manner. Discoveries are continually being made. A list of some MHP’s and metals they extract is included (Table 1).

              MHP’s accumulate appreciable amounts of metal regardless of soil concentrations, but as toxins increase growth of many MHP’s can be inhibited. Further efforts to enhance the capabilities of MHP’s have included: propagation techniques, genetic engineering, and the use of free-living or symbiotic bacteria and fungi.
              The observation of polluted sites led to the discovery of MHP’s; the observation of MHP’s has led to the discovery of bacteria and fungi involved in decontamination processes. These in conjunction with MHP’s can enhance plant growth and/or metal uptake. Many genes targeted for genetically engineered MHP’s are found in such; beneficial organisms with desirable functions. It is not necessary to insert such genes in plants to gain the use of these functions; rather, to gain understanding of the organisms ecology, and how one might insert them functionally into a decontamination process.
              “Then what’s to stop us, pretty baby. But what is and what should never be” – Led Zeppelin, What Is and What Should Never Be.

              • DB Brown

                Sorry bout the format, ran out of time… frown

                • Dennis Frank

                  I've scanned those other links – too much pure science, will scare off most punters. In the above, you shift into applied science & intelligent readers will get the gist. For a site like this one, heading further in that direction would work better. Science is okay in the book (if your purpose is to share with other scientists) but beware too much of it.

                  Me for instance, as physics grad & permaculture designer (not teacher), utility of applied science to empower permaculture as praxis hinges on case studies. If you show how general principles get used in particular localities & ecosystems people kinda grok the steering skill at the interface between nature & humanity. Stewardship as ethos then emerges as folk realise hey I can do this too!

                  Education gets flawed due to academic antiquated mind-sets. Students get alienated by bad teaching. I was, big time. Pure science is good for sussing out what happens & why but useless for survival, so we need to build a bridge across that divide…

                  • DB Brown

                    Good feedback again. The charts will condense (and hide) a shit-ton of the science, where each field will link back to studies, but a layperson can just take the information to use and needn't get bogged down. Similar to the database, a huge volume of work behind it, a simple application in front.

                    Those articles had to get technical they were basically a methods section made slightly more palatable for permaculture practitioners.

                    There's also a fine line between being too technical, and being patronising, I reckon most people can follow most things, it's the technical language that throws them. Introduce key concepts early, bring them up often, and leave all the superflous language for the arts department. cheeky

                    In that way I've done my job 'properly'. The scientists can drill down to their hearts content, the layperson can read the steps 1, 2, 3 and get on with the job at hand.

                    A lot of boxes to tick, but as it is a labor of love, they will get ticked. If it were a means to an end (look at my stuff, buy my stuff) I'd have finished it in a half assed manner years ago.

          • Jenny how to get there

            The price for the methods to ‘clean-up’ contaminated sites in the US alone was estimated around $300 Billion – or $1M per acre.

            Now if if only someone could convince Elon Musk that rather than spending $44billion on a vanity project buy out of Twitter, that he invest his $44 billion in making a start on this clean up. Maybe he could persuade some of his multi-billionaire mates to chip in a bit too.

            No just fuck it. Let's just tax the bastards instead.

          • alwyn

            " if we dumped all the polluted soils on the planet, the pile might upset the axial tilt.".

            Please tell me you were joking when you wrote that?

            • Patricia Bremner

              Alwyn, if it was all in one pile it literally would upset the balance as there is sooo much of it. (As I understand it) I don't think DB finds that funny…rather a threatening situation which he has expressed in lay terms to portray the enormity of the problem.sad

              • alwyn

                I really don't think that the amount of material he is talking about can possibly compare with the amount in any of the continental plates that are moving around. Sure, they don't move very fast (up to about 4 inches/year) and they will be tending to move into a spot where another one may be moving out but when you look at the size and thickness of one nothing we can do could possibly compare.

  3. Reality 4

    Hilariously funny Dave Armstrong column in today's Dominion Post. Total send up of Luxon and his "crew".

  4. Blazer 5


    Former mayor and now P.M, Boris Johnson gave a saloon passage into London for Russian oligarchs and any other dirty money looking for a safe haven.

    This worship of obscenely wealthy crooks, has recently turned to opprobrium and a rediscovery of meagre moral virtue.

    It took a war to get any action.

    • RedLogix 5.1

      Yes I think no-one on the left will be unhappy to see a lot more sunlight down that particular sewer.

  5. Adrian Thornton 6

    The USA is finally coming out in public and saying what has been obvious to most serious observers of the Ukrainian/Russian war from the beginning…ie; that the US want the war in the Ukraine to continue until Russia is crippled beyond repair, regardless of the cost of Ukrainian lives and infrastructure.

    Many have suggested this has been the goal of the US interventions in Ukrainian politics since 2014…it is now looking more and more like that analysis is now being proved correct.

    US Makes It Clear Its Aim Is to ‘Weaken’ Russia

    As I have said many times on this forum, the only sane way out of this conflict is negotiated peace, and had been perplexed at the lack of movement in this direction….we now are starting to see why.

    It should be made very clear, anyone who supports a protracted war with Russia in the Ukraine cannot then say that they seriously care about Ukrainian lives or the fate of the country as both are going to be utterly and totally devastated by this war…..and we all know that the US has a long and violent recent history of destroying countries for it’s own ends…and looks like it is now going to sacrifice the Ukraine and it’s people for it’s Geo-Political goals….

    Just listen to this totally insane cold war warrior to get a feel for the complete madness of US foreign policy….Insane Cold war Warrior alert!!!….Former commanding general of US Army Europe Ben Hodges
    …like I said the other day these cold war warriors where a extreme danger to the human race during the Cold War…and now like some sort of demented half dead Zombies they seem to have risen, more bloodthirsty than ever..more craven, more insane, more intense…and more dangerous to the human race than we could have ever dreamed in our worse nightmares….…… I think I might have had a few close calls with one or two of those Zombies wandering aimlessly around, craving blood on this site….

    • Ad 6.1

      Russia is on track to gain total control of the Donbas region and retain full coastal control from Russia through Crimea.

      That's the primary objective locked in.

      I think it reasonably likely that Ukraine will settle for a cessation of hostilities at the end of this year by losing the whole of Donbass, so long as Ukraine keeps Odessa as its sea port.

      That's a deal Putin could live with.

      Then it's Guns Down who's paying the bill not me.

      • aj 6.1.1

        I agree. The outcome is likely to be consistent with it's stated goals. Little more, little less. Some of the other military events are being portrayed as losses but I suspect were distractions or fit in with the 'de-militarisation' goals.

        Is it really going to see a 'cessation' of hostilities? I doubt it. Officially, yes. But outbreaks of violence and attacks are likely to continue. This is going to be a running sore for decades.

        Russia will still have to deal with a hard core of nazi ideology, which despite it's attempts to eradicate, is not going to go away, ever. This thread is an interesting take on Lvov.

        Let's talk about Lvov, possibly the Nдzi capital of the world. I'm not going to include the city's immense history, you can look that up on your own, let's start around WWII ….

        …I'm not going to engage or argue with you on this thread. The links are there with citations. You are free to make your own thread to refute it but I'll warn you it's a lot of work. A hit dog will holler.


      • Jenny how to get there 6.1.2

        I very much doubt Russia will settle for less than violently wresting the northern Black sea coast of Ukraine from Ukrainian control.

        And will not stop there.

        After seizing Odessa Russia will go on to take Moldova.

        As well as continuing the war against the government in Kiev on the pretext of fighting fascism.

        Unending expansion is the iron rule of all growth economies forcing them into war and/or global environmental collapse.

        Via Southern Ukraine, Russia Eyes “Another Route” to Moldova’s Transnistria

        Madalin Necsutu – Balkan Insight

        April 22, 2022 12:54

        “Control over southern Ukraine is another route to Transnistria, where there is also evidence that the Russian-speaking population is being oppressed,” Russian news agency TASS quoted Major General Rustam Minnekayev as saying….


        • Ad

          Russia doesn't have the capacity to do more than it is.

          Its military only have logistical capacity to get what's next door and no more. They couldn't even take Kiev.

          Russia's broader security networks are getting rapidly degraded by sanctions that will bite ever-deeper.

          No need to over-egg the pudding.

          • Jenny how to get there

            One of the benefits of democracy, is that if things aren't working out, democracies can change direction.

            Autocracies don't have that luxury. Autocracies are usually pretty inflexible.

            Failure for Autocratic leaders is not an option.

            Nothing is off the table for Russian imperialism. Full nationwide mobilisation and transition to a war economy is on the cards for Putin's Russia. Whatever it takes.

            Even if Russia achieves its immediate war aims, this war will not end soon.

            • Ad

              Russian imagination may be boundless but their realities are not.

              The Finnish and Swedish NATO membership requests are already on their way.

              Putin is now well boxed in on the west.

      • Adrian Thornton 6.1.3

        Good comment Ad, the only problem with your analysis is that it looks a lot like the US is at the very least, having a large say in the negotiations, which, if true, doesn't bode well in there being any peace in the Ukraine anytime soon….I really really hope I am proved wrong.

    • Jenny how to get there 6.2

      You may not have noticed it Adrian, but World War III for the redivision of the world has begun.
      The underdog "have not" imperialist Russia, is the upcoming challenger and aggressor, and will not stop its expansionism until it is stopped either by its rivals or by internal revolt.

      Can Putin Be Ousted From Within Russia? Pussy Riot Musician And Dissident Speaks Out On War

    • Incognito 6.3

      As I have said many times on this forum, the only sane way out of this conflict is negotiated peace …

      Since you’re repeating your same line, I repeat my questions to you (https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-24-04-2022/#comment-1884556):

      What kind of peace negotiations do you have in mind? For example, who initiates it and why (e.g. what might trigger it and when), who brokers or mediates it, what would be some of the key terms, et cetera?

      • Adrian Thornton 6.3.1

        Sorry Incognito I missed that question on the 24th.
        Negotiations have already been under way, and have been on and off during the entire conflict, however I have found it difficult to find any substantial or unbiased information on the upcoming negotiations or any of the previous negotiations.

        I do know that the Russians have been accusing the Ukrainian negotiators of stalling..whether this is true or not I don't know..but if you believe the War mongering rhetoric coming out of the highest places in the US, then things are not looking good for the Ukraine or the Ukrainian people IMO….I can’t see how anyone could still seriously maintain that the US is not running this war.

        Austin's assertion that US wants to 'weaken' Russia underlines Biden strategy shift

        "the US and its allies have begun to convey a new, longer-term goal for the war: to defeat Russia so decisively on the battlefield that it will be deterred from launching such an attack ever again."

        Kremlin accuses Ukraine of changing tune during peace talks, slowing process

        I think this article which I just found by Jeffrey Sachs (someone whose opinion I take seriously) explains my own position on negotiated peace in the Ukraine far better than I could….
        A negotiated peace is the only way to end Russia's war on Ukraine

        • Incognito

          Hmmm, you may have missed more than just the comment I linked to, but that won’t be my problem if or when shit hits the fan here on TS.

          I was clearly asking about your personal view, not about info that you or anybody else can find on the internet and link to.

          Paraphrasing you (mostly a direct quote), in a nutshell:

          … whether this is true or not I don't know … but if you believe … then things are not looking good … I can’t see how anyone would not agree with me.

          You start off with hypotheticals (aka speculative assumptions) and end with a preconceived conclusion, which is not consistent with your alleged neutral position and not picking a side. You may still deny it, but it is obvious to anybody else that you do have picked a side. Hiding behind hypotheticals is simply disingenuous.

          • Adrian Thornton

            How about you inform me as to exactly what side I have picked?…seeming as you obviously know more about what I believe than I do myself….

            • Adrian Thornton

              …and I will add yet agian…I advocate and support a negotiated peace that first and foremost of course recognizes Ukraine's sovereignty, while also recognizing Russia's security…which as far as I know, is generally seen as a neutral Ukraine….I fail to see how you and others perceive that position to be favouring one side above the other….but then you have stated that I have "picked a side"….and I am sure you would know….so which one I wonder?

              • Incognito

                Lots of words that convey nothing of substance and hardly answer anything, but let’s go with the very little that you do provide. So, Ukraine was not neutral before and therefore got invaded, because it presented a threat to Russia, e.g. it was going to invade Russia? And peace requires and depends on Ukraine becoming neutral and stop threatening Russia with invasion, whatever that means? I suppose you mean that Russia must retreat in full and leave Ukraine forthwith in recognition of its sovereignty, is that correct?

                Explain yourself instead of spouting vacuous comments with vague reckons and hypotheticals based on stuff that you don’t know (about), by your own admission.

            • Incognito

              The anti-imperialist side, obviously, which in your case comprises just about every Western nation with a colonial history and/or a military-industrial complex. In addition, you lean so much against the US and the UK, for example, that for all intents and purposes you have picked a side.

              Prove me wrong and be honest.

              • Adrian Thornton

                I am not even going to bother answering the whole first part of your comment as it doesn’t warrant me spending any time on it.

                “I suppose you mean that Russia must retreat in full and leave Ukraine forthwith in recognition of its sovereignty, is that correct?“…what else could Ukrainian sovereignty mean you think?
                “In addition, you lean so much against the US and the UK, for example, that for all intents and purposes you have picked a side”

                You have just said that in this Ukraine/Russia war, because I oppose contemporary Western Imperialism and intervention, then I have by extension “picked a side”….now how about you explain me exactly how that works…I ask again..what side do assume I have picked?

                I am not really sure what drives this extremely negative obsession with ‘picking sides’ with you people…but it is a very unpleasant trait.

                For what I am sure won’t be the last time.. I am a supporter of a neutral Ukraine…natural from Russian influence and US/NATO influence…I would be interested to know what part of that don’t you get?

    • Jenny how to get there 6.4

      Night of the Zombies (alternate title: Battalion of the Living Dead) is a 1981 American zombie horror war film….

      A top-secret nerve gas is discovered that has kept a battalion of flesh-eating World War II soldiers alive for decades.[1]


      Adrian Thornton

      26 April 2022 at 9:23 am

      The USA is finally coming out in public and saying what has been obvious to most serious observers of the Ukrainian/Russian war from the beginning….…

      You really consider yourself to be a serious observer?

      When the best you can do, to make your argument for supporting the Russian invasion and genocidal attacks on apartment buildings, shopping malls, theatres and hospitals, is a schlock horror movie?

      A movie which depicts the protagonists as evil sub-humans?

      Is this what you really think?

      Is this truely the thinking behind your 'serious observation'. ?

      FYI, Adrian, 1940s Nazi war propagandists, also depicted their protagonists in Eastern Europe as sub-humans, (untermenschen), as justification for invasion and war.


      German word meaning subhumans (plural – note singular is untermensch).. Often used to describe Jews and slavs during the Nazi period…


      I suppose we shouldn’t expect any better from you, Adrian, considering your long history of genocide denial and support for Assad fascism in Syria.

      • Adrian Thornton 6.4.1

        God you really are an idiot of the first order….talk about a useful idiot…it's like that term was especially created just for you…and I must say, you really do wear it well.

        "Adrian, 1940s Nazi war propagandists, also depicted their protagonists in Eastern Europe as sub-humans, (untermenschen), as justification for invasion and war"

        But at least you got one thing right for change…one would assume that, extrapolating just one or two steps further from your statement above, that is probably exactly why Russia had and have deep seated and legitimate boarder paranoia issues…it's hard to see why, taking into account the history that you touched on there, why Ukraine just didn't take the option of neutrality that it's own citizens voted for, the Russians supported and all the main European NATO countries supported?….one is only left to speculate on why that sane and reasonable opportunity for peace was so roundly rejected.

        • Jenny how to get there

          Adrian Thornton

          27 April 2022 at 11:41 am

          God you really are an idiot of the first order….talk about a useful idiot…it's like that term was especially created just for you…and I must say, you really do wear it well…..

          …….one is only left to speculate on why that sane and reasonable opportunity for peace was so roundly rejected.

          Rejected by Russia.

          Russia attended the peace talks only for appearances sake, continued shelling civilian infrastructure throughout, refused every offer of a ceasefire. Kept making stupid demands for "Deanazification" (ie Russia's code word for regime change) and demanding Ukraine's surrender.

          On the other side of the negotiating table Ukraine offered Russia, that Ukraine would remain neutral in exchange for Russian a withdrawl, to Russia's pre-February, military lines held by Russian backed separatists..With an agreement on further negotiations on the future of the disputed territories in the Donbass. This peace offer Russian negotiators also flatly rejected.

          President Zylenksy then went over the heads of the Putin government and phoney peace negotiators, to appeal to the Russian people directly to put before the Russian people the same peace terms.

          The Russian government made sharing or broadcasting this video a crime.

          Doesn't this tell you something Adrian? Because it certainly tells everyone else

          There is a saying: 'If the truth needs to be silenced because it might destroy something. Then that something needs to be destroyed by the truth.'

          The Russian Federation is a revanchist wanna'be imperial power. Its leaders don't want peace, just conquest.

          Putin doesn't want peace he wants empire and war.

          Adrian in this war, you have chosen sides, you and those like you are trying to get others to join you there but you are on the wrong side of history, and you, and your other pro-war propagandists', efforts will prove to be futile, possibly even within Russia.

          Because Adrian, you can make all the lame excuses for Russia's imperialist invasion, you like, the slaughtering of civilians, the censoring of Russia's brutality and own losses from the Russian people, the jailing of Russian peace activists and the rejection of Ukraine's peace offers, you only further disgrace yourself as a partisan supporter of imperialist wars.

          You may think it is clever Adrian to cheer on Russia's of choice, but this war can end in only one of two ways for your side. Total destruction of the Russian Federation on the battlefield at the hands of Russia's stronger imperial rivals, either that, or the Russian Federation will be overthrown by the Russian people themselves.

          I'm hoping for the latter.

          1234 We Don't Want Your Bloody War. 2468 Stop The War It's Not Too Late

          'Missing On The High Seas?!': Father Expresses Outrage As Russia Keeps Quiet About Fate Of Sailors

          Dmitry Shkrebets knows the true fate of his 20-year-old son, even if Russia won’t yet tell him….

          ….Russia has officially stated that fewer than 2,000 soldiers have died, despite mounting evidence that the number is much greater.
          The United States and Western allies earlier this month put the number of Russian soldiers killed at 10,000.

          ….The younger Shkrebets, a resident of Yalta in Crimea, was conscripted in July.

          "I think the people that allowed this to happen should be punished," Dmitry Shkrebets told RFL/RL. "And how they cynically lie on the [TV] channels that all are alive. How can they lie so cynically?"

          ….Tarasov was conscripted in December and that same month posted a photo of himself in his sailor's uniform on his Instagram account, according to the the Agenstvo news agency.

          “See you in a year,” he wrote.

          Written by Todd Prince based on reporting by Current Time, Crimea.Realities, and RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service.


  6. Blazer 7

    If the U.S dollar was not the default currency for international trade ,America could not afford these wars and be able to sustain 700 plus bases around the world.

    You may have noticed Saudi Arabia and Israel are very quiet regarding support for U.S interference these days.

    They have good reason.On their doorstep is Syria, which with Russian help ,defied the U.S.

    The world will never be the…same…and as for inflation!!

    • Ad 7.1

      Saudi Arabia and Israel and most of the Gulf States are at peace and doing good business with each other. Everything is flowing as it should and prices are excellent.

      • Poission 7.1.1

        Saudi Arabia GDP is up 29% ytd on higher energy prices.

        Norway's GDP and budget surplus is becoming astronomical on energy pricing.

        https://www.economy.com/norway/government-budget-balance (prior to the war premium)

        The downside is the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund is losing value in over priced markets (74B 2022 ytd)

        • Ad

          Imagine if we had a second sovereign wealth fund based solely on taxing milk exports.

          • Poission

            The government is going to destroy agriculture in the next few weeks,and try BAU in a high inflation/ interest regime,The NZ dollar has lost 6 % this month,whilst good for exporters,lousy for those trying to redesign an economy.

            Our sovereign wealth funds are losing around 800m$ a month.

  7. Pataua4life 8

    Spot the Muppets.

    I will give you a clue – they are in the middle.
    or maybe here are the yellow, green and red kiwi’s

  8. Dennis Frank 9

    Willie smoothes the ruffled feathers of Nat/Lab dinosaur voters addicted to neocolonialism. He

    told Q+A with Jack Tame that his Government’s push to have co-governance and co-management arrangements beyond those already introduced through Treaty settlements, were a response to the need to meet Māori ambitions, and address Māori inequality. “The nature of democracy has changed. This is a democracy now where you take into account the needs of people, the diverse needs, the minority needs. Its not the tyranny of the majority anymore, that’s what co-management and co-governance is about. It’s nothing to fear," Jackson said.

    Baffled Nat/Lab voters go into collective funk, eyes glazed over. "But I thought MMP was just rearranging the deck-chairs." Whimper, sniffle. "Sounds like Labour actually intend to do something real. Jacinda is betraying Helen! When Labour refused to accept UNDRIP under Helen everyone realised Labour was rightist, not leftist. Younger generation thinks it knows better. This won't end well." Groan, sniffle.

  9. Blazer 10

    $234 TRILLION of derivatives!(face val)

    All done in the best…possible ..taste.

    'There is no better snapshot of the Fed’s failure as a banking supervisor than this one fact that is called out every quarter in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s Report on Bank Trading and Derivative Activities. Table 14 of this report (see page 19) shows that the 25 largest bank holding companies in the U.S. are sitting on $234 trillion notional (face amount) in derivatives but just five bank holding companies are responsible for $200.18 trillion of that exposure or 86 percent of the total. Those mega bank holding companies are: JPMorgan Chase (ticker JPM), Citigroup (C), Goldman Sachs (GS), Morgan Stanley (MS) and Bank of America (BAC).

  10. Robert Guyton 11

    David Parker is my hero!

    "Revenue Minister David Parker will introduce a bill which would set out principles of fairness in the tax system.

    Speaking at the Victoria University in Wellington, Parker said authorities had “virtually no idea what rate of tax is paid by the very wealthy”.

    “We do know the rate paid by wage and salary earners and by small business owners.”

    He said New Zealand was a country with inequality. “More than two thirds of all financial assets are held by the top 5%,” he said."


    • Drowsy M. Kram 11.1

      More than two thirds of all financial assets are held by the top 5%

      Heartening to hear a cabinet Minister actually saying this. Many things could be done to stem the concentration of wealth – here's hoping.

      The Sad Slide of a Once Equal Nation [4 July 2017]
      New Zealand, by most yardsticks, used to rival equal nations like Denmark. But New Zealand’s incomes have become much more unequal – and its problems much more pressing. Steeply progressive taxes could reverse that dynamic.

      Information Abounds on Inequality. Now We Need Understanding.
      An eminent Australian political economist reflects on the challenge of synthesizing — for a broad array of readers — what we know about the gaps that divide us.



    • Poission 11.2

      More than two thirds of all financial assets are held by the top 5%

      Think of the scale and size of the accompanying tax credits on the losses

  11. Peter 12

    I heard about people claiming to be "common law sheriff" (a conspiracy people) intruding on an Anzac Day ceremony in Paraparaumu on Monday.

    A twitter video shows someone taking an oath on signing up with the group: "I take this affirmation being of sound mind …" It doesn't sound the stuff of sound minds to me.



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