Open mike 29/04/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 29th, 2020 - 136 comments
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136 comments on “Open mike 29/04/2020 ”

  1. infused 2

    Environmentally alone, this thing was quite an achievement for its time

    Good watch

  2. ScottGN 3

    Oh Simon! I can hardly bear to listen.

  3. Andre 4

    For those wondering what coronavirus is doing to worldwide carbon emissions and concentrations, the answer is … fuck all. Emissions have only dropped a little bit (5.5% by one estimate), so greenhouse gas concentrations are still rising fast, just a tiny bit less fast than before coronavirus.

    • RedLogix 4.1

      Read that yesterday. It reinforces an important point, most people tend to think of the fossil carbon problem in terms activities they can directly identify with, like using their car or flying. But in the big picture these were never the whole story by a long shot.

      But the big buggers are structural, heavy industry activities like steel and concrete, fertilisers, process heat, shipping and so on. All activities where the cost of energy is a major constraint on moving toward alternative processes and materials, closed loop resource management and protection of the biosphere.

      All of these activities tend to happen outside of our daily line of sight, but in reality are the serious components of AGW.

    • infused 4.2

      wouldn't that prove that cares are really not the problem here, and moving to electric could be a worse problem later on? From the point of digging up all the shit for batteries and recycling them, vs say more fuel efficient engines since the impact seems negligible.

      • pat 4.2.1

        “This updated tentative estimate is equivalent to around 5.5% of the global total in 2019. As a result, the coronavirus crisis could trigger the largest ever annual fall in CO2 emissions in 2020, more than during any previous economic crisis or period of war.

        Even this would not come close to bringing the 1.5C global temperature limit within reach. Global emissions would need to fall by some 7.6% every year this decade – nearly 2,800MtCO2 in 2020 – in order to limit warming to less than 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures.

        To put it another way, atmospheric carbon levels are expected to increase again this year, even if CO2 emissions cuts are greater still. Rising CO2 concentrations – and related global warming – will only stabilise once annual emissions reach net-zero.”

        • infused

          I understand that, but a lot of production was shutdown. That's where the co2 saving came from yeah, instead of cars? that's what im trying to work out. how big of an impact was not driving on co2 emissions.

          • pat

            There are so many variables as to make it all worthless speculation.

            • McFlock

              Not least of which is GHG vs your basic lethal smog, anothr good reason to kill cars if not the internal combustion engine.

      • Andre 4.2.2

        No it doesn't in the slightest show that cars aren't a problem. Nor does it suggest any kind of argument against moving away from dino-juice transport to electric transport.

        At the level of personal choices, choosing to drive electric is one of the biggest choices to reduce emissions that an individual can make. That bit about batteries is just bullshit, currently the impact of battery production for a car or truck is already very small compared to the impact of the pollution an equivalent fossil-fuelled vehicle produces over its life.

        Then when a battery has lost enough capacity to be no longer suitable for a vehicle, it still has potential for a long useful life ahead of it in stationary storage. Even a completely dead battery is a very concentrated source source of the materials needed to make new batteries, there just aren't enough of them yet to be a feedstock for serious recycling efforts.

        Battery manufacturers are well aware of the environmental impacts of obtaining the materials they need and are working hard to reduce them. But even without any kind of environmental consciousness, there is still a strong commercial incentive to reduce the use of those materials because they're expensive. And they're succeeding at reducing that material use, quite dramatically. Whereas dino-juice suppliers have proven over and over they just don't give the slightest fuck about trashing the planet, and they like high prices they pass right on to the consumer and pad their profits with.

        Finally, electric vehicles are going to take over because they are a better driving experience, even now they have a lower lifetime cost of ownership, and are much less obnoxious to other people near them. The only question is how quickly the changeover will happen, and how much we as a society choose to speed or slow the transition with incentives or penalties.

        • infused

          well do you have any sources showing the link about how electric is better over a lifetime of a car, pollution wise.

          The argument around a personal change is fine, but if that overall change is single digits and the real pollution comes from production, well don't you think we need to change our priorities a little?

          • Andre

            If you were genuinely interested, I'm sure you could figure out a google search using keywords such as electric vehicle emissions battery production. But just to help you out, here's one of the early hits:


            It's a couple years old, and the field is moving fast enough the overall emissions balance has shifted even more towards electric vehicles since then.

            Nevertheless, the emissions question for electric vehicles really comes down to the emissions of producing the electricity used to charge the vehicle, and the emissions of the energy sources used to produce the vehicle.

            If all the electricity is produced from the filthiest coal, then yes it does take around ten years for the total emissions from an electric vehicle to be lower than a state of the art ICE vehicle. If all the energy comes from clean sources, then it's less than a year for an electric vehicle to be lower lifetime emissions than ICE. For the average mix of power generation where electric vehicles are produced and used, including China which is at the dirtier end, it's just a few years before the EV is better.

            Yes, because the contributions from personal choices is a small part of the total problem, it does indeed point to the need for systemic changes. But that doesn't negate the value or need to make the individual changes. It all makes a difference.

            • RedLogix

              Still your response rather overlooks that total CO2 from transport is less than 30% of the total.

              Even if we magically got zero carbon EV's tomorrow, that isn't the whole solution by any means.

              There is one hell of a lot of good data on global energy here.

              • Andre

                Something to keep in mind when looking at overall energy flows and usages is how much of each energy source actually does something useful and how much just ends of as rejected heat.

                Fossil fuel energy inputs are almost always measured by the chemical energy they contain. If they are used for process heat, most of that input chemical energy does something useful. But if it's converted to some other kind of energy, such as mechanical motion, then only a small fraction of the input chemical energy does something useful. Even when the input is fossil fuel to an electricity generation facility

                In contrast, electricity sources such as nuclear, hydro, wind PV, geothermal etc usually measure how much electrical energy they produce, almost all of which ends up doing something useful

                So when looking at charts of where humanity gets its energy, such as the first chart in your link, it's useful to keep in mind for the world to go zero-fossil fuel, it doesn't need to replace all of that massive portion of coal, oil and gas with new electrical sources. Only about a third of it.

                So when looking at breakdowns of where energy comes from and where it goes, I kinda prefer spaghetti charts like the one in the link below.


                • RedLogix

                  how much of each energy source actually does something useful and how much just ends of as rejected heat.

                  Indeed. Thermodynamics was the one paper I always got an A+ in. devil

                  And you are quite right to remind of the implications. That Vox diagram is a much better source.

                  Still as you've said above, moving to EV's is really only a net gain if the extra electricity they use is derived from new high quality sources. That merely shifts the problem from the vehicle to the power station; which is definitely a more technically amenable problem.

                  Or to put it more bluntly, transition to EV's is only useful if we transition our electricity system to non-fossil sources at the same time.

                  • Andre

                    I've been kinda surprised at the lack of EV-to-home and EV-to-grid implementations so far. It seems such an obvious way to deal with problems such as the demand "duck curve" in places with high PV, and other demand-supply mismatches. As well as getting more useful value out of those massive capital-intensive batteries just sitting around on four wheels.

                    • RedLogix

                      Without wanting to knock the idea, if we go down the 'smart grid' route we have to keep in mind that a large part of the value of the grid is that is a 'low risk supply of last resort'. Or simply, it evolved as a large relatively dumb tool that was pretty much always there and could be relied on to match supply and demand accurately without needing an overly complex control model. Adding lots and lots of smart actors on the grid introduces hard to quantify risk.

                      As for EV's part in this, unfortunately the best opportunity to charge them is when they aren't being used at night.

                    • infused

                      its the price. I was keen, until I saw the price…

  4. Tricledrown 5

    Simple Soimon continues to dig in his own down fall.

    Trump like wind mills,Hambergers.for a Nobel cause.

    Perhaps he should check out professor Brian Cox's latest figures on New Zealand compared to Australia .Prof Brian Cox compres NZ to Aus at the begining of lockdown NZ had a much higher rate of the end of lockdown NZ has a lower rate of infection.226 per 100,000 Aus 256 per 100,000.

    Goodbye Simple Simon.

    • Ric 5.1

      I would prefer to see figures that don't include returning travelers. These would better reflect the situation inside NZ and Australia.

  5. ScottGN 6

    Here’s the link to the piece I think Tricledown was referring to.

    • Tricledrown 6.1

      Thanks Scott GN.the figures are 229 per 100,000 Australia 269 per 100,000 .

      Soliman and your vanishing team of sycophant's keep digging.

      • Carolyn_Nth 6.1.1

        So why does the worldometer show Aussie has 254 cases per 1 million of population, while NZ has 305 per mil?

        • Andre

          Worldometer includes New Zealand's probable cases, because our official numbers include them, while Australia's numbers only report confirmed cases.

          Worldometer can be slow to update, right now they're showing Australia at 264 cases per million. They may also be using a different population estimate.

        • Koff

          The Worldometer uses NZ's combination of confirmed and probable cases, while most case numbers including Australia's uses confirmed only. An aberration of statistics. Th Cox figures compares apples with apples.

        • solkta

          I think that is because we have been including probable cases while Australia is only including confirmed cases.

          From the Herald article:

          Currently New Zealand has 229 confirmed cases (not including probable) per million people, compared to Australia's 269 confirmed cases per million people.

          • Carolyn_Nth

            But the Aussie stats worldometer stats still differ from those in the article.

            • McFlock

              maybe a lag in uploading the data or a slightly different population estimate as the rate denominator.

              But really, these are pretty much the same rates between NZ and Aus no matter how you cut it. Regardless of statistical significance or confidence intervals, some decent-sized nations are on 3,500-4,000 per million.

        • ScottGN

          I think Tricledown is missing a zero. Professor Cox’s analysis showed 229 confirmed cases per million (not including probable cases) for NZ and 269 confirmed cases per million for Australia. The difference you’re questioning probably relates to confirmed cases versus probable. I believe that we include probable as well as confirmed in our counts while Australia only counts confirmed cases. It’s always made straight up numerical comparisons difficult.

        • Tricledrown

          Carolyn Nth Australia doesn't count probable cases.

          Also reading prof Brian Cox's press release he has done a rolling average over 5 day periods as there is spikes in numbers.

  6. RedLogix 7

    Why Trump can be so weird:

    Dubbed God’s Salesman,” Peale (1898-1993) was the author of The Power of Positive Thinking, which first appeared in 1952 and went on to sell more than five million copies. He was also head pastor at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, where a young Donald Trump prayed with his family and drank in Peale’s sermons trumpeting the value of determination. In a 2009 interview published in Psychology Today, Trump said that he’d read Peale’s book, and that it helped him overcome life’s obstacles. Peale’s influence and writing style (“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities!”) may even help explain Trump’s use of forceful, hyperbolic mantras to describe his “spectacular” and “amazing” project to restore American “greatness.”

    • Dennis Frank 7.1

      Yeah, I read about that in one of his biographies or autobiographies. Trump was produced by the 2016 zeitgeist but still may not have reached his use-by date. The left's ploy of running a corporatist machine politician against him to grease up the establishment may not work. Anyway, good link thanks:

      "In regard to individual mental health, modern studies suggest that optimists tend to be more resilient and exhibit stronger coping strategies, just as Peale believed. But as recent events show, when optimism is indulged as a dogmatic national ethos, it can lapse into a sort of cult, leading to grandiose delusions. Realists, meanwhile, are denounced as morbid, or even unpatriotic. As social critic Barbara Ehrenreich argued in her book Brightsided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America, the “tyranny of positive thinking” and America’s “reckless optimism” have laid the groundwork for all sorts of tragic overreach."

      The interface between ethos & reality is indeed where political traction is gotten nowadays. Collective hallucinations have been big-time since Hitler surpassed the earlier exhibitions from the christians & the communists.

      So "if the “power of positive thinking” has become a dynamo for fantasists, what is the answer for the rest of us?" Simple. Be both optimistic and realistic. Both/and logic…

      • Morrissey 7.1.1

        The left's

        You mean the DNC. That corrupt organization doesn't represent "the left" or any other sizeable or democratic consituency.

        ploy of running a corporatist machine politician against him to grease up the establishment may not work.

        That's a very restrained way of phrasing it, Dennis. You know and everyone else knows that Biden is doomed.

        • RedLogix

          Or as Joe Rogan memorably put it "Biden makes morons of us all".

          The USA is a big diverse nation, with many smart capable people. The Dems even had a decent primary field with at least four or five other names who would have been brighter prospects.

          It's an insult to the very notion of democracy to have two such unattractive candidates to pick between. Once again.

          • Morrissey

            at least four or five other names who would have been brighter prospects.

            There was only one person in that field who had a chance against Trump. The DNC made sure he didn't get the nomination. They'd rather have Trump as president than a madman who talked of crazy things like decent wages and medical care for all.

            • RedLogix

              Yup. Sanders was the only one with a realistic chance. But if you really didn't want him, in what world was the answer Biden?

              • Morrissey

                Wonder if Bernie is still saying his "good friend Joe can beat Trump".

                • RedLogix

                  I guess we just have to hope on the non-zero chance that Trump could self-destruct yet.

                  In my view this was always the going to be the flaw in the Democrat obsession with tearing Trump down, the endless Russiagate distractions, the impeachment debacle, etc … they were putting their attention and energy in all the wrong places instead of dealing to their own internal problems.

                  The political alliances that have underpinned the two big parties for over 70 years have shifted dramatically, and the Dems are especially vulnerable. They always struggled to maintain a unified ticket as it was, but now the ground they used to stand on has dissolved under them. Electoral victory that should come easily against someone so appalling as Trump, is far from certain.

                  They needed to develop strong, charismatic candidates capable of conveying a cohesive message to their base. But instead of developing sharp minds, they tried play sharp elbows with Trump … and will likely lose.

        • Tricledrown

          Morrissey you overlook the Toll that Trump's Lack of leadership and Mental instability has been responsible for the US disasterous covid response.People have had enough of Trump.

          • Morrissey

            No, I don't overlook it at all. I think, and have always thought, that Trump is a fraud and his regime is a horror show. I have always been astonished and disgusted that, instead of confronting him on his actual crimes, the Democratic "leadership" instead fantasized for more than three years about how he was a puppet of malevolent Russian masterminds.

            • Tricledrown

              The Democrats have just as many skeletons in the closet.Trumps wealth means he has the best lawyers to fob off any prosecution.Trumps Minions will highlight Bidens past.While Trump is able to deflect any negative accusations of his long history of mysoginy!

      • RedLogix 7.1.2

        Right now I'm listening to Eric Weinstein and Daniel Schmactenberger burble on these themes. (It drags on interminably for hours, don't bother unless you're truly bored.) .I don't quite know what to make of Eric yet (he can be an utter windbag), but he's certainly willing to prod around these same questions … why the hell are we making such a bad job of making sense of our world?

        And why, when clearly we are capable of being wise, do we so routinely fail to be so?

        • swordfish

          Prefer Bret's careful, clearcut delineations of complexity.

          Eric's extremely bright, demonstrably so … but, yes. long-winded & his ideas can be remarkably abstruse. Either deliberate obfuscation (being playful with his social media audience) or just thinking on an entirely different level to others. Not entirely sure which.

          The fevered efforts by various dogmatic Intersectional authoritarians to cast lifelong Leftists Bret & Heather as some sort of stooges of the Right have been both amusing & just a little sad.

          • RedLogix


            Sometimes I think Eric is taking the piss, but overall I enjoy his provocative approach. The whole Game B meme he's talking up on this podcast aligns a lot with where I've been trying to go here for some years; but he's a whole lot more eloquent about it.

            As for Bret. well as an evolutionary biologist he was always going to be beyond the lefty pale …

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              I know a couple of “lefty” evolutionary biologists – takes all kinds.

              You seem quite fond of using 'lefty' as a pejorative term; just an observation wink

              • RedLogix

                Do you have the capacity for abstract wide empathy and the ability to bind that to your action?

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  'Whoosh' – sorry, I'm just an observer of behaviour, and a bit obsessive. Do you consider yourself better than most 'lefties' – RL, the best lefty? Tedious, and scratchy like a broken (April) record.

                  "he was always going to be beyond the lefty pale …"
                  "This is the truth ideological lefties cannot stomach"
                  "How about a lot of lefties getting off the anti-Trump bandwagon"
                  "To all the silent lefties on this …"
                  "Facts that most lefties cannot even bring themselves to say without bile rising from their twisted guts." [Nice!]
                  "What so many lefties here have failed dismally to understand"
                  "Rogernomic neo-liberalism that so many lefties still point to as the cause of all our evils."
                  "But it was a new idea and therefore far too radical and upsetting for most lefties."
                  "Like so many lefties they do seem to take a secret glee in how many eggs they need to break to make their ideological omelette."
                  "If anyone else other than one of the 'protected species of uber righteous lefties' around here was to do this on such a consistent basis there would be consequences."
                  "I personally loath threads that are little more than lefties piling on in some weird virtue signalling ritual"

                  • RedLogix

                    Finally someone else notices how lefties talk big on empathy and routinely fail to bind it to their actions.

                    • KJT

                      I've noticed you have acquired a propensity for straw man arguments, talking bs, about, "lefties".

                      Frankly. It is getting tedious.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      RL, IMHO your quoted sour comments lack empathy, and your criticism of 'lefties' for paying lip-service to empathy is deeply ironic.

                      "When someone lacks empathy, he often behaves insensitively towards others [“lefties talk big on empathy”], and this makes others upset."

                      I am a lefty, just as God made me, and my mother before me, and wouldn't change that.

      • Tricledrown 7.1.3

        Steve Bannon did a massive research on what American's like.It came out as Americans harping back to the 1950's where men were men the US was dominant in all things like manufacturing low unemployment.The middle class were well off good housing late model cars etc.Men going to work Women at home family making.This is how a mysoginist populist was able to get over the line even though he was 3 million votes short by appealing to conservatives in conservative states.

      • Tricledrown 7.1.4

        Selfhelp books such the power of positive thinking have no impact on people's behaviour.

        • Descendant Of Smith

          Yeah they do – I've seen people exhibit some really odd behaviours after reading them and some quite significant personality changes – particularly when they spend more and more time with other acolytes who have read the same book.

          We are so often a product of the institutions we have lived in.

        • gsays

          Gotta disagree with yr assertion about self improvement there tricledown.

          While it may be a stretch to describe this book as self help… The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle had a profound effect on my behaviour.

          I have loaned it out a few times and have only had to buy it again once.

  7. Morrissey 8

    The divas of #MeToo are still abandoning women of whom they don't approve

    • bill 8.1

      Christ Morrissey !

      Good old 'Uncle Joe' is…well, he's Good Old Uncle Joe, innit? So credible charges of sexual assault and rape have to be seen in light of Joe being Good Old Uncle Joe who only wants to take the USA back to the Good Old Days when Good Old Uncle Joe did things like pen a criminal reform bill that financially incentivised the legal system to lock up poor, mostly black men, for years and years and years.

      The Good Old Days when Good Old Uncle Joe could push for free trade deals and then entice corporations to stay on shore with the offer of free labour, courtesy of America's prison complex.

      The Good Old Days when Good Old Uncle Joe could stand up in the Senate and rage about how medicare should be cut, and social security should be cut and yet still be sold to the American public as a champion of workers – and anyway, prisoners don't need social welfare and their families on the outside should have made better life choices.

      Or how about an illegal pre-emptive war? Good Old Uncle Joe has one of those up his sleeve too.

      Ah, yes – the Good Old Days when predatory bastards like Good Old Uncle Joe were good guys beyond reproach…oh, wait.

  8. Leighton 9

    A little lockdown project I put together – Mike Hosking arguing with himself about what New Zealand should be doing about COVID-19

    • Morrissey 9.1

      What an idiot.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 9.2


      Hosking is such a waste of noise. With constant discord just for the sake of it, he should consider supporting the National Party. Oh wait

      • Leighton 9.2.1

        The audio being slightly out of sync with the video (I'm a rank amateur and couldn't work out how to fix this) makes his words seem more like verbal diarrhea than usual, so I now consider this an artistic choice – haha.

    • ScottGN 9.3


    • I Feel Love 9.4

      Ha! Nice work.

    • solkta 9.5

      Very good. You obviously suffered much to produce that for us.

      • Leighton 9.5.1

        In one of the pre-lockdown ones he said that we would all feel more confident if John Key was still in charge and I almost chucked my phone out the window.

  9. RedLogix 10

    Businesses are going to have to take responsibility for getting this right:

    A large crowd congregating outside an Auckland burger shop had to be broken up by police on the first day of Covid-19 alert level three.

    On Tuesday evening, at least 30 people were standing outside BurgerFuel in Glenfield, with some in close proximity to each other.

    Police confirmed officers attended the scene – as people weren't adhering to social distancing requirements.

    I'm not sure how it's been going in NZ, but my partner works at various Bunnings stores here in Brisbane, and has been doing so right through the lockdown here. For the first week or two it was a bit chaotic, but I have to say I'm impressed at how well they've adapted recently.

    Lots of movement control, counter spacing and barriers, rules on how many people per aisle (4), staff no longer touching the receipt and so on. Shops here are enforcing a one out, one in control when they reach a certain capacity. All quite well done and I'd be perfectly happy to see these measures become permanent.

    I recall a good story from somewhere about a company that employed an ex-military medic who spent part of his day going about the office obsessively cleaning and sanitising objects that people touched, like phones, doors, the coffee bar and so on. Everyone thought it harmlessly weird and gave him the usual shit for it; until at the end of his first year management realised their sick leave had halved. Could well be apocryphal, but the meaning is true enough.

    • mac1 10.1

      Cleanrs. In terms of social value, a hospital cleaner is worth x10 his or her hourly wage whereas a banker or advertising executive actually has negative effects in terms of social value.

      The 2009 article concludes. "The least well paid jobs are often those that are among the most socially valuable – jobs that keep our communities and families together. The market does not reward this kind of work well, and such jobs are consequently undervalued or overlooked."

      Cleaners will be worth more in social value terms now.

  10. Muttonbird 11

    Sixth? Seventh day in a row with John Key on the front page?

    I sense something big and desperate brewing within the National Party.

    • RedBaronCV 11.1

      If Key keeps cracking on about the way to fix this is removing fees free for students and upping the qualifying age for old age pensions rather than raising taxes on higher incomes then he may not be improving popularity. As an aside when the chief economist for the ANZ is quoted in the same article supporting these positions – is there a conflict of interest that should be disclosed?

      • AB 11.1.1

        Watched Key on Paul Henry last night for a bit of a hoot. Stomached about 5 minutes of it. Key wanted the foreign buyer ban on house purchases reversed – said it was motivated by envy. Henry nodded sagely in agreement. Realised that I'd lost 8 years of my life to Key's off-the-shelf platitudes and bad diction. Life is short – maybe it's better to ignore politics altogether.

    • Barfly 11.2

      There's a lot of "flap flap flap"about Chris Luxon the supposed next great snake oil salesman…till he is seen action one should remember that he may end up as successful as David Shearer = not at all – confusing a back story with the actuality of a persons charisma is easy to do

    • RedLogix 11.3

      Add in the data point of Key 'flipping' his Sydney property just days ago.

      It's an outside chance MB, but a scoop if you're right.

      • Naki man 11.3.1

        They bought the property off the plans three years ago, Its a bit of a stretch to call that "flipping" their property.

        • RedLogix

          Taking possession and then putting it on the market the next day counts as flipping in my book. If Key ever had plans to live in Sydney, clearly something has changed.

  11. Barfly 12

    And covid 19 has just passed USA's death toll in the Vietnam war 58947 > 58220 those poor buggers

  12. Gosman 13

    I've told you how I would handle environmental externalities in a model I prefer. That enables far more flexibility than your model does.

    [TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

    • Gosman 13.1

      Bizarre I get asked a question which I attempt to respond to which is about as on topic as you can get and it gets moved to Open Mike. Go figure.

      • weka 13.1.1

        More like you've made the assertion a number of times recently and it's starting to look a bit spammy. I replied to you yesterday about what would work under my posts. Some of your comments since then have remained under the post, some have been moved to OM. I'm just taking it as it comes, but the bottom line is that you can't derail or use my posts to run your own lines around economics while ignoring what the post is about.

  13. dv 14

    "New Zealand scored just 54 out of 100 on an international assessment of pandemic preparedness in October. 2019

    Interestingly the two that were TOP for preparedness were

    the USA

    >1 million cases and nearly 60k deaths

    and GB

    161k cases and 21k deaths

    So who was ready?

    • Andre 14.1

      We weren't prepared, we were lucky.

      We were lucky Italy got hit hard well before cases got significant here. So we got the message we had to act, that this was really going to be a big ugly one if we didn't act.

      We were lucky our leadership recognised that we weren't prepared in terms of things like testing and contact tracing ability, so we would have to make up for it by going harder on lockdown. And had what courage was needed to do it..

      We were lucky our leadership recognised it wasn't a choice between the economy and old people's health, but understood that economically the best path forward was a hard short lockdown to eliminate the virus, and enable a quick recovery. Which also gave the best national health outcome.

      • I Feel Love 14.1.1

        True, both the UK & USA have shit poor leadership, and it shows. UK been counting PPE gloves individually rather than as pairs.

      • dv 14.1.2

        Yes very good points.

        But luck favours the prepared mind, and preparedness certainly hasn't helped the USA.

        • Gabby

          The rankings might have been based on self reporting against a checklist of bureaucratic bullshittings.

      • RedLogix 14.1.3

        Perhaps another way to look at the crisis in the USA is to see it as exposing an evolved flaw in the American nation.

        Geographically the USA is unique, the world's largest basin of fertile land, served by a massive river based transport system, good rainfall, energy and food independence and secure borders. This country cannot help but be prosperous; which means it has never needed to evolve strong central governance to survive.

        Indeed one of the really odd things about POTUS is from a domestic perspective, just how weak the role actually is. Domestically Ardern has far more power and ability to implement policy directly than Trump. POTUS faces two Federal Houses, a Supreme Court and 50 powerful State Legislatures that have full control over key policy areas like law enforcement, agriculture, education and health. While the Federal govt does have administrative bodies that act in all of these areas, the implementation of policy always overlaps with the State's own authorities.

        When times are good this messy, inefficient system isn't fatal, the USA is so fundamentally wealthy it can afford it. And when faced with an external threat it's not too much of a problem, because this is where POTUS , Federal govt and military are indeed overwhelmingly powerful.

        But rarely has the USA (at least since the Civil War) faced an internal domestic threat that encompassed the whole nation. And their weak, incoherent domestic governance is being cruelly exposed, and the cost of it's failure will be deep and painful. Already more deaths than the Vietnam war, and only set to go higher.

        How does this view align with your experience Andre?

        • Andre

          Regardless of what structural difficulties may be imposed by the way the US is a federation of states with a high degree of autonomy, it remains that the rotting rage-papaya's response has been so inept, self-absorbed and deliberately obstructive that the country would have been better off with a week-dead roadkill skunk sitting in the Oval Office.

          There's federal agencies under the direct control of the executive branch – the Federal Emergency Management Authority, Centre for Disease Control, the military, etc, along with tools such as the Defense Production Act, that could all have been used to boost the efforts made by states, and coordinate between the states. But they weren't used in any meaningful way to tackle the national problem. Instead, these agencies have sometimes even been actively obstructive, such as when they commandeer PPE supplies en route to the states that bought them.

          Let alone the communication failures involved in ignoring or downplaying the warnings provided by intelligence services, and dispensing cheery lies that felt good in the moment to the dayglo daycare escapee. Or the deliberate destruction of federal capability to respond to national threats that has happened over the last three years in the US. Such as the treatment of the pandemic response team.

          • RedLogix

            Thanks. Your description of these major Federal agencies is helpful. It’s good to have someone here familiar with what is a complex and arcane system to us kiwis 🙂

            I wasn't trying to diminish Trump's role in this catastrophe; but neither is it clear to me how very much better off the US would have been if this event had happened with say Obama in charge. For example look at how ineffectively the whole gun control/school shooting crisis was handled in his time, for reasons that seem more endemic to their system, than personal to any given President.

            Laying all the blame at Trump strikes me as fun, but insufficient.

      • Bearded Git 14.1.4

        So not much luck involved at all then?

      • Poission 14.1.5

        We were lucky our leadership recognised it wasn't a choice between the economy and old people's health, but understood that economically the best path forward was a hard short lockdown to eliminate the virus, and enable a quick recovery. Which also gave the best national health outcome.

        Most of what has been implemented ,was in the pandemic plan,including for example the wage subsidy.Not all was enacted as the MOH wanted total border shutdown,including NZ citizens,which was rejected by cabinet.

        • Descendant Of Smith

          New Zealand via civil defence had quite a large pandemic planning exercise about 10 years ago. Many of the practical aspects were ironed out then. Sure some may have got complacent since then and in many cases institutional knowledge lost (years of national governments tends to do that to the public service and health systems and councils) but the core systems and processes and even bureaucracy remained.

          I'm aware for instance that Caroline McElnay was one of those involved in that exercise over in Hawkes Bay.

  14. AB 15

    "Once we're removed from the pressure-cooker of running the business, we start wondering: is this craziness what I want to spend the rest of my life pursuing? For what gain? Do I really love my business and my customers/clients, or am I just telling myself that I love my business and my customers/clients as duct tape to keep the whole contraption from flying apart?"

    CH Smith with a good piece on the financial and psychological fragility of small business as "superfluous demand" evaporates. (Caveat – that the US will be worse than here due to mismanaging the pandemic.) Those of us who advocate de-growth for the sake of the atmosphere (and I include myself) need to be aware what removing superfluous demand means, and the extraordinary pain of such a transition..

  15. joe90 16

    Of course the wingnuts are all-a-flutter after this pair's reckless and untested musings were taken down by YT.

    There is new misinformation du jour about the novel coronavirus and it is all over Facebook, and of course, it is now being injected into the brainless heads of Fox News viewers like Trump-brand bleach.

    Fucking Tucker Carlson, goddammit. If there was a moment where he was being halfway decent about the dangers of COVID-19 — better than Hannity, at least — that moment is over. Carlson gave a prominent place to the misinformation du jour last night, so if your rightwing Uncle Bugfuck is ranting drunk today about how coronavirus totally isn't that bad, you need to know where it came from.


    Then he showed everybody video of the two doctor idiots from Johns Hopkins the urgent care in Bakersfield, and that is where our video and (very long but important) transcript pick up.

    CARLSON: Here's a physician and researcher from California called Dr. Dan Erickson. Erickson and a partner just delivered a 50-minute briefing on the latest numbers from California. The video they made has been viewed millions of times in a few days online. [If it's a viral video, it MUST be true! – Ed.] The bottom line is after looking carefully at the data, these two researchers have concluded that California should end its shelter-in-place order:

    DR. DAN ERICKSON: We've seen 1,227 deaths in the state of California, with a possible incidence or prevalence of 4.7 million. That means you have a 0.03 chance [sic] of dying from COVID-19 in the state of California. 0.03 chance [sic] of dying from COVID in the state of California. Is that — does that necessitate sheltering in place? Does that necessitate shutting down medical systems? Does that necessitate people being out of work?

    CARLSON: These are serious people who've done this for a living for decades.

    Actually no. They are urgent care docs from Bakersfield (Bakersfield's finest!), and they are not epidemiologists. They own a string of urgent care facilities, and they appear to be mad COVID-19 has fucked up their business model. In their "presentation" they also bitched and moaned about churches being closed but not the Costco. These are not serious people. They love them some Donald Trump, though! But they won't wear masks. They will probably be given Trump administration jobs by dinnertime.

    • joe90 16.1

      And the idiots over at PDF's sewer are citing it as gospel.

    • Peter 16.2

      Carlson's logic carried through to it's logical conclusion?

      'Everyone's going to die of something at some stage, why try to mitigate that?'

  16. Ad 17

    Over in Singapore, where they were supposed to have controlled the spread of the outbreak, but are instead reaping the whirlwind of treating foreign workers as truly second tier citizens, here's why those workers are generating a second bloom of the outbreak:

    sequester the infected all together in open hangar treatment areas, no air conditioning, oxygen only wheeled in, beds about 1.5 metres apart, toilets hand handwashing and laundry and canteen a hundred metres away …

    … Singapore's response is not the model for New Zealand's Next-Covid prepared health system:

    What the MoH needs to do is direct the District Health Boards to design and build facility extensions that are Next-Covid ready. And no second-class citizen treatment.

    • Andre 17.1

      Yeah, Singapore is not a model. But Taiwan probably is. But they kinda learned good lessons from their go-around with SARS that we're just learning now.

      But what's probably the biggest lesson is that when China says "uhh, guys, we got a wee problem here", the rest of the world needs to treat it as a "Houston, we have a problem" moment. Whereas the lesson the rest of the world actually and incorrectly took from SARS (and MERS) was 'no biggie'.

      • Ad 17.1.1

        I truly hate writing Lessons Learned documents.

        Such nagging futility.

        • OnceWasTim

          I'd be interested to know @ Ad (and anyone else for that matter) how we compare with the treatment of foreign workers (on whatever visa they happen to have)

          (" ……….. but are instead reaping the whirlwind of treating foreign workers as truly second tier citizens ………….")

          I'd say only marginally better than Singapore, although I never witnessed rats the size of kittens in Singapore as I have amongst some of those 'hotbedding/double bunking' in some places in the BoP

          • UncookedSelachimorpha

            We treat foreign workers shamefully here. They can't bring their families and have no access to the social safety net. In Marlborough they are often crammed into marginal accommodation. They are happy to have better than third-world wages, while we exploit them to suppress local wages.

            • OnceWasTim

              We do, absolutely. The primary reason (so far) I'll be switching my vote from Labour next election after a lifetime. That, and the state of the senior ranks of much of our public service.

              I'd hoped that there'd have been a hint as to proposals for reform by now (especially given Hipkins' harping about it over the years), but it seems business as usual. Tinkering even.

              But as for immigrant labour, our treatment is shameful. There are machines that are treated better – probably because there isn't the hassle of dependents and family to consider (and often NZ dependents and family)

              National industrialised the problem (Coleman and Joyce mainly), but after nearly 3 years, SFA has been done to fix it.

              But word is getting round that there's a better immigrant worker's (and student, for that matter) life to be had elsewhere – even Oman ffs!

            • mac1

              UncookedSelachimorpha, I'd be very interested to know your sources for your statement about treatment of foreign workers in Marlborough, especially the marginal accommodation. Thanks.

  17. Dennis Frank 18

    I've been a critic of our media since the 1960s but also try to give credit where it's due. The two most recent essays from Chris Trotter are excellent. Today he focuses on the nexus where public, media & politicians intersect and his illumination of the behaviour of media professionals is extremely insightful – particularly now that their incentive structures are being totally transformed.

    And from the one on Monday: "The government of Xi Jinping adopted a policy of strategic inaction. It delayed informing the World Health Organisation of the virus’s extraordinary infectiousness. More crucially, it delayed shutting down Wuhan, Hubei, and China itself, until the virus was safely aboard the world’s airlines and winging its way unheralded across the planet." Advocated as a plausible theory rather than fact, of course!

    "If humanity suddenly had to contend with a new coronavirus, then, from the perspective of Beijing, it was far preferable to have the whole of humanity contending with “Covid-19” (as it would soon be called) than only that fraction of humanity residing within the borders of the People’s Republic of China. To have protected the rest of the world – particularly its most powerful nations – from the virus’s devastating economic side-effects would have been indistinguishable from allowing China to be defeated in a major war. Sharing Covid-19 with the rest of the world made much more sense in geopolitical and economic terms than heroically bearing its burdens alone. Receiving the world’s praise is one thing; giving the rest of the world the whip hand over your country’s future is something else altogether."

    Does indeed correlate with the regime's tradition of recycling imperial dominance as geopolitical strategy. And so to this:

    "A massive 71% of the British public want ministers to sue the Chinese government." C'mon Boris, me lud! "In America, meanwhile, Senator Hawley of Missouri has introduced a bill which would pave the way for coronavirus-related lawsuits in US courts against China. His Justice for Victims of Covid-19 Act would remove the immunity that China currently enjoys before US courts under international law."

    International law is one of those things that seem more ephemeral the closer the look you take. But I suspect this space is worth watching…

  18. Morrissey 19

    The smearing of Ken Loach and Jeremy Corbyn is the face of our new toxic politics

    by JONATHAN COOK, 8 April 2020

    The film-maker’s crime – like Corbyn’s – wasn’t antisemitism but recalling a time when class solidarity inspired the struggle for a better world

    Ken Loach, one of Britain’s most acclaimed film directors, has spent more than a half a century dramatising the plight of the poor and the vulnerable. His films have often depicted the casual indifference or active hostility of the state as it exercises unaccountable power over ordinary people.

    Last month Loach found himself plunged into the heart of a pitiless drama that could have come straight from one of his own films. This veteran chronicler of society’s ills was forced to stand down as a judge in a school anti-racism competition, falsely accused of racism himself and with no means of redress.

    Voice of the powerless

    There should be little doubt about Loach’s credentials both as an anti-racist and a trenchant supporter of the powerless and the maligned.

    In his films he has turned his unflinching gaze on some of the ugliest episodes of British state repression and brutality in Ireland, as well as historical struggles against fascism in other parts of the globe, fromSpain to Nicaragua.

    But his critical attention has concentrated chiefly on Britain’s shameful treatment of its own poor, its minorities and its refugees. In his recent film I, Daniel Blake he examined the callousness of state bureaucracies in implementing austerity policies, while this year’s release Sorry We Missed You focused on the precarious lives of a zero-hours workforce compelled to choose between the need to work and responsibility to family.

    Inevitably, these scathing studies of British social and political dysfunction – exposed even more starkly by the current coronavirus pandemic – mean Loach is much less feted at home than he is in the rest of the world, where his films are regularly honoured with awards.

    Which may explain why the extraordinary accusations against him of racism – or more specifically antisemitism – have not been more widely denounced as malicious.

    Campaign of vilification

    From the moment it was announced in February that Loach and Michael Rosen, a renowned, leftwing children’s poet, were to judge an anti-racism art competition for schools, the pair faced a relentless and high-profile campaign of vilification. ….

    Read more….

  19. Morrissey 20

    Covid? God will protect us, says Vice-President Pence.

    [TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

  20. Poission 21

    The unusual case of increased mortality.

  21. Fireblade 22

    The Business Insider Australia has recently published a grim outlook for the Australian economy.

    I have summarised the main points of interest:

    Between 14% and 26% of Australian workers could be out of work as a direct result of the Covid-19 lockdown. The crisis will have an enduring impact on jobs and the economy for years to come.

    It will be the worst or one of the worst economic downturns in Australia's history. Entire sectors of the economy have shutdown.

    More than half of all workers in the hospitality industry could lose their livelihoods, as will many workers in retail, tourism, education, and the arts. Lower-income workers will be driven out of the labour force at twice the rate of their high-income peers.

    The unemployment rate will peak somewhere between 10% and 15%. Official updated labour data won’t be released until the middle of May.

    Australia's government debt could reach $1 trillion AUD.

  22. I Feel Love 23 excessive veteran deaths in a care giving home and the answer is "legal action", heartbreaking.

    • RedLogix 24.1

      Good article; Roubini puts the massive downside risks concisely and authoratively.

      And finally people are starting to understand how much is at stake as de-globalisation accelerates.

  23. Fireblade 25

    Happy Birthday Willie Nelson. 87 years young on 29 April.

    Still Not Dead
    by Willie Nelson

  24. sumsuch 26

    1000 times the 1930s. I admire the details people above. But now is the time for direct lines between points that matter. Big ups to Ardern at this moment . And carry it on for the climate change crisis, more urgent than 1% max deaths, by 90-100 times.

    This epidemic is like murders clustering in the media dead season of
    Christmas. That it beats climate change says a bit. Maybe we were good about stories. A good headstone.

    How can we describe this time except in terms of our fat arses.

    Send me off technocrat Labourites, or Labour.

  25. Eco Maori 27

    Kia Ora Newshub.

    That's is good lowering of the loan restrictions deposit to 10 %.

    Ka kite Ano

  26. Eco Maori 28

    Kia Ora Te Ao Maori News.

    It would be nice if all mahi are paid A living wage.

    New Zealand Music month coming up kia kaha to all the Stars.

    Ka kite Ano.

    • Eco Maori 28.1

      Kia Ora The Am Show.

      I know what having bad Internet and no cell phone coverage is like after having good Internet it will be good for the back block rual people to get Internet.

      Cool the business tax relief package.

      Correct we should not come out of isolation to fast and end up having to go back into isolation because of losted gains against virus elimination.

      That's it our government has done very well handling the virus issues.

      Ka kite Ano

  27. Eco Maori 29

    Kia Ora Newshub.

    That's good that unervsity is not going to charge it students rent during level 3 isolation.

    Ka kite Ano.

  28. Eco Maori 30

    Kia Ora Te Ao Maori News.

    That's good news the government giving business no interest loans to help them stay afloat during isolation.

    The Kai should be gift to Tangata instead of going to the land fill.

    Ka kite Ano.

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