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Open mike 30/07/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, July 30th, 2022 - 165 comments
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Open mike is your post.

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Step up to the mike …

165 comments on “Open mike 30/07/2022 ”

  1. Adrian Thornton 1

    Here is probably one of the most insightful, balanced and nuanced overviews on the War in the Ukraine that I have come across…if you have any real interest in this conflict and you are getting sick of all the straight up propaganda being shoved down your throat from all sides, then you owe it to yourself to give it a listen…i..

    Anatol Lieven of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. on what provoked the Russian invasion of Ukraine, what motivates Putin, and where it might all go”

    https://kpfa.org/episode/behind-the-news-march-3-2022/

    • mikesh 1.1

      Zelenskyy's complaints concerning lack of support from the West seems to underline the ambiguity of the saying: "with friends like that, who needs enemies."

    • RedLogix 1.2

      You might have done better to have gone directly to the source:

      The Quincy Institute’s mission is to move U.S. foreign policy away from endless war and toward vigorous diplomacy in the pursuit of international peace. Like all of our work, our approach to the Russia-Ukraine war is guided by this priority and the basic tenets of the international relations theories of realism and restraint. This framework leads us to the following conclusions:

      • We categorically condemn Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, and support U.S. assistance for Ukraine’s self-defense.
      • A protracted war will inflict grave damage on the people of Ukraine, while also harming our NATO allies, and the world as a whole, including Americans.
      • Direct conflict between the United States and Russia risks potential nuclear weapons use and avoiding it therefore must be America’s top priority.
      • In light of these realities, the United States should play an active role in seeking a negotiated peace that preserves Ukrainian sovereignty and independence.
      • U.S. diplomatic efforts should recognize Ukraine’s critical role in negotiations, but should also recognize that as the most powerful nation on earth and the largest supporter of the Ukrainian war effort, the U.S. has a major role to play in seeking peace.
      • This U.S. role, and the damage to the U.S., European and global economies stemming from the war, also give the U.S. administration critical cause to play a part in seeking a peace settlement.
      • The United States should avoid advancing maximalist war aims such as regime change in Russia, which cuts off possibilities for compromise or ending the war through diplomacy.
      • While compromise is difficult in light of Putin’s actions, the costs and risks of an extended war are even greater.

      All reasonable points, but the last bullet however understates the matter dramatically. Just this week Russia signs up to a formal agreement to allow shipment of Ukrainian grain out of Odessa and then within 24hrs bombards port facilities and grain silos in that city.

      The only possible conclusion you can draw from this egresious act of duplicity is that literally nothing the Kremlin signs up to is worth a tin of shit. You cannot negotiate peace with someone who does not want it.

      As the Germans, French, Turks and Israelis have already discovered.

      • francesca 1.2.1

        Red

        I seem to have read that no grain silos were hit,only military targets

        Please link to reports of grain silos hit.

        The agreement refers to civilian assets ,not military

        • In Vino 1.2.1.1

          Thank you Francesca. Photos shown seem to support military targets only, and no civilian ships damaged either. Usual propaganda job by big drama queens?

          The West does itself no good with such obvious bias in the news media.

      • Bearded Git 1.2.2

        There is a certain irony Israel getting involved in the peace talks as it has attacked and murdered Arabs for many decades stealing their land in the process.

        • Adrian Thornton 1.2.2.1

          Yes the Israeli's literally get away with murder….as we can all quite plainly see, you can when you are protected by the biggest gang boss on the planet.

          • Barfly 1.2.2.1.1

            Two thoughts pop to mind.

            Israel has no need for protection from the USA – I am confident that they would happily use some of their ample supply of nuclear weapons if they felt a need to.

            The USA has certainly been captured by the American Israeli Lobby AIPAC has funneled fuck knows how many tens of millions of dollars to committed pro-Israeli politicians in both Democratic and Republican parties. There is no balance to be had.

      • Adrian Thornton 1.2.3

        "You cannot negotiate peace with someone who does not want it"…Red Logix projecting as usual.

        Red really is the text book example of the modern Liberals seamless shift into becoming the most aggressive War Hawks on the planet…nicely put into it’s historical context by Matt Taibbi about half way into this excellent interview….

        • Populuxe1 1.2.3.1

          I'm surprised he finds time in between shilling anti-vax nonsense and polishing Tucker Carlson's shoes.

        • RedLogix 1.2.3.2

          You got busted because I did some basic homework and showed that your source didn't really say what you wanted it to.

          And in response you throw a tanty. And quit with fake neutrality, you are not fooling anyone.

          • Adrian Thornton 1.2.3.2.1

            No he said exactly what I have said all along…The Russians (Putin or any other future Russian leader) will never leave the Ukraine unless either defeated militarily, which is not going to happen (except in the fantasies of some uniformed virtual realities created for especially War Hawks) or the Russian state collapses, which is also unlikely…so a negotiated end is inevitable, the only thing unknown is when that will happen…unlike you I hope it is sooner than later.

            You know RL, I am beginning to believe that you are the most fanatical ideologue I have ever actually encountered in my entire life…you are as scary as any Right Wing Hawk I have ever met that is for sure….

            • Stuart Munro 1.2.3.2.1.1

              The Russians will never leave the Ukraine unless either defeated militarily,

              well it's going to make Tsushima Strait look like a skirmish

              which is not going to happen

              It's happening already.

              or the Russian state collapses,

              History suggests that the defeat will collapse the Putin version of the Russian state. That was the outcome of the loss of Rozhestvensky's fleet.

              • In Vino

                I fear that your comparison may prove to be tendentious, Stuart.

                Do you really believe that Putin is as stupid as the Tsar of the time?

                • Barfly

                  Stupid?

                  Invading in Ukrainian winter without sufficient winter uniforms and incurring losses to frostbite.

                  Invading in winter heading to spring Putin claims to be a student of history. Did he forget the "Rasputitsa" aka "General Mud"?

                  Having a 40 kilometer long convoy stuck due to being unable to adequately plan and execute the bridge captures necessary

                  Sending troops to occupy the "Red Forrest" at Chernobyl

                  Doing a Hitler…

                  Hitler ate The Saar, Austria, Sudetenland and then the rest of Czechoslovakia – and he was totally surprised that when he invaded Poland the world had got the shits with him and it's war

                  Putin ate pieces of Georgia, Armenia, Romania and a fat chunk of Ukraine in 2014 – and he was totally surprised that when he invaded Ukraine again the world had got the shits with him and is arming the Ukraine more and more.( and they aren't going to stop)

                  I could keep going but frankly it seems that Putin has already demonstrated prodigious hubris, narcissism and has rapidly become a world class example of Dunning-Kruger

                  • In Vino

                    Well, he should be plunged into retreat any moment, shouldn't he?

                  • RedLogix

                    Interestingly Putin apparently does not use the internet personally. Worse still virtually all the people he interacts within the Kremlin will come from a security services background, and as with all dictators nobody wants to bring him bad news.

                    If you think Western elites tend to be insular and isolated from the consequences of their actions – Russia's leader is an order of magnitude worse.

                • Stuart Munro

                  It is less stupidity than foolishness that we see in Putin – he's a clever man, sure – but not wise.

                  His military victories to date have in general been the result of escalating conflicts against much smaller states – his first was Chechnya.

                  Overwhelming force is an appealing substitute for strategy. ~ Kez Maefele

                  It doesn't work so well when you struggle to achieve it, or when your opponent, the dirty dog, has plans of his own.

                  • Anne

                    "… he's a clever man, sure – but not wise."

                    That's what you can expect from a narcissistic sociopath. His counter-part in the USA is Trump of course. No wonder they liked each other.

                    I wonder what would have happened if Trump had been re-elected. It hardly bears thinking about.

                  • mikesh

                    I think perhaps Putin is more perceptive than any of us. I think he foresees that sooner or later Russia will find itself in a defensive war against NATO. This invasion is probably a preemptive strike against NATO advancing up to the Russian border.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Putin is merely more perceptive than you.

                      There isn't any 3D chess in conducting a war predicted to take about three days, and failing to bring it to a conclusion in over 5 months.

                      Putin failed to calculate the lack of appeal to ordinary Ukrainians, of being made second class citizens in their own country.

                      Nor is it a preemptive strike – Putin's belligerence has galvanized NATO, and drawn neutrals like Finland, Sweden and even Switzerland into alliance against him.

                      Russia is now at risk of collapse and partition, which, prior to his most recent error, was not a proximate goal of NATO.

                      It is not merely the military failure, nor economic consequences that have been costly however. Prior to this adventure, Putin was taken somewhat seriously by the policy makers of other nations. He has blown that credibility, and together with Lavrov has reduced his status to the level of Ahmadinejad – a man who would say absolutely anything without regard for truth.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Show me where it says in the NATO charter that they can attack a sovereign state unprovoked? Russia already has NATO states on its borders – 754 miles across northern Norway, eastern Latvia and Estonia, Poland and Lithuania, and all around the Kaliningrad oblast, so why now?

                  • mikesh

                    Russia already has NATO states on its borders

                    The situation in Ukraine was somewhat different: there was the fascist takeover in 2014, coupled with the unconstitutional ousting of Yanukovich – accepting an economic assistance deal from Russia does not constitute grounds for dismissing a president, where the normal remedy if the country doesn't approve of it would be to vote him out at the nest election. (Yanukovich offered an immediate election but that wasn't good enough for the fascists, who probably feared that he would just be reelected.) This was then followed by a virtual civil war in the East. The Easterners were merely seeking the introduction of a federal system, which would have given the greater autonomy within the Ukranian state. On top of that, Ukraine's joining NATO would have left Crimea, a territory which had long been an important part of the Eastern block's defensive setup, vulnerable to an invasion by Ukraine, for the benefit of the USA.

            • Populuxe1 1.2.3.2.1.2

              I think you know full well that it's going to be horrific for Ukrainians either way but you don't care, otherwise you wouldn't be posturing off their suffering like the second coming of Gandhi – who, by the way, didn't give two sh*ts how many Indians died passively resisting the British either, so why shouldn't they fight?

              • Adrian Thornton

                I have no idea what your comment means…."posturing off their suffering"..what do mean by that?

                I have said from the start that there needs to be a negotiated end to the war as soon as possible…"it's going to be horrific for Ukrainians either way but you don't care"….I can't really see how living in the Ukraine (or Russia) with a negotiated peace deal has any sort of 'horrific' comparison at all with being ripped into chunks of meat in some artillery barrage in an unwinnable war?…but maybe you can enlighten me.

              • mikesh

                Whether or not I care is beside the point. I suggest leave off the the ad hominem arguments (if indeed you can call them arguments).

            • RedLogix 1.2.3.2.1.3

              Odd though how the outcomes you promote always serve Putin's interests.

              • Adrian Thornton

                God you are one dimensional…a flat piece of paper would have more contours than the thinking you bring to this topic.

                • Populuxe1

                  A flat piece of paper? Like a map of Eurasia with a clearly demarked border between Russia and Ukraine?

                  • In Vino

                    Putin is no fool. He will get what he is strong enough to get. I will wait and see. I am rather surprised by so many omniscient armchair gamesters here, pretending to know it all.

                    • Barfly

                      Putin's plans versus his results. I think that Russia is very close to it's zenith in this war. They did well in Severodonetsk and Lysychansk but the HIMARS stuffing their ammo dumps has cut them to a crawl. The next big one to watch is of course is Kherson – I anticipate a very heavy and embarrassing casualty toll for Russia there as well as enormous civilian casualties. Russia I believe will lose Kherson allowing Ukraine an easy defensive line using the Dnieper River. Ukraine will then switch to cutting the "land brisge" between the Donbass and the Crimea – that's my armchair reckons devil

                • weka

                  Please dial back the personal attacks. This has been explained to you so many times, it's hard to understand why you don't get it. If you don't like the arguments and can't respond with one of your own, take a step back for a while and then come back to it later.

                  • In Vino

                    Thanks Weka – I value your role in this area.

                    Debates on this topic on TDB have rapidly descended into volleys of 9-yr-old insults, and participation has become all but pointless.

                    Curious, to my mind, that this topic above all arouses the faux patriotic beasts.

                • mikesh

                  I tend to support Russia in this particular conflict rather than Putin himself. It seems to be be accepted that this is a proxy war between the USA and Russia. It is also an open secret that USA is attempting to become the hegemon in a unipolar world that it is hoping to bring about. I find strange that you should be supporting the USA in this endeavor.

                  • Populuxe1

                    Russia is rapidly running low on cannonfodder. I'm sure they'd be delighted if you volunteered. That would be a more practical way of supporting them rather than playing armchair apparatchik.

                    • mikesh

                      I'm pretty sure Russia can do without my assistance. However, you seem unable to do without the use of ad hominem arguments.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Well mikesh in the grand scheme of things ad hominem is less offensive than cheering on slaughter.

      • mikesh 1.2.4

        You cannot negotiate peace with someone who does not want it.

        Zelenskyy says that there will be no peace treaty that does not include the return of territories gained by Russia. As Russia will, rightly in my opinion given the war that has been going on in the east since 2014, want to hold on to those territories. I think we would have to say that it's Ukraine that that is holding up peace negotiations.

        It's my opinion the Ukrainian nationalists have been spoiling for a fight right from the beginning; which of course would not exonerate Russia but, as they say, it takes two to tango.

        • RedLogix 1.2.4.1

          Zelenskyy says that there will be no peace treaty that does not include the return of territories gained by Russia.

          Interesting you should choose to whitewash Russian invasion as 'territory gained'.

          As Russia will, rightly in my opinion given the war that has been going on in the east since 2014, want to hold on to those territories

          Well that makes it pretty clear – you are fully supporting Putin's invasion judging by your use of language here. It seems pretty unequivocal to my reading, but maybe I am wrong.

          I think we would have to say that it's Ukraine that that is holding up peace negotiations.

          Your demand that Ukraine should surrender clearly places you on the Russian side of this war. Which is fine – it's your choice to enable a fascist, revanchist imperial war. This will not be forgotten.

          • In Vino 1.2.4.1.1

            Are you putting us down in your notebook, Redlogix?

            • RedLogix 1.2.4.1.1.1

              Bookmarking will do.

              I wouldn't mind so much if mikesh just came out and honestly declared his support for Putin.

              • In Vino

                Why do you demand that? I myself am highly ambivalent about the obviously one-sided propaganda we are fed, but I see no reason why that proves that I must therefore be a supporter of that most vile and hated enemy..

                What is driving you?

                • Populuxe1

                  A justified nausea at what Russia is doing in Ukraine probably.

                  • Blazer

                    Zelensky and his wifes latest Vogue photo shoot was quite nauseating imo.

                    And what to make of his zoom call to African leaders,which was basically ignored by most of them.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Ukraine has been a major supplier of grain to the poorer parts of Africa, and to the aid agencies that sometimes assist them. Maintaining relationships with steady customers ought not to be difficult to understand – even when it involves advising them that due to force majeure, supplies may be shorter than usual.

                    • RedLogix

                      A rep for NOVA Ukraine, a nonprofit that spreads awareness of the war while providing aid to Ukrainians, tells TMZ the article was "brilliantly written" … wondering if the people criticizing the story even read it.

                      https://www.tmz.com/2022/07/29/president-zelensky-vogue-cover-shoot-defend-ukraine-organization/

                    • Populuxe1

                      Meh. Annie Leibovitz only has one way of taking photographs. You should have spent more time reading the article.

          • mikesh 1.2.4.1.2

            Your demand that Ukraine should surrender clearly places you on the Russian side of this war. Which is fine – it's your choice to enable a fascist, revanchist imperial war. This will not be forgotten.

            I see Russia conducting a defensive war against NATO imperialism. You don't see things that way, but that's your problem.

            • Stuart Munro 1.2.4.1.2.1

              Just so – a defensive war conducted by invading a peaceful neighbour.

            • Populuxe1 1.2.4.1.2.2

              Yet you can never come up with a convincing explanation as to what aspect of "Nato imperialism™" Russia is actually defending itself from? This is nothing to do with Nato, which, as apparently has to be repeated ad nauseum, a defence pact that the US has a lot less control over than you would like to believe. And even if that were the case, since when has Nato or even the US launched an unprovoked attack on a nuclear power? Hint, never, because even the most blinkered narcissist of the US Military-Industrial Complex™ fervently believes in MAD. And in any case there is no moral justification for a pre-emptive attack where there is no evidence of an attack to pre-empt. Surely that much is obvious to even the most logically and morally challenged?

              • mikesh

                “Yet you can never come up with a convincing explanation as to what aspect of "Nato imperialism™"

                I'm picking Comrade Putin has observed the Eastward movement of NATO and formed a view as to what this advance means for Russia. Such a view would appear likely to differ from yours. Are you confident enough, or arrogant enough, to say that your view would be right, and Putin's view wrong. After all Putin is embroiled in the thick of things, while you are merely a distant observer.

                • Populuxe1

                  Gosh I can't imagine why countries near Russia, land of hugs and rainbows, led by President Carebear could possibly want to join a defense pact… Yes, Putin's view likely does differ from mine because I'm not an expansionist imperialist warmonger. Imperialism is bs regardless of who engages in it. Let it be known that I do not, and never will, be a cheerleader for fascists and imperialist aggressors.

                • RedLogix

                  NATO moved nowhere – it is not a kind of moveable, mechanised beast lumbering across the Great Northern European Plains like something impossible out of Mortal Engines.

                  It is in fact an alliance of sovereign nations that choose to be it's members – and in every instance where they had an unfettered choice between a prosperous, liberal Europe and Putin's kleptocracy they voted for the former.

                  That this made Putin anxious is a matter of his insecurities, not Europe's.

                  Otherwise what pop said.

                  • mikesh

                    NATO moved nowhere – it is not a kind of moveable, mechanised beast lumbering across the Great Northern European Plains like something impossible out of Mortal Engines.

                    This seems a pretty disingenuous thing to say. However, since you cannot really deny NATO's advance Eastward, I guess there’s not much else you can say.

                    • RedLogix

                      Your denial of multiple European nations agency in choosing to become members of NATO is the disingenuous act here. NATO did not move anywhere, it did not invade them, it did not force them to subsume their sovereignty, it made none a puppet or client state.

                      That this provoked Putin's paranoid insecurities is Russia's problem, not Europe's.

                    • mikesh

                      That this provoked Putin's paranoid insecurities is Russia's problem, not Europe's.

                      It looks as if Putin's "paranoia" is everybody's problem, given his reaction to the Ukranian threat. But, as I said in another comment on this post, "fools walk in where wise men fear to tread".

                    • Populuxe1

                      Actually it's more like former Soviet satellites moving westward, metaphorically speaking.

          • mikesh 1.2.4.1.3

            Your demand that Ukraine should surrender clearly places you on the Russian side of this war. Which is fine – it's your choice to enable a fascist, revanchist imperial war. This will not be forgotten.

            It's curious that you should equate peace talks with surrender.

            • Populuxe1 1.2.4.1.3.1

              Because the Kremlin has made their terms very clear. How on earth do you get any thinking done in something that small?

              • mikesh

                If countries bordering Russia want to be safe, it would seem sensible not to join NATO, but rather, to observe a strict neutrality, particularly if Ukraine's experience is anything to go by, . However, they say "fools walk in where wise men fear to tread".

                PS to moderator: sorry about the username blunder. It has now been corrected.

                • Populuxe1

                  Putin's Russia has attacked and occupied parts of non-NATO members.
                  Putin's Russia has gone out of its way not to attack NATO members.
                  Ergo: there is something wrong with your logic.

            • mikesh 1.2.4.1.3.2

              Henry Kissinger seems to agree with me, going by remarks made by him at a recent conference. He was more than likely thinking of the damage being done to the world economy, but he is of the opinion that Ukraine should sue for peace and cede territory to Russia.

              Would you say that Kissinger is some sort of Russophile.

              He is also of the opinion that countries in between Russia and Europe should maintain a politically neutral stance.

              • Incognito

                He is also of the opinion that countries in between Russia and Europe should maintain a politically neutral stance.

                What is that even supposed to mean for an independent autonomic sovereign country? It cannot form economic ties with nations from either side?

                If such country smiles to the left it’ll be invaded by/from the right and vice versa if it winks to the right it’ll cop if by/from the left?

                You may want to link to good ole Henry’s speech.

              • Populuxe1

                I would say Kissinger is some sort of pseudo-realist war criminal and well-known Putin advisor and confidant. If that's the gutter you want to lie down in, feel free.

                • mikesh

                  I think you need to get your facts straight. Kissinger was an American diplomat, and an adviser to presidents He seemed to have a talent for brokering peace deals. It's a pity he was not around when Biden learned of Russia's impending invasion.

                  • joe90

                    I think you need to get your facts straight.

                    Kissinger certainly got lots done. For a war criminal.
                    He helped Nixon sabotage Vietnamese peace talks for his own political gain, expanded the Vietnam war into Laos and Cambodia and approved every single one of the nearly 4K US bombing raids on Cambodia that dropped 110K tons of munitions and killed between 150,000 and 500,000 civilians.

                    Kissinger championed Pakistan in its war against Bangladesh despite ample evidence of war crimes and he was knee-deep in organising the violent coup that ousted the Allende government and installed Pinochet's neocon Junta.

                    And in 1975 he tacitly supported Suharto, a mass murderer responsible for deaths of hundreds of thousands of Indonesians and the bloody conquest of East Timor.

                    /

                    • Populuxe1

                      Are you quite as simultaneously bemused and scandalised as I am?

                    • joe90

                      More bilious than bemused. And disgusted.

                    • mikesh

                      Even so, I don't think he was an advisor to Putin, which was the point I was making. I also think he is shrewd political observer who should be listened to, even if his advice concerning the Ukraine situation, doesn't seem to be in America's interests.

                  • Populuxe1

                    I think you need to get your facts straight. Kissinger was an American diplomat, and an adviser to presidents He seemed to have a talent for brokering peace deals. It's a pity he was not around when Biden learned of Russia's impending invasion.

                    Dude, lol. Is this your standup routine? It's definitely the best laugh I've had in ages. I think you need to read Christopher Hitchens' The Trial of Henry Kissinger (2001) just for starters. Kissinger is easily one of the worst ('alleged' if you insist) war criminals of the 20th century! His machinations directly resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians in South East Asia! It's a rare conflict in the second half of last century he didn't have his bloody fingers in. And Kissinger being friendly with Putin seems to be one thing the international left and the Q-Anon nutters agree on.

  2. Sabine 2

    Ouch.

    • Barfly 2.1

      Mate Centrica Gas only made 1.3 billions pounds profit think of all those share dividends that will benefit the 'worthy' /sarc

      • Sabine 2.1.1

        I think they call it 'disaster capitalism' and we are in the midst of it, and they are feeding of us.

  3. Patricia Bremner 3

    I am pleased both cases have been settled.

    Clark Gayford has had lies and innuendo to deal with, no case to answer and the liars are charged.

    Young Nat who redirected Effeso Collins Face book to his rival has been out.

    Some one more tech savy than I am might like to post those two items.

    They follow in the footsteps a of Andrea Vance's book. imo

  4. Belladonna 4

    Regardless of what you may think about the current political party funding legislation – the NZF case appears to have highlighted a massive hole in enabling secret donations to be channelled to political parties.

    The two defendants were found 'not guilty' — not on the matter of substance – the Judge found “comprehensive evidence [the defendants] deployed the dishonest scheme in order to deceive the party and party secretary” — but rather an apparent loophole in the legislation – "payments are donations only if they are given directly to a political party or to people engaged “in the administration of the affairs of the party”. Because the defendants were not involved in NZ First’s day-to-day running, the payments were deemed not to be party donations, and there was no obligation to disclose them."

    Not a lawyer, here – but this seems like a perverse interpretation of the law IMHO.

    In any case, I would hope that the government would be moving very swiftly to close the loophole (whether perceived or actual) before the end of the year – and certainly before the heavy fundraising campaigns that arise in election year.

    I, as a NZ citizen, absolutely want to know exactly who is making substantial donations to any political party. And, in addition, I think that any foundation or trust funnelling donations to a Party should have to disclose the source of that money.

    This can only be seen as a deliberate (and clearly successful) attempt to evade Electoral donations legislation. And needs to be very firmly addressed.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/129418361/max-rashbrooke-undisclosed-money-threatens-next-election

    Given the ever-present potential for money to buy political favours, this openness is an essential means by which a democracy’s integrity is maintained.

    The government has just introduced a bill to require names for donors with a lower-than-current level of donation, and to require annual accounts published. It would be an easy task to include provisions to make all donations which benefit a Political party or campaign (regardless of source) required to be disclosed according to the Act; and to put some serious penalties in place for those attempting to evade the law.

    “New Justice Minister Kiri Allan ​has asked officials to look at this urgently. Some fear the rush to close the loophole before next year’s election will lead to bad law. But that is surely a much smaller risk than the risk of doing nothing at all, and thus giving undisclosed money free reign.”

    • Anne 4.1

      The government has just introduced a bill to require names for donors with a lower-than-current level of donation, and to require annual accounts published. It would be an easy task to include provisions to make all donations which benefit a Political party or campaign (regardless of source) required to be disclosed according to the Act; and to put some serious penalties in place for those attempting to evade the law.

      This might sound like a reasonable way to go, but I don't think it would work in practice. It does not take human nature into account. There are many historical accounts of people who were bullied, intimidated and lost their jobs (some were never able to get another job) because they were politically linked to the Labour Party. There is no guarantee it would not happen again.

      Thousands of people make donations to political parties but many would not do so if they thought their $50 per annum donation was going to end up on a publicly available list.

      It is the big financial donors who are the problem. There is plenty of evidence that big money brings access to, and power over the recipient political party. These big donors by and large don't want their identities to be known and hence the growth of these Ponzi schemes whereby they can donate as much as they like in the names of other persons – or through some sort of trust – without revealing who they are.

      Its been going on for decades. The first political party to operate this latest swindle was ACT, starting in the 1990s. At the time the level of disclosure was $10,000. This piece of information came direct to me from the horses mouth.

      • alwyn 4.1.1

        "came direct to me from the horses mouth."

        I asked the horse whether it had told you this and it says "neigh".

      • Belladonna 4.1.2

        I believe the latest threshold for donations to be declared is $5,000.

        https://businessdesk.co.nz/article/policy/political-donations-over-5k-to-require-declaration

        That's certainly a level I can live with (both for the protection of individuals, and for the administrative burden that declaring $5 would put on the party concerned).

        What I *don't* want to see is large sums being donated secretly – either filtered through 'trusts' or broken up into just under $5K segments.

        And this should be relatively easy for a change in legislation to address (or at least *attempt* to address)

        And the penalties for electoral fraud need to be seriously increased – this is not a minor crime, but cuts directly to the protection of democracy.

        • Stuart Munro 4.1.2.1

          An obvious automatic penalty is confiscation – although we want to go after corrupt persons perverting the democratic process, potential loss of donations will make parties inclined to keep good records of who donated what.

          A second obvious rule is to require that donors be registered voters. If someone cannot legally vote, then there is no reason they should be allowed to influence the process.

          • Belladonna 4.1.2.1.1

            Very difficult to require donors to be registered voters for the small sums. And I can see advantages to collating smaller sums into trust or organizational bank accounts (e.g. the local Labour Party running a raffle or a fundraising event).

            Organizations have also historically make donations on behalf of their members or their owners (the big trade unions come into this category, as well as individual businesses – who often donate equal sums to both main parties).

            What I would like to see is that each organization making a donation over $5K have to sign a statutory declaration that either no individual has donated more than 5K that year, or that those individuals or organizations are listed. An anonymous trust would have to declare which individuals made the donation.

            I agree that loss of the money is one penalty, however, I'd like to see actual financial and criminal penalties for donors and parties failing to declare donations, or obviously gaming the system to try and avoid having to make a declaration. Much like the crime of tax evasion.

            • Stuart Munro 4.1.2.1.1.1

              Unions of course have large membership lists – and these days usually require membership permission to donate. There would be little difficulty collecting numbers of voters to validate a donation.

              Trusts are purpose built for tax evasion and similar nefarious purposes – if rules don't capture them then the rules will be evaded.

              I too would like to see the crooks punished – most tax evaders escape too however – by design I imagine.

  5. SPC 5

    England has extended the ban on transgender from the womens game from the elite level to all levels.

    The vote was 33-26.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/sport/2022/07/england-s-rugby-and-rugby-league-bodies-ban-transgender-players-from-women-s-game.html

    It specifies people would have to be registered as born female to participate as players (it is not possible for the transgender to change their birth certificate ID in the UK).

    The review and consultation concluded that detailed peer-reviewed research provides evidence that there are physical differences between those people whose sex originally recorded as male and those as female at birth, and advantages in strength, stamina and physique brought about by testosterone and male puberty are significant and retained even after testosterone suppression.”

    https://www.planetrugby.com/england-rfu-bans-trans-women-from-playing-womens-rugby/

  6. SPC 6

    Shaw has received an endorsement from former Greens MP Kevin Hague, who was with the party from 2008 to 2016.

    Hague came second to Shaw in a leadership contest in 2015 after former Greens co-leader Russel Norman vacated the role.

    You know, some people might be surprised to hear me say it but I think James absolutely is the right person to be the leader, and he has my support," Hague told host Simon Shepherd.

    "I think he's actually done a really good job of taking the party into Government and achieving things while in Government. I think he's been a good minister."

    But Hague said Shaw had achieved some "really difficult things" when it came to climate change. "He's been able to achieve some things that are really difficult to achieve, such as the consensus of parties around climate change and establishing the Climate Change Commission," Hague said.

    "That's really necessary architecture for the kind of climate response that we need to make as a country and it's really James, who deserves the credit for that.

    "He has actually achieved more as minister than every previous minister, every previous Government put together before him."

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2022/07/former-greens-mp-kevin-hague-backs-james-shaw-says-he-s-achieved-more-on-climate-than-every-previous-minister-government.html

    ACT Party leader David Seymour also praised Shaw earlier this week, saying the Greens would be "mad" to dump him.

    "I know a lot of people who will find this hard to believe but he's the sanest amongst them by far

    Which is kind of sweet, so on behalf of the Greens I'd like to say that Brooke Olivia van Velden is by far the sanest of the ACT party caucus and they should consider promoting her to co-leader.

    • RedLogix 6.1

      Back during the Kevin Rudd era the ALP had gotten a sufficient support for a carbon tax regime across the Australian Federal Parliament – but at the last minute the AGP pulled the rug out from the deal 'because it wasn't good enough'.

      In the resulting fallout Australia spent a decade politically tearing itself apart and failing to make progress.

    • Ad 6.2

      As the immediate past CEO of Forest and Bird with its 80,000plus members, getting Hague's endorsement is very powerful. That is more members than Labour, National and the Greens put together.

      James Shaw should also be credited with implementing carbon trading for New Zealand as a binding cross-Parliamentary plan.

      He ought be justifiably proud of taking climate change mitigation out of political contest essentially forever.

      Whether the plan was Green Party policy or not is quite immaterial despite the usual purist fools complaining.

      Here he is outlining the full plan himself just two months ago.

      (143) Climate Change Minister James Shaw announces emissions reduction plan measures | Stuff.co.nz – YouTube

      I am hoping that the Green Party morons who would prefer to fall apart rather than celebrate the wins they have, could look again at Shaw's actual political and environmental achievement. As a Forest and Bird member for decades Shaw together with Hague's endorsement is the only reason I would consider switching to voting GReen.

      • SPC 6.2.1

        I'm no fan of Shaw, he's not that sort of political leader, but he is effective in the parliamentary orbit as a "technocrat". And at least one of the Greens co-leaders needs to have this capability within their skill-set.

        • Ad 6.2.1.1

          If Labour has 6 more in Cabinet as good as James Shaw we would get some shit done. In the end end that alone is what we elect people into government to do.

      • Bearded Git 6.2.2

        Shaw's retention of the co leadership was never in doubt.

  7. SPC 7

    I'll make a prediction, Germany will make a step to return to nuclear power (either the current coalition or the CD in opposition) by 2024.

    • Sabine 7.1

      Agree. I can't see it in the current configuration, but in saying that i can also see this current configuration break, if comments from relatives in Germany are anything to go by.

    • Ad 7.2

      The German Federal coalition partners agree with returning to nuclear energy, including the Greens.

      Germany rethinks nuclear power exit due to threat of winter energy crunch | Financial Times (ft.com)

      • Sabine 7.2.1

        rethinking and implementing are two different pair of shoes.

        • Poission 7.2.1.2

          All options being explored.

          • pat 7.2.1.2.1

            Hmmm…would have thought fireplaces/log burners would be a rare thing in Germany these days….firewood not much good unless you have one.

          • Sabine 7.2.1.2.2

            Yes, that is what i expect from the german industry, politics, education and so on and so forth.

            a. change needs to come, now it is forced.

            b. what can we keep, what must we replace and how to.

            c. nuclear is one option.

            the germans will do what the germans do, innovate, co-ordinate with others – this is something we will see in industry happening, and in the end hopefully come up with something that is marketable and sellable. New Technology.

            However, unless you curb energy demands you will never create enough energy. Again as i said yesterday, this does not only affect Germany, see the tweet up top that i posted this morning about England which forcasts a double in Energy prices for pretty much any and every household in England. Lol. Also as i posted yesterday, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, etc. This is going to be a european wide issue, and i would assume a world wide issue.

            So yes, they should discussing using Nuclear Power, and all sorts of other measures until they can safely get any nuclear reactors back running in Germany.

            • Poission 7.2.1.2.2.1

              Italy,Spain,and Greece have reduced reliance on Russian gas,and are using north african,so have limited exposure to direct shock.The UK also has limited exposure to Russian gas,as it come from Norway and the N/S ( a limited amount feedsback from Europe on the interconnected loop).

              The indirect risk is that gas is a commodity,and tradeable hence demand for LNG and gas effects all Europe as there is a substantive inter connection in pipelines in northern europe,and electricity across the continent.

              Germany/Holland/ so called renewable sources are problematic with Biomass for example,the reduction in peakload power stations to maintain frequency levels (the sustainable peakers being a change from Nuc to gas over the last 20 years) it is only when a system is stress tested,do we find the reality.

              • Sabine

                There is no energy source that will not be a detriment to nature. It does not matter if you cut a tree to burn it, damn a river, or put up a windmill made from cut trees.

                What should be considered is however do we continue to escalate our energy need and learn to live to a life where electricity will cost so much that most of us can't afford it. Or are we going to slow down our own usage immediatly, apply passive measures to reduce our electricty usage.

                Like a Junkie will do everything for the next fix, will we do the same?

                https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/nord-stream-gas-row-deepens-gazprom-airs-new-complaints-turbine-2022-07-29/

                If the supply of Gas is the real issue for the world wide escalating energy prices then it was a totally avoidable crisis and the leaders of our world should have done their citizens a better deal then what they are offering.

                • Poission

                  There is a big difference in how you source biomass and how you use it.Or more significantly how it is subsidized (capital) or carbon credits.

                  It is obviously not sailing across the Atlantic on a full masted clipper.

                  https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2021/07/us/american-south-biomass-energy-invs/

                  Or the availability of gas in both holland and germany,which has been curtailed due to sensitivity with fracking,which is not sensitive when you use US fracked LNG.

                  • Sabine

                    this current crisis is a man made crisis. it need not be.

                    you however need to ask yourself if you like the people in europe could afford to heat your house if prices were to get to that point here, and what could you do to minimize the damage when this man made crisis hits us.

                    • In Vino

                      Words of wisdom, Sabine. Sadly, the sort that few humans listen to.

                      Your middle name wouldn't be Cassandra, would it?

  8. SPC 8

    A future National Party leader?

    "The Treasury said this isn't a good idea

    "What we wanted to see and what we needed to see from these guys was a plan to keep a lid on inflation.

    "I'm not sure there's anyone out there who thinks that this is going to make a difference."

    Stanford doesn't believe it's enough.

    Brilliant, opposes it as inflationary, she supports the focus on limiting inflation but ALSO wants more money to go to people to spend.

    On Monday, about 2.1 million Kiwis will see the first portion of the payment arrive in their bank accounts. The $350 payment is split across three months, with New Zealanders who earn $70,000 or less and who aren't entitled to the Winter Energy Payment eligible.

    A study out this week found one-in-four Kiwis are struggling to make ends meet at least once a month.

    Wood on Friday said the payment is a "good news story".

    "It's targeted at people on lower and middle incomes," he said. "We do know those pressures are there and this is a targeted, practical thing that we can do just to take a little bit of pressure off."

    Inland Revenue (IRD) published advice about the payment given to ministers on May 4. It showed Treasury "recommended against progressing a broad-based payment" and that IRD believed administering it would have "critical operational impacts" and "compromise" its "already stretched workforce".

    Anyone who wants the payment only needs to supply their bank account to IRD so they can process it (any tax refunds can only be paid if someone has supplied their bank account to IRD – so some will get more money than this payment if they do this).

    ps

    National's main proposal is to index tax thresholds to inflation, which would in effect raise the thresholds and mean New Zealanders have to pay less in tax. Criticism of that has centred on the suggestion it would mean the Government would have less revenue to spend on public services.

    There is no economic difference in inflationary impact between spending by government or taxpayers.

    But one of the two results in a reduction in the capacity to achieve for the common good – such as a better resourced health system and investment in infrastructure (water and housing).

    • LibertyBelle 8.1

      "There is no economic difference in inflationary impact between spending by government or taxpayers."

      That depends on where the money came from, and how you define spending.

      Borrowed or printed money spent by the government is most certainly inflationary. Additional money put into the hands of wage earners via tax cuts and then used to, for example, pay debt, is not.

      There is also the philosophical issue of who should spend the money and on what. This government has massively increased the numbers of civil servants, with poor outcomes in health, housing and other areas. More spending doesn't, ipso facto, lead to better results. I would argue it is preferable to return more money to individuals pockets, reduce government spending, and allow those individuals to decide where they spend their own money.

      • SPC 8.1.1

        By that logic if the government printed money and paid off debt that would not be inflationary either …

        • LibertyBelle 8.1.1.1

          No, because that would qualify under the 'where the money comes from' criteria. Printing money can result in higher inflation, and almost always so when an economy is at capacity, as ours has been given labour/immigration/supply constraints.

          • SPC 8.1.1.1.1

            Borrowed or printed money spent by the government is most certainly inflationary. Additional money put into the hands of wage earners via tax cuts and then used to, for example, pay debt, is not.

            • LibertyBelle 8.1.1.1.1.1

              That's it. An individual paying debt is not inflationary. Of course some economists argue paying off debt in times of high inflation is not a good strategy, but that's a whole different topic.

  9. joe90 9

    What to do when your demographics are imploding?

    You kidnap Ukrainian children, of course.
    //

    Russia’s population shrank by a record average of 86,000 people a month between January and May, state statistics agency Rosstat has said.

    The decline surpasses the previous record contraction of 57,000 people a month in 2002, when Russia’s population shrank to 145.3 million from nearly 146 million the previous year.

    Russia’s population has fallen to 145.1 million after a decline of 430,000 people, according to Rosstat’s latest demographic report.

    The rate of Russia’s population decline has almost doubled since 2021 and nearly tripled since 2020, according to The Moscow Times’ Russian service.

    https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/07/29/russias-population-decline-hits-record-rate-a78437

  10. SPC 10

    War, as practiced off the battlefield.

    Russia claimed that Ukraine's military used multiple US-supplied rocket launchers to strike the prison in Olenivka, a settlement controlled by the Moscow-backed Donetsk People's Republic. Separatist authorities and Russian officials said the attack killed 53 Ukrainian POWs and wounded another 75.

    A Russian Defence Ministry spokesperson, Lt General Igor Konashenkov, described the strike as a “bloody provocation” aimed at discouraging Ukrainian soldiers from surrendering.

    The state RIA Novosti agency reported that fragments of US-supplied precision High Mobility Artillery Rocket System rockets were found at the site.

    The Ukraine military denied making any rocket or artillery strikes in Olenivka, and it accused the Russians of shelling the prison to cover up the alleged torture and execution of Ukrainians there.

    Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak called for a “strict investigation” into the attack and urged the United Nations and other international organisations to condemn it. He said the Russians had transferred some Ukrainian prisoners to the barrack that was hit just a few days before the strike, suggesting that it was planned.

    “The purpose – to discredit Ukraine in front of our partners and disrupt weapons supply,” he tweeted.

    Ukraine’s security agency, the SBU, said it had intercepted phone calls “in which the occupiers confirm that Russian troops are to blame for this tragedy”.

    The intercepted conversations indicate that the Russians may have placed explosives in the prison, the agency said in a statement. “In particular, none of the eyewitnesses heard any missile”

    In addition, online video footage showed that the windows remained whole in some rooms of the facility, according to the SBU. That "indicates that the epicentre of the explosion was inside the destroyed building, and its walls took the hit from the blast waves, protecting some of the neighbouring rooms”.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/300649822/russia-and-ukraine-trade-blame-for-deadly-attack-on-pow-prison

    • joe90 10.1

      Torture chambers, bound bodies of executed men lying in the street, gang rape, child rape, and most recently, the discovery of a video of a Russian soldier using a hobby blade to castrate a bound POW.

      But we're expected to believe the criminals version of their most recent crimes?

      • In Vino 10.1.1

        Really, Joe?

        Maybe some of us are tired of getting 100% favourable to Ukraine, 9-yr-old-reading-level propaganda served up day after day and being expected to drink it all in?

        Lord forbid that we should be given even a brief glimpse of an alternative view?

        • joe90 10.1.1.1

          There is no alternative view of the documented incidences of rape, child rape, mutilation, murder, torture, abduction, destruction, looting and pillaging by Russian forces.

          They're war crimes. It's what the Russian army does and has always done.

          So go fuck yourself with your alternative view, you POS.

        • Populuxe1 10.1.1.2

          Well this is an interesting game? What's the "alternative view™" to war crimes against civilians and an invasion off the back of no discernable sign of reasonable threat?

          • In Vino 10.1.1.2.1

            Have you actually tied looking into what Russia saw as a threat?

            • In Vino 10.1.1.2.1.1

              Sorry – that tied was meant to be 'tried'.

            • Stuart Munro 10.1.1.2.1.2

              We all have.

              NATO encirclement is a nonsense – a miniscule % of Russia's borders, and, and as new generation weapons are demonstrating, his 19th century view of distance or 'strategic depth' is less important every day.

              Putin was merely pining for the days when Europe up to the wall in Germany was under his boot. Well, he's not getting it back.

            • Populuxe1 10.1.1.2.1.3

              Yes, of course I have, and none of it makes any justifiable sense.

              1. Is Russia encircled by NATO? No. The world is round. You could just as easily argue that NATO is encircled by Russia because it covers a fifth of the planet surface. Not that it matters anyway because ICBMs aren't geographically constrained.
              2. Is NATO suddenly on Russia's border? No. Russia has shared borders with NATO states since NATO was first created. Again it's irrelevant because you don't have to share a border to send a bomber, an ICBM or even an aircraft carrier.
              3. Can NATO attack Russia unprovoked? No. That would be explicitly against NATO's charter.

              So really Russia's only issue is loss of geopolitical influence over a former territory that is now a sovereign state. This is what you are defending as a justification for war.

              • RedLogix

                So really Russia's only issue is loss of geopolitical influence over a former territory that is now a sovereign state.

                Expanding on your comment – Peter Zeihan outlines the classic geopolitical reasoning for Russia's deep strategic desire for defense in depth – and why they perceive need to expand their region of control up to the borders of the Soviet empire.

                Crucially this argument is made from the Russian perspective, and explains at a geopolitical and historic level the paranoia that is so evident in their current actions. These are deep cultural sensibilities that are not easily set aside, no matter how irrational they are in the moment.

                Secondly there are roughly 240m people in the list of nations that Russia would have to absorb in order to placate this paranoia. The idea these people and nations should be forever subservient to a kleptocratic Putinocracy is utterly bogus.

                The clip is less than 4 min and was made 5 years ago. Decently prescient.

  11. SPC 11

    The link below represents the headline @ TVNZ news online.

    The thing is … Congress includes the Senate …

    https://www.1news.co.nz/2022/07/30/us-congress-passes-bill-banning-certain-semi-automatic-guns/

  12. PsyclingLeft.Always 12

    Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki is facing a careless driving charge after allegedly crossing the centre line and smashing into a car with two elderly people inside.

    The summary alleges Tamaki's entire vehicle was in the opposing lane in the path of the oncoming vehicle.

    Monty Henry, who lives nearby, told the Rotorua Daily Post Weekend this week that he and his fellow neighbour rushed to help when they heard the crash.

    Henry said Tamaki mentioned he was driving his brother-in-law's vehicle and his brother-in-law was in the passenger seat.

    Henry said he instantly knew who he was when he saw him.

    "I said 'what are you up to numb nuts?' And I said 'oh you're lucky God is on your side'."

    https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/brian-tamaki-charged-after-road-crash

    “numb nuts” !…I like. Thankfully the 2 People “numb nuts” hit seemingly ok..

    • Graeme 12.1

      The eftpostle must be in reduced circumstances tooling around in a Foton, thought he had higher tastes.

      • weka 12.1.1

        Eftpostle, lol.

      • PsyclingLeft.Always 12.1.2

        "Eftpostle" : ) Well thats going straight to the Memory storage unit !

        And yea maybe he was on a look see…..low spec. Bish on a Mish?

        Could have been quite different he'd been on his tracto….harley ! : )

    • Barfly 12.2

      Wow only "Careless Driving"? Is the prosecutor a destiny Church member?

      • PsyclingLeft.Always 12.2.1

        Yea got to wonder. There's Careless, Dangerous and Reckless.

        Certainly sounded Dangerous?

  13. Ad 13

    Tuiono not in the running.

    Green MP Teanau Tuiono not running for co-leader (1news.co.nz)

    Those anti-Shaw delegates got their asses handed to them.

    • Robert Guyton 13.1

      Their message was delivered and heard. The Gases of Discontent have been vented. Some non-lethal battle-hardening won't be wasted. The Greens are more self-aware and stress-tested than before. All is well.

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