Open mike 31/12/2015

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, December 31st, 2015 - 152 comments
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152 comments on “Open mike 31/12/2015”

  1. Kay 1

    “Dame” Paula Rebstock.
    groan

      • Kay 1.1.1

        For” Services to the State.” Said Rebstock has serviced the Nats, not the State.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2

        The Order of New Zealand (ONZ)

        To be Member of the said Order:

        Mr Richard Hugh McCaw – For services to New Zealand

        He hasn’t actually done anything for NZ.

        • alwyn 1.1.2.1

          Yes, awarding anything to this man McCaw is a total disgrace.
          These people are supposed to be the twenty most eminent New Zealanders aren’t they?

          This honour should be reserved for such wonderful servants of the public as that erstwhile Minister of wine and cheese, that truly great New Zealander Jonathon Hunt. He is really someone to bow down to isn’t he?
          Does anyone know what secrets he knew about the then Prime Minister that Hunt could blackmail her into giving him anything except a DCM?
          Somehow when I see JH in the list I think McCaw is a much more worthy figure.

          By the way can anyone tell me what a Dr Cliff Whiting who appears on the list has ever done? I’ve never heard of him.

          • Andre 1.1.2.1.1

            Go to http://www.google.co.nz, type in “Cliff Whiting” and press “enter” or click on the magnifying glass symbol.

            All will be revealed.

            You’re welcome.

            • Grant 1.1.2.1.1.1

              snap

            • alwyn 1.1.2.1.1.2

              I really should have put “I’d never heard of him” rather than “I’ve never heard of him”.
              I got the list out of Wikipedia and did click on the entry for his name, so I got what you suggest.
              It looked awfully thin in achievements for someone supposed to be in the 20 greatest living New Zealanders though.

              • McFlock

                lol

                If I’ve achieved half as much for my community by the age of 80, that would be an exemplary life well lived. Which seems to be the point of ONZ.

                • alwyn

                  Of course it would be. I don’t suppose you are going to do it though. You, like me and many others, spend far to much time commenting on sites like this.
                  On the other hand do you think that his activities put him in the top twenty living New Zealanders?

                  • McFlock

                    lol maybe it’s the commenting, maybe that’s an excuse.

                    As for whether I think Whiting is in the top 20? By the sound of it he’d be a major contender. Consider that in fifty years time McCaw’s sporting achievements will be largely noted by most nzers only as answers to quiz questions.

                    Whiting seems to have literally helped shape the face of NZ, restoring marae and making mainstream nz a bit less vanilla.

                    If you want to talk all blacks making an impact, I’ll be really interested to see what Sonny Bill Williams does in the next few years – he seems to be focused on leveraging his fame for something more than advertising revenue.

                    • alwyn

                      “Consider that in fifty years time McCaw’s sporting achievements will be largely noted by …”
                      I had a chance to test that proposition this morning. Not quite what you suggest, as I haven’t mastered time travel, but fairly close.
                      I got a chance to ask NZ history questions of a small group aged in their early 20s.
                      I asked then if the knew who George Nepia, Michael Joseph Savage, Don Clarke and Walter Nash were.
                      I was truly amazed that the majority knew Nepia and Clarke. Savage and Nash were almost unknown. They weren’t from a Rugby club or anything like that.
                      Perhaps McCaw will be remembered when Key and Clark are long forgotten.

                    • tracey

                      What did they remember them for? Great rugby ayers or their lifetime of selfless service to NZ

                    • Macro

                      Yes totally agree re SBW. His latest shows where his heart lies:

                      The New Zealand-born rugby league player and heavyweight boxer recently went on a trip with UNICEF to refugee camps for Syrians in Lebanon.

                      After returning from the eye-opening trip, Williams tweeted a graphic image to his Twitter followers asking the poignant question: “What did these children do to deserve this?”

                      His question was followed by the statement of: “This summer share a thought for the innocent lives lost everyday in war.”

                      There has been much tut tutting by the moral righteous – “disturbing graphic pictures”, “Think of the families”, etc. but what he is doing is challenging the complacency and complicity of the majority to really think about what they are doing – and he is so right. If the images of those poor children and the stories SBW brings back from the camps in Lebanon bring some to rethink the stupidity of this chaos – he has done his work.
                      Good on him.

                    • McFlock

                      I asked then if the knew who George Nepia, Michael Joseph Savage, Don Clarke and Walter Nash were.
                      I was truly amazed that the majority knew Nepia and Clarke. Savage and Nash were almost unknown. They weren’t from a Rugby club or anything like that.

                      Each to their own.
                      My point, to use your example, was that Savage and Nash advanced our nation and saved innumerable lives. Nepia and Clarke apparently won some sports games. That’s the difference between “fame” and “substance”. People you associate with might not remember their names, but some of them almost certainly regularly use roads, power stations, or social services that find their origin in Savage and Nash.

                      That’s my point about Whiting. I’d never heard of him either, but it seems that he’s helped to fundamentally change NZ’s sense of identity. McCaw…. not so much.

                    • alwyn

                      @McFlock.
                      I guess you’ll have to allow that Shipley did do some things you approve of then.

                      On the other hand just how do you come to the conclusion that Nash actually did very much that helped New Zealand?
                      And, as far as Savage is concerned, did you approve of his tagging along with his master when he said, about Britain, “Where she goes, we go. Where she stands, we stand” and took us into a war?

                      By the way, if you want to see a view on Savage and Nash that is by one of the left wing of the Labour Party at the time I suggest you have a look at John A Lee’s “Simple on a Soapbox”. Lee was a genuine socialist who was side-tracked and later expelled by the leaders of the Labour Party at the time. He was far to left for them, wasn’t he?

                    • McFlock

                      Shipley wrecked far more than whatever good she created. The poverty rates she helped create kill kids to this day. Sort of a parallel universe, goatee bearded- Michael Joseph Savage.

                      Savage and Nash created far more than they harmed. Even if Savage had said that about WW1 rather than as close to a “just” war as one can get, it was more than made up by the legacy of the Social Security Act and state housing. Nash was part of the first Labour government, and the 2nd also initiated strategic infrastructure that NZ uses to this day.

                      Fuck, now you’re going on about John A Lee? He wasn’t so much “too far left” as “too much of an insensitive dick to get broad support”.

              • Fran

                I guess this means you are only aware of great pakeha arts achievements and have never visited Te Papa. Look a bit further.

                • alwyn

                  The “ignorant honky” comment I see. And what a silly assumption on your part.
                  If they really wanted to honour a truly great artist they would have put Colin McCahon in the very first lot chosen. That was the only chance of course as he died about three months later.

          • Grant 1.1.2.1.2

            Google is a marvelous thing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliff_Whiting

        • Magisterium 1.1.2.2

          Mr Richard Hugh McCaw – For services to New Zealand

          He hasn’t actually done anything for NZ.

          Were you to actually ask the people of NZ, you would find that you are incorrect.

          • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2.2.1

            There’s a difference between perception and reality. In reality he hasn’t done a damn thing because playing a game doesn’t actually do anything.

            • Naturesong 1.1.2.2.1.1

              His impressive win percentage will have reduced the number of domestic violence incidences than if he had a worse win/loss record?

              That’s probably it 😛

          • Psycho Milt 1.1.2.2.2

            Were you to actually ask the people of NZ, you would find that you are incorrect.

            Unless you’ve actually conducted that survey yourself, you’re talking out your arse. And even if you had conducted that survey, unless it asked the participants to identify exactly what it was they imagine McCaw has done for New Zealand, and they came up with significant achievements that benefited the country as a whole, you’d still be talking out your arse.

  2. John 2

    Everyone should look at the article in this link.

    http://nzpca.co.nz/christchurch-man-accuses-ex-top-cop-of-being-part-of-an-organised-criminal-group/

    Commissioner Bush has known since 2011 that there was no investigation and that his staff had told 4 MP’s, the Privacy Commissioner and IPCA that there had been and all documents had been disclosed. Then in November 2014 his staff had to finally admit to the Omdudsman that there had been no investigation and no documents existed. So why have the police done nothing

  3. Penny Bright 3

    Where have all the ‘social justice activists’ been on THIS horror story regarding local government ‘democracy’ and ‘accountability’ ?

    Which political parties supported the Kaipara District Council Rates Validation Act?

    In my opinion, on this matter, should all be REALLY ashamed of yourselves!

    Seen THIS?

    (Radio NZ 31 January 2015).

    “Kaipara ratepayers target Auditor-General

    A Northland residents’ group is planning to bill the Auditor-General’s office for $54 million over an ongoing dispute.

    The Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Association lost legal action it took against Kaipara District Council over the cost of a new major wastewater treatment project.

    Chairman Bruce Rogan said the bulk of the invoice was made up of the cost of the project, minus the price the community was originally consulted on.

    “That was $17m and when the final invoice came in from the builders, it was $63m,” he said.

    “So I took the difference between the two and said ‘well, that loss is at the door of the Auditor-General’, because the Auditor-General was the party responsible for looking after the interests of the community in that time.”

    Further court action possible

    The Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Association applied to the High Court in 2013 for a judicial review of the legality of the rates levied to fund loans the council had failed to consult ratepayers about.

    The court found the borrowing was unlawful but could not find the rates were also illegal as Parliament had passed a special bill to validate them.

    Earlier this month, the Court of Appeal dismissed the association’s appeal against that ruling and ordered it to pay the council’s costs.

    Mr Rogan said the association was still considering a further appeal to the Supreme Court.”

    ________________________________________________________

    GOOD on the Mangawhai Residents and Ratepayers Association!

    As I have said before (to the face of Auditor-General Lyn Provost – in the Auckland Town Hall), in my considered opinion, she is corrupt, unfit for duty, and should be sacked.

    (That was after Auditor-General Lyn Provost had declined my request to investigate a matter relating to Sky City, without her disclosing that she was a shareholder in Sky City.)

    I hope that AT LAST the disgraceful travesty of democracy and accountability that has been foisted upon the decent citizen stalwarts of Mangawhai, gets the world spotlight it so deeply deserves.

    New Zealand – ‘perceived’ to be the ‘second least corrupt country in the world’?

    Let’s see the rankings that New Zealand gets on the 2015 Transparency International ‘Corruption Perception Index’ – when it is published in late January 2016 ….?

    Penny Bright

    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

    (Proud supporter of the Mangawhai Residents and Ratepayers Association).

  4. Paul 4

    Paris…………..too little too late.

    The list continues…..

    ‘The Storm That Will Unfreeze the North Pole’
    ‘The sun has not risen above the North Pole since mid-September. The sea ice—flat, landlike, windswept, and stretching as far as the eye can see—has been bathed in darkness for months.
    But later this week, something extraordinary will happen: Air temperatures at the Earth’s most northernly region, in the middle of winter, will rise above freezing for only the second time on record.

    On Wednesday, the same storm system that last week spun up deadly tornadoes in the American southeast will burst into the far north, centering over Iceland. It will bring strong winds and pressure as low as is typically seen during hurricanes.
    That low pressure will suck air out of the planet’s middle latitudes and send it rushing to the Arctic. And so on Wednesday, the North Pole will likely see temperatures of about 35 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2 degrees Celsius. That’s 50 degrees hotter than average: It’s usually 20 degrees Fahrenheit below zero there at this time of year.
    Winter temperatures have only snuck above freezing at the North Pole once before. Eric Holthaus, Slate’s meterologist, could not find an Arctic expert who had witnessed above-freezing temperatures at the pole between December and early April.’

    http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2015/12/iceland-storm-melt-north-pole-climate-change/422166/?utm_source=SFFB

    Tempers fray as the Alps waits for winter – and skiers cram remaining snow runs
    http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/saalbach-endless-summers-in-the-austrian-alps-a6791001.html

    ‘El Niño ocean warming ‘causing havoc’ for seals off California coast
    Unprecedented numbers of dead or starving seals washing ashore as Pacific Ocean warms, with experts saying they are ‘preparing for the worst’ in 2016
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/30/el-nino-ocean-warming-seals-california-pacific

    ‘Dozens dead in US Christmas storms
    While extreme weather in the US around Christmas is not unknown, meteorologists say that unseasonably high temperatures in some areas contributed to the severity of the storms.
    The forecast for the eastern US is for high temperatures to continue – Washington DC pushed close to 21C on Sunday.’

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/world/293138/dozens-dead-in-us-christmas-storms

    Here was my list from before

    Open mike 28/12/2015

    • Pat 4.1

      worry not….we can buy some more bogus carbon credits from Ukraine….that’ll fix it

      • Paul 4.1.1

        Dr Joshua Freeman, Dr Hayley Bennet: TPPA could trump climate accord

        Trade deal gives polluters power to sue governments who try to implement the Paris agreement
        The core logic of these agreements is captured in the introductory text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA): “to establish a predictable legal and commercial framework for trade and investment …” In these agreements, the right of investors to a light-handed, ‘business as usual’ regulatory environment is paramount. Considerations like climate change, health and human rights are given either low priority or ignored altogether.
        In more than 6000 pages of legal text in the TPPA, climate change is not mentioned once. On the other hand, entire chapters are devoted to minimising “technical barriers to trade” and ensuring “regulatory coherence”. These chapters consist of a range of rules that would turn the move to zero carbon into a legal minefield.
        In addition, investors such as fossil fuel companies would be given broad powers to directly sue governments in off-shore tribunals for unfavourable changes in policy under investor-state dispute settlement provisions.
        Awarding these powers to the fossil fuel industry is a direct affront to the Paris agreement. Given that trillions of dollars’ worth of fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground – investor-state dispute settlement clauses are a disaster waiting to happen.
        Even now, their threat is very real. In Germany, changes to coal fire power plant standards evoked a $1.5 billion case initiated by an energy company claiming a violation of their right to “fair and equitable treatment”.
        Similarly, in Canada, a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) under a major river brought a $120 million case from a US oil and gas firm based on the claim that it violated their “legitimate expectation of a stable business and legal environment”.
        Despite New Zealanders being assured there would be safeguards against these provisions in the TPPA the final text reveals these are marginal at best. Ratifying the agreement would therefore spring-load the investor-state dispute settlement enforcement mechanism.
        Powerful, polluting multinationals would become poised and ready to launch claims the moment we begin to get serious about reducing our emissions.’

        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11567925

        • Pat 4.1.1.1

          must confess hadn’t thought of ISDS for the restriction of carbon extraction…..the inmates took over the asylum decades ago. Of course corporations only have the power we allow them and frankly as it unravels the corporations will count for nought in any case as will trade agreements.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      Quoting Guardian Article:

      “One of the concerns is that if these animals hang around for long enough, they will disrupt ecosystems that have a cast of characters that have been in equilibrium for a long time. It could take decades for these ecosystems to stabilize again.

      With accelerating climate change they won’t stabilise for centuries at the very least. And it looks like fur seals are now on the endangered list unless they shift from their tradition grounds.

    • One Two 4.3

      Has it ever occurred that the likelihood off weather modification programs is a contributing factor ?

      I read posts and comments such as yours, none of which make mention of what has surely been going on for over 50 years

      Human influence on the climate has numerous aspects, yet the focus on a single component of the problem serves only to narrow the breadth of the discussion

      Widening, not limiting ones scope of understanding should always be the intention

      • Paul 4.3.1

        I am merely pointing out how much extreme weather is occurring and that we need to act urgently.

        • One Two 4.3.1.1

          Understanding why it is happening will provide direction on what urgent action is required

          The ‘WHY’ is not adequately discussed and until that constraint is removed, positive outomes cannot eventuate on the scale required

          • Paul 4.3.1.1.1

            We know why.

          • Andre 4.3.1.1.2

            The root cause “WHY” (is the weather going weird and the global average temperature getting hotter) is very simple and well understood and has been for well over a hundred years: increasing greenhouse gas concentrations trap and retain more of the sun’s incoming energy. And the urgent action required is equally well understood, reduce emissions of greenhouse gases as quickly as possible, and then actively start removing them from the atmosphere. I think you need to show you have an understanding of that point if you want to be taken seriously for discussion of more detailed issues.

            • One Two 4.3.1.1.2.1

              and then actively start removing them from the atmosphere

              Using technology in an attempt to modify the weather….

              As I already pointed out, Andre

              • McFlock

                “Contributing factor” does not mean “solution”.

                Frankly, your initial comment read like a chemtrail conspiracist spraying vinegar on their lawn. Chemtrails didn’t cause global warming, because they don’t exist. And they’d be a relatively inefficient method of dispersal anyway, not effective enough for sufficient albedo change or chemical neutralisation.

                • One Two

                  That interpretation of my comment offers an insight to limitaions of your cognitive capacity

                  If you would like to discuss, without the snark that is fine

                  If not, perhaps consider what’ weather modification and manipulation’ could involve, then look at human activity which could also have accelerated destruction of the earths protective layers

                  Having paused for thought, if you still don’t have any notion that the same mindset which intentionally exploded nuclear weapons (example) into the earths protective layers, and which also has the ability to build a Hadron Collider, is not carrying out weather modification…

                  Then perhaps those cognitive limitations are a more pressing issue for you address

                  • Andre

                    By far the biggest “weather modification” we’ve been doing is pumping vast amounts of CO2, methane, refrigerants, and other greenhouse gases, and the main effect is really easy to understand. More greenhouse gases=warmer weather on average in most places. And then when people started developing sophisticated climate models, most of them said as well as getting warmer, the weather is going to get weird. The rest of it is filling in finer details,

                    I’m still waiting for you to demonstrate you have any understanding whatsoever of the really basic physics of what’s going on. So far you’ve just made vague reference to obscure details, and then gone “AHA”, we don’t understand everything, so there’s no need to change what we’re doing now until we do understand everything.

                    • One Two

                      You injected yourself in my response to Paul, made presumptions about the content of the response and now make the demand “I’m still waiting …”

                      The core issue is that ‘we ‘don’t understand ‘everything’, which has been the problem since the beginning when the ‘shapers’ of this world set the course we are now on. ‘We’ will never know when to stop, when to pull back

                      Keep believing the “sophisticated climate models ” will lower the risk of further human intervention making the situation exponentially worse. They won’t.
                      It can’t be stopped , it can’t be controlled so we need to stop the lies and bullshit, first and foremost

                      Ego and fear will ensure the lies and bullshit will continue into 2016 and beyond

                      Be well to you and yours

                  • McFlock

                    You used the term “weather modification programs”.

                    If you have any evidence of “what has surely been going on for over 50 years”, feel free to present it. Otherwise I’ll stick with the conventional evidence, which doesn’t require “weather modification programs” to explain climate change.

                    • One Two

                      Clearly you’ve been provided with evidence and perhaps you even searched some out, but decided it was all just “chem trails”

                      I’ll not be taking time to feed into your predjudice

                    • ropata

                      oil based technology is a climate modifier… no conspiracy, just a simple fact, that deniers are unable to understand

                    • McFlock

                      @OneTwo: so you’re not going to get to the point? Good luck with that.

                      @ropata: yes, carbon emissions change the climate. I do not believe that an intentional program over the past 50 years had climate change as its objective, which is what onetwo seemed to be suggesting.

                    • One Two

                      No , that’s not what I was suggesting in my original response to Paul or any follow up comments to anyone else

                      I’m interested in understanding all and any possibilities which have , might be, and are contributing to what is understood as Climate Change

                      With the documented history of scientic malfeasance involving the natural world, passing itself off as ‘bio-tech’ for example. It is illogical to believe there has not been wholsale efforts which have intentionally or unintentionally modified the climate

                      Perhaps in an effort to recover the damage created by detonating nuclear weapons, launching satellites, shuttles and exploratory vehicles

                      Perhaps the 1977 Environmental Modification Convention was purely precautionary in case aggressive cloud seeding was the apex of capability or military intention, ever

                      Perhaps it was all permanently shut down , the war machine deciding it a step too far and chose hunanity over weapons development

                    • McFlock

                      A “weather modification program” (your original term) is conventionally understood to be a program with the objective of modifying the weather. Like how the “space program” was not a program with the objective of designing a better pizza-delivery moped, it was in fact a program to explore space. Language. It’s fan-tastic.

                      It is illogical to believe there has not been wholsale efforts which have intentionally or unintentionally modified the climate

                      Let’s unpack that a bit:
                      “unintentionally modified the climate” – of course, from carbon emissions that are the result of various programs to mine hydrocarbons provide energy to people, or even CFC emissions that severely damaged the ozone layer. Nobody’s debating that point, except extreme tories. But then none of those were “weather modification programs”.

                      “intentionally modified the climate” – in other words “weather modification programs” – aside from cloud seeding (which affects local weather, not climate, and has patchy results anyway), I have not heard of any programs that had this as even a theoretical objective. Feel free to provide links.

                      Perhaps in an effort to recover the damage created by detonating nuclear weapons, launching satellites, shuttles and exploratory vehicles

                      According to the red counter on the right of the screen, global warming is equivalent to three billion atomic bomb tests.

                      Perhaps the 1977 Environmental Modification Convention was purely precautionary in case aggressive cloud seeding was the apex of capability or military intention, ever

                      Maybe. Maybe it’s the same as treaties to not exploit Antarctica, or detonate nukes in space, or even on who owns the moon and other planets: it’s crap that might come up sooner, but probably later.

      • Andre 4.3.2

        I get the feeling you don’t appreciate just how big a problem climate modelling is. I’ve done some modelling of much simpler physical systems, and the number of calculations of variables at vast numbers of points of interest rises exponentially for each new effect you want to add into the model. So I’m in awe of how many details and effects are already incorporated into models I’m vaguely aware of.

        For instance, changing land use such as clearing forest to graze livestock or grow crops or urban development has pretty significant weather and climate modification effects. It changes the absorption and re-radiation of heat, the cycling of water into and out of the atmosphere, it changes the local concentrations of greenhouse gases, and changes how heat is generated locally from human activities. And I’m pretty sure the better climate models already account for it.

        If you’re thinking of things such as cloud-seeding to induce local increases in rain or snow, those efforts are so limited both geographically and in time I suspect they are way, way down the list of effects yet to get incorporated into the models. Much smaller than changes in variables such as leakage rates from gas reticulation systems for instance.

        And a large part of what climate modellers spend time on is incorporating ever more details into the models, widening the scope of what’s covered.

  5. weka 5

    The differences between science as one of the searches for knowledge and Science as religion, the one true way,

    Among these traits, it is Dawkins’s identification with Darwin that is most incongruous. No two minds could be less alike than those of the great nineteenth-century scientist and the latter-day evangelist for atheism. Hesitant, doubtful, and often painfully perplexed, Darwin understood science as an empirical investigation in which truth is never self-evident and theories are always provisional. If science, for Darwin, was a method of inquiry that enabled him to edge tentatively and humbly toward the truth, for Dawkins, science is an unquestioned view of the world. The Victorians are often mocked for their supposed certainties, when in fact many of them (Darwin not least) were beset by anxieties and uncertainties. Dawkins, by contrast, seems never to doubt for a moment the capacity of the human mind—his own, at any rate—to resolve questions that previous generations have found insoluble.

    https://newrepublic.com/article/119596/appetite-wonder-review-closed-mind-richard-dawkins

    • joe90 5.1

      capacity of the human mind—his own, at any rate—to resolve questions

      More hit piece than review.

    • Nic the NZer 5.2

      That article is an embarrassingly poor criticism of Dawkins position on religion and science. Its main point, “Religion is a type of supernatural belief, which is irrational, and we will all be better off without it: for all its paraphernalia of evolution and memes, this is the sum total of Dawkins’s argument for atheism.” is simply true. If you are not engaged in science then you have given up all pretense of knowledge (e.g that what you are saying is true), it may not be true. On the other hand if anybody thinks this is a good criticism, then they need to finish this argument with a statement justifying why people should be deluded into untrue beliefs (for some purported good).

      Its also rather silly making an argument against Dawkins ‘positivism’, because he is not a positivist. This is no longer the main philosophical basis for scientific knowledge.

      • Tracey 5.2.1

        Mr Dawkins asks people to not replace truth with belief. He is fine with beliefs in gods until those beliefs get special exclusion from criticism or get state funding. Truth is not a matter od perspective. That is junk thinking.

    • Incognito 5.3

      I feel quite uneasy about Richard Dawkins’ crusade against religion. For me he epitomises the stereotype of a highly intelligent individual who paradoxically and simultaneously displays a high level of mental rigidity and arrogance. These people are almost impossible to argue or debate with, especially when they are confident and eloquent speakers and/or writers.

      Dawkins is a master of dichotomy and not surprisingly a very polarising person. For him it is impossible, because it is irrational, to be a religious scientist. In fact, this amounts to scientific heresy.

      Dawkins somewhat reminds me of Francis Fukuyama who held (still holds?) Liberal Democracy as the endpoint albeit imperfect.

      • Nic the NZer 5.3.1

        “For him it is impossible, because it is irrational, to be a religious scientist. In fact, this amounts to scientific heresy.”

        [Citation needed]

        At least an argument? No?

        • Magisterium 5.3.1.1

          No citation or argument is needed. He is a old white English-speaking male, therefore he is Wrong.

          • Tracey 5.3.1.1.1

            Great depth of argument M

          • Draco T Bastard 5.3.1.1.2

            No. It’s scientific heresy because science requires an open mind and Dawkin’s is obviously closed in many ways. Similar to RWNJs the world over who insist that the failed free-market ideology be kowtowed to without question.

            • Nic the NZer 5.3.1.1.2.1

              So Dawkins can’t be a non-heretic scientist unless he accepts the plausibility of a hypothesis which fundamentally reject science as its foundation? Some of us might think this is a load of hogwash.

              Or maybe we need to accept the failed free-market ideology because they are equally reasonable beliefs by exactly the same justification.

              • Draco T Bastard

                So Dawkins can’t be a non-heretic scientist unless he accepts the plausibility of a hypothesis which fundamentally reject science as its foundation?

                Nope, it means that he has to look into the beliefs to see if they’re viable or not. Now, sure, many a religious belief has been dis-proven quite conclusively but there’s still a few here and there that hold validity such as not stealing or murdering.

                What I’m saying is that he can’t dismiss those beliefs wholesale but the religious should be dropping the beliefs that have been proven wrong.

                Or maybe we need to accept the failed free-market ideology because they are equally reasonable beliefs by exactly the same justification.

                No, we need to drop the free-market capitalist ideology because it’s been proven to not work. We also need to look for other means of ensuring that no one lives in poverty and that the environment is saved from the ravages of capitalism.

                • Nic the NZer

                  “Nope, it means that he has to look into the beliefs to see if they’re viable or not.” because otherwise, he is a heretic against science?

                  I mean do you even read this nonsense through before hitting the post button?

                  “No, we need to drop the free-market capitalist ideology because it’s been proven to not work.” and you failed to dis-prove all the various beliefs of capitalism, so clearly you need to go back and look at the valid ones, like not stealing and murdering.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    I mean do you even read this nonsense through before hitting the post button?

                    If you think I’m wrong about something then do us all a favour and explain why you think I’m wrong. That way we’ll all learn something.

                    and you failed to dis-prove all the various beliefs of capitalism

                    No, we can conclusively determine from reading history that private ownership of the nations resources results in poverty and eventual collapse of the nation. We can also determine that it restricts innovation as well.

                    • No, we can conclusively determine from reading history that private ownership of the nations resources results in poverty and eventual collapse of the nation.

                      Well, yeah, but every other mode of production attempted has also resulted in poverty and eventual collapse of the nation, so the most this argument tells us about capitalism is that it’s similar in these respects to other social orders.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Well, no, because no other mode of production has been tried. Even those that proclaimed themselves communist and had all the factories listed as state owned were really just another version of capitalism with all the power and decision making in the hands of a few while the rest were oppressed.

                    • Which makes your argument, essentially, that capitalism and all other social orders that have arisen are worse systems than some as-yet-untested utopia. It’s a compelling, irrefutable argument, but not a very useful one.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Actually, I forgot to mention the number of societies that used other forms of distribution but I can’t say anything about their means of production.

          • Paul 5.3.1.1.3

            Are you competing for worst troll of the year?

        • Incognito 5.3.1.2

          I’d like to think that this quote from The God Delusion gets pretty close to your requested citation:

          “The metaphorical or pantheistic God of the physicists is light years away from the interventionist, miracle-wreaking, thought-reading, sin-punishing, prayer-answering God of the Bible, of priests, mullahs and rabbis, and of ordinary language. Deliberately to confuse the two is, in my opinion, an act of intellectual high treason.”

          Rather than pinning it on a (single) quote I’d like to rely on the subtext of much what Dawkins has said and written and that fact that he has rubbed many religious scientists the wrong way.

          Obviously, the sentence could be read as pertaining only to Dawkins, i.e. for him it is impossible to be a religious scientist but this is clearly not his message (‘value judgement’ would be better, actually).

          Satisfied? No?

          • Psycho Milt 5.3.1.2.1

            Dawkins’ view that someone who believes stuff without evidence doesn’t understand the scientific method is a reasonable one. It isn’t a polite, diplomatic, empathetic or friendly one, but it is a rational one and that’s what counts. The bitching about Dawkins tends to come down to people just not liking his statements about religion – which is fine, you don’t have to like any shit you don’t like, but not liking something is different from having a plausible argument for why it’s wrong.

          • Nic the NZer 5.3.1.2.2

            Well no, that statement in no way justifies or supports that Dawkins is a scientific heretic. Rather it implies he rejects un-scientific beliefs as irrational. Of course religious beliefs are by definition irrational, they don’t even ask to be justified on the basis of rational evidence for them.

            The fact he is abrasive says nothing about the quality of the argument being made.

            • In Vino 5.3.1.2.2.1

              Yes.. it is his religious heresy that upsets the religious. He is abrasive but quite right to my mind. But we have all these people who so desperately want to mix religion with science. Why are they so insecure and desperate? Try science with neither atheism nor religion, and you may get real science. Dawkins is an eloquent atheist, but he becomes impassioned only when challenged by the rabidly religious ranters- and he is right to refute their cant as abrasively as he sees fit..

              Not that I wish to appear abrasive…

            • Incognito 5.3.1.2.2.2

              It’s New Year’s Eve – best wishes for 2016 to everyone on TS – I’m stone-cold sober and backtracking through the comments to see where & how this derailed. Why on Earth am I doing this, as if anybody would care except me??

              For the record, therefore, in comment 5.3.1.1.2 Draco T Bastard suggested that Dawkins might be guilty of scientific heresy, which was immediately taken up in comment 5.3.1.1.2.1 by Nic the NZer.

              I don’t like Dawkins’ style and way of framing nor his language but I did not label him a heretic nor did I get into actually discussing his arguments, which are partly based on false premises IMO and as many others have also argued. To discuss Dawkins and the whole science versus religion dilemma in terms of right~wrong is another false dichotomy and detrimental to constructive debate.

              What I did say was that Dawkins regards religious scientists as scientific heretics and treats them with self-justified contempt – I provided a quote as well as an argument, as requested by Nic the NZer to support this assertion of mine.

              Why is Dawkins such a slippery topic – he seems to have this in common with John Key, who also is a highly polarising and divisive figure. Perhaps it is time for a drink …

              • Nic the NZer

                All the best for 2016.

                I see I miss-interpreted your comment, the one I quoted in 5.3 to be a claim that Dawkin’s is a scientific heretic, where it is actually saying that Dawkins claims scientists who take true knowledge derived only from belief are ‘scientific heretics’. I use the phrase, ‘In fact’ to be taken from the perspective of the author/narrator myself.

                But I strongly agree with Dawkin’s on that, for example I strongly criticize Ludwig von Meises (an Austrian economist) view that economics can be derived from a-priori knowledge and this knowledge is not subject to empirical testing.

                • Incognito

                  Thanks. You may not agree with the following though:

                  Not only do I think that science and religion are compatible with each other but I am coming to think that they are, in fact, complementary, essential and necessary, on a personal basis but also at the level of society (and even mankind).

                  I use the word “religion” in a very different way than, say, Dawkins. However, I don’t think this is buying into the conflict as he likes to frame it because I am not conflating it with ‘knowledge of the World’ as such. I cannot think of a better word at the moment, sadly.

                  • In Vino

                    Is that you, Dr Zeus?

                    (Attempt at mild humour alert..)

                    • Incognito

                      You have me stumped; do you mean Dr Zeus or Dr. Seuss by any chance?

                    • In Vino

                      Sorry – misspelled ‘Planet of the Apes’ Dr Zaius. I guess the joke is pretty flat by now, but it is too late to delete.

                    • Incognito

                      @ In Vino: No, I thought that I got the joke (but obviously not) and appreciated it although it probably meant that I had not made much sense 🙁 Dr Zaius is actually quite funny, I do admit.

                      I tried to trump and outwit you, which made both attempts at humour fall flat. My apologies.

                    • In Vino

                      Beware of trying to trump my incompetence!

                      And if we both think Dr Zaius is rather amusing, we have little to dispute.

          • tracey 5.3.1.2.3

            Why would anyone require thabel “religious scientist”.

            • Incognito 5.3.1.2.3.1

              No idea; I came up with it but not as “thabel” [sic] but as a concept or, in fact, a combination of concepts: a scientist who is religious and/or holds religious beliefs. (NB some would argue that one of these is a <pseudo-concept or an aberration of rational thinking)

              To me the concept of a “religious scientist” is a paradox, not an oxymoron (or aberration of the mind, for that matter).

      • Tracey 5.3.2

        I disagree that he is a religious scientist merely because he challenges those who confuse their belief with truth to prove their assertions.

        I know many people who know their religious beliefs are faith based and who do attempt to substitute truths of a scientific kind with their belief (eg creationism) .

        Certainly some religious folks feel defensive when confronted by him.

        By way of example if the collective we felt it could genuinely challenge the untruths in religion we might be able to stop things like taleban – al qaeda – isis – next. But we have to back off and resort to killing innocent people to try to bomb the believers into extinction.

        Letting go beliefs is fucking hard. I hand on to mine far too long at times. Long after they have been dealt a blow by reality/truth. It happens to me on here.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.3.2.1

          Beliefs are a viable means of determining actions until such time as knowledge can replace them. The problem that we as a society has is that far too many people hold on to their beliefs despite all evidence to the contrary and many don’t even look for the knowledge to replace their beliefs.

        • Incognito 5.3.2.2

          Tracey, did something go awry with your first sentence? If not, I don’t get it.

          Depending on how you look at it Dawkins tries to force you to take a position of his choosing:

          ”I am more interested in the fence-sitters who haven’t really considered the question very long or very carefully. And I think that they are likely to be swayed by a display of naked contempt. Nobody likes to be laughed at. Nobody wants to be the butt of contempt.”

          I have a problem with being forced, especially when it is done with “naked contempt”. In the same vein I have an issue with RWNJs and their counterparts ‘yelling’ at each other in the hope that the opponent will succumb to the loudness (or crassness) of the argument that they are absolutely and undoubtedly wrong and stupid and also stupid for not seeing and/or accepting this!

          Robust debate still involves mutual respect IMHO.

          • tracey 5.3.2.2.1

            As I saidso it is his behaviour you object to rather than his premise. Nonetheless even the rude can sometimese be right.

            • Incognito 5.3.2.2.1.1

              Yes, you’re absolutely correct that a rude can be right. But why do they have to be rude and/or rude about it? No need for this or “naked contempt”. I know this is a silly point to make – it says a lot about me – but I’d rather be factually wrong than rude in many cases. To get inter-personal relations and communication right is more important (to me) than being right, if you catch my drift; the winning at all cost attitude is something that I find hard to handle in other people.

              If you’re interested, a very good article on the use of contempt Bad Cop: The Case Against Contempt focusses on the “faith-science divide” but could equally apply to the left-right divide as if these are chasms that cannot ever be bridged!

              I guess this is another reason why I care about it here on TS.

              • tracey

                I understand that incognito.

                It is the same as those who resort to ad hominem in lieu of, argument or to scare off those who would disagree.

                Oftentimes online it takes many posts and replies to “get” where someone else was coming from, something that can be cleared up quicker offline.

                I do enjoy your thoughtful offerings here

                I have now read the article. I can understand Dawkins et al frustration with being nice. Being nice and tolerating some notions full of fallacy AND which continue to cause untold damage to innocents around the world while sucking up trillions of dollars, hasnt ” succeeded”. Many humans seem to need to believe in something bigger than them, for comfort perhaps, with full knowledge of our own inevitable end. But none of that can justify funnelling tax funds to religious schools, tax free status to churches and so on.

                Religion has managed to maintain an almost unchallengeable status. That must be wrong in a thinking society. Religions may challenge each other of course but it is with trepidation I enter this kind of discusion and more recently I bite my tongue.

                • In Vino

                  Good discussion.. Incognito, I sympathise with your dislike of rudeness, but, sad to say, people like Dawkins and Hitchens get spades of rudeness whenever they dare make a controversial statement. And it tends to come from religious people who appear insecure when their precious tenets (which give them their sense of security?) are questioned. I get the feeling that rudeness is OK to squash atheism with, but atheists are not allowed to be rude.

                  Not having made pronouncements like those of Dawkins or Hitchens, people like us have not experienced the full range of responses they had, so I think it fair to leave it up to them as to how they respond.

                  So many people have their minds made up in advance anyway – a common problem in many discussion threads.

                  Cannot find anyone actually naming Dawkins a religious scientist, nor a heretic one – only implications.

                  No disagreements with Tracey..

                  • Incognito

                    Thank you. People are (mostly!) free to respond to others in any way they like or see fit and I would not dare to tell them how to conduct themselves. But I can express my preference for or distaste of their style of responding and debating. I agree with the assertion made in Bad Cop: The Case Against Contempt that being rude or contemptuous is not particularly effective in winning over your opponent(s).

                    ”Cannot find anyone actually naming Dawkins a religious scientist, nor a heretic one – only implications.”

                    This was based on a misunderstanding and has been addressed in other comments in this thread.

                • Incognito

                  Good evening Tracey, I assume you refer to the article linked by weka @ comment 5.

                  A lot of ‘nasty stuff’ has occurred under the banner of “religion” and the same can be said of that other contentious banner “neo-liberalism”. That said, a lot of good things have also been accomplished under the same names. Nothing is absolutely and universally ‘good’ or ‘bad’ when it involves human endeavour.

                  ”Many humans seem to need to believe in something bigger than them, for comfort perhaps, with full knowledge of our own inevitable end.”

                  I’d like to dwell on this some other time to avoid being called Dr Zeus again 😉 I have been doing a lot of reading and thinking on this lately.

                  ”Religion has managed to maintain an almost unchallengeable status.”

                  I don’t see it this way; many traditional ways of life, including religion, have come under pressure from various corners. Internally, religions try to keep the status quo through strict hierarchical power structures and hard-line (orthodox) and often regressive measures. Please note that I don’t point the finger to any particular religion. Of course, this doesn’t mean that there are no internal power struggles or ‘modernising’ factions – it is in many ways very similar to the average NZ political party [pun alert].

                  ”Religions may challenge each other of course but it is with trepidation I enter this kind of discusion and more recently I bite my tongue.” [sic]

                  I think pitting religion against religion is an exercise in futility and only for the foolhardy.

                  PS Thanks for the compliment.

                  • In Vino

                    Dr Zaius, please! How could you make such a silly spelling error?

                    (Tut tut with suitable embarrassment..)

                    I personally suspect that clever ruling classes have skilfully tailored religion over the millenia to make it an instrument of social control. A Darwinian process, by which the most manipulative come out on top.

                    And then they get to decry Darwin…

                    Now how can you lose on that basis?

      • Nic the NZer 5.4.1

        The forward to that text says the author believes in Darwinian evolution, but argues that it no longer applies to humans. Putting aside if that’s plausible or not, what is the basis for rejecting the theory of evolution based on a text which doesn’t reject it.

    • emergency mike 5.5

      Thanks for that link weka. It summarizes very well the way I’ve always felt listening to Dawkins argument re religion.

      It’s a straw-man argument that paints all religious persons with the same simplistic brush, demands empirical proof of the non-empirical, assumes that the scientific method has a limitless ability to understand the universe despite being limited to that which can be measured by humans, and assumes that science is unchallengeable and ipso facto the only method of knowledge that deserves any consideration ignoring the fact that an entire branch of philosophy exists which concerns skepticism and problems of science. All this says to me that he is a self-impressed pseudo-intellectual whose closed-minded fundamentalist beliefs involve statements of faith, hubris, magical thinking, and authoritarian black or white thinking. Nothing I’ve heard him say leads me think he grasps the nature of science nor religion. If you want to understand religion you need empathy, which mean you speak with respect, and if you understand science then you expound it’s virtues with caution and caveats, not arrogance.

      It’s the same ‘religion is irrational’ argument I used to make and think was pretty damn rock solid as a 13 year old. Shallow, juvenile thinking.

      All that said I’ll admit I did enjoy this video, his best work by far I reckon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gW7607YiBso

  6. AsleepWhileWalking 6

    Oh Switzerland…

    http://www.armstrongeconomics.com/archives/41218

    Head of Swiss Army sees rising civil unrest and calls upon the country to arm itself.

    • alwyn 6.1

      I find it hard to see just how much more “arming” is really feasible in Switzerland. The population is only about 8 million and according to Wklipedia
      “In some 2001 statistics, it is noted that there are about 420,000 assault rifles (fully automatic, or “selective fire”) stored at private homes, mostly SIG SG 550 models. Additionally, there are some 320,000 semi-auto rifles and military pistols exempted from military service in private possession, all selective-fire weapons having been converted to semi-automatic operation only. In addition, there are several hundred thousand other semi-automatic small arms classified as carbines. The total number of firearms in private homes is estimated minimally at 1.2 million to 3 million.[”
      I wonder just what he has in mind?

  7. joe90 7

    I wonder just what he has in mind?

    Border security I reckon although I doubt they’re as well armed as we think they are.

    400,000 full-auto weapons / 2.8 million households = 14 per cent of Swiss households have a full-auto weapon in them. (With the 625,000 figure, it is 22 per cent.) This represents a maximum figure since a household could contain more than one soldier.

    http://www.guncite.com/swissgun.html

  8. greywarshark 8

    I have just read some good crime fiction. I slowly find new crime authors and have just found Mark Billingham. His book Lifeless is a play on words ‘Some lives are cheaper than others’ is the catchphrase. It is woven around the subject of some people having less life than others, featuring the homeless in London as the scene of the plot.

    Finding out who is behind brutal murders of homeless men takes for ever. But the story is gripping and sometimes humourous and Billingham tells a great story despite all the sordidness of life on the streets and out of it comes a camaraderie of the people who have lost the ability or interest in striving for a place in regular society. As he points out somewhere you might be only two or three month’s wages from being on the streets yourself.

    Another thing. I don’t know if he is right about stats for war when he writes this: “Thorne remembered reading somewhere that more British soldiers had committed suicide since returning from the Falklands than had been killed during the entire conflict”. And many become homeless and junkies.

    • Rosemary McDonald 8.1

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aftermath_of_the_Falklands_War

      “It has been claimed that more veterans have committed suicide since the Falklands War ended than the number of servicemen killed in action.[46] The South Atlantic Medal Association (SAMA82), which represents and helps Falklands veterans, believes that some 264 veterans had taken their own lives by 2002, a number exceeding the 255 who died in active service, although no estimate is available for the expected number of suicides that would have occurred anyway.

      A comprehensive statistical study of the deaths of personnel deployed to the Falklands since the end of the conflict was published by Defence Analytical Services and Advice (DASA) on Tuesday 14 May 2013.[47] The study found that:

      25,948 UK Armed Forces personnel served in the Falklands Campaign
      237 personnel died during the campaign
      1,335 Falklands veterans have died since 1982
      95 of these deaths (veterans and in-service) were attributable to suicide and open verdict deaths”

      But, as the Wikipedia entry indicates….the whole shebang was not Britain’s finest hour…nor Argentina’s.

      (PS Mark Billingham’s a tolerable read…;-) )

      • greywarshark 8.1.1

        Rosemary – A Good New Year and perhaps a better one. Thanks for the info.
        By the way did you see Bill’s link at No.13 on The Knighthood and Damehood additions post. It’s history with pictures, entertaining as well as educating.
        (f you have positive opinions about other authors you think outstanding you can pass them on when you’re inclined. I only read books on paper though.)

        • Rosemary McDonald 8.1.1.1

          greywarshark….I am one of those people that HAS to read. Anything and everything. I too prefer paper…I can do screen stuff for a limited time before the old eyes go wonky. I will still print out downloaded documents if I really need to read them properly.
          If you like Billingham’s Lifeless…his others in the same series are worth a read…but in order. Laurie King, Mo Hayder, Stig Larssen, …and Colleen McCulloch (but not that damn priest one!) (All good literary snack food that may actually provide a bit of nourishment!)
          And Happy New year to you too.

          • greywarshark 8.1.1.1.1

            Rosemary
            Thanks. Will note names/ Colleen I read was hot on the Roman history and did a few on that subject so that’s to follow up. I drop in Carl Hiaasen for something different – crime on and near the Florida coast with free-wheeling mendacity and some politics for seasoning.

            • Halfcrown 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Thanks greyshark and Rosemary for the info on more things to read. Like you Rosemary I also have to read, In my case there is so much to learn and so littler time to learn it in.
              Have a good 2016

            • Rosemary McDonald 8.1.1.1.1.2

              A Creed For the Third Millennium….https://books.google.co.nz/books/about/A_creed_for_the_third_millennium.html?id=VHFu8mJimJwC&hl=en

              Prophetic, cynical, and a tad depressing watching the PR spin doctors/ social engineers turn an essentially good person inside out.

              Upside….set in a new ice age US…good read on a hot day.

              • greywarshark

                I’m not strong enough to read many/any of such books especially about the USA which I found lost its scintillating charismatic power for me decades ago.
                Now their regular mayhem from their own citizens’ armaments can block our national news for a day while we hear from the sheriff from the mayor or whoever from the school spokesperson from the police from the parents from the participants from the bystanders – every little detail. Enough already. You get my feeling?

                The books I read tend to progress through a conflict and how the people dealt with it. I like the emerging hopefulness of The Day of the Triffids, old but good, and still relevant. John Christopher – I have just started his trilogy of the Prince, and of course his Tripod trilogy could be regarded as a useful analogy to the present day. Another old one. There were some interesting series penned and filmed around the Sixties while the PTB played around with the possibility of nuclear explosions and we were forced to contemplate a wrecked world.

                This is a summary from John Chrstopher’s Death of Grass which is as yet a fantasy but has a reality possibility in it, and I would read this rather than some USAcentric one.
                At first the virus wiping out grass and crops is of little concern to John Custance. It has decimated Asia, causing mass starvation and riots, but Europe is safe and a counter-virus is expected any day. Except, it turns out, the governments have been lying to their people. When the deadly disease hits Britain, society starts to descend into barbarism. As John and his family try to make it across country to the safety of his brother’s farm in a hidden valley, their humanity is tested to its very limits.

                A chilling psychological thriller and one of the greatest post-apocalyptic novels ever written, The Death of Grass shows people struggling to hold on to their identities as the familiar world disintegrates – and the terrible price they must pay for surviving.

  9. Andre 9

    Oh wow. The Trump clown show took it to an all new level of WTF.

    http://www.salon.com/2015/12/30/trump_spokeswoman_wears_necklace_strung_with_bullets_on_cnn_threatens_to_wear_one_festooned_with_fetuses_next_time/

    No need to actually follow the link, the URL says it all. If you do follow the link, you will never unsee it.

    edit:the URL truncates on my screen. So maybe you do need to follow the link for the full effect. If you dare.

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    Road Warrior

    Four years later, Liss-Riordan is spearheading class-action lawsuits against Uber, Lyft, and nine other apps that provide on-demand services, shaking the pillars of Silicon Valley’s much-hyped sharing economy. In particular, she is challenging how these companies classify their workers. If she can convince judges that these so-called micro-entrepreneurs are in fact employees and not independent contractors, she could do serious damage to a very successful business model—Uber alone was recently valued at $51 billion—which relies on cheap labor and a creative reading of labor laws. She has made some progress in her work for drivers. Just this month, after Uber tried several tactics to shrink the class, she won a key legal victory when a judge in San Francisco found that more than 100,000 drivers can join her class action.

    “These companies save massively by shifting many costs of running a business to the workers, profiting off the backs of their workers,” Liss-Riordan says with calm intensity as she sits in her Boston office, which is peppered with framed posters of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The bustling block below is home to two coffee chains that Liss-Riordan has sued. If the Uber case succeeds, she tells me, “maybe that will make companies think twice about steamrolling over laws.”

    Uber operates as a pure capitalist business funnelling the income generated by the workers to those who don’t work at all.

    We can see this blatant exploitation here in NZ where contractors are becoming the norm. The same happens – all the expenses are shifted to the employees/workers while all the rewards are shifted to the bludging capitalists.

    • Ad 10.1

      Not much sign yet that either NZTA or IRD are on to this.

      • Pat 10.1.1

        they will be when tax receipts from PAYE drop too much….the one advantage of contracting is the ability to claim expenses, something that is erroneously unavailable to the wage and salary earner.

  11. Once was Tim 11

    “As he points out somewhere you might be only two or three month’s wages from being on the streets yourself.”
    It’d be nice if a few of that aspirational muddle class Key worshiper cohort understood that BEFORE the shit hits the fan ……. rather than AFTER.
    Afterwards just means they’ll all just be pretending.

  12. Ross 12

    Nick Leggett says it’s time Andrew Little became a statesman…by supporting the PM’s choice of flags! WTF.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11567920

  13. McFlock 13

    Right, happy calendar roll-over everyone. I’m off to consume responsibly within the guidelines. Well, my guidelines anyway 😉

  14. greywarshark 14

    Services to the state!
    What to do while waiting in an emergency? Or when the emergency and tension is over.
    The police and defence forces should be getting a medal. Being on alert after a terror attack must be very unpleasant.
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/30/belgian-soldiers-police-held-orgy-during-brussels-lockdown

  15. Holidaying in the Bay of Islands. It’s a microcosm of everything that’s wrong with NZ. Insane house prices, ginormous rents for those that can’t afford to buy. In Paihia, small businesses are being driven to the wall by $1000 a week leases, while the minimum wage staff pay exhorbidant fees to park their cars as there is next to no free parking in the town.

    Weirdly, I’m told that if your business is based on a pier or jetty, you don’t have to pay rates. Which means some well connected folk have profitable businesses, while their competitors metres away on land are they ones paying for the upkeep of the town. The only park in the waterfront area is also leased out to an expensive farmers type market, who sell to day visitors from the cruise ships. The park itself is now stuffed because of the damage being done by cars, tents and punters.

    Fun fact! The dull witted local council decided they didn’t need a freedom camping by-law, so anyone is free to park up on the verges, which is exactly what a group of iwi protesters have done next to the Waitangi bridge. Good on them.

    One last heartwarming Xmas story. I’m told the wealthy and prominent hubby of a local councillor, who owns rental properties, told the cops a couple of days ago that a former tenant had taken a large outdoor table when she moved out of one of his places. Rather than check the facts with the woman, the cops turned up at her new place with a truck and trailer and removed the furniture from her, gifting it to the former landlord. She showed the cops proof that she purchased the table from a local business, but to no avail. It’s not what you know in Paihia, it’s who you know around the council table, apparently.

    • Draco T Bastard 15.1

      She showed the cops proof that she purchased the table from a local business, but to no avail. It’s not what you know in Paihia, it’s who you know around the council table, apparently.

      I hope there’s a lawyer around willing to take the fuckers to court. A pledge Me campaign would probably work.

    • Rosemary McDonald 15.2

      “Holidaying in the Bay of Islands. It’s a microcosm of everything that’s wrong with NZ. ”

      And yet….up the road and to the west a bit is an area that is almost like NZ was 50 years ago.

      We travel often Up North…and Freedom Camp…but only once in Paihia.
      Dreadful place…that has a rep amongst the Brethren of the Eternal Highway as being positively hostile towards campervans and motorhomes.

      I believe there is a Jazz/Blues festival that will cause some of the Brethren to visit the town…but it is with great reluctance.

      The local Constabulary are known to be quite selective as to what types they pursue in a bid to maintain law and order.

      (Hint: always observe the three second stop rule at compulsory stop signs…)

      • ropata 15.2.1

        Nothing wrong with campervans per se, but they ought to use the appropriate campgrounds. Paihia is no different than other tourist towns in this regard.

        before the bylaws came into effect:
        – there were campervans all over the place
        – they camped out on prime beachfront parking spots (requiring 2 spaces to do so)
        – they paid 0 for the privilege when there were cheap camp sites in walking distance
        – they left rubbish and shit for others to clean up

        • te reo putake 15.2.1.1

          There are no bylaws, ropata. The council released a policy, but declined to vote in a freedom camping bylaw. Therefore, the protestors by the bridge are perfectly entitled to stay there. I’m told they have also talked with the elders at Waitangi marae and have their blessing too.

    • ropata 15.3

      those so-called “iwi protestors” are just freeloaders with a flag. they have been camped there for months but no-one has the guts to move them on. they even have a full sized gas oven in their tent. why don’t they go live on the Waitangi marae instead of public land?

  16. Gabby 16

    The former tenant will be contacting the local paper no doubt.

  17. millsy 17

    Happy new year all.

    Some predictions…

    1) Phil Goff will win the Auckland Mayoralty, but the centre right will gain a majority on the council. However several radical young progressive will end with council seats on the ‘left’ side

    2) Labour will hold Mt Roskill, but with a lessened majority

    3) National/John Key will hold steady in the polls for most of the year, but will start declining in the last half of 2016, Labour will steadily crawl up.

    4) A prominent business leader will announce that they will stand for Parliament in 2017, but it would be for a party we didnt quite expect…

    5) Free healthcare will be extended to under 18’s but will be paid for by cutting subsidies for doctors visits for the rest of us.

    6) The government will announce plans for a Royal Commission on the future of National Superannuation.

    7) The RBNZ will increase the OCR in the December quarter.

    8) An incident will occur that will sow the seeds for a 1951/1981 style confrontation in 2017.

    9) John Key will announce he will be standing for a 4th term, but will not be standing in 2020.

    10) John Tamihere will become new leader of the Conservative Party.

  18. Pat 18

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11567786

    “Give me an N….” …. all thats missing is the pom poms

  19. Anne 19

    I Iive on the North Shore and the wind/weather is frightening. Much worse than has been forecast. My home is exposed to the NE and is shuddering in constant gusts I’m sure are in excess of 100km. Checked forecasts online and as yet no updates. This is what happens when you close down all the regional weather offices and operate everything from Wellington.

    • ropata 19.1

      Much as I’d like to, I don’t think we can blame the Nats for bad weather! ⛈

      • Anne 19.1.1

        🙂
        No, but we can blame them for closing the Auckland and Christchurch regional offices and thus the information not always getting out to the public quickly enough.

        Edit: I’m referring to the Bolger/Shipley government. Them’s the ones what did it.

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