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US Mid Terms; Obama Enters the Ring

Written By: - Date published: 1:24 pm, September 8th, 2018 - 30 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, Deep stuff, democratic participation, discrimination, Donald Trump, elections, Ethics, International, Politics, racism, uk politics - Tags: ,

Barack Obama has given a blistering speech at the University of Illinois, setting the scene for his intervention in the November mid term elections. The former President has remained remarkably restrained in his comments about the Trump administration until now, so it’s safe to assume that he has made a conscious decision to enter the fray because his party needs him.

At stake is control of the House of Representatives (almost a given on current polling) and the tantalising prospect of picking up the two seats in the Senate they need to end Republican control in that chamber.

Getting that Senate majority is important for a couple of reasons. Primarily because it relegates Trump to lame duck status. Without the House and Senate promoting the legislation he wants, Trump is reduced to only having the power to veto proposals. It would be a political quagmire – a swamp, if you will – where no progress is made and all participants end up covered in mud.

The second reason for pushing for outright control of the Senate is that it makes the prospect of impeachment more likely. Still not a sure thing, as two thirds of the 100 person Senate need to agree to the motion, but it allows the Democrats the ability to at least put impeachment to the vote.

If there were such a vote, it would require 13 or 14 Republican Senators to cross the floor to succeed.  Even the threat of that possibility could or should be enough to end Trump’s reign. In effect, it was that scenario that faced Nixon, and he walked.

Trump ain’t no Nixon, though.

One thing Trump does have in common with Tricky Dicky, and also Ronald Reagan, is that his hand picked staff are now apparently routinely removing his ability to make decisions. We all hope it’s Pence, right?

The allegations of papers being quietly removed from the Oval Office desk before Trump could sign them has historic parallels.

In the last days of the Nixon administration, White House staff diverted critical matters that would normally require Presidential approval. It’s rumoured that his access to the nuclear ‘button’ was also cut off. These steps were taken out of fear that a raging, impotent Nixon would choose to literally go down in flames rather than resign.

With Reagan, his mental deterioration in the last two years of the second term required similar intervention.

The difference with Trump is that he is being sidelined at the start of his term, not the end.

As Barack Obama persuasively argues, that’s not normal.

 

Video and Quotes from the Obama Speech:

 

The Donald:

In the end, the threat to our democracy doesn’t just come from Donald Trump or the current batch of Republicans in Congress or the Koch brothers and their lobbyists, or too much compromise from Democrats, or Russian hacking. The biggest threat to our democracy is indifference. The biggest threat to our democracy is cynicism – a cynicism that’s led too many people to turn away from politics and stay home on election day.

The Antidote:

The antidote to a government controlled by a powerful fear, a government that divides, is a government by the organized, energized, inclusive many. That’s what this moment’s about. That has to be the answer. You cannot sit back and wait for a savior. You can’t opt out because you don’t feel sufficiently inspired by this or that particular candidate. This is not a rock concert, this is not Coachella. You don’t need a messiah. All we need are decent, honest, hardworking people who are accountable and who have America’s best interests at heart.

Nazis:

It shouldn’t be Democratic or Republican to say we don’t target certain groups of people based on what they look like or how they pray. We are Americans. We’re supposed to stand up to bullies. Not follow them. We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination. And we’re sure as heck supposed to stand up, clearly and unequivocally, to Nazi sympathizers. How hard can that be? Saying that Nazis are bad.

Media Freedom:

It shouldn’t be Democratic or Republican to say that we don’t threaten the freedom of the press because they say things or publish stories we don’t like. I complained plenty about Fox News but you never heard me threaten to shut them down, or call them enemies of the people.

Congress:

This Congress has championed the unwinding of campaign finance laws to give billionaires outsized influence over our politics, systemically attacked voting rights to make it harder for the young people, the minorities, and the poor to vote.

Handed out tax cuts without regard to deficits. Slashed the safety net wherever it could. Cast dozens of votes to take away health insurance from ordinary Americans. Embraced wild conspiracy theories, like those surrounding Benghazi, or my birth certificate. Rejected science, rejected facts on things like climate change.

The Democrat Party:

We won’t win people over by calling them names, or dismissing entire chunks of the country as racist, or sexist, or homophobic. When I say bring people together, I mean all of our people. You know, this whole notion that has sprung up recently – about Democrats need to choose between trying to appeal to the white working class voters, or voters of color, and women and LGBT Americans – that’s nonsense. I got votes from every demographic. We won by reaching out to everybody and competing everywhere and by fighting for every vote.

Women:

We need more women in charge. But we’ve got first-time candidates, we’ve got veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, record numbers of women – Americans who previously maybe didn’t have an interest in politics as a career, but laced up their shoes and rolled up their sleeves and grabbed a clipboard because they too believe this time’s different; this moment’s too important to sit out.

Funk:

The biggest threat to our democracy is indifference. The biggest threat to our democracy is cynicism. To all the young people who are here today, there are now more eligible voters in your generation than in any other, which means your generation now has more power than anybody to change things. If you want it, you can make sure America gets out of its current funk.

Don’t just tweet – Vote!

You’ve got to vote. If you support the MeToo movement, you’re outraged by stories of sexual harassment and assault inspired by the women who shared them, you’ve got to do more than retweet a hashtag. You’ve got to vote.

30 comments on “US Mid Terms; Obama Enters the Ring”

  1. dukeofurl 1

    First person they could impeach is Kavanaugh from the Supreme Court. As its now clear that he lied to Judiciary Committee under oath during his 2007 confirmation hearings about receiving stolen emails from the Dem Senators.

  2. Obama should probably just sit back on Branson’s Holiday island and contemplate his crap legacy…

    https://truthout.org/articles/a-mixed-story-ranging-from-criminal-to-moderate-improvement-noam-chomsky-on-obama-s-legacy/

    • North 2.1

      Perpetually sour.

    • Ed 2.2

      Neil Clark .

      “Stateside and in ‘liberal’ circles across the West, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are lionised for not being Donald Trump, but what the duo did to Libya is far worse than anything Trump has done up to now.”

      • joe90 2.2.1

        Under tRump, the woes of sick and suffering Palestinians is compounded, but the duo.

        US President Donald Trump and his administration are making moves to strip millions of Palestinians of their refugee status, according to a US-based magazine report.

        As part of the initiative, the Republican president along with his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, have been trying to disrupt the UN agency for Palestinians, UNRWA, Foreign Policy (FP) magazine revealed in an article published on Friday.

        In a controversial move in January, the US government announced that it was withholding $65m of a planned $125m funding instalment to the relief agency, after Trump accused the Palestinians of being ungrateful for the millions of dollars in aid.

        https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/08/trump-moving-strip-palestinians-refugee-status-report-180804154055497.html

        The Trump administration has announced further cuts in aid to the Palestinians — this time, cutting money to cover cancer treatments and other critical care for Palestinians at Jerusalem hospitals.

        State Department spokesperson Alessia Dinkel told NPR the administration is pulling $25 million it had planned to give to the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, a group of six hospitals, some church-run, providing care primarily to Palestinians.

        In past years, U.S. funding covered medical costs for Palestinians to go to these hospitals for treatment unavailable in the West Bank and Gaza — from cardiac and eye surgeries to neonatal intensive care and children’s dialysis, according to the World Health Organization.

        https://www.npr.org/2018/09/07/645682793/new-cuts-in-medical-aid-to-palestinians-by-trump-administration?

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    Getting that Senate majority is important for a couple of reasons. Primarily because it relegates Trump to lame duck status. Without the House and Senate promoting the legislation he wants, Trump is reduced to only having the power to veto proposals. It would be a political quagmire – a swamp, if you will – where no progress is made and all participants end up covered in mud.

    Ah, the wondrous workings of a two-house parliament.

    /sarc

    Thankfully we don’t have that sort of BS.

    With Reagan, his mental deterioration in the last two years of the second term required similar intervention.

    I’m still wondering why he wasn’t removed when it was obvious that he should have been. Too many people benefiting from him being there I suspect despite the damage that it was doing to the US.

  4. Ad 4

    I like his themes of civility and inclusion. They are necessary.

    And i sure miss a US President who can put a whole speech together. Sigh.

    I know he can’t run again as President, but maybe he could suck it up and go VP on a Biden ticket.

    • dukeofurl 4.1

      Wont happen. What would he achieve by being a Veep. Anyway hes making much much more money doing what hes doing now.

      Constitutionally there is a problem as well:

      “12th Amendment (ratified in 1804 to fix some unexpected issues with the originally specified methods for selecting the President and Vice-President) states that “no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.” So, one who has already twice been elected President isn’t eligible to become Vice-President afterwards and potentially sneak into the presidency again through the back door.

      Plus its a dead end job for anyone who isnt wanting to be President later. It would also block off other potential VPs

      • Ad 4.1.1

        Yes I know – I was just having a projected nostalgia moment.

        If the Dems don’t get the Senate majority back, there’s a cases that the US constitutional checks and balances aren’t operating or working.

        The Republicans control or strongly influence majorities in the Presidency, Senate Congress, Supreme Court, Appelate Courts, and state governorships.

        This is by a long way the most dominant I’ve seen corporate interests into US politics. And it’s hard to see any corrective emerging.

  5. One Two 5

    Blistering Speech

    * Written by someone else
    * Read from a teleprompter
    * Dripping with hypocrisy

    Some still buying into the theatre…

    We tortured some folks

    • Ed 5.1

      We droned Yemen

      • One Two 5.1.1

        Wasn’t intending to reply to your comment… Was intended as a stand alone…

        But seeing as we are in a convo….

        How about those folka who ensure the further decline via the ‘lesser evil’ thinking pattern…

      • rhinocrates 5.1.2

        Still are, even more. They’re not dropping daffodils and roses.

        https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/08/trump-war-terror-drones/567218/

        President Donald Trump has dramatically expanded the War on Terror. But you—and perhaps he—would never know it.

        Since he came into office, Trump has reportedly abandoned Obama-era rules governing the use of drones in noncombat theaters such as Somalia and Libya. Whereas Obama operationally expanded but bureaucratically constrained drones’ use, from what we can tell, Trump’s new rules instead vest military commanders with strike decisions , without requiring approval from the White House.

        Oh well, not to worry, it’s probably just fake news.

  6. Timeforacupoftea 6

    Siobhan 2
    8 September 2018 at 2:24 pm
    Obama should probably just sit back on Branson’s Holiday island and contemplate his crap legacy…

    Thanks Sioban 2 for your honest on Obama on The Standard dot org dot NZ.

  7. Dennis Frank 7

    Poor old Obama. Simple man, simple mind, using it to persuade Democrats that things really are simple. His legacy? Campaigned to close the torture center. He won. He didn’t close it. He spent 8 years condoning it. A true Democrat.

    Blistering? You’ve really got to be kidding, TRP. Like being whacked with a tissue. If that’s all he’s got to fire up the troops, they may as well give up already…

    Caveat: my opinion is based on your quote summary. The prospect of having to watch him wade through the platitudes filled me with nausea.

    • Good thing that Trump’s put an end to all that then and has never, ever advocated torture and assassination.

      I love the smell of selective outrage in the evening.

      • Morrissey 7.1.1

        “Selective outrage”? Why do you think that being disgusted with the hypocrisy of one second-rater stops one from being disgusted with the hypocrisy of a fifth-rater? Do you think we shouldn’t mention the fact that Obama did not stop the torture, did not stop the extra-judicial killings, did not stop the drone assassinations, did not stop funding Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia, did not even speak out against the Dakota Access Pipeline or police killing black and brown people all over the country?

        Trump is appalling and must be stopped, certainly. But how does that absolve Obama in any way from his crimes?

    • Dukeofurl 7.2

      Obama was only one part of the government. Remember it’s not called 4 branches that are separate but equal for nothing. The Pentagon were opposed as well. Quickly enough the Republicans got back in control in Congress and passed legislation preventing any transfer of the the 30 or so remaining.
      Democracies can be messy things, we saw similar here in NZ last week with the refugee numbers.

      • Morrissey 7.2.1

        Than why didn’t he resign? If he was that helpless, why didn’t he hand over to someone prepared to have a go at least?

  8. Philj 8

    Obama, Clinton,Bush,etc. all failures that lead to the Trump. The public have lost trust in both parties. The media and the giant corporates win regardless. US democackary/Elections are a rigged sham and folks have worked it out.

  9. Jenny 9

    How close is America to fascism?

    Trump has issued a dog whistle call to violence if the Democrats win the Midterms, (let alone, if they dare to impeach him).

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/northland/archived-sections/world/106713015/Donald-Trump-warns-of-violence-if-Democrats-win-US-midterm-elections?rm=m

    Whether or not, Trump makes an explicit call to violence, his Right Wing supporters will probably react violently anyway, at any attempt by the Democrats to impeach, or even merely just sideline or thwart the President.

    Because Trump has presaged a climate of incitement to violence and identified the targets; Black Lives Matter, immigrants, the liberal media, Muslims.

    Attacked by Trump supporters many will fight back, the unrest will be the perfect Reichstag moment for Trump to call out the National Guard and declare a state of emergency.

    • Jenny 9.1

      State of emergency – Wikipedia
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_emergency

      A state of emergency is a situation in which a government is empowered to perform actions that ….. During a state of emergency the President has the power to make emergency regulations “necessary or expedient” to restore peace and order …

      Martial Law and National Emergency
      Harold C. Relyea
      Specialist in American National Government
      Government and Finance Division

      Summary
      Crises in public order, both real and potential, often evoke comments concerning
      a resort to martial law. While some ambiguity exists regarding the conditions of a
      martial law setting, such a prospect, nonetheless, is disturbing to many Americans who cherish their liberties, expect civilian law enforcement to prevail, and support civilian control of military authority. An overview of the concept of, exercise of, and authority underlying martial law is provided in this report, which will be updated as events warrant.

      Occasionally, when some national emergency or crisis threatens public order in the
      United States, the comment is made that the President may ultimately resort to imposing martial law in order to preserve discipline and good behavior. Such was the case when it was thought that year 2000 (Y2K) technology problems might result in situations threatening life, property, or the general welfare in American society. The almost flawless transition to the year 2000, of course, rendered such an action unnecessary. More recently, at least one newspaper erroneously reported that the September 14, 2001, declaration of a national emergency by President George W. Bush in response to terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, DC, “activated some 500 dormant legal provisions, including those allowing him to impose censorship and martial law.”1

      Even though he could have, George W. Bush did not declare a state of National Emergency, and all that that implies.

      Donald Trump on the other hand is unlikely to be bothered by such nicities.

    • Exkiwiforces 9.2

      I believe that old dump can’t just call up the Guard unless it’s from the District of Columbia which he has the power to do as he is also the District Governor as for the rest of Guard there are a number of checks and balances/ hurdles that dump has to jump though. Depending on the task/ mission orders will depend on what act it falls under, so under one act he has to go to the State Governor to request the Guard and the other though the the House of Reps for approval to deploy the Guard.

      The Federal Forces aka the Regular Forces are forbidden to deploy operational even for DACC tasks within the United States due to the US Constitution. The Reg’s have a hard time trying to even exercise certain scenarios like Peacekeeping, COIN or IS etc henceforth they don’t do them as they tend to upsetting the tinfoil heads, crackpots etc running to their bunkers or grabbing their guns etc.

      • Jenny 9.2.1

        Oops. I forgot to include the link to the source document.

        Here it is:

        https://fas.org/sgp/crs/RS21024.pdf

        Plus some interesting excerpts;

        A regime of martial law may be compendiously, if not altogether accurately, defined as one in which the ordinary law, as administered by the ordinary courts, is superseded for the time being by the will of a military commander. It follows that, when martial law is instituted under national authority, it rests ultimately on the will of the President of the United States in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief…..

        “Since the Civil War era,” notes Joseph E. Kallenbach, “there have been no proclamations of martial law by Presidents directly on behalf of the national government, although President Hayes very seriously considered issuing such a proclamation during the railroad strike crisis of 1887. There have been conditions of limited martial law established with the explicit or implicit approval of the President by officers in the field, however,” he adds.6
        These occasional invocations of martial law during the post-Civil War period occurred most often in labor disputes, but, as one chronicler recounts, other disturbances of the public order were involved as well.

        “…..other disturbances of the public order were involved as well.”

        in New Zealand industrial disputes have also been the main reason for declaring martial law as well.

        But outbreaks of violence between Trump supporters and those identified by the President as “enemies of the people” would also be the sort of “other disturbances of public order” deemed necessary for the declaration of “modified” forms of martial law in the past in the US.

        There have been other instances where the modified form of martial law existed in fact, though undeclared. General Merriam placed restrictions on travel into and out of the mining camps of Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene in 1899. In the Colorado disturbance of 1914, saloons were closed (a common practice), the sale of arms was forbidden, arms and ammunition were seized, and the opening of mines was forbidden as was also the importation of strike-breakers. Public assemblies were forbidden and arms were taken in the West Virginia strike zone in 1921.7
        The military has been utilized on a number of occasions since World War I when
        Presidents have sought to maintain public order, but have not invoked martial law. Such examples include the routing of the Bonus Army in 1932 in the District of Columbia; maintaining public order during desegregation efforts at Little Rock, AR, in 1957, the University of Mississippi in 1962, and the University of Alabama the following year; and quelling civil disturbances within Washington, Detroit, Chicago, and Baltimore during 1967 and 1968.

        The point of all this; is that President Trump, not only has the power to declare martial law, but also, on finding his presidency under pressure, the temperament to do so as well.

        • Jenny 9.2.1.1

          Related posts and comment:

          Trump Calls the News Media the ‘Enemy of the American People’
          Michael M. Grynbaum – The New York Times, Febuary 17, 2017

          The president has referred to the media as the “opposition party” to his administration, and he has blamed news organizations for stymieing his agenda. But the language that Mr. Trump deployed on Friday is more typically used by leaders to refer to hostile foreign governments or subversive organizations. It also echoed the language of autocrats who seek to minimize dissent.

  10. Dennis Frank 10

    “Forty-three percent (43%) of voters again this week think the country is heading in the right direction. This finding has been running in the 40s for most weeks this year after being in the mid- to upper 20s for much of 2016, President Obama’s last full year in office.” http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/weekly_updates/what_they_told_us_sep08

    “Democrats hold a four-point lead on the latest Rasmussen Reports Generic Congressional Ballot… Trump ended the week with his job approval rating at 48%. Obama’s approval was at 45% on the same day in his second year in office. Now that Gallup has quit the field, Rasmussen Reports is the only nationally recognized public opinion firm that still tracks President Trump’s job approval ratings on a daily basis.”

  11. Morrissey 11

    Barack Obama has given a blistering speech at the University of Illinois…

    So “blistering” means this now….

    “Um, uh, uh, uh… (look sheepish)… um, uh… “

    But far worse than the sheer ineptness of Obama’s delivery, what is really offensive is his flagrant hypocrisy, viz.

    We’re supposed to stand up to bullies. Not follow them. We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination. And we’re sure as heck supposed to stand up, clearly and unequivocally, to Nazi sympathizers.”

    Here’s a couple of inspirational examples of the man himself demonstrating how to “stand up to bullies”…..

    https://www.bodylanguagesuccess.com/2015/03/nonverbal-communication-analysis-no_2.html

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    PosseBy chloeanneking
    4 days ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    4 days ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    5 days ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    5 days ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    5 days ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    6 days ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    6 days ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    7 days ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    7 days ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    1 week ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    1 week ago
  • We are all socialists now
    Last week, the government announced a $12 billion initial package to support people during the pandemic. Today, the Reserve Bank is buying government bonds - effectively printing money - to keep up the money supply during the crisis. Normally such moves would have the right apoplectic. Instead, the National Party ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Enlightenment when?
    I recently encountered the following prescription from a Faculty of Education at a leading New Zealand University. At first I wondered if it was another product of the postmodern generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/), designed to create gibberish in the postmodern form, but I’m told it is real: The “schooled” society: Towards the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
    The coronavirus pandemic has of course had a major impact on individual lives and on societies as a whole. But, long after the crisis has passed (assuming it does), we will begin to realise that its real and lasting significance lies in the lessons it has taught us, if only ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
    COVID-19 has plunged Aotearoa New Zealand (indeed, the world) into territory that, while maybe not totally unprecedented, certainly hasn’t been seen during the lifetimes of most of us here today. Our borders are closed to non-citizens, we’re being told not to gather in groups of more than 500 outside/100 inside, ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
    For the last few weeks, I’ve been urging you to prepare yourself, your family, business, and community for Covid-19. Now it’s time for real action.  Yesterday the director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced another 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing our total to date to 52. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 15, 2020 through Sat, Mar 21, 2020 Editor's Pick Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts   Tasha Tilberg, Lindsey Wixson, and Liu Wen photographed ...
    1 week ago
  • Is the Guardian becoming  a real newspaper again?
    by Jan Rivers The article has been corrected to show that it was Ewen MacAskill, former Guardian journalist and not Luke Harding who travelled to meet Edward Snowden with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.  Some of the Guardian’s well-known journalists who did not sign the protest letter are ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
    by Cultural Worker Late March 2020 amidst the virus. With gigs crashing and burning all around it was without much hope that I called a long standing rest home booking: “ Hi, I’m supposed to be entertaining at your place this afternoon – is it still on?” “”If you don’t ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics, the possible, and the pandemic
    Whenever people demand real change from their politicians, we're told that "politics is the art of the possible". The implication is that change isn't possible, so we'd better just get used to the sucky status quo. But now that there's a pandemic, a lot of things we were previously told ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The Only Way Through This Crisis Is Together.
    Together: In leading New Zealand through the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Prime Minister could do a lot worse than allow herself to be guided by the spirit of collective sacrifice and co-operation that animated the New Zealanders of 80 years ago. Most Kiwis alive today have had no opportunity to prove their ...
    2 weeks ago
  • GFC vs Covid-19
    It is said that generals fight the last war. In the case of the early stages of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) they had learned from the Great Depression of the 1930s and they fought intelligently and successfully. Later their advice would be ignored in favour of the Austerians who ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • Nobody Left Behind.
    Solidarity Forever: All over the world, the arrival of the Covid-19 virus has exposed the fragility of the walls we erect around ourselves and our loved ones. It has shattered our illusions of autonomy and revealed to us how utterly dependent we all are on other human-beings. Finally, we see ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rebuilding a truly “Democratic” counter, or a “moderate Republican” bolt-hol...
    Looking across the various arguments for/against the leading candidates to take the Democratic Nomination, you might honestly be very hard pressed to tell. There are a number of things that have now started happening since Amy Klobuchar and “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg both threw the towel in and immediately (and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion law reform a win for women
    by Daphna Whitmore Abortion is no longer in the Crimes Act in New Zealand. The law reform passed yesterday and now abortion is a medical matter between a woman and her doctor. Many women’s groups and progressive people have campaigned for reform for decades. The women’s liberation movement and some ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • How to spot bogus science stories and read the news like a scientist
    Doug Specht, University of Westminster and Julio Gimenez, University of Westminster When fake news, misreporting and alternative facts are everywhere, reading the news can be a challenge. Not only is there plenty of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other scientific topics floating around social media, you also ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus
    Michael Baker, University of Otago and Nick Wilson, University of Otago With some of the toughest border restrictions and a newly-announced NZ$500 million boost to health services, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand is also fortunate in ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Parliament and the pandemic II
    As expected, the government has introduced a sessional order to allow Parliament to operate during the pandemic. You can read it on the Order Paper here, but the short version is that questions and motions can be filed electronicly, select committees can work remotely, and the the Business Committee can ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • When a virus goes viral: pros and cons to the coronavirus spread on social media
    Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology; Daniel Angus, Queensland University of Technology; Timothy Graham, Queensland University of Technology, and Tobias R. Keller, Queensland University of Technology News and views about coronavirus has spread via social media in a way that no health emergency has done before. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago

  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
    The Government is backing the Reserve Bank’s latest action to support the economy by reducing longer-term interest rates, meaning lower costs for businesses and mortgage holders, and a lower currency to help our exporters. The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
    The Government has asked the Commerce Commission to take account of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 when monitoring business behaviour in coming weeks.   “The purpose of my request to the Commerce Commission is to make sure businesses can work together in ways that will allow them to provide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
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