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Was Obama a good President?

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, November 10th, 2016 - 65 comments
Categories: International, us politics - Tags:

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Not since 1993, when FDR took office at the depth of the Great Depression, has a president confronted such a grave and profound economic crisis on the first day of office. Over that first year, many wanted greater intervention, or less, from his responses to it. But the results are that his policies were more successful than Roosevelt’s. Obama ended the recession, and disengaged the nation out of two foreign wars.

After FDR, President Reagan has long been considered the best modern president for national economic performance. But job creation under President Obama kept unemployment from peaking as high as it did under Reagan. He promoted more people into the workforce than under Reagan. Under Obama, the US has had the best private sector jobs creation performance in modern history. The decline in labour participation rates has been largely due to male and female baby boomers retiring. Sharemarket listings and performance have gone through the roof under Obama.

The federal deficit is down 70%, from $1.4 trillion when he started to $439 billion in 2015.

US taxes are as low or lower than at any point in the last 50 years. Except for the 2% over $400k, who pay more now.

Dependence on foreign oil has shrunk. The US now exports more oil products than it imports. Renewables are seriously challenging coal across many fronts.

At least 20 million more US people now have health insurance than before Obama. Sure, it needs fixing. But the Affordable Healthcare Act built on Hillary Clinton’s efforts, and has been a massive policy breakthrough.

The US currently has fewer soldiers, sailors, and air force in foreign war zones  than they did under either of the Bush presidencies. He brought the troops home. He suppressed almost all new domestic terrorism and killed the terrorist super-villain Bin Laden, after near-nationwide panic only a few years earlier. He was spectacularly dove-ish compared to all presidents since Carter.

Obama cut groundbreaking deals on Cuba, Iran, and climate change.

But he didn’t close Guantanamo Bay. Not for lack of trying, but fail mark there.

No meaningful immigration reform was passed. No difference whatsoever on gun control either.

He made valiant but futile attempts to change the political logjam of Washington. It got worse.

But the biggie is racial inequality. The wealth gap between US black and whites has grown. Tension between black people and the police has gone truly bad. The US proved it could elect its first black into what Muhammed Ali called “The Black House”, but overall this didn’t improve the lives of black people particularly in justice issues.

But Obama never promised radical change. He was never in a position to achieve that anyway. What he did do was stop a whole bunch of things from getting worse, and set in place a set of major policies that will continue to pay off for the medium and long term, both domestically and internationally.

He was thoughtful, progressive, rational, super-calm, fact-focussed, and could take and give good jokes. The epitome of campaigning in high poetry, and governing in cold black prose. He was exceedingly well supported by a very, very clever and telegenic First Lady in Michelle Obama. Scandal free, high in delivery, and got better and better. He was highly successful in the economy, in social policy, and in international affairs.

That’s a pretty high benchmark to follow.

65 comments on “Was Obama a good President? ”

  1. TheExtremist 1

    I think history will remember him well

    • Morrissey 1.1

      If you think well of someone who presided over more arrests of government whistleblowers than all previous presidents added together; if you think well of someone who after every Israeli massacre in Gaza expressed sympathy and support for the perpetrators not the victims; if you think well of someone who has done nothing while Chelsea Manning rots in prison, Julian Assange is forced to take sanctuary in London [1] and Edward Snowden in Russia; if you think well of someone who is perhaps the world’s most unconvincing method actor [2] then, yes, Obama has been a “good president.”

      [1] http://www.theverge.com/2016/9/16/12939232/julian-assange-wikileaks-chelsea-manning-obama

      [2] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-23116760

    • Colonial Viper 1.2

      In two or three decades, Barack Obama will mainly be mentioned, whenever he is mentioned, as the largely mediocre prologue to that remarkable President who made America great again – Donald J Trump.

      • One Two 1.2.1

        Obama is already in the books as a failure there is no need to wait for the institute of controlled academia to catch up and confirm it as such

        The comment about Trump I highly doubt, and despite your backing him to become POTUS (which I understand) I can’t imagine you sincerely believe he can deliver

        Do you actually believe he can and will “make America great”?

  2. Crashcart 2

    A pretty rosy picture that ignores some of the more horrible sides of his presidency.

    He launched more drone strikes than any previous President and took the extrajudicial killing of US citizens abroad to new heights. you can argue they were terrorists all you want, they never got a trial.

    He bailed out the banks to a huge level with no requirement for that investment to flow through to the regular mortgage holder who ended up losing their home.

    He instituted limp regulation around banking that has seen banks that were to big to fail only become bigger.

    Finally he made progress in the right direction with Obama care how ever how quickly can that be undone. The US will now have a President who has said he wants to repeal it and a Senate that has tried numerous times only to be vetoed by Obama. How long until millions of Americans lose the insurance they got from Obama’s one true success.

    • Garibaldi 2.1

      Don’t forget his promise to rid us of nuclear weapons, then going on to spend more on them than any other President…..oh, and his admission that the only thing he was really good at was killing people.

    • rocco siffred 2.2

      “He launched more drone strikes than any previous President and took the extrajudicial killing of US citizens abroad to new heights”

      He didn’t think through what that power means when Trump takes the keys to the drone garage now did he? Despite the many warnings.

      • Ad 2.2.1

        The administrative failure there was to not constrain the CIA drone programme and the Pentagon drone programme into a single regime with public scrutiny. CIA successfully resisted and the White House gave up trying to control it.

  3. gsays 3

    while no u.s. politics scholar, i see obama’s legacy intrinsically linked to the election of trump.

    obama essentially kept the same financial heads at the table that bush had appointed, inequality gap got bigger and dissatisfaction for the establishment grew.

    undoubtedly a great orator, intelligent and engaging, obama showed how hard progress is, when fighting with a republican held senate.

    • Morrissey 3.1

      undoubtedly a great orator

      Wrong. Martin Luther King, who Obama shamelessly imitated, was a great orator, whose speeches were full of content and substance, not just sound. Obama’s vacuous “hope and change” rhetoric in 2008 was perfectly sent up by Sarah Palin a couple of years into his regime. When you’re owned by Sarah Palin, you’re actually the antithesis of a great orator.

      • gsays 3.1.1

        hi morrissey,
        ok, would competent, engaging speaker suit you better?

        • Morrissey 3.1.1.1

          Yes, on a personal one-to-one level, I can see what a pleasant, engaging person Obama is. And he does speak well, undoubtedly. But he was not a great or inspiring speaker—his speeches during that “inspirational” 2008 campaign struck me as bombastic in the extreme.

          No amount of rhetorical window-dressing can disguise the gloomy fact that he has presided over seven wars in the Middle East, the extrajudicial assassinations of thousands of Pakistanis, Yemenis, Iraqis and Afghans, the continual undermining and destruction of democracy in Brazil, Honduras, Haiti, Venezuela and many other countries, and of course the persecution and jailing of democratic activists in the United States itself.

          Perhaps the moment that sums up Obama best was this cowardly display in Havana. Undoubtedly he feared that fronting up and shaking hands like a man would have been pounced on by Fox News and the other jackals he seemed to respect more than anyone else….

  4. Manuka AOR 4

    He was never in a position to achieve that anyway.
    Very true.
    And now a bloody racist has free rein/ reign and massive power.

    Generally agree with your assessment Ad.

  5. esoteric pineapples 5

    Obama’s big mistake was always trying to find the middle ground with the Republicans. He had an opportunity in the first six months of his Presidency to make radical progressive changes. After that his hands were tied.

    Also, he has had almost a year to appoint a new Supreme Court judge which he had every right to do, and yet he left that till after this election which means abortion could become illegal in the US amongst other things.

    Now, nearly everything he achieved is vulnerable to being trashed.

  6. Stuart Munro 6

    My Koreans students liked the rhetoric. Within a year we’d concluded nothing was happening.

  7. TheExtremist 7

    He is definitely the funniest president in recent memory (I mean purposely funny – unlike Bush who was incompetently funny)

  8. Morrissey 8

    Now that he’s officially a lame duck, now’s the chance for him to actually do something worthwhile. Honoring some real heroes might be a good start….

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would turn himself in to US authorities if President Barack Obama grants clemency to Chelsea Manning, the organization said on Twitter Thursday. WikiLeaks’ statement was released one day before a Swedish appeals court decided to maintain a warrant for Assange’s arrest over a 2010 rape charge. Assange has said that extradition to Sweden would lead to his eventual extradition to the US, where he could face charges related to WikiLeaks’ publication of secret government documents.

    “If Obama grants Manning clemency, Assange will agree to US prison in exchange — despite its clear unlawfulness,” WikiLeaks said in a tweet on Thursday. The tweet included a link to a letter from Assange’s attorney, Barry Pollack, calling on the Justice Department to be more transparent about its investigation into WikiLeaks.

    http://www.theverge.com/2016/9/16/12939232/julian-assange-wikileaks-chelsea-manning-obama

    • Siobhan 8.1

      As the owner of a second hand book shop I’m expecting to have banana boxes of Obamas ‘The Audacity of Hope’ that no one will ever want to read again.
      They can sit next to the Lance Armstrong books in the ‘crap’ legacy shelf.
      Or maybe I’ll hide them in the ‘Political Arseholes’ corner with the Hillary and Thatcher books, next to Kissinger’s wee gems. So many decisions to be made….

      • Morrissey 8.1.1

        That sounds like a wonderful collection of books, Siobhan! I might come in some time and see if you have Richard Prebble’s comic masterpiece I’ve Been Thinking, Bill Clinton’s Giving, and Tony Blair’s sinister A Journey.

      • Lanthanide 8.1.2

        Have you made a fort out of Fifty Shades of Grey?

        http://www.boredpanda.com/50-shades-of-grey-book-fort-goldstone/

        • Siobhan 8.1.2.1

          Noooo, don’t touch that stuff myself…but I did consider a padded cell made from Dan Browns ‘Da vinci Code’.
          Though I’ve seen enough of Prebbles book to pave the barbecue area.

          Fun fact…he sent that book out during the 1996 Election with a cover letter describing it as a ‘loan’, to unsuspecting recipients as a way to get around Electoral advertising restrictions.

          There’s probably a bunch of old ladies down in Wellington living in fear of Prebble jumping out of the bushes and asking for his book back.

      • rocco siffred 8.1.3

        “I’m expecting to have banana boxes of Obamas ‘The Audacity of Hope’ that no one will ever want to read again.”

        Did anyone read it the first time?

    • The New Student 8.2

      I don’t know why that guy just doesn’t front up. A real hero would take the rap

      • Morrissey 8.2.1

        Someone calling itself “The New Student” seems a little bewildered.

        I don’t know why that guy just doesn’t front up.

        Then you shouldn’t be commenting.

        A real hero would take the rap

        This, and this alone, is why the U.S. and its vassal the U.K. are seeking to exact vengeance on Julian Assange….

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    Obama ended the recession, and disengaged the nation out of two foreign wars.

    They’re actually still in recession and they’re still in the ME – it’s just a little more covert.

    How do I know that they’re still in recession? Because the people at the bottom are still becoming worse off while the rich get richer. No, it’s not the official definition but it’s probably a lot more accurate. In a properly functioning economy the reverse happens and then stabilises to everyone having a similar income.

    Sharemarket listings and performance have gone through the roof under Obama.

    That’s what happens when the Fed is printing money hand over fist and giving it to the private banks. Under the circumstances, It’s not an indication of a working economy but one that’s falling over.

    At least 20 million more US people now have health insurance than before Obama.

    A well functioning society neither needs nor has health insurance.

    Of course, there was no way that any good policies were going to get through – only heavily compromised policies. The Senate and Congress would have stopped any good policies that Obama tried to get through.

    • Rae 9.1

      Unless the US radically reforms its political system, nothing will ever change, it was deliberately set up not to, now they have a centuries old system that is creaking and groaning under the pressure of modernity, where everyone gets a vote not just free, white men

      • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1

        The US system, and representative democracy itself, was designed to prevent the people having power. Set up, in fact, to protect the rich and to ensure that they kept power. Indications are that Washington and many of the other Founding Fathers wanted an American aristocracy but they weren’t going to get one with all of the armed peasants around who wanted democracy.

  10. s y d 10

    pffft…Chris Hedges has him down

    “he functioned as a brand for the corporate state”

    http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/page3/chris_hedges_the_end_of_the_election_will_not_mean_an_end_20161107

  11. JoeTheLion 11

    He was black. Thats all that mattered right?

  12. b waghorn 12

    1993?? 1933 maybe

  13. Peter Swift 13

    Like usual, the more hysterical Morrisey gets with his ‘contributions’, the more inclined I am to take a differing stand.
    Obama was a much better president than any I can remember before him, and certainly an epoch greater than the crazy clown they’ve just elected.
    Hindered at the start by the GFC and blocked at every turn by the republicans playing obstinate politics following, he was always going to be up against it, and he was.

    His biggest mistakes were not having the conviction to implement plans to assist the popular uprisings during the arab spring, and letting the gangster president of Russia get balshy in Syria, when he should have put troops on the ground to take out Assad from the get go.

    • Chris 13.1

      So deep.

    • One Two 13.2

      So you rubbish Morrissey as well as CV, while actively choosing to take a “differing stand”

      How very immature an approach , Peter

      Followed up by advocating for the destruction of yet another sovereign nation by the nobel peace president

      Does being a chicken hawk keyboard warrior make you feel more of a man?

      • Peter Swift 13.2.1

        More of a man than the one who orders and the one who enables chlorine attacks and barrel bombs on innocents including children. 😉
        Go on, condemn Assad and Putin and then we’ll talk about my failings and contemplate immaturity.

        • Morrissey 13.2.1.1

          You should give up now, Mr Swift. You’re way out of your depth.

          • Peter Swift 13.2.1.1.1

            That might work when you bully women but not with me, mate.
            Bring it and write another dodgy review, if it makes the night pass easier, but do or don’t, you’re wasting your time stalking time. I got your card marked.

            • Morrissey 13.2.1.1.1.1

              I bully women, do I? You really have made yourself into a laughing stock here.

              And, by the way, here’s a little friendly advice: You need to edit what you write, and in particular check the spelling. Your posts need all the help they can get.

              There’s a good fellow.

              • Peter Swift

                There’s no laughing I see. A bit of weeping, sure, you guarentee it, but regardless of that, I’m confident/arrogant enough to not give a sh1t anyway, even when you use spell checker fails and imagined spelling mistakes to make a victory out of mind numbingly shocking defeats.
                You on the other hand, you’re all over the place when your cred is called into question. The weak left I call your types.

                Speak to the points made or get the spare sock from the draw and wipe away.

        • One Two 13.2.1.2

          The situation is an abomination but I do not pretend to be an oracle on events

          I draw conclusions through the reading I’ve done in the situation, which I assume is similar to your level of involvement

          The difference appears to be that I don’t presume my conclusions are ‘reality or factual’ because I’m not on the ground doing independent investigative work

          Neither are you, yet you make statements as if you have factual information to the extent that you advocate further war crimes by The USA to destroy yet another sovereign nation…

          So not only are your comments immature, it appears you’re also woefully informed and illogically arrogant, simultaneously…

          I’d not be at all surprised if your handle is simply a bullshit artists dribble!

          • Stuart Munro 13.2.1.2.1

            Do ‘sovereign nation’ and ‘military dictator’ really fit in the same sentence? If you let a murderous fellow like Assad off the hook, why not Obama?

            • One Two 13.2.1.2.1.1

              I’ve pondered briefly if yourself and Peter are infact one and the same

              The writing style and point of view are remarkably similar in some ways

              Moving along to your comment in case you are also Peter Swift…

              1. Syria is a sovereign nation there is nothing more to it than that
              2. Only Russia are operating ‘legally’ inside Syria, which makes any and all actions performed by every other entity inside Syrian borders, “illegal’. Its as simple as that

              I make no specific statement about who is doing what because it would only be my opinion, not a statement of fact

              Which is the premise of my reply to Peter….don’t pretend you know what’s going on. You don’t!

              • Peter Swift

                “I’ve pondered briefly if yourself and Peter are infact one and the same”

                And just think, a little more pondering would have seen you reach the correct decision, saving yourself from the public humiliation that comes with making idiot pronouncements.

                Spectacularly embarrassing swing and miss, coming after – “it appears you’re also woefully informed and illogically arrogant, simultaneously”

  14. ianmac 14

    Can the President of USA actually cause much to happen? Or is it down to the shadowy back roomers and advisers. Yes Minister and all that. Let alone the elected House and Senate.

  15. Guerilla Surgeon 15

    To be fair, as far as domestic policy went he was hampered by the fact that the Republicans had gerrymandered their way into control of the Senate and the House and were determined to block every initiative he ever made.

  16. Adrian Thornton 16

    Under Obama Black Americans have lost ground in every major economic category, this fact alone speaks volumes about his non existent legacy.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/433222/black-americans-barack-obama-going-backwards-under-president-obama

  17. McFlock 17

    The drone programme, and its associated expansion of JSOC deployments across the globe, was smart but not really “good”.

    I won’t go so far as to paint it as evil, but it was a smart way of approaching realpolitik (heh actually kennedy-esque, given the creation of SEALS was by JFK). On the flipside the additional pressure on smaller number of troops puts an increasing burden on the small portion of the US population that is military – that pressure might get vented by people who are very capable at killing.

    But there are indications Obama did try to be objectively good where possible – efforts on healthcare and closing quantanamo are a case in point

    • Morrissey 17.1

      Our philosophical friend McFlock comments on the illegal assassination/terror program of the U.S. regime….

      “I won’t go so far as to paint it as evil….”

      Clearly this fellow is in possession of a very, errrr, “advanced” ethical system. I wonder if he would be as sanguine and philosophical if some rogue regime started killing hundreds of people in his own home town.

      • McFlock 17.1.1

        I ain’t your friend, buddeh.

        I wonder if you’d be such a sanctimonious prick if you knew what you were talking about.

  18. save nz 18

    Barrack Obama looks great on paper and he did achieve some good things.

    Unfortunately he also presided over the most assassination drones ever deployed.
    The most mass surveillance ever deployed.
    Worsen inequality through TPPA and other trade agreements.
    No prosecutions for torture.

    So maybe if you are Pakistan or Afghanistan you might not think he did a good job. Maybe Snowdon does not think he did a good job. Those people who were tortured against international law do not think he did a good job. The blacks shot dead by police do not think he did a good job. I don’t think many citizens in the rest of the world think he did a good job. Clearly many American’s did not think he did enough of a good job to trust Hillary Clinton and his endorsement of her.

    Obama being a great president on paper is like the dreamworld CEO did a good job and deserved her bonus because only a few people were killed on her watch . For many involved in the neoliberal business, death is just a side effect of increased profit and power.

  19. millsy 19

    I always thought Obama gave too much away to his opponents. Look at healthcare. He had a huge mandate to push through single payer health care, but somehow ended up with Obamacare which is probably more expensive for people.

    • rocco siffred 19.1

      He never had the slightest chance of getting a single payer health care system in place. Far too many democrats were against it.

  20. Chuck 20

    I don’t think Obama wants to be remembered for this…

    “The White House opened the door today to a pardon for Hillary Clinton for crimes she may have committed in connection with her secret server.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11745902

    • Colonial Viper 20.1

      I seem to remember lefties telling me that there were no crimes involved…

      • McFlock 20.1.1

        Yeah, but a pardon would also cover crimes that trump’s political prosecutor invents or, er, trumps up…

  21. Paul 21

    He will be remembered as a fraud and a maker of false promises.
    He was a tool of the military industrial complex.

  22. Yup 22

    History will call him a puppet of the banking/warfare establishment overlords.

  23. Manuka AOR 23

    Posted elsewhere by Joe90, this belongs here:

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    Social Distancing Be Damned - It's Jacinda! Shortly after ascending to Labour’s leadership, Jacinda described herself as a “pragmatic idealist”. It was an inspired oxymoron – packing into just two words the essence of the social-democrat’s dilemma. It was good to know that she knew what lay ahead of her. ...
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Moving faster
    Back in 2017, the UK announced that it would ban the sale of new fossil fuel vehicles by 2040. Its a basic climate change measure, aimed at reducing emissions by shifting the vehicle fleet to cleaner technologies. Now, in the wake of the pandemic, they're planning to bring it forward ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • The Australian courts have had enough of refugee detention
    For the past decade, Australia has had a racist, anti-refugee policy. Those claiming refugee status are imprisoned without trial and left to rot in the hope they would "voluntarily" return to be tortured and murdered. When the courts have granted them visas, the government has immediately revoked them on racial ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Friction and the Anti-lock Braking System
    Yesterday afternoon I had to call on my car’s anti-lock braking system (ABS). For reasons best known to its driver, a car pulled out of a side road right in front of me while I was driving home after work, and I needed to stop in a hurry. I rather ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 days ago
  • The Inside Word: New Zealand Quarantine
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    2 days ago
  • Hard News: ASA: Let’s not talk about this
    Last week, major newspapers carried a full-page ad as part of the campaign for a "No" vote to the referendum question about supporting the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill. The ad was authorised by the SAM NZ Coalition, which takes its name from a controversial American anti-cannabis group and includes ...
    2 days ago
  • This is not kind
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Wokies are the establishment
    by Ani O’Brien In the absence of a better word with which to refer to the rabid activists who claim progressivism while demanding adherence to an increasingly prescriptive set of political beliefs, I call them “woke”. With its roots in Black American slang, the term originally denoted a person or ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • How to strengthen the post-isolation Covid rules
    Over the weekend, the Ministry of Health reported a case of Covid-19 in Auckland that is not related to the current Auckland cluster. Before we start to panic, here’s how I think the case happened and how we can strengthen our current border controls. The new Covid-19 case is someone ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    3 days ago
  • Neuralink and You: A Human-AI Symbiosis
    Becky Casale Elon Musk reckons his Neuralink brain implant is much more than a medical device–that one day it will drive a symbiosis between humans and artificial intelligence. “Good morning! I’m Dr Benedict Egg and I’ll be supervising your Neuralink insertion today. Do you have any questions?” “Yes, Doc. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 days ago
  • Liam Hehir: Our obsession with American politics
    Many New Zealanders take a strong interest in US politics, with the death of Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg being the latest example. Liam Hehir wonders if it very wise for New Zealanders to get so worked about it.   Many politically engaged New Zealanders are now furiously ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    3 days ago
  • COVID: Back to Level 1
    After stamping the Coronavirus out via strict lockdown between March and May, New Zealand went through a good three months without any community cases. Then a local outbreak in Auckland rather buggered things up last month. Auckland’s been in level 3 and level 2.5 for the past six weeks. ...
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: Climate injustice
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Good riddance
    The border closure and resulting lack of foreign slave-workers is driving the fishing industry out of business: One fishing company is effectively out of business while others are bracing for large financial hits as the deepwater New Zealand industry, unable to get skilled foreign workers into the country, have ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #38
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... The tipping points at the heart of the climate crisis Many parts of the Earth’s climate system have been destabilised by ...
    3 days ago
  • Anyone for Collins?
    In the absence of national public opinion polls, we have had to make do in recent weeks with other guides to voter intentions. Those guides, such as the Auckland Central poll, the incidence of google enquiries and the responses to Vote Compass questions, have suggested, not unexpectedly, that Labour is ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    3 days ago
  • Crusher’s fiscal malfunction
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    4 days ago
  • Much of the commentariat’s reporting of the most recent GDP figure was misleading and unhelpful. The prize for the stupidest remark about the GDP figure for second quarter 2020 (2020Q2) released on Thursday (17 Sept) goes to Judith Collins, whose response to Grant Robertson’s comments indicated she did not ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    4 days ago
  • Love and Hate as Complementary Revolutionary Acts
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    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #38
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Sep 13, 2020 through Sat, Sep 19, 2020 Editor's Choice Get to Net-Zero by Mid-Century? Even Some Global Oil and Gas Giants Think it Can Be Done A report by a ...
    4 days ago
  • Tax cuts for all!!! (except you, you, and you)
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    My ThinksBy boonman
    5 days ago
  • Great Waves Washing Over New Zealand
    Always to islanders danger Is what comes over the seas ‘Landfall in Unknown Seas’ (Allen Curnow)Six economic issues external to New Zealand, which will greatly impact upon us. 1.         The Diminishing Global Dominance of the US. Since 1941 America has dominated the world economically and politically. Probably it could ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand has role to play in resolving crisis on ‘geopolitical fault line’, Helen Clark says
    By Geoffrey Miller New Zealand should continue to champion human rights in Belarus amidst an ongoing crackdown on protests by the country’s regime, former Prime Minister Helen Clark says. Protests in the country often referred to as ‘Europe’s last dictatorship’ erupted after the country’s disputed presidential elections on August 9 ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    6 days ago
  • Euthanasia referendum: How to cut through the emotions
    Jacqui Maguire, registered clinical psychologist This podcast episode highlights how difficult it is to have effective conversations about euthanasia due to how polarised people’s views are. I’m a clinical psychologist, with a passion for science communication. In early 2020 I founded the podcast Mind Brew, with an aim to make psychological ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • Why we need cameras on boats
    In case anyone needed further convincing, there's another example today of why we need cameras on fishing boats: reported seabird bycatch doubled during a camera trial: Commercial fishers operating off Auckland's coast around vulnerable seabirds are twice as likely to report accidentally capturing them when cameras are on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Graham Adams: The religious right’s campaign to spike the euthanasia referendum
    In the leadup to the euthanasia referendum, an array of conservative Christian political organisations is running an expensive campaign to sow doubt about the safety of assisted dying. Graham Adams argues that these religious forces know that Christian arguments aren’t convincing the public, but that it is in the public ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    6 days ago
  • Opportunistic looting
    The National Party has spent the last six months acting horrified at the cost of supporting people through the pandemic and banging on about how the debt must be repaid. So what was their economic policy released today? Massive tax-cuts for the rich, of course! National has walked back ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Uncomfortable Choices.
    Dangerous Times: This will be the choice confronting those coming of age in the 2020s. Embrace Neoliberalism’s belief in racial and sexual equality; adopt its secular and scientific world view; and cultivate the technocratic, multicultural, global outlook required of those who keep the machinery of hyper-capitalism humming. Or, throw your ...
    6 days ago
  • Tony Burton: Covid and benefit payments
    It would be a great time to reform the benefit system, according to former Deputy Chief Economic Advisor at the Treasury, Tony Burton. He argues the complexity of benefit system means that it’s failing to achieve its difficult three core objectives, which form an “iron triangle”.   New Zealand’s benefit ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    6 days ago
  • Talking tax: How to win support for taxing wealth
    Tax Justice UK, September 2020 Serious tax reform is on the political agenda for the first time in decades due to the coronavirus crisis. As this debate hots up it is important to understand what people think about public spending, wealth and tax. Tax Justice UK, along with Survation and ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    6 days ago
  • Getting Tough.
    Not Mucking Around: With upwards of 800 dead from the virus’s resurgence in the Australian state of Victoria, leniency is not on Premier Daniel Andrews’ agenda. The Victorian Police are cracking down hard on the protesters the Australian press has labelled "Covidiots".IMAGES OF POLICE, some in riot gear, others on ...
    7 days ago
  • Media Link: Nuclear strategy, then and now.
    Although I had the fortune of being a graduate student of some of the foremost US nuclear strategists of the day (1970s) and later rubbed shoulders with Air Force and Naval officers who were entrusted with parts of the US nuclear arsenal, I seldom get to write or speak about ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • The Chinese List.
    News that Zhenhua Data, an arm of China Zhenhua Electronics Group, a subsidiary of the military-connected China Electronic Information Industry Group (CETC), maintains a list of 800 New Zealanders on a “Overseas Key Information Database” that contains personal information on more than 2.4 million foreign individuals, has caused some consternation ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Things that grow fast, and things that surprise us
    Marie Becdelievre January 2020. The number of news article mentioning coronavirus exploded and anxious voices whispered about a global pandemic. Whisper? To me, it was only a whisper. I tend to learn about the world through non-fiction books, conferences, and academic research rather than news and social media, so ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #37, 2020
    2,082,476,000,000,000 Viability of greenhouse gas removal via the artificial addition of volcanic ash to the ocean  (not open access, unfortunately) walks us through the numbers on a particular means of CO2 removal, addition of volcanic tephra to the ocean. The mechanism is straight chemistry and the cost is fully an order of ...
    1 week ago
  • Barbados to become a republic
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Party Like It’s 1989: Bait and Switch is a Bad Look, Mr Hipkins
    At the 2017 election, the New Zealand Labour Party promised a Fees Free Policy for tertiary students. Basically, it would make the first year of university education free in 2018, with a second year in 2021, and a third in 2024. It also promised to restore Post-Graduate access to the ...
    1 week ago
  • Will the tropics eventually become uninhabitable?
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz What is the impact of temperature increases in the tropics? ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • A first-hand look: What it’s like to live in a 2020 California wildfire evacuation zone
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Daisy Simmons It felt like 100 degrees in my in-laws’ Grass Valley, California, kitchen, but at least the lights were on and for the moment we were safely “distanced” from the Jones Fire. We’d just finished dessert, after pizza and a movie ...
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 is not the only infectious disease New Zealand wants to eliminate, and genome sequencing is...
    Nigel French, Massey University Genome sequencing — the mapping of the genetic sequences of an organism — has helped track the spread of COVID-19 cases in Auckland, but it also plays an important role in the control of other infectious diseases in New Zealand. One example is Mycoplasma bovis, a ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • A flaw in our electoral transparency regime
    A key part of our electoral funding regime is a requirement for some transparency around donations, on the basis that if we can find out who has bought our politicians (typically after we have voted for them) then everything is alright. There are a lot of problems with that regime ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Don’t Steal This Book
    On “In Defense of Looting” Matt Taibibi takes an entertaining look at this generation of woke activists and how they compare with Abbie Hoffman the iconic anti-Vietnam war counter-culture figure of the 1960s On Thursday, August 27th, the same day Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican nomination, National Public Radio ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Carbon prices must rise
    When Parliament introduced the Emissions Trading Scheme, it was worried that carbon prices might get too high. So it introduced a "fixed price option", allowing polluters to pay the government $25 in the place of surrendering credits. The result was predictable: after we were thrown out of international carbon markets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Disclosure
    The government will finally be requiring large New Zealand companies to disclose their climate change risks: New Zealand finance companies will be made to report on climate change risk, Climate Change Minister James Shaw has announced. The policy will force around 200 large financial organisations in New Zealand to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Tackling the hard issues – trust and relationships
    By Claire Grant, Genomics Aotearoa Communications Manager Community consultation is becoming an increasingly important aspect of research programmes in New Zealand, and with that comes the art of relationship building. Engagement between scientists and user-groups is certainly nothing new. But as stakeholder involvement becomes more of a requirement for science, ...
    SciBlogsBy Genomics Aotearoa
    1 week ago
  • Equality Network – September Newsletter
    Read the Equality Network newsletter here ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • The Left’s Lost Allies.
    Rebels In A Wrong Cause: The truly frightening thing about Jami-Lee Ross’s and Billy Te Kahika’s success in persuading thousands of New Zealanders that Covid-19 is just another trick, just another way of stealing away their power, is realising just how many of them once marched at the Left’s side. ...
    1 week ago
  • Legal Beagle: Low-Hanging Fruit
    In a couple of months, the 53rd Parliament will meet in Wellington, and approximately 120 MPs will be sworn in, many of them for the first time.They will all have political goals, some aligning with their party platforms, some not, some complex, and some simple, but they will gain one ...
    1 week ago
  • Closing the Gap thinks that Labour’s proposal to raise the top tax rate is great but………
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    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: No nonsense
    ACT is pushing a "no-nonsense climate change plan". What does it involve? Repealing the Zero Carbon Act and Emissions Trading Scheme, reversing the fossil-fuel exploration ban, and allowing mining on conservation land. In other words, repealing any policy which might actually reduce emissions. Which is the very definition of nonsensical. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • My Climate Story: Coming full Circle
    This blog post is a follow up to my recap of Al Gore's Climate Reality Leadership Training I recently participated in. One of the exercises we were asked to complete was to write about our respective "Climate Story". This is a slightly updated version to the one I had submitted during ...
    1 week ago
  • A bill to criminalise wage theft
    Wage theft is a problem in New Zealand, with a widespread practice of forcing employees to work without pay, and regular cases of underpayment and exploitation. One reason why its such a widespread problem is impunity: rather than a crime, wage theft is merely a tort, dealt with by the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago

  • Primary sector exports and jobs up again
    Primary sector exports and jobs are up again, demonstrating the sector’s underlying strength amid the COVID-19 global pandemic and US-China trade war, and supporting New Zealand’s economic recovery. Stats NZ today reported New Zealand’s merchandise exports in August were up 8.6% on a year ago, driven by an increase in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Clean energy future for more schools
    Schools across Aotearoa New Zealand will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. The Minister has allocated $50 million from the Clean Powered Public Service Fund to replace, or convert, coal boilers in schools with clean ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Building business strength with digital tools
    New training and tools for digital commerce will give small businesses, especially in the tourism sector, the support they need to adapt and innovate in a COVID world. Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash have announced details of how $20 million digital capability funding set aside ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • New pest lures to protect nature
    The Department of Conservation (DOC) is investing $1.4 million to develop new predator lures that would be game-changers for trapping and surveillance towards a predator-free Aotearoa, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage, announced in Christchurch today. The proposal is to develop long-life lures attractive to a range of predators—rats, mustelids ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Support for innovative Pacific education responses to COVID-19 needs
    Supporting new and creative Pacific education practices as part of our COVID-19 response and recovery is the focus of a new $28.5 million Pacific Education Innovation Fund announced today by Associate Minister of Education Jenny Salesa.  “There is already an incredible amount of innovative and creative work going on in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Eligibility expanded for COVID-19 leave support
    The expanded scheme will cover: People who have COVID-19 like symptoms and meet the Ministry of Health’s criteria, and need to self-isolate while awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test. People who are directed to self-isolate by a Medical Officer of Health or their delegate or on advice of their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Seasonal work visa available to more people
    The Government is putting in place a range of immigration policy changes to help fill labour shortages in key industries while ensuring New Zealanders, who have lost jobs due to COVID-19, have the chance to find new employment. “Two key sectors we are moving to help are horticulture and wine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • More border exceptions for critical roles
    The Government has established class exceptions for border entry for a limited number of veterinarians, deep sea fishing crew, as well as agricultural and horticultural machinery operators. “Tight border restrictions remain the backbone of the Government’s border strategy to protect New Zealand against COVID-19 and ensure New Zealand citizens and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Crown will not appeal Dodds v Southern Response decision
    The Crown will not appeal the Court of Appeal decision in the Dodds v Southern Response case, Grant Robertson announced today. “Southern Response will be paying the damages awarded by the Court to Mr and Mrs Dodds shortly. The Crown was already meeting their legal costs for this appeal. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Crucial PGF investments for Northland
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing nearly $30 million in a diverse range of projects that will create immediate and long-term jobs and lift economic and social outcomes for Northland and its people. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones made the announcement today in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • $27million investment in global vaccine facility
    The Coalition Government has committed to invest $27 million in COVID-19 vaccine development through the global COVAX Facility, Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The COVAX Facility is a key part of our COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy to obtain safe and effective vaccines. It allows us to invest in a high-quality, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government backing Māori landowners
    The Government will provide up to $1.69 million through the One Billion Trees programme to Māori landowners to make their whenua more productive through the planting of forests, both native and exotic, and improve economic and environmental outcomes, Forestry Minister Shane Jones has announced. “Around 1.5 million ha of land ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New tools to make nature more accessible
    People planning to head outdoors now have a resource that lets them know how accessible an area is for people with varying levels of mobility, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. The Halberg Foundation, Sensibel, and the Department of Conservation (DOC) have launched Accessibel, a new tool which helps ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • PGF makes Māori history more accessible
    One of the most significant battle sites of the 1860s Land Wars will receive $2.96 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to improve the site and help tell the New Zealand story to visitors, Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. Nanaia Mahuta ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Making it official: The journey of te reo Māori | Kia whakapūmautia: Ngā piki me ngā heke o te r...
    The journey towards recognising Māori as an official language and taonga has been captured as a web series and launched today during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, announced Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni. “Te reo Māori is a living language, and understanding its significance, and pathways to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Better-than-forecast GDP reflects decision to protect New Zealand
    Today’s better-than-forecast GDP figures show the expected impact of the decision to act quickly to protect New Zealanders from the global COVID-19 pandemic. GDP fell 12.2% in the June quarter from March, reflecting decisions to close New Zealand’s borders and enter Alert Level 4. “This result was better than the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Boost for COVID-19 related Pacific education needs
    The Government is investing $39.7 Million over four years to support the educational needs of Pacific learners and families in the regions hardest hit by COVID-19, with Auckland getting an immediate boost, Associate Minister of Education Jenny Salesa says.   “Like all New Zealanders Pacific families want learners to do well ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More resources for kiwi conservation
    New Zealand’s goal of 100,000 kiwi by 2030 is being helped by an extra $19.7 million in funding to accelerate iwi and community efforts to protect kiwi, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced. “$19.7 million of Jobs for Nature funding is being invested in kiwi conservation activities including increased predator ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Improving access to affordable electricity
    Ensuring New Zealanders can get the best deal on their electricity takes a step in the right direction today with the South Island launch of the EnergyMate pilot run by the Electricity Retailers’ Association, says Minister of Energy and Resources, Dr Megan Woods. EnergyMate is an industry-led programme providing coaching ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government achieves 50 percent women on state boards
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter announced today that the Government has reached its target of 50 percent on women on state sector board and committees – setting a new record level of women on state sector boards. “This Government is committed to having more women in leadership roles - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Record transport investment to help economic recovery and save lives
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford released today the final Government Policy Statement on land transport (GPS) 2021 which outlines the planned $48 billion investment in services and infrastructure over the next decade. “The final GPS supports our Government’s five-point plan for economic recovery by confirming our record investments in transport infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Advancing clean energy technology
    Three ambitious and cutting-edge research programmes that will lift New Zealand’s advanced energy technology research capability over seven years, have been supported by Government today, says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. The projects will each receive a share of $40.7 million investment from the Strategic Science Investment Fund. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Major milestone reached in Pike River Re-entry
    The critical area for forensic examination known as Pit Bottom in Stone has been reached in what is a major milestone for the Pike River re-entry project, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little announced. “The infrastructure located in Pit Bottom in Stone is of very significant interest in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Economic recovery guides Govt response to retirement income policy review
    The Government is working on how New Zealand’s retirement income policies and settings can best support Kiwis in light of the COVID-19 economic recovery, with the help of the Retirement Commissioner’s latest review, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said. “The Retirement Commissioner’s three-yearly review into New Zealand’s retirement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Iwi community hub opens in Murupara
    A new digital hub and development centre in Murupara will be instrumental in growing the region’s productivity, said Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau at the official opening of two community initiatives today. “I’m pleased to be here celebrating a significant milestone for two projects set to make a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PREFU shows economy doing better than forecast
    PREFU shows economy doing better than forecast Unemployment to peak at 7.8%, down from 9.8% forecast in the Budget Year-to-June accounts show tax revenue, debt and OBEGAL better than forecast Global forecast downgraded as COVID-19 second waves and uncertainty grows Balanced plan to support critical public services, manage debt and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Spruce-up for Ōtaki community facilities
    The Kāpiti Coast town of Ōtaki will receive $1.4 million in Government funding for two projects providing scores of jobs for locals while improving community facilities, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The Māoriland Charitable Trust will receive a $900,000 Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) grant to upgrade the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PGF funding for Jobs for Nature programme
    The Provincial Growth Fund will provide $11.88 million to fund fencing and waterway projects nationwide that will improve the environment and create jobs in their communities, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. “These projects will create more than 100 jobs nationwide with work starting within the next couple ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Procurement to promote jobs, Māori and Pasifika businesses and sustainability
    As part of the COVID-19 recovery, the Government has strengthened its procurement rules to ensure its annual $42 billion spend creates more jobs, uses more sustainable construction practices and results in better outcomes for Māori and Pasifika, Government Ministers announced today.   Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford says the $42 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Timaru’s Theatre Royal to be upgraded and new heritage facility built
    The Government is supporting a major upgrade of Timaru’s iconic Theatre Royal and the construction of a new connected Heritage Facility museum and exhibition space with $11.6 million from the Government’s Infrastructure Fund, Jacinda Ardern announced today. “We heard the call from the community and the council. The Theatre Royal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • District Court judge appointed
    Chrissy Montague (formerly Armstrong), barrister of Auckland has been appointed as a District Court Judge with Family Court jurisdiction to be based in Wellington, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Ms Montague commenced practice in Auckland in 1987 and went into general practice dealing with Wills, Estates, Trusts, Conveyancing, Relationship Property ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Approval given to Commercial Film and Video Production Proposal
      A Proposal to provide for the development and operation of commercial film and video production facilities in areas of Christchurch has been given the go ahead. Hon Poto Williams, Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, has approved the Proposal, which was prepared and submitted by Regenerate Christchurch. Minister Williams ...
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