Friday, January 31, 2020

++34 951 120 911

Over the last five early mornings around 3.00 am and again at 5.00 am my cell phone records that I have missed calls from this number.   It further records they originated from Malaga, Andalusia, Spain.

I have no desire to call back.   It has to be a bot.    Happy for whoever to waste their money.   Has anyone else experienced this ... does anyone know who/what ++ 34 951 120 911 is?

Thanks Jacinda. Next Step is the Kaimai Expressway


Well that's what I'm going to call it. It will be the next logical step to connect to the Waikato Expressway which will be finished in 2021 with the completion of the Hamilton section.

Kaimai Expressway - Cambridge, Piarere, Te Poi, Kaimai, Tauranga
Incidentally, another section of that network, the Huntly Bypass, will finally open on February 16, which is going to be a big deal for those who have trekked through the crimped, dangerous Huntly section of SH1 over the decades.

SH1 through Huntly                                                 Bypass through Taupiri Mountain

An awful lot of crosses and flowers mark that path and I know of nobody who has not had at least one bad fright over the years. Strangely the most dangerous part was a set of straights just North of Huntly along the Waikato River, a section not bypassed until the mid-2000's with the Ohinewai expressway - which then sat stranded for over a decade with two-lane connections at each end. Such is our decision-making.

And here is yet another example of that. The intersection of SH1 with SH29 at Piarere, which is a shocker. I’ve been driving that route since the early 1980’s and the intersection has not changed in all that time. But the traffic load certainly has.

Piarere intersection SH1-SH29, North Island
Last summer I happened to be driving north on SH1 when I reached this intersection and saw a 2-3km long trafffic jam on SH29 coming from Tauranga/Mt Manganui, all waiting to to turn right onto SH1.

There are rumours it may be replaced with a roundabout, which will improve things, but only to the extent that desperate SH29 drivers will be tempted to gun the engine and hope for the best. It's a bandaid.

All this came to mind yesterday with the announcement that the Labour-led government is going to put $6 billion into roading, notably including a number of projects it inherited from the previous National-led government and placed on hold in 2017.

It was inevitable really. NZ MMP government at its "best", wobbling from side-to-side before coming back to the sensible middle.

In this case, roads.

Let's Retcon the crap out of this.

They can carry everything from foot-traffic and ox-carts (SHTF scenario) to autonomous electric cars and trucks. Vastly more flexible than those things with concrete cross-ties and steel rails.

People in Europe are still riding on roads the Romans built, or at least the remnants of them, covered in modern materials

The only waste being time; in this case two years of virtue signalling.


There's also some caveats.

First, this is election year, which always means lolly scrambles. But following the election we could be looking at a Green-Labour government (I always put the Green's first because they're the ones who will lead Labour with ideas). Such a government could simply reverse this decision and decide to spend the money on some grand Auckland-Hamilton-Tauranga rail-link upgrade. The Greens have seen what Winston does with real power and they will have learned.

Second is that pressure had been growing on the government from the likes of Fulton Hogan and other road-builders with regard to future work. With nothing more in front of them than completing the twelve major projects started under National and with progress varying between 30% to 90% on each of those, such companies were already getting close to capping and then reducing their people and equipment, which could hobble future government plans. I had thought that might be the intention. This announcement will likely retain the capabilities, but the real question is what will be done with them.

Which brings up the third point: this government has shown that it's big on announcements and small on delivery: $6 billion is not actually that much money in the context of new highway construction. For example Local Government alone is expected to spend some $90 billion on infrastructure in the next ten years. This money could easily evaporate away into thousands of piddling "upgrades" of roading - like the notorious chain-link fencing placed on the Long Swamp section of SH1 years ago even as dual-carriageway roading was built North and South of it.

But assuming that at least some of the RONS projects are reinstated and then actually started this announcement will be a good thing, although it will enrage the Greens.

During a varsity Old Boys reunion a year ago I had an interesting chat with a Waikato-based roading engineer about two projects in particular.

The first was the awful section at the Northern end of the Desert Road: why had nothing been done about it over the decades? His answer was that it’s to do with government land on one side and Iwi land on the other. It’s just never been possible to reach agreement on the land swaps that straightening SH1 would require in the area for bridges, fillings and cuttings. Perhaps it’s simply that not enough focus has been placed on it, as I find it hard to believe that some compromise could not have been reached between the parties, but here we are.

The second was around my idea of a Kaimai expressway. He told me that there were plans to extend the Waikato Expressway to Piarere and then along SH29 to Tauranga / Mt Manganui. They’d even begun land purchases and/or notifications in the hills above Lake Karapiro. All mothballed by Genter and company the moment they got into government in 2017.

Mind you, as he said, plans once written are never trashed. They’re sitting in cupboards, filing cabinets and back-up HDD’s just waiting for a future government that will have no choice but to deal with the swelling commercial and private traffic in the SH1/SH29 region. For all the yammering about this generations nuclear-free moment the Kaimai expressway is going to happen. Just not until the 2030’s probably.

Friday's Fulminations

There is mild moderation.  Normal rules of blogger etiquette and courtesy to blog hosts will apply.with serious transgressors being thrown out.

Unfortunately our system does not allow your comments to show up in the blog post itself.  Just in the comments section.

Visitors might consider the wisdom of using moderate language.

Regards

Adolf

Thursday, January 30, 2020

KUDOS WHERE KUDOS IS DUE

Congratulations to the Prime Minister (see, I can do it) for picking up where John Key and Bill English left off by announcing the election date at the start of the year rather than playing politics with it so beloved by Prime Ministers of old.

And congratulations too for picking up on much of National's highways roading programme. Just a pity the two years wasted though.

The reaction of Sue Bradford, ex Green MP was instructive.   One suspects she was echoing the thoughts of many Greens when she said the Party had been completely sidelined over the issue.   Understand JAG is spitting tacks ... couldn't happen to a nicer person, cough.

Now on to Ihumatao.

  

Prime Minister Ardern makes it clear how she feels about rural New Zealand

I pinched this from Homepaddock because it needs wider coverage and I am sure she will not mind.

`Jamie Mackay, host of The Country, (formerly known as The Farming Show) has interviewed leaders of the National and Labour parties every week for years, with one exception. That exception was then-Labour leader David Cunliffe who declined the opportunity because he thought he wouldn’t get a fair hearing. There’s now a second exception, one of Cunliffe’s successors, Jacinda Ardern who has said she’ll now only be doing a monthly slot. "The Country" is the most expensive advertising hour on radio which indicates the size of its audience. The show goes nationwide, with a sizeable number of urban listeners and it’s a must-listen for most rural people. Interviews with party leaders are almost always pre-recorded at a time that’s convenient to them and last about five minutes. What does it say about a PM who doesn’t have a very few minutes to spare for an audience that big? People wanting to listen to interviews with the PM will no doubt be able to find others but the ones on The Country deal with rural issues in a way others don’t. If she’s not available for weekly interviews on The Country she’s not interested in talking to country people.'

One does not have to be Einstein to work out how this Coalition Government and Prime Minister Ardern view Rural New Zealand. Don't go near there - you might get something unsavoury on your shoe and that woman apparently grew up in Morrinsville.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

It wasn't me, and anyway you can't prove it


Looks like Jami-Lee Ross was telling the truth about National having split a $100,000 donation into smaller amounts so they wouldn't have to reveal it was from one of the CCP's United Front representatives - four people are facing criminal charges by the Serious Fraud Office

So the big question now is whether he was also telling the truth about Simon Bridges being heavily involved.  Bridges points out that he hasn't been charged and this proves he wasn't involved in decision-making about a very large donation to the party he leads. Well, good for him.  Who am I, someone without the funds to fight a defamation suit, to suggest that his claim is somewhat implausible?  Naturally I make no such suggestion. 

I am interested in the ethical standards of the people aspiring to lead the country, though.  As with the data theft incident last year, the ethical bar that Bridges feels candidates need to clear is "No criminal charges were laid."  This latest incident elaborates on that, adding the feature "You can't prove I was involved in those criminal acts."  Apparently, upwards of 40% of the country's voters consider this as high a bar as they want to set for ethical standards in government, which leads me to wonder how the fuck we manage to keep topping the Transparency International rankings for lack of corruption - those other countries must be run by some very dodgy bastards indeed. 

Faster please!! (UPDATE)


And now it seems that various corporations are getting in on containment, Global Corporate Giants Limit China Travel in Response to Coronavirus:
Multinational companies such as JPMorgan Chase JPM +0.70% & Co., Apple Inc. AAPL +3.15% and Kraft Heinz Co. KHC -0.30% are suspending business trips to China amid concerns about an outbreak of the fast-spreading coronavirus.\ 
JPMorgan JPM 0.68% banned travel into and out of mainland China and imposed a two-week, work-from-home quarantine on anyone who had been there in recent weeks.
All good, non-hysterical stuff with no need for conspiracy theories.


The financial market TV service CNBC is reporting that the White House has told airline executives it's considering suspending flights from China to the U.S. as the new coronavirus that has infected thousands of people across the world continues to spread:
The Trump administration is looking at a variety of measures to contain the fast-spreading virus that has infected roughly 4,700 people across the globe, U.S. health officials told reporters on a conference call Tuesday. White House officials called executives at major U.S. carriers on Tuesday, telling them that a temporary ban on China flights is on the table, according to people familiar with those conversations. 
But they haven't pulled the trigger yet. My Chicago rellies are starting to get nervous:
United Airlines, which has the most service of the U.S. airlines to Hong Kong and mainland China with about a dozen daily flights, on Tuesday announced it would cancel dozens of flights next month to Hong Kong and mainland China as the outbreak worsens.  
The Chicago-based airline said it has experienced "a significant decline in demand for travel to China." United and its rivals Delta and American are waiving cancellation and change fees for travelers booked to China. The restrictions could affect flights into and out of China, as well as airports across the United States, administration officials said. They declined to be named because no final decision has been made.
A significant decline? Frankly I'd have expected it to have fallen off a cliff by now, simply as a precaution. I take little notice of the MSM hysteria: judging from second-hand sources it sounds like it's pitched high, as usual.

But still, the best and simplest way to beat a virus is containment, the only problem being the degree of interconnection in our world. As a teenager I recall that our class had to study a 1970's British TV show that dealt with such a situation, although that was about a bio-warfare-connected outbreak: Survivors. Sadly the opening scene (linked above) and episode was the best of it. And I'd forgotten this:
It concerns the plight of a group of people who have survived an apocalyptic plague pandemic, which was accidentally released by a Chinese scientist and quickly spread across the world via air travel. 
I don't know the stats for NZ-China flights and passengers but given the tourism and business links that now exists between our two nations it's got to be up there.

WHY WILL THAT BE THE TRUTH?


The Part-Time-Prime-Minister in a rare foray connected to her actual job has suggested that New Zealand will be able to vote in an election on September the 19th.

In light of the many pronouncements from her duplicitous orifice that just never even got close to happening, will that in fact occur or will it become merely an aspirational sound bite?

Some understand that Winston First prefers a later date as with the shenanigans over his claiming superannuation, maximums are a preferred objective.

An obvious reaction is the little fella on board with this potentially lifestyle terminating ploy

Monday, January 27, 2020

NOT SO SURE

I see that Kiwiblog is running a piece from Duncan Garner that the Gummit has closed a deal on Ihumatao that will see the taxpayer stump up $45m to buy off protesters agitating against the building of 400 homes on privately owned freehold land. My colleague Gravedodger has picked up on this in his post 'Ouch, Spin that one Snowflakes'.

I won't believe it until it happens. The reason ... quite simple ... if Winston First sign up to this it will be the death of that Party.   Their constituency won't buy it.   They were lied to on the matter of Maori seats and this will be the final straw for their rural redneck support base.

I can actually see this as the excuse WRP needs to walk away from the coalition agreement.

I'm more than happy to be proven wrong on this.    In fact I hope I am.    This could be the issue that gets National/ACT over the top come the election.
   

OUCH, SPIN THAT ONE SNOWFLAKES.


Even possibly  biggest can of worms yet and some thought the oil and gas blunder was bad.

Strong rumours that the Taxpayers will hand a brown paper bag containing $45 million,  I will say it slowly for the dimwitted FORTY FIVE MILLION,  to the Auckland super city for them to pay out Fletchers for the unlawfully occupied land near Auckland International.

That means along with a total rejection of long established principles around the Treaty and on going rorts, The Part Time Prime Minister might have placed a small nuclear device in the middle of the Gravy Train and destroyed a potential 400 houses, more than kiwibuild fiasco has built in its brief 27 months.

Lets do this, sheesh!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

LEARNING FROM HISTORY

I am not a medical professional but I am an amateur historian and there are lessons to be learned from history.

I contrast the attitude of an inept New Zealand colonial administration which back in 1919 allowed the docking of the steamship SS Talune at Apia with members of the crew and passengers clearly suffering from the influenza virus which was then transmitted to the general populace resulting in the death of an estimated 25% of the countries Samoan population with that of the Governor of American Samoa who enforced a rigid quarantine of that country where not one case of the 'Spanish Flu' was recorded.

Now of course times have changed and you just can't shut a country down but with a case of the Chinese coronaviris now reported in Melbourne I would have thought that invoking the precautionary principle and instituting gate of entry screening for all overseas visitors would be the prudent course of action for the health authorities to take.

But as I said I'm not a medical professional and it may well be the authorities have concluded it is inevitable that the virus will inevitably manifest itself in New Zealand in which case preparation is better directed at ensuring the countries pandemic action plan is geared up to met the situation when it arises.

In that context I would urge the authorities, even at this early stage, to take the general public into their confidence and tell them what to expect and what they need to do to prepare themselves and their families for whatever eventuates.

This should not be taken as a criticism of the government.   I suspect considerable work is happening behind the scenes ... but the public at large do need reassurance.

   

NOT ACTUALLY NEEDED, WANTED FOR CERTAIN


As if smart people won't understand, the Coalition of Losers moves in education curriculum provide further evidence of efforts at introduction of the belief systems of those currently in government into an indoctrination effort not witnessed previously in New Zealand.

Over half a century ago all NZ education was about training the mind, now every aspect of education from preschool to the highest levels is about how "socialism will benefit the world". Never thinking that it was mostly down to Capitalism and Markets that delivered the world that Soros and co wish to take by taxation to redistribute to those they deem in need.

Completely ignore the statistics that suggest almost every citizen of the globe is significantly better off by any measure and that this has occurred in spite of and while suffering the handbrake of various failed attempts of socialism in its many guises. Try to assess how much better those figures might be if the UN could find a way to remove the bastards who get to the top and syphon money away from the poorest, to their own enrichment. That ain't gunna happen as those at the top in the corrupt outfit in New York are at it as well.

At least President Trump attempted to offer a challenge to the preachers of corruption gathered at Davos, in total contempt of both those who were forced to fund the exercise in futility and the wordsmiths who ignore what might have once been "News" while following the herd on its route to extinction with their slavish failure in questioning the so-often-failed dogma of socialism.

So little "Chippie", following Mummy's path to socialist euphoria, swallows the garbage wrapped in plastic to decry the one industry that allows the fantasy to be perpetrated in New Zealand.

Farming single-handedly has built this nation; everything else that makes up the current wealth would never happen without the infrastructure and accessible beauty of our nation's farming, that both funds this and provides the scenic vistas so enamoured by tourists.

Indoctrination of veganism, meatless diets, alternative lifestyles and the massive fraud that surrounds the perfectly natural progress of planet earth from the last ice age by way of punitive taxation, levys, and other barriers to production is utter madness.

Human nature is competitive, that allows success to be rewarded, socialism is not and never will be the answer. For starters read Orwells "Animal Farm" as an introduction to the real world.

It certainly worked for me.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

What did the "T" in "James T Kirk" stand for again? (UPDATE)


I shit you not. This is the official logo of the latest division of the US military to be created: the United States Space Force.



I've gotta say this will be fantastic for recruiting because every nerd in the USA is going to be looking at this and saying, "It has begun".

Two years ago the great cartoonist Michael Ramirez had a good take on where this is actually likely to go:


UPDATE:
As usual our readers have spurred further research, so those nerds interested in the background to these latest developments will likely appreciate the following article published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Why We Need a Space Force. It also links to an article from the same group arguing why such a thing can wait. All good debate stuff but the reasons for such a thing boil down to three basic ones:
  • Authority (especially budget authority, which is what counts) and responsibility for space is currently fragmented.
  • The space workforce (both space operators and space acquisition personnel) is scattered across the Services and intelligence agencies, with too few people in each organization to create a viable and attractive career path.
  • The existing Services have inherent conflicts of interest when it comes to space.
The article also points out that this is not about Trump, with decades of debates, plans and proposals backing up these recent events.

FOCUSING ON THE IMPORTANT STUFF #24

One of our resident apologists for the CoL, a certain Mr Flake, urged me to focus on the really important stuff in my writings.   Who am I to disappoint soooooo ... given that 2019 was the Gummmit's  self styled 'Year of Delivery' I propose to look at what was promised vs actual delivery.   #24 looks at the minimum wage.

The Pledge ... 'To progressively increase the Minimum Wage to $20 by 2020' ... source, Labour/NZ First Coalition Agreement, page 4.

The Reality ... It's now 2020 and right now the minimum wage is $17.70 rising to  $18.90 on 1 April 2020.    Another empty promise.
 
 

The Patriarchy Must Be Smashed


And it looks like it's well on the way to being so, given these interesting stats out of the USA. I'd love to know how New Zealand compares in many of these categories.



One more generation should see large numbers of these well-educated female graduates rising to high levels of private and public sector power. Not to mention the ever-increasing rise of service industries that reward so-called inherent female capabilities in language and social skills. It's hard to see these numbers being defeated for much longer by the much-discussed glass ceiling.

But there are two other big issues about all this.

First is the data in the bottom half of the table, which show incredibly disproportionate numbers of men with learning disabilities, plus other terrible numbers showing the likely links to resulting poor or failed education outcomes.



Not Hypergamy


The data also suggests how this, in-turn, leads to the worlds of unemployment or low-skill/low-wage jobs, together with alcohol and drug problems and suicide. And of course prison. It also seems to show the results of men doing very dangerous things, including physically dangerous jobs.


I've seen arguments that this is also a result of the patriarchy.

Second, what does this mean for the future as the effects of hypergamy kick in - woman seeking as a permanent mate only those males that match or exceed her status - whether measured by social standing, wealth, simple income or some combination thereof.

Kathy Ireland in the 80's



It's an old joke that one does not see Supermodels dating plumbers.
Looks clean enough!



But you don't see many high-powered, corporate lawyers dating plumbers either - yes, the implied male/female gap in each profession itself is also reality - and this "dating gap" is becoming more obvious with time and seeming to grow, as the proportion of "high status" woman increases.

Naturally the Grundian dismisses this and looks forward to a future where superior humans overcome evolutionary wiring, along with some very sweet anecdotes that don't really seem to deny the statistical trends or the complaints of both men and women who are single:
Kathy Ireland today - $350 million est. worth
"In the US, among people aged 22-29 who do not have a college degree, there are 9.4 million single men, versus 7.1 million single women. So the dating world is just as hard for those blue collar guys. But the reality is that we don’t talk about their dating challenges the same way we talk about the challenges faced by educated women. One of my bits of advice in the book is that I think we all need to open our hearts and minds to dating across socioeconomic lines.”
Ummmm - I hate to "mansplain" this, but outside of royalty and the snotty families of the richest 1%, men have never had any problems with dating scross socioeconomic lines because all they cared about was having sex with good looking woman who could bear them children (evolution again). Woman have always had different goals in seeking a suitable mate and while that's always been tough the increased education/wealth/income status of woman has begun to crash into those primeval goals and "dating down". There's also the advent of Tinder and the like, which enable men to have almost as much sex as they want without even the ties of a steady relationship, let alone partnership, marriage and kids.

Still, this evolving situation may resolve a number of issues with our societies, including those physical jobs that are killing men by the bucket load compared to women, as described by “feminist killjoy” Josefin Hedlund:
In the West there is strong belief in the idea of 'free love' and people 'marrying for love', as opposed to for any other reason. But when you start examining class, privilege, gender, sexual, and other identities in relationships they look remarkably like 'arranged marriages'.
...
If you are only attracted to able, 'mentally well', successful (by society’s standards), cisgender, normatively beautiful, slim people, from class privileged backgrounds, then you are also upholding violent norms. This means that you cannot just declare that who you are attracted to is a personal preference. You can’t just get away with saying 'that’s not my type' (unless your non-type is cis-white-hetero-male, they receive enough admiration in society anyway, so lets de-centre that!)
 
Love can be a revolutionary force to challenge norms, promote feminist practice, and to reject capitalism.
And you thought the likes of Josefin were just misandrists.

Friday, January 24, 2020

WHAT A SHAME ADVERTISING STANDARDS DON'T APPLY.


One year on from the total Mirage of  "Year of Delivery" launch that has only delivered a mass of appalling decisions, rising welfare figures, threats to criminalise thousands of law abiding citizens who wish to acquire and own various firearms, often similar in motives  to those who might collect fine china, quality tools, veteran motor vehicles, etc, ectera.

Oh there is the once full bank accounts that the economy set up by Sir Bill English continues to actually "Deliver" but is struggling to maintain.

We are now suffering more empty rhetoric from Ms Part Time Prime Minister who clearly serves only at the whim of Mr Seven Percent and is forced to an ignominious survival while overseeing woeful performance by the worst ministry in living memory if not since forever.

All enabled by a media still in thrall to an image of a middle aged ardent socialist who manages to respond to an occasional crisis with adequate demonstrations of empathy, sympathy and hugz.
Jacinda Ardern has used her first speech of the year to call for a "factual" election campaign and it's understood the Labour Party is going to sign up to a social media transparency tool to prove it.  
"New Zealanders deserve a factual campaign, one that is free from misinformation, where people can make honest reflections for themselves about what they want for the future of New Zealand." 
The Prime Minister delivered remarks about running a "positive"and "factual" campaign at the party's caucus retreat in Martinborough Thursday morning in her first official appearance since the summer break. 
Any doubt that the MSM might have recovered from their obsequious, fellating attitudes comes with the eerie silence to the latest slogan summation of what will never be even partially achieved.

New Zealand's very own "Pravda" dream - under the one poor bugger to suffer the removal from the ministry while a far more conflicted Porn Jones continues as a protected species, and a more demonstrably incompetent Twyford slides around as if coated with Teflon.

The sometime 'cardigan man' continues to follow a path of creative accounting. A Deputy Party leader is locked in the wash house whenever his leader is absent. A bizarre choice for welfare supremo watches helplessly as all the now much-reduced measurables go the wrong way. Yet another champion pie-eater presides over an energy sector that will lead to brown outs if not blackouts. An inept Health minister continues to blame the now-gone-for-over-two-years previous administration for the growing by-the-day failures. A justice minister who thinks spending inordinate amounts of money to try and placate a minority of the families of the 29 deceased miners at Pike River Mine is an effective smoke screen for his attempts to release a growing number of direct threats to society onto the streets.

Meanwhile a party of communists and Far Left activists try to overturn all that has been created by decades of management from politicians who would, to a person, eclipse every single member of the current executive.

MORE CONFIRMATION THAT LABOUR ISN'T WORKING

MSD have just released the numbers of those in receipt of Jobseeker Support (the dole) as at 31 December 2019.    They are an indictment on Labour and further proof that Labour isn't working.

The numbers ... and these are real people and not the algorithm used by Stats NZ in determining our supposed unemployment rate ...

147,464 people are in receipt of the benefit up from 134,038 at the end of 2019 representing a 10% increase.

They represents 4.9% of the working age population up from 4.5% a year earlier compared with just 4.2% when National left office.

Let the obfuscation commence ... but just a reminder these are the Gummit's figures.

Also - courtesy of Lindsay Mitchell:


In December 2014 the unemployment rate was 5.5 percent - not 4.2%. Also....



Friday's Fulminations

There is mild moderation.  Normal rules of blogger etiquette and courtesy to blog hosts will apply.with serious transgressors being thrown out.

Unfortunately our system does not allow your comments to show up in the blog post itself.  Just in the comments section.

Visitors might consider the wisdom of using moderate language.

Regards

Adolf

Thursday, January 23, 2020

JUST SO YOU KNOW WHERE I SIT

DPF over at Kiwiblog is running a survey monkey seeking responses as to whether or not you favor Trump over a spread of Democrat Party hopefuls.

I'm not inclined to hide my prejudices under a bushel so. for what its worth, here's where it sit with the caveat that someone would be having to hold a gun to my head were I able to vote.

Trump vs Biden ... Biden

Trump vs Sanders ... Trump

Trump vs Bloomberg ... Bloomberg

Trump vs Warren ... Trump

And the biggie ... Trump vs Clinton ... I'd declare myself insane and/or take the 5th.

SHILLARY'S MOUTH

I see that Shillary Clinton's mouth has gotten her into trouble with the news that Tulsi Gabbard, Democrat Presidential Contender, is suing her for $50m in damages alleging defamation in calling her a 'Russian asset'.

Big call against someone who has served her country with honor in Iraq where she was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and who is the first female combat veteran to run for the Presidency.     Gabbard remains a Major in the Hawaii National Guard.

Take her over Shillary any day of the week.



MEMO TO BRIDGES

The media is all of a twitter that you are about to make an important announcement concerning National's relationship (or not) with Winston First.

For me as a National Party activist you have only one real choice ... to rule out any sort of deal/accommodation with Winston First for as long as WRP remains in parliament. Post-WRP it may be a different story (if NZ First survives) but dealing with the here and now and you must make it clear that a vote for Winston First is a vote for the return of a Labour/Green/NZ First government.

Disregard the fact that there has been an overture by one of Winston's senior colleagues seeking a dialogue with National. You know full well the enmity WRP holds yourself and Bennett in is such as to rule out any possible marriage of convenience. It would be a sham relationship far removed from the cozy one he enjoys with Ardern as her puppet master.

As long as you prevaricate Peters can claim kingmaker status. No deal and Winston becomes a side issue with nowhere to go but with Labour ... and then just watch their provincial vote evaporate.

At that point a National/ACT government comes into play with those two parties picking up 47% of the vote and the wasted vote putting them over the top.

Yep, there is a downside. NZ First might just break the 5% (they won't win Northland; Winston couldn't hold it and Shane Jones can't) which would see them back in Parliament but almost certainly with less seats than the Greens which would make it impossible for Ardern to consign the Greens to support party status. Then the fun would really begin; Prime Minister Ardern, Deputy Prime Minister Shaw, Peters Foreign Affairs and a powder-keg waiting to explode (remembering of course that WRP is on record saying he would never serve alongside the Greens in cabinet ... but heh, words over baubles and it's no contest). 

NZL doesn't deserve that.   C'mon Simon ... do your duty.

You couldn't make this stuff up

Just trying to get my head around this. Simon Bridges goes to China on a trip arranged by Jian Yang, the allegedly "former" Chinese intelligence officer serving as a National Party MP, for a photo op with Guo Shengkun, the head of China's version of the Gestapo, followed by an interview in which he praises the the Chinese Communist Party and says what a privilege it is for NZ to have had such successful dealings with it.

We can only ponder what business Bridges had with the CCP's Minister of Public Security. Because the meeting was arranged by Jian Yang, MFAT has no transcript or notes of the discussion, and Bridges certainly isn't saying. Seems reasonable to assume a transcript of the meeting could only prove horribly embarrassing to him.

You have to wonder whether he really would be embarrassed though, given his latest trip abroad. Just in case there were people who weren't thinking "Seriously, what the fuck?" after his China trip, Bridges headed off to the Philippines to meet up with various Duterte government enthusiasts for extra-judicial killing. Here's Bridges posting about what a "privilege" it was to meet Teddy Locsin, Duterte's Secretary of Foreign Affairs:
I love the way Bridges writes that tweet as though he were the PM, but that isn't the most interesting thing about the tweet.  More significant is that Locsin's a well-known Nazi sympathiser. He's openly wished for an Auschwitz-style "final solution" for drug addicts, and here he is telling everyone the Nazis have an undeservedly bad rep:


If only they hadn't made that foolish mistake and had instead killed millions of the right people, huh?  Seems like a top bloke - no wonder Bridges felt it was such a privilege to meet him.  The other people he met were also keen on extra-judicial killing.  I guess he took Mark Mitchell along due to Mitchell's own previous involvement in that, not that Mitchell will answer questions about whether he might have done any of the extrajudicial killing himself - such modesty, how rare in a politician!

It's kind of disturbing that no National supporters appear to find any of the above even slightly disturbing, it's all just BAU.  For the rest of us though, the Philippines trip in particular sheds a new light on Bridges' constant dog-whistling about gangs - clearly, he'd consider it a "privilege" to be able to adopt the Duterte approach to drug addiction here.

FOCUSING ON THE REALLY IMPORTANT STUFF #23

One of our resident apologists for the CoL, a certain Mr Flake, urged me to focus on the really important stuff in my writings.   Who am I to disappoint soooooo ... given that 2019 was Labour's self styled 'Year of Delivery' I propose to look at what was promised vs actual delivery.   #23 looks at the issue of free trade.


The Pledge ... to 'work towards a Free Trade Agreement with the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union' ... source Labour/NZ First Coalition Agreement, page 7.

The Reality ... zip, zero, nothing. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Enron, WorldCom, Fannie Mae - meet The Clinton Foundation


This comes as a companion piece to The Vet's OP on Bernie Sanders, describing the attack on him by Hillary Clinton.

There have been numerous "reports" - more like quips - over the last few months that she would like to get back in the game against Trump and get revenge for her 2016 loss in the unloseable election.

Hillary appears to have done various positioning media plays, but nothing more. She seems to be hoping, and perhaps expecting, that the Democrat clownshow will collapse into such hopelessness in trying to find a credible nominee to take on Trump, that they'll turn to her.

Fat chance. And what she's actually angling for can be explained in one graph.



Oh well, never mind. The family still has sufficient pull that it's been able to land daughter Chelsea Clinton $9 million since 2011 from a corporate board position:
Both IAC and Expedia are controlled by Barry Diller, the business and television mogul, who is a friend of Hillary Clinton. 
This is why Hunter Biden's Ukranian cash collection is regarded as no big deal in Washington D.C. Everybody's in on such scams built around political connections and names.

POOR BERNIE

I see that in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter Shillary Clinton lashed out at Bernie Saunders. one of the front-runners for the Democrat Presidential nomination, saying 'Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done, he was a career politician.   It's all just baloney and I feel so bad people got sucked into it'.

One might be forgiven for wondering if that 'endorsement' might just work in Bernie's favor ... different if say Michelle Obama said it ... but Hillary????

I can't get over the feeling that HRC is positioning herself as the compromise candidate after the announced contenders have exhausted themselves stabbing each other in the back (with a little bit of off-stage help).

SACK JONES ... NOT LIKELY

The revelation that Shane Jones lied when he said that he first became aware of the bid by NZ Future Forrest Products (a company with close links to Winston First) for $15m from 'his' Provincial Growth Slush Fund was on 14 October 2019 when in fact their application lodged on 8 April 2019 shows 'they' had made a presentation to the Minister covering their forestry and wood processing plans as well as a description of the applicants (subsequently revealed to include a Ms Jan Trotman - Winston Peter's partner) leaves Ardern no option but to sack him.

But she won't ... her hands are tied ... her puppet master won't let her.   Her stature is further diminished and no amount of feelz good camera shoots will disguise the fact she actively aids and abets corruption at the highest levels in her 'most honest and transparent government ever'.

In a small way one could almost feel sorry for her having to defend the indefensible but I don't. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

HAND-OUTS TRUMP HAND-UPS IN LABOUR'S LEXICON

The latest post from Lindsay Mitchell here makes for instructive reading.    Note particularly the declining focus by MSD on getting 'clients' into productive work.

One expects a tirade of abuse to be directed at Lindsay from the usual Labour Party apologists ... the Beehive/Fraser House meme ... shoot the messenger; bugger the message.

The Dragon Flies



Crew Dragon that is, SpaceX's modified version of its Cargo Dragon spacecraft, which has been hauling supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) since 2012. Crew Dragon is designed to carry astronauts between the USA and the ISS, with other flights to LEO (Low Earth Orbit) as needed.

Yesterday's successful uncrewed flight - seen in the 3 minute clip above - tested out the in-flight abort system by causing a deliberate malfunction in the Falcon 9 rocket that launched the spacecraft. It all went perfectly, with Crew Dragon using it's eight small abort rockets built into its hull to pull away from the Falcon, before turning around at Mach 2.2 and slowly descending to the ocean on parachutes.

ISS in orbit around Earth

The Falcon 9 rocket was exploded, resulting in another loud bang to go with the noise of the launch and sonic booms, followed by more noise as pieces of it fell into the ocean. It must have been quite a day at Kennedy Space Center, where it's usually desired for rockets not to blow up.

The launch was made from the famous Pad39A, used for several Apollo missions to the Moon and countless Space Shuttle launches to orbit and the ISS.




Crew Dragon at the ISS
They'll be more analysis of the flight done, as beneath the obvious success there may have been the dreaded "anomalies" of the trade.

However, this test would seem to open the final door to a crewed flight to the ISS in April this year, when two NASA astronauts - Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, both former Space Shuttle astronauts - will fly to the ISS and stay there for two weeks.


L->R: NASA Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley



That mission was originally scheduled for April 2019, but there had been the usual delays in various ground tests. Still, in March 2019 the spaceship did make a successful remote-controlled flight to the ISS where it docked and stayed for several days before returning to Earth.







And then in April 2019 this happened!


That was yet another ground test, this time of the abort system rockets, and was expected to be routine since it had been repeated many times since 2015. But in this test it exploded, completely destroying the vehicle and ejecting a smoke plume that could be seen for miles around the Kennedy Space Center, so everybody knew something had gone seriously wrong.

Anybody onboard would have died and that was especially concerning since this was no throwaway test vehicle but the spacecraft that was going to be used for the in-flight abort test and possibly the first crewed flight, since SpaceX is all about reusing their rockets and spacecraft like planes.

It turned out that the explosion occurred because of a very small failure, which is often the case with spacecraft:
"... a small amount of nitrogen tetroxide leaked into a helium line used to pressurize the propellant tanks. The leakage apparently occurred during pre-test processing. As a result, the pressurization of the system 100 ms before firing damaged a check valve and resulted in the explosion."
Nitrogen Tetroxide is a bitch of a chemical that explodes on contact with certain other chemicals - a so-called hypergolic fuel. That makes it useful for rockets where 100% certainty of firing is needed - like the Apollo Lunar Module Ascent stage rocket for getting off the Moon. But aside from that useful, if dangerous, property it's also as corrosive as hell, which is why the valves failed. There followed a bunch of upgrades and a series of successful static-fire tests to make way for last weekend's launch test of the abort system.

The spacecraft carrying the astronauts in April will be a brand-new one off the production line. They will be the first Americans launched into space from US soil since 2011 when the last Space Shuttle flight occurred.

Boeing CST 100 Starliner
When NASA retired its fleet of space shuttles in 2011, the agency looked to the private sector to ferry crews to and from the ISS, selecting SpaceX and Boeing as its future space taxi providers and signing some $6.8 billion of contracts with them for those services.

Aside from Crew Dragon, there's also the CST-100 Starliner built by Boeing. It has also suffered from years of delays but is also expected to launch astronauts to the ISS this year.

At that point, these vehicles will become NASA's primary means of transporting astronauts to and from space for many years to come. NASA will finally be free of relying on the Russian Soyuz rocket-spacecraft system and their price of $75 million per person per flight.

And it will be due to smart cooperation between a government agency that needed a commercial-type job done, and seeding the private sector with the expectation that different approaches would be tried quickly - and fail - but eventually result in success beyond what NASA could achieve with a single, traditional-style programme.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Die MSM, Die 1.2 - The Hook: CNN bites Bernie in the Ass


It was probably about twenty years ago that the US Right began to notice that CNN was trending towards the Democrats at least as much, and probably more so, than the likes of the NYT, which had not endorsed a GOP candidate for President for decades even then.

Naturally these claims of overt and covert bias (covert in terms of how a story was covered and which were covered), were dismissed by the Left as nothing more than examples of paranoia, whining, or trying to influence the "refs".

Mitt Romney debates Obama - and Candy, 2012
The Left's dismissals continued even in the wake of things like the Candy Crowley incident during a 2012 debate between Romney and Obama when Crowley, then working for CNN, intervened on Obama's behalf to bolster a claim by Obama.

But in 2016 the claim became a little more precise in that it was not "The Left" so much as one specific part of the Left - the Democrat National Committee (DNC) that CNN was carrying water for.

Donna Brazile

That year people on the Democrat Party Left - namely the Bernie Bros, supporters of Bernie Sanders - found out via Wikileaks that a CNN contributor (and DNC member) had been feeding debate questions to Hillary in advance of the debates.

That woman, Donna Brazile, had already had her contract temporarily suspended months earlier when she became head of the Democrat National Committee (DNC). This time she was fired by CNN, but the stench remained.


Debbie Wasserman Schultz



One amusing side-note is that Brazile had been appointed as the temporary head of the DNC after the previous leader, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had been fired when other hacked emails from Wikileaks also showed her bias toward Clinton over Bernie.

In the face of the terrible threat posed by OrangeManBad the Bernie Bros sucked it up and moved on.

But they've now discovered that CNN is up to its old tricks again.

Before the most recent Democrat debate, reports began to spread of a conversation between Bernie and fellow candidate Elizabeth Warren where Lizzie - actually Lizzie's "people" - claimed that Bernie had told her that a woman could not win. Ears pricked up at this news. Had the non-aggression pact between them finally broken? Did this mean that Fauxcahontas was going to hit Bernie in the debate with the Identity Politics stunt accusation that he's a misogynist? With these reports in the open there was no doubt that the question would be asked by the CNN debate moderators - and it was.

Leaving aside the to-and-fro barbs of the respective teams - since late last year Sanders's has been trying to imply that Warren is a stooge for the corporate status quo, while Warren's has tried to imply that Bernie's ideas are too Far Left for the general electorate - the latest burst of anger at CNN from the Bernie Bros has real substance to it. CNN asked the question:
Moderator Abby Phillip: CNN reported yesterday that, and Senator Sanders — Senator Warren — confirmed in a statement, that in 2018 you told her that you did not believe that a woman could win the election. Why did you say that?
Sanders then goes into a pretty detailed and genuine answer as to why that claim is crap. He cites his past support for woman candidates, including hitting the hustings hard in 2016 for the woman who had beaten him in the primary race, despite his misgivings about the stunts she'd pulled. He looked like he was keeping his cool while also being genuinely pissed off at the attack. It was a good, solid answer, and there was a brief follow-up:
Phillip: You’re saying that you never told Senator Warren that a woman couldn’t win the election? 
Bernie: Correct.
So what does the CNN moderator do, having heard this substantive and direct rebuttal? She turns to Warren with the following question:
Phillip: What did you think when Sanders said a woman couldn’t win the election?
Wow. How about that? It's as if the question was already scripted and the narrative set by CNN and Sander's answer did not count for anything at all. A setup between CNN and Warren. I guess she's the Hillary of 2020.

Further proof of CNN taking sides was what happened after the debate ended, when Warren walked over to Sanders, refused to shake his hand and said:
“I think you called me a liar on national TV.”
Sanders wisely did not rise to the bait, simply saying that they should not have that argument in such a very public, if off-air, moment. Except it was not off-air: CNN had captured the moment on audio & video - and then broadcast it to the world, complete with a Bernie Bashing exercise around it that lasted all day.

Welcome to the Righties world, Bernie. And good luck, since as a public figure you won't be able to sue them as young Mr Sandman successfully did just recently.

Of course the one thing that Righties would never have after a blatantly biased media attack like this, is other MSM sources backing them up, aside from FoxNews obviously.  By contrast Bernie got substantial MSM backing:
This time, the whole network tossed the mud. Over a 24-hour period before, during, and after the debate, CNN bid farewell to what remained of its reputation as a nonpolitical actor via a remarkable stretch of factually dubious reporting, bent commentary, and heavy-handed messaging.
Oh - so you noticed that Mr Taibbi? At least this time. We'll see if you or those others notice it later in 2020 when Trump is once again their target.

This... is CNN.

But actually it's the rest of the MSM as well. This is just a temporary circular firing squad.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

What A Difference Fifty Years Makes

A precocious mentally ill child

Image result for greta thunberg





Fifty years later




Turns into




Scroll down




Heep going, I said fifty years, not fifteen





An atrocious mentally deranged liar


Image result for elizabeth warren

A Miss in The Darwin Awards


It's time to take a break from the 24/7 Sturm und Drang of Trump world, kick back, and enjoy a little humour.



On SWMBO's social media account we recently saw that one of her friends is currently touring through Etosha National Park in Namibia and having a great time.



As you can see from Etosha's publicity department it's not exactly backpacker stuff, with luxurious accomodations even in the so-called "camps".



Anyway, one of this woman's friends was so excited by all this that she posted about her own experiences touring Etosha National Park. Read it - and weep for our species, as clearly Darwin was not on patrol that day:



On the other hand there are people who do know how to operate around wild animals - like this guy from New Zealand having a little fun with our beloved mountain parrot, the Kea. The narration is so dry it could be straight from New Zealand's fourth-most-popular folk duo.



Ho Ho Ho