Posts by Russell Brown

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  • Hard News: The next four years,


    Wow. The US Labor Department's Women's Bureau has suddenly and without explanation put up a link for people to download all its resources. Which strongly suggests a fear that those resources might not be there for long. Far out.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21651 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years,

    Meanwhile, it emerges that Trump's pick for Treasury Secretary failed to declare $100 million in assets. His excuse is that the forms were "very complicated".

    Satire is dead.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21651 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    The eastern European states are nervous for very good reasons, nothing about Putin’s leadership gives them any reason to trust Russia. Moreover the sanctions and changes in oil prices have put Russia in a very shaky economic position – the Russian economy is stuffed, that puts pressure on Putin and nobody is really sure how he will react. Annexing another bit of eastern Europe seems to be a strategy that Putin likes to use to distract from internal problems.

    According to people who study and report on this stuff, that's exactly what has happened. Putin has used his overwhelming control of the media (most notably television) to foment a particularly toxic strain of nationalism to distract public attention from the tanking economy. (Which isn't only tanking because of oil prices and sanctions – pervasive corruption is taking down many legitimate businesses.)

    It's also very bad for the people of the republics that didn't get out when the USSR broke up. Russia is really not a good place to be any kind of minority.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21651 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    True. But actually, I’d incline to the view that Europe would be more secure if the Baltics and Poland were neutral and secure by treaty (like Austria after 1955) and there was a demilitarised buffer between Russian and NATO forces.

    But how would you secure such a buffer against little green men? i.e.: the forces that Russia continues to insist don't exist and aren't in Ukraine?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21651 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years, in reply to Luke Williamson,

    I’m still struggling with the evil Russia syndrome. There is nothing I like about Vlad Putin but his posturing on the borders of Europe is matched by NATO posturing. They are both adding troops and missiles, and attempting to sway bordering countries politics with equal enthusiasm.

    Big difference: the countries on Russia’s border are asking for NATO protection. They’re terrified by Russia moving nuclear-capable missiles into Kalingrad.

    There seems little doubt that the arrival of more NATO troops in Poland is popular there.

    And Putin’s response – that Poland “is not even a European state” – will only have strengthened that view. It’s precisely what the Ukraine conflict is about.

    Imagine if, today, Russia was actively recruiting countries in South America to it’s “defence” league

    Estonian civilians aren't signing up with paramilitary forces because America is "recruiting" them though. It's for the same reason that Lithuania is erecting a fence along its border with Kalingrad – to try and block the expected entry of Russian special forces.

    Your example of the conflict in Syria would be a prime example of casting Russia as evil but ignoring the role of the USA in the current conflict, or Europe in the development of the whole sh*t show that is the Middle East.

    American adventurism has a huge amount to do, historically, with the shitshow in Syria. But it’s Russia that’s been bombing civilian populations for the past two years and Assad who’s been using chemical weapons on his own people. They’re the ones committing war crimes right now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21651 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Walk This Way,

    Things to know, from the Auckland march organisers:

    A Message from Women's March New Zealand:

    Friday January 20 - one day to go!
    Dear Women’s Marcher, just one day to go until the march! Here is some information you could find helpful.

    We encourage all participants to bring their own signs/placards that promote positive messages of why you march. (*Note: Please do not use sharp sticks to attach to the signs/placards. If needed, use cardboard tubing instead.) We have compiled a brief list of potential language below:
    #WhyIMarch…. (give your own reason for why you march)
    Build bridges. Not walls.
    United we stand. Divided we fall.
    We are all responsible for alleviating human and environmental suffering.
    Diversity is our strength.
    Diversity makes America great. Diversity makes the world great.
    Be an ally, not a bystander.
    Don’t tolerate intolerance.
    System change. Not climate change.
    Be the change you wish to see in the world. - Gandhi
    Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. –MLK
    The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day; a movement is only people moving. - Gloria Steinem
    My body, my right.
    Equal work deserves equal pay.
    Healthcare is a right, not a privilege.
    Liberty and justice for ALL.
    Stronger together.
    He waka eke noa. We’re all in this together.
    There are more ideas on the Facebook page here:

    REMINDER - Our limited supply of t-shirts are for sale
    Please pick up your t-shirt(s) at the following location:
    Mexicali Fresh
    15 Nuffield Street, Newmarket
    11am - 8pm
    The t-shirts cost $26 and come in the following sizes:
    *Sales are cash only (exact change much appreciated). It’s most definitely on a first come first served basis and only until stocks last.

    ON THE DAY - Saturday 21st January
    Please gather by 10:30am on Customs Street in front of the US Consulate in Auckland. We are taking a big group photo at the end of the march at Myers Park at 11:30 to send around the world - and New Zealand is the first country to kick off the Marches! Once at Myers Park we will hear from a great line up of speakers:
    Alison Mau: TV Journalist and Presenter
    Tracey Barnett: American-Kiwi columnist, author & commentator
    Jacinda Adern: Labour List MP
    Pantea “Pani” Farvid, PhD: Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Psychology, AUT
    The Route
    The 1.4km walk will begin at the US Consulate where we will walk up the left side of Queen Street, cross diagonally at Wellesley Street (long light) and continue to walk up the right side of Queen Street, through Aotea Square and up Gray's Avenue to Myer's Park. We expect the walk to take 45 minues. Please take extra precaution at crossings and stay on the footpath at all times.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21651 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years, in reply to Stephen R,

    China and the US face off, the yuan becomes non-convertible, exports to China dry up, mortgage funding follows, Auckland house prices drop by 80%, all the banks crash under the weight of bad debts, people can no longer get paid or buy food.

    That’s pretty bad…


    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21651 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years, in reply to Farmer Green,

    I confess, it was a struggle to keep reading after encountering this in the first paragraph:

    … the new administration prepares to take over the reins of power from its feckless predecessor

    It’s a very long post hung entirely on assumptions that I can’t see borne out by any of the demographic research.

    Add it all up, and you’ll find that the majority of people who voted for Trump weren’t white working class men at all

    Hmmm. 70% of voters were white, and they voted two-to-one for Trump.

    I agree that the “white working class” thing is a bit of a myth – Trump took some white low-income voters who had voted for Obama, but all the numbers indicate that Trump voters were relatively economically secure on a personal level.

    And the dismissal of race as a determinant is bizarre. Twice as many Asian and Latino voters voted for Clinton rather than Trump, nine out of 10 African Americans.

    The big one – and the one that did Clinton in – is one you don’t need exit polls to see. The more diverse and more urban a district, the less likely its people were to vote Trump. Those urban centres were likely to have stronger economies overall, but poorer people within them overwhelmingly voted Democrat.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21651 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years,

    Some more ethics news:

    The director of the Office of Government Ethics has requested that a private interview with House Oversight Committee leadership and staff be held in public, given “the significant public interest” in government ethics since Election Day.

    In a letter dated Monday, Shaub responded to House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz’s (R-UT) request for him to meet with committee leadership and staff in response to the office's public statements, including a series of bizarre tweets Shaub’s office had sent urging President-elect Donald Trump to divest from his business interests.

    A day before Chaffetz sent Shaub the interview request, the OGE chief delivered a speech at the Brookings Institution that was harshly critical of Trump’s plan to separate himself from his businesses, calling it “wholly inadequate.”

    Shaub noted in his letter that over the weekend Chaffetz’s office had “modified your original request and proposed a private meeting with you and the Ranking Member and your respective staffs.”

    Damn right I'd want that meeting in public if I were him.

    Chaffetz has already said he won't go on a "fishing expedition" over President Trump's conflicts of interest.

    They seem pretty determined to enable corruption.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21651 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years, in reply to artig,

    In the interests of accuracy, Andrea Merkel should be changed to Angela Merkel.

    Ha! Let me do that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21651 posts Report Reply

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