Posts by Bart Janssen

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

    Russia has experienced multiple invasions

    You can argue that pretty much everyone in Europe has experienced multiple invasions. Russia on balance has probably been successful repelling invasions than most. But the idea that Russia has reason to feel threatened because of its history really doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

    The difference is that for the most part, much of Europe has learned to "get over it" and work together for mutual benefit. This particular iteration of the Russian leadership has chosen, for various reasons, to play up the "we used to own that bit and we want it back" mode of international relations.

    As for whether the USA is squeaky clean - it's pretty obvious that they aren't. The US actions in the Middle East have proven ruinous for everyone involved. But saying the US is bad doesn't make Russia good.

    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.

    The worry is that Trump is unlikely to have the skills to defuse or moderate any of complex situations in Europe or the middle east. The best we can hope for is that he plays a lot of golf.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4188 posts Report Reply

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

    the rise of right wing populism

    There has been no such rise.

    I don't understand why people keep saying stuff like this. People keep promoting arguments to explain why Trump got more votes

    But Trump didn't get more votes - he got fewer votes.

    There is no rise in the right.

    All the voting data show that the right has held steady or declined slightly.

    The reason we have right shifts is because the left has stopped voting that's what the data shows.

    Now stop saying silly things about the right and start explaining the observations. If you are doing anything else you may as well invoke astrology.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4188 posts Report Reply

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

    But I will happily admit to find the media dimensions of this of compelling interest.

    How the US media respond to the next few years really will be interesting.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4188 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years,

    Regarding the effect of Trump and his cronies on climate change policy worldwide and even within the USA, the BBC Discovery podcast just did an episode looking at exactly that. It was interesting in that most people interviewed seemed to feel that the momentum towards clean energy and the desire to reduce CO2 emissions is too great for Trump to have much effect.

    The optimism somewhat surprised me. I guess the point is that while Trump's donors will make a killing exploiting their power, they won't be able to do much beyond their own business empires. Outside those empires most businesses are now convinced the future is clean energy. And most countries included China and India are making big changes to their energy economy.

    Trump and the slime he's dragged into power with him can't do as much harm to the climate as we feared.

    On the other hand it's pretty clear that The GOP is going to take this total power and use it to push through some abhorrent changes to the US. The big one is a massive tax grab by the rich - that's what is driving the changes to the ACA.

    In many ways the idiot in charge is the least of the concerns, it's the fact that the GOP has no restrictions now and frankly they look like they are going to tear the US social structure apart. It is not going to be fun if you aren't a wealthy white male.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4188 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Walk This Way, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I keep meaning to do what I usually try and do – write about it in a way that might be useful to other people – but it’s surprisingly difficult.

    I wont be marching. I have a prior engagement sorry. Also crowds kinds freak me out now as I get older.

    I have a friend whose political views are wildly different to my own and he, rightly I think, keeps reminding me that what is happening in the USA and the UK really won't have much impact for us - we then drink wine and argue about global human rights.

    But he's right, for us here in NZ, what is happening has less impact.


    We have an election coming up. And we currently (and for the last 9 years) have a government that really doesn't give a fuck about people unless they are rich donors. A government that sells trickle down economics and the false dream of being rich-like-me.

    Everything I've seen about the USA and UK experience says that The Right have not become stronger, their vote has been static (even dropped). Rather The Left (those of us who care more about people) have stopped voting.

    Whether that is because the left candidate didn't have a penis (USA) or because of rotating old white guys (NZ Labour) is kind of irrelevant now. The simple fact is if The Left chose not to vote then we hand power to those who have proven they don't care about the people.

    So please march and support those who will be harmed in the US by their government but more importantly later this year VOTE to prevent it happening here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4188 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Taxpayers' Union: still…, in reply to Sacha,

    I have no issue with journalists using twitter or similar to source stories – I enjoy interacting with them in that space myself.

    mmmm twitter is a good fast indicator that there might be a story - but it has zero credibility.

    So sure you might use twitter to become aware that it's possible that a news story exists but after that then you need to find real credible sources, preferably multiple independent sources before you decide to disseminate it as news.

    But that wasn't the problem here, the problem here was taking a press release from a known unreliable source and publishing it. That's a journalism fail.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4188 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Taxpayers' Union: still…,

    What I really don't understand is:
    Given the TPU and Mr Williams have been shown in the past to say things that turned out to be not true;
    and in some of those cases it appeared highly likely that they knew they weren't true when they said them

    WHY then would any media repeat anything from the TPU and Mr Williams?

    It seems like something prospective journalists would be told first day at work or even in the first lecture at Uni, "never, ever believe anything from the TPU" ... "yes, this will be in the exam."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4188 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Three Strikes five years…, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I have not provided the numbers for offending that would have been a second strike from Jun '10 - Jun '15 but was not because what would otherwise have been the first strike would have been between Jun '05 - Jun '10.

    Ah I see. So your thesis is that some (presumably large) number of first strike offenders in the '10-'15 tranche were in fact second strike offenders. This would imply in increase in offending from the two strike rate seen '05-'10 that is hidden.

    Kind of like the rush to buy before the price goes up.

    Or the rate could be pretty much static and the law change could have had no effect at all.

    Really if you want to do an analysis you need year by year data from which you can extract variability and then you might be able to determine if any given year or group of years was statistically different. But frankly looking at what you have presented so far I'd say you'd be wasting time because the numbers are so low and so similar that it's highly unlikely you will find any difference that correlates with the law change, but I am not a statistician, I just use stats.

    Meanwhile I remain utterly unconvinced by your data that there was any real problem with recidivism that required the law in the first place.

    Essentially you are asking whether a politically motivated law change had any measurable effect on a tiny percentage of recidivist criminals.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4188 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Three Strikes five years…,

    From your post

    In the five years prior to three strikes, 5517 people were convicted of an offence where that conviction would have been a ‘first strike’ had three strikes been in force at the time, and 103 were convicted of an offence that would have been a ‘second strike’.

    So no I'm not excluding that person who committed two armed robberies within three years. Your own numbers say that only 103 people fit into that category.

    Treating the two five year periods completely separately you have 103/5517 two timers and 68/5248 two timers.

    It is highly unlikely that those numbers are significantly different and neither proportion is indicative of a problem with recidivism.

    There might actually be some data that shows some problems with recidivism but you have not presented it in your post and nothing in your post provides any evidence that the law has done anything. You'd need year by year data and a proper statistical analysis of the variability in the year on year data to say anything of value about the effects of the law.

    BTW that's the only data that really should be being discussed if you are interested in rates of recidivism, by summing over five years you have obscured variability which makes much of what you discussed meaningless.

    But since this is a political law rather than any attempt to improve the justice system the whole discussion is moot - you may as well talk about selling lost luggage.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4188 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Three Strikes five years…, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    nearly every single one of them could have re-offended with a strike offence

    Um no.

    For that to have happened you'd have to argue that "first strike" crime rate dropped to near zero in the second five years and the only people committing first strike crimes were those who'd committed them in the previous five years.

    So yes you can absolutely add those numbers together. And even if you treat the two five year samples independently there is clearly no real evidence of recidivism in either sample.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4188 posts Report Reply

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