Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind


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The bleach “cure”

Kia ora

It was inevitable that questions around Trump’s suggested bleach treatment of COVID-19 would be asked here. Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the Director General of Health has been a regular presenter, along with the Prime Minister at the daily COVID-19 briefings, and in late April a reporter did ask Dr Bloomfield to comment on the POTUS’s suggestion.

It takes a lot to faze the good doctor, but this has been perhaps the only question to have left him speechless:

Transcript

Reporter: Dr. Bloomfield, what do you make of suggestions by some leaders overseas that people should be injecting themselves with bleach to kill COVID-19?
Dr A: [silence]
[laughter]
Dr A: I don’t think I need to comment on that, Prime Minister?
PM: No. I think we’ll let your silence speak for itself.
Reporter: It is worth asking about though, isn’t it, because…
PM: Is it?
Reporter: after the president raised it, there were cases in New York where people needed to go to medical facilities because they had actually ingested disinfectant. I know you don’t want to dignify the response, but can you maybe just send a clear message to people that obviously this not the thing to do?
Dr. A: Indeed. Under no circumstances should they even think about doing that.
PM: I don’t think we’ve had any suggestion of any reported cases in New Zealand of that occurring, and so that suggests to me that no New Zealander has listened to or given any credence to that suggestion.
Reporter: Will you make a statement that the president said that at all?
PM: Obviously here in New Zealand we haven’t seen it picked up, responded to, [or] acted on in any way, and that’s what we are, of course, here to do to look after the New Zealand population.

Perhaps it’s what Jacinda didn’t say but is implied by “we’ll let your silence speak for itself” and “that’s what we’re here to do – look after the New Zealand population” that actually speaks volumes.

kia haumaru, kia kaha
Keep safe, Keep strong.


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A Trump milestone

Yes folks, Donald Trump passed an amazing milestone on the 12th of April this year, and almost nobody noticed.

It’s an outstanding achievement, one that probably no one else has achieved, and might be a very long time, if ever, before anyone else can ever hope to match him. He’s not resting on his laurels either as he has increased his efforts over the past month. Surely it deserves shouting from the rooftops.

The milestone?

Drumroll please…

His 2000th tweet attacking the press.


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Contrasting styles

The leaders of Aotearoa New Zealand and the United States of America have radically different styles and perspectives. I’m quite confident that a majority of Kiwis hold similar values to those expressed by our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Can the same be said of Americans regarding the values expressed by Donald Trump?

Below is a clip taken from parts of the UN speeches of the two leaders. For those who find the Kiwi Accent difficult, I have included a transcription below the video clip.

JA: If I could distill it down into one concept that we are pursuing in New Zealand, it is simple and it is this: kindness.

DT: America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.

JA: In the face of isolationism, protectionism, racism, the simple concept of looking outwardly and beyond ourselves, of kindness and collectivism might just be as good a starting point as any. So let’s start here with the institutions that have served us well in times of need and will do so again.

DT: We withdrew from the human rights council and we will not return until real reform is enacted. For similar reasons, the United States will provide no support and recognition to the International Criminal Court. As far as America is concerned, the ICC has no jurisdiction, no legitimacy and no authority.

JA: New Zealand remains committed to continue to do our part to building and sustaining international peace and security, to promoting and defending an open, inclusive and rules-based international order based on universal values, to being pragmatic, empathetic, strong and kind.

DT: The United States is the world’s largest giver in the world, by far, of foreign aid but few give anything to us.

JA: Tēnā koutou. Tēnā koutou. Tēnā koutou katoa.
[Salutations to you all.]

DT: Thank you. God bless you, and God bless the nations of the world. Thank you very much.


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Foolish Trump

In an interview, Helen Clarke (our Prime Minister from 1999 to 2008) has labelled Trump’s decision to freeze contributions to WHO as foolish. “I can’t think of anything more foolish in the middle of a global pandemic which has gone beyond being a health crisis to being a full-blown economic and social crisis,” She said.

Trump had”no substantive point” in making the move based on his concerns about the organisation’s management of the Covid-19 outbreak.

“At the end of this ghastly matter… for sure the WHO will do a full review and lessons learned as it did after Ebola. And after Ebola where it had initially not responded well, a whole lot of new mechanisms were put in place, and that has put the WHO in a much better position this time to be handling the epidemic.

“But this is a virus which we knew absolutely nothing about four months ago, almost nothing about three months ago, and everybody is scrambling to keep up.

“So in a sense to defund and make accusations against WHO is to shoot the messenger, that’s been trying to tell the world for several months, that this is serious, and countries need to prepare.”

“Of course, he has half a point around the travel restrictions. WHO doesn’t advise those, and I think one of its concerns is that countries might be less honest and transparent if they knew they were going to be, those sorts of consequences,” Clark told Checkpoint.

“Obviously New Zealand also moved by the end of January to stop people who were not New Zealand citizens or residents coming from China, or even transiting through China in the previous 14 days,” she said.

“I understand the kind of sensitivities in the WHO around travel bans but countries like the US, New Zealand and many others have got on and put them on anyway.

Helen was critical of the delay in Beijing reporting the outbreak to WHO, but acknowledges this might be due to local factors and not the central government:

“On the issue of transparency, yes, of course, with an authoritarian society which doesn’t operate the way the US does or New Zealand does – with our free and open media, and the ability to say what you want and raise whatever questions you want – things are different.

“And the reality is there was knowledge in Wuhan at least a month before the notification of the disease to the WHO.

“I might say from my experience of dealing with China with such a critical issue, which was over the milk powder scandal back in 2008, our experience was that when we blew the whistle in Beijing, Beijing moved at the speed of lightning.

“Down at the regional level they’re not always so keen to tell Beijing about a problem. But if you go in at the top, Beijing can act very quickly, and my impression is that it may well be that the regional people withheld knowledge from Beijing, as well.”

Helen was also critical of the UN’s reaction the pandemic:

“There has been a crisis mechanism that was activated by WHO some weeks ago but it’s at the Mike Ryan director level. What Dr David Nabarro – who used to advise Ban Ki-moon on pandemic response – has recommended is that the Secretary-General should convene a pandemic emergency coordination council.

“I think that should be a standing body to be activated whenever something like this arises.

“This is the sixth public health emergency of international concern since 2003. On average, these horrible events are going to come around every three years.

“So a standing capacity, which would be the Secretary-General, the heads of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and the Director-General of the WHO.

“Their networks are huge – the IMF and World Bank – they have the ears of every finance minister in the world.

“And what’s going to release money now for a response that will fight the health aspects of the virus, and the economic crisis and social crisis, is the finance ministers.”

Helen said another action the UN could make would be for the Secretary-General to go the Security Council to formally state the pandemic was a threat to global peace and security, and ask it to make a resolution to that effect.

“Security Council resolutions are binding. If it says that, as it did with Ebola six years ago, and calls on all member states to use all necessary means to fight it, that really ups the ante for global coordination.”


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So, I’m an anti-Semite

Well, according to a recent declaration by the so called leader of the free world, I am. Trump’s recent announcement that Jewishness is a race and nationality, and that anti-antisemitism includes opposition to the political and foreign policy actions of Israel places me very firmly as being antisemitic. I am highly critical of some of the policies of Israel with regards to their treatment of Palestinians and the misappropriation of Palestinian land. That being so, then I am indeed officially guilty of antisemitism, just as much as I am anti-American and anti-Christian for opposing some political and foreign policy actions of America, anti-Islamic for opposing the philosophy and actions of Al-Qaeda, ISIS and Saudi Arabia, anti-Buddhist for opposing the Myanmar governments genocidal actions against the Rohingya, anti-Chinese for opposing the detention and “re-education” of ethnic Uighur Muslims, and anti-Australian for being critical of their inhumane treatment of the “boat people” refugees.

I also wonder what peril is placed upon Jews by such a declaration, particularly that Jewishness is a nationality. Could it be used against them at some time in the future? Such a declaration was made in Nazi Germany around seven years before I was born, and that didn’t end very well for the Jews, did it?

New Zealand’s neighbour to the west – Australia – bars citizens with dual nationality from holding some forms of public office on the grounds that such people have divided loyalties. Recently some members of the Australian Government found they were ineligible for the office they held as they unknowingly were also New Zealand nationals.

As “race” is not something you choose or can renounce, does that mean a Jew in America will always have dual nationality whether they like it or not? At sometime in the future, could it be determined that as Jewishness is a nationality, then Jews have divided loyalty and are therefore ineligible for some forms of public office or even all forms of public office? Could this not then be extended to exclude any position that is considered of national importance? It’s not beyond the realm of possibility.

As Padre Steve points out in his recent post Who is a True Jew, Christian or any other Faith? This is Not a Question Left to Secular Government, this sets a very dangerous precedent.


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Words and actions have ‘immeasurable consequences’

Below are the UN general assembly Speeches by the president of the United States of America, and the Prime Minister of Aotearoa New Zealand. Do they even live on the same planet?

Jacinda’s speech in English starts at 1m 5s if you wish to skip her formal greeting in te Reo Māori, but out of respect for our culture, please don’t.


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Update Aotearoa: 20th march 2019

Turkey’s President stirring the pot

The Turkish president is using inflammatory language that endangers Kiwis travelling overseas, especially considering that many Kiwis will be making the ANZAC pilgrimage to Turkey over the next month. I do not know if any Turkish nationals were killed in the mosque attacks, but he conveniently ignores the fact that by far the majority of those killed were Kiwis, and the perpetrator was not. And it’s not his place to demand that we re-introduce the death penalty.
Turkey’s President calls for New Zealand to restore death penalty for shooter

Trade Me stops sales of semiautomatic weapons

E bay has been unable to make inroads in the NZ Market as we have our own unique online trading platform Trade Me that trades everything from secondhand goods to jobs, real estate, motor vehicles and guns. It has announced that it is suspending the sale of semiautomatic weapons indefinitely.
New Zealand’s biggest online classifieds site bans sale of semi-automatic guns

Facebook and other social media must do better than whack-a-mole

Over 1.5 million copies of the live streaming of the Christchurch massacre have been removed from Facebook alone, and yet it continues to pop up. Perhaps they and other social media need to reconsider live streaming until they have the means to control it better. One new Zealander has already been charged with uploading objectionable content in this regard. He is liable for a term of imprisonment of up to 10 years.
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern leans on Facebook to drop Christchurch shooting footage

All New Zealand Asked Trump For Was ‘Love’

PM gives an unequivocal “No” when asked if she agreed with Trump.

For anyone who has the ears to hear and eyes to see, Trump’s condemnation of white extremism is positively friendly compared to his rhetoric over extremism when a non-white and/or a non-Christian actor is involved.
Despite Trump’s view, white nationalism is a growing threat, data shows


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Adam Serwer, a staff writer for The Atlantic and a Shorenstein fellow, discusses the lasting appeal of white supremacist ideology in light of an avowed white supremacist’s attack on two mosques in New Zealand that killed 50 people and injured dozens more.

via Harvard fellow examines rise — and roots — of white supremacy — Harvard Gazette