Revisit: Viruses mutate; modern day mass hosts provide unprecedented opportunity

I’m reposting this discussion as background for our search for a ‘new normal’ in 2021.  Rob Wallace has written a new book specifically about the origins of Covid, again especially noting the influence of the vertically integrated global food chains in providing opportunities for viruses to ‘pandemic’ (verb, my invention?).  I’ll briefly comment on this new book, ‘Dead Epidemiologists’, in the near future. Read the rest of this entry »

Criteria to examine the Climate Change Commission Report

The main criteria to judge the special report on climate change would be:   LESS!

Carrying that theme, some particular criteria to apply would be:

  1.  Less:  The future lies with ‘less’.  Less consumption in general because our life style is so widely and deeply tied up with so many resources and processes.  We hardly know what all the connections are.   Areas to become smaller will need to be identified and quantified.  Is the CO2 reduction goal ambitious enough?
  2. Transport:  In the cities daily transport releases much CO2.  The personal automobile is now mostly an unsustainable indulgence.  Will these recommended processes set a clear course toward a drastic reduction in the number of vehicles on the road?  In rural areas the agriculture industry, especially the feed-lot dairy industry, are the most polluting industries.  Long range rural area land travel must use less polluting modes, especially rail, within the general need for ‘less’ of everything.  Air transport has become mostly unsupportable.  The arrogant air travel industry (especially tourism) must be cut down to ‘less’.
  3. Consumption:  Consumption CO2 must be accounted for as well as production CO2.  It means little just to be responsible for production, though production CO2 is important; it is often ignored that there is a consumption factor (production is elsewhere).
  4. Neo-Liberal:  There must be accounting of the ego-dominated neoliberal forms and processes as to CO2 production as compared with CO2 production in more community based life styles.  Is the neo-liberal influence being reduced?  (Note: this is especially difficult because the neo-liberal was ideologized as the ‘end of history’ in the eighties and the world has in fact become mostly neo-liberal, including New Zealand, US, China, etc, and even including the Labour Party in NZ.)
  5. Oceans:  Bottom trawling is an abomination which gives the impression that human systems are willing to forge ahead toward extinction.  Is there direct intervention to eliminate bottom trawling?
  6. Billionaires:  The growth of these useless corporate-like entities is a sign that human systems are promoting exploitation with its extinction mentality.  Specific processes (see above) adopted to reduce CO2 creation will not be carried forward with sufficient vigour as long as there is growth in the billionaire class, or the neo-liberal continues to dominate.
  7. Housing:  Is housing policy included, and tending toward the ‘taller and smaller’?
  8. Exploitation:  Are the approaches applied less exploitative?  Evaluate the direction of inequality, reduction of industrial farming philosophies and practices (adoption of regenerative farming), and tending to eliminate the billionaire class (see#6), and reduction of the influence of the A-boys and the A-girls.

Macro economic tools:   Is direct reduction of CO2 kept at the fore, reducing the primacy of capitalist economic system preserving tools such as the ETS?  We must see the reduction and eventual elimination of the capitalist e

This is what Pharmac has to put up with

Report from the USA on Big Pharma (from Bernie Sanders):

The drug companies are an industry which, year after year makes huge profits and pays its CEOs incredibly large compensation packages. It is an industry which is significantly responsible for the high cost of health care in America — impacting both individuals and the government.

It is an industry which has an incredibly opaque pricing system which charges one branch of government a very different price than it charges another. It charges hospitals, nursing homes and individuals very different prices for the same exact product — all with the goal of maximizing profits.

This is an industry that has paid $32 billion dollars in fines over the last 20 years as a result of price-fixing, overcharging the federal, state and local governments, bribery, collusion, fraud and deception. And yet, the industry keeps going along its merry way, virtually untouchable.

Damien O’Connor on tourism “cocky” – yes!


Damien O’Connor

Parliament , Wellington

Mr O’Connor,

Thank you so much for calling out the tourism sector in your recent comment:  “cocky”.
The tourism sector has been way overplayed in New Zealand for decades and now the need to cut CO2 emissions has brought that out into the open.

I’m not saying your comment was based precisely on that same thought, but there is a history which would connect your thought with mine which the sector’s behaviour is highlighting at the present time.


Richard Keller

Note to John Bishop regarding his ‘history lesson’ of 18/03


Please forward this to John Bishop.  In response to his interesting ‘history lesson’ from yesterday, 18 March.

John Bishop, The Dominion Post, Wellington

19/03/ 2021

Hi John,

Thank you for your interesting ‘history lesson’ on the NZ / Aus relationship.  I expect their disrespect is more open now than much of that history.  They have been emboldened out of terror at the realization that that kind of bullying behaviour is no longer survivable globally, in line with the global terror and denial of the realization that there is no guarantee of a future if the exploitative approach to the planet is allowed to continue to thwart fundamental societal change needed to address climate change.

What really exposes the worst in the Aussie character is the detention of refugees on Manus Island and Nauru.  Ostensibly to stop refugee boats to coming to Australia, do they think it has been worth it to so openly turn themselves into oppressors and exploiters in order to postpone the flow of refugees?


Richard Keller

Armstrong does it again – Airport

The Editor, The Dominion Post, Wellington

17/03/ 2021

Dear Editor:

Dave Armstrong captures an easy target in Wellington Airport (mixed messages, 17/03).  The obviously contradicting stories from airport chairman Tim Brown which Armstrong so cleverly describes is what you expect from this neo-liberal dominated organization.  It’s clear to everyone that air travel has to be significantly reduced in order to begin responding to the challenges of climate change and this has prompted Wellington Airport and Air New Zealand, to name only two, to go on the attack in a way that puts their desperation straight out into the open. 

I expect the elected WCC and WGRC councillors to join Armstrong and push back a bit, but what about the Council staff?    The Council Staff are the greatest collection of neo-liberal influencers in the city.  It is time for the Council Staff to come under the spotlight regarding the problems of the Airport, Library and the water infrastructure. 


Richard Keller

Response to Scoop article on airport $75M

The most important issue is to control the ambitions of the airport. There will need to be much less air travel in a carbon constrained world. Everybody knows this but people are terrified to admit the fundamental nature of change required to address it, hence the Post Truth Era where denial has become mainstream percolating up from the collective subconscious. (Longer discussion indicated)

Version 2

The Editor
The Dominion Post

What are the region’s mayors seeing at WCC? Here’s what they should be seeing. Cr Paul is suggesting an alternative to council officer’s advice on a Covid-19 recovery package from WCC. Read the rest of this entry »

Need to further fine tune analysis of WCC by adding Council Staff to the discussion

The Editor, The Dominion Post, Wellington

10/03/ 2021

Dear Editor:

After aiming too widely in a recent column having a go at everybody Dave Armstrong hit the mark this time (09/03, death exaggerated) by pulling out a few cliché criticisms which many critics use to attack the city,  WCC and individual councillors. Read the rest of this entry »

Older and Oldest

The notion that action can only be achieved in the ‘now moment’, past and future not relevant, is only narrowly true.  Read the rest of this entry »

Council Staff still pushing the sale option for Library

The Editor, The Dominion Post, Wellington

05/03/ 2021

Dear Editor:

Today (05/03) another report that the library is under pressure because the Council Staff have left a sale option in the District Plan which Council had already considered and rejected and subsequently many councillors had thought it gone. Read the rest of this entry »