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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 »


Verity Johnson calls out the ‘poncy urbanites’

The Editor, The Dominion Post, Wellington

23/07/ 2021

Dear Editor:

Verity Johnson rightly blames the city folks for the problem of utes, and it is a problem.  Still that doesn’t justify the Groundswell farmers looking like they are tossing toys out of their baby carriage. They need to find the systemic cultural sources of their problems instead.

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Covid-19 Delta cases growing among the vaccinated on Cape Cod

The Boston Globe has today (22/07/21) reported that the number of cases of Covid-19 (new Delta variant) on Cape Cod is growing with many of them, most of them in Provincetown apparently, having been vaccinated.

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Bishop and Rashbrooke have different perspectives, but neither understands the context

The Editor, The Dominion Post, Wellington

18/07/ 2021

Dear Editor:

Curious how two articles on the same editorial page refer to the ’84 neo-liberal coup in New Zealand from opposite directions but neither of which gets to the main point about it. 

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Thanks, Roland for the history; here’s a bit of mine

Roland Sapsford, Scoop Wellington

Roland,
You are younger than me but your memory (and research?) is very useful today. It can help us see how we’ve been heading in the wrong transport direction for a number of decades now. We can’t afford to see ‘convenience’ as a useful approach to the future. This came to be main stream knowledge in the seventies which then led to the desperate reaction known as the neo-liberal.

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Genter can easily demolish Cullen, but can she open up the ‘who are we’ question?

The Editor, The Listener, Auckland

14/07/ 2021

Dear Editor:

Julie Anne Genter, MP (transport solutions) clearly exposes the ‘tired strawman arguments’ of Sir Michael Cullen (26/6) and correctly states what everyone knows, ’70 yrs of evidence’ that adding new highway capacity does not solve congestion problems. 

And she repeats what we’ve so often heard, the correct notion that there is ‘overwhelming evidence’ that when safe, people will use low-powered vehicles.

But what she doesn’t attempt to explain is why many, including Dr Cullen, are not afraid to expose their desperation for all to see.   What will help the debate forward is to understand, and be willing to talk about, that this is a cultural exercise, addressing ‘who we are’, not a rational debate between individual egos.  In our time people sense correctly that global warming necessitates a fundamental change in the way our culture is organized, away from an ancient ego-driven consumerism led since the eighties by the global neo-liberal agenda (remember Roger Douglas in NZ?).  The terror of that realization is exposing an open sore of desperation.

Sincerely,

Richard Keller


Climate ‘Empowerment’ is a ‘we’ thing, not an ego thing

The Editor, The Sunday Star Times, Auckland

12/07/ 2021

Dear Editor:

“Crisis”.  “Emergency”.  Are these terms contradictory?  No.  Is there any difference at all?  Not much. 

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Bars heating the outside world??

The Editor, The Dominion Post, Wellington

09/07/ 2021

Dear Editor:

George Thomson and Nick Wilson (8/7/21), public health experts, are right to question the stubbornness of Hospitality New Zealand in ignoring the medical evidence surrounding outdoor smoking bans in helping smokers quit.

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Risk to world with vaccination hoarding and UK ‘live with’

The UK decision to ‘live with’ Covid-19 virus, meaning a growing number of cases and deaths, puts all its travel partners at increased risk the same way that lack of vaccinations in poorer countries does. The term ‘live with’ may have a common sense history in the human world, but is hard to define in a virus world.

The main impact will be that the poorer segments of the global population, wherever they live, will be put more at risk than the affluent ones; Boris Johnson is thinking about his ‘constituency’.


Sir Michael Cullen goes rogue

The Editor, The Listener, Auckland

27/06/ 2021

Dear Editor:

Sir Michael Cullen in the interview dated 2/7 risks appearing ignorant of both the reality of the look of future transport and of the climate change politics going on in Parliament. 

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Submission to “Transport Emissions” consultation

To whom it may concern at Ministry of Transport,

Please consider this my personal submission on the ‘Hīkina te Kohupara – Kia mauri ora ai te iwi – Transport Emissions: Pathways to Net Zero by 2050’ discussion document.

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