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4479 posts

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  #2474407 1-May-2020 10:03
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Washington Post: Russia's Putin has just made two huge mistakes — and his timing couldn’t be worse

Russian President Vladimir Putin has a well-earned reputation as an astute tactician and a steely decision-maker. Yet over the past few weeks he has mismanaged Russia’s responses to two major crises: the collapse of the oil market and the coronavirus pandemic. Now he is facing one of the most acute challenges to his rule right at the moment when he had thought it safe to extend his term through a constitutional referendum.

The Kremlin’s first mistake came in early March, when it reacted to falling oil prices by rejecting Saudi entreaties to cut production. The Russian decision to push for an oil glut proved to be singularly mistimed.

Putin had likely hoped that a sudden drop in prices would bankrupt the many independent U.S. shale producers who operate on thin margins. And since the Russian budget balances at around $40 per barrel, while Saudi Arabia targets a price that is roughly twice that, the Kremlin no doubt figured it could stick it to the Saudis while absorbing a short-term fall in revenue.

...Oil prices are an existential issue for Putin’s petro-state, where budget and currency are closely tied to global hydrocarbon markets. Russia’s economic forecast appears correspondingly bleak
...
The Kremlin’s second big mistake was to allow its propaganda machine to project an aura of invincibility even as the covid-19 tsunami was spreading across Russia. The Kremlin closed part, but not all, of its 2,600-mile border with China on Jan. 31, leading to a false sense of security that was compounded by willful ignorance. Demonstrating both its hubris and ignorance, the military thus went forward with a large-scale exercise on Ukraine’s border in late March, long after NATO had pulled the plug on its “Defender Europe” drill.

Testing throughout February and most of March was handled by a single lab in Siberia, meaning that most covid-19 cases across Russia’s 11 time zones were being wrongly classified as pneumonia, bronchitis, flu, etc. It didn’t help that authorities criminalized the spread of “false information” or that they arrested a prominent doctor for challenging official statistics as she tried to deliver masks to an impoverished rural hospital.

Now, as social media users are sharing videos of ambulances lined up for miles waiting to deposit patients in overcrowded Moscow hospitals, it’s no longer possible to claim that all is under control. The Russian health-care system was already struggling with a number of chronic health conditions (tuberculosis, heart disease, alcoholism, etc.) and many public health experts worry that the pandemic might bring matters to a breaking point. Russia is also one of the rare countries that’s simultaneously coping with low life expectancy and a graying population, making it particularly vulnerable to covid-19. Putin’s tendency to delegate decisions on pandemic policy to regional governors might help insulate him from political fallout in the near term, but it is unlikely to lead to a well-managed policy over the longer term.
...
What happens next is hard to predict with any certainty, but one thing is clear: The legitimacy of the Putin regime will be tested as never before.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/29/putin-has-just-made-two-huge-mistakes-his-timing-couldnt-be-worse/



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  #2474410 1-May-2020 10:06
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Thanks for the post on behalf of us without access to WP. That is scary. Just reinforces no test no cases doesn't mean no cases.




Involuntary autocorrect in operation on mobile device. Apologies in advance.


 
 
 
 


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  #2474419 1-May-2020 10:15
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Batman:  Just reinforces no test no cases doesn't mean no cases.

 

I doubt anyone thinks that


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  #2474494 1-May-2020 11:29
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tdgeek:

 

I see there was a funeral, 10 invited, 100 just turned up. L3 is L4 with fries, stay at home, yes you can go to work. Maybe we here are in our Geekzone bubble, we follow the virus, we watch the updates. its OBVIOUS what L3 is. Maybe the masses just see it on the news, and dont really know much or see" no lockdown now" and a couple of cases and its over? Maybe they should have done these updates at 6pm news on all FTA channels? Either Kiwis are lethargic to this or they dont know? 

 

 

I thought about submitting an official complaint form against some clear breaches yesterday.. it wanted so much personal information before I could event complain. So I gave up ... Thumbs up to those who can be bothered going through the process.

 

If you hear "media sound bites" around the current lockdown and didn't look into anything else, I can see how people may assume that they might be able to catch up with friends and family and everything is now ok .. 

 

I can also imagine that hearing "end of lockdown" after being at home for 5 weeks was like a tap was turned on; you could see the increased movement before ANZAC weekend.
As someone who was working normally as an essential worker - travelling into an office, I was always looking forward to the weekend and not going anywhere.


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  #2474508 1-May-2020 11:43
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nzkiwiman:

 

I thought about submitting an official complaint form against some clear breaches yesterday.. it wanted so much personal information before I could event complain. So I gave up ... Thumbs up to those who can be bothered going through the process.

 

If you hear "media sound bites" around the current lockdown and didn't look into anything else, I can see how people may assume that they might be able to catch up with friends and family and everything is now ok .. 

 

I can also imagine that hearing "end of lockdown" after being at home for 5 weeks was like a tap was turned on; you could see the increased movement before ANZAC weekend.
As someone who was working normally as an essential worker - travelling into an office, I was always looking forward to the weekend and not going anywhere.

 

 

We are all a bit insulated here. Not typical of Joe Average, it seems that the Joe Averages may not know much about the pandemic. They know of it, its been in chat with friends/family, but low on detail. I assumed everybody has a sound, but not excessive general knowledge, and off course they know what L4 entails and L3. Or they dont care anymore, whats the odds type of thing. As an analogy, its a bit like a huge major deal with Rugby in NZ. People who are not into rugby, they will be aware, bit thats it. Maybe its like that for the virus. 3 weeks of hard hitting news is getting old now. In fact someone the other day I was talking to said a friend told them, I am so sick of hearing about it, dont tell me anything, I'm over it.


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  #2474521 1-May-2020 12:16
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It's an interesting situation where a particular NZ region no longer has any active Covid-19 cases or very few. For example, the West Coast has had no new cases since 5 April. 

 

It's perhaps understandable that the region's mayors are asking for a relaxation of the Level 3 rules which are costing jobs and hurting businesses.

 

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/415547/live-covid-19-updates-from-new-zealand-and-around-the-world-on-1-may

 

From the above:

 

Westland District Mayor Bruce Smith said locking down the economies of the West Coast based on fear is crazy.

 

 

 

 


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  #2474532 1-May-2020 12:29
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When I read "based on fear is crazy." Its time to delete the article


 
 
 
 


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Master Geek


  #2474533 1-May-2020 12:31
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tdgeek, nzkiwiman

 

Psycologists probably recognize the present behavior as predictable and inevitable.

 

I might call it , 

 

wish-it-wernt-soism.

 

Does-not-apply-to-meism.

 

Exceptualism, I'm and exception.

 

I know but don't careism.

 

I'm lucky all the timeism, related to Imspecailism.

 

That guy over there is doingitism.

 

Social media Starism.  ( I'll post with first, most , funniest , takeaway video )

 

If we had passed cannabis law before this, maybe more would have been sitting at home smoking away , mellow as ? 

 

Certainly its a longer and harder road than thought.
I was wondering what level of crime would you typically get 5 weeks home detention for.  Out of curiosity.

 

I predict , after takeaway rush, beach rush , there will be pressure to open Hairdressers for Hairdresser rush.
As soon as they can , maybe there are under-the-table Hairdressers already.
I can understand the Hairdresser exemption in Aussie for lots of people their unkempness , the bleeding colour even will be intolerable.

 

Hopefully we are lucky and we have hit this on the head, its a really a bugger you wont know until its 2 weeks too late to do anything.


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  #2474537 1-May-2020 12:46
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tdgeek:

 

When I read "based on fear is crazy." Its time to delete the article

 

 

Perhaps it's also time to delete this article:

 

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/121362787/coronavirus-winston-peters-says-new-zealand-and-australia-beating-the-crap-out-of-covid19

 

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand and Australia are “beating the cr..” out of Coronavirus.

 

“We are not going to eliminate it, we are not going to eradicate it, but we are beating the cr.. out of it and so is Australia.”

 

Meanwhile, he says a trans-Tasman border bubble with Australia could happen at level two and become a model to the world.

 

But he warned it would not work if quarantine was required.

 

This sort of statement from Winston is being welcomed by business owners who want an early shift to Level 2, but is it just a bit too early to be talking to Kiwis like this?


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  #2474539 1-May-2020 12:49
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"Florida medical examiners were releasing coronavirus death data. The state made them stop."

 

The headline says it all. Talk about politicising the health issue. How can we trust numbers coming out of the USA now?





 

 

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Geekzone broadband switch | Eletricity comparison and switch | Hatch investment (NZ$ 10 bonus if NZ$100 deposited within 30 days) | Sharesies | Mighty Ape | Backblaze | Amazon | My technology disclosure 


174 posts

Master Geek


  #2474624 1-May-2020 13:02
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frednz:

 

 

 

It's an interesting situation where a particular NZ region no longer has any active Covid-19 cases or very few. For example, the West Coast has had no new cases since 5 April. 

 

It's perhaps understandable that the region's mayors are asking for a relaxation of the Level 3 rules which are costing jobs and hurting businesses.

 

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/415547/live-covid-19-updates-from-new-zealand-and-around-the-world-on-1-may

 

From the above:

 

Westland District Mayor Bruce Smith said locking down the economies of the West Coast based on fear is crazy.

 

 

Its understandable, but as tdgeek points out the statement "based on fear" debases the argument.

 

Two points I see.

 

1/  No cases , how do you know no cases , are you guessing or have enough testing ?
    Problem is that CV19 does not do something obvious to 100% of cases like turn your face orange.
    It can be fairly silent among enough of the population to make it difficult to know.
    You also have people going in and out of your area essential workers , trucks etc.

 

2/  Once it becomes news that area X will be free , what happens next .
    Let people know in advance, and everyone suddenly has an auntie on the coast etc.
    Can you really control internal boarders that tightly against a desperate inventive rush to freedom. 
    It might take some steel and willingness to be more autocratic than most NZers will accept.
    NZDF putting up radar sites and interception of bush planes, searching trucks, boats , SAS monitoring bush tracks..

 

I expect the reluctance to what seems an easy idea is how this works in practice.


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  #2474626 1-May-2020 13:06
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frednz:

 

tdgeek:

 

When I read "based on fear is crazy." Its time to delete the article

 

 

Perhaps it's also time to delete this article:

 

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/121362787/coronavirus-winston-peters-says-new-zealand-and-australia-beating-the-crap-out-of-covid19

 

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand and Australia are “beating the cr..” out of Coronavirus.

 

“We are not going to eliminate it, we are not going to eradicate it, but we are beating the cr.. out of it and so is Australia.”

 

Meanwhile, he says a trans-Tasman border bubble with Australia could happen at level two and become a model to the world.

 

But he warned it would not work if quarantine was required.

 

This sort of statement from Winston is being welcomed by business owners who want an early shift to Level 2, but is it just a bit too early to be talking to Kiwis like this?

 

 

I see no issue with his comments, they seem correct and feasible.

 

"based on fear is crazy" isn't quite the same level of accuracy and attitude. In a few days the infection rate will be equal to NZ population. Doesnt seem long ago that China's 80,000 was mind boggling. West Coast mayor needs to stop venting


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  #2474629 1-May-2020 13:10
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Love it. Just now on live update:

 

 

 

"Don't be an idiot. Stick to your bubble."





 

 

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  #2474676 1-May-2020 13:24
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These links are referral codes

 

Geekzone broadband switch | Eletricity comparison and switch | Hatch investment (NZ$ 10 bonus if NZ$100 deposited within 30 days) | Sharesies | Mighty Ape | Backblaze | Amazon | My technology disclosure 


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Master Geek


  #2474760 1-May-2020 14:38
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Moving to Level 2 , Opening up to Trans-Tasman , Pacific bubble.

 

I expect that Aussies will be very cautious , sticking point, and depend more on their rules than us.
Sure they will be happy to send planeloads of 501s our way as soon as they can.
Otherwise is there more in it for us , their tourist will spend more than we will there.
Queenstown becomes isolated state of Australia for ski season , direct flights, NZers 14day quarantine ? 
Does Norfolk island still want to be annexed by New Zealand,
Just Joking .
At least we would have to have unified rules or Aussie will constantly be pinged drawing their governments ire.

 

Level 2 conundrum , contact tracing , and privacy.

 

The less privacy you have the more open you are able to be as you can get to contacts quickly.
Google seems to have a pretty good idea anyway, the Google/Apple app, probably uses data they already have ?

 

For some other countries in Asia this was easy , scale of emergency bigger than privacy .
Korea 'apparently' you got live updates on your phone maps as you traveled that you approached areas where cases were.
Probably has psychological effect to keeping people cautious and accepting keeping in their bubble.
So you are at the beach crowd forms and everyone gets a warning there are past cases nearby everyone scatters.

 

You can open up faster with detailed contact tracing , automated big data, but goes against our culture.
If you can dump the app , turn off your bluetooth, just get a new phone after its all over is it so bad ?
I expect delays in Level 2 are due to dealing with thorny problems of how to manage what rules , what app.

 

If we join with Australia it will have to be something Australia will accept as watertight enough.


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