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Friday, 20 July


Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect The AIM Network

Dana Milbank wrote it off as a victory of demographics, a minor, inconsequential point which left the down-the-line liberal Rep. Joe Crowley in its wake, a simple ploy that avoids any hard-headed analysis of the Democrats themselves. The argument that there is a Democratic establishment resisting the progressive tide is a straw man. This was

The post Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect appeared first on The AIM Network.


Beautiful Balts: From Displaced Persons to New Australians Independent Australia

Beautiful Balts: From Displaced Persons to New AustraliansKevin Bain shares his thoughts on Jayne Persian's book on post WW2 immigration and what we can learn from it today. read now...


David Leyonhjelm guest post on free speech Catallaxy Files

Free speech is under threat in Australia, although few realise just how seriously. Politicians of the left point to our national security legislation and its unnecessary restrictions on speech, while politicians of the right point to over-reach in anti discrimination legislation. Both are correct, yet neither recognises the big picture.

I am trying to do something about it, with four weighty bills to remove unwarranted restrictions on free speech from Commonwealth law. Three of these were introduced in the final sitting week in June.

My first bill repeals section 18C of the Commonwealth Racial Discrimination Act which bans acts that offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate where the acts are done, at least in part, because of national or ethnic origin, race or colour. The general ban on intimidation in State and Territory law would remain.

Those who support retaining S18C correctly point out that there is a defence for acts done reasonably and in good faith. However, the courts have interpreted this defence as only providing protection if the values of the Racial Discrimination Act are honoured conscientiously, with sufficient care and diligence taken to minimise offence and guard against the reinforcement of racial prejudice. Such a straitjacket on language might be fine when writing in an academic journal, but it is not much use when writing a social media post or newspaper column, as Andrew Bolt discovered. It should be legal for anyone to argue against affirmative action policies, even if their argument is flawed or insensitive.

My second bill removes various other bans on speech that people find insulting or offensive. Thus it would repeal bans on insulting various parts of executive government, such as tribunals dealing with bankruptcy, copyright, defence personnel, veterans, competition law, environmental regulation or workplace regulation. The bans on disrupting the effective operation of these tribunals would remain.

This bill also removes a ban on offensive conduct online, while maintaining the ban on menacing and harassing online content.

Both of these bills should be supported for the same reasons: they legalise insults. Taking offence at insults is a personal matter and should not be a matter for the law. Those who advocate making it legal to insult on the grounds of race, but not to insult in other contexts, are probably racist.

My third bill will be loved by the lefties but hated by the right. It removes restrictions on journalists and everyday Australians from reporting on and discussing the operations of security agencies, provided that such reporting or discussions does not endanger anyones health or safety.

If security agencies want to keep secrets, it is their responsibility to do so and not the responsibility of journalists or the public. Our security agencies serve us, not the other way around. Thus if there are matters that these agencies intend to re...


Here is an industry where true balance is missing The AIM Network

By Tony Andrews For full participation, just like any other Australians, First Nations need allies and support. Big business has a seemingly bottomless source of funds available to forward their own agendas. The union movement, though fairly limited in funds, has the passionate commitment and feet on the ground at election time and on the

The post Here is an industry where true balance is missing appeared first on The AIM Network.


The UK uses child spies No Right Turn

British police and intelligence agencies are using children as spies:

British police and intelligence agencies are using children as spies in covert operations against terrorists, gangs and drug dealers.

A committee of the House of Lords revealed the practice while raising the alarm over government plans to give law enforcement bodies more freedom over their use of children.

Some of the child spies are aged under 16, the committee says, adding that it was worried about proposals to extend from one month to four the period of time between each occasion that child spies go through a re-registration process.

This isn't using children as informants or witnesses - its actually using them as covert, undercover agents in a criminal or terrorist environment. Which raises obvious child welfare and legal issues. Pretty obviously, it raises questions about whether the UK is complying with its duty under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to ensure that best interests of the child is the primary consideration in any decision about them. And in anti-terrorist operations, it raises questions about whether the UK is complying with its duties under UNCROC's First Optional Protocol on the recruitment of children in armed conflict.

More generally, the use of children as soldiers is a war crime. Shouldn't this also apply to using children as spies?


Fuck Australia No Right Turn

The Australians are pissed off at Andrew Little for calling them out on their deportation policy and treatment of kiwis. And Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton thinks Little should "reflect" on the NZ-Australia relationship before criticising our neighbours. I think we should reflect on it too, because there's a lot to criticise.

Where to start? Their shittiness to kiwis is the least of it. The Australian government is full of racists. Their political system is irredeemably corrupt, and their federal politicans refuse to try and clean it up out of fear they'll lose their slice of the pie. They spy on their neighbours, and prosecute those who blow the whistle on them. They have authoritarian espionage laws which in practice target journalists. Their treatment of their indigenous people is appalling. They stick refugees in concentration camps where they are abused and neglected.

Whenever our politicians meet, they talk a lot about how the relationship is built on "shared values". I don't see a lot that we share. Racism is not a kiwi value. Corruption is not a kiwi value. Authoritarianism and cruelty are not kiwi values. The values we take pride in - compassion, fairness, justice, honesty, democracy - are values Australia is walking away from. They're even walking away from their supposed "mateship". They're no longer the sort of country a modern democracy can or should count as a friend.

As their closest neighbour and oldest friend, this is something we should be speaking out against, not keeping silent on. And if they don't like that, then fuck Australia.

Also, if you don't like what Australia has become or the way it treats people, then vote with your wallet and don't buy Australian. Don't give your mon...


It's time to say goodbye to low wage growth Independent Australia

It's time to say goodbye to low wage growthSince the Government is reluctant to do anything about the problem of low wage growth, Philip Soos suggests ways in which it can be solved. read now...


Labour lied on refugees No Right Turn

When they were in opposition, Labour advocated for an increased refugee quota. When they were running for election, they explicitly promised to raise it to 1,500 a year. But now they're in government, they're saying that we're full:

The Government has stalled on plans to double New Zealand's refugee quota - and it's because of the housing crisis.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says Aotearoa need to sort that before it thinks about welcoming more refugees.


"What we have to do is make sure we've got the capacity to take those extra people."

Translation: we just don't have enough homes.

For context, the promised increase in the refugee quota is less than one percent of net immigration, and it would be completely buried by this year's decrease. So Lees-Galloway's "justification" isn't especially convincing. But more importantly, there will always be problems in New Zealand, but that's no excuse to ignore the greater problems of the wider world. Refugees are in desperate need, and we are nowhere near to doing our bit for them (we take fewer refugees per capita than the much-reviled Australians, for example). Labour promised to move part of the way towards correcting that, to be a more compassionate government than their predecessors. Sadly, it looks like they were just fucking lying to us, as usual.



Victorian Police have just announced that they will charge Canadian speaker Lauren Southern a staggering $68,000 after violent thugs threatened to protest her talk in Melbourne.

Thats right: A law-abiding speaker giving a legal speech is being charged because of threats by rabid far-left activists.

Protecting people from violence literally is the core duty of the police (and one VicPolice seem to be failing at consistently). To charge the law-abiding because of the threats made against them makes a complete mockery of our legal system.

These protests are organised by the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism (CARF) an organisation started by members of the radical Socialist Alternative, which previously had members arrested for violently attacking attendees at a speech last year  and has already created a Solidarity And Defence Fund to defend members arrested for violence.

It doesnt matter if you agree with Lauren or disagree with her. This goes to the very heart of freedom of speech in Australia. If the police can force someone to pay $68,000 or else be silent, then freedom of speech in Australia is dead.

Make no mistake: The Victorian Police literally want to charge someone $68,000 to exercise the right to freedom of speech because of threats made AGAINST them. If anyone should pay the bill, it should be the protestors who are the once threatening violence.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights state Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

This is the behaviour of tin-pot dictatorships, not a free society like Australia.



A victory for European justice No Right Turn

A week ago, a German court rejected the extradition of exiled Catalan President Carles Puigdemont on "rebellion" charges. He could be extradited for "misuse of public funds", but not for "rebellion" as there was no equivalent offence in German law (Germany requires actual or planned violence, not peaceful protest and democratic advocacy. The idea of a peaceful "rebellion" is nonsensical). And now, as expected, Spain is having a legal temper-tantrum and has withdrawn the European Arrest Warrants against all the exiled Catalan politicians:

A Spanish judge has dropped the international arrest warrants issued for the former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and five other pro-sovereignty politicians over their roles in last years illegal referendum and subsequent unilateral declaration of independence.


The dropping of the international warrant means Puigdemont and his former colleagues currently in Belgium, Scotland and Switzerland no longer face extradition proceedings. But domestic warrants remain in force, meaning the six will be arrested should they return to Spain.

In his ruling, published on Thursday, Llarena hit out at the court in Schleswig-Holstein, accusing it of a lack of commitment over acts that could have broken Spains constitutional order. The German courts refusal to extradite Puigdemont on the rebellion charge which prosecutors had argued could be equated to high treason in the German penal code meant the deposed president could not be tried for the offence if sent back to Spain.

That offence - again, for purely democratic actions taken and backed by the Catalan Parliament - is really all Spain wants to charge him with. The "misuse of public funds" charge is a smokescreen, and even the Spanish government says it didn't happen. But now Spain is being denied its show trial. No wonder they're upset.

Unfortunately, Spain is still holding nine Catalan political leaders as political prisoners on similar trumped-up charges. And they'll probably take out their anger on them.


Why Isnt Perth a Ghost Town Yet? Catallaxy Files

As parts of Australias east coast experience record low temperatures and Perth continues to experience healthy amounts of rainfall, I cant help but remember the time in 2004 when Tim Flannery said that there was a fair chance that Perth would become the 21st centurys first ghost metropolis based on what appeared to be a two month, self-selected crash course in reading some stuff he found and the subsequent soiling of his pants:

Climate change would diminish the environment of Sydney and its hinterland, and it only had to look to Perths experience.

I think there is a fair chance Perth will be the 21st centurys first ghost metropolis, Dr Flannery said. Its whole primary production is in dire straits and the eastern states are only 30 years behind.

He said climate change tended to move in steps. In 1976, when the first step occurred, the south-western corner of Western Australia lost 20 per cent of its rainfall, and its catchment fell from 340 gigalitres to 111 gigalitres. The average is now 160 gigalitres. In 1998, when the second step occurred, the world experienced the worst El Nino effect and the death of 17 per cent of its coral reefs. South-eastern Australia was hit by drought .

Dr Flannery said he had spent the past two months reading everything I can get my hands on about climate change, and had been horrified by what he had learnt.

Three years later in 2007, Flannery was at it again, doubling down on his prediction albeit not quite as confidently this time around because, apparently, desalination plants:

AUSTRALIAN of the Year Tim Flannery is sticking by his warning that Perth could become the first ghost metropolis of the 21st century.

But the outspoken environmental scientist says its our addiction to coal, not just water, that is jeopardising our future.

[TMR: using this logic, I guess this also means that Im addicted to breathing air. On reflection, I have to admit that Im rather frivolous wit...


With NATO and Putin, Trumps cleaning up after Obama Catallaxy Files

Today in The Australian

With NATO and Putin, Trumps cleaning up after Obama

In a widely acclaimed column in last weekends The New York Times, Bret Stephens argued that Donald Trumps foreign policy aimed at one result and one result only: The collapse of the liberal international order, even at the cost of leaving America hated, feared and alone.



Goodbye to some of that ... loon pond

The pond started blogging ten years ago, on 20th July 2008. It was a Sunday, and the pond went into a brooding fit because Michael Duffy had scribbled some nonsense about evangelicals ...ironical really, as the pond woke this morning to Andrew West attempting to get evangelical Xian Mike Pompeo to disavow fundamentalist, human rights abusing Saudi Arabia, and after a brief evasion, copping an interview termination notice

Stupidity and hypocrisy never ends, but ten years is a long, long time to wallow in it

and now the pond is cutting back on its reptile addiction, back to a single post each day in the morning.

Aquarium owners will know the feeling if they've ever woken up one morning to find the tank full of fish floating belly up do they re-stock, or do they embark on a useful, meaningful life?

When the pond started, it had some regrets about trolling the Duffster, but he went on to a better life out of the spotlight, and in a way, the pond became the victim as the pond's mind has long been overgrown with useless reptile trivia and arcana

And for what? Usually lavish doses of hysteria and alarmism about all the wrong and irrelevant things



Racist dogwhistling over African gangs proves Turnbull is a hollow man Independent Australia

Racist dogwhistling over African gangs proves Turnbull is a hollow manMalcolm Turnbull's claim African crime gangs are terrorising Melbourne is yet another sign of his lack of spine. read now...


Your gospel aint good news to me

The life, death and resurrection of Jesus are central to the Christian faith. Christians have long understood that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ.

The earliest preaching, as it comes to us from the book of Acts, had a relatively straightforward take on this. Jesus came with the good news that God was gathering Israelites together to be the community they were always meant to be good, compassionate, just, faithful, kind, loving, generous. It was a community in which adulterers were forgiven, the possessed were restored to their right minds, the rich shared with the poor, the lame and the blind were healed, the unclean were rendered permanently clean, and God was trusted to lead and provide. Awake to this calling, Israel could then fulfil its mission of being the vehicle for reconciliation between God and all the nations. The people however, prodded and goaded by powerful political and religious elites, who in turn were tools in the hands of shadowy and malevolent spiritual forces, conspired together to execute Gods Messiah. They stripped him bare, subjected him to shame and humiliation, then drained the life from his veins. God met their evil, not with retribution, but by raising Jesus from the dead and investing Jesus as Lord over all. Given this, the prudent course of action for any human being is to turn away from idolatry, injustice, violence, greed and abuse of others to follow Jesus into his new community of love, grace, peace, and hope.

In the centuries that followed our theologians turned their attention to this narrative. What did it mean for humankind that God had taken on humanity? What did it mean for God? When Jesus died was there something happening beyond his simply absorbing the evil smeared upon him? And what are the implications of his resurrection?

As these kind of questions were debated, the cultural frames of each generation were both a help and a hindrance. On the one hand, new cultural frames allowed fresh insights and interpretations and enabled the core themes of the good news to be articulated in ways that spoke to the deepest longings and needs of their age. On the other hand, each new theory was in danger of making the good news captive to thought structures succeeding generations could not embrace.

For a long time the dominant theory was that Jesus gave his life as a ransom to the devil, only for God to snatch it back in a daring move (the resurrection). By this means God rescued humankind from slavery to the devil.

In the 13th century Anselm shifted the dialogue. Informed by feudal notions of offended lords who required satisfaction for their wounded honour, Anselm argued that Jesuss death was not a ransom paid to the Devil but an act that satisfied Gods honour.

Two centuries later the Reformers seized on Anselms theory. They replaced the idea of satisfaction with that of justice, God the offended noble with God the holy lawgiver. Jesus bore the...


Trump-Putin Helsinki 16 July 2018 Press Conference: the matter of a curious admission and omission North Coast Voices

The mainstream media carried transcripts of the 16 July 2018 US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin joint press conference held in Helsinki, Finland.

Video of this press conference is available online.

There is one specific exchange between President Putin and an American reporter.

It went thus:

REPORTER: Did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?

PUTIN: Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S. Russia relationship back to normal.

The White House also posted a transcript of the joint pr...


Human ponies fetish "IndyWatch Feed"

Remember my post last March, Human dogs at 2018 Mardi Gras, Australia, on humans dressing up as dogs? Human pups is an offshoot of BDSM (bondage-domination-sadism-masochism) a sexual fetish that has exploded in the last 15 years as the Continue reading


Too warm, too dry as Winter draws closer to Spring in Australia 2018 North Coast Voices

Warmer days and nights favoured for AugustOctober

August to October days and nights are likely to be warmer than average for most of the country, with high chances (greater than 80%) in eastern Victoria and NSW, and southern Tasmania.

Days and nights in August are likely to be warmer than average for most of Australia, with high chances (greater than 80%) of warmer days in the southeast.

Historical accuracy for AugustOctober maximum temperatures is moderate for eastern and northern parts of Australia, as well as southern WA. Elsewhere, accuracy is low to very low. Historical accuracy for minimum temperatures is moderate for the northern half of Australia, SA, and Tasmania, but low to very low elsewhere.

Temperature - The chance...


Slowly but surely Russian connections between the UK Brexit referendum campaign and the US presidential campaign are beginning to emerge North Coast Voices

We have concluded that there are risks in relation to the processing of personal data by many political parties. Particular concerns include: the purchasing of marketing lists and lifestyle information from data brokers without sufficient due diligence, a lack of fair processing, and use of third party data analytics companies with insufficient checks around consent.We have looked closely at the role of those who buy and sell personal data-sets in the UK. Our existing investigation of the privacy issues raised by their work has been expanded to include their activities in political processes.The investigation has identified a total of 172 organisations of interest that required engagement, of which around 30 organisations have formed the main focus of our enquiries, including political parties, data analytics companies and major social media platforms..Similarly, we have identified a total of 285 individuals relating to our investigation. [UK Information Commissioners Office, Investigation into the use of data analytics in political campaigns: Investigation update, July 2018]

Slowly but surely the Russian connections between the UK Brexit referendum campaign and the US presidential campaign are beginning to emerge.

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Thursday, 19 July


More on CO2 enrichment Catallaxy Files

Consequently and in consideration of these benefits the ongoing rise in atmospheric CO2 should be widely celebrated. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, it is the very elixir of life.

The previous post on this topic described how most plants will benefit from warming (if we get any) thanks to CO2 enrichment. This post provides a hint of the dollar benefits of past and future enrichment, the increase in food production and the positive impact on forest ecosystems. For more details read chapter 13 of Climate Change: The Facts 2017.

Agricultural ecosystems

Agricultural production has been rising steadily against the expectations of environmental alarmists and aerial fertilisation by CO2 is one of the factors as an Australian Gifford suggested as long ago as 1979. That was before anyone was taking much notice of CO2 and the great (and now almost forgotten) cooling scare was fading away. Some of the benefits attributed to the new breeds of grain and fertilizer regimes in the green revolution may have come from CO2 enrichment.

Calculations suggest that the annual benefit of CO2 enrichment grew from US18 billion in 1961 to more than 140 billion by 2011 to deliver a total of US 3 trillion over 50 years from 2011 to 2051. This has the potential to transform the capacity of the earth to provide for the projected population at that time. So much for the billions of deaths from starvation that Paul Ehrlich predicted last century.

Rice runs third with 9% of global food production and a 300ppm increase in CO2 could lift the yield by almost 40%. What is more the research shows that the response from various strains of rice varies from -7% to +260% which can guide breeding programs as the Horsham researchers in Australia reported.

Forest ecosystems

The author reports that tree growth rates have increased since the Industrial Revolution with some species doubling their growth rate during this time. This includes highly productive tropical forests. The greening effect of CO2 on the forests of the planet has been well reported thanks to satellite studies and the terrestrial primary productivity has increased by 6 to 12% since the 1980s. As if to placate the greens this has been caused a great deal of carbon capture in forests, those that have not been replaced by oils for petrol or woodchips to burn for carbon credits in Europe.


The author concluded Consequently and in consideration of these benefits the ongoing rise in atmospheric CO2 should be widely celebrated. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, it is the very elixir of life.


The rational crypto-expectations revolution Catallaxy Files

My RMIT colleagues Chris Berg, Jason Potts and I have a new idea up as a Medium post looking at money.


Will governments adopt their own cryptocurrencies? No.

Will cryptocurrencies affect government currencies? Yes.

In fact, cryptocurrencies will make fiat currency better for its usersfor citizens, for businesses, for markets. Heres why.

Why do we have fiat currency?

Governments provide fiat currencies to finance discretionary spending (through inflation), control the macroeconomy through monetary policy, and avoid the exchange rate risk they would have to bear if everybody paid taxes in different currencies.

As George Selgin, Larry White and others have shown, many historical societies had systems of private moneyfree bankingwhere the institution of money was provided by the market.

But for the most part, private monies have been displaced by fiat currencies, and live on as a historical curiosity.

We can explain this with an institutional possibility frontier; a framework developed first by Harvard economist Andrei Shleifer and his various co-authors. Shleifer and colleagues array social institutions according to how they trade-off the risks of disorder (that is, private fraud and theft) against the risk of dictatorship (that is, government expropriation, oppression, etc.) along the frontier.

As the graph shows, for money these risks are counterfeiting (disorder) and unexpected inflation (dictatorship). The free banking era taught us that private currencies are vulnerable to counterfeiting, but due to competitive market pressure, minimise the risk of inflation.

By contrast, fiat currencies are less susceptible to counterfeiting. Governments are a trusted third party that aggressively prosecutes currency fraud. The tradeoff though is that governments get the power of inflating the currency.



Ghosts of privatisations past and future? John Quiggin

Most people wont recognise the name Leo Hielscher unless they regularly cross the eponymous* bridge (better known by its original name, the Gateway). But he is a figure of great consequence in Queensland, responsible for the downfall of two governments. Hielscher ran the states finances for decades, and was the architect of the Bjelke-Petersen strategy of an extractive economy based low taxes, low services and low skill. His proudest boast was the states AAA credit rating

The low point of his career was probably the leadup to the 2009 election when Anna Bligh announced that, rather than cut infrastructure spending or sell assets in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, she would allow the states credit rating to be reduced to AA+. Bligh was re-elected, and promptly announced a massive program of asset sales. This was one of the rare instances where I was directly involved in the policy process, providing advice to the Queensland Council of Unions, and in this capacity I got to observe Hielscher in action. He was very effective in pushing the (economically spurious) case for asset sales and the need to regain the AAA rating.

Bligh, and her Treasurer, Andrew Fraser pushed through the asset sales and pushed the Labor government off a cliff, being reduced to seven members at the 2012 election. Of course, Bligh landed on her feet, ending up as CEO of the Australian Bankers Association. I didnt get such a ringside view of the process that led Campbell Newman and Tim Nicholls to adopt their catastrophic Strong Choices asset sales campaign, but I have no doubt that Hielscher played a significant role in the background. Both Campbell and Nicholls have duly been consigned to well-deserved political oblivion.

Now the rightwing Australian Institute of Progress has staged a reunion.

After denouncing the public debt levels sustained by the Palaszczuk Labor government, Hielscher

received a standing ovation from the high-powered audience that included former LNP premier Campbell Newman, former state Liberal leader and treasurer Joan Sheldon as well as former Labor treasurers Keith de Lacy and Andrew Fraser.

Anna Bligh was obviously too busy defending the massive corruption of the banking sector to make it to Brisbane, and Tim Nicholls is still keeping a low profile. Apart from that, though, the whole team was there. De Lacy left politics before the events Ive described, but hes the archetypal  careerist who dumped Labor the moment it had served his purposes. Until now, I was un...


David Bidstrup: The clinking sound as the penny drops for AEMO Catallaxy Files

The clinking sound we heard this morning was the penny dropping for AEMO. They admit that coal is the cheapest power option, (Australian July 17 2018). As the young folk would say, Duh!!!!

It is amazing that they can come to this conclusion after the propaganda spouted about cheap renewables and the stratospheric heights of power prices, the plunge in reliability and the price gouging in their market that sees generators ripping us off at will.

Its a bit like telling us everyone has a fundamental orifice.

We should be up in arms. They said nothing when Port Augusta power station was trashed by fanatical zealots in some grotesque display of naked political ideology. Likewise with the closure of Hazelwood where an equally fanatical and clueless government facilitated the closure by raising coal royalties and the foreign owners implemented their own twisted green agenda. Easy to do when your home country relies on nuclear power and sells it to Germany as their system falls over from renewables. The generator that is getting out of coal, but isnt, wants to close another one and our ineffectual leaders seem to be powerless, (excuse the pun), to stop them.

Governments both state and federal stood aside because they wanted to show their free market credentials or were rabid dickheads or made a motza from their state owned coal fired stations when the renewable fell in a heap, as they do with monotonous regularity. The Finkel green manifesto told us there is no going back as they told the story that the masters wanted to hear, demonstrating the old adage that you only commission an enquiry when you know that the outcome will be what you want for whatever purpose in this case political expediency.

The story goes on saying that the country needs to spend between $8 and $27 Billion a fair spread and an indication that no one really knows to facilitate an orderly transition to renewables. Why they still try to have us believe that renewables can ever power an industrial economy is beyond my comprehension. Perhaps it is part of the Chinese water torture method of messing with our heads.  First coal is bad and emissions will cook us all. Then there might be a role for coal but no new investment and finally the recognition that they have been barking up the wrong tree and causing economic havoc for the country.

The letters page has more people who are anti renewables than pro and it is heartening for an old twisted cynic like me to see there are still people around with common sense.

Now that the cat is out of the bag the opportunity exists for our leaders to finally do something useful. If we are to spend $8 to $27 billion let it be on new coal fired and nuclear power stations and not further wet the wall with pointless, inefficient and costly solutions like wind and solar or politically motivated grandiose but futile projects like Snowy 2.0 and the other storage proposal...


In which the pond switches from Switzer to more Donald ... loon pond

The pond had a surreal, almost out-of-body experience at lunch time

No, not the usual disconnection from the intertubes by Telstra, a regular feature that allows the pond to focus on worldly affairs such as the laundry.

It was listening to Tom Switzer on RN pandering to the Donald and Vlad the impaler in a conversation with well-known Vlad lover, Putin's Pal if you will, Stephen Cohen, who can't get a gig anywhere much outside The Nation

For a moment the pond thought it had somehow tuned into RT instead of RN, such was the volley of soft lobs over the net delivered by the forelock-tugging Switzer

But no, it seems patty cakes is what's played at RN these days. Earlier, the pond was astonished to discover that The Spirit of Things now occupies a noon slot. From The World Today in an hour long format to this pitiful spectacle? No wonder the pond no longer listens to their ABC's RN

But it reminded the pond that the Donald was still everywhere, and that early in the day David Uren had occupied the top opinion slot, and the pond knew it was important because he'd been blessed by a Lobbecke

The pond had spent a little time at lunch catching up on other Donald news, including the White House's refusal to rule out turning over an actual US Ambassador to Russia ...


The Longman By-Election The AIM Network

Longman is a federal electorate in Brisbanes north held since the 2016 election by Susan Lamb for Labor. Lamb was born in Mackay, Queensland of a British father and Queensland born mother. Her own legal advice confirmed that she obtained British citizenship by descent at birth. So, she applied to renounce her British citizenship before

The post The Longman By-Election appeared first on The AIM Network.


Descend into darkness The AIM Network

A fragment does not give us that continuously changing truth (Anais Nin). We now live our lives in fragments. Small moments of awareness, like a penny peep-show of old. Wisdom and knowledge in photo-ops and literary grabs of no more than a thousand words written in a witty and evocative hand. Hinting

The post Descend into darkness appeared first on The AIM Network.


ABC dragging the chain in making corrections Catallaxy Files

The RMIT-ABC Fact Check unit has made one (!) correction following our criticisms of their error-ridden and misleading fact check of Chris and my finding that ABC journalists are nearly five more likely to be Greens voters than the general population.

So have they finally realised that our estimate falls within the confidence interval of their commissioned research and changed their assessment from Flimsy to Statistically correct?

Hmmmmmmm. No.

Yet, they still describe Chris as follows:

 fellow IPA colleague Chris Berg

When he should be fellow RMIT colleague Chris Berg.


James Devereaux: Central Planning Doesnt Work Internationally, Either Catallaxy Files

It is baffling how some who defend freedom and free markets domestically are willing to abandon those assumptions when considering the border and beyond. Our immigration, foreign policy, and international relation policies often endorse a command and control framework and ignore relevant economic insights that promote freedom.

Trade, immigration, foreign aid, and military intervention all illustrate the point. All reflect anti-market attitudes to some degree and instead rely on central planning.


The United States has generally taken a liberal approach to trade with other nations. Yet, the history of free trade is still marked with notable illiberal turns from the general pro-trade attitude. The most prominent example may be the Smoot-Hawley tariffs of the Great Depression. These tariffs possibly exacerbated the economic downturn by raising the costs of various goods and destroying the vulnerable capital structure which was recovering from the recent stock market crash.

High tariffs, protectionism against foreign goods, is centralized planning.

Yet, despite a general pro-trade attitude, we have often fought a rhetorical battle against economic nativism. The slogan Buy American is frequently popular, and though we have generally avoided high costs to import and export since the Second World War, we have found roundabout methods of discriminating against foreign goods, subsidies being the primary example. Subsidies such as those reaped by sugar and other agriculture industries often exist to protect against foreign commodities, often under vague and baffling national security justifications. Once examined, there appears to be no real discernible interest outside of protectionism.

High tariffs, protectionism against foreign goods, is centralized planning. In this instance, a central body selects a few domestic winners instead of by market processesthe actions of consumers and producersin order to arrange the economy as those in charge believe best.

High tariffs are again becoming politically popular, as some describe current trade arrangements as unfair. This is setting a course for a...


Anonymity Catallaxy Files

Gentlepeople One of the greatest benefits of the Cat is that we have a very diverse group of people who trust that they can speak freely and enjoy a robust exchange of views.

To maintain this community it is necessary to observe some norms of behaviour. I am loathe to say rules so lets say community standards. So we all know that the c-bomb is not used around here and the word appears very seldom. I also disapprove of the very nasty habit that people have of accusing others of sexually related criminal behaviour. If you have evidence of a crime having been committed tell the police, not me.

I want to emphasise the social norm of privacy and anonymity. Many Cats are now meeting up offline and I often pass on email addresses and the like. But we do need to maintain a very strict separation between private information and public information. Pseudonyms preserve our ability to conduct frank and fearless public discussion they allow Chatham House rules to apply to public discussion. Private information as to the public identities of Cats needs to remain private.

Outing your fellow Cat is a dog thing to do, so please dont do it.


In which the bromancer meets the moggy ... loon pond

Something snapped in the pond this day. It simply couldn't be bothered reading the press release direct from the PM's desk, as channeled by the savvy Savva, and yearned for tales of strife in far-off lands, and luckily the bromancer was in travel mode, and sending missives back home

and so the pond felt a nursery rhyme coming on ...

No, that's not quite right, how about this?

Bromancer, bromancer, where have you been?
'I've been to London to see the moggy '
Bromancer, bromancer, what did you there?
'We frightened the Tories hiding under the chair.'

The bromancer is a devoted Brexiteer, so the current ructions are just a way of ensuring the Poms do a hard exit, and fall into the arms of their very good friend, the Donald. Why, he's got their backs, and if they don't like the result, perhaps they could sue him ...

And there's every chance dinkum Oz lads will be able to score payback for their offensive caricatures of colonials


The economic impact of UK's exit on Australia Independent Australia

The economic impact of UK's exit on AustraliaMedia editor Lee Duffield explores the economic ramifications of the looming Brexit on the EU and the possible effect it will have on Australia read now...


The Deep State and Donald Trump Catallaxy Files

Back in Oz and the first thing I see at the airport is that ludicrous front page on The Australian: Putin backlash hits Trump after Helsinki summit supplemented by its fool editor-at-large Paul Kelly with his Friends betrayed, foes rewarded: Trumps Russia reset, not to mention the foreign editor with his ridiculous Trumps duty to call out Putin for crimes.

As it happens, I spent the journey home reading my signed copy of The Deep State: 15 Surprising Dangers You Should Know which essentially highlights everything you knew but through the sheer massing of the facts and the detail really does bring the dangers presented by our elites to a level of clarity that is quite quite astonishing. If you are anti-Trump then you are trying to contrive a Venezuelan future for us as well. You are either ignorant, stupid or malevolent, but there is no justification for running an anti-Trump screed when the American President is all that stands between us and a socialist future of wealthy elites who use politically correct thoughts to identify their ideological enemies, who are, in general, you and me. Then there is Tucker Carlson who discusses these things as well.

John Brennan is mentioned everywhere by everyone. Well how about knowing this when you hear his name, and he is merely representative and in no way an outlier: John Brennan Entered CIA in 1980 Though Voted Communist in 1976:

Barack Obamas CIA chief, John Brennan, told the Annual Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus, on 15 September 2016, in Washington DC, that when he had applied in 1980 to join the CIA, he admitted to them that in the 1976 Presidential election, when Jimmy Carter...


Doomed? No Right Turn

Good news from Nelson: the Waimea dam project - the one National wants to pass a Muldoonist Enabling Act to rip land out of a forest park for - has escalated in price and looks doomed:

Updated costs for the proposed Waimea dam have added a whopping $26 million to its bottom line, putting the future of the controversial project in doubt.

"Unless a solution can be found to close the gap, the dam won't go ahead," Tasman district mayor Richard Kempthorne told a media briefing on Thursday morning. "There is no doubt this is a major setback and possibly the greatest challenge yet for the project."

A long-time supporter of the dam as the best option to augment the water supply for Waimea, Kempthorne said he was "gutted" by the updated figures, which represent a 35 per cent escalation in costs.

Good riddance. The conservation estate is for conservation, not building dams, while the resulting intensified farming (in part driven by the need to pay irrigation fees) will only lead to dirtier rivers. The sooner this project is cancelled, the better.


A curious absence No Right Turn

The Free Speech Coalition has filed its suit against Phil Goff and the Auckland Council over their cancellation of a Nazi event, seeking to have the decision overturned. But reading the statement of claim, there's an odd omission: while they cite a variety of administrative law reasons and breach of sections 14 - 17 (freedom of expression, religion, assembly and association) of the Bill of Rights Act as reasons to overturn the decision, for some reason they don't include their strongest case: breach of the right to freedom from discrimination on the basis of political opinion. Its alluded to in passing when suggesting that Goff unlawfully directed the decision, but not otherwise mentioned. I'm not sure whether this is because they felt it would be difficult to prove, or because several of the Coalition's backers (e.g. Stephen Franks) are ideologically opposed to anti-discrimination legislation, but given that they're throwing the kitchen sink at it elsewhere, its a curious absence.

They've requested an urgent hearing and interim orders allowing the event to proceed, though whether they get it is another question. Still, hopefully we'll have a ruling and some clarification on local authority powers and freedom of speech soon.


Something to be proud of Catallaxy Files

A picture paints a thousand words

And note the narrative here.

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In which reptiles return to their vomit, as a fool repeats his folly ... loon pond

It was the reptiles' favourite nightmare - white feminists on the march. 

Luckily it wasn't their extra special deluxe weekend edition nightmare featuring white crippled lesbian hairy armpit whale-loving feminists

But enough of nightmares. The pond came to a sudden realisation overnight. 

If Vlad the impaler's agents used Novichok to take out Craig Kelly, there might well be good reasons for overlooking the crime

Ah yes, the lesser onion muncher, the narcissist attention seeker from Hughes has struck again, and garnered the headlines he so loves

Well all these are easily googled. A more interesting question is where it all comes from, and here the pond is a little tongue-tied.

What's the best word for the mindset? The pond thought of despotist, but was assured that this word didn't exist, and couldn't be used to describe lovers of despots and despotism. It did turn up in Merriam Webster but the pond refuses to speak American

Authoritarian might be technically correct, but is a little diffuse after all, the pond showed authoritarian tendencies in the classroom. That showed a lack of ambition when it came to running a country the same way ...

Other words could be twisted to the cause - autocratic, totalitarian, draconian, absolutist, repressive, illiberal - but none of them were suitably evocative.



Trump and Trevs big, straight, award winning or losing lies Independent Australia

Trump and Trevs big, straight, award winning or losing liesDonald Trumps credibility sinks to hellish depths in Helsinki, while Big Trev gets caught telling tall tales in Longman. read now...


The joy of CO2 part 2 Catallaxy Files

A major consequence of this phenomenon is that the optimum temperature for plant growth generally rises when the air is enriched with CO2[this] suggests that the temperature at which many plants grow best will rise by about 5C even the most extreme warming projected by the IPCC will not adversely impact the majority of the plants on earth.

Pressing on with the joy of CO2 in a more conventional manner, a word of thanks to the Cats who said they liked the classroom presentation. Pupils who were paying attention in the class would have noticed that this is chapter 13 not chapter 14.

First some comments on the story that John kindly posted regarding the termination of field trials on CO2 enrichment at the Horsham research station in Victoria. It is very strange and quiet likely a scandal that this work was terminated. The only rational justification is to continue the work more efficiently in glasshouses.

When I first posted on the benefits of CO2 years ago some Google scientists promptly turned up with criticism drawn selectively from Wikipedia that the extra growth meant less quality and the benefits did not appear on less fertile soils. Doh! If there is some other major limiting factor like water or phosphorus of course no amount of CO2 or other additional growth factors will make much difference.

The point is that CO2 is sub suboptimal everywhere and other shortages are local. The extra CO2 comes free of charge and careful economic calculations are required to assess the benefits of extra water and chemicals.

Sure enough the principal researcher at Horsham reported. A key finding was that crops grown under elevated CO2 grow bigger but they will need more nitrogen and phosphorus to support them, and grain quality will decrease.

Quality may or may not be an issue, certainly it is for wheat but that does not apply to all crops and if it pays to do so for quality reasons or simply for the bulk then you apply more nitrogen and phosphorus (not to mention potassium and trace elements).

Turning back to Dr Idsos paper, there is enough meat in it for two more post so I will give some more information here and save the rest for another class. The first post noted the increased growth of plants with additional CO2, most strikingly in woody trees, fruit and some vegetables (hence the use of CO2 enrichment in commercial glasshouses). It also noted enhanced water-use efficiency.

Amelioration of environmental stress.

This applies to soil salinity, low soil fertility, low light intensity, low temperature, herbivory and most strikingly high air temperature. The enhanced CO2 effect in percentage terms is generally greater under stressful and resource-limited conditions than it is when growing conditions are ideal. Obviously this is most...


Is Philip Gaetjens the consummate public servant or in 2018 has he devolved into a right-wing ideological warrior? North Coast Voices

On 31 July 2018 Philip Gaetjens will become Secretary to the Australian Treasury reporting to the Australian Treasurer.

Now from 2011 to 2015 he was head of the NSW Treasury under a Baird Coalition Government and before that did a stint at the SA Treasury in 1995 to 1997 spanning the terms of two Liberal premiers, so he will bring some experience to the position.

However, he has also been both chief of staff to former federal treasurer and Liberal MP Peter Costello during the Howard Coalition Government and chief of staff to current federal treasurer and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison in the Turnbull Coalition Government.

There is a question this curriculum vitae raises Is Philip Gaetjens the consummate public servant or in 2018 has he devolved into a right-wing ideological warrior?

Will treasury advice still be seen as authoritative during his tenure?

With Treasury already gaining a reputation as an enabler of Scott Morrisons worst partisan public pronouncements in election years will Gaetjens make the situation even more difficult for ordinary voters trying to decipher truth in the midst of relentless political spin?



It's business as usual as Trump appointees dismantle US environmental law and regulations North Coast Voices

5 July 2018:

Scott Pruitt, whose tenure at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was tarred by corruption scandals and hostility to environmental regulation, offered his resignation today, effective July 6.

The EPAs new interim administrator, Andrew Wheeler, is a former coal lobbyist, 
profiled by DeSmog.

DeSmog's prior profile of Wheeler reports:

Wheeler is the...

Wednesday, 18 July


Power over the destiny of others is never given up easily The AIM Network

By Tony Andrews Im coming from a perspective of almost complete ignorance about First Nation Australian people. Land rights, native title, pan-Aboriginal relationships, history, culture, political interaction with government in fact, Im pretty bloody ignorant about everything, except that I can clearly see things are not as black and white as were often led

The post Power over the destiny of others is never given up easily appeared first on The AIM Network.


ABC Fact Check: Error-ridden and misleading The fisking edition Catallaxy Files

The RMIT-ABC Fact Check unit did a fact check on Chris Berg and my claim in our recent book Against Public Broadcasting: Why and how we should privatise the ABC and repeated in an article in The Spectator and on Sky News.

The verdict

Professor Davidsons claim is flimsy.

I will let readers decide for themselves on this point.

In making the claim, Professor Davidson referred to a study published in 2013 which surveyed 605 journalists from a variety of organisations on their voting intentions.

True. The study was published in the peer reviewed journal Australian Journalism Review and a layperson version published at The Conversation.

Fifty-nine of these journalists were from the ABC, and only 34 of them answered the question on voting intention, with 25 either undecided or electing not to answer.


Of the 34 who did answer, 41.2 per cent, or 14, said they would vote for the Greens.


But experts told Fact Check that the ABC sub-sample was too small and the rate of undecided and non-response too high to be able to draw accurate conclusions from the survey on ABC journalist voting intention, let alone voting intention of all ABC employees.

This may well be what experts told the RMIT-ABC Fact Check unit. But what did the author of the study say? The author of the study said: It means that even though only a smaller number of journalists answered the voting intentions, which does increase the margin of error, it is still reasonable to conclude that there is a marked difference between the voting intentions of journalists at the three major media organisations.

Upon releasing the findings in 2013, the author of the study himself, Folker Hanusch, inserted numerous caveats about using sub-samples of the survey, including that the margins of error would be larger than those for the total sample. Professor Davidson neglected to include any of these important caveats in making his claim.

Upon releasing the findings in 2013 at...


The Donald wouldn't distract the pond, would he ... loon pond

Given all the fun of the reptile fair this day, the pond wouldn't want to be distracted by copper and Lloydie, would it?

And good old Mattie's joke about vegan graziers simply reminded the pond of another Kudelka cartoon that slipped through the paywall

It wouldn't be time for a cartoon-led recovery, would it?

Yep, it's time to throw Montenegro under the bus

Take it away WSJ ...

Why would constant criticism of NATO undermine public support? 

We all know those Montenegrins are very diffic...


Melbourne's #SaveOurABC rally: 'Keep your grubby mitts off' Independent Australia

Melbourne's #SaveOurABC rally: 'Keep your grubby mitts off'The message at Melbourne's packed #SaveOurABC rally was clear: 'Keep your grubby mitts off OUR ABC'. read now...


Book review: Beautiful Balts From Displaced Persons to New Australians Independent Australia

Book review: Beautiful Balts From Displaced Persons to New AustraliansKevin Bain shares his thoughts on Jayne Persian's book on post WW2 immigration and what we can learn from it today. read now...

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