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Sunday, 17 February


A Universal Basic Income will work Independent Australia

A Universal Basic Income will workRemembering how the Government assisted those in need decades ago, it's apparent that the only barrier to a working UBI is capitalism. read now...


In which the reptiles promote the steam age, and Dame Slap reminds everyone to harden the fuck up ... loon pond

At last the caravan is back on the road, at last the reptiles have got their act together and are chanting in unison

Of course it would have to gather steam. Where would the world be without dinkum Oz clean coal fired machinery? Whatever happened, where did we go wrong, how did we lose steam engines and steam ships?

See how the reptiles steam and fume at the top of the digital page and in the opinion section, hurling down thunderbolts and delivering stern curses, whirling in unison like a murmuration of starlings ...


How far could a reptile go? The bouffant one was on hand to help

Say what? Follow in the path of the Donald? 

Was it only yesterday that the reptiles were trying to compete with the New Yorker by borrowing a bland story from the WSJ?



Will the House and the Senate manage to roll back that infamous $487 million grant to a greenwashing charity, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation North Coast Voices

Last year mainstream media reported that Australian Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Wentworth Malcolm Turnbull (former director Goldman Sachs), Minister for Environment and Energy & Liberal MP for Kooyong Josh Frydenberg (former director Deutsche Bank Australia) and Chair of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation & Member of the Business Council of Australia John Schubert (former chair Commonwealth Bank) met on 9 April 2018 to discuss the allocation of a grant valued at in excess of AU$487.6 million to the foundation.

The grant had not been advertised or put to tender.

It was further reported that Great Barrier Reef scientists were told they would need to make trade-offs to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, including focusing on projects that would look good for the government and encourage more corporate donations, emails tabled in the Senate reveal.

A Senate report of the Great Barrier Reef 2050 Partnership Program has just been published here...

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Saturday, 16 February


On Troll Hunting (Ginger Gorman) slackbastard

Troll Hunting by Australian journalist Ginger Gorman is a new book which examines the world of online hate and its human fallout. Along with interviews with a small number of trolls and general reflections upon this hateful world, Gormans book Continue reading


Refugees as Business: The Paladin Group Contract The AIM Network

Despair breeds profits; disturbances supply opportunity. The genius and venal nature of human nature will always see a possible buck from an impossibly cruel situation. Globally, a study should be done about how many billions goes into the supply of contracts, tenders and sweetheart deals to companies with a hand in the business of stopping

The post Refugees as Business: The Paladin Group Contract appeared first on The AIM Network.


Jo Nova responds to the latest abomination from the BOM Catallaxy Files

Headlines today announce that the Bureau of Meteorology has upped the rate of warming in recent times. Jo Nova and others have been on this case for some time. Her latest commentary.

See also some of the series of posts on Climate Change: The Facts 2017 last year like this one documenting some of the games that the BOM plays.


If orangutangs can work it out why cant socialists? Catallaxy Files

You know, that incentives are necessary to promote productive activity and that an economy must encourage the supply-side of the economy if output is to grow. The article is about how Orangutans make complex economic decisions. As they conclude:

Optimality models suggest that orangutans should flexibly adapt their foraging decisions depending on the availability of high nutritional food sources, such as fruits, said Josep Call, researcher at the University of St. Andrews. Our study shows that orangutans can simultaneously consider multi-dimensional task components in order to maximize their gains and it is very likely that we havent even reached the full extent of their information processing capabilities.

Meanwhile Alexandria O-C and her Green New Deal think this is a worthwhile idea: if you are unwilling to work they will still pay you an income.

Interestingly this particular proposal is unanimously rejected by the students in this video, once they are told whats in the GND.

The students interviewed are big on buzz-word ideologies they know virtually nothing about, but still with a few elements of common sense if more is explained. There is hope for us after all, slim as it may be. Perhaps these kids are smarter than the average orangutang, but they would be a rare breed on the left.


Australian Election 2019 Guide 1: Refuting the Rhetoric oecomuse

Some time in the first half of 2019, the third conservative Australian prime minister in five years will be compelled to call an election, which his Coalition government will lose. That man is Scott Morrison, the dodgily-selected member for Cook, representing one of the whitest and most racist areas of Sydney.

The career best of Scott Morrison is a thing called Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB) which h e co-designed with former army general and now Senator Jim Molan, a man repeatedly and credibly accused of war crimes in Iraq. The multi-billion dollar policy rests on the entrenched false assumption that refugees who arrive by boat to seek asylum are a threat to national security.

There is literally no evidence for the proposition. None.

Like his predecessor, Morrison took the office in August 2018 by a secret ballot in the Liberal Party room. He ascended from chief persecutor of refugees via the Human Services ministry and its vicious and lethal cashless welfare and Robodebt policies; and Treasury, in a government that has doubled the national debt to over $350 billion. His government allocates vast sums of public money, in blocs of up to $500 million, to private sector interests, shell companies, charity fronts, and white nationalist legacy projects which I wrote about here, like $498 million to a war memorial which does not honour the Frontier Wars and $100 million on a single general in France.

Apart from the monumental waste represented by these fiscal facts, we have the grotesque spectacle of a parliamentary press gallery absolutely wedded to continually reproducing and disseminating the received wisdom that Coalition governments are stronger on the economy and border protection. Their pretzelesque reasoning? Polls indicate that voters believe these lies, so the media can and should keep publishing, rather than refuting, the same lies.

For the record, the last Labor government (2007-2013) was lauded globall...


Tough trade talks with European negotiators who broke the Brits over Brexit Independent Australia

Tough trade talks with European negotiators who broke the Brits over BrexitTensions rose between Europe and Australia over trade with the EUs head man in agriculture talking tough here this week. read now...


Opportunity cost and new coal mines John Quiggin

Opportunity cost provides the best way to think about the recent decision to reject a new coal mine at Rocky Hill. Thats the central theme of my latest piece in Inside Story and also of my forthcoming book, Economics in Two Lessons. Given a tight budget of the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases we can afford to emit while stabilizing the global climate, every new source of emissions comes at the opportunity cost of an existing source. Since phasing out coal is among the cheapest options any new coal mine comes at the expense of faster closure of existing mines. Almost invariably, its more costly to open a new mine, than to maintain production at an existing mine. So we should not start any new mines and, in general, not expand old ones.


100 per cent renewable electricity: the next steps John Quiggin

Ive spend the last few days at a workshop on the transition to a renewable energy supply for Australia, which focused primarily on electricity. The presentations should be available soon, and Ill write a longer post if I get time, but here are a couple of quick points I took away.

  • Adding storage to a system that is at or close to 100 per cent renewable will cost around $25/MWh, that is, about 2.5 cents/kWh
  • The big problem for Australia is transmission, to connect solar and wind resources to the grid. AEMO and AEMC are in denial on this. My view we need to renationalise transmission immediately, and replace the current NEM alphabet soup with bodies that will plan for a rapid transition


A philosopher defending the merchants of alarm Catallaxy Files

my view is that philosophers do better to paint a picture in which we urge trust in the consensus of the scientific community,based on features of that communitys social organization. (Winsberg p. 161)

Philosophy and Climate Science (Cambridge 2018) appears to be the first book of its kind, promising a thorough and rigorous investigation of the philosophical and methodological issues that arise in the problematic and controversial field of climate science. It is long overdue because the scholars in the history and philosophy of science have by and large neglected this particular science. The two outstanding exceptions are Philip Kitcher and more recently Eric Winsberg, Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Florida.

Philip Kitcher recently retired from Columbia College NY with a claim to the title of the premier philosopher of science of his generation due to his list of publications and the chairs that he has occupied. With Evelyn Fox Keller he wrote The Seasons Alter that portrays a dystopian future in a warming world that probably represents Peak Alarmism. Any advance on a pandemic that kills billions of people?

In a similar vein but less flamboyant mode Eric Winsbergs Philosophy and Climate Science is a sustained defence of the methods and conclusions of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and those who share its mission to promote alarm about the future of the planet. Consequently this book is not a solution to the apathy of the philosophers of science in the face of the shortcomings in the mainstream of climate science but instead it is part of the problem. This book cannot be recommended even at a remainder price unless you are looking for yet another example of the failure of the academic dogs to bark a warning.

to be continued


Morrison: Drop Everything And Start Talking About Boats, Not Votes The AIM Network

People have a tendency to expect history to repeat itself. Of course, it often does, but that doesnt suit the point Im making, so Ill pretend Im Tony Abbott and just ignore history so that I can make my point. Quite simply what people like one moment, can be unappealing later on. For example, when

The post Morrison: Drop Everything And Start Talking About Boats, Not Votes appeared first on The AIM Network.


Wren's week: Abbott's fantasy world, Wilson's corruption and Medevac Independent Australia

Wren's week: Abbott's fantasy world, Wilson's corruption and MedevacThis week, John Wren catches up on Tony Abbott, gives us the details on Tim Wilson's corruption and also the Medevac Bill passing. read now...


In which the pond is faced by tales of denialism, obsession and dreams of the everyday hausfrau ... loon pond

The pond would have skipped the latest bout of climate science denialism from Lloydie of the lizard Oz, except for the poignant juxtaposition the digital subs managed to produce


The pond also left in that plea, "subscribe for lies you can mistrust", but as it's a screen cap, it'll likely only frustrate wretches inclined to click on it

The story itself is just fodder reheated from the IPA and one Jennifer Marohasy, the IPA's resident climate denialist, active for some time, and reliably to be found in stories in The Graudian, as here

How long has this been going on, these lizard Oz attacks on the BOM? Well Michael Brown reported on it in The Conversation back in August 2017 here

Frankly the pond is disappointed. Clearly there's not enough happening by way of boat arrivals for the reptiles to be forced into routine climate science denialism for the weekend edition

Meanwhile, speaking of subs at play, the pond was delighted to see the Terror exposed yet again - a good reason for not paying attention to the rag - in the Graudian's Weekly Beast here, while our prattling Polonius also came in for some whimsy


Tweet of the Week North Coast Voices

Friday, 15 February


How Washington has created chaos in Honduras Antony Loewenstein

Honduras is a key nation in the US-backed war on drugs. I visited there to report on what this meant for civilians, many of whom flee in fear to the US.

Heres my story in the new US outlet, Filter, covering drugs domestically and globally, on the grin reality in Honduras and why so many of its citizens are leaving in despair:

Trump Should Know How US Drug Policy Drives Migration From Honduras



The Nation interview on Afghan resources and peace prospects Antony Loewenstein

US magazine The Nation recently published my investigation into the Afghan mining industry. I was interviewed about the story, and the ongoing peace talks between the US and Taliban, on the popular Nation podcast, Start Making Sense:


Rafes roundup Friday 15 Feb Catallaxy Files

New Publications from the Centre for Independent Studies.

Post of the week. Jo Novas commentary on Australias dash to disaster, leading the world in the Green Energy race (to the bottom).

The Australian Taxpayers Alliance. Campaigns.

The German Green Energy Transition. Higher prices, unstable grid, negligible reduction in CO2 emissions. The German Trifecta of Failure.

Libertyworks. Nationalisation of lobsters in Western Australia (great picture of a lobster btw).

Stephen Hicks is coming.

Join Dr Hicks on a journey to advance civilization

From the Enlightenment, to neo-Marxism through to 3rd generation postmodernism: diagnosis, perils and overcoming the obstacles

The program for the tour in four states and more information. See his contribution in The Spectator just out.

The Portal to Our partners

In no particular order. Australian Institute for Progress, The Institute of Public Affairs IPA, the Centre for Independent Studies CIS, The Sydney Institute, Mannkal Economic Education Foundation, Quadrant On Line, The Australian Taxpayers Alliance, Tim Blair, Andrew Norton, the classical liberal in Carlton, Rite-ON admirable Queensland activists!, The Menzies Research Centre, Jim Rose Utopia You Are Standing in It. LibertyWorks. On Line Opinion.
Still building and looking at more specialised sites.

Overseas. Spiked, Cato Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute,...


David Leyonhjelm guest post. Motley parliaments Catallaxy Files

In the years to come were going to have plenty of motley parliaments, with fewer major party parliamentarians and larger crossbenches of independents and minor parties holding the balance of power. We better get used to it.

At the Commonwealth level, the minority Coalition Government is dealing with eight crossbenchers in the House of Representatives and 19 in the Senate, each holding the balance of power.

The number of crossbenchers in the House will probably be unchanged after the federal election, so while most observers expect the federal election to deliver a Shorten Government, a poor result for Labor might mean it only wins minority government and still requires the votes of crossbenchers in the House.

In the Senate, Labor is expected to pick up seats at the expense of the crossbench thanks to the 2016 deal between the Coalition and Greens to change Senate voting rules, but it will still fall well short of a majority. And the crossbench will still have a significant green-tinge despite the plunge in voter support for the Greens party.

Minor party voters who oppose the Greens will go for one of the Liberal Democrats, One Nation, the Christians, Conservatives or Katters party. Regrettably, most of these voters will fail to preference all the anti-Green parties with the result that, under the new Senate voting rules, its more likely none of these parties will gather enough votes to beat the Greens for the last Senate seat, at least in some states.

Its clear why the Greens wanted these new Senate voting rules, but why the Coalition wanted them is anyones guess. (Note to voters: if you dont like the Greens, fill in a lot of preferences for non Green parties!)

At the state level, motley parliaments are the new norm. One in seven state parliamentarians is a crossbencher, and these crossbenchers hold the balance of power in each of the state upper houses. At the upcoming NSW state election the size of the crossbench is set to swell with minor party candidates like Mark Latham and me looking to join the ranks.

The cause of this swelling of the crossbench is clear; voters are turning off the major parties.

For more than three decades the internet has allowed far-flung people to form new connections. Increasingly, people identify with niche groups rather than a mass movement, and also support niche parties. This includes single issue parties like those focussed on science, the arts, seniors, anti vaxxers, animals, marijuana and assisted suicide.

The formula of the major parties of attempting to appeal to everyone and offend no-one by being heavy on platitudes and light on principle doesnt cut it anymore.

Whether the overall influence of crossbenchers is positive or negative depends on the quality of the crossbenchers.

Crossbenchers can stop governments doing bad things, such as when crossbenchers in the Senate (me included) stopped the Coalition Go...


Sitting astride the barbed wire fence The AIM Network

By 2353NM  The human mind is a wonderful thing. We all have different interests, ideas and methods of doing what is needed to stay alive. We also have different beliefs. Some will tell you that the contrails left in the sky following the passage of aircraft are a 24/7/365-day aerosol assault over our heads made of

The post Sitting astride the barbed wire fence appeared first on The AIM Network.


The Legal Industrial Complex Stand up Philosophers Catallaxy Files

Ok.  TAFKAS reckons this post will set the cat amongst the pigeons.

In the 1995 movie the Usual Suspects, character Roger Verbal Kint made the most profound of observation:

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didnt exist.

When people consider powerful and pernicious unions, most minds default to organisations like the CFMMEU.  Well think again.

If the purpose of a union is to use all tools available to improve the pay, conditions, power and competitive positioning of its members, often (but not always) at the expense of non-members, then the CFMMEU cannot hold a candle to the big 3 the Pharmacy Guild, the medical unions (AMA and various specialist colleges) and the various legal unions (law societies and bar associations).

If the CFMMEU and the ACTU want a lesson on how to use best practice political and regulatory capture and how to impose restrictive work practices, then they really need to better study these organisations.

Strategy number one dont let people think you are an industrial organisation but rather a professional organisation.  Strategy number two present yourself as always acting in the best interests of the community and the nation.

TAFKAS will write about the pharmacists and the doctors another time, but let us just consider the legal profession and consider 2 particular work practices that have long disappeared from industrial sites:

  • No ticket no start you cant act as a legal practitioner without being a member of the relevant association.
  • Demarcation lawyers cant throw on a black cape and wig and act as barristers, unless they join the bar and vice versa.

Oh.  And if you want to ply your trade in another state or jurisdiction, you cant just show up.  You need be recognised by the local union (professional organisation).  Even doctors can work cross state border.

And how do you measure the success of a union?  Start with looking at the pay and conditions of its members and the operation of the market for member labour.  One would imagine that if there is an area of the economy earning supernormal profits, those profits would be eroded away by new entrants.  According to the AFR, in 2015, there were 41 law schools in Australia and:

The number of law graduates has reached a record high with 14,600 graduates entering a legal jobs market comprising just 66,000 solicitors.

But somehow, lawyer salaries are increasing.  Yes, there are demand factors also, but according to the AFRs numbers, the entire legal labour force can be turned over every 4 years.

And then, when the...


CO2 may be responsible for more destructive forest fires Ambit Gambit

Queensland was hit by forest fires, and the Queensland Premier was at it, blaming climate change (and the Australian government): If you want to know what caused those conditions, Ill give you an answer its called climate change, the Queensland premier told reporters. It is only the LNP who could watch Queensland burn and []


Farmer Protection GM inquiry fails GM-free farmers and consumers The AIM Network

Media Release The report delivered by the parliamentary committees inquiry into mechanisms for compensation for non-GM farmers has disappointed consumers and GM-free farmers alike. While we are grateful for the opportunity to have this inquiry we are dissatisfied by its findings and find it astonishing that there are no recommendations at the end of this

The post Farmer Protection GM inquiry fails GM-free farmers and consumers appeared first on The AIM Network.


Lessons from the Murray-Darling disaster run deeper than water Independent Australia

Lessons from the Murray-Darling disaster run deeper than waterEnvironmental mismanagement runs deeper than the ecological tragedy gripping the Murray-Darling Basin. read now...


New Music Through Old Ears: Metallicas Backstreet Regionals Independent Australia

New Music Through Old Ears: Metallicas Backstreet RegionalsAfter a hiatus worthy of The Descendents, entertainment editor John Turnbull returns with a bunch of new music worth your attention. read now...


Sickness and Paranoia: The Morrison Governments Refugee Problem The AIM Network

The passage of amendments to the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) by the Australian House of Representatives and the Senate this week was less a case of celebration than necessitous deliverance. The mental well-being of asylum-seekers on Manus Island and Nauru, or lack thereof, has been documented extensively from Australian legal representatives to members of Mdecins

The post Sickness and Paranoia: The Morrison Governments Refugee Problem appeared first on The AIM Network.

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