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Tuesday, 15 May


Fred Roeder and Bill Wirtz: Who Needs the WHO? Not the Worlds Poor Catallaxy Files

The World Health Organization is a large and antiquated United Nations body that is expensive unnecessary and counterproductive to its own cause of public health. Its time to take the appropriate measures and defund it.

The WHO and Ebola: an Illustration of Failure

As the Ebola crisis was ravaging a number of African countries in 2014, we put our trust into a number of international organizations to assist West African countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea or Nigeria to contain the spread of the virus and aid those who were unable to receive medical care. The World Health Organization (WHO), with its ambitious goal regarding public health, was one of them. According to itself, the WHO aims to prevent Ebola outbreaks by maintaining surveillance for Ebola virus disease and supporting at-risk countries to developed preparedness plans.

Over 2,500 people died from Ebola in Guinea, but rather than addressing the important health concerns, the WHO focused on cigarettes.

Experts in the field, however, beg to differ. As Reuters reported in 2015, a specialist panel convened by Harvards Global Health Institute (HGHI) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) concluded that immense human suffering went largely unchecked by institutional responders.

It turned out that WHO officials were aware of the outbreak in spring, yet it took until August for the World Health Organization to declare it a public health emergency and take action. This is months after the broader public was already made aware of the problems with the epidemic.

The WHO, however, does have prioritiesin the same year that WHO reports failed to mention the Ebola outbreak, the UNs agency reported on the promotion of tobacco products. Even more striking is that the WHOs concern wasnt only that of tobacco marketing in Western European of Northern American areas but in the precise areas affected by Ebola. Here is a quote from that report:

In Guinea, attractive young women are hired by tobacco companies as marketing executives, but in reality serve...


I am Sparta-Quiz Master Catallaxy Files

For tonights quiz, here are a couple of questions.

For 10 points

  • Why, if the progressive left believes that gender is a social (but not biological) construct, why do they care so much about gender balance in parliament and board rooms?

For 20 points

  • Why, if low income earners pay no net tax, is it unfair to give a tax cut to high income earners, who pay a lot of net tax?

For 30 points

  • Why is it not racial discrimination to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate an anglo-saxon?

And as a bonus question, for 40 points

  • Where are green jobs and how much do they pay (relative to industrial and manufacturing jobs)?

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus
Contact I Am Spartacus at iamspartacus42 at gmail dot com.


In which the onion muncher produces a stern test for Malware's ongoing leadership, or if Troy allows, Malware's looming leadership crisis ... loon pond

There's the pond looking for a contender for the late afternoon slot, and there's the dog botherer bashing away at the Islamics - when really the lizard Oz should long ago have found a way to isolate and eradicate dog botherer extremism - while the rest of the reptiles embarked on a daylong bout of Comrade Bill bashing.

It wasn't just enough for the fearless crusaders to wait on the by-election results. Nope they had to chip in, no doubt with the aim of swaying the voters to think again

When the bee hive gets to swarming this way, the pond gets bored. All will be revealed soon enough, and who knows how it will go when it comes down to the wire

Selecting a contender for the pond's late afternoon slot, to which no one pays attention, became a bit fee faw fum (illustration and much pedantry here) ...

though perhaps Troy might have been more inspired by this variation ...

Now fi, fee, fau, fan, 
I feele smell of a dangerous man: 
Be he alive, or be he dead, 
Ile grind his bones to make me bread...


David Bidstrup: Sydneys doing OK too. Catallaxy Files

This post follows on from my recent one titled Not much change in 130 years and analyses Sydney max/min temperatures from 1859 to 2017 in blocks of 10 years. The data is from the BoM website.

The method is the same as before. For each 10 year block I find the maximum and minimum temperatures for the period and count the number of days above 38 degrees C as a measure of hot days. The Sydney data is from one source, The Sydney Observatory, and seems to be continuous for the 160 or so years of record.

The table and chart below shows the results of the analysis which, to put it bluntly, shows that nothing has changed much. I need to come clean and mention that there are 3 outliers in the Tmax record that I have not shown on the chart but can be seen in Outliers opposite the yellow highlights. These are the 3 hottest days in the record and vary from the next highest by 3 to 4 degrees, (see T diff column). Remember that these represent only 3 days in a record of nearly 55,000 days. The total of the hottest days represent 0.26% of the record and it is interesting to note that there are times when they number 19 in a 10 year period, (1939 to 1948) while the number in recent times is 11, (1999 to 2008 and 2009 to 2017). Other periods from years ago show more; 15 in 1919 to 1928 and 18 in 1979 to 1988.

In earlier posts I mentioned Dr Darko Butina who has a website called which contains a very interesting discussion about the atmosphere being a heterogeneous mixture of gasses and therefore it is impossible to find a constant temperature anywhere let alone fool ourselves into thinking that average temperatures have any meaning at all. If you look on his homepage there is a section called Reports and the article is titled Why everything is local and nothing is global.

I note comments on my other recent posts where the quality of BoM data is questioned and I am aware of the various articles pointing this out. Perhaps one day we might get a bit of integrity into the debate but it seems unlikely given the attachment our politicians and their scientific advisors have to the climate change hysteria.

What I...


The crimes of Meghan Markle Independent Australia

The crimes of Meghan MarkleMarkle's crimes include dating other men before marriage, being ambitious and not fitting the mould of being an English aristocrat, writes Jacinta Coelho. read now...


The Commercial Heavens: The New Australian Space Agency The AIM Network

Politicians have been clambering to the top extolling something that has yet to exist. Scientists are claiming a job boom that has yet to transpire. Much fantasy and speculation dominate the creation of Australias Space Agency, an organisation that remains inchoate despite being launched on Monday by the appropriately named Michaelia Cash. Former CSIRO boss

The post The Commercial Heavens: The New Australian Space Agency appeared first on The AIM Network.


Psittacines in court and psittacines eating cake ... loon pond

This being Caterist day, the pond felt the need to get the reptile update on a matter involving sundry reptiles and a parrot, before heading off to catch up with the bromancer ...

The Caterist is only a minor one-reeler up against the parrot main feature, but still it was pleasing to see him garner yet another mention ...

And so to the bromancer, naturally featuring an American princess and her consort at the top of his immensely caring and sympathetic piece ...

Indeed, indeed, as the American princess herself might say, let them eat cake, or if unarmed civilian demonstrators, let them eat bullets, who cares?



If you want to improve education, listen to teachers rather than conservative think tanks with their own agenda The AIM Network

The last couple of days have seen a very young man from the Centre for Independent Studies out and about spruiking his new research paper on the value of NAPLAN testing. Blaise Joseph tells us that NAPLAN is a crucial tool to improve schools and teaching that also provides transparency and accountability for parents and

The post If you want to improve education, listen to teachers rather than conservative think tanks with their own agenda appeared first on The AIM Network.


Mr Market, slavery and the future of democracy Independent Australia

Mr Market, slavery and the future of democracyOver 30 negative Newspolls for the LNP. Their banking mates revealed to be a rogues gallery. Their budget full of gifts for the rich. And still the Opposition Leader is less popular. Is this the Twilight Zone? Mike Dowson makes some suggestions. read now...


Catalonia has a government again No Right Turn

Six months ago, in the wake of their violent repression of an independence referendum, the Spanish government dissolved Catalonia's regional government and forced new elections. Despite arresting several candidates and banning the colour yellow, their local quislings lost (apparently beating people in the streets does not make them like you. Who knew?), and since then Spain has been trying to stop the elected majority from forming a government. The obvious candidates were in prison or exile, and Spain refused to release them, despite a ruling from the UN Human Rights Council. An alternative candidate was arrested and charged with "rebellion" on the eve of the vote, and it seemed like Spain was trying to run out the clock and force Catalans to vote again until they got it right. But when the Catalan Parliament suggested a new pro-independence candidate, they were not arrested (maybe Madrid can read the polls after all), and so Catalonia finally has a regional government again:

The Catalan parliament has narrowly elected a hardline secessionist as president, presaging the end of 199 days of direct rule from Madrid.

Quim Torra, an uncompromisingly pro-independence MP who joined parliament six months ago, was elected by 66 votes to 65.

He is the first candidate to be approved by the body since Carles Puigdemonts administration was sacked seven months ago, when the Spanish government used the constitution to assume control of Catalonia and call last Decembers regional election.

The Madrid government has said it will cease using article 155 of the constitution which had never been invoked until last year when a new Catalan government was in place.

Which means Catalans will get back control of their government, and stop being treated like an internal colony of Madrid.

Spain's policy of thuggery and brutality has clearly failed. It hasn't persuaded anyone to abandon independence - not the politicians they have in jail or the ones who belong to pro-independence parties, let alone the majority of Catalans who vote for them. The question is whether Spain will recognise this and try talking, or whether they'll continue to try and use force and alienate even more people.


The police break the law No Right Turn

It turns out that the spies aren't the only coercive government agency seemingly incapable of following the rules. The police had been unlawfully accessing government data on people's travel for more than a year:

Police broke the law by accessing Customs and Immigration data for more than a year when they did not have permission to do so.

The embarrassing situation saw police logging on to CusMod, Customs computer system, 15,799 times between December 2015 and January 2017 for border security reasons after an administrative oversight led to an authorisation expiry date being ignored.

It follows a December announcement by Inspector General of Intelligence and Security Cheryl Gwyn that the countrys spies also unlawfully accessed the same database for more than 20 years between 1997 and 2016.


Customs Minister Meka Whaitiri was informed in December after asking for information on other CusMod access arrangements.

CusMod is Customs' internal database of people's travel movements. Its used for setting border alerts, so agencies can be alerted if someone enters or leaves the country or arrange for them to be stopped, and it records information on customs officers interactions with people (so e.g. when they poke through all your electronic devices at the airport). Its the sort of thing you can see that there are legitimate law enforcement uses for. But those uses have to be legal and authorised. And the police are so institutionally useless, that they simply let that authorisation expire.

Their "defence" is that the searches would have all been legal if authorised 9that is, nothing was outside their internal policy, whatever that is). But that wouldn't stand up in court if they failed to apply for a search warrant, and it isn't good enough here. The police, of all agencies, need to obey the law, and be seen to obey it. Their behaviour must be beyond reproach. instead, we have systematic, SIS-like illegality. And that's simply not good enough. There's no suggestion in the article that anyone was held to account or faced employment consequences for this systematic illegality. And without that, there's simply no incentive for it not to happen again.


This year in Jerusalem Catallaxy Files


The American embassy, that is. And for some background, this is fascinating: How Harry Truman Crossed His Own State Department to Recognize Israel. One of the few businessmen to have been an American president. Read it through. The Deep State has a long history.

And then theres this from Instapundit.

THE STRATEGIC CASE FOR MOVING THE U.S. EMBASSY TO JERUSALEM IS VERY SIMPLE: Since Oslo in 1993, Israel has allowed Palestinian terrorists to set up a government in Ramallah, made three peace offers within internationally-accepted parameters, withdrawn from Gaza and parts of Samaria, suffered an intifadah, and in return has gotten a worldwide Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign? The Palestinians have believed that they could win by stalling, waiting until the worlds impatience forced Israel to concede. Moving the U.S. Embassy without a peace agreement demonstrates to the Palestinians that things can and will move on without them, as do the growing ties between Israel and the Sunni powers. Either accept that Israel is here to stay and make the necessary accommodations, or be left in the dustbin of history.



A massacre No Right Turn

That is the only way to describe what is happening in Gaza at the moment:

Gaza has had its bloodiest day in years after Israeli forces shot and killed 55 Palestinians and wounded at least 1,200 as tens of thousands protested along the frontier against the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

The violent scenes contrasted sharply with the glossy inauguration of Washingtons new mission around 60 miles away in an affluent Jerusalem neighbourhood. The US presidents daughter, Ivanka Trump, celebrated the opening to clapping and cheering from American and Israeli VIPs.

In Gazas hospitals, dozens of casualties were in a critical condition, and medics said the dead included a 14-year-old boy. There were reports that a man in a wheelchair who had been pictured using a slingshot had also been killed.

The sky was blackened with thick smoke as protesters lit tyres. Intermittent sniper fire was heard and crowds of protesters were seen rushing towards the fence, although Israels military said none had managed to breach it.

The use of force is, as always, disproportionate. This isn't policing. It isn't "self-defence". It's simply mass-murder. Governments which do this deserve to be overthrown. The politicians and soldiers responsible need to be prosecuted. And since Israel will never hold its own to account, we need an international court to do so.


Australian Greens Announce New Income Fairness Policy Catallaxy Files

Studies have shown that good looking people earn more the rest of the population.

University of Michigan information science professor Markus M. Mobius has identified three reasons why beautiful people are more successful:

1. Physically attractive workers are more confident, and higher confidence increases wages.

2. For a given level of confidence, physically attractive workers are (wrongly) considered more able by employers.

3. Controlling for worker confidence, physically attractive workers have better verbal skills (such as communication and social skills) that raise their wages when they interact with employers.

The Australian Greens do not believe this is fair or consistent with the Greens policy platform that people should not be economically rewarded for luck, skill or effort.

Accordingly, the Australian Greens today announce a new policy which seeks to redress this inequity.  In the new financial year, the Greens will table a private members bill that will seek to legislate mandatory cosmetic surgery for those attractive people earning too much.  In a Green world, beauty and attractiveness cannot be tolerated.

To demonstrate the Australian Greens resolve, the entire Federal Parliamentary Party has agreed, where necessary, to undergo such a procedure.  At the current time, none of the members passed the necessary threshold requiring treatment.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus
Contact I Am Spartacus at iamspartacus42 at gmail dot com.


Peter Duttons rule of law comments could come back to haunt him Independent Australia

Peter Duttons rule of law comments could come back to haunt himHome Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and senior staff from his department could face criminal prosecution over delaying medical airlifts for refugees, says former Victorian WorkCover lawyer Max Costello. read now...


In which the pond celebrates rolled gold Caterism ... loon pond

The pond knew at once that it was the Caterist at work, and though not blessed by a Lobbecke, it had been touched by a Krygsman

It grieves the pond to note that in the strict hierarchical, patriarchal world of the reptiles, a Krygsman must perforce be thought of as rolled gold - oh how rolled gold has rolled out as a form of abuse these last few days, without much sense or understanding of the cheap trinkets to which it refers - but perforce, taking the name of Groucho Marx in vain is better than nothing

Before proceedings begin, a message from our sponsor ...

The pond was so delighted to see that the cash in the paw had kicked in, that it rushed out the news yesterday, with a link to the source here

It has to be said that the Department of Finance is a little slow in its reporting - this cash in the paw kicked in a long time ago and will expire in August 2018 - as if they're ashamed at this use of taxpayers' hard-earned money - but still the news that the Caterists remain on the taxpayer teat is better late than never

It adds a piquant flavour to anything the Caterists have got to say about pretty much anything, though perhaps allegedly caring about the fate of taxpayers is the headiest, richest stew of hypocrisy of all ...


An investment bank for Australias aid program "IndyWatch Feed"

It was a privilege to be part of 3MAP (the 3-Minute Aid Pitch competition) at the 2018 Australasian Aid Conference. I was very impressed by the other nine wonderful ideas for the Australian aid program. But we are in an age of financial constraint, and the question is: how can we fund these initiatives? And thats where my idea comes in.

I propose that Australia creates a sovereign development finance institution (DFI) to engage in the growing market for impact or social investing that is revolutionising overseas aid. A DFI can make loans, take equity and/or provide guarantees to support private investments promoting development.

But why allow the evil investment banker into aid? Well, the foxes are in the henhouse already. Bankers have been involved in aid for many decades, notably through microfinance, pioneered by groups such as Opportunity International (started by former Senior Australian of the Year, David Bussau) and Grameen Bank (founded by 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mohammad Yunus).

It was the first successful impact investment area. An early example is the Mexican microfinance institution Compartamos: one initial investor realised a staggering 134 times its USD1 million investment, over a period when Compartamos grew to reach 660,000 clients, 98% of whom were poor women.

There are at least four reasons why I think establishing an Australian DFI is timely.

First, as we know, Australias aid budget is much smaller than it was and even less than once forecast. Our ODA has fallen from A$5.1 million in 2013-14, which represented 0.33 per cent of gross national income (GNI), to A$4.1 billion in 2017-2018, now equal to approximately 0.23 per cent of GNI. So, it is important to do things more efficiently and effectively.

The UKs DFI, CDC, has obtained a seven per cent annual return whilst building its capital base to 4.8 billion, from a value of 2.0bn just ten years ago. The funds invested by CDC catalysed other investors, together driving economic growth. An example of this is the creation of a million jobs by CDC portfolio companies in 2015 while another 17.9 million jobs were supported.

Using impact investment as part of the aid program would also be consistent with the Foreign Policy White Paper released last year, with one of the four tests it set for Australias aid program being to deliver results and value for money.

Second, donors are putting less money into aid and grants anyway, and more into impact investments, in areas such as Fintech, renewable energy, infrastructure, healthcare, and ed...


Only a flesh wound Catallaxy Files

Chris Berg and I had an op-ed in the Daily Telegraph last week on the ABC. It doesnt seem to be online but Im reproducing it below.


Judging by the howls of outrage echoing through twitter it seems that the Turnbull government has destroyed our democracy, if not Australian civilisation itself. But no. The Turnbull government has frozen ABC operational funding for three years. That translates to a funding cut of some $83 million.

Not $83 million per year, mind you. Over three years.

Not quite a rounding error, but hardly a crisis.

The ABC only has itself to blame. In the pre-budget period it went well out of its way to annoy the government. The prime minister a former communications minister is something of a fan. Yet the ABC chose to publish a highly opinionated and factually challenged analysis by the ABCs Chief Economics Correspondent of the governments centrepiece economic policy. Then there was the small matter of pooh-poohing the current communications ministers complaint about a conservative politician being pointlessly abused in a comedy skit.

These hostilities have not come cheap.

There may well be a market for edgy humour, but the ABCs efforts tend to boorishness. Reproducing flawed ALP and Greens talking points on company tax cuts as being independent and trust worthy is arguably a greater problem. These are not minor lapses in editorial policy the ABC is politically biased and incapable of self-regulation.

Rather than viewing the ABC as a trusted news source we should recognise it as being a political actor in its own right. Not just any sort of political actor. Journalists, as David Marr has suggested, are usually vaguely soft-left and sceptical of authority.

The ABC, however, is not so vague and not so soft. A 2013 survey of journalists revealed that 41.3% of ABC journalists intended to vote Greens at the 2013 election. That compares with 19.8% of journalists at both Fairfax and News and just 8.7% of the electorate.

ABC journalists are well to the left of journalists in general, and nearly five times more likely to vote Greens than the general public.

To be fair there is nothing wrong with voting Greens or being left-wing. Journalists are citizens too. But the ABC claims to be a bulwark of our democracy. While nearly 80% of Australians claim to believe that the ABC is balanced and even-handed there is a huge drop off in actual audience numbers. There are three to four times as many Australians who claim to trust the ABC than who actually watch the ABC. Sure 86% of Australians value to ABCs service to the community, but that probably reflects its status as an emergency broadcaster.

Generally there is no reason why political opinion should cloud professional performance. Coalition voting journalists are a minority even at News. Yet none of the mechanisms that crowd out perso...


Sandpit John Quiggin

A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on.


Monday Message Board John Quiggin

Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.


Getcha Friedman tickets Catallaxy Files

Avoid disappointment buy your Friedman Conference ticket now, if not sooner.

Cats get a discount, use the promo code CATALLAXY18 (you might have to enter that lowercase).

Be challenged by Australias leading thought leaders, public intellectuals, and  provocateurs.


David Leyonhjelm guest post on the budget Catallaxy Files

When someone does something they shouldnt, its often the cover-up that heralds their downfall rather than the original error.

In Tuesdays budget the Coalition Government broke its commitment to offset new spending measures with reductions in spending elsewhere. For a fan of small government like me, this is disappointing enough. But for many people, its the Governments attempt to cover up its breach that might disappoint them more.

The Governments affirmation of its commitment was as clear as day in the key budget document: new spending measures will be more than offset by reductions in spending elsewhere within the budget.

And the Government pretended to deliver on this commitment by claiming that: the overall impact of new spending decisions in this budget is an improvement to the bottom line of $404 million over the four years to 2021-22.

However, this $404 million figure is a result of creative accounting that would make our banks blush.

First, the Government decided to rush a billion dollars of new spending out the door before 1 July so that it wasnt counted in the four years to 2021-22. This was supposedly to provide long-term support for research and supercomputing infrastructure, apprenticeships and the Great Barrier Reef 2050 Partnership Program.

There were no offsetting spending reductions elsewhere to compensate for the end-of-financial-year splurge.

Second, the Government still plans an increase in net spending in the four years starting on 1 July; it just doesnt look like that at first glance. In an accounting trick that Enron would be proud of, the Government provided $500 million to the Defence Department before 1 July, but reduced spending by $488 million in the four years starting on 1 July.

Inevitably, the Department will spend this stockpile of funds over the coming four years, rather than in the next six weeks. If Defence spending was honestly accounted for, it would be plain to see that the Government is increasing net spending in the four years starting on 1 July.

Such manipulation of money flows to the Defence Department is nothing to do with national defence and everything to do with hiding the Governments failure to meet its commitment to reduce net spending. Its a cover up plain and simple.

The Coalition Government clearly felt it necessary to fake its compliance with a commitment to reduce net spending. This suggests the Coalition knows that reducing spending is a good thing, but just cant muster the courage to do it. Its hard to say whats worse: a fan of big government who unashamedly increases net spending, or a supporter of smaller government who increases net spending and feels guilty about it.

Even leaving aside its accounting fiddles, the Governments claims that it is controlling spending are undermined by the fact that it plans to increase net spending next year and the following year, and only pla...


It doesn't pay to tell outright political lies on national television.... North Coast Voices

.... because there are bound to be old election campaign warriors watching.

Australian Treasurer and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison, ABC Insiders interview, 13 May 2018, telling an untruth:

You tell me when a government in their budget has ever provided detailed costings, post the forward estimates up to the medium term. Its never happened.
..we don't provide within-year estimates on the cost of expenditure items 

Hawker Britton Managing Director Simon Banks, Twitter, 13 May 2018, showing Coalition Government costings in 2014-15 Budget:
It is amusing to note that Scott Morrison was a member of the Coalition Government when that 2014-15 Budget was handed down. 

In fact he was a Cabinet Minister being then the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, so he would have more than a passing understanding of what went into those particular budget papers....


The reason Peter Dutton is looking so smug lately North Coast Voices

Peter Dutton, 4 May 2016
Photo: Stephanie Peatling

Already a sitting member in a predominately 'white bread', somewhat politically disengaged Queensland electorate with a relativley large workforce and a stable employment rate, Liberal MP for Dickson, Minister for Home Affairs & Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton is exuding confidence bordering on arrogance.

Well he might - the Liberal Party having strongly lobbied the Australian Electoral Commission in last year's redistribution thereby slightly increasing the slim margin by which he holds the seat of Dickson, with ...

Monday, 14 May


The mind of the progressive Catallaxy Files

How is it that when it comes to optimistic budget revenue projections, nobody believes the experts within Treasury?

But when it comes to apocalyptic carbon and weather projections, prepared with the same methodology used for revenue projections, by the experts within the United Nations and the Department of Climate Changes, these projections are absolutely, positively and categorically correct and cannot be challenged.

Optimistic projections unbelievable.  Apocalyptic projections unchallengeable.

Perhaps there is a deeper problem in the mind of the leftist progressive.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus


Sewer Tour political geometry

Do the unemployed take enough drugs, or eat enough shit? What about the good old Aussie battler mum and dad investor? After much debate and delay the much anticipated national LNP sewer tour is underway, taking gourmet samples from outlets around Australia and providing sober analysis

Barnaby Joyce has a keen whiff of the nation's shit in his nostrils. Of course he wants more. He wants to understand what's in that stuff, and send it emojis

The Prime Tax Evader Minister smells his finger. What gravity?! Call a Royal Commission into Bill Shorten! And give me some of that shit

The core of the parliamentary working group,was chosen for their expertise



Kale and Quinoa Under A Woven Blanket Catallaxy Files

In his budget reply speech last week, the Hon Bill Shorten MP committed Australians Labor to achieving a zero net emissions target by 2050.  He did not explain what for or for what benefit, but by 2050, Mr Shorten will be aged 83 by then and living comfortably off his government guaranteed indexed defined benefit pension.  Oh and if he does ever become Prime Minister, a likely outcome on current projections, he will also have a nice tax payer funded office and staff to reply to the all the correspondence asking why oh why a zero emissions target.

But while all the emissions action is currently focused on electricity generation, let us not forget that one of the largest sources of carbon emissions is .. bovine flatulence, also known as car farts.  And with Australia (current at least) having a large beef production and export industry, one might imagine that yet another industry will soon come under threat.

So lets just quickly revisit the industries that would disappear under an ALP-Greens coalition government:

  • any high energy manufacturing if there is any left
  • any extractive (mining) industry, especially coal, gas and oil carbon based energy you know
  • beef farming cow farts are clearly bad
  • legume farming if cow farts are to be banned, so must human farts

Jeeze.  Spartacus does not know where jobs will come from in the future, other than in the public service of course.  Do any Cat out there know what the international price for hand woven baskets is?  Where do I go to apply for a green job?

But all is not lost.  After destroying big tracks of private sector industry, particularly exporting industry, and making electricity expensive and unreliable, we can all sit under hand woven blankets and eat kale and quinoa.

And by 2050, the ABC can have a cooking show focusing on kale and quinoa recipies.  After all, every one will have to watch it because there will be no other media left and the internet wont be available because the NBN will have been written off and turned off.

All this for zero emissions.  Good thing Australia will get other benefits.  Not sure what, but there must be something in return for us travelling down this road to ruin.  Will everyone at least get a turn to go on a tax payer junket to a United Nations cocktail party?

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @...


Starving amidst plenty: Australias oil dependency problem Independent Australia

Starving amidst plenty: Australias oil dependency problemAustralia is the only International Energy Agency member state to consistently fail to maintain the mandated stockpile of oil. Dr Binoy Kampmark considers the Australian Government's cavalier attitude towards energy security. read now...


Bully Boys The AIM Network

By Ad astra Did you notice the behaviour of Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull during Budget week? Were you comfortable with the words and actions of our treasurer and prime minister? How did you expect them to conduct themselves? It is reasonable to expect such important office holders to be assured, confident, well informed, and

The post Bully Boys appeared first on The AIM Network.


In which young Adam fills the late arvo void with more void ... loon pond


The reptiles have been working terribly hard to pump up the leftist-dominated twitterati volume on young Adam this day, but with the greatest respect, the pond can't see it.

Young Adam doesn't seem to have the right stuff, the right level of crazy, to produce a truly out there bit of epic reptile ranting. He's not even in the same arena as dashing Donners, and it seems as if it might have something to do with the Oreo going missing this day

Last week, she was doing over renewable energy in a way that the reptiles know and love. 

And this week we're given young Adam doing over "leadership"? That's just not right, that doesn't ring true, people have been carping about leaders for centuries, and young Adam is just another in a long line of carpers

Now clearly the reptiles took this outing seriously, because young Adam was blessed with a Lobbecke, as an infallible sign of being touched by the long absent lord as a burning bush

But taking a pot shot at leadership is a bit like taking a blunderbuss to have a go at a blimp and so the pond wa...


ABC Australia radio interview on US embassy move to Jerusalem Antony Loewenstein

With the Trump administration officially moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, opening shortly, tensions in the Middle East are moving from high to extreme.

I was interviewed about it all on ABC Radio Australias The Signal news show. The segment starts at 6:03:


Your Most Misunderstood Organ "IndyWatch Feed"

Of all the organs inside the human body, the most misunderstood one is probably the appendix. Its often described to be useless and unimportant, and is thought to be a remnant of human evolution. Charles Darwin concluded that it may be an organ that cavemen used to digest tree bark and other fibrous plant materials.1

Today, when talk of the appendix arises, most people tend to think of it as a good for nothing body part that may potentially lead to painful inflammation. But theres actually more to this organ than what most people think.

What Is the Appendix and What Does It Do?

The appendix is found in the lower right portion of your abdomen. This slimy, finger-shaped organ is attached to the cecum, a small pouch thats part of the intestines (the cecum is considered to be the beginning of the large intestine) and is part of your gastrointestinal tract.2

The appendix is thin and small, measuring only 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) long.3 For a long time, the appendix has been regarded as an organ that does not serve any function, and that removing it will not harm a person. But now, research has made it clear that it may be useful after all.

According to scientists in France and Australia, the appendix may actually play a role in your immunity, as it has an important function for your gut bacteria.

Published in Nature Immunology, their study showed that the appendix with the help of white blood cells known as innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) works as a reservoir for good bacteria, which are essential for good gut health and healing from infections.4 When certain diseases eliminate the healthy bacteria in your gut, the appendix works as a safe house for some of these probiotics.

The researchers say that these findings should make people rethink whether the appendix is irrelevant to their health.Once the bodys immune system has gotten rid of the infection, the bacteria will emerge from the biofilm of the appendix, and then recolonize your gut, bringing it back to its healthy state.5 According to Gabrielle Belz, a professor at Melbournes Walter and Eliza Hall Institute:

Weve found that ILCs may help the appendix to potentially reseed good bacteria within the microbiome or community of bacteria in the body. A balanced microbiome is essential for reco...


One last chance (Part 1) The AIM Network

Part Thirty-four of a history of European occupation, rule, and brutal imperialism of Indigenous Australia, by Dr George Venturini. One Last Chance Indigenous and Torres Strait Islanders will have to take their chance, and look elsewhere. But where? Here! The Brussels-based United Nations Regional Information Centre, U.N.R.I.C. is organised into nine geographical and thematic desks

The post One last chance (Part 1) appeared first on The AIM Network.


A drunk looking for his keys Catallaxy Files

There is an old-ish parable about a drunkard looking for his keys under a light post.  He was looking for the keys under the post, not because he thought they were there, but because that was were the light was best.

This parable has manifested into the Streetlight Effect which is

a type of observational bias that occurs when people only search for something where it is easiest to look.

This streetlight effect is the plague that has infected developed country politics and public policy.  In Australia, this bias infects major areas of government from health to education to energy.

Post budget, there is no better example than the insane belief that spending more tax payer dollars will ipso facto deliver better results.  And why is this so?  Because when it comes to the areas that governments meddle, results are hard to measure but spending isnt.

Put together a bunch of intellectually lazy and philosophically moribund politicians with a bunch of bureaucrats who are disconnected from outcomes (neither punished for failure nor rewarded for success) and what do you get?  You get, actually we all get, a public sector that eats the private sector.

The whole deception of income inequality is yet another area of public policy that is perverted by the streetlight effect.

Spartacus has previously written about the statistical charade that is income inequality (here and here).  But given the post-budget shower of fairness taxpayers have been subjected to, consider this.

When people (usually ALP, Greens, Black Handers, ABC, academics, those who live off the wealth created by the productive part of the economy) prattle on about income inequality, they are not saying that the poor are getting poorer.  They cant be saying that given minimum wage increases, welfare, Gonksi, blah blah.  What they are really saying is that the rich are getting richer faster than the poor are getting richer.  And according to them thats just not fair!

Thats right.  The poor are getting richer.  Air conditioning, public housing, flat screen televisions.  The poor have never had it better.  This is not to say that they have it great, but no-one is starving and no-one is denied essential health care.  If you want to know what poor is, go to a developing country.

But back to the point.  One would think that it would be better to focus on making the poor richer than to make the rich poorer.  But creating wealth is hard.  Taking it away is easy.  So what do our political overlords do?  They do whats easy an...


In which the Major continues the Luddite narrative ... loon pond

Poor old Major Mitchell.

The notion that the reptiles are to be trusted is one of the funnier memes he persists with, even as he still hunts for that Order of Lenin medal

His fear of the digital is understandable. Cruel people say naughty things about honest reptile attempts to drum up the hits

Too cruel, really, but all this yearning for the analogue reminds the pond of its dear, long departed father.

When a VHS machine was introduced into the lounge room and sat above the TV, he treated it as a baleful intruder, a black snake that might deliver a nasty nip. He refused to go near it, and was never known to put a tape into it, with others having the duty of tape feeder

He was a bit like a pond uncle who sagely explained he didn't go to the movies, not ever, because of the flicker, which would have put his last movie experience back in the silent days

Yes, the pond lived amongst a veritable array of Steele Rudd characters, though these days it produces a hollow laugh, what with all the digerati doing the rounds, and the pond struggling to keep up.

The young do things differently, they're a strange, unknowable country, and while the Major rails and rants, they're already long gone and deep down, the Major probably knows it, but must recite the litany, chant his Agnes Dei, in the hope against hope that the long absent lord will return the world to the true analogue way, while the cursed logarithms are sent into a vale of tears ...



Labour will not fix the OIA No Right Turn

When Labour was in opposition, they frequently demanded that National fix the Official Information Act to improve transparency. But despite a Law Commission review telling them exactly what needs to be done and a review from the Open Government Partnership's Independent Reporting Mechanism recommending they implement it, the government has no intention of doing so:

Contrary to reporting last year, it seems that the Government currently has no plans to reform the Official Information Act.

At the time we wrote to Ministers Clare Curran and Andrew Little expressing our support for such a reform. We have finally had a response from Justice Minister Andrew Little that:

"Although a review of the Official Information Act is not presently under consideration by the Government, such a review is possible at some point in the future."

So much for Clare Curran's promise that "this will be the most open, most transparent Government that New Zealand has ever had". Instead, its the usual story: transparency is something preached in opposition, but ignored when in government. And politicians wonder why the public perceive them as deceitful hypocrites who are lower than dogshit? This is why.

As for what we can do about it: if the government won't act, maybe the opposition will. They're talking a good game on transparency in Question Time at the moment (just as Labour was in opposition). We need to get them to back that with members' bills. At the least, it'll then lead to awkward questions for the Minister for Open Government about why they are doing her job for her.


Faraway Places: USA A Collective Raising of the Modernist Banner at Home and Abroad? The AIM Network

By Denis Bright Despite bipartisan concerns about the political style of the Trump Administration, formal political relations are still deepening between the USA and Australia in sync with the other allied countries in the US Global Alliance. In now far-off 2010, Wikileaks documents gave temporary attention to the depth global strategic and corporate relationships. Such

The post Faraway Places: USA A Collective Raising of the Modernist Banner at Home and Abroad? appeared first on The AIM Network.


How a Greens Senator undermined democracy Independent Australia

How a Greens Senator undermined democracyLast week, says Dr Jennifer Wilson, Senator Nick McKim misrepresented a Parliamentary amendment on Peter Dutton's portfolio to continue the war between Labor and the Greens. read now...


Creepy No Right Turn

Our supermarkets are spying on us:

New Zealand's largest supermarket company has quietly rolled out facial recognition CCTV technology in some of its North Island stores.

It comes after revelations a man was mistakenly identified as a shoplifter at New World and amid warnings from the Privacy Commissioner about the use of the covert surveillance technique.

The man was allegedly misidentified due to human error, and Foodstuffs NZ claimed facial recognition was not used in the South Island.

However, the
Otago Daily Times can reveal a security system that "bridges the gap between businesses and the police'' is now used at the Centre City New World in Dunedin, among other South Island stores.

The ODT identifies that system as "Auror" (yes, its a Harry Potter reference), and it is apparently used in petrol stations run by Z and Caltex and retailers like Farmers, Mitre 10, and Briscoes. It uses facial recognition as well as ANPR to alert stores when an "offender" enters the premises. Who counts as an "offender" and how reliable is that information? Only Auror knows, and they're not telling. But the result, as with other uses of facial recognition, is false-positives, which damage the user's brand.

The Privacy Commissioner is reminding retailers of the requirement to notify customers if they are using this sort of technology. But the way to stop it is to publicise the false positives, fuck the brands of the businesses using it, and make it toxic.


The latest seat guides The Tally Room

Ive been keeping up a regular schedule of seats for the three election guides which are gradually being posted now.

For the federal election, all of these seats have been published since last time I posted about them:

Ive also published a guide to the Victorian state seat of Bass, and today I posted a guide to the NSW Legislative Council.

Bass, Lingiari and the NSW upper house were all requests from donors. If youd like to prioritise a seat, you can do so if you donate $5 per month via Patreon.


Counting the cost of the Coalition (Part 2): Where has Australias wealth gone? Independent Australia

Counting the cost of the Coalition (Part 2): Where has Australias wealth gone?The first four Coalition Federal budgets have all left Australia much poorer. The fifth, last week, continues that trajectory. In the concluding part of his series, Alan Austin examines how the treasure was lost and strategies for its recovery. read now...


In which dashing Donners has his Marine Le Pen moment ... loon pond

There's nothing like beginning the week with a cry of pain, a heartfelt rant, especially when it's dashing Donners having his 'Marine Le Pen/let them wear condoms' moment

Ah like minds, and birds of a feather, how they always flock together.

The pond sometimes pauses to wonder why there's this constant shrieking and wailing, an endless, repetitive litany of fear and loathing, and began to wonder if it wasn't a form of death anxiety, or as the pretentious and the Freudians might call it, thanatophobia

Looking around at all the doom and gloom is a kind of presaging of the inevitability of death

On second thoughts, perhaps this isn't the brightest way to start the week, and it's even more odd to find this sort of thinking present in your average Catholic fundamentalist, because it reeks of God abandoning them, as if She has suddenly become a feminist wraith

But enough with the psychology, it's time to get on with the rant which, it has to be said, while remarkably predictable, is also full of astonishingly predictable anxieties ...

Yes, it's the usual guff about supporting Western civilisation, whatever that might be, as a way of disguising a fundamentalist form of bigotry.

Hysteria is the name of the game, and Donners is good for a fine old lathering of foaming fear

It's as if he'd decided on alternative Python lyrics so we must always look on the dark side of life and imagine the world and Orstralia destroyed ...



Promoting migration while combatting the brain drain: monitoring issues "IndyWatch Feed"

Concerns from the Pacific about brain drain could undermine Australias new commitment to promoting Pacific labour mobility. Stage 3 of the Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC), and the Pacific Mobility Scheme (PLS) are new initiatives to increase access to high-income work in Australia. Even with the time-bound work visas of two to three years under the PLS, the loss of experienced workers with post-secondary qualifications may cause Pacific employers to react unfavourably.

Pacific employers could also be upset about the loss of experienced APTC graduates with trade qualifications who decide to seek work in Australia and New Zealand. In Australias case, APTC graduates with trade qualifications in up to 16 occupations are also eligible for the medium-term stream (four years) of the Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) visa, which has a pathway to permanent residence. The loss of experienced skilled workers such as carpenters, chefs, diesel motor mechanics, electricians and plumbers will not be easy to replace due to the long lead time needed to train up a replacement.

It is vital the Australias new efforts to promote international labour mobility should not be seen as causing harm. Much thought has already gone in to the redesign of the APTC to promote labour mobility without increasing brain drain. As I discussed in an earlier blog, there will now be two APTC tracks: a home track including those sponsored by existing employers, and an away track, who will be given additional support to find work overseas. APTC is also committed to ensuring a net domestic skills gain.

The problem goes beyond APTC though. A system of simple indicators need to be developed and used by Pacific countries so they can monitor and report on the domestic and overseas demand for and supply of skills.

Australia and New Zealand have also made relevant commitments in the side agreement to PACER Plus called the Arrangement on Labour Mobility. These commitments include agreeing to strengthen the collection and harmonisation of labour market statistics in sending countries to improve labour market planning and to respond to the export of skilled labour. Also included in the agreement is a recognition of the importance of further enhancing technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and other tertiary education programmes that build the labour supply capacity to respond to domestic and regional labour market demand.

A small number of indicators of skills in demand, based on simple and accessible measures, can provide a dynamic skills profile of each Pacific country. These measures ca...


David Bidstrup: Not much change in 130 years. Catallaxy Files

A few days ago I had a post that discussed a couple of papers that questioned the relevance or otherwise of a global average temperature and whether this measure actually had any scientific basis. In that post I analysed Adelaides January temperatures for the period 1888 to 2018 in 10 year intervals.

In order to be complete I have analysed temperatures for the same period in blocks of 5 years. The purpose was to see whether maximum and minimum temperatures have changed very much and to look at whether we are having more hot days than in the past.

The data is from the Bureau of Meteorology and has been partitioned into 5 year intervals. For each interval I found the maximum and minimum temperatures, the range of temperature and the number of days above 38 degrees C. This analysis covers the full years in the 5 year blocks of time, not just the summer months. The results are summarised in the table below and under that is a graph showing the changes with time. Once again my Excel skills result in red for minimums and blue for maximums however that is where I am with technology.

The greatest temperature range is 45.5 degrees in the period 1978 to 1982 and the highest temperature recorded, (46.1), is in the period 1938 to 1942 it was actually in 1939. The graph below shows the changes with time. In order to keep the X axis within bounds the time periods are numbered from 1 to 26 and can be referenced in the table and the Y axis is temperature in degrees C.


The reason for looking at temperature range is because that is what we all live within. If I averaged the highest and lowest temperatures I get 24.4 degrees which is meaningless as a comparison when the maximum range over the 130 years is 48.7...


Here we are on the NSW North Coast living amid remnants of the splendor that was Australia in 1788..... North Coast Voices

....and it is fading and dying before our very eyes, while the Turnbull Coalition Government follows in the footsteps of the Abbott Coalition Government by turning its back on us and our concerns.

North Coast Environment Council, media release, 7 May 2018:


Malcolm Turnbull's Government has launched yet another offensive on the environment, with the announcement it was sacking dozens of scientists.

The rivers of cash that the government has to splash around don't extend to environmental protection, said Susie Russell, North Coast Environment Council Vice-President.



Aboriginal elders calling for NSW Berejiklian Government to commit to expanding the youth Koori court program North Coast Voices

The Guardian, 7 May 2018:

Aboriginal elders have called for the NSW government to commit to expanding the youth Koori court program after an evaluation found it halved the amount of time young people spent in detention. The court began as a pilot project at Parramatta childrens court in February 2015 but has not received ongoing funding. A University of Western Sydney evaluation has found it cut the average number of days spent in youth detention, as well as helping address underlying issues such as unstable accommodation, lack of engagement in education and employment, and disconnection from Aboriginal culture. Elders said it reached children who had little family support and were isolated from the community. 

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