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Sunday, 18 February

01:38

"Joyces behaviour has wreaked havoc on his family.....has wreaked havoc on the government" North Coast Voices


Journalist Nikki Savvawriting in The Australian, 15 February 2018:

Barnaby Joyce & Vikki Campion taken at Farm2Fork event on Thursday 3rd November 2016 on Cockatoo Island Sydney. Picture: Supplied
The stories will not disappear. There is a pattern. They abate, then return with a vengeance as soon as something new is uncovered. The hunt for that something new will continue until his head is delivered upon a platter. Unpleasant as it is, that is the reality. No politician, no matter how talented, can survive that, no government can survive that.
Joyce has trashed whatever moral authority he had as leader. He has gone from being funny to a national joke (the beetrooter). He can't live that down, or credibly sell any other government message be it on religious protections, family values, misuse of taxpayer money or even housing affordability. Taking a break next week to escape attention as acting prime minister would only concede he cannot do the job. There is nowhere he can hide or be hidden.
Joyce's...

00:16

Is this 'fake news' site on YouTube just American home-grown nutters or is this a Russian-backed bad actor? North Coast Voices


Freedom Daily says of itself that it exists topresent a forum for discussing meaningful conservative American and world news,from a perspective that is not your normal agenda-based Beltway bull. Articles on Freedom Daily are posted by members who are warriors for Americas freedom.We post and decipher content to a level that is consistent with a common senseapproach and falls in line with the ideals of American liberty and freedom.

This is the text of one of the videos it displays on YouTube.



Published on Feb 5, 2018
Over the last several weeks, the walls have been closing in around Barack Obama and the rest of his liberal minions in Washington D.C., as more evidence is revealed to the public concerning the criminal acts committed under his watch. It is apparent that the pressure is getting to the Obama family as Michelle has distanced herself from her corrupt husband by taking long vacations overseas alone. A damning video has emerged that could be all the evidence President Trump needed to put both Barack and Michelle Obama behind bars for a long time, and there is nothing they can do about it. 
...

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Saturday, 17 February

18:30

In response to Jacqueline Maley The AIM Network

After reading this piece by Jacqueline Maley titled The Barnaby Joyce affair: when men make abysmal choices women pay the price, Im more than a little exercised. Yes, it is true that Joyces lover, Vikki Campion, may well find herself unemployable whilst Joyce seems (at this moment, who knows about the next) relatively secure in

The post In response to Jacqueline Maley appeared first on The AIM Network.

17:30

In which the reptiles do a Daily Mail ... loon pond

The pond is much amused by, and hugely enjoying, the reptiles' paywall activities of late ...

Take this story, holding up the gold bar as a ransom demand  ...


Google it and you end up with this ...


Click on it, and you hit the paywall ...

That's right, the reptiles are paywalling a report that they lifted from the New Yorker ... as if it's impossible to click on the story at source ...


The pond happens to pay money to the New Yorker for access, but as it is, it's currently outside the paywall here ... and what an entertaining read it is too ... and if it ducks behind the paywall again, why not pay to access that source? The database of back catalogue stories is extensive and easy to search ...

Foolish, foolish reptiles ... they started off with a ransom demand, and here's the pond promoting a different brand ...

And now as this is just a short bit of fun, here's a Donald cartoon or three ...

...

16:43

In response to Jacqueline Maley. No Place For Sheep

After reading this piece by Jacqueline Maley titled The Barnaby Joyce affair: when men make abysmal choices women pay the price, Im more than a little exercised. Yes, it is true that Joyces lover, Vikki Campion, may well find herself unemployable whilst Joyce seems (at this moment, who knows about the next) relatively secure in []

16:30

Father pledges second walk to Canberra to support Manus Island refugees Independent Australia

Father pledges second walk to Canberra to support Manus Island refugeesCompelled by human rights and a desire to teach his son valuable life lessons, Adam Richards will make his second trek from Sydney to Canberra to raise awareness to the plight of refugees and asylum seekers. Story by Chris Mordd Richards. read now...

15:30

Screen Themes: Get Out vs Three Billboards Outside Epping, Missouri Independent Australia

Screen Themes: Get Out vs Three Billboards Outside Epping, MissouriAs Oscar time approaches, entertainment editor John Turnbull checks out two of the best picture nominees. read now...

13:00

In which Polonius saves the day and turns the pond away from Barners into the path of righteousness ... loon pond



Oh how they snidely sniggered ... oh how they chortled with calumnious joy ... actual documentary evidence discovered and recorded by the pond ...

Realising the vast extent of the conspiracy - aye Jim lad, it's off to hellfire and damnation for you, and lickety-split too - the pond immediately put in call to brave Catholic warrior, prattling Polonius, who routinely looks like the prune and bran diet isn't working ...


Thank the long absent lord for prattling Polonius.

At last a chance to take a stand against the Barners situation, at last a chance to smite mightily the wretched Fairfaxians and the vile cardigan wearers at the ABC, all heathens and heretics and socialists and destined to an eternity of hellfire for their secularist, sectarian ways ...

Remember when it comes to defending the tykes, Polonius is the pond's man ...


Now there's an important point, just there in that google splash. It's not just the Catholics that accumulate wealth compulsively, the Jews do it too ...

The bloody Jews! They probably run the international banking system and are possibly reptilian. 

And then there are the tele-evangelicals and the likes of Donald Trump and many other non-...

12:19

The truth bomb that terrifies Turnbull The AIM Network

There is mass outrage today at the news that Turnbull has pressured the ABC to take down and censor parts of an article by Emma Alberici which analysed how little tax some of Australias largest companies pay. This story reeks of a scandalous government intervention in a publicly owned free press. But this isnt the

The post The truth bomb that terrifies Turnbull appeared first on The AIM Network.

11:00

Glaciers and gender Catallaxy Files

While Steve Kates is showing some very interesting science with the photo of an atom, there has been some more profound science (from 2016) conducted at the University of Oregon. I will let the abstract speak for itself

Glaciers are key icons of climate change and global environmental change. However, the relationships among gender, science, and glaciers particularly related to epistemological questions about the production of glaciological knowledge remain understudied. This paper thus proposes a feminist glaciology framework with four key components: 1) knowledge producers; (2) gendered science and knowledge; (3) systems of scientific domination; and (4) alternative representations of glaciers. Merging feminist postcolonial science studies and feminist political ecology, the feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions.

One of the authors, Mark Carey, explains in a video the inspiration for this seminal research. Perhaps the ARC can fund further research into this important topic?

11:00

Defiant Joyce calls Turnbulls bluff in #Bonkgate soap opera Independent Australia

Defiant Joyce calls Turnbulls bluff in #Bonkgate soap operaThe explosive confrontation between PM Turnbull and his deputy, Joyce, is not entirely without precedent. But, as political editor Dr Martin Hirst writes, the comparison is not one Fizza or the Beetrooter will enjoy. read now...

10:28

What conservative triumph looks like Press gallery reform

Conservatives within the Coalition should be enjoying their moment of triumph. They have negated a supposedly progressive Prime Minister and tethered him to the unpopular and disastrous policies of his conservative predecessor. They have cast off all but two of those pesky state governments, with their namby-pamby health and education and human services, and have command of the high ground of the federal government. They stand poised to deliver tax cuts, to hold forth against Aboriginal claims through the Uluru Statement, and for welfare crackdowns.

This is the moment Australia's conservatives worked so hard for so long to achieve. Why, then, is everything crumbling around them? Could it be that what Donald Horne called "second-rate people" are part of our defences against tyranny?

The press gallery started the year by trumpeting a 1% rise in polls as "a strong start to the year" for the government, and we now see why that was not merely wrong but fundamentally stupid. It simply had no basis in fact. It was wishful thinking masquerading as analysis.

There Can Be Only One

Turnbull and Joyce have been at one another's throats for a week now, and today it came out into the open.

Malcolm Turnbull is the first Prime Minister since Gorton and McMahon whose parents were not married before and throughout his childhood. Keepers of the sacred flame of Leather Jacket Malcolm, closet liberal, overlook and cannot reconcile his absolutely fustilarian attitudes toward marriage and adultery. It may explain why his approach to the same-sex marriage debate convinced both sides he wasn't with either. The amendments to the ministerial code are in line with that aspect of the man: if you ever wanted an authentic response from Turnbull's heart to a public policy issue, that will have to do.

Barnaby Joyce has rallied his party around him (see below) and acts like he's invincible. In 2009, Joyce's lower-key predecessor Warren Truss helped sink Turnbull's first term as Liberal leader when he all but declared he wouldn't work with him. Joyce is trying to reprise that when he called Turnbull "inept", but the stakes in government are higher than they were back then. He has reached the stage where Nobody Tells Him What To Do, what the Greeks called hubris - and you don't need a classical education to know what comes next.

From time to time the Nationals have to stand up to the Liberals to protect their distinct identity, and to assert the interests of rural constituents. This is not one of those times. Any National who dies in a ditch defending Joyce - come to think of it, they seem awfully quiet at time of writing - gets nothing from this government. Even Christensen has retreated into the arms of his white supremacist buddies than defend the man who stuck his neck out for him.

Joyce is the minister in charge of national infrastructure. To do that job you need to operate effective...

08:35

Barnaby Joyce, religious freedom and moral outrage The AIM Network

The implosion of Nationals Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyces political career, amid the growing scandal over his adulterous relationship with a female staffer comes at a fortuitous time. The Religious Freedom Review, an inquiry set up to examine whether Australian law adequately protects the human right to freedom of religion, has just closed

The post Barnaby Joyce, religious freedom and moral outrage appeared first on The AIM Network.

07:32

In which Rome falls and Visigoths and Huns roam Peel street, and even venture over to Westies ... loon pond

 
 

The pond's exhausted; the poor reptiles look exhausted too, what with the unceasing, unrelenting uproar in the herpetarium ...

Was it only yesterday that Shanners was hinting at war?


Only a day and the war has come ...

07:28

Malcolm Turnbulls overreach exposes the PM to his enemies Drag0nista's Blog

Heres my weekly column for The New Daily. You can receive analysis like this on a daily basis during parliamentary sitting weeks by signing up to become one of my Patreon supporters for as little as $1 a month!

07:18

Quotes of the Week North Coast Voices


"And so it turns out that not only is Barnaby Joyce a shocking hypocrite, he's also a repulsive cliche."  [Journalist Clementine Ford describing Australian Deputy Prime Minister and MP for New England Barnaby Joyce, The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 February 2018]


Barnaby Joyce has a history of screwing over women.  [Journalist Kasey Edwards writing about Australias deputy prime minister in The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 February 2018]


"During the 2016 presidential campaign and into the White House, Trump and his aides have defended a male aide accused of domestic violence, a male Senate candidate accused of pursuing inappropriate relationships with teens and a male campaign manager accused of assaulting a reporter. In each case, Trump and his top staffers used strikingly similar language to defend the accused, noting that he had denied it, defending his integrity and casting doubt on the women's claims."  [Journalist Ryan Teague Beckwith writing in Time magazine, 8 February 2018]

06:00

Day to Day Politics: When two egos butt heads. The AIM Network

Saturday 17 February 2018 What a week it was in Australian politics. And to finish it off the Prime Minister gave the Deputy Prime Minister and the Parliament a lecture in private and public sexual morality. Something for which no one has an ownership of other than the standard society itself sets. Sexual morality is

The post Day to Day Politics: When two egos butt heads. appeared first on The AIM Network.

00:52

The first atom ever to have had its picture taken Catallaxy Files

My before bed reading the last few weeks has been Lucretiuss De Rerum Natura which is a philosophical tract written around around 2000 years ago, whose arguments are based on the absolute assumption that everything in the universe is made up of atoms. Very radical in his time, and a belief that did not become part of our scientific understanding until the eighteenth century. FWIW my favourite book of the present century is The Swerve. No book has impressed on me, to speak in cliches, that everything changes and nothing lasts forever. Absolutely nothing about the world we are in and nothing we know about it will survive. And what The Swerve is about is how the last remaining copy of De Natura in the world was rediscovered in 1417. And then goes on to describe the world then in the context of the world when the Roman Empire was at its peak, and of course, with our world in the picture as well.

As for atoms, we now assume their existence even though no one has seen one, at least not until now. We also assumethere are between 10^78 to 10^82 atoms in the known, observable universe. In laymans terms, that works out to between ten quadrillion vigintillion and one-hundred thousand quadrillion vigintillion atoms. Or to help with the numbers there are approximately 7 x 10^27 atoms in the average human body. And everyone of these was there at the Big Bang or maybe it was only the number of particles that were there, or whatever. But there they were. The mystery of existence will never be known.

And each of these atoms, as again I understand it, has a scale of size so that if we were inside St Peters in Rome, a speck of dust floating in the air would represent the size of the nucleus of an atom relative to the size of the atom represented by the cathedral. How is this possible?

So up above we have a picture of an atom taken just the other day: How a Student Photographed a Single Atom With a Store-Bought Camera. The entire picture is not, of course, the atom, but somewhere between those pointy metallic tubes and along the black line between them there is a tiny dot of a white speck. That is also not the atom, its the light from an array of surrounding lasers being re-emitted by an atom. Its not much, but out of...

Friday, 16 February

23:58

Historic landmark mansion sold $52.5m suspected offshore Chinese buyer Stop Foreign Ownership in Australia

A historic Melbourne mansion that was once Victorias Government House and the home to governors has changed hands for $52.5 million, smashing the states residential price record.

Art dealer Rod Menzies has sold Stonington mansion at 336 Glenferrie Road in the prestigious southeastern suburb of Malvern, public records show.

The buyer is listed as the company JJH & Co, which is directed by Xiao Cao, who in media reports today was suggested to be an accountant representing an undisclosed party.

Mr Menzies has been contacted for comment. Former Marshall White agent Sean Cussell is understood to have sold the home and declined to comment when contacted by The Australian.

Prestige real estate agents in the citys leafy southeast raised eyebrows at the size of the deal, suggesting the buyer was an offshore Chinese purchaser who had also bought the Noorilim Estate in regional Victoria although a caveat or title documents have yet to be lodged.

The grand Malvern home, built in 1890, was bought by Mr Menzies for $17.5 million in 2008, records show.

Stonington became the home of Victorias governor in 1901 before being purchased by the state in 1928 and served as the states Government House until 1931. It has also been a girls school, hospital and teachers college.

The price paid is substantially higher than the last Victorian record, where mystery Chinese buyer Qi Yang placed a caveat on former Mirvac...

21:36

If you have good ratings you can do whatever you please just ask Donald Trump, Don Burke and Barnaby Joyce. The AIM Network

When Malcolm Turnbull made his bizarre bonking ban pronouncement on Thursday, he did Barnaby Joyce an enormous favour.  A favour which Joyce is obviously too stupid to recognise. All of a sudden, the conversation has moved from a man abusing his position for personal gain back to people falling in love. Putting aside the expectations

The post If you have good ratings you can do whatever you please just ask Donald Trump, Don Burke and Barnaby Joyce. appeared first on The AIM Network.

18:27

The dissident right and the race thing Skepticlawyer

The blogger Zman provides a very useful summary of the dissident right:

If you were trying to reduce the main points of the Dissident Right with a few bullet points, it would be:

  • The people in charge have dangerous fantasies about the future of society and the nature of man
  • The mass media is just propaganda for those fantasies and can never be taken at face value
  • Race is real, ethnicity is real and evolution is real. In the main, humans prefer to live with their own kind. Diversity leads to conflict.

There is a more to it, but those are the three main items that come up over and over among writers in the Dissident Right. The people in charge, of course, dispute these and consider them to be ignorant, paranoid and immoral. Question the browning of America and youre a dumb racist. Notice that mass media often looks like a coordinated public relations campaign and youre branded as a paranoid. Of course, anyone mentioning the realities of race and sex is the branded a Nazi or white supremacist.

A useful summary, because pithy summaries of positions from the inside are almost always a helpful addition to understanding and debate. One of the ways, for example, you can tell that much academic writing about neoliberalism is worthless is the lack of forensic analysis of what alleged neoliberals write.

Pithy summaries tend not to be the places for nuance. But what I found useful in Zmans summary is it pinpointed for me why I read a lot of dissident right stuff but do not identify with it.

I read a lot of it in part because they often are willing to consider facts and concerns which conflict with the progressivist piety display politics that dominate so much of the media and elsewhere (and help provide strong coordinating effects). Also because I do think said politics include some dangerous fantasies about the future of society and human nature. And because I do think that ethnicity is real and evolution is real.

Against social constructionism

Continuing with points of agreement, evolutionary psychology tends to have not nearly enough history or comparative anthropology in it (see a...

18:00

Donald Trump, democracy and the changed climate of thought Independent Australia

Donald Trump, democracy and the changed climate of thoughtTrump is not a fascist like Hitler and Mussolini, because he has no ideology at all but he is well on his way to becoming a dictator like them all the same, writes Noel Wauchope. read now...

17:44

Malcolms Cunning Stunt And Barnabys Stunning Press Conference! The AIM Network

What can I say? I mean What can I say? While many in the Liberal Party have been referring to members of Barnabys party by the abbreviation Nats,  Mr Turnbull doesnt seem to have noticed that theyve changed their name in the 1970s and are no longer the Country Party. Malcolm announces that ministers in

The post Malcolms Cunning Stunt And Barnabys Stunning Press Conference! appeared first on The AIM Network.

17:30

Sexual Despotism: Malcolm Turnbulls Bonking Ban The AIM Network

Its all the rage at the moment, stirring the halls of power in certain countries, and satisfying some sense of puritanical virtue. Bonking is off the cards for politicians at least in certain contexts, and some states. In Australia, the issue of the Deputy Prime Ministers relationship with an ex-staffer whilst married persists in

The post Sexual Despotism: Malcolm Turnbulls Bonking Ban appeared first on The AIM Network.

16:05

Strong in the arms The AIM Network

There seems to be a kind of continuity in this latest mainstream media (MSM) Sgt Schultz plea over the Barnaby Joyce whole kit n caboodle when they say in a plaintive squeal; I know nuffink! which, considering social medias eye-rolling acceptance of THAT reality, they suddenly now seem to be all over the situation

The post Strong in the arms appeared first on The AIM Network.

15:18

Chimpanzees throwing feces Catallaxy Files

The following is from Jane Goodall Institute of Canada:

In their natural habitat, when chimpanzees become angry, they often stand up, wave their arms, and throw branches or rocks anything nearby that they can get their hands on. When chimps are removed from the wild and kept in captivity, they experience stress and agitation, which can cause them to react in the same way by throwing things. Captive chimpanzees are deprived of the diverse objects they would find in nature, and the most readily available projectile is feces. Since they also tend to get a pretty strong reaction from people when they do throw it, their behaviour is reinforced and likely to be repeated.

What better explanation of what is going on in Canberra.  What a disgrace.

Whilst the Prime Ministers political management skills are, how do they say in French, crap, it is gob smacking that the person who created the mess is upset at the way the cleaner has tried to clean the mess.  Yes, the cleaner did a lousy job, but the cleaner did not make the mess.

And much like the person on the Labor back-bench who has admitted they are a dual citizen in breech of (a plain text reading of) the constitution, the problem is that these people think they are more important than the institutions they are there to represent.

I will leave the final work to the Senator from the great State of Victoria.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus

14:00

A belated Recognition and a new policy (Part 1) The AIM Network

Part Nine of a history of European occupation, rule, and brutal imperialism of Indigenous Australia, by Dr George Venturini. A belated Recognition and a new policy On 11 October 2007, in one last opportunistic electoral manoeuvre, Prime Minister Howard announced his support for The eight time: Constitutional Recognition for Indigenous Australians in a new preamble

The post A belated Recognition and a new policy (Part 1) appeared first on The AIM Network.

13:00

In which the pond abandons the reptiles and goes in search of a TGIF laugh ... loon pond


Fear not. The pond isn't going to take a look at scintillating Sharri doing over Barners one more time ...

There are a number of reasons. First the Terrorists have become very keen on a Times-style paywall, and the pond is inordinately pleased, and has taken this as a personal compliment. 

The reptiles have gone to all this trouble just to stop the pond, with its gnat-like number of hits?

Steady. It's easy to get swept up by delusions of grandeur and imagine that the reptiles have taken this stand as a direct riposte to the pond ... but the reality's a little more obvious, as noted a few days ago in Crikey ...


You'll have to access Crikey for that hot link and the rest of the story, but the point's obvious enough ... the reptiles are in a world of pain.

It's all the weirder then that news.com.au still keeps on giving away the family jewels for free ... do the reptiles really think this bait and switch strategy is working?

And besides, the pond can only take so many bouts with Barners and the reptiles on any given day. 

It's worse than a Tamworth Paleo diet ... kill the 'roo, eat the lapin in a red wine sauce ...feast on Barners beef jerky ...

The pond likes to vary its diet and lately on a Friday, it's taken to hanging out with the Speccie crowd ... and there's usually some prime example of extremely aged wagyu dangling on the vine ... or perhaps clutching a medal ...

...

12:37

Our reserves are open for pillage No Right Turn

The Reserves Act 1977 is meant to protect our environment, by placing some areas off-limits for development. Except, it turns out that it doesn't. Where a reserve is owned and managed by local government, they can apparently let it be dug up for an open-cast coal-mine:

One of several legal attempts to block a new coal mining venture on the West Coast has failed, but campaigners say the fight to stop the mine is far from finished.

[...]

Forest and Bird fought a separate legal campaign over an earlier decision by Buller District Council to allow the mining company access to its Water Conservation Reserve.

The council then rescinded that decision after being threatened with legal action from Forest and Bird.

Rangitira replied by challenging that reversal in the High Court.

That case has now produced a verdict, and it went against Forest and Bird and in favour of the mining company.

The court argued the original approval of access - granted under the Crown Minerals Act - had higher legal standing than the Reserves Act that Forest and Bird had relied on to block access.


This follows straightforwardly from s109 of the Reserves Act in combination with s22(2) of the Interpretation Act 1999. While local councils are required to have regard to the purpose for which land is held, it can be balanced against other considerations such as supposed economic benefit. Which, given the usual quality of local government decision-making and its propensity for capture by large donors and special interests, means open pillage.

As for fixing it, I'd suggest repealing s109. Does any MP want to bring a member's bill?

The full decision is here.

12:30

The Barnaby Affair: Are the Liberals up to making him go? Independent Australia

The Barnaby Affair: Are the Liberals up to making him go?Tensions between the Liberals and Nationals over the Barnaby Joyce sex scandal have destabilised the Australian Government, writes Dr Lee Duffield, who says the historical record shows its nothing new. read now...

11:48

Turnbulls latest bag of tripe The AIM Network

One hardly knows where to begin. Yesterday, Head Galoot Malcolm Turnbull announced that in an effort to curb the apparent enthusiasm of his ministers for shagging their staffers, he was adding a new rule to the ministerial regulations, forbidding sexual relationships. Only ministers are denied these pleasures: backbenchers can carry on as usual. Turnbull has

The post Turnbulls latest bag of tripe appeared first on The AIM Network.

10:50

Turnbulls latest bag of tripe. No Place For Sheep

  One hardly knows where to begin. Yesterday, Head Galoot Malcolm Turnbull announced that in an effort to curb the apparent enthusiasm of his ministers for shagging their staffers, he was adding a new rule to the ministerial regulations, forbidding sexual relationships. Only ministers are denied these pleasures: backbenchers can carry on as usual. Turnbull []

09:42

...and on whistleblower protection No Right Turn

Abortion isn't the only area where Labour is moving to act on its promises. last year, the newly elected government suggested it would strengthen whistleblower protections. Now, they're doing that too:

Work has begun on a review of the Protected Disclosures Act 2000, Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins said today.

The Government is exploring whether the law and procedures to protect whistle blowers need to be strengthened. The review will start with a series of targeted workshops next week.

Getting this right is critical to building public confidence in the integrity of government and business in New Zealand, Mr Hipkins says.

It is crucial that employees feel safe to report cases of serious misconduct. Anyone who raises issues of serious misconduct or wrongdoing needs to have faith that their role, reputation, and career development will not be jeopardised when speaking up.

The first step in this review is to identify possible gaps and weaknesses in the current Act.


There are a couple. Firstly, that whistleblowers can't go to MPs or the media if their reports are ignored by their proper reporting chain. Secondly, that (thanks to National) it is literally a criminal offence for staff in some departments (notably those with significant intrusive powers) to pass on evidence of wrongdoing. Thirdly, that it is not currently a criminal offence to retaliate against whistleblowers. All those things need to change. Hopefully this review will be the first step in that process.

09:32

Economics in Two Lessons John Quiggin

Ive finally committed to delivering a manuscript of my long-overdue book Economics in Two Lessons. As part of the process, Im going to post the chapters, one at a time, and ask for comments, criticism, encouragement and so on. To begin at the beginning, heres the Introduction.

09:24

Labour acts on abortion No Right Turn

During the election campaign, Jacinda Ardern promised that if elected she would decriminalise abortion. Now Labour are taking the first step towards that, with a review by the Law Commission

Justice Minister Andrew Little intends to ask the Law Commission to update the archaic law on abortion, including looking at decriminalising it.

This morning, the Abortion Supervisory Committee (ASC) told Parliament that the 41-year-old law was impractical and made the difficult lives of women seeking abortion even more difficult.

The committee added that it had been years since it had seen any meaningful engagement from Parliament, including over three years since a minister had met with its members.


A review by the Law Commssion is a good idea - it will formally document how badly the current archaic law works, while examining more modern laws from overseas (e.g. Victoria). And it should give us decent draft legislation for any change.

The question is whether it will pass. In order to get enough votes, any bill will need substantial support from National, but their current leadership contest shows that even "liberals" like Amy Adams are grovelling to the Christian right and defending the status quo. That might not last - there's nothing as two-faced as a politician - but its a bad sign. There's also a real danger of wrecking amendments such as mandatory scolding "counselling" or parental consent requirements, which may undermine the right to abortion in practice. So we may end up with a great proposed law, which we can't pass due to too many National misogynists in Parliament. Though given the expected length of time for a review, it'll probably be the next Parliament which has to deal with this anyway, so we'll at least get a chance to fix that first.

09:23

New ministerial conduct rules Catallaxy Files

I have quite a different take on the new ministerial rules than Sinc. First, it is not about re-criminalising adultery. No one is suggesting that Barnaby Joyce should be arrested,  charged with adultery, convicted and jailed.

No, the reason that Turnbull needed to act as he did is similar to why many businesses have such policies. As a protection to the companys assets and as a protection to the taxpayer.

It is also wrong to suggest that it requires special surveillance. In a small office it is quite clear when the boss is having it off with a staff member. If the boss and the staff member can have relations without anyone else knowing well good on them. But pretty soon there are clear signs they start travelling together frequently. They are the last two in the office. Then there is the favouritism given to the staff member which causes immense disquiet among the other staff.

Ultimately the staff member is moved to a higher paying job elsewhere, as one can hardly move the minister (or MP).

Then when the affair goes awry the recriminations start, there is hatred and nasty behaviour by both parties. Perhaps the staff member charges sexual harassment or worse. Both are distracted from the work they are paid to do.

In all of this the grateful taxpayer picks up the tab. Without formal guidelines banning such behaviour, the Government is tacitly accepting such behaviour and hence exposing the taxpayer to all these costs.

No, the guidelines are required and should apply to all MPs, not just ministers.

They should also apply to public servants, as all of this happens in departments too. Obviously we are talking here of direct reports (or within the same team), where the senior person can either misuse taxpayers money to eg travel together.

There are good reasons for the long ban on nepotism in the public service and elsewhere. What we are talking here is tweaking the definition of nepotism so that the sophistry we have observed about whether Joyces lover was a partner or not and when that happened cannot be used as an excuse to favour an individual with taxpayers resources not because of their work skills but because of the bed skills.

08:30

The power and the folly: Will Adani go down like Gunns? Independent Australia

The power and the folly: Will Adani go down like Gunns?The Adani and Gunns parallels demonstrate Australian politicians are completely controlled by the power of vested corporate interests, writes Peter Henning. read now...

07:55

U.S. Ambassador to Australia: Who Is Harry B. Harris Jr.? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.us"

President Donald Trumps love affair with general officers shows no sign of abating. On February 9, 2018, he nominated Admiral Harry Binkley Harris Jr., the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command and the first Asian-American to reach the rank of admiral in the U.S. Navy, to be ambassador to Australia.

 

Harris father, a World War II veteran, was a machinists mate chief petty officer in the Navy who married a Japanese woman when he was stationed in Japan after the war. Harry Jr. was born August 4, 1956, in Yokosuka, Japan. His father retired from the Navy in 1958 and the family moved to a farm in Tennessee, and then to Pensacola, Florida. Harris graduated from Booker T. Johnson High School in 1974, having participated in Naval Junior ROTC.

 

Harris went on to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, graduating with a B.S. in engineering in 1978. He subsequently earned a masters in public administration from John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard in the early 1990s and an M.A. in national security studies from Georgetown in 2000.

 

Harris went into naval aviation and, after flight school back in Pensacola, he was assigned as a tactical coordinator for P-3 Orion anti-submarine patrol planes, coordinating the personnel and the equipment in the back of the plane. From 1985 to 1987, Harris served as a tactical action officer aboard the carrier USS Saratoga, including participation in the response to the October 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro and the April 1986 bombing of Libya.

 

He continued to advance up the chain of command in naval aviation, with stops in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations from 1992 to 1993, commander of Whidbey Island Naval Base, and as special assistant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1998 to 2000. He served as assistant chief of staff for operations, plans and political-military affairs, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command in Manama, Bahrain. Harris earned his first star in 2005 when he was again serving in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations as director of Information/Current Operations.

 

On March 31, 2006, Harris took over as commander of Joint Task Force Guantnamo. Under his watch, three prisoners held at the base, Mani Shaman Turki al-Habardi Al-Utaybi, Salah Ali Abdullah Ahmed al-Salami and Yasser Talal Al Zahrani, died while in custody. Harris quickly declared the deaths to be suicides, saying: I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us. However an investigation by Harpers magazine cast considerable doubt on that verdict, pointing out the near simultaneous times of death while held separately; the improbability of the prisoners ability to kill themselves in the...

07:28

In which Barners keeps ruining everything for the reptiles, and so the pond ... loon pond

  

 

Oh Barners, Barners ... once the pride of Tamworth, the first to see the street light in the southern hemisphere, a most unique city* (*usage licensed from News 24) ... look what you've made Malware do ...

The reptiles are completely distracted, and so, perforce is the pond ... where's the talk of the great Chinese climate hoax, how can the bromancer's love of the Donald flourish in this shade?


What could the pond do?

Who's up first? What's on second?

...

06:09

Self interest tramples public good Joyce again Pigs Fly Newspaper

SAFEGUARDS FOR THE WATER and environmental values of the Pilliga have been compromised by politicians acting in their own interests.

Im now an old man following the ancient Chinese tradition of seeking refinement and reclusion in the mountains after a busy working life. My mountains of choice are the Warrumbungles in north-western NSW. Here Im fortunate to live in a secluded valley with a high and reliable spring, from which I can gravity feed my drinking water. The spring rises, at pressure, out of what is known as Pilliga sandstone.

To the north is the Pilliga Forest, made famous by Eric Rolls in his classic book about the Australian landscape, A Million Wild Acres. Rolls had a deep understanding of the impact of non-Indigenous settlement and how the landscape functions. One of the primary functions of the Pilliga landscape is to filter water through its sandstone base and recharge the Great Artesian Basin  the largest and deepest artesian basin in the world.

In 2005 a year before Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce bought two properties in the Pilliga, near Gwabegar, described as mongrel country  Eastern Star Gas revealed that after spending $50 million exploring the area, mainly around Narrabri, the company had developed plans for 1,100 coal seam gas (CSG) wells dotted across the Pilliga, feeding a $150 million pipeline to the Hunter Valley.

Joyce and his (ex) wife Natalie bought their first block in July 2006. Sale records show it was purchased from Brett and Traci Worrell for $230,000. In February 2008, the Joyces...

06:00

Day to Day Politics: Beetroot Head now officially off the boil. The AIM Network

Friday 16 February 2018 Today I had intended to write on the subject of taxes. I had gathered all my notes and placed them in my Pages document ready to rip into it. However, my wife kept nagging me about doing things that I had kept putting off. In addition to that, Barnaby Joyce seemed

The post Day to Day Politics: Beetroot Head now officially off the boil. appeared first on The AIM Network.

03:44

The Productivity Commission gets it wrong on Economics 101 Catallaxy Files

Today in The Australian

 

The god of long reports makes sure no one reads them. Having released its 600-page draft report on competition in the Australian financial system, the Productivity Commission would do well to keep the candles at that gods shrine burning

02:53

Myths of Westminster democracy oecomuse

Almost everything we are formally taught about our system of government is deeply anchored in vested dishonesty. All the formal claims to democratic principle fall short. Here is how those structural designs benefit as undeserving a character as Barnaby Joyce.

Like many Australian voters or saintedAustraliantaxpayers as many choose to define us (taxpayers are everyone who buys anything other than fresh food so, you know, everyone) I am incandescent at the mess caused by the current deputy prime minister and his senior coalition partner, the prime minister.

Malcolm Turnbull and Barnaby Joyce have less idea how to clean up this spilt milk than my teenage son wiping the bench after making two-minute noodles, which trust me is a very low bar. Both men, and both parties they head, and thus by definition all the dithering cowards in their caucus, are terminally and irredeemably incapable of completing the tasks we pay them big money to achieve. Like running the country.

Two of the most deeply held Westminster myths are especially relevant to the shambolic shitshow that is now Barnaby Joyces political career. For the sake of brevity and sanity I limit this post to these: ministerial accountability; and the public interest obligation of the fourth estate.

For the record, I was writing about the moral and political failures same thing, when it comes to Pilliga properties and inland rail, CSG and Eastern Star and Santos, the Murray-Darling river flows and Wesfarmers and irrigation licenses and water theft and more of Barnaby Joyce before it was cool. I also have a rogue theory on why Joyce chose to publicly concede his marriage was over after the 2 December 2017 by-election.

I lived and voted in New England for thirteen years and visit annually to see family, and this is what I think: Joyce would have won anyway, but the charade allowed New Englanders to deny, to themselves, official knowledge that they were re-electing a grifter and a fool who was quite obviously drowning in a mid-life quagmire of his own making.

Nobody wanted to know, because nobody wanted to feel the prick of truth as they stood by their leery, beery charlatan of a man, their representative clown of the first order whose crass and boorish rent-seeking ways were well-known, but who nevertheless delivered the pork from a hapless beholden Coalition government and the public purse. Plus they hated Tony Windsor for backing Gillard, despite the obvious integrity of his decision-making process.

The by-election charade was aided and abetted by corny sentiment and distant ignorance from political journalists too eager to go along with the rebuttable presumption that white rural folk have an ontological right to define themselves in opposition to city culture a...

01:00

The Hungarian Election: Viktor Orbns Crusade Against Globalism "IndyWatch Feed Politics.us"

NOTE: This is the third of several articles I am writing to promote my fundraiser to cover the Hungarian election starting next month. To find out more about the fundraiser and how you can help, click here.

With the next articles Im writing on the Hungarian election, Im going to focus on specific parties and personalities and their political platforms, and theres no better place to start than with Prime Minister Viktor Orbn himself and his Fidesz party.

The current Hungarian government is technically a coalition, as Fidesz governs with the KDNP (Christian Democratic Peoples Party). However, the KDNP isnt truly an independent party and is treated as an extension of Fidesz for all intents and purposes, similar to the relationship between the CDU and CSU in Germany or the Liberals and Nationals in Australia.

Fidesz was originally founded in 1988 as the Alliance of Young Democrats (Fidesz is the Hungarian-language contraction of that name) to protest the Hungarian communist government. A student movement, it and Orbn rose to fame in 1989 when he gave a speech commemorating the reburial of Imre Nagy and other leaders of the 1956 revolution who had been killed trying to overthrow the government. In his speech, Orbn demanded not only that the communist regime hold free elections, but that the Soviets withdraw their forces from Hungary. Fidesz would later win seats in the subsequent post-communist elections.

While Fidesz began as a liberal partyOrbn studied at Oxford under a Soros Foundation scholarshipin the mid-90s, the party moved to the right, greatly increasing its popularity. In the 1998 elections, Fidesz went from being one of the smallest parties in the National Assembly to the largest, allowing Orbn to become Prime Minister in coalition with two other parties. While his first tenure in government was not nearly as radical as his current stint (due to his weaker position), Orbn did manage to implement some of the concepts of his illiberal democracy, such as reintroducing benefits for mothers, joining NATO, and passing a law providing education and health benefits for ethnic Hungarians in neighboring countries such as Romania.

Fidesz lost the elections in 2002 due to a series of corruption scandals involving its coalition partners: while it remained the largest party in the National Assembly, the opposition MSZP (Hungarian Socialist Party) was able to form a governing coalition with another party. Viktor Orbns response was to sit back and w...

00:16

A brief history lesson from Labor on the subject of Barnaby Joyce's performance as a federal minister North Coast Voices



Labor MP for Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon on his feet in the House of Representatives, listing some of Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for  & Nationals MP for New England Barnaby Joyce's many failings.

Hansard, 14 February 2018:

I want to quickly take us to the member for New England's performance. I'm going to read this as quickly as I can. There are so many to talk about. He forcibly relocated the APVMA to his own electoratea disaster for Australian agriculture. He abolished the COAG committee, which was doing so much work to bring the states and the Commonwealth together. He sacked his departmental head, destroying the culture, trust and motivation of those who work in the department. He doctored his Hansard. He ditched drought assistance. He tried to move the Regional Investment Corporation to Orange without any governance, giving him full flight to do whatever he wanted with his pork-barrelling exercise. He's destroyed trust in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, a real threat on the water front and in our food bowl. Biosecurity has been a disaster. He tried to abolish the Inspector-General of Biosecurity. It was only our resistance that prevented that from happening. 

...

00:15

Failed coal seam gas mining company Linc Energy's 9 week trial underway in Queensland, Australia North Coast Voices


As the story unfolded.........

ABC News, 16 April 2016:

Oil and gas company Linc Energy has been placed into administration in a bid to avoid penalties for polluting the environment, a Queensland green group says.

It was announced late Friday that administrators PPB Advisory had been called in to work with Linc's management on options including a possible restructure.

In a statement to the ASX, the company said after receiving legal and financial advice and considering commercial prospects the board decided it was in the best interests of the company to make the move.

It comes one month after the company was committed to stand trial on five charges relating to breaches in Queensland's environmental laws at its underground coal gasification site.

The state's environment department accused the company of wilfully causing serious harm at its trial site near Chinchilla on the Darling Downs.

...

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