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Friday, 22 September

05:25

U.S. Ambassador to Germany: Who Is Richard Grenell? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.us"

Richard Allen Ric Grenell, who served as spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration, was nominated September 1, 2017, to be the U.S. ambassador to Germany.

 

Grenell was born September 18, 1966. His parents were evangelicals who traveled between Michigan and California, and Grenell was active in his church from a young age. Grenell also realized early on that he was gay, and hid it from his parents and others even while he attended Evangel College in Springfield, Missouri, which was affiliated with the conservative Assemblies of God church. Grenell earned a B.A. there in 1988.

 

After college, Grenell became an administrator for the American Arbitration Association, but it wasnt long before he was involved in politics. In 1992, Grenell worked for the Bush-Quayle re-election effort. After George H.W. Bush lost the election, Grenell moved on to be an assistant for the National Republican Congressional Committee and then served as press secretary for Rep. Mark Sanford (R-South Carolina) and Rep. Dave Camp (R-Michigan).

 

Grenell left Washington in 1995 to serve as press secretary for the New York State Lottery under Republican Governor George Pataki. He also began studies at Harvards Kennedy School of Government, where he earned an MPA in 1998. That year, Grenell moved west to be press secretary for San Diego Mayor Susan Golding and subsequently worked for John McCains unsuccessful bid for the 2000 Republican nomination for president.

 

Grenell was named in 2001 to be the spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Grenell was eventually the longest-serving person to hold that job, working until 2008 under U.N. ambassadors John Negroponte, John Danforth, John Bolton and Zalmay Khalilzad.

 

Grenell then went into industry, first as vice president of corporate communications for DaVita Healthcare Partners, a dialysis provider that in 2015 was forced by the federal government to pay more than $800 million to settle a fraud case that went back to 2007. In 2009, Grenell struck out on his own, forming Capitol Media Partners, a strategic communications company that counted clients from Iran, Kazakhstan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, China, Australia, and Timor-Leste among its customers.

 

In 2012, Grenell served briefly as Mitt Romneys foreign affairs spokesman, but was chased off the campaign by anti-gay attacks from the right. Since then, Grenell has been a contributor to Fox News and other conservative outlets, where he often sniped at the Barack Obama administration.

 

Grenell was diagnosed wi...

00:46

US President Trump continues to chase 'his' war North Coast Voices


It is becoming clear that Donald Trump wants an all-stops-out war with North Korea and damn the global consequences.

The Atlantic, 20 September 2017

President Donald Trump dispensed with diplomacy at the United Nations, vowing in his maiden speech to the General Assembly that the United States will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea if it is forced to defend itself or its allies.

The remarks, reminiscent of those of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchevs vow in 1968 to bury the West, is likely to raise tensions with North Korea, whose nuclear-weapons and missile programs have raised the alarm in Asian capitals and Washington. North Korea, with its regular battery of missile tests, as well as a recent nuclear test, is believed to be close toif it doesnt already possessthe ability to strike the United States with an intercontinental ballistic missile armed with a nuclear warhead.

Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime, Trump said at the UN on Tuesday, a reference to Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.

Before Trumps remarks on Tuesday, his administration, after several false starts, appeared to have coalesced around a common message on North Korea: one that favored diplomacy to defuse the threat posed by Kim Jong Uns nuclear and missile programs, while keeping all options on the table. After the presidents remarks, its once again unclear what the U.S. policy on North Korea is.

BACKGROUND

...

00:45

More wheels are falling off the Turnbull Government train North Coast Voices


BuzzFeed News, 14 September 2017:

Australia's immigration detention regime is facing a crisis in healthcare staffing following the resignation of the surgeon-general of the Australian Border Force (ABF), and the departure of three senior medical staff on Nauru.

Rumours have circulated online for several days that the surgeon-general of the ABF, Dr John Brayley, who oversees the healthcare of asylum seekers in immigration detention, had resigned.

BuzzFeed News has now confirmed that the surgeon-general resigned last week. A senior immigration department source confirmed his resignation, although the department has declined to comment.

Brayley's department email now has an indefinite out-of-office message. His phone has been switched off and is no longer receiving voicemail. His Linkedin profile has also recently removed his position as surgeon-general as his current occupation.


Brayley's resignation comes at a difficult time for the department. The ABF is continuing to face allegations of medical treatment failures at detention centres. ...

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Thursday, 21 September

21:44

Chinese dairy company Yili makes substantial offer for Murray Goulburn Stop Foreign Ownership in Australia

A CHINESE dairy juggernaut is courting Australias biggest milk processor, Murray Goulburn Cooperative, lobbing a buyout offer for the group, sources say.

Yili, which makes milk products for the Chinese market, is rumoured to the be in the box seat for the struggling Melbourne-based cooperative after tabling a substantial offer.

Confirming last month that it had slumped into the red during the year to June, Murray Goulburn also revealed it had fielded buyout bids and offers for some of its assets.

A buyout by an offshore group such as Yili would face scrutiny from the Foreign Investment Review Board.

media_camera

Murray Goulburn chief executive Ari Mervis. Picture: Aaron Francis

Industry experts say any deal would likely need the backing of 90 per cent of Murray Goulburns farmer suppliers under its co-op structure. As such, the government would be less likely to overturn a deal even if the review board had concerns, they say.

Other bidders are said to include listed company Bega Cheese, Chinese group Fuyuan Farming, New Zealand dairy processing titan Fonterra and Canadian heavyweight Saputo, which already owns Warrnambool Cheese and Butter.

Italian dairy titan Parmalat, Japans Lion, Singapore-owned Goodman Fielder and New Zealands A2 Milk which is listed on...

21:26

Jacques Barzun on race relations Catallaxy Files

Race: A study in superstition was first published in 1937 with the focus on the Continent and reprinted in 1965 with a new Preface on Racism Today to refer to the state of play in the USA.

When injustice is redressed, the hitherto outcast and maligned group must not benefit in reverse from the racism they justly complained of. They do not suddenly possess, as a group, the virtues they were formerly denied and it is no sign of wisdom in the former oppressors to affect a contrite preference for those they once abusedAnd no demonstration is needed to show that to change the supremacy of one race for that of another leaves social justice as much violated as before.

Barzun went on to talk about the situation when some representative of a group is depicted in a work of art or literature in a way that some find offensive. He instanced the repeated attempts to have The Merchant of Venice banned and Huckleberry Finn removed from library shelves.

This anxious wrangling which goes on about books and plays seems at times trivial but it is in fact fundamental. If democratic culture yields on this point no prospect lies ahead but that of increased animosity among pressure groupsIn social and cultural relations the law rarely intervenes effectively; the protection of rights and feelings only comes from decency and self-restraint.

Interesting! We were warned.

A summary of Barzuns remarkable career.

He wrote more than twenty books, edited a similar number and contributed countless chapters to others, plus journal articles, Introductions and Forewords for books by other authors.

He fought a long battle against what he called hokum, ideas with no basis, which gain spurious credibility by repetition. One of these bits of hokum is the description of the 1800s as the century of laissez faire. He pointed out that the era of laissez faire in Britain was probably as short as a decade, from the repeal of the tariffs on imported grain (the Corn Laws) to the introduction of the Factory Acts and similar regulations.

Barzun grew up in Paris and Grenoble, the only child in a household where his parents conducted a modernist salon. His father worked in the Ministry of Labour but his heart was elsewhere. He wrote novels and poetry and hosted the likes of Apollonaire, who taught Jacques how to tell the time on his watch, and Marie Laurencein who painted his portrait. Other regular visitors included the painters Gleizes and Duchamp, the composer Varese and foreigners such Ezra Pound, Richard Aldington and Stegan Zweig. Members of the older generation such as Andre Gide also appeared occasionally to find out what the wild young men were up to.

He completed high school in the USA and in 1923 he entered Colum...

19:25

CBA has sold its CommInsure life business to a China-owned group for $3.8 billion. Stop Foreign Ownership in Australia

The Commonwealth Bank has sold its troubled insurance business CommInsure Life to a Hong Kong-listed group Chinese-owned for $3.8 billion.

The deal with AIA Group also covers the sale of the CBAs New Zealand life insurance arm Sovereign.

The sale of CommInsure Life follows a scandal where the insurer was accused of using outdated medical definitions to delay or deny payments to policyholders, and pressuring medical assessors to reject claims.

As part of the CommInsure and Sovereign sale, the CBA also announced its head of wealth management Annabel Spring will leave the company in December.

Ms Spring had oversight for the CommInsure business and was under constant criticism as CBA managed the scandal after an investigation by the ABCs Four Corners and Fairfax Media.

The sale of CommInsure had been flagged in CBAs full-year results last month although, at the time, the company said the future sale of the insurer was uncertain.

The purchase by AIA includes a 20-year partnership agreement to continue providing insurance products to customers in Australia and New Zealand.

In a statement released to the stock exchange, the CBA confirmed that CommInsure and Sovereign customers will retain current benefits in existing policies.

AIA is the largest publicly listed insurance group in Asia and already has established life insurance businesses in Australia and New Zealand.

Under the sale, the CBA will continue to earn income from its life insurance products already in place.

CBA will also retain the CommInsure brand and continue to sell general insurance under it.

CBA ponders $4b Colonial First State split, IPO

At the same time as announcing the sale of its life insurance business, CBA also announced a strategic review of its funds management business, Colonial First State Global Asset Management.

The sale of CommInsure Life and Sovereign will end up in a $300 million loss for CBA, but also release about $3 billion of capital for the bank.

The banking regulator APRA earlier this year released increased capital requirements to take effect at the start of 2020, with analysts estimating that CBA would have at least a $4 billion shortfall under the new rules if it did not raise more funds.

APRA has also hinted that it will require the major banks to hold more capital which is the reserves of funds they can reliably draw on to cover potential losses in relation to residential mortgages.

Citi bank analyst Craig Williams said the CommInsure sell-off now means Commonwealth Bank can meet AP...

18:00

Open letter from the front line of the futile War on Drugs Independent Australia

Open letter from the front line of the futile War on DrugsWe can and must change the unjust and irrational laws regarding cannabis, says a harmless user facing criminalisation by the State. read now...

17:19

The standard that you walk past The AIM Network

Income management isnt new in Australia, what is new, is the current governments ideological push to enforce neoliberal policies on an unsuspecting Australia. In 2007, Professor Helen Hughes, wrote Lands of Shame: Aboriginal and Torres Strait homelands in Transition. A few months before it was published, Hughes gave it to the Office of Indigenous Policy

The post The standard that you walk past appeared first on The AIM Network.

17:07

ACCC offers no answers to government created energy crisis Catallaxy Files

Appointed as head of the ACCC by Rudd Gillard, Rod Sims has a long association with the ALP going back to the Whitlam years. His re-appointment by the Coalition is unsurprising given the callow nature of conservatives and the fact that many have interventionist sympathies that accord with those of the leftist intelligentsia that Sims represents.

In his speech to the Press Club Sims addresses two points that have been warmly embraced by like-minded people within the media.

The first covers the gas crisis. Sims, though tiptoeing around the wanton political destruction of state government bans, notes that the firms that undertook massive capital investments could not have expected to face a shield-wall of obduracy on the part of politicians with custody over our economic welfare banning the exploration for gas. Only Queensland, where the ALP has kept Coalition openness largely in place, has a relatively open policy.

However he favours a nudge approach, which he says the producers have followed, whereby they support the local market as much as possible (even if this is contrary to their commercial interests). He also says, offering a big hint I am not disclosing the detail of what is in the ACCCs report to the Treasurer on gas supply and demand. That will be made public shortly. In other words he will advise the Commonwealth to force firms to break overseas contracts to redress the damage that state governments and environmentalists have created in starving the nation of new gas supplies. Naturally, like all such leftists he will advise on such actions that are pregnant with implications about the reliability of the nations export contracts, with a heavy heart.

In the case of electricity his speech addresses two aspects that have driven up prices: network charges and generation/retail costs.

In the case of network charges that are regulated,, like any self-interested bureaucrat, hed prefer his agencys decisions were not reviewable by another. He may be right but he is the wrong person to be making such judgements.

In the case of other costs (accounting for 60 per cent of the recent price increases) he lumps them together but in side briefings with sympathetic journalists like Paul Kelly he spelled out the breakdown as being caused by 24 per cent retail margins, 19 per cent generator price increases and 16 per cent green schemes. These are fantasy totals that obscure rather than enlighten policy.

Why,, given the fact that there are three major retailers and two dozen others (some, like Engie and Snowy, major businesses) competing for the retail market, have prices increased? The inference is that r...

17:03

If the Bible is so clear, why do we keep getting it so wrong? Evangelicals & the Bible #1 scottjhiggins.com

I recently read Mark Nolls book, The Civil War as a Theological Crisis. It was something of a shock to discover that in the mid 1800s the majority of North American evangelicals opposed the abolition of slavery.

Noll describes the crisis that the war created,

Debates over Scripture and slavery, which combined passionate moral reasoning, careful attention to the particulars of exegesis, and intense argument about the general meaning of the Bible, pointed toward a twofold theological crisis. The first order crisis was manifest: a wide range of Protestants were discovering that the Bible they had relied on for building up Americas republican civilisation was not nearly as univocal, not nearly as easy to interpret, not nearly as inherently unifying for an overwhelmingly Christian people, as once they had thought.

The argument for slavery would typically proceed along the following lines:

1. The descendants of Canaan were to be owned as slaves by the descendants of Noahs other sons (Genesis 9:25-27);
2. God sanctioned the keeping of slaves by both Abraham and the Israelites (Genesis 17:12; Deuteronomy 20:10-11);
3. Jesus abrogated many of the Old Testament laws but never said anything about slavery;
4. The New Testament letters showed the apostles were not troubled by slavery the person who is a slave should welcome freedom if it came but should not be bothered if it did not (1 Corinthians 7:21); masters were instructed to treat their slaves with care and slaves were to be obedient (Colossians 322, 4:1; 1 Timothy 6:-1-2).

To evangelicals it was the clear and unambiguous teaching of the Bible that slavery was ordained by God and could not possibly be described as an evil. The Rev Richard Fuller of South Carolina engaged in a debate with Frances Wayland, president of Baptist Brown University, with each taking opposing sides on the question of slavery. Fuller was convinced that Waylands position was fatally flawed

His position is this: the moral precepts of the gospel condemn slavery; it is therefore criminal. Yet he admits that neither the Saviour nor his apostles commanded Masters to emancipate the slaves; there is not an intimation of manumission, but the whole code contemplates a continuation of the relation [between masters and slaves]

Five years after this exchange Moses Stewart, regarded as one of the nations most learned biblical scholars, rejected the abolitionist argument that slavery was evil and must be instantly abolished. He did feel that Southern slaveowners should give up slavery voluntarily, but was offended by the notion that all faithful Christians must regard slavery as morally evil.

Not one word has Christ said, to annul the Mosaic law while it lasted. Neither Paul nor Peter have uttered one. Neither of these said to Chr...

14:44

CARTOON: Unconscionable Independent Australia

CARTOON: UnconscionableA day in the life of the unbearable Abbott. read now...

14:44

In which the bromancer celebrates the Donald saving the world and Merkel ruining it ... loon pond


The pond knows there can be fierce arguments over which scribbler for the lizard Oz is the most beguiling and entertaining reptile of them all ...

Each has their charms - who can deny Dame Slap or the Oreo? - but the pond has a very sentimental soft spot for the bromancer, who can always be relied on to deliver a form of enlightenment, or at least a form of words ...

And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of the bromancers wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of the Donald's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night. 
The bromancer believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but thats no matter to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning  
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

And so to the fruit of the shrub of delusion, as the bromancer runs faster and stretches out his arms to embrace the Donald ...




Weird? Surely not, surely nothing is weird in this wonderful world of the bromancer ...


...

13:43

ALERTA! Stop fascists rallying @ LGBT Holocaust Memorial, Sydney : Saturday, September 23, 2017 slackbastard

This post is dedicated to the memory of Willem Arondeus, the gay Dutch resistance member executed by the Nazis in July 1943 and Righteous Among the Nations. This Saturday in Sydney, Nick Folkes and his Party for Freedom (PFF) are Continue reading

13:17

WINZ steals from the poorest No Right Turn

Hot on the heels of yesterday's news of WINZ lawlessness, we learn that WINZ has been illegally underpaying the poorest beneficiaries:

More than 7000 of New Zealand's most-desperate beneficiaries have been short-changed by the Government - and they're about to get payback.

A Ministry of Social Development report has found 7148 people on Special Benefits have been underpaid by the Government since 2006, and they have known about it for two years. MSD have estimated the amount could be up to $9.5 million.

In 2015, MSD was advised that it needed to offer the Temporary Additional Support (TAS) to beneficiaries if they were better off on it.



This agency needs a complete culture change. And that change needs to start by sacking the entire senior management who have allowed this toxic culture to grow and fester. And its lawless chief executive needs to be the first to go...

13:11

Parking Infringement Data 2016/2017 Requests or responses matching your saved search

Follow up sent to Stonnington City Council by Elizabeth on September 21, 2017.
Partially successful.
Please re-assess and comply with the original request, acting in accordance with adjacent councils that have had no issue in providing the informati...

13:02

An historical turning point Catallaxy Files

I was going to put this up already but since it was also mentioned by Bruce of Newcastle, it becomes obligatory: Obama had to spy on Trump to protect himself. Here are the last three lines:

The left is sitting on the biggest crime committed by a sitting president. The only way to cover it up is to destroy his Republican successor.

A turning point in history is here.

If Obama goes down, the left will go down with him. If his coup succeeds, then America ends.

Now read the rest.

12:54

Suspicious No Right Turn

Remember National's court case with Eminem? A decision was supposed to be issued within three months of the trial ending in May. But strangely, its late:

Justice Helen Cull reserved her decision on May 12 - noting at the time that decisions were usually delivered within three months.

That three-month deadline was reached on August 12, not long before Parliament was dissolved and the election campaign period began on August 22.

It is now more than four months since the decision was reserved.

The Herald has formally asked the High Court if the verdict has been delayed because of its political sensitivity in the election period.

There has been no response so far.


I think the court owes us an explanation for this, because it certainly looks suspicious. As the article points out, 90% of court decisions are delivered on time. If there's a reason for the delay, then we deserve to hear it. Otherwise, the judiciary has only themselves to blame if people believe the worst of them.

12:30

Australia the Innovator Catallaxy Files

There has been a lot of oxygen and ink expended in the last couple of days about Australia as an innovative nation and why Australia lags in global innovation rankings.

The answer is clear.  There was a consultant report written a number of years ago by a political expert.  It was written about a different country, but the themes are the same.

The following is from the executive summary:

After having thus taken each individual one by one into its powerful hands, and having molded him as it pleases, the sovereign power extends its arms over the entire society; it covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated, minute, and uniform rules, which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot break through to go beyond the crowd; it does not break wills, but it softens them, bends them and directs them; it rarely forces action, but it constantly opposes your acting; it does not destroy, it prevents birth; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, it represses, it enervates, it extinguishes, it stupifies, and finally it reduces each nation to being nothing more than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

I have always believed that this sort of servitude, regulated, mild and peaceful, of which I have just done the portrait, could be combined better than we imagine with some of the external forms of liberty, and that it would not be impossible for it to be established in the very shadow of the sovereignty of the people.

For those who would like to read the full report, it can be found here.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus

11:53

What is the secret democracy sauce? Catallaxy Files

What is the secret sauce?  What are the 7 herbs and spices that contribute to a well functioning democracy and civil society?  Some suggest that it is a robust and rigorous constitution and frequently point to the US Constitution.  I myself frequently like to quote the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

These are beautiful sentiments expressed beautifully.  The Fourth Amendment is also pretty good in my opinion:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Is it just the constitution?  Great Britain does not have a written constitution.  And consider for example the following from a constitution of a different nation:

Article 50.

  • citizens of XXXX are guaranteed freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly, meetings, street processions and demonstrations. Exercise of these political freedoms is ensured by putting public buildings, streets and squares at the disposal of the working people and their organisations, by broad dissemination of information, and by the opportunity to use the press, television, and radio.

and

Article 56.

  • The privacy of citizens, and of their correspondence, telephone conversations, and telegraphic communications is protected by law.

How about from a different constitution of yet a different nation:

Article 67

  • Citizens are guaranteed freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, demonstration and association. The State shall guarantee conditions for the free activity of democratic political parties and social organizations.

and

Article 79

  • Citizens are guaranteed inviolability of the person and the home and privacy of correspondence. No citizens can be placed under control or be arrested nor can their homes be searched without a legal warrant.

Sound pretty good.  But does anyone want to ventur...

11:16

The more you look at things the more miraculous Trumps win is Catallaxy Files

A round-up of the latest non-news on the Democrats, media and crony capitalists in the US.

Behind his [ie Obamas] political espionage of Trump.

Hillary Clintons campaign memoir rests on an astonishingly audacious lie: that the very FBI director who made her campaign possible by improperly sparing her from an indictment doomed it. A normal pol who had mishandled classified information as egregiously as Hillary would have felt eternal gratitude to Comey. Only an entitled ingrate like Hillary would have the gall to cast her savior as the chief thorn in her side.

Nor does Hillary acknowledge another in-kind contribution to her campaign from Comey: his willingness to serve as a cog in Obamas campaign of political espionage against Trump. Obamas team of Hillary partisans, which included among others John Brennan, Susan Rice, and Loretta Lynch, wanted Comey to snoop on Trumpworld and he duly did.

It was reported this week that the FBI had until as recently as earlier this year been intercepting the communications of Paul Manafort, one of Trumps campaign chairmen. This means that Comey, contrary to his lawyerly denial of Trumps wiretapping claim, had the means to eavesdrop on any communications between Manafort and Trump.

Wiretaps may prove Trump right and thats absolutely terrifying

The more we learn about the last eight years and eight months, the more reason there is to believe that something is rotten in Washington.

I dont just mean the ordinary corruption of the swamp variety. I mean something fundamental, something that suggests major elements in our government believe they, and not the people, are sovereign.

Which brings us back to the ultimate test: Did Obama or somebody working for him put Trump under surveillance during or after the election for the purpose of a political coup?

Its a frightening question, all the more so because I suspect the answer will be yes if we can ever get to the truth.

Samantha Power sought to unmask Americans on almost daily basis, sources say

Samantha Power, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was unmasking at such a rapid pace in the final months of the Obama administration that she averaged more than one request for every working day in 2016 and even sought information in the days leading up to President Trumps inauguration, multiple sources close to the matter told Fox News.

As Evidence of Election Fraud Eme...

11:05

A positive sign No Right Turn

While Donald Trump seems trying to start nuclear wars with both North Korea and Iran, there's abeen a positive sign: the UN has outlawed nuclear weapons. And New Zealand was one of the first countries to sign up to the ban:

Dozens of countries, including New Zealand, have signed a treaty to ban nuclear weapons amid tensions over North Korea's nuclear and missile tests.

The US, Britain, France and others, including Australia, boycotted the event at the annual United Nations gathering of world leaders.

The treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons will enter into force 90 days after 50 countries have ratified it. Only a few states were due to deposit their ratification on Wednesday.


No nuclear states are signing - but the treaty effectively criminalises them in international law and declares them to be outlaw regimes, providing a solid basis for international justice if they ever use the things. Assuming there's still people left to care, that is. And while a treaty without the nuclear powers doesn't sound like much of a step forward, its a start towards a safer world.

10:44

Rotten to the core No Right Turn

How rotten is WINZ? So rotten that they use false names for those serving on their internal Benefit Review Committees, and present them as truthful to their statutory appeal body. As if that's not bad enough, they then continued to do it, even after promising not to:

Decisions by the Ministry of Social Development's benefits review committees have been issued under fake names and signatures, in breach of the chief executive's personal undertaking.

The deception was exposed when a woman appealed against seven decisions on her case, and a MSD manager disclosed the falsity to the Social Security Appeal Authority that was to hear them.

The woman's lawyer, Tony Ellis, called it "extraordinary misbehaviour".


Except its worse than that, because the false identities were disclosed in an ex patre attempt to influence the Appeal Authority against the victim.

The Appeal Authority's full decision on the falsification is here. Its worth reading, both so you can see how thoroughly rotten WINZ is, but also for its robust defence of the principles of open justice. To put it simply, we're not a shitty despotism, and we just don't do that sort of shit here. In New Zealand, a democratic state under the rule of law, decisions are made in open court, by people whose identities are known. And that's vital to ensuring that both the parties and the public can have confidence in the system. In the case of WINZ decisions, its especially important, because of the enormous disparity in power between the parties. To counteract this, WINZ has a statutory duty of full and complete disclosure to appellants in SSAA cases. Its chief executive has knowingly and repeatedly shat all over that duty.

As for the solution, at the least MSD chief executive Brendan Boyle should resign. He has systematicly violated his statutory duties and fundamentally undermined the integrity of his entire department (and by doing so, endangered his staff). He needs to go for it. He should also be prosecuted for fabricating evidence before the SSAA. This is not something we as a country should tolerate, and we need heads on spikes for it. As for State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes, he needs to go too. A country under the rule of law can not tolerate senior public servants who support this judicial fraud.

Of course, we all know this will never happen, because our "justice" system works for those in power against those without. Official crimes are never punish...

08:30

In which the pond relaxes on a hard reality Thursday, with the savvy Savva reassuringly to hand ... loon pond


Last night in the lizard Oz the bigots were out and about, with Islamic and Catholic fundamentalists on the same page ...

The pond has always thought that the onion muncher and Daesh deep down had a lot in common, not least their position on certain cultural and social issues. The pond reckons when it comes to music the onion muncher is fair odds to be tone deaf ...



Suspicious Minds? Oh sweet long absent lord, stop the music, blow up a statue, vandalise a painting...

Meanwhile, this morning the Bolter was shrieking in the Terror in the usual way ...


It takes a genuine bigot, certified as such by courts in the land, and an expert hate-monger, to spot a bigot and scribble, in a furious fearful frenzy, of a climate of fear ...

The Oz editorialist was also up in arms ...

08:30

Conservative Civic Codes Revisited: Modernist Hegemony in Action The AIM Network

In a society without the mass trade union membership of earlier generations, eyewitness news services and film or blockbusters become substitutes for real participation. Can the metaphors presented in movies like Eyes Wide Shut (1999) be applied to the illusions offered by mainstream politics? Do clever illusions of social reality as presented by movie stars

The post Conservative Civic Codes Revisited: Modernist Hegemony in Action appeared first on The AIM Network.

06:30

Non-government aid comparing effectiveness "IndyWatch Feed Politics.pg"

How can private citizens who want to contribute to international humanitarian or development efforts obtain a guide to which international nongovernment organisations (INGOs) are most effective in what they do?

There is a wide range of activities which INGOs undertake as contributions to humanitarian relief and development to give a few examples, distributing relief supplies after natural disasters, providing medical services to victims of armed conflict, encouraging community participation in governance and infrastructure, promoting rural livelihoods, lobbying governments, or trying to change attitudes on gender. This variety makes it difficult to form a meaningful system for measuring IMGOs effectiveness for the purpose of comparison.

Measurements and comparisons make sense only when applied to the effectiveness of limited subsets of INGOs which have common objectives and timeframes for showing results, or else to organisational characteristics which are at one remove from activities and results. This choice is reflected in the sources Ive found which offer information about INGOs to prospective donors.

From Australian sources, there is limited information about INGOs in comparative terms. The system of accreditation of NGOs by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides publicly a three-level categorisation of INGOs, in terms of attributes which indicate some likelihood of effectiveness. There is one Australian-based website, Effective Altruism Australia, which offers and explains a list of several recommended INGOs; these recommendations are sourced from United States (US) organisations mentioned below. There are two other Australian-based websites the Australian Charities and Non-profits Commission and ChangePath providing information about large arrays of INGOs operating in Australia, but this information has limited relevance to their effectiveness.

When I reconnoitred United Kingdom (UK) sources, two features stood out. There is a publicly visible, collaborative effort by development NGOs, through the networks BOND and NIDOS, to keep improving the evaluation of their activities. Several of the big INGOs based in the UK (or straddling the UK and the US) publish accountability reports which are detailed, informative accounts of how they assess their own effectiveness and keep trying to improve it....

06:30

Day to Day Politics: If thats what Oxford teaches Well? The AIM Network

Thursday 21 September 2017 Never in the history of politics have Australians elected a man so unqualified in the area of science as Tony Abbott. Having demonstrated on many occasions his inability to grasp Climate Science and the NBN he remains a Luddite of the first order. Now before you point your finger at my

The post Day to Day Politics: If thats what Oxford teaches Well? appeared first on The AIM Network.

06:30

Try to Guess the Penalty The Marcus Review

If I told you that a 51 year old man placed internet advertisements, offering to pay a teenage girl to

01:10

The LGTBI Waffen Never Sleeps Catallaxy Files

Is it just me, or do you get the feeling that were being followed by the LGTBI lobby and its brigade of extreme activists?

As I logged into TMR the other week, an interesting little strip came across the top of my admin bar (not visible to the public). Needless to say, I didnt put it there, didnt ask for it to be put there and have absolutely no idea how to remove it. I also have no clue as to when it will be removed by the folks at WordPress.

As for homosexual marriage, TMRs position is simple: I couldnt give less of a damn. In fact, you can go and marry your goat for all I care and call it whatever you want. Goodness knows I will. If two people want to call themselves married and can find a church or other religious institution to sanction their ceremony, then they should go for it. In fact, go and set up the church of goat-love if you must.

Just think: if the government allowed this, it would facilitate:

  • society giving the appropriate weight to marriages and the churches which sanction them.

Heterosexual and homosexual people could then go and get married to their hearts content, while goat lovers would probably still be frowned upon. Probably.

Why do we need the governments involvement in sanctioning marriages? Is it really necessary?

The government should have no business whatsoever in sanctioning, endorsing or categorising peoples private relationships heterosexual, homosexual or otherwise. Just call any relationship between two unrelated, adult human beings statutory relationships and keep the rest as is when it comes to children, asset division and carnal knowledge of animals being illegal.

From there, it should be left to churches and other religious institutions to sanction whatever marriages they choose and for people to live their own lives as they please without the government getting in the way or the LGTBI lobby rubbing everyones noses in its dep...

00:46

Cashless Welfare Card: a denizen of Mount Olympus pontificates on the ignorant masses below North Coast Voices


This was Dr Jeremy Sammut (left) from the Centre for Independent Studies giving his views on the ignorant underclass, Friday, 8 September 2017:

Its a libertarian fantasy that the problem of welfare dependence can be addressed without using the power of the state to compel responsible personal behaviour.

State compulsion, for example, is essential to enforce mutual obligation requirements and force the unemployed to actively seek a job, instead of continuing to loaf on the dole.

My research on the nations child protection crisis has sharply revealed the social damage wreaked by unrestricted welfare and parental bad behaviour among an underclass of dysfunctional families.

I therefore have no problem with the idea that welfare recipients could be compelled to take better care of children by being forced to spend their benefits on food and other essentials, rather than on drink, drugs, and gambling.

This is how we should view the debate about the federal governments plan to expand the trial of the cashless welfare card as a means of addressing the intergenerational transfer of dysfunction and dependence within families.

In philosophical terms, the cashless welfare card is an example of ...

00:45

Singing the heavens, singing the land, singing the lore, singing the people and their history - weaving memory North Coast Voices


And those of us whose forebears stumbled off a handful of British boats in 1788 are still trying and often failing to understand this rich, enduring culture.......

The Monthly, September 2017:

Epic of Gilgamesh is Googles answer to what is the oldest known literature. Unknown scribes in the city of Ur picked the poem out in cuneiform letters some 4500 years ago. These clay tablets preserved an older oral tradition, but that part of the story is usually left out. Instead, the Mesopotamian epic fits easily into that cartoonish diagram of the Ascent of Man, where civilisation means writing, a sequence of metals and a procession of capitals: Memphis, Babylon, Athens, Rome.

Compare this lineage to the ceremonial songs of Aboriginal Australia. Their absolute vintage is unknowable, but the best estimates run to at least 12,000 years old. At this distance in time, the study of literature needs not just linguists but geologists. There are songlines that accurately describe landscape features (like now-disappeared islands) from the end of the Pleistocene epoch. Their provenance may stretch even further back, all the way into the last ice age. They are also alive. The last person to hear Epic of Gilgamesh declaimed in her native culture died millennia ago. Songlines that may have been born 30,000 years ago are being sung right now.

Read the full article here.

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Go Forward:1 Day | 2 Days | 7 Days | 30 Days

Wednesday, 20 September

23:17

Trump is right on refugee reforms Oz Conservative

For years I have advocated a new refugee system in which refugees would be resettled in those countries nearest to their home countries, not only geographically but in culture, religion and living standard. The resettlement would be financed through a fund paid into by the wealthier nations.

The advantages of such a system is that it would cut the numbers of those claiming to be refugees (as there would be no incentive for economic migrants to claim to be refugees) and it would also allow most easily for assimilation, both for the refugees themselves as well as the host nation.

Donald Trump gave a speech recently to the United Nations in which he advocated similar reforms:

We seek an approach to refugee resettlement that is designed to help these horribly treated people and which enables their eventual return to their home countries to be part of the rebuilding process. For the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, we can assist more than 10 in their home region.

Out of the goodness of our hearts, we offer financial assistance to hosting countries in the region and we support recent agreements of the G20 nations that will seek to host refugees as close to their home countries as possible. This is the safe, responsible, and humanitarian approach. For decades the United States has dealt with migration challenges here in the Western Hemisphere.

We have learned that over the long term, uncontrolled migration is deeply unfair to both the sending and the receiving countries. For the sending countries, it reduces domestic pressure to pursue needed political and economic reform and drains them of the human capital necessary to motivate and implement those reforms. For the receiving countries, the substantial costs of uncontrolled migration are born overwhelmingly by low-income citizens whose concerns are often ignored by both media and government.

Here is footage of President Trump addressing the U.N. on this issue:

21:40

This is how civil wars start No Right Turn

As I write this, Spanish police are raiding Catalan government offices and arresting government officials in an effort to prevent Catalans from voting in a referendum on independence:

Spanish police officers have raided three Catalan regional government departments and arrested 12 senior officials as Madrid steps up its battle to stop an independence referendum being held in less than two weeks time.

On Wednesday morning, a spokesman for the regional government said Guardia Civil officers were searching the Barcelona offices of the presidency and the ministries of economic affairs and foreign relations.

He also confirmed that Josep Maria Jov, the secretary general of economic affairs and an aide to the Catalan vice-president, was among those detained apparently in connection with the launch of web pages related to the referendum. Catalan ministers are due to hold an emergency meeting.


They've also attacked the Catalan domain name registry in an effort to censor pro-referendum sites, and seized polling materials. The message is clear: Spain's government (the ideological and literal descendents of Franco's fascists) is willing to use force to prevent Catalans from deciding their own future. Its both grossly undemocratic and horrificly stupid. At best, forbidding Catalans from voting invites the Catalan government to unilaterally declare independence. And at worst, using force means its only a matter of time before someone, either the Catalan government or just the 70% of Catalans who want to decide this democraticly, decides to defend themselves with force. And what happens then?

Spain is supposed to be a modern state, committed to democratic ideals. It is part of the European Union, which is similarly committed to democracy. The idea that such a state should behave in this manner is as absurd as it is obscene.

Questions like this should not be resolved by force. They should be resolved democraticly. Let Catalans vote! And if they vote for independence after today, then Spain only has itself to blame.

20:43

The persistence of (belief in) socialism Skepticlawyer

I find the persistence of belief in socialism surprising (an example here), particularly given that Venezuela and North Korea both, in their different ways, display, yet again, the disastrous results in poverty, human misery and tyranny of actually existing socialism: that is, state domination of the economy. The lesson of Venezuela is, if anything, even stronger, as it is an example of the democratic path to socialism.

Now, it is possible that by socialism such folk mean something other than a state-run and dominated economy, but if they do, they need to pick a different term because that is what, socialism, in practice, means. Trying to get it to mean something else this late in its history is not practical. And using socialism as a placeholder term for some unspecified system of common ownership is empty moral self-indulgence parading as political commitment.

Recently, I had drinks with a very well-read friend who grew up in the Soviet Union and so has some lived insights into this. He made two very cogent points:

(1) What other language of justice-inspired of major social change is there? There remain all sorts of reasons to be morally repelled by aspects of contemporary society: what is the alternative political vision for a post-capitalist society? If there isnt any, then socialism wins by default, as it has no effective competitor in the moral marketplace.

(2) For the Left, history is not the past, its the future. For folk like my friend and I, history is what happened in the past, from which we can learn and draw lessons. For the Left, history is what is going to happen, it is what has an arc that bends towards justice while the past is something to be judged, censored and transcended.

(As an aside, it is a nice illustration of a wider tendency for secular appropriation of religious ideas that Barack Obama liked quoting Martin Luther King who was quoting Theodore Parker on the arc of history bending towards justice, but turned what was a kingdom of God religious point into a very different secular claim.)

...

20:14

The Demise of Civic Journalism: The Xenophon-Turnbull Deal The AIM Network

It was never spectacular, but the Australian mediascape is set to become duller, more contained, and more controlled with changes to the Broadcasting Services Act. In an environment strewn with the corpses of papers and outlets strapped for cash, calls for reforming the media market have been heard across the spectrum. The foggy deception being

The post The Demise of Civic Journalism: The Xenophon-Turnbull Deal appeared first on The AIM Network.

19:14

Putting the blame where it belongs John Quiggin

Queensland Premier Anna Palaszczuk has followed Bill Shorten in blaming privatisation for the woes of the electricity network. Shes basically right, although theres much more wrong with the National Electricity Market than that.

Equally importantly, in terms of getting a good outcome, shes on a political winner in the fight with the Turnbull government and particularly the Abbott faction pulling Turnbulls strings.

No one fully understands whats going wrong with energy policy, but Australians love renewable energy and hate privatisation. Both of these judgements are validated by experience. Renewable energy has overdelivered on its promises while privatisation has (at best) undelivered and more commonly made matters worse. So, the idea that the LNP can win the debate on energy policy by bashing renewables and attacking public ownership as socialism seems pretty implausible.

16:52

Give Peace a Chance is NOT Peace at Any Price Catallaxy Files

It is hard to believe that LIQ was actually ever a general if he cannot see how fortunate we are that Donald Trump is President and not Hillary and no longer Obama. I particularly find it wonderful how invisible Obama has become since he has nothing to say about anything that would not make people on his own side wince at their stupidity. A cipher before and a cipher since, but alas, eight disastrous years as president in between. For a very good summary of what Trump said at the UN and why it matters, there is this which you can enjoy end to end. Much to choose from, but North Korea has almost disappeared from the news since the Democrats, and the left in general, have nothing constructive to add to the conversation, which is why the media have dropped this as a story. So let me focus here.

In particular, and in detail, Trump called out the rogue states of North Korea and Iran. He did not follow a script of pollysyllabic diplomatic enumerations of unacceptable activities. He reminded the UN members of Pyongyangs deadly abuse of American student Otto Warmbier. He talked about North Koreas kidnapping of a Japanese 13-year-old girl to enslave her as a language tutor for North Koreas spies. And he cited the assassination of the dictators brother using banned nerve agents in an international airport.

He caused a stir, and inspired plenty of headlines, with his comments:

The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.

Thats not bombast. Thats a pointed and useful warning to a totalitarian tyrant, who in contravention of nine UN sanctions resolutions and all basic decency has been threatening preemptive nuclear strikes on the U.S. and its allies, advertising the testing of hydrogen bombs and shooting intercontinental ballistic missiles over Japan. Lets hope Kim Jong Un takes it seriously, despite decades of U.S. compromise and retreat that led to this pass.

As for the derision implicit in the label Rocket Man, Id say that Trump in describing the murderous despot of North Korea displayed a distinct delicacy simply by avoiding the use of raw profanity from the UN podium. Would it have been better to deferentially describe Kim as the supreme leader of North Korea? Mockery has its uses in facing down despots. The confrontation here is of North Koreas making and the dangers have grown all the worse over the years for such nonconfrontational approaches as the nuclear deals of Presidents Bush and Clinton, and t...

16:51

Its all happening again. The AIM Network

In case you havent noticed, the US is about to start another war. Remember George W. Bush and the lead up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003? On that occasion it was a carefully calculated move, complete with lies about Saddam Husseins arsenal, fabricated intelligence delivered to the United Nations by then Secretary

The post Its all happening again. appeared first on The AIM Network.

16:51

ABS view on including 16 and 17 year olds in the Marriage Law Postal Survey Requests or responses matching your saved search

Follow up sent to Australian Bureau of Statistics by Chris Gentle on September 20, 2017.
Partially successful.
I have not yet received an update on progress for my FOI request referred to Treasury by ABS. Could you update me on the progress of my request? Y...

16:36

Ode to Machiavellis Discourses. The Global Revolution

Ode to Machiavellis Discourses of Titus Livy.

Yknow..I can sympathise with ol Machiavelli,
Seeing how things at this moment are not very
Agreeable..somewhat friable..ifn youll allow
And HE did avow to explain with a lengthy refrain
The deeper meanings of one : Titus Livius..THE man.

I have picked over his Discourses as one does pick,
Thread-bits from a new coat..or the currants, thick
From grannys fruit loaf..very nice..til she thanks
You with a rap of the wooden spoon, youll soon
Learn to pay close attention to such indelible rune..

And wonder, like he, whether such honour indeed,
Bestowed upon those ancients, and their seed be
But an impersonation of admired esteem,
Less ones smarts be seen as hollow sincerity, given as trope
To impertination so vain as to promenade that path again and again.and again?

Wisdom admired..but never imitated, even diluted, you may plea,
So that WE, who have gained this Earth and now lost our soul,
Given, on the whole, as fuel to the false god of intellectual flattery.
Assault and battery on lost integrity exchanged impressionably
For mutual back-slapping and the odd gold echidna.

I wouldnt be kidding yer if I was to say, with an underbreath ; Ole
That the measure of intellect today is, sadly, awry, Y,
Tis enough to make one cry..given what history has bequeathed
So each generation in turn could turn over a new leaf.
With so much, so ample that we have more than sample..its that simple.

For our civil laws are but decisions by ancient Jurisconsults,
That teacheth our present Jurisconsults systems by which to judge
A drudge with nought to follow but example and re-assemble
Forebears preamble on things socially medicinal, as an endocrine?
Should work out fine ..if we but listen, not descend to vicious hissing.

The biggest mistake being; not understanding history,
But make mystery of what we WILL NOT see..Is it just me?
Or is it thee who takes more pleasure from the infinite variety
Of incidents in this or that society and such scandalous pleasure
As your measure of understanding, rather than demanding

We take heed to the answers to those deeds, as if these
Times have changed the behaviour of men and then of women too
Its a shoo-in to see ; the Sun the Moon, the sea and thee
Have not changed their motions and power, hour on hour
From ancient times, Id avower and from such error; allora!

Id therefore call thee to hark to the wisdom of Titus Livy
And give time to study the erstwhile text of Machiavelli
Written in testament for us to understand such history
For ; Zanobi Buondelmonti and Cosimo Rucellai..
Which for this pleasure I now bequeath to theefrom me.


...

16:31

Ode to Machiavellis Discourses. freef'all852

Ode to Machiavellis Discourses of Titus Livy.

Yknow..I can sympathise with ol Machiavelli,
Seeing how things at this moment are not very
Agreeable..somewhat friable..ifn youll allow
And HE did avow to explain with a lengthy refrain
The deeper meanings of one : Titus Livius..THE man.

I have picked over his Discourses as one does pick,
Thread-bits from a new coat..or the currants, thick
From grannys fruit loaf..very nice..til she thanks
You with a rap of the wooden spoon, youll soon
Learn to pay close attention to such indelible rune..

And wonder, like he, whether such honour indeed,
Bestowed upon those ancients, and their seed be
But an impersonation of admired esteem,
Less ones smarts be seen as hollow sincerity, given as trope
To impertination so vain as to promenade that path again and againand again?

Wisdom admired..but never imitated, even diluted, you may plea,
So that WE, who have gained this Earth and now lost our soul,
Given, on the whole, as fuel to the false god of intellectual flattery.
Assault and battery on lost integrity exchanged impressionably
For mutual back-slapping and the odd gold echidna.

I wouldnt be kidding yer if I was to say, with an underbreath ; Ole
That the measure of intellect today is, sadly, awry, Y,
Tis enough to make one cry..given what history has bequeathed
So each generation in turn could turn over a new leaf.
With so much, so ample that we have more than sample..its that simple.

For our civil laws are but decisions by ancient Jurisconsults,
That teacheth our present Jurisconsults systems by which to judge
A drudge with nought to follow but example and re-assemble
Forebears preamble on things socially medicinal, as an endocrine?
Should work out fine ..if we but listen, not descend to vicious hissing.

The biggest mistake being; not understanding history,
But make mystery of what we WILL NOT see..Is it just me?
Or is it thee who takes more pleasure from the infinite variety
Of incidents in this or that society and such scandalous pleasure
As your measure of understanding, rather than demanding

We take heed to the answers to those deeds, as if these
Times have changed the behaviour of men and then of women too
Its a shoo-in to see ; the Sun the Moon, the sea and thee
Have not changed their motions and power, hour on hour
From ancient times, Id avower and from such error; allora!

Id therefore call thee to hark to the wisdom of Titus Livy
And give time to study the erstwhile text of Machiavelli
Written in testament for us to understand such history
For ; Zanobi Buondelmonti and Cosimo Rucellai..
Which for this pleasure I now bequeath to theefrom me.


...

13:30

In which the pond discovers the onion muncher makes no difference, and neither does the dog botherer, except perhaps in Iraq, and the result's a Twittering frenzy of Tweets ... loon pond


Thanks to the reptiles, the pond is deep into conspiracy theories ...

...and the most obvious conspiracy these days involves the reptiles celebrating the onion muncher so often that there can only be one explanation ... it's so that they can tear down Malware ...

There they were, last night putting the onion muncher at the top of the digital page blathering on in his usual climate denialist way, with three journalists credited as being on the case, as if there was no actual news to report...

Then this morning, the pre-sell having been done, the full pitch was on view ...


That digital top of the page happily brought together the two chief contributions the onion muncher has made to the Australian political landscape ... the fucked attitude to SSM and a comprehensively fucked energy policy, if it's remembered that all the current settings were putting in place during his short time as one of the worst PMs ever to grace the federal sphere ...

The onion muncher was also front and centre of the tree killer edition, with yet another narcissist bit of attention-seeking, fully rewarded by the pandering reptiles ...


And if that wasn'...

12:30

The shadowy role of Kissinger in the Trump Administration The AIM Network

By Dr George Venturini Heinz Alfred Henry Kissinger obtained a Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1954. His interest was on Castelreagh and Metternich two empire builders. He devoted his life to sublimate them. In an incendiary, studiedly defamatory book the late Christopher Hitchens described him as a mediocre and opportunist academic [intent on] becoming

The post The shadowy role of Kissinger in the Trump Administration appeared first on The AIM Network.

12:17

The Mind Boggles Catallaxy Files

In todays AFR, Aaron Patrick reports that the Turnbull innovation agenda was a political failure, government concedes.

A political failure.  Really?  What about an economic failure?  How about a policy failure?  Perhaps a sprinkle of governance failure with a cherry on top?

When government policy is about increasing the cost of business inputs, you dont get innovation.  You get business closing and business off shoring.

  • increasing cost of labour lets ratchet up with anti-productivity regulation and belligerent unions.
  • increasing cost of capital lets ratchet up with cost of capital with some additional bank taxes, financial sector cost recovery (ie taxes) and regulation.  Oh and rather high income and company taxes to boot.
  • increasing cost of energy does this really need to be spelled out?
  • increasing cost of land.

Have any of these people actually dealt with a regulator or the tax office or local government?

Within his article though are some additional corkers:

The governments independent adviser, Innovation and Science Australia, plans to complete an innovation plan in three weeks for Senator Sinodinos that will argue for more direct funding over tax breaks directed to high-potential projects, or areas of research, that can lead to profitable businesses.

and

The general feeling among speakers at the summit was that Australia isnt fulfilling its potential for turning good ideas into successful businesses, and that a more entrepreneurial culture supported by government is needed.

More tax breaks paid for by current businesses and a more entrepreneurial culture supported by government!  Are you kidding me.  The only entrepreneurship coming out of government is designing new ways to spend money inefficiently and new ways to tax citizens.

What music should be played for the Australian Rent Seekers Conga Dance?

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus

11:33

Do Atheists Deserve Religious Freedom Too? The AIM Network

Throughout my life Ive always tried to see if there are general principles that one can adopt. For example, while a work colleague may be causing me stress and I feel that it would make my life a lot better if I were to accidentally knock him or her down the stairs, can I justify

The post Do Atheists Deserve Religious Freedom Too? appeared first on The AIM Network.

10:44

Kiwis support a water tax No Right Turn

The prospect of making farmers and water bottlers pay for their use of public water has been a big issue this election campaign. Irrigation-dependent dairy farmers hate the idea, of course - they're freeloaders who don't want to pay their fair share. The rest of New Zealand, OTOH, recognises that a resource rental on water is simply fair:

The results of a new Water New Zealand survey show the vast majority of Kiwis want commercial water users to be charged, and are concerned about the quality of waterways.

Seventy seven per cent of those surveyed said agriculture and horticulture users should pay for water, as did 77 per cent of participants living in rural communities.

Fifty nine per cent of respondents said that all water users should pay, and 42 per cent of respondents thought they were already paying for water use.

A clear majority, 89 per cent, thought bottled water companies and similar industries should pay.

"Interestingly, these responses are consistent across city, regional and rural regions," Water New Zealand said in the survey report, released on Wednesday.


Yes, even people in the country recognise that if you profit from the effective privatisation of a public resource, you should be paying for it, just like you do for gold, silver, and oil. Sadly, there seems to be a strong culture among farmers that their profits and lifestyle should be subsidised by the rest of us. But with this sort of support, that culture simply can't last. Farmers are going to have to pay their own way, so they'd better start getting used to the idea.

10:20

Tony Abbott is completely out of touch with the base on renewable energy Drag0nista's Blog

Analysis for Crikey.Filed under: Politicians, Politics Tagged: electorates, Peta Credlin, renewable energy, Tony Abbott, voters

10:09

No full-scale biography of Carl Menger? Catallaxy Files

Interesting situation, given the number of books that have been written about second and third order intellectual figures, how come none about Carl Menger, one of the leaders of the marginal revolution and founder of the Austrian school of economics?

There is a monumental volume about Ludwig von Mises, his most influential follower and an equally wordy story about half the life of Karl Popper, another Austrian who spent a deal of time in New Zealand.

When von Mises was born the Austro-Hungarian empire encompassed Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, as well as parts of present-day Poland, Romania, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia and Montenegro. After World War I the empire was dismembered in the name of national self-determinism, and so the Balkans were balkanised, laying the foundations for further conflagrations up to the present day. The glory of the empire at its height can be seen from the number and size of the public buildings, monuments and museums in Old Vienna today.

Writers, scholars, administrators, entrepreneurs and revolutionaries moved backwards and forwards between the major centres of the empire. They created a rich tradition of culture and learning that was multicultural in a way that is scarcely comprehensible to Anglo-Saxons. With at least ten languages in the empire, they fed on the thoughts of Russians, Poles and Germans with the same facility that they absorbed ideas from England and France, thought their accents betrayed them when they fled to safety in the west during the 1930s.

Some of the most important threads of modern thought passed through Vienna, not necessarily through the university but also through the coffee shops and private seminars. The best known were the circles of Schoenberg (progressive music) and the Vienna Circle of logical positivists. Others included a Freud group and seminars convened by Ludwig von Mises, Karl Menger (son of the great economist) and Richard Mises (brother of Ludwig).

Karl Popper almost came to the University of Sydney in 1945. John Anderson invited him to join the staff in Philosophy but Popper delayed his decision in the hope of an offer from the London School of Economics. When that offer came Professor Anderson was spared the confrontation with a colleague as assertive and argumentative as himself.

Popper died in 1994 at the age of 92 and this is the first comprehensive book to appear on his life and work, although he detailed account stopped halfway through Poppers life. Hacohen charted the evolution of Poppers thinking with close attention to his intellectual influences and the explosive social and politic...

10:02

National censors NZTA No Right Turn

Last month, when the National Party announced ten expensive new roads as the core of its election campaign, the Greater Auckland blog noticed something interesting: the business case for one of them, Whangarei to Wellsford, had disappeared from NZTA's website. Google's cache also suggested why: because the business case found that the road "perform[ed] poorly from an economic efficiency perspective" and should not be built.

The natural suspicion was that the government had ordered the business case removed because it undermined its election promise. And thanks to the OIA, we now know that that is exactly what happened:

NZTA-missing-BC-OIA-Reply-Email-1

Interestingly, Transport Minister Simon Bridges had denied giving any such orders. So either he was outright lying in response to an OIA request, or doesn't know what his own staff are doing. Either way, its not acceptable, and NZTA should not be censoring public information to help with the Minister's election campaign.

09:49

Tony Abbott is the most selfish, destructive politician Australia has ever endured The AIM Network

Tony Abbott is the most selfish, destructive politician Australia has ever endured. In an astonishing display of hubris, he informed Ray Hadley that dumping the clean energy target would help the Coalition win the next election. Did he speak about climate change and the need for emissions reduction? No.  Did he speak about energy reliability? 

The post Tony Abbott is the most selfish, destructive politician Australia has ever endured appeared first on The AIM Network.

08:31

In which the pond embarks on an epic journey of nattering negativity with choleric Dame Slap, the Devine and the Terror editorialist ... loon pond


It goes without saying that the pond thought it wrote this blog, so it probably already has, and any stray reader who thinks they've already read it, don't worry, you probably already have.

The pond, you, we, me, he, she, they, are all in the grip of future mindpower, or perhaps the sheer repetition produced by a love of the reptiles.

It kicks in each day, as we trudge over the same old ground, with just the occasional fresh variation ...

Speaking of those variations, the reptiles were naturally outraged at the assault on freedom of speech revealed in this reptile report...


Sorry, you'll need the mindpower necessary to produce the sound of crickets chirping in the digital ether ...

As the official home of the "no" vote, even those at the lizard Oz who claim to be voting "yes" will naturally produce odious unpleasant carping sounds ...


And then there are the seriously delusional, who must be presented in the best possible light ...

06:30

Day to Day Politics: The polls tighten but not enough The AIM Network

Wednesday 20 September 1 This weeks Guardian Essential Poll tightened up a little with Labor leading the Coalition 52/48. However, if that was consistent across the country then it would still be a big win for Labor. Public support for marriage equality has dropped 4% in a fortnight and opposition is up 3%, according to

The post Day to Day Politics: The polls tighten but not enough appeared first on The AIM Network.

06:00

3MAP: ideas for improving Australian aid and development policy "IndyWatch Feed Politics.pg"

3MAP: the Three-Minute Aid Pitch will take place for the second time at the fifth annual Australasian Aid Conference (AAC) on February 13 and 14, 2018, following its great success at the 2017 AAC.

3MAP was first introduced at the 2017 AAC, and is an interactive plenary session to discuss ideas for improving Australian aid and international development policy. Speakers will present and discuss their proposals for no more than 3 minutes each, followed by rapid-fire audience reaction, and a vote. Last year, we had a host of great ideas brilliantly communicated, ranging from better aid PR to a new aid agency to expanded Pacific labour mobility check out the video from the 2017 AAC here.

Were looking for keen minds with a great idea for improving Australian aid and international development policy. If this is you and youre interested in promoting your idea, this is an opportunity to present your idea to an audience of researchers and practitioners from around Australia and the region. Please submit a short paragraph outlining your pitch to devpolicy@anu.edu.au (with 3MAP in the subject line) no later than Friday December 8. The authors of the top 10 most promising submissions will be invited to pitch their ideas at the 2018 AAC.

(Please note that if you are selected, your registration fee will be waived, but you will be required to register for and attend the conference; registration details can be found here.)

The post 3MAP: ideas for improving Australian aid and development policy appeared first on Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre.

02:25

J.K Rowling Tweet Didnt Age Well, As Piers Morgan Points Out "IndyWatch Feed Politics.us"

Chilling new CCTV footage appears to show the London tube bomber just moments before Friday's devastating attack. @michaelbesty #9News pic.twitter.com/zZXhVeZq8Y Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) September 18, 2017 Both suspects were refugees; one from Iraq the other from Syria.

01:27

Donald Trumps speech to the UN Catallaxy Files

Starts 45 minutes in. You can either watch it yourself or let his enemies interpret it for you. As good as any speech of its kind you have ever heard, and it holds its strength right to the end. From Drudge:

 

00:46

"You're an absolute disgrace" Coalition and One Nation senators North Coast Voices


Independent Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie on the floor of the Australian Senate, 14 September 2017.

Senate Hansard,  12 September 2017:
Senator LAMBIE (Tasmania) (13:56): The government wants One Nation support for this package so badly that it has agreed to invite a razor gang into the books of the ABC. And it wants Nick Xenophon's support for the package so badly that it has agreed not to embarrass him into being forced to vote in support of One Nation's proposal. But make no mistake, voting for this bill means voting for One Nation's deal. I know that, One Nation knows that and you can bet your last dollar that Nick Xenophon and his team know that, too. As for what the details are, we still don't know. The government won't tell us and they won't tell us. All we know is that it commits the government to review the ABC and ask if it is reducing the profitability of its commercial rivals. Guess what? The job of the ABC isn't to make money for its commercial rivals. Its job is to guarantee all Australians have access to news, programming and information that affects their lives, no matter where they live or how wealthy they are. The deal the government has made isn't designed to improve the ABC; it is designed to defund it. It's a deal to set up a rigged kangaroo court that is de...

00:45

Australian society in 2017: national gaol population hits record high North Coast Voices



Australias jail population has hit a record high of more than 41,200 prisoners, as a 20-year surge in incarceration rates shows no sign of waning.

The daily average of full-time prisoners in custody rose 7% to 41,204 over the year to the June quarter, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Monday.

That represented a 133% leap in prisoner numbers since the June quarter of 1997, meaning the national jail population grew at more than four times the rate of the overall population over the last two decades.

The cost of running prisons in Australia is likely to have hit around $3bn a year, based on Productivity Commission figures.

Inmates on remand awaiting court sentences (11%) and women (10%) were the fastest-growing groups of prisoners over the last year.

Indigenous prisoner numbers rose 7% in line with the overall increase but they remain grossly overrepresented in jail, making up 2% of the general population but 28% of the prison population.

According to the ABS ...

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Friday, 15 September

10:15

The crashing disappointment that is Malcolm Turnbull Drag0nista's Blog

Weekly column for The New Daily.Filed under: Politicians Tagged: Malcolm Turnbull

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Thursday, 07 September

10:13

Parking Infringement Data 2016/2017 Requests or responses matching your saved search

Response by Stonnington City Council to Elizabeth on September 07, 2017.
Partially successful.
Dear Elizabeth Council has provided access to the written document generated under section 19. Access has not been provided to a copy of the underlyin...

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Sunday, 03 September

10:51

Parking Infringement Data 2016/2017 Requests or responses matching your saved search

Follow up sent to Stonnington City Council by Elizabeth on September 03, 2017.
Partially successful.
Thank you. Can you please provide in .CSV file as per original request? Yours sincerely, Elizabeth

Thursday, 31 August

15:58

Parking Infringement Data 2016/2017 Requests or responses matching your saved search

Response by Stonnington City Council to Elizabeth on August 31, 2017.
Partially successful.
FOI-17-031:0001 Document released by City of Stonnington under Freedom of Information Act 1982 Ticket Offencedate OffenceStreet ST008337359 1/07/20...

15:55

Parking Infringement Data 2016/2017 Requests or responses matching your saved search

Response by Stonnington City Council to Elizabeth on August 31, 2017.
Partially successful.
Dear Elizabeth Please find my letter attached. Given the size of the documents, I will upload a copy directly to righttoknow.org.au. Regards Veroni...

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