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Friday, 22 September

07:11

Gas exports starve local firms, jobs: ACCC "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Australian factories are at risk of shutting down and sacking workers as the nations gas exporters starve local customers in favour of overseas clients, according to a dire warning from the competition watchdog that clears the way for a gas crackdown.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission slammed the three gas giants in a clear sign to Malcolm Turnbull to impose the extraordinary export mechanism in order to guarantee supplies to Australian manufacturers and power stations and ease pressure on power prices.

The federal government may be faced with a choice of pulling a trigger on the mechanism on the one hand or seeing factories closed and jobs lost, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

Scott Morrison will receive formal advice on the crisis within weeks amid a wider government debate on energy policy, with Tony Abbott applying more pressure yesterday to prevent the government embracing a clean energy target that favours renewable power.

The Prime Minister vowed to act on the gas shortage and stepped up his support for a new coal-fired power station in Queensland, while insisting the Coalition was absolutely of one mind on energy despite Mr Abbotts implied threat to cross the floor of parliament.

Cabinet ministers are yet to decide the energy policy but Mr Turnbull emphasised the need to improve reliability and affordability, making no mention of a clean energy target or an increase in subsidies to renewable energy.

The Australian understands the government is considering a new framework to encourage investment in more power generation but this is not the clean energy target in the form recommended by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel in a report in June. Bill Shorten has demanded the government immediately pull the trigger on the gas export controls, which will force Origin Energy, Shell and Santos to supply more to the domestic market.

In a sign of the pressure on employers, Mr Sims said Bass Strait gas producers BHP and Esso were running reverse auctions to ration supplies, leaving some customers without energy despite their willingness to pay.

Mr Sims also blamed state governments for halting the development of new gas reserves, saying environmental concerns might justify some restrictions but not blanket bans an apparent warning shot at the bans in Victoria, NSW and the Northern Territory.

The ACCCs findings suggest there will need to be tight controls on gas exports from January 1, when the mechanism starts after the government gives the companies a chance to respond to its conclusions.

Those who criticise consideration of the gas security mechanism need to understand all the options available right now. There are not many. This is a very, very bad place to be, Mr Sims told the National P...

06:40

National's New Zealand "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

How bad is National's New Zealand? Whole families are homeless and sleeping in doorways:

A homeless family-of-eight are among those sleeping rough on the streets of south Auckland.

The couple and their six children were recently found lying in the entry of the Manurewa Citizens Advice Bureau by its board chairman Gordon Myer when he arrived for work two mornings in a row.

"They lay matting in the area and set their beds up in the foyer," he says.

"There's another group of people who sleep around the back. There's about seven or eight of them."


This is simply indecent, reminscent of the Victorian cities many of our ancestors fled here to escape. And we should not tolerate a government which permits it, which allows families to be left homeless and on the street and without support. Instead, we should take our opportunity tomorrow to vote to end this indecency.

06:27

Right Wingers Playing the Victim "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

To be a right winger these days, you have to be good at playing the victim. Victim-playing defines the behaviour of right wingers from the Prime Minister and his in-fighting colleagues, throughout the right-wing business world, all the way down to the rank and file right-wing-trolls on social media. This is not just an Australian

The post Right Wingers Playing the Victim appeared first on The AIM Network.

05:58

What really matters is not what matters but who decides what matters "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

This is a twitter stream on Big Brother and Protecting Elections which really is not just funny but also relevant and serious. And speaking of Facebook, let me also mention this: Mark Zuckerbergs Fake News Problem Isnt Going Away. From which:

In early September, Facebook disclosed that it sold $100,000 in political ads during the 2016 election to buyers who it later learned were connected to the Russian government. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Mark Warner of Virginia, the most senior Republican and Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, have said theyre considering holding a hearing, in which case Zuckerberg could be asked to testify.

Meanwhile, special counsel Robert Mueller has made Facebook a focus of his investigation into collusion between the Russian government and Donald Trumps campaign. A company official says its in regular contact with members and staff on the Hill and has had numerous meetings over the course of many months with Warner. On Sept. 21, Zuckerberg said the company would turn over the ads to Congress and would do more to limit interference in elections in the future. Facebook acknowledges that it has already turned over records to Mueller, which suggests, first, that the special counsel had a search warrant and, second, that Mueller believes something criminal happened on Zuckerbergs platform. . . .

On Sept. 14, ProPublica reported that it had managed to purchase ads targeted at users whod listed interests such as Jew hater and How to burn Jews.

Well theyve stopped that now, but only after it was pointed out to them. Every new technology not only changes the way people find things out but also what things they find out. I am therefore a free speech absolutist which is why we should make it illegal for Facebook or Twitter and other platforms of the same kind to prevent people from saying things there that are perfectly legal to say anywhere else.

05:00

In which the pond is confused by the cawing Crowe and the parroting Ando ... "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"


The reptiles, and so the pond, always try to stay on the light side, but sometimes the comedy is too rich for even the best reptile correspondent, and it's best to go with dry understatement ...

The lawyer for One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts has said his client's credibility may have been affected by evidence given during a lengthy cross-examination at the High Court on Thursday. (ABC here).

The mighty Roberts had credibility? Who knew?

When he asked the High Court to consider his citizenship status, Senator Roberts further confused matters by repeatedly refusing to say when he filled in the form renouncing his British citizenship and paid the associated fee.

Never mind, the comedy is rich, and speaking of confusion, the reptiles, the cawing Crowe and so the pond were mightily confused this day ...

At first it seemed clear-cut, with the cawing Crowe at the top of the opinion page making a bold, brave statement:


That seemed might clear, but suddenly later in the day, the bold statement became a question ...


...

04:58

Keeping their eyes on the big stuff "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

In a very joint announcement:

  • The Hon. Kelly ODwyer MP, Minister for Revenue and Financial Services on 19 July 2016;
  • the Hon. Craig Laundy MP, Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science;
  • the Hon. John Barilaro MP, NSW Deputy Premier, Minister for Small Business; and
  • the Hon. Victor Dominello MPm NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property

Announced this morning a new plan Making it easier to start a new business.

Apparently:

The new business registration service allows businesses to apply for multiple business and tax registrations at the same time online at business.gov.au. This has reduced the average time taken to register for an ABN from over an hour to less than 15 minutes. The service also supports businesses to meet their obligations and avoid applying for registrations that they dont need.

Great.  But when will the new service that will allow for easy business de-registration and bankruptcy filing be announced?

One might wonder whether it will it be possible to use this new wiz-bang service when the electricity is out because the sun aint shining and the wind aint blowing?  Will it also work when the NBN is down or internet is not otherwise available?  Will it work remotely when businesses are up before the Fair Work Commission dealing with industrial relations matters?

As a citizen, I am very comfortable that Ministers ODwyer and Laundy are on the job here.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus

04:44

Local Government in the Inner West of Sydney "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Local government.  What does it exist for?  In the inner west of Sydney, it does not appear seem to exist for local residents or rate payers.

You might think that local government is there for things like planning, pools and parks.  Perhaps a bit of rubbish collection and road maintenance.  But not for the new Inner West Council in Sydney.

Having done a deal with . the Liberals . Labor Councillor Darcy Byrne will be the new Mayor.  And Mayor Elect Byrne has promised to:

lead a council which is both progressive and effective.

Councillor Byrne also said:

With our belief in social justice and our commitment to diversity, we can show the rest of the country how progressive principles can be put into practice at the local government level.

The Inner West Council is the forced amalgam of 3 smaller councils Leichhardt, Marrickville and Ashfield.  Marrickville Council even managed to have its own foreign policy.

But hey.  Who needs efficient planning and rubbish collection when you can have effective and progressive planning and rubbish collection with a touch of social justice and a commitment to diversity.

Perhaps a Council anthem to be sung before all Council meetings.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus

04:22

Is there a mirror anywhere? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Leading climate campaigner, Leonardo Di Caprio has suggested that:

We should not have people in office who do not believe in facts, in truths, in modern science, that are able to manipulate and risk the entire future of this entire generation.

This is same Leonardo whose extensive familiarity with facts and science come from dropping out of high school to attended a free local drama center to perfect his acting skills.

This is also the same Leonardo who flew on a private jet from NY to LA SIX times in SIX weeks.

And again, this is the same Leonardo who rents a $678 million yacht that burns thousands of liters of diesel every hour.

But good ol Leonardo reckons that:

future generations will vilify current politicians who deny and refuse to fight climate change

Lets make Leonardo Supreme Ruler of the World Government.  Then we can all eat cake.

Mirror mirror on the wall, whos the greatest dilettante of them all?

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus

03:30

Career counselling with Rocky "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Career counselling with RockyRocky Dabscheck recently took on a position as a careers counsellor at a leading secondary college, where he discovers some of the students could make fine politicians. read now...

01:55

Last day to enrol "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Today is the last day on which you can advance vote. It is also the last day you can enrol to vote - for some odd reason we don't allow enrolment on election day. So, if you're not enrolled, get along to an advance voting station and do it. Likewise if you think you might be busy tomorrow (and don't want your two hours paid time off to vote), or just want the whole thing to be over, get out there and vote! The polls are tight, so no matter who you support, every vote is going to matter.

The Electoral Commission has a list of advance voting locations here.

00:00

In which the pond honours an expert fund-raiser and salutes the Terror editorialist's silly points ... "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"


First, some good news, with the pond able to vote crushingly cute Cory the fundraiser of the day, and possibly the year. 

Can his elevation back to the pond's banner be far away?

Please, celebrate his good work and his good deeds ...


At the ABC here, but what a power of oomph ... from nine hundred bucks to over $140k, and all for playing dress-ups of a kind that didn't raise an eyebrow in Tamworth in the 1950s ...

The man's a marketing genius, a legend ... what next to outrage the senses? Women gallivanting, traipsing, and flitting around in men's jeans?


Egad, sir, that wouldn't have done for good Queen Vic. That must be worth 140k to some school charity ...

And now for the bad news ...

Usually on a Friday at some point the pond would spend quality tim...

00:00

Internet Australia needs board renewal and term limits, says departing boss "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Internet Australia needs board renewal and term limits, says departing bossExecutive director of Internet Australia, Laurie Patton, believes the organisation must introduce modern corporate governance principles, including term limits that guarantee regular board renewal. read now...

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Thursday, 21 September

22:17

Jeffrey Tucker: ICOs Will Not Be Defeated "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Absolutely nothingno amount of regulation, no number of belligerent articles, no plethora of hectoring denunciations by big shotsis going to stop ICOs from completely disrupting the way companies raise funding in the future.

The crypto market has been too wonderfully successful without the slightest help from government or the financial establishment. We already know. Weve seen. The idea is out there. Its already worked. The deed is done.

Some tokens represent brilliant ideas, but many are pump-and-dumps, troll coins, or outright scams.

But now the counter-revolution is underway, with governments leaning in, establishment spokesmen trying to spook markets, and incumbent financial institutions decrying all disruption to their industry. Its a coordinated attack.

So its about time that people know precisely what an ICO is. It stands for Initial Coin Offering, a token used to express investment interest in ideas that are turned to enterprises. The number of ICOs this year far outstrips Initial Public Offerings of public companies (those seem to be on their way toward extinction) and beats the market capitalization of convention venture capital funding.

A Goofy Explanation

But before we get to the full explanation, consider this brilliant, evocative, and ridiculously misleading description from Kevin Roose from the New York Times.

Imagine that a friend is building a casino and asks you to invest. In exchange, you get chips that can be used at the casinos tables once its finished. Now imagine that the value of the chips isnt fixed, and will instead fluctuate depending on the popularity of the casino, the number of other gamblers and the regulatory environment for casinos. Oh, and instead of a friend, imagine its a stranger on the internet who might be using a fake name, who might not actually know how to build a casino, and whom you probably cant sue for fraud if he steals your money and uses it to buy a Por...

22:00

Day to Day Politics: Do qualifications matter in politics? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Friday 22 September 2017 To finish my weeks theme on commongoodism I take you back to 2015 when the darling of the Murdoch journalists was suggesting that all you really needed to be successful in politics, was a degree of sorts. In April 2015, Miranda Devine in a piece for The Daily Telegraph proclaimed the

The post Day to Day Politics: Do qualifications matter in politics? appeared first on The AIM Network.

20:55

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

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...

17:45

Shrinking, atomised working class reshapes politics "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Today in The Australian

Tomorrow Jacindamania could propel Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Labour Partys 37-year-old leader, into the prime ministership. No doubt local factors will play a role: having been in government almost a decade, the National Party, despite a solid record, has struggled to convince voters it has much to offer.

16:16

US President Trump continues to chase 'his' war "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"


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

...

16:15

More wheels are falling off the Turnbull Government train "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"


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. ...

13:14

Chinese dairy company Yili makes substantial offer for Murray Goulburn "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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...

12:56

Jacques Barzun on race relations "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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 appe...

10:55

CBA has sold its CommInsure life business to a China-owned group for $3.8 billion. "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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 wh...

09:30

Open letter from the front line of the futile War on Drugs "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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...

08:49

The standard that you walk past "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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.

08:37

ACCC offers no answers to government created energy crisis "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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,...

08:33

If the Bible is so clear, why do we keep getting it so wrong? Evangelicals & the Bible #1 "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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.

...

06:14

CARTOON: Unconscionable "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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

06:14

In which the bromancer celebrates the Donald saving the world and Merkel ruining it ... "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"


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 ....

05:13

ALERTA! Stop fascists rallying @ LGBT Holocaust Memorial, Sydney : Saturday, September 23, 2017 "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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

04:47

WINZ steals from the poorest "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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...

04:41

Parking Infringement Data 2016/2017 "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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...

04:32

An historical turning point "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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.

04:24

Suspicious "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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.

04:00

Australia the Innovator "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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

03:23

What is the secret democracy sauce? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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 associa...

02:46

The more you look at things the more miraculous Trumps win is "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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...

02:35

A positive sign "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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.

02:14

Rotten to the core "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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 pow...

00:00

In which the pond relaxes on a hard reality Thursday, with the savvy Savva reassuringly to hand ... "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"


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 ...

...

00:00

Conservative Civic Codes Revisited: Modernist Hegemony in Action "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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.

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Wednesday, 20 September

22:00

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

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.....

22:00

Day to Day Politics: If thats what Oxford teaches Well? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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.

22:00

Try to Guess the Penalty "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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

16:40

The LGTBI Waffen Never Sleeps "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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...

16:16

Cashless Welfare Card: a denizen of Mount Olympus pontificates on the ignorant masses below "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"


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 ...

16:15

Singing the heavens, singing the land, singing the lore, singing the people and their history - weaving memory "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"


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.

14:47

Trump is right on refugee reforms "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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:

13:10

This is how civil wars start "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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.

12:13

The persistence of (belief in) socialism "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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.)

......

11:44

The Demise of Civic Journalism: The Xenophon-Turnbull Deal "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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.

10:44

Putting the blame where it belongs "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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.

08:22

Give Peace a Chance is NOT Peace at Any Price "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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 Bus...

08:21

Its all happening again. "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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.

08:21

ABS view on including 16 and 17 year olds in the Marriage Law Postal Survey "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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...

08:06

Ode to Machiavellis Discourses. "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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 ti...

08:01

Ode to Machiavellis Discourses. "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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 tim...

01:50

Tony Abbott is completely out of touch with the base on renewable energy "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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

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Friday, 15 September

01:45

The crashing disappointment that is Malcolm Turnbull "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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

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Thursday, 07 September

01:43

Parking Infringement Data 2016/2017 "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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

02:21

Parking Infringement Data 2016/2017 "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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

07:28

Parking Infringement Data 2016/2017 "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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...

07:25

Parking Infringement Data 2016/2017 "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

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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