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Sunday, 25 February


Where have all the insects gone? "IndyWatch Feed"

ABC News, 24 February 2018:

A global crash in insect populations has found its way to Australia, with entomologists across the country reporting lower than average numbers of wild insects.

University of Sydney entomologist Dr Cameron Webb said researchers around the world widely acknowledge that insect populations are in decline, but are at a loss to determine the cause.

"On one hand it might be the widespread use of insecticides, on the other hand it might be urbanisation and the fact that we're eliminating some of the plants where it's really critical that these insects complete their development," Dr Webb said.

"Add in to the mix climate change and sea level rise and it's incredibly difficult to predict exactly what it is."



How the Philippines has been transformed by its war on drugs "IndyWatch Feed"

My story in Australian magazine Crikey:

President Rodrigo Duterte has maintained a firm grip on the Philippines since being elected in July 2016. Although public support is slipping, due partly to the brutality unleashed by his war on drugs, which has seen up to 20,000 people killed in 18 months, the general population still backs the leader. But the violence has done little to change the support of America and Australia for Dutertes conflict against ISIS in the Philippines.

Yet dissent is rising. During a recent visit to the Philippines to investigate the countrys drug war, I saw posters of Duterte with a Hitler moustache. Dictator and Fascist were written below his name in Tagalog Fight! It was a message from the countrys biggest labour union. It was strong and direct, a sign of resistance. I saw, too, countless pro-Duterte posters in this battle of propaganda.

Duterte has used social media brilliantly to rally his supporters and denigrate his opponents. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this movement, largely ignored in the West, is how Facebook actively assists political campaigns around the world and then works with winning candidates to harness its online tools. BuzzFeed recently exposed this practice in authoritarian Cambodia, and Germanys far-right Alternative for Germany Party had Facebook assist its campaign for the 2017 general election. A former Republican digital strategist runs the Facebook global government and politics team in the US.

In the Philippines, Dutertes media team weaponised trolling against its critics. Countless fake accounts attacked...


RIP Ainsley Gotto "IndyWatch Feed"

Ainsley Gotto, a legendary Liberal Party operative and confident, has died. Gotto, who had a savage wit and disdain for political correctness, worked as chief of staff to Prime Minister John Gorton. I met Gotto and found her a charming, erudite and thoughtful woman who comfortably outwitted many persons who took great pride in their supposed intellect.

While news of her passing can be readily found in the Murdoch press, as at the time of publication of this blog the ABC has not reported her death (and this is using a google advanced search for the website So much for the expensive taxpayer-funded organisation which claims to keep abreast of news.

compare that to at 7:10pm (and it is now 10:45 pm still nothing on our ABC)

The world needs more Ainsley Gottos.


Who should really benefit from aid? "IndyWatch Feed"

My article in the Guardian:

Foreign aid has the power to save lives but also to corrupt nations. Its regularly used as a political football as some argue for more financial support to the worlds most vulnerable people while others believe more money should be spent at home. Its a false distinction, however, because the key issue is whether western aid is well targeted and empowering people to make their own choices on how to improve their lives, allowing them to eventually become more self-sufficient.

The aid industry is currently under the spotlight, Oxfams past behaviour is rightly challenged, although the problems uncovered affect the entire industry. But whats required is hearing from aid recipients themselves.

The US administration is slashing foreign aid to nations it views as unfriendly or voting against its interests at the United Nations. Nonetheless, the answer isnt simply more aid. In 2017, Afghanistan was the highest recipient of US aid, US$4.7 billion, but much of the more than US$120 billion given by the US to the country since October 2001 has been wasted, disappeared, stolen through corruption or simply cannot be accounted for by Washington.

Australia has also invested heavily in Afghanistan and seen few positive results. Canberra stumbled into the war with little understanding of what it was trying to achieve (apart from blindly fo...


Chinese buy Aussie gene mine "IndyWatch Feed"

A world-leading genetic resource created in Western Australia has been sold to Chinese buyers.

The gene mine that helps researchers rapidly map and identify genes linked to human diseases has been snapped up by Chinas leading animal sciences institute and medical school in a $US2 million ($2.56m) sale.

Lead researcher Grant Morahan, of the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research in Perth, said the mine was developed over a decade and has captured more than 90 per cent of common genetic variations in mouse species.

It allows researchers to find models for disease and identify genes that cause that trait, he said. This had resulted in more natural mouse models of human diseases than have been produced in the rest of the world.

Its a natural model, not genetically modified, so its more likely to mimic the exact symptoms of disease in humans.

The tool has been used globally in research into heart disease, dementia and diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness in adults.

The clinical director of the Illawarra Medical Research Institute, professor Leonard Arnolda, said the WA mouse models had been invaluable in investigating a rare disease of the heart muscle that can cause otherwise healthy young adults to die suddenly. As far as the cardiovascular system is concerned, the gene mine has been a goldmine, he said.

Professor Morahan said the genetic tool was created with backing from WAs Centre for Diabetes Research and Perth-based medical research company Geniad, but weve run out of funds to keep it in Australia.

The minewill be transferred to China after being bought by the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences Institute in Beijing.

Professor Morahan said although no investor had been found, he would continue to work on extending his gene technology with the Chinese institution.



100 Years of mateship? A week of desperate, empty, posturing from a government in crisis. "IndyWatch Feed"

Its not about me. Its about the Weatherboard Nine, Barnaby riffs. Hes working up to standing down. Its the best thing hes done in politics but its not done well. Not about meinvokes the little people in whose name monstrosities are committed in populist identity politics. Its a suitably tacky grand finale to Barnaby-Dada!, our

The post 100 Years of mateship? A week of desperate, empty, posturing from a government in crisis. appeared first on The AIM Network.


Monopolistic behaviour "IndyWatch Feed"

The thing about the society we live in is that the state has a monopoly on the use of force.  And the thing about monopolies is that they like to destroy their competition through unscrupulous means, they tend to laziness and incompetence and they despise innovation.

Which brings me to the recent Florida school shooting.

Now Spartacus is not sure that he would support a US 2nd amendment in Australia, but when the body that has the monopoly on the use of force, on the condition of protecting citizens, is as incompetent as the law enforcement agencies in Florida, one has to wonder.

Consider the following:

1 there was an armed guard on site during the Parkland Florida shooting, but he chose not to enter the school.  See here.

2 On 5 February 2018, the FBI received a call from someone familiar with Nikolas Cruz warning that he was a risk of shooting up a school.  The FBI did not follow up.  See attached a CHILLING transcript of the warning call.  Trigger warning, really trigger warning, before you consider reading this.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Between the lines of these beautiful words is the right to self defense.  The was a factor in considering the inclusion of the 2nd amendment.

One must wonder.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus


Saying Goodbye to Ferrucchio "IndyWatch Feed"

You may have read my bits about Ron the brickie. He was sponsored to Australia as a young lad of thirteen years a few years after the 2nd WW. He left behind his mother and siblings when he came to Australia a difficult situation not of his making. He went to school for a

The post Saying Goodbye to Ferrucchio appeared first on The AIM Network.


In which the pond demands the Bolter go behind the paywall for the good of everyone ... "IndyWatch Feed"

The pond regards as one of its greatest Sunday achievements the driving of the Devine behind a paywall, wherein her bile can only be accessed by mug punters willing and silly enough to pay for it

Perhaps the pond's second greatest Sunday achievement is to drive petulant Peta behind a paywall, whereby her hatred of Malware can only be accessed by mug punters willing and silly enough to pay for it

O.h and it might be a tad hard to access a story about love nests what a loss

Now the pond can already hear the cries of 'nonsense' and the shouts of hubris there being absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the reptiles embarked on their iron digital curtain paywall strategy as a result of the pond's activities

Indeed, there's a lot of alternative evidence that in reality the failed business model is starting to bite hard, and the reptiles are trying everything and anything to generate some coin, going in the completely opposite direction to the Graudian

...unlike a growing number of newspapers, the Guardian has not put up a paywall. Instead it has pursued a membership model, asking online readers to contribute whatever they like. About 600,000 now do, with recurring payments or one-off amounts. American readers tend to choose the latter option, Ms Viner says (Donald Trumps inauguration was a big day for donations). GMG says the total figure amounts to tens of millions of pounds per year. Ms Viner says revenue from readers (including 200,000 print subscribers) now exceeds revenue from advertisers. (The Economist, ...


Advance Australia fairly (Part 1) "IndyWatch Feed"

Advance Australia fairly (Part 1)Tom Orren begins his three-part series into how the laws of economics could help us create a fair society, nation and world. read now...


The Myth of the 2020/21 Surplus "IndyWatch Feed"

Scott Morrisons belief that he will be able to produce a surplus budget by 2020/21 is either a pipe dream or a con-trick. It is simply not achievable. And, to our collective relief, it is ignorance rather than good management, that will ensure it doesnt happen. Notwithstanding the fact that a surplus budget is the

The post The Myth of the 2020/21 Surplus appeared first on The AIM Network.


Coalition of the wanting "IndyWatch Feed"

As Cats know, Barnaby Joyce resigned as leader of the Federal Nationals and by virtue of the coalition agreement, as Deputy Prime Minister.

Late last week, the National Party Court Jester, George Christensen called for an end to the coalition.  Apparently Christensen:

said he wanted to see a National Party in coalition with regional Australia rather than wedded to a Liberal Party lurching further away from the values we still hold.

Spartacus wonders whether George considers perfidy as one of those values, but notwithstanding.

Yesterday, Steve Kates posts a fascinating idea that Tony Abbott should become the leader of the National Party because

It would finally give the true conservative side of politics a foothold and spook the Liberals into shading more towards their traditional constituency than the Labor-Lite they have become.

ISHO, I think Steve is right, no, correct.  But rather than installing Captain Knights and Dames for the purpose of realignment, there should be a dissolution of the coalition as has been proposed by George.  But with a concomitant end to the protection racket that exists for incumbent National MPs and Senators.

What Spartacus is talking about is the excellent idea put forward by John Ruddick in the Spectator this week.  For those who dont know who John Ruddick is, he is a former member of the Liberal Party who once stood for the Federal Presidency.  Depending on who you ask, John is either the George Washington of the Liberal Party of the Sisyphus of the Liberal Party.  John has been a driving force for the democratization of the Liberal Party within NSW.

In his Spectator piece, John writes:

The National party is Australias greatest hindrance to good government.

Demonstrably true.  But also:

For the little they bring to the table the Nats get the Deputy Prime Ministership and five members of the 23 member cabinet on a platter.

Again demonstrably true.  And also:

In the Joint Party Room, Nationals typically argue for more conserv...


Momentum turns against Barnaby Joyce and Abbott "IndyWatch Feed"

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

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Saturday, 24 February


'Yes, Minister': Alberici, Morrison and the Turnbull tax comedy "IndyWatch Feed"

'Yes, Minister': Alberici, Morrison and the Turnbull tax comedyPressuring the ABC for the removal of Alberici's article amounts to unjustified censorship whether or not its premise is correct. read now...


In which the pond meditates on Catholics and assorted conspiracies ... "IndyWatch Feed"

The pond's heart skipped a beat. Surely not a bonus prattling Polonius for the weekend

Indeed, indeed. Talk about being trolled and trading off, with the Polonial piece re-badged and refurbished, and featuring Emma Alberici as the selling point.

Well the hapless reptiles could hardly put up a shot of their man, could they? A portrait of Polonius himself would hardly help with the digital clicks, would they?

Of late the reptiles have resorted to some shameless trolling.

There's Dame Slap pretending to be sorry

She's not sorry, she's not in the slightest bit sorry, and the pond is sorry, it's not in the slightest bit interested in Dame Slap loving Jordan Peterson except to note that Peterson should be worried if he's attracting the love of a scribbler who once wrote how the UN might be using climate science as an excuse for world government and slipped out into the night in New York wearing a MAGA cap to celebrate the arrival of the Donald

The truth is, the pond is bored by him, and he'll soon be doing that old "Lord" Monckton routine and heading off considerably richer into the academic night after his 15 minutes of fame

It's all part of reptile attention-seeking and a tendency to Breitbart anything that moves or speaks as when Dame Groan adopted as her headline for the day "Our immigration conspiracy."

Oh sheesh...


Day to Day Politics: Joyce and other self indulgences! "IndyWatch Feed"

Sunday 25 February 2018 And so it came to pass as these things so inevitably do that Barnaby Joyce will tomorrow step down as Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. Those who seek to rule from the confines of narrow thought and buffoonery always come to the same end. Joyce has a history of ill-considered policies

The post Day to Day Politics: Joyce and other self indulgences! appeared first on The AIM Network.


Just in case you think that Barnaby Joyce will only have his backbench salary to live on "IndyWatch Feed"

Given soon to be former deputy-prime minister Barnaby Joyce has wrapped himself in a self-pitying cloak of undeserved victimhood, it may not be long before he is crying poor to whichever journalist will listen.

So just to remind everyone that the son raised by well-to-do "multi-millionaire" parents,who had him privately educated in his highschool years as a border at St. Ignatuis' College Riverview, is not without resources.

As of 1 January 2018 a federal MP's base salary stands at $203,030 per annum and, in addition to this salary Joyce as the Member for New England will receive an electoral allowance of est, $40,000 per month, along with a subsidised car, travel & accommodation allowance, free home phone as well as a daily allowance when in Canberra of $90 per day.

He also reportedly owns five rural investment land parcels in the Warrumbungle district totalling around 2,400ha and then there is the family.....

Aerchie Archive, undated 2016:

But the Joyce family's main property is Rutherglen, in Woolbrook, which sprawls across more than 1780ha nor...


CARTOONS: Malcolm has a Barney "IndyWatch Feed"

CARTOONS: Malcolm has a BarneyJust another week of good government with the adults in charge... read now...


Tony Abbott should become leader of the Nationals "IndyWatch Feed"

If we are seeking a genuine realignment of politics on the right, the Nationals should draft Tony Abbott into the leadership of their party. It would finally give the true conservative side of politics a foothold and spook the Liberals into shading more towards their traditional constituency than the Labor-Lite they have become.


Arming Educators: Trump, Gun Violence and Schools "IndyWatch Feed"

It had been in the works. Instead of engaging in the traditional revulsion associated with a mass shooting, or even digesting the grief of outraged students and grieving parents, US President Donald Trumps solution to guns violence was elementary. To target the perpetrator, it was necessary to arm instructors, mount the barricades, and raise the

The post Arming Educators: Trump, Gun Violence and Schools appeared first on The AIM Network.


Not another bout of prattling Polonius ... "IndyWatch Feed"

The pond's heart sank.

Not another bout of prattling Polonius's obsession with the ABC on and on he bangs with his moralising choir, routinely hitting jarring notes, and yet for inexplicably perverse reasons, the pond stays loyal

Why does he do it? Why does he carry on so? Has he ever thought how much his droning reminds the pond of the drone bee, which doesn't have stingers and doesn't gather nectar and pollen

Sadly for Polonius the drone has only one important task, but in this case the drone seems to have mistaken the ABC for a queen bee, so forensically does he inspect his beloved, and the result is tedium beyond belief, and no new hive, just another example of the hive mind at work

Well Polonius prattling on invites the pond to do a preamble. If he gets to prattle about the ABC, so does the pond.

Much of the ABC is now a distant memory for the pond. When they degutted current affairs on RN, the pond tuned out.

Oh they bleated about in Fairfax back in December last year, but so it has come to pass. Where one time the pond would contrive its schedule in such a way as to listen in, now it doesn't bother.

Back in the day, the pond had to mount significant hurdles to tune in. The merest hint of Scott Stephens and Waleed Ali blathering on was enough to induce a pond switch-off frenzy. Now RN is a memory, except for occasionally catching the Religion report as a way of keeping in touch with the outli...


Screen Themes: Van Helsing vs Dirk Gentlys Holistic Detective Agency "IndyWatch Feed"

Screen Themes: Van Helsing vs Dirk Gentlys Holistic Detective AgencyIts time for some small screen action, as entertainment editor John Turnbull checks out a couple of new streaming series based on classic novels. read now...


The parlous history of NABs Clydesdale Bank (Part 2): Will Clydesdale boil over? "IndyWatch Feed"

The parlous history of NABs Clydesdale Bank (Part 2): Will Clydesdale boil over?Hardly reported by the Australian media, the NAB is facing a serious and potentially costly class action from bank victims in the UK. read now...

Friday, 23 February


Donald Trump at the CONSERVATIVE Political Action Conference "IndyWatch Feed"

As he says at the start, I have proved I am a conservative. And so he is. And very very well received he was.


Australia deepens its role in South Sudanese conflict "IndyWatch Feed"

Australia deepens its role in South Sudanese conflictAs the situation in South Sudan worsens, Australia looks set to become embroiled in yet another nation's civil war, again to appease America read now...


President Trump Joint Press Conference With Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull "IndyWatch Feed"

Earlier today President Trump and First-Lady Melania welcomed Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to the White House.  At the conclusion of their meeting, the President and Prime Minister held a joint press conference. .


loon pond "IndyWatch Feed"

As the pond shed a few last tears and hung its hankie out on the back line to dry, the question that kept repeating over and over like beans in a bad Mel Brooks' movie was "why?"

"Why, oh why, oh why, how could it be? How could it come to this?"

Naturally the seeking pond turned to the brightest minds of the lizard people in search of answers, and sure enough nattering "Ned" was on hand to help ...



Day to Day Politics: Who gives a stuff about what I think. Others have views, too. "IndyWatch Feed"

Saturday 24 February 2018 Yesterday the keys on my keyboard were craving the familiar attention of my fingers wanting to write of daily happenings in the body politic. However, I was drawn to words not of my own creation, that were not words that fall from the tongue like raindrops on dehydrated and burnt eucalyptus

The post Day to Day Politics: Who gives a stuff about what I think. Others have views, too. appeared first on The AIM Network.


God, Politics and Billy Graham "IndyWatch Feed"

Evangelising is an ugly thing. It assumes indisputable truths, and limits the field of inquiry. Its very assertiveness lies in unquestioning rather than probing, a sheepish acceptance of the truth. The tele-pastor and media choked evangelists, of which the United States became famed, had a figure who was, for much of his time, without peer.

The post God, Politics and Billy Graham appeared first on The AIM Network.

IndyWatch Aussie Politics Feed Archiver

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