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IndyWatch Aussie Politics Feed was generated at Australian News IndyWatch.

Friday, 25 August


10 More Rhetorical Questions "IndyWatch Feed"

About 2 years ago, Spartacus posited 10 rhetorical questions.  Here are 10 more.

  1. For a parliament full of lawyers, including a Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, why is the rule of law (especially the constitution), treated as the guidance of law or the best wishes of law?
  2. What are and where are green jobs?
  3. If a company director is personally liable for the malfeasance of the company they direct, why is a minister not personally liable for the malfeasance of the department they direct?  Or similarly, why is a local councilor not personally liable for the malfeasance of the council they direct?
  4. If paying peanuts to politicians attracts monkeys, what are we paying to attract the clowns currently in parliaments?
  5. Why is the quality of a government measured on how much is spend on schools, roads and hospitals rather than actual education levels, quality of roads and health of the citizenry?
  6. What does it mean to give a Gonski?
  7. If the CBA is in trouble for allegations of breaching Anti-Money Laundering laws, what about the RBA, where a subsidiary allegedly approved bribes for a Nigerian official?  Reference Securency.
  8. No matter how bad a market based solution is, why is it always assumed that a government based solution will be better?
  9. If Australias carbon emissions are irrelevant by world standards, why does Australia seek to be the world leader in carbon emissions abatement?
  10. Can Gillian Triggs just go away?

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus


In which the pond does its regular TGIF tipple with Sharri (please, no lemonade in the beer, just a twist of lemon) ... "IndyWatch Feed"

Is there any better way to start a TGIF than with a Pope, with more papal encyclicals here?

Well for some time now the pond has cultivated a TGIF taste for Tabloid Sharri, a proven hit with elderly gentleman readers still angry and in mourning over the loss of page three features in tabloid land ...

Sharri is an expert barometer, a sure guide to the frigid cold, the tumescent humidity, and all the other weather events that afflict any Liberal who dares to shows signs of humanity.

This day it's gorgeous George who's been sent to the outdoor dunny to use the tree killer Terror for toilet paper and to repent his many sins ...

Poor George. There was a time when everyone in Murdochian la la land was heiling him ...


George Christensen and the heights of halal hysteria "IndyWatch Feed"

George Christensen and the heights of halal hysteriaThe most disconcerting aspect of George Christensens anti-halal campaign is that even he doesn't believe it funds terrorism. read now...

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Thursday, 24 August


Fate of politicians referred to the High Court over the citizenship saga will not be known until at least mid-October. "IndyWatch Feed"

It appears that on Day One before the High Court of Australia there is to be no united defence by those sitting politicians defending their election as members of parliament and stories appear to be changing.

ABC News, 24 August 2017:

The fate of politicians referred to the High Court over the citizenship saga will not be known until at least mid-October.

The court held its first hearings on the cases in Brisbane today, and Chief Justice Susan Kiefel has ordered the matter be heard in Canberra on October 10-12.

It is not clear yet how long it could take the court to decide on the case and announce its decision on the five cases currently before it those of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, former Nationals Minister Matt Canavan, One Nation's Malcolm Roberts and former Greens senators Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam.

Solicitor-general Stephen Donaghue QC, acting for the Commonwealth, had urged the hearings be scheduled in mid-September to ease any concerns about the validity of decisions made by the 45th Parliament.

In another twist, Mr Joyce's political nemesis, Tony Windsor, has been given permission to join the citizenship challenge in the High Court.

Mr Windsor will argue Mr Joyce has breached the constitution, as he was a dual citizen of New Zealand.



Day to Day Politics: Laughably incompetent "IndyWatch Feed"

I dont know how many pieces I have written on the subject of marriage equality but on Tuesday 23 august 2016 I wrote the following: Over the weekend the subject of marriage equality once again reared its head. Surely enough is enough. If ever a government was laughably incompetent on legislating the will of the

The post Day to Day Politics: Laughably incompetent appeared first on The AIM Network.


Scaling up Australian aid for global medical research "IndyWatch Feed"

There is a strong case for scaling up Australian support for global medical research: research leading to the development of new medical products, such as drugs, vaccines and diagnostic tests, to address health problems predominantly affecting people in the developing world.

This case rests on four points. First, the future of aid will increasingly be about the financing of global public goods, whether to combat climate change, to develop new and improved crop varieties, or to discover new medicines and vaccines. Second, global medical research seems to yield high social returns. Third, Australia has a strong medical research community. Fourth, there has been growing interest within the Australian government on the subject of medical research. Two recent official reviews (the Hollway Review of aid of 2011 and the McKeon Review of medical research of 2013) have both recommended greater action by Australia in this area. The current Liberal-National Coalition government also seems to show a growing interest, the most recent example being the June 2016 announcement of a health security fund, which includes an emphasis on research.

While it is impossible to come up with a definitive target for the volume of Australian funding for global medical research, it is obvious in our view that such funding should be significantly increased. Doubling it would bring it into line with our spending on global agricultural research. The aim of our new report Australian funding of global medical research: how to scale up? is to examine how a significant scaling up of aid for global medical research, such as a doubling, should be managed.

The report argues for a two-pronged approach. First, the current access of global medical researchers to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is valuable and should be expanded. One of the recommendations of the McKeon Review was that the NHMRC should more fully embrace grant assistance for global health by opening up grants to international researchers (either alone or in partnership with Australian researchers and institutions) and establishing co-funded grants with global philanthropic organisations. Similar access to the Medical Research Future Fund should also be obtained. All of this funding should be counted as Official Development Assistance (ODA).

Second, additional funding for global medical research should be provided by the Australian aid program. This should not be via additional aid funding for the NHMRC. Such funding is largely investigator-driven and discovery-focused, and needs to be complemented by a more strategic and re...


Lofgren introduces resolution urging Vice President and Cabinet to fulfil duties under 25th Amendment "IndyWatch Feed"

It was only a matter of time......

Amendment XXV
Section 4.

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the P...


In which the pond has a late snack of savvy Savva ... "IndyWatch Feed"

The pond is constantly distracted - there's ZDNet scribbling ACCC should try explaining NBN speeds to grandma ...

Only a bureaucrat would think 'standard plus evening speed' is an informative label.

Wherever the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) keeps its jar of stupid, it needs to lock it up better. Clearly, the seal on the jar had been broken leading up to the announcement on Monday that the consumer regulator had decided to clarify the puzzling broadband labelling situation in Australia by adding yet another layer of confusing labelling.

There's more at the link, but then the pond was distracted by news of a Goth get-together at Camperdown Park, and Honi Soit suddenly remembering the Valhalla in Glebe ...

Well the pond will be at the park in spirit if not the flesh, but dammit, there's Mathias leading with his best Godwin's Law-breaking East German comparison, and there's the savvy Savva talking of Comrade Bill and doing her valiant best to prop up the copper-clad Malware, so a special late afternoon edition of the pond was required, because attention must be paid ...

It's a desperate job, explaining how the copper-clad multi-nodal Malware is the right man for the job, but someone's got to do it, and the savvy Savva always knows the right way to present press releases from the PM's desk ...



The character test: Barnaby Joyce's possible Kiwi citizenship loophole "IndyWatch Feed"

The character test: Barnaby Joyce's possible Kiwi citizenship loopholeWith the High Court having met today to set hearings for several 'dual citizen' MPs, Romesh Wijeyeratne suggests a possible escape route for Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce. read now...


Last Post on an Origami Government "IndyWatch Feed"

The object of origami is to take a piece of paper and with dexterous folding, you produce a facsimile of a real-life object. Of course, the folding of paper gives an angular abstract of the desired image, but that is good enough, as the imagination does the rest. Such also is the dream of LNP/IPA

The post Last Post on an Origami Government appeared first on The AIM Network.


Guest Post: Terry Barnes Im a baby boomer, and I like a drink. So there "IndyWatch Feed"

Oh dear, nanny state researchers are out and about again, finding fresh angles to demonise those of us who enjoy a wee drinkie, a bit of a puff, or a little weed (and not a Little Weed of the Flowerpot Men type)*.

On Wednesdaythe ABC breathlessly reported a new study, published in the British Medical Journal, that finds in the UK and Australia, binge drinking is on the decline among all age groups except those over the age of 40. And of course, it was a natural for that forum of lefty zeitgeist, ABC News.

It seems we baby boomers and the generation Xers who want to be like us are more likely to drink more heavily, smoke more and addle our brain with licit and illicit drugs. The habits of misspent youths in the late sixties and seventies stay with us and die hard, it seems.

Of course, the rent-a-quote public health Pooh-Bahs jumped on the study to cry that more must be done to clamp down on elder self-abuse.

When it came to alcohol, the drug of choice of the boomer generation, the media message of the study leaders was that governments must clamp down on risky drinking by older fellas and gals defined as more than 14 units of alcohol a week, or two units per day.

In the UK, a unit is defined as 10 millilitres of pure alcohol. In Australia, one unit equates to a standard drink. So two standard drinks a day is OK, three is binge drinking. On that measure, more than two glasses of chateau cardboard at a sitting is bingeing, though drinking Grange with lobster might also be an indicator of impaired judgment.

Naturally, the experts lining up to comment on these findings said more must be done to combat alcohol and other drug abuse in the over-forties. Naturally, they said more fundings needed to protect Australian oldies from themselves.

Of course, they did. And what characteristic drivel.

Lets be honest, which is a damn sight more than these taxpayer-funded researchers are being in sensationalising their findings. What generation is the healthiest in history, the fittest in history, and will become the longest-lived in history? Thats right, baby boomers. We boomers have survived and thrived because weve been smart enough to make informed choices about what we do, look after our bodies and our minds, and be less likely to trouble the scorers when it comes to demands on our healthcare services until the very last stages of life.

Educated boomers know how to drink in moderation, consume tobacco and recreational drugs in moderation, and generally not be an intoxicated nuisance to themselves and others. If boomers are prone to genuinely excessive drinking, its likely because its hered...


Mapping the Worlds Most Liveable Cities "IndyWatch Feed"

If you want to move to one of the worlds most liveable cities, pack your bags and book flights to Australia or Canada

Infographic: The World's Most Liveable Cities | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

As Statistas Niall McCarthy notes, The Economist assessed 140 major cities worldwide on stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure, declaring Melbourne the most liveable city in 2017 for the seventh year running. Australias second most populous city scored 97.5 out of 100. Vienna, the Austrian capital, came second and three Canadian cities rounded off the top five Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary.

Buy Gold at Discounted Prices

As well as those three Canadian cities, a total of three in Australia made the top-10 list (Adelaide and Perth as well as top-placed Melbourne). Interestingly, U.S. cities are notably absent from the top of The Economists list with Auckland, Helsinki and Hamburg all boasting high liveability scores.

The Syrian capital of Damascus was at the very bottom of the ranking with a score of 30.2, along with Lagos in Nigeria (36.0) and Tripoli in Libya (36.6).

Reprinted with permission from Zero Hedge.

The post Mapping the Worlds Most Liveable Cities appeared first on LewRockwell.


In which the bromancer explains everything to the pond ... "IndyWatch Feed"

The reptiles attracted attention this day with their photo of Australia fist-pumping away with a psycho killer ...

The reptiles so liked the image that they made it a feature of their digital edition too ...

It seemed vaguely disturbing, bopping along with a thuggish sociopath, and Warner had the eerie look of someone who had just emerged from the corn field celebrated in It's a Good Life ...

The pond has seen many examples of brazen lickspittle, forelock tugging, servile fellow-travelling, but this seemed exceptional ...up there with other examples that litter history ...


Did NXT's Sharkie withdraw support for Turnbull? No, just another media fail "IndyWatch Feed"

Did NXT's Sharkie withdraw support for Turnbull? No, just another media failReports last week NXT MP Rekekha Sharkie had withdrawn support for the Government were just another case of mainstream media fail. read now...


The Rise of the Killer Robot "IndyWatch Feed"

As companies building the technologies in artificial intelligence and robotics that may be repurposed to develop autonomous weapons, we feel especially responsible in raising this alarm. (Open Letter to the UN on Autonomous technology, August 2017). Do you leave the gruesome task of killing, pulverising and maiming to robots? The US Defence Department gave a

The post The Rise of the Killer Robot appeared first on The AIM Network.


Guest Post: Peter OBrien The Female of the Species "IndyWatch Feed"

What species am I talking about?  Well, the Left Wing Activist.   At the risk of being labelled a sexist, would I be drawing too long a bow to suggest that, when it comes to sheer bare-faced effrontery, the female LWA has it all over male?  By which I mean the ability to defend a position long after the evidence against it has reached Olympian proportions and to never apologize for anything.

Three examples come to mind.

Let me start with our erstwhile first female Prime Minister.  Ive no doubt readers can think of their own favourite instances of Gillards total command of victimology but, for me, the one that stands out is the infamous AWU Workplace Reform Association scam.  Gillard was in this up to her neck, unknowingly she claims and, for the purposes of this essay lets give her the benefit of the doubt and accept her claim.  What is undisputed however, or at least unexplained, is why Gillard, having become aware that there was something very dodgy about the AWU Workplace Reform Association, broke off with her paramour but failed to alert her real client, the AWU, of her suspicions or even to come forward once the scam was made public to offer what assistance she could.   What is even more to the point is that she has never once not once evinced the slightest remorse or regret that her ill-judged actions contributed to a serious crime.

Sarah (accidents happen) Hanson-Young.  What more needs to be said?

Which brings me to Gillian Triggs, who could probably capture best in show.  Her capacity to double down in the face of overwhelming evidence that she politicized her role, misled the Senate on a number of occasions and propagated false propaganda about detention camps, puts her in a class of her own.

She claimed that her decision to delay her enquiry into children in detention was occasioned by the imminence of a Federal election.  In fact, Gillard advised in March that an election would be held in August six months hence.  There was no formal election campaign at the time Triggs made her decision and even if there was, why should that prevent her from commencing her inquiry other than that it might prove embarrassing for the government?  That would provide an advantage to one side of politics and, at the same time, a disadvantage to the other.

In her recent speech at the ANU, Triggs, according to The Australian:

warned that truth was being increasingly manipulated by political forces, as in George Orwells novel 1984.

Her effrontery in recruiting George Orwell to her campaign is as breathtaking as it is ironic..

She also:

..also identified what she said was an extraordinary and unpreced...


Last Post on an Origami Government. "IndyWatch Feed"

The object of origami is to take a piece of paper and with dexterous folding, you produce a facsimile of a real-life object. Of course, the folding of paper gives an angular abstract of the desired image, but that is good enough, the imagination does the rest. Such also is the dream of LNP / IPA. society.

Planning, Costing, Promoting and Selling of such a phony dream also has that angular-edge appearance of origami..and you have to ask..;Is it real.or are these sharp, flat lines of Agile Politics a sculptors fantasy? Like a child in anticipation, with all the anticipatory hand gestures of the impatient to get a touch of the object, Malcolm Turnbull draws pictorial images of what HE imagines the finished product will look likeand not having competent command of those Aussie vernacular words adequate for even the most simplistic description, he stutters, stumbles and finishes with the fumbling tongue smacking of :Look..lookits like this Like a child reallylike a little child.

Of course, his dream of Corporate Democracy, like his Origami Government is nothing more than that old nightmare of Fascism. The angular creases in the plan being the lines in the sand where shit happensshit like Union decapitation..democratic protest debasedsocial media curtailed and the social welfare net ripped to shreds! In a democracy guided by bottom-line considerations, any emotive considerations for retaining loyal employment will not be considered, blind obedience to profit consideration will reign and as in the land of the blind, the one-eyed (in every sense of the word!) entrepreneur and speculator will be king.

Consider the personality type of our new rulers..; Disciplined, methodical, tough-love, tougher-hate and control. all the best characteristics of the budding tyrantand a tyrants dynastic reign. There are numerous contemporary examples.

But I blame history..or rather ; a lack of understanding of it. Because the positioning of this govt and its lay-down misere political business plan is the standard blueprint of many authoritarian govts as shown throughout history.

I have to agree this time with Machiavelli in his Discourses of Titus Livius..when he describes :

when I see, on the other hand, the works of greatest virtu which Historians indicate have been accomplished by ancient Kingdoms and Republics, by Kings, Captains, Citizens, Lawgivers, and others who have worked themselves hard for their country, to be more readily admired than imitated, or rather so much neglected by everyone in every respect that no sign of that ancient virtu remains, I cannot otherwise than wonder and at the same time be sad: and so much more when I see in the civil differences that arise between Citizens, or in th...


Guest Post: Warty Gas Light 1940 "IndyWatch Feed"

Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. George Orwell.

If you think Im about to write a review on the 1940 film Gas Light, directed by Thorould Dickinson, starring Anton Walbrook and Diana Wynyard,  then Ive managed to confuse you, as the article is more about gaslighting, or as Trump calls it, fake news.

Actually the intention is not to confuse you at all, as there is a link. Gaslighting is an authentic clinical term derived from the film, in which Paul (played by Anton) attempts to cause his newly wed wife Bella (Diana) to think she is going mad. The subterfuge is part of his plan to track down some the jewels hidden by a murdered former wife, and the gas light he uses to try and find them. For some strange reason, whenever he lights the lamp, the other lamps in the house dim, which along with the mysterious upstairs noises (in truth, Paul moving around trying to find the jewels) all contribute to Bella doubting her sanity, compounded by the husband insisting she is imagining things.

The clinical term is more a description of the process and effect of a form of psychological bombardment designed to deliberately lead the subject to believe he or she is going mad, which is why the term has recently been extended to encompass the machination of the MSM, which Trump less euphemistically called fake news.

Id only cottoned onto gaslighting a week or two ago (being rather slow on the uptake) realising how much more effective the term was in describing what has been going on in the MSM campaign against Trump; but also, by extension, to media coverage (or the lack) of a number of different events here in Australia, some of it constituting straight out disinformation.

Take the Pauline Hansson burka stunt in the senate at the end of last week. Senator Brandis saw what she did as insulting to Australian Muslims, and ultimately endangering us. Senator Hanson Young, who ironically wasnt there at the time, came out even more strongly, leading Andrew Bolt and Paul Murray of Sky News to suggest she was trying to get political mileage out of an already fraught situation.

Of course our impartial ABC wanted a bit of the action, so the ABC Sunshine Coast Jon Coghill interviewed Haset Sali, former President of the Australian Federation of Islamic Societies, in the hope of getting a damning Muslim perspective on Pauline wearing her little black burka in the Senate chamber. Instead quite the opposite happened, in that he confirmed that the Quran does not in any way require women to cover their faces. But he went a lot, lot further: he clearly stated the sooner Muslim women get rid of this hideous garb the better. Here was a golden opportunity for the ABC to throw Pauline Hansons own accusation back...


I Still Call Venestralia Home "IndyWatch Feed"

Sing and cry with me ..

I been to cities where economics fall down.
From Darwin to Adelaide and Old Hobart Town.
But no matter how far or how wide I roam.
I still call Venestralia home

Im taxed too much and once I was free.
The government we have is a big comedy.
But my heart lies waiting over the foam
I still call Venestralia home

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus


23.9 Percent "IndyWatch Feed"

23.9 Percent.  Very specific number.  Ring any bells for anyone?

Well apparently, in his Sydney Institute speech yesterday, Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann, Minister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, said:

We wont allow our tax revenue to rise any higher than 23.9 per cent of our economy over the next ten years.

Impressive commitment, especially from a member of a coalition unlikely to be in government for a significant number of years beyond year 2 of this 10.

But still, the precision.  Not 24 percent.  Not even 23.5 percent.  23.9 percent.  It is impressive to be so specific and strick.  Much like the number pi, it carries a magic to it.

Shall it be one of the governments 10 commandments amongst:

  • I, Turnbull shall be your Prime Minister.
  • You shall have no other Prime Ministers before me.

Apart from the 10 year measurement period and the lack of definition of our economy, Spartacus is truly confident that this country is on the right economic track.

As a guide though, perhaps Senator Cormann actually have a look at the budget he co-delivered, oh, less than 3 months ago.  The same budget that projects government receipts as a proportion of GDP hitting 24.4% in FY19, 25.1% in FY20 and 25.4% in FY21.

Amazing that this is claimed to be the party of fiscal responsibility.

PS. Also from Senator Cormanns Sydney Institute speech, herewith is the Governments economic plan.  Dont laugh too hard.


The Government is committed to growing the economy and helping to fund the services Australians rely on now and into the future. To do this, our economic plan puts in place incentives to reward success by:

  • Committing not to increase the overall tax burden in the economy beyond 23.9 per cent of GDP;
  • Having an economic-growth friendly tax system;
  • Pursuing an ambitious free trade agenda to give our e...


Changing their minds "IndyWatch Feed"

Back in February, the Greens decided not to run in Ohariu, in a cowardly effort to help jackbooted fascist Greg O'Connor win the seat for Labour. Last night, they changed their minds:

The Green Party has dealt an unexpected blow to Labour's chances of winning the hotly contested Wellington seat of Ohariu by deciding at the 11th hour to stand a candidate.

Tane Woodley was the surprise revelation at an Ohariu candidates meeting in the suburb of Khandallah on Wednesday night - revealing to the crowd that he was entering the race following the shock departure of 33-year incumbent Peter Dunne.

Woodley planned to campaign solely for the party vote. But the decision is likely to benefit National's Ohariu candidate Brett Hudson, as it could split the vote on the left and dent the lead in the polls enjoyed by Labour's Greg O'Connor.

Good. Because O'Connor is a nasty little authoritarian and not the sort of person I want to see in Parliament. The Greens aren't standing to defeat him, of course - they want the extra party votes a visible candidate would bring. But if it has that effect, it would be a bonus, and providing left voters a chance to object to an armed police force is not a bad thing at all.

As for Labour voters upset at the Greens spoiling their chances, tough shit. Peter Dunne's departure means the Greens now have no reason to stand aside, while recent polling means they need every vote they can get. Labour should do what's good for Labour, and the Greens will do what's good for the Greens.


Anatomy of a Coup Redux: Americas Chickens Come Home to Roost "IndyWatch Feed"

Will Donald Trump be assassinated, ousted in a coup, or just impeached?  The Spectator When was the last time an actor assassinated a president? Its been a while, and I think its time  Johnny Depp Ive thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House  Madonna I hope Trump is assassinated  Missouri State Sen.

The post Anatomy of a Coup Redux: Americas Chickens Come Home to Roost appeared first on The AIM Network.


Liberal, Green and ALP politicians conspire to destroy the economy "IndyWatch Feed"

Yesterday, Malcolm Turnbull, unveiling the plans by Pratt for new investment in containers said, You know everything my government does is designed to encourage Australian businesses to invest.   The absurdity of this was underlined by Anthony Pratt informing us, Our cost of energy in America is 2 times lower than Australia.

One fifth the costs of the Pratt businesss production is energy and the facility is only possible by providing subsidies to the in-house production of this.  Here is how our political leaders tell us that we now build wealth: tax energy consumers and re-allocate the funds only to the most expensive energy sources.

Like a saboteur chastising the owners of the facility he has destroyed, the PM is said to be going to eyeball the energy companies over bills.  He will doubtless say, how can it be true that prices are rising so savagely when Finkel, assorted blood-sucking subsidy-farmers and I myself say we have fabulous renewable resources and are seeking to incentivise more of them with the outcome being cheaper prices?

Yesterday also saw yet another paragon or rationality, the imbecilic Victorian Premier, announced more subsidies for price-busting renewables, Mr Andrews said his plan would bring $1.3 billion in investment and 1250 construction jobs. That is more spending to generate higher costs.  The doubling of energy prices that such existing measures have already caused is pigeonholed with the pretence that this is nothing to do with wind.

Untouched by economic reality, here are the fantasy figures that the Victorian government is claiming as the outcome

Naturally, environment groups said the new Victorian measures would turbocharge the growing sector with the Andrews Government measures bringing an increase in windmills from about 600 to more than 2300.  This will also require unnecessary new spending on transmission within the state like filling and re-digging holes, this too will doubtless be...


Pauline Hanson's burqa ban stunt: The historical context "IndyWatch Feed"

Pauline Hanson's burqa ban stunt: The historical contextBanning dress deemed oppressive, offensive and generally against the run of fair play in a societys rhythm is far from new. read now...

Wednesday, 23 August


In which the pond has a light breakfast with Donners and the IPA, thanks to the lizards of Oz ... "IndyWatch Feed"

Where would the pond be without the Terrorists? It's impossible to imagine.

Speaking of imagination, the pond was recently browsing the local throwaway Murdochian rag, the Inner West Courier and came across a letter from one D Johnston of Enmore, railing against "evangelical atheism" and crediting it to the greenies because - and this is where the sharp Alexander Pope wit entered the picture - "they are the watermelon party - green on the outside but Red inside - whose leaders are nostalgic for communism, which turned churches into tractor factories."

Strange, the pond thought the filthy Commie swine turned churches into henhouses and pigsties ...

(Terri Favro - Sputnik's Children, easily googled for more information)

Never mind, D Johnston of Enmore finished off with "Christians believe in humanism that, although faulted, we and this Earth are the centre of the universe. Nothing else in all the universes is as wonderful as the human imagination."

The pond's first thought was what a complete and colossal lack of imagination. 

Wasn't She Herself and Her ineluctable mysteries, such as transgendered transubstantiation, supposed to be beyond the humble human imagination? Was there nothing out there more wonderful than the human imagination, which seemed to involve a bunch of blondes?



Day to Day Politics: Time to take Shorten seriously. "IndyWatch Feed"

Thursday 24 August 2017 Bill Shortens timing is impeccable. Fancy turning up on Q&A last Monday after two disastrous weeks for Malcolm Turnbull. And on a day when Newspoll put Labor 8 percentage points in front of the Coalition. However it happened I would suggest that its time to take him seriously. The difference in

The post Day to Day Politics: Time to take Shorten seriously. appeared first on The AIM Network.


Short changed: the cost of child undernutrition in Papua New Guinea "IndyWatch Feed"

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is facing a nutrition crisis. Alarmingly, almost one in two children in PNG have stunted growth from chronic malnutrition.[i] PNG has the fourth highest child stunting rate in the world a rate that is more than double the global average.

Not only does malnutrition pose a threat to the survival and development of children in PNG, it also poses a major threat to sustainable economic growth. Evidence shows that if a child is malnourished during the first 1000-day period from conception to their second birthday, they will suffer cognitive and physical impairments that are permanent and irreversible. These impairments limit a childs education and employment prospects. Reduced individual earnings translate into reduced economic productivity at the national level. This is how malnutrition can trap children in an intergenerational cycle of poverty.

image: Save the Children AustraliaNot only does undernutrition rob children of their growth and earning potential, it also threatens their very survival. According to national data in PNG, approximately 33% of all hospital deaths of children under five are either directly or indirectly caused by malnutrition. However, in a new report commissioned by Save the Children, Frontier Economics estimates that malnutrition could be the underlying cause of up to 76% of total deaths of children under five across community and health facilities combined[ii] a figure significantly higher than the global estimate of deaths of children under five associated with malnutrition at 45%. Evidence als...


Australian Politics: when is a welfare program trial not a trial? "IndyWatch Feed"

When is a welfare program trial no longer a trial? When the Turnbull Government decides to remove those restriction which made it a trial.

This Bill removes section 124PF of the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999, which specifies that the cashless debit card trial will occur in up to three discrete locations, include no more than 10,000 people, and will end on 30 June 2018. Removing this section will support the extension of arrangements in current sites, and enable the expansion of the cashless debit card to further sites. Individual sites, once identified, will be determined by disallowable legislative instruments. [Explanatory Memorandum, Social Services Legislation Amendment (Cashless Debit Card) Bill 2017

What the federal government proposes to implement is in practice an open-ended cashless debit card roll-out at the discretion of Minister for Human Services and Liberal MP for Aston, Alan Tudge


Human rights implications
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights conducted a review of the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Debit Card Trial) Bill 2015, which notes that the Cashless Debit Card engages and limits three human rights: the right to social security, the right to a private life and the right to equality and non-discrimination. [Ibid, p. 6]

See Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, ...


Barcelona & the cult "IndyWatch Feed"

There was some sobering video footage posted on social media of the immediate aftermath of the Barcelona terrorist attack. Unlike the images of candles and flowers and people hugging, this showed very starkly the human toll, including the violence to the bodies of young people.

So what was the reaction of those living in Barcelona? An estimated crowd of 160,000 marched in the street demanding that the government take in more "refugees" - despite the fact that a number of these "refugees" had just carried out an horrific attack on the native Spaniards' own young - on their own sons and daughters.

The Barcelona March

And then I saw a footage of another leftist demonstration, this time in Boston in the U.S. About 40,000 leftists came out to protest against a free speech rally. There were white demonstrators in the crowd holding up "white people suck" placards.

And the thought occurred to me that the leftists in Barcelona and Boston are committed to a cause that is self-annihilating and that this kind of unhealthy mindset is normally to be found within cults, i.e. a commitment to a cult can be so strong that some adherents will self-annihilate as an act of loyalty to it.

It's not my intention to prove that leftism really is, strictly speaking, a cult. But I do want to follow through, as a thought experiment, with the idea that there might be some cult-like aspects to modern day leftism.

So what is the cult oriented to? I've often given the answer that the aim is a vision of individual freedom, defined as personal autonomy, in which the individual self-defines their own good and their own identity. But I was reading an old discussion...


Rossleigh Interviews Malcolm "IndyWatch Feed"

Rossleigh: Good evening, we have the Primed Minister, Malcolm Tinbull. Malcolm: With all due respect, I dont think you can say that. Rossleigh: Why not? Malcolm: Well, Im just a fictional character, arent I? Im not the real Prime Minister. Rossleigh: Yes, thats what most people are saying. Malcolm: No, theyre saying that Im a

The post Rossleigh Interviews Malcolm appeared first on The AIM Network.


The difference between saying and doing "IndyWatch Feed"

This evening, your intrepid slave ventured to the Sydney Institute to hear Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann, Minister for Finance Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate give his (sort of) annual address.

It was so exciting, that the Australian published its story on it about the same time the function ended.

Last year, Senator Cormanns theme was wibble-wobble-wibble-wobble jelly Bill Shorten.  This year it was Shortenomics and the politics of envy.


Just like his wibble wobble effort last year, Senator Cormann regaled the audience with what a Bill Shorten government might do.  Yet, same as last year, Senator Cormann failed to account for what the Abbott and Turnbull governments have done.  The governments in which Senator Cormann was and still is a senior member.

Just a quick list to remind Cats and Corm:

  • Increased regulations on business including the bank BEAR regulations.
  • Increased taxes (bank levy, superannuation taxes, medicare levy, deficit levy, ASIC cost recovery, APRA cost recovery).
  • Record levels of government debt.
  • Gonski 2.0*.
  • $50billion for floating French bath tubs
  • The highest energy prices in the world.
  • Threatened intervention into the LNG export market.

And lets not forget the NBN the No Bloody N-ternet network.

The cherry on top was when mentioning Gonski 2.0, Senator Cormann said that what all parents worried most about when dropping their kids off at school was that the other schools were funded equally and not party to sweetheart deals.  I know thats the main thing I worry about.

Oh and yes.  Apparently (again), the bank levy is good for banking competition and promotes smaller banks.  By that logic, you know what else would be good for banking competition and promotion of smaller banks?  A 100% bank levy.  Hey, why not implement 100% taxes on every part of the economy, it would surely improve national competitiveness.

It used to be said that the  conservatives thought progressives were wrong while progressives thought conservat...


No. You didnt. "IndyWatch Feed"

Matthew Prince asks the question:

I helped kick a group of neo-Nazis off the internet last week, but since then Ive wondered whether I made the right decision.

To ask the question is to answer it.

Matt Prince knows the correct answer.

I have a lot of sympathy for that view the transaction wasnt profitable and the company chose not to pursue the relationship. But he made a moral choice, not a business choice.

When standing up to government requests or angry Twitter demands to silence unpopular speech, it was powerful to be able to say wed never terminated a customer due to political pressure. Im not sure we can say that anymore.

Indeed no, you cant.

Id like to fall back on the First Amendment. Im the son of a journalist. I grew up with discussions around the dinner table on the importance of freedom of speech. But the First Amendment doesnt compel private companies to let anyone broadcast on their platforms.

That is a terrible, terrible argument. It is true, of course. Yet I would like to see the underlying internet infrastructure to remain in private hands and not face pressure to be regulated as utilities or even nationalised and operated as utilities.  Matt Prince alludes to this point:

The upshot is that a few private companies have effectively become the gatekeepers to the public squarethe blogs and social media that serve as todays soapboxes and pamphlets. If a handful of tech executives decide to block you from their services, your content effectively cant be on the internet.

Nobody really cares about Nazis but now we know that commercial reality isnt what motivates our gatekeepers but rather their personal values.

On this note if you havent ever seen it, the movie Skokie it is highly recommended.


Authorities freeze $70m of assets from alleged $144m tax fraud "IndyWatch Feed"

Authorities have frozen about $70m worth of assets as they begin to claw back the proceeds of an alleged $130m tax-evasion racket, a New South Wales court has heard. The scandal was blown open last month, culminating in the arrest of nine people, including the son and daughter of former Australian Taxation Office deputy commissioner []


Expunging the commonweal from the Commonwealth Bank "IndyWatch Feed"

Expunging the commonweal from the Commonwealth BankThe Commonwealth Bank has lost its moral compass [and should] refrain from using ... "Common" and simply refer to themselves ... as the "Wealth Bank". read now...


The world according to Professor Triggs "IndyWatch Feed"

As reported on the Mandarin website, former (thank heavens) Human Rights Commission President, Gillian Triggs said that:

Public servants must be eternally vigilant in maintaining their tradition of frank and fearless advice based on evidence.

Interesting since ex-Presidente was frequently confused about what actual evidence was.

Also according to ex-Presidente:

I think there has been a definite trend in Australia for public servants to be more concerned about doing what the ministers asked them to do, than they have working collaboratively with the minister to inform them about evidence-based policy,

Really?  Despite her inference, doing what a minister says and evidence-based policy are not necessarily mutually exclusive.  But more to the point, and consistent with her modus operandi, public servants are not free agents able to act and pursue any objectives they see fit.  Public servants are there to implement the policies of elected governments.

Its nice living in an ivory tower in fairy land.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus


The Long, Long Story: Principled Realism, Trump and Afghanistan "IndyWatch Feed"

The story continues with dispiriting relentlessness. The remark by Samuel Beckett in The Unnamable comes to mind: I cant go on.  Ill go on. With the sense of incapacity about going on, yet doing so with a drones dedicated commitment, President Donald Trump did what US Presidents have done since George W. Bush: commit. Commit,

The post The Long, Long Story: Principled Realism, Trump and Afghanistan appeared first on The AIM Network.


Oh, FFS "IndyWatch Feed"

In response to scaremongering by (highly-paid) journalist Patrick Gower, (highly-paid) Labour leader Jacinda Ardern and (highly-paid) finance spokesperson Grant Robertson have just ruled out any prospect of tax increases on highly-paid people like themselves. By doing so they've chained themselves into National's current fiscal straitjacket, under which the government can not collect enough revenue to properly fund our health, education, and welfare systems, and effectively ruled out any real chance of making any progress if they become government.

If people wonder why I have nothing but contempt for the Labour Party, this is why. They talk a big game about fixing things, but refuse to embrace the necessary tools to do so. Instead, they're just the smily face of the austerity status quo, unwilling to really change anything.

But its not just a betrayal, its also simply fucking stupid. There is absolutely no political downside to making MP's and corporate bigwigs pay more tax. To the contrary, Helen Clark ran on a platform of taxing the rich, and she got elected on it. But now Labour has just made it look like they've put their own personal greed ahead of the public's needs. And they deserve to be punished for it.


In which the pond has a portmanteau day, with a splash of Devine, a ride on the Canavan caravan, and a neo-Nazi moment with Dame Slap ... "IndyWatch Feed"

The pond realised it had been a long time - too long - since it'd quoted a little genuine surrealism, as opposed to the reptile surrealism on daily parade, if only to explain why it had embarked on a lunchtime portmanteau of reptilian works ...

It means sensible folk can just skip to reading Carroll's Through the Looking Glass here, thanks to the good folk at the Uni of Adelaide, leaving only the most pain-addicted masochists to carry on ...

It's safe to say that once anyone has heard Miranda the Devine outgribing, somewhere between a bitching and a bellowing, they'll be quite content, or quite uncontent, or in a state of discontent, but one way or another they'll know they're far from mome, and have lost their way ...

Yes, it's saucy doubts and fears day at reptile bunker HQ, and who better to lead off than the bilious Devine, gyring and gimbling in her inimitable corkscrew way ...

Ah the poor suffering persecuted Xians. The pond almost wept at the suffering. Damn it, and all they want to do is consign gays to hellfire for all eternity, and perhaps help...


Another dirty war "IndyWatch Feed"

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

The post Another dirty war appeared first on The AIM Network.


Why the churches will not influence the same-sex marriage vote "IndyWatch Feed"

Why the churches will not influence the same-sex marriage voteMany religious leaders in Australia are now actively campaigning for a 'Yes' vote in the same-sex marriage postal ballot. read now...


My bits of poetry from Twitter. "IndyWatch Feed"

My random poems from twitter (140 characters or less).

4 AM.
4 am. I lay warmly abed,
Rain raps its staccato fingers on the glass
And my sleeping lady lies naked next to me.
Croesus riches r but nought.

Little dreams of a moth.
I have little dreams,
They are quiet and shy.
I dream of primrose days
And the patterned wings of butterflys

Sometimes I dream of thee,
And sometimes I dream of us,
But come the Primrose light of day
My dreams fall back to dust.

But when next I lay abed,
Eyes closd by nights velvet glove,
Return to me quiet dreams,
My shy dreams..
My dreams of sylthn love.

How do I declare that to thee,
What is natural as leaf to tree?
As close a bond as river to reed,
As smile to laughter!
Yourself , my need.

The cold claws into the bone,
Hollows the heart,
Freezing the home.
Must needs warmth like a summers day,
A lovers frolic in new-cut hay!

The mirror tells its secret tale,
What is REALLY YOU will prevail,
When all may not be as it seems,
The really you will haunt my dreams.

China girl, shy thy eyes,
Lest thy soul I do surmise.
Cherry lips; silk fan eclipse,
Tho heart-face turn aside,
Womanly beauty cannot hide.

Neath dark root of Mallee tree,
Quite hid there for history,
Things thou will never see:
Pots & poems and chipperee
Secreted there of you by me.

Poetry chess between you and me.
You open; Ruy Lopez,
I counter shiny knight.
Until our pieces do finally see
Checkmate to thee or me.

I held a bird with broken wing,
No more to fly, tender thing.
Put it down or leave it go?
Let nature deal the final blow?

Yet in its small, frightened eye,
A touch of myself do I espy,
Who am I to refuse it balm,
When never has it done me harm?

Why not, with helping touch,
Can I not relieve its hurt,
And with tender love & care,
Will it not sing once more its air?

It will not fly you cld say,
And does a tree run away?
And does the oyster glued to rock,
Not wait with patience for its food?

So this bird, broken now,
Us together shall allow
Some moments when we can share,
A little of life, a lot of air.

Would pebble fall,


Time to tax the rich to fix National's social deficit "IndyWatch Feed"

Steven Joyce has released the Pre-Election Financial Update, proudly announcing that National has spent $2.1 billion less on health, education, infrastructure and social services than it could have this year. Because that's what National's "surplus" is: the result of deliberate government underspending in all of those areas. As I've said before, when you have people living in cars, you don't have a "surplus", you have a social deficit. And if you have people living in cars while you have billions of dollars of spare cash rolling around, you're a monster.

Apparently this is Bad For Labour because the social deficit is a one-off and if they want to do anything to fix it they'll need to raise taxes on the rich. Bring it on. Stick it to them. Those fuckers have had it too easy for too long, and its time they paid their fair share. And if they want to fuck off with their money to some foreign tax-haven with all the other criminal rich, good fucking riddance. We don't need sociopathic freeloading parasites in this country.

Kiwis want a high level of public services. We want free universal public education, a health system to take care of us when we're sick, a welfare system to take care of us when we're poor or disabled, superannuation to take care of us when we're old. We need to pay for that with taxes. National has cut taxes below the level required to provide the services we want, and shifted the burden from the rich to the poor. That has to change. Fortunately, we can change it in a month.


Let's lynch the landlord "IndyWatch Feed"

That's the (regulatory) conclusion of the People's Review of Renting by Renters United and ActionStation:

A tenants' advocacy group is calling for an end "no fault" evictions by landlords, and to limit annual rent rises to no more than the percentage change in the national minimum wage.

The People's Review of Renting is being launched on Wednesday morning by Renters United based on over 600 renters' stories crowd-sourced by social advocacy platform Action Station.

It recommends a raft of law changes to regulate landlords and strengthen tenant rights, including licensing all landlords and introducing compulsory rental Warrants of Fitness.

These are good suggestions. They would ensure that houses are fit to live in and that renters can have the security to turn them into homes, while preventing the currently pervasive abuses of power by landlords. Naturally, the Property Investors Federation AKA the landlords union is not happy, saying that it will cause many landlords to quit the business. Good. Because we don't want exploitative, abusive arseholes renting properties unfit for a dog to live in, then evicting people if they complain, and sooner those scumbags exit the market, the better. And as most landlords are really just housing speculators, it also means less heat in the housing market (and if they sell the houses they're hoarding, even better, because it'll help crash the price). All in all, I don't see a downside to any of this.

You can read the People's Review here.

(Title from the Dead Kennedys)


The far right is actually just the far left "IndyWatch Feed"

Heres an article you would think is on our side, even coming with the cartoon you see above: The First Step in Fighting Barbarity is to Speak Out. But there, right near the end, we find this:

Well, I oppose the far right in whatever form they take, be it that of extreme ethnic nationalism or Islamo-fascism.

So let me assert one very simple way to tell left from right which is the John Stuart Mill On Liberty test. This is Mills own test and if you accept his very simple principle then we are comrades in arms on the right side of the political divide. If you do not, then you are part of the left, and the farther from this very simple principle your beliefs happen to be, then you are to that extent a member of the far left, which naturally includes communists, Nazis, Antifa, and most of the media.

The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion. That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power...

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