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Wednesday, 13 June


Day to Day Politics: Electricity Bill was electrifying with a very bright spark. "IndyWatch Feed"

Thursday 14 June 2018 Its strange how we humans judge each other. We seem to attach ourselves to others or teams of others all with varying qualifications, distinctions and virtue. We lock ourselves into groups for various reasons be it sporting teams, spiritual leaning or political parties. No man is an island did I hear

The post Day to Day Politics: Electricity Bill was electrifying with a very bright spark. appeared first on The AIM Network.


Sick art exhibit features naked monster embracing little girl on bed "IndyWatch Feed"

There really is a concerted effort to normalize pedophilia to make adults sexual predation of children normal and acceptable. Heres the latest. LifeSiteNews reports, June 8, 2018, that the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia, is hosting an Continue reading


About that 12 June 2018 North Korea-United States summit when a arrant fool and a murderous dictator met.... "IndyWatch Feed"

U.S. President Donald J. Trump and the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Kim Jong-un met for a one day summit in Singapore on 12 June 2018.

There was little doubt that the world was willing to support this move.

The Guardian, 12-13 June 2018:

The UN secretary general, Antnio Guterres, has welcomed the summit as an important first step and urged both sides to compromise.

statement issued by his office said: The Secretary-General welcomes the holding of the Summit between the leaders of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea and the United States as an important milestone in the advancement of sustainable peace and the complete and verifiable denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

As the Secretary-General noted in letters to both leaders before the Summit, the road ahead requires cooperation, compromise and a common cause. Implementing todays and previous agreements reached, in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions, will require patience and support from the global community. 

The Secretary-General urges all concerned parties to seize this momentous opportunity and reiterates his readiness to fully support the ongoing process.

When the summit ended this ...


The journey towards a name change for Coutts Crossing begins..... "IndyWatch Feed"

In November 1847 Clarence Valley grazier Thomas Coutts disgruntled by what he thought was a failure of local authority to act on his complaints, angry that his cattle herd had diminished over the space of eight years allegedly due to cattle theft and irritated at the size of his wages bill - all of which he blamed on local Aboriginal family groups living on 'his' property - decided to take action.

According to media reports at the time it soon became common knowledge that Coutts "had poisoned some aborigines" and this was eventually reported to the Commissioner of Crown Lands who, after visiting the group who had been given poisoned flour, hearing their account, arrested Thomas Coutts based on an affidavit sworn by one of his servants. 

One hundred and seve...


Racism "IndyWatch Feed"

There has been a performance at the Victorian College of Arts by a 20 year old student, Isabelle Mason, called Where We Stand that asks people to process their positionality in a colonial state and in a world where whiteness is privileged. In the show, white Australians are deliberately and systematically discriminated against. This is something that no minority group in modern Australia suffers.

Such identity politics is of course a nonsense we can observe privilege  in all manner of people unrelated to race. It is also unhelpful by encouraging some people to see themselves as victims and others as oppressors.

In fact western society has been the most successful in human history of integrating people from all backgrounds and providing opportunities to everyone not found in other cultures and civilisations. Multiculturalism is a western concept.

Mason has been criticised for reverse racism although so called reverse racism is really racism by another name.

She claims to be insulted

The literal definition of racism refers to the discrimination against minorities. White people are not a minority here meaning reverse racism is not a thing.

Well the literal definition of racism says nothing at all about discrimination about minorities. Whichever dictionary one chooses the definition is pretty much the same as that of the Macquarie:

Racism noun: (1) the belief that human races have distinctive characteristics which determine their respective cultures, usually involving the idea that ones own race is superior and has the right to rule or dominate others,

(2) a policy or system of government and society based upon such a belief

(3) behaviour or language based on this kind of belief in relation to a person or persons of a particular race, colour, descent or ethnic origin, either demonstrating an inherent prejudice without specific hostile intent or, alternatively, intended to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate

(4) such behaviour or language used against people of a different nationality.

While there will be always individuals in a country that are racist, western countries are among the few where people are judged by the quality of their character not the colour of their skin.

This performance is somewhat racist. I dont think it should be banned, but Mason should be called out for engaging in behaviour that divides rather than unites. She seeks to divide rather than unite. And she should carefully study the meaning of racism. She should read the words of Martin Luther King and other great western philosophers of the Enlightenment rather than generalising abou...


Far right: the lefts term for people with normal values and common sense "IndyWatch Feed"

Found in the US on Powerline, but from our own ABC. Steve Hayward finds it funny, and cannot detect the anti-Trump vitriolic hatreds that lie behind it. In some ways it demonstrates that for those of us who line up behind the Trump agenda, his idiosyncracies dont affect us even in the slightest. We are outcome-oriented. It is the combination of his values and his ability to achieve ends we support that explain why nothing that the ABC and its dreary stupidity are able to overcome. But the ABC and its mates everywhere on the left never give up since there is no doubt that something like a quarter of the population remain wedded to policies that only do them harm because of the political fashion statements put out by the media.

A few months ago North Korea was developing nuclear weapons and a delivery system that could blow up a million people on a single venture into some nihilist political program. Now such a possibility is the remotest likelihood. What has changed? And who caused that change to happen? And odder than perhaps anything, Trump offered this communist tyrant a vision of a peaceful, prosperous, capitalist North Korea as the longer-term future for his nation. I dont expect the media to get it. Their politically-driven mental derangement is almost certainly beyond cure, so they will simply have to stew in their bile. Meantime, videos such as the one produced by the ABC, may help a few of our citizens to cross into the far right, which is the lefts term for people with normal values and common sense.


Is it possible to separate the work from its creator? "IndyWatch Feed"

    For as long as I can remember Ive been completely disinterested in the private lives of notable creatives. I rarely read magazine accounts of the writer in her study, the artist in his studio, of the non-working lives of actors, directors, screenwriters, musicians et al. Ive long adored the works of Leonard Cohen, []


So much winning with the dog botherer and little Johnny ... "IndyWatch Feed"

Oh dear, it seems some naughty people have taken to trolling the reptiles' twitter feed, with the dog botherer a particular source of affection

And it seems that the dog botherer has decided to troll the bromancer's interpretation of the Donald's recent activities, noted this morning in the pond here ...

Oh dear calling any bromancer's mouse burger, calling it by name

But we should now proceed to the dog botherer's piece, and the pond apologises in advance for having arranged some cartoon interruptions because the pond is too tired to argue and thought perhaps a William Burroughs' cut and paste routine might be the temporary solution



Maimed but not dead: Is an Aboriginal rose a rose by any other name? "IndyWatch Feed"

Maimed but not dead: Is an Aboriginal rose a rose by any other name?Through massacres, stolen generations and ongoing whitewashing, the gift of Aboriginal language continues to be desecrated. read now...


The Halo Effect "IndyWatch Feed"

Imagine if you will, a large Australian organisation with the following characteristics.

  • The Chairman and Deputy Chairman are both executives of the organisation, contrary to all the claims about best practice governance necessitating the separation of roles of Chairman and CEO.
  • One other member of the board (of 9 members) of this organisation is appointed by the principal owner of the the organisation.
  • The principal organising purpose of this organisation is to use all tools and means available to it to manipulate markets; and in manipulating markets, this organisation has historically generated large profits and paid large dividends to its owner.
  • A key consequence of the market manipulation of this organisation is that Australian savers have lost millions.
  • Although one of the purposes of this organisation is to participate in and manipulate markets, this organisation does not have a financial services licence and it has never been investigated by ASIC or any other regulator.
  • A wholly owned subsidiary of this organisation, a subsidiary set up for the purpose of international sales, has been caught engaging in foreign corrupt practices yet no member of the board of this organisation has ever been held to account.
  • Employees of this organisation are recruited very early in their career and indoctrinated in the ways of the organisation, with very few if none, having career experience outside this organisation or within that of its owner. A cult culture of sorts.
  • The media, when discussing this organisation seldom questions its means or methods and almost always ascribes to it uncritical and virtuous intentions.

What would you say about such an organisation? Perhaps worthy of a royal commission?

Well the organisation described above is the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Think about that.

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Meeting on the Island of Death From Behind: The Kim-Trump Summit "IndyWatch Feed"

Everything about this summit is in the showy warm-up run. I am on my way to Singapore, tweets US President Donald J. Trump, where we have a chance to achieve a truly wonderful result for North Korea and the World. Such descriptions from Americas ever hustling television president tend to become child like, whether glowingly

The post Meeting on the Island of Death From Behind: The Kim-Trump Summit appeared first on The AIM Network.


We have forgotten what is important let alone how to fight for it "IndyWatch Feed"

The trouble with neoliberalism is it focuses on the how and not on the why. The result of this headlong pursuit of continuous growth is a concentration of wealth in the hands of a few while the vast majority are mired in poverty.  At the same time, environmental degradation in the pursuit of profit, and

The post We have forgotten what is important let alone how to fight for it appeared first on The AIM Network.


Lets have gender neutral book burning "IndyWatch Feed"

In a wonderful article in the Spectator Australia, the IPAs Dr Bella d Abrera writes about the proposal by Manningham and Melbourne City Councils:

to remove from their respective kindergartens, schools and libraries all books and toys deemed to enforce gender stereotypes.

Basically a standard and good old fashioned book burning in the Democratic Republic of Victoristan.

Amusingly Dr dAbrera noted that Melbourne City Council had issued a denial (in reply to the original story in the Herald Sun that is).  But what about Manningham City Council?  Are they going to have their book burning on Invasion Day?  Be sure to read Dr dAbrera full article for the not surprising link to ANU, but moving on.

Spartacus has an old friend who is a barrister, an SC in NSW now.  This barrister once said about the art of examining a witness that, the easiest thing to do on the stand is to tell the truth.  Telling a lie is so much more complicated with all the side stories that need to be reconciled and is dotted and ts crossed.  And telling a lie is hard to sustain under the light of investigation.  Hard, but not impossible.

Spartacus tells this story because this is where the rubber hits the road.

Why then, if it is inner city lefty dogma that gender stereotypes should not be enforced and that gender is a social construct, why is gender balance in parliament, on company boards, in senior executive ranks so paramount?

Either gender is important or it is not.  Which is it?  Can you please make up your minds as we are all confused.  Or is it just the case that gender balance is important for already successful women to accelerate already successful careers.

Sparty dunno.

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The return to the valley of the planet of the crisis in Western Civilisation, episode seven ... "IndyWatch Feed"

The reptiles were on fire this day, shocked and appalled at the way, despite their best endeavours, the world had made a wrong turn

There could be only one explanation

Most unkind BR, it was pleasing that the reptiles were still in the thrall of IQ tests

With everything that's been going down, the pond never thought it would be grateful for the never-ending off-Broadway musical, The Crisis in Western Civilisation, but thank the long absent lord, dashing Donners was on parade

Oh the west is lost, and Donners once more is down in the dumps ...

Indeed, indeed. Of course it's absolutely impossible for students to understand Western Civilisation unless they understood China first, at least ...


The Singapore summit: Chaos is the new normal "IndyWatch Feed"

The Singapore summit: Chaos is the new normalThe mainstream media will try to normalise Trumps behaviour by focusing only on the optics of his meeting with Chairman Kim Jong-un. read now...


You may not want Queensland, but Queensland wants you "IndyWatch Feed"

For those Cats who are not residents of Queensland, yesterdays Queensland budget should worry you and worry you a great deal.

Based on Gross State Product, Queensland is Australias 3rd largest state accounting for about 18.2% of the Australian economy in FY17 (between VIC at 23.6% and WA at 13.8%).  So lets just say that Queensland is systemically important to Australia.

If it is generally agreed that the debts of Australian banks have an implied guarantee from the Commonwealth Government, then it is not much of a stretch to say the same implies to the debts of the states.

So in its budget presentation yesterday, the Queensland Government announced a major spending and debt splurge.  According to Cat Judith Sloan in the Australian:

the Debt Action Plan is going so well that public-sector debt will soar by $13 billion, or nearly 20 per cent, over the next four years.

A 20% debt surge over 4 years!  Is the Queensland government being advised by Wayne Swan and Ken Henry?

And this is underwritten by surging commodity export volumes and prices you know those evil carbon based energy sources of coal and LNG.  But what happens if there is a shock to commodity prices and or volumes?  Well consider what happened in 2010.

Back in the good old days, with Julia Gillard running the show in Canberra and Anna Bligh running the show in Brisbane, there was a large flood in Queensland.  The consequences were quite significant.  But the economic consequence for Queenslanders were worse than should have been because the Queensland government and Queensland citizens did not properly insure themselves.  And they are still under-insuring themselves.

But did Queensland pay the price for not having proper insurance?  Nope.  Instead, a flood levy that was paid by all Australians and not just Queenslanders was implemented to bail them out.

So what insurance is the Queensland government taking out to protect against the risk of commodity market volatility?  None.  Instead they are Jacking up debt and spending.  This is called the Jackie Strategy named after Queensland Treasurer Jackie Trad.  Although fellow Queenslanders Swan and Rudd may have grounds for an intellectual property claim if you can believe that Rudd-Swan governance was intellectual....


Kerry OBrien say ABC journalists are not very good "IndyWatch Feed"

In a standard ABC programmatic love-in-oscopy, resident ABC Communist Phillip Adams interviewed retired ABC journalist Kerry OBrien on the need for public broadcasting.  Oh and OBrien joined the program via telephone from his home in, drum roll please, Byron Bay.

The interview proceeded like one would expect 2 bank robbers discussing the need to decriminalize bank robbery and to have the Certificate III in Bank Robbery provided free of charge at TAFEs.  But then it got interesting.  Around 11.20 into the interview, OBrien said this:

I think that if a journalist is showing a particular bias, then they are simply not a good journalist.

Talk about insulting the institution that pays his defined benefit pension.  But does it get any more honest than that with OBrien admitting that the journalists at the ABC are not very good.

What better case is there to materially reduce the ABCs funding.

Come on Minister Fifield.  If Kerry OBrien says so, it must be so.  De-fund the the ABC now.

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Members' Day "IndyWatch Feed"

Today is a Members' Day. Unfortunately it looks to be a boring one. First up is a two-hour debate on the government's investment strategy in place of the usual general debate, which will take an extra hour out of members' time. And following that there's a committee stage and second readings on Stuart Smith's Friendly Societies and Credit Unions (Regulatory Improvements) Amendment Bill, Jan Logie's Domestic ViolenceVictims Protection Bill, and Jo Hayes' Marriage (Court Consent to Marriage of Minors) Amendment Bill. Of these, only Logie's bill has any real chance of serious disagreement (National as usual seeing no reason why employers should be decent people). As there's unlikely to be any first readings, there's unlikely to be a ballot tomorrow, or in the near future - these bills will clog up the Order Paper for the foreseeable future.


The harsh reality of government "IndyWatch Feed"

Yesterday Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage granted a consent under the Overseas Investment Act for a Chinese water bottling company to buy land near Whakatane, effectively allowing them to suck the Otakiri Springs dry for foreign profit. Green Party members are naturally upset because the consent flies in the face of local Treaty claims and is contrary to party policies aimed at ending foreign water-theft, or at least charging a fair resource rental for it. Unfortunately here they're up against the harsh reality of government - namely that being in government doesn't mean you get to do what you want. Our Ministers are not despots, and have to obey the law - and the law on granting foreign companies consent to purchase sensitive land is very specific and doesn't let the Minister refuse consent just because her party wants her to. And because the law does not include a Treaty clause (or any respect for Maori rights), she couldn't refuse on those grounds either. Basicly, Sage had no choice but to grant the consent - and if she had refused it, the decision would likely have been overturned by judicial review.

If the Greens want this to change, they need to change the law - and that means negotiating with their coalition partners, both to obtain the necessary parliamentary majority to make it happen, and to get space in the legislative calendar against all the other things the government wants to do. Until that happens, the Minister just has to obey the law. This will no doubt mean making decisions she doesn't agree with, but that's the reality of government for you.


DoC covers up for corporate spies "IndyWatch Feed"

Thompson and Clark Investigations, New Zealand's most evil private spy agency, is in the news again - this time for getting DoC to cover up official information for it:

The Department of Conservation (DOC) withheld official information after demands from security firm Thompson and Clark, internal emails show.

Thompson and Clark spied on anti-1080 activists for DOC, sharing intelligence through what it called its "Fusion Centre" - locked, hidden chat channels on messaging app Slack.

The work cost nearly $4000 a month - several government departments are signed up to similar packages - and also included a weekly phone briefing involving senior staff from both organisations.

But DOC withheld all material from the Slack channels when asked for correspondence between its staff and Thompson and Clark under the Official Information Act (OIA), saying releasing it "may prevent the supply of such information in the future".

Initially DoC had decided to release everything. They reversed that decision after a serious lobbying effort from Thompson and Clark. The decision has now gone to the Ombudsman, where it is almost certain to be overturned. Why? Because firstly the clause relied on - s9(2)(ba)(i) - requires that "it is in the public interest that such information should continue to be supplied" - something which is highly debatable given Thompson and Clark's corrosive effect on our democracy. But more importantly, "the intelligence shared through Slack was all publicly available, drawn from the Internet". And the Ombudsman's guidelines are quite clear that such information can not be regarded as "confidential":
No obligation of confidence will arise where the information is generally known or is readily available to the public, for example where it can be obtained in a public register or other document open to inspection by the public.

Which pretty obviously applies if its publicly available on a news media or other internet site.

So why is Thompson and Clark so desperate to keep this information secret? Partly its pure hostility to democratic oversight, but I suspect also to protect their lucrative government contracts. After all, if the public saw that public agencies were paying them $4,000 a month to read the newspaper, we'd quite rightly ques...


Abortion and the 'free speech' myth "IndyWatch Feed"

Abortion and the 'free speech' mythSafe access to abortion clinics has finally been mandated in NSW despite high-profile "free speech" proponents. read now...

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Tuesday, 12 June


In which the bromancer's Kris Kringle produces a dead mouse burger ... "IndyWatch Feed"

There was no walking around the big theatrical piece yesterday even the reptiles had to pause from their student-bashing

It was a splendid array of talent

The bromancer had promised an early Kris Kringle, full of surprises, and so the pond raced off to hear his assessment

A mouse? 

The pond always got stiffed in Kris Kringle matters, but a mouse?

But surely there was meat that dead mouse had to be useful for something



Day to Day Politics: Was there ever a greater fool? "IndyWatch Feed"

Wednesday 13 June 2018 1 Wam who frequently comments on my posts, asks: Your strength of purpose is strong, Mr lord, still nothing on Singapore or G8, oops no Russia yet, G7? Well, I shall keep this brief. Every picture tells a story. Any number of captions could suitably tell this story. These are mine.

The post Day to Day Politics: Was there ever a greater fool? appeared first on The AIM Network.


The right and the left on the ending of the Korean War "IndyWatch Feed"

There are two views on North Korea that you can find if you look. The easiest to find is the left-media take that nothing happened, and its all a well-worn charade. But then there is this, which I will come to first before looking at the other. This is the positive view, taken from Ace of Spades.

The big news this morning is not only has the summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un taken place but as we were sleeping the two signed an historic agreement whereby the North has agreed to scrap its nuclear weapons program as part of an overall denuclearization of the entire Korean peninsula.

If you were merely to look at this only through the lens of how the Democrat-Left-Media complex judges success, via optics and feelings alone, then this is the biggest thing since Live Aid. But in reality, this truly has the potential to be one of the biggest foreign policy milestones since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Make no mistake; North Korea has been a belligerent, inscrutable and unpredictable enemy that has overtly and covertly stirred up trouble for nearly 70 years and so an extreme degree of caution and wariness is advised in any dealings with them; the foibles and follies of the past three administrations in particular bear this out as their policies have ranged from farcical to disastrous in terms of American interests and global security. I believe that PDT and his new team of Pompeo and Bolton know this going in.

Beyond all the platitudes and proclamations, when you get down to the granular level, the make or break in all of this relies on verification. North Korea is going to have to open up and submit to an inspection process that is antithetical to its nature as the worlds most closed, secretive nation. Can it do this? Will it do this? I suppose the fact that Kims willingness to meet face to face with an American president for the first time, and outside of his own country is something of a tell. He is the X factor in all of this. There may be things going on in Pyongyang as well as in his mind that tell him a rapprochement with the US, and more importantly, a concomitant distancing to whatever extent that is possible with China is in his and his nations best interests.

That is how you have to see it. Since memories of the rockets that were being launched not all that long ago have receded and will never be brought to mind b...


Trump versus the world "IndyWatch Feed"

US President Donald J. Trump attended all photo opportunities on first day of the G7 Summit in Canada, but reportedly appeared inattentive during some of the working sessions, arrived late for a working breakfast and left the country before dinner on the second day of three day gathering

His early departure avoided further climate change discussions, challenging interactions such as this image caught on camera and, being still physically at the summit when he publicly refused to sign the 44th G7 Communique set out below.


Alerta Antifascista!!! : Solidarity with Flemington estate arrestees "IndyWatch Feed"

As previously noted, a number of people have been charged with various offences arising from the Milo Yiannopoulos counter-protest outside Melbourne Pavilion in the Melbourne suburb of Kensington in December last year. While tour organisers and venue owners (Damien Costas/Penthouse Continue reading


Can this be true? Trump and Kim shake on a deal "IndyWatch Feed"

interesting if true.

SINGAPORE (AP) Clasping hands and forecasting future peace, President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un committed Tuesday to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula during the first meeting in history between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader. Yet as Trump toasted the summits results, he faced mounting questions about whether he got too little and gave away too much including an agreement to halt U.S. military exercises with treaty ally South Korea.


OMG! Prince George plays with (toy) guns "IndyWatch Feed"

The dopey lefty brigade are out in force today.

Young Prince George pulled the trigger on a social media storm after he was photographed playing with a toy gun.

The future king was with Kate Middleton and his sister Princess Charlotte at the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at Beaufort Polo Club on Sunday.

Prince George plays with a toy gun. Picture: MegaPrince George plays with a toy gun. Picture: Mega

Prince George and a friend appeared to be more interested in pretending to shoot their toy weapons.

No! Really? Four year boy plays with toy gun. Hold the presses.

On my European safaris I like to visit castles and palaces and see how the nobelity etc. live and, on the continent, used to live. In the homes, castles, and palaces of extinct Royals one often sees magnificent art collections. While in the UK and the Windsor homes (where the public can visit) one tends to see weapons and suits of armour. So those Royal families who live in their home countries and are still considered Royal tend to know something about weapons.

I often make this point in my public choice classes about the nature of power even in a democracy. I usually refer individuals to recent Royal weddings and ask the students to tell me about the clothes they saw at the weddings. There is always someone who can talk about the dresses and hats and female attire.  I then point out that what the females were wearing is not nearly so interesting as what the males were wearing and I ask the class if they can recall. Almost nobody ever recalls that Prince William had a choice of outfits to wear at his wedding but wore an Irish Guards Officer uniform (colonel I think). His brother wore a Captains Irish Guards uniform. His father wore  a Royal Navy Admirals uniform. If I recall correctly his grandfather did too. We saw, more or less, the same thing at Prince Harrys recent marriage.

So of course the boy plays with toy guns soon hell be learning to shoot real ones. The Royal family are directly descended from a warlord. That is how their family gained power.



In which the pond gets around to chanting with the Caterists dinkum clean Oz coal oi oi oi ... "IndyWatch Feed"

The reptiles were at it again today with their incessant chant, "dinkum Oz clean coal, oi, oi, oi", and while the pond appreciated the chance to be distracted from the ongoing crisis in Western Civilisation, it had to mark the Caterist down and send him to the specialist late arvo slot

The golden egg? Need anyone ask, but after all, that's what the federal government hands over cash in the paw for

And with that traditional ritual done, it's on with the read



The social cost of carbon "IndyWatch Feed"

Interesting developments in the withdrawal from the war on CO2 in the US and some background on the work by Greenstone and Sunstein that resulted in the concept of the the cost of carbon.

The House GOP on Friday took a step forward in reining in the Obama administrations method of assessing the cost of carbon dioxide pollution when developing regulations.

The House voted 212-201, along party lines, to include a rider blocking the use of the climate change cost metric to an energy and water spending bill.

The amendment offered by Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert bars any and all funds from being used under the bill to prepare, propose, or promulgate any regulation that relies on the Social Carbon analysis devised under the Obama administration on how to value the cost of carbon.

In February 2009, a month after Barack Obama took office, two academics sat across from each other in the White House mess hall. Over a club sandwich, Michael Greenstone, a White House economist, and Cass Sunstein, Obamas top regulatory officer, decided that the executive branch needed to figure out how to estimate the economic damage from climate change. With the recession in full swing, they were rightly skeptical about the chances that Congress would pass a nationwide cap-and-trade bill. Greenstone and Sunstein knew they needed a Plan B: a way to regulate carbon emissions without going through Congress.


Animal cruelty crosses borders ahead of puppy farm legislation "IndyWatch Feed"

Animal cruelty crosses borders ahead of puppy farm legislationHistoric legislation is making puppy farms illegal in Victoria, but puppy farmers can still move their operations interstate. read now...


Are you a NAB shareholder "IndyWatch Feed"

If you are a shareholder of the NAB, consider this.

Your Chairman is Dr Ken Henry AC.  Dr Henry, not that long ago was the Secretary of the Commonwealth Treasury.  He was the lead Treasury official during 1st Government of Kevin Rudd.  It is Dr Henry that coined the expression:

Go hard, go early and go to households.

the expression that provide the cover for the Rudd government to put the Australian government on its current path of run away government spending and debt.

But appearing today in a Victorian Court looking at the cancellation of the home insulation (pink batts) scheme, Dr Henry said this:

I did raise concerns (to a special budget committee set up in response to the global financial crisis)

I had two concerns; were there sufficient insulation materials needed for the scheme? And where there enough staff in Australia available to undertake the program?

FMD.  These were his concerns!  Sufficient material and labour!

How about whether the program was an appropriate use of tax payer resources?  How about why the hell is the government doing this?  How about what are these people drinking and smoking to even entertain such a program?

If this is the quality of questions that come from the Secretary of the Treasury, one must equally wonder about the quality of the questions that come from the Chairman of NAB, one of Australias largest companys and 4th largest bank.

God help us all.

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Why we can and should make up our own minds about the Bob Ellis allegations. "IndyWatch Feed"

  It doesnt come as any surprise to discover that Australian arts luminaries, among them journalist, screenwriter, novelist and passionate Labor supporter Bob Ellis, allegedly sexually assaulted the young daughters of playwright Dorothy Hewitt. That this disclosure does not surprise (though it certainly horrifies) is in itself a cause for anger and sorrow. That the assaults took []


What is the difference between the Government and the State "IndyWatch Feed"

Perhaps this is a nuanced question, but it is of fundamental importance in a liberal democracy.

A government is the administrative tool of the state.  They are not the same, but in certain situations they can converge.  For example in a totalitarian dictatorship.

With this in mind, consider the following statement from a Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia, and member of the Liberal National Coalition Government:

By 2025 Australia will be one of the top three digital governments in world.

And who said this?  The Hon Michael Keenan MP, Minister for Human Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Transformation.

It is unlikely that Mr Keenan came up with those words by himself.  Possible but unlikely.  Most likely it was fed to him by a departmental staffer.  But here are the problems:

  1. That Mr Keenans political and philosophical radar did not warn him off such a combination of words is most concerning;
  2. If it was a departmental staffer, that they saw no problem in conjoining state and government; and
  3. A Liberal government projects that the size of the Australian government will be so great by 2025 that it will warrant the investment to ensure that it is one of the top three digital governments in world.

Depressing it is.

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More dirty dairying "IndyWatch Feed"

Oh look, its a Federated Farmers official convicted of spewing shit into a waterway:

A hefty fine has been handed down to former Southland Federated Farmers president Allan Baird, whose inaction on his dairy farm was "careless".

Baird and his two companies, Benlyon Ltd and Vendale Ltd, were fined a total of $39,600 when he appeared for sentencing in the Invercargill District Court on Monday.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to the three charges of discharging dairy effluent onto land on October 20, 2016, in circumstances that may result in the effluent entering a waterway.

Environment Court judge Brian Dwyer denied Baird's application for a discharge without conviction.

Baird had informed Environment Southland staff on the day in question that dairy shed effluent from his farm's irrigation system had discharged into a tributary of the Winton Stream.

Council officers found significant effluent ponding from the stationary irrigator and it was flowing overland into the waterway.

Despite this, he's trying to play the victim here. Which shows us exactly how much contempt his organisation has for basic environmental legislation.


Benefit shortfalls of the PNG LNG Project: a response to Mark McGillivray "IndyWatch Feed"

The PNG LNG project promised a profound and transformative impact on PNG, including a doubling in economic size. Four years after gas exports commenced, how has it gone?

Recent analysis by Jubilee Australia (JA) in the Double or Nothing report and PNG Economics (see here and here and here) indicates that there is a huge chasm between the early promises of the PNG LNG project and what has happened. This is not due to oil prices falling gas export revenues are almost exactly as expected with falls in oil prices offset by higher export volumes.

The construction phase from 2010 to 2014 lifted the non-resource parts of the economy by around 8% above trend growth (more on this term later) so about K3 billion extra in 2013. This was slightly higher than the 5% above trend growth initially expected.

Unfortunately, from about 2012, there were many poor policy decisions closely related to the PNG LNG project. These are examined is some detail in sections 5.3 to 5.6 of the Double or Nothing report a public policy example of how technocratic advice can be overruled by entrenched resource interests and politics. Gambling on huge revenue inflows, the new ONeill Government increased the PNG budget by over 50% in 2012 and 2013. As revenues did not flow, PNG suffered its worst budget deficits and a blow-out in government debt. Some extra expenditure was poorly spent on grandiose projects and building political support. Debt interest costs increased from K480m in 2013 to over K1,600m in 2017 a major on-going budgetary drain. After a major appreciation of the Kina during the construction phase, the central bank intervened to stop it falling back to new market levels. This intervention has led to years of foreign exchange shortages which are seriously damaging businesses in PNG. The adverse impacts on the agriculture and manufacturing sectors were poorly handled and the government is moving back towards protectionist policies. The government also made poor investment decisions, including losing at least K750m from share trading in resource companies.

These poor policies, all associated with the PNG LNG project, mark PNGs fall into a resource curse. Arguably, this is the third time this has occurred there were similar poor policies around the Bougainville copper mine during the 1980s and poor policies around the major resource expansion in the early 1990s.

Economic indicators since the start of gas production have been bad for PNG. GDP did not doubl...


In which the pond tries to keep up, thanks to the bromancer ... "IndyWatch Feed"


The news that Kim was being cheered in the gum-free streets of Singapore is no doubt a triumph for all concerned, but there's little to be gained contemplating a process which will take a long time to unfold.

Yet such are the torments of the 24/7 news cycle that the reptiles must pay attention, and the pond must pay attention to the reptiles paying attention

This leads to some pretty desperate straits, as in this attempt by the bromancer to attract the punters

We're doing Kris Kringle early this year? It's a mystery present?

Indeed, indeed, why would anyone, especially a seventy one year old man, turn up a day early when he could surely just jet in an hour before the meeting, wave impudent jet lag aside, and get down to scoring a deal in a minute or so

As for WCW and anything can happen and probably will, the level of desperation in the scribbling was remarkable. The pond can safely predict that anything can happen tomorrow, and perhaps it will, and perhaps it won't.


The Sixth Extinction & The Third Book "IndyWatch Feed"

It may come as something of a surprise to many to learn that we are currently in the midst of what is called the Sixth Extinction that is, the sixth wave of mass extinctions of plant and animal species since the demise of the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago. What is particularly concerning

The post The Sixth Extinction & The Third Book appeared first on The AIM Network.


Frydenberg's NEG and weak emissions targets won't help renewables "IndyWatch Feed"

Frydenberg's NEG and weak emissions targets won't help renewablesFrydenberg says the NEG won't stop investment in renewables, but the Government's weak emissions reduction target indicates otherwise. read now...


Awkward "IndyWatch Feed"

Winston Peters is set to become acting Prime Minister this weekend. And he's chosen this moment to launch a new lawsuit against senior public servants who will in effect be working for him over breaching his privacy during the 2017 election campaign:

Peters has begun new legal action seeking $450,000 for alleged breach of privacy in relation to the leaking of details of his superannuation overpayment.

Ardern told RNZ today that she found about her deputy's latest action yesterday.

Peters is going after the Ministry of Social Development chief executive Brendan Boyle, State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes, the Attorney-General on behalf of the Ministry of Social Development and former ministers in the previous National government Paula Bennett and Anne Tolley.

These people need to be held to account. Passing on private information about a politician to their political rivals (who immediately and inevitably leaked it for political gain) is something that simply should not happen. Arguably, there's no reason whatsoever for Ministers to know anything about any individual's welfare payments unless they're sacking someone for fucking them up - its a purely operational matter, and none of any minister's business. Meanwhile, the obvious and significant risks of a privacy breach should have ruled out any disclosure. At the same time, its obviously awkward for Peters, who is now a Minister, to be suing people who effectively work for him (and with whom he will have to continue to work in future), not to mention his own government. While Cabinet conflict of interest provisions are robust enough to handle it, it's still going to be very awkward indeed.


Justice for Nicky Hager "IndyWatch Feed"

In October 2014, as part of a political investigation into the book Dirty Politics, police raided and searched the home of journalist Nicky Hager. The raid has spawned a series of ongoing court cases which have in turn exposed illegal behaviour by the police: they deliberately misled the judge to get the search warrant, and unlawfully obtained 10 months of Hager's banking records. And now, finally, they've admitted the entire thing was wrong and paid damages:

Investigative journalist Nicky Hager has accepted a police apology and payment of "substantial damages" after the unlawful search of his home during the investigation into the hacking that led to the Dirty Politics book.

The settlement revealed police had sought information claiming Hager was suspected of criminal behaviour, including fraud.

"Police accept that they had no basis for such allegations," the settlement document read.

"Police apologise unreservedly for these breaches of his rights and have agreed to pay Mr Hager substantial damages and a contribution towards his legal costs."

The settlement also included police making a key admission around accessing Hager's banking data - a police practice used to get people's personal financial information without any legal order.

The full police apology is here.

Its good that they've settled and admitted their wrongdoing. But the real question is whether it will lead to any change of behaviour, or whether the police will continue raiding journalists whenever one offends the government of the day. And as no individual police officer seems to have been held to account, despite lying to a judge and systematically abusing their powers, I think we all know the answer to that.


Women in parliament still marginal "IndyWatch Feed"

There has been a lot of discussion recently about the lack of representation of women in the Liberal Party, and it got me thinking about what sort of seats tend to be represented by women. Do they tend to hold safer seats, or more marginal seats? I recently noticed that most coalition women hold marginal seats, in the context of Jane Prentice and Ann Sudmalis facing preselection threats.

Firstly, I just looked at what sort of seats current federal MPs hold. For this graph, I divided seats into safe (margin over 12%), reasonably safe (margin 6-12%) and marginal (margin under 6%).

A majority of Labor MPs in marginal seats are women, and that proportion gradually drops in the safer categories. The Coalition likewise has more women representing marginal seats. Half of its women, but only a third of its men, represent a seat with a margin under 6%. We already know that Labor does much better than the coalition in terms of equal representation overall.

But its not all about those who were elected. I was curious about the candidates who ran in 2016.

Seat type # of seats ALP F % LNP F %
Safe coalition 33 36% 11%
Marginal Labor 31 45% 50%
Reasonably safe coalition 28 32% 13%
Marginal coalition 27 48% 31%


Isn't it time Australia brought Julian Assange home? "IndyWatch Feed"

Isn't it time Australia brought Julian Assange home?Australian Government officials visit Julian Assange two years after the UN found his detention to be unlawful. read now...

Monday, 11 June


In which the reptiles keep spluttering away about Western Civilisation ... "IndyWatch Feed"

The pond had hoped the recent crusade in defence of Western Civilisation had sputtered out, but holiday over, the reptiles have maintained the rage

Please note above, on the right hand side, a story given remarkable prominence, especially when considering that it's up against events in Singapore

Well Dame Slap has a word or two to say about that, but first a little of the other sputtering, with Dame Groan leading the way

Actually that header doesn't quite capture the intent of the trolling. To get the full whiff of the gutter, it's necessary to revert to the trolling tweet

Yes, it's Dame Groan in malicious mode, but what a feeble spluttering splatter it turned out to be, snarky and mean, but also so short it almost made the pond recall that Woody Allen joke about the size of the portions ...



Day to Day Politics: Economics is about perception, not what is, but what we perceive it to be. "IndyWatch Feed"

Tuesday 12 June 2018 The electorate has always believed that the Liberal Party are better managers of the economy. That it is a myth, is unimportant. Life is about perception, not what is but what we perceive it to be. Pensioners will always vote for the Coalition even though the right of politics couldnt give

The post Day to Day Politics: Economics is about perception, not what is, but what we perceive it to be. appeared first on The AIM Network.


Why Timorese workers love the Seasonal Worker Programme "IndyWatch Feed"

The Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) is extremely popular in the Pacific and Timor-Leste where it recruits workers. It offers opportunities for workers to improve their livelihoods, earning more money than would be possible at home. The SWP brings workers to Australia for six months to work in areas of seasonal labour deficit, specifically horticulture and hospitality. In Australia, the Department of Employment approves employers to the program, for which they are required to meet legislated responsibilities for both living conditions and wage levels at or above the minimum wage. If employers are non-compliant, the Department of Employment is responsible for following up to ensure they meet their obligations to the workers. Notwithstanding the few cases where these obligations are not met (for example here), this arrangement provides a level of confidence that conditions comply with Australian standards. This level of oversight is not available to the majority of migrant workers globally, most of whom work in extremely harsh conditions in Asia and the Middle East.

Recent research on the SWP shows a remarkably high satisfaction level with the Programme. Last year the Labour Mobility Assistance Program (LMAP) commissioned research into the views of Timorese and Pacific migrants to Australia on the Seasonal Worker Programme. I was the lead researcher for Timor-Leste, completing an in-depth survey in November 2016 and a follow-up study in April 2017. A similar study was done in Vanuatu.

In the survey, 50 Timorese workers were asked how satisfied they were with their SWP experiences. An overwhelming 96% were satisfied, the majority (68%) being very satisfied. In Vanuatu, all of the women and 91% of the men said they were satisfied. In addition, 84% of Timorese workers rated their accommodation as good or very good quality, while 82% of ni-Vanuatu said the same. A pre-departure briefing for SWP workers provides them with an understanding of what to expect, and of their contractual conditions. 82% of Timorese workers attended the pre-departure briefing (most of those who didnt attend had prior experience with the SWP), and 99% of ni-Vanuatu attended. If the workers understand their contractual conditions, they can take action if they are not fairly treated. This does, of course, require the employees to understand their rights and their employers responsibilities adequ...

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