Author: peterimrich

Thoughts on The Nordic Theory of Everything | Confessions of a Community College Dean

The U.S. has strayed from its own ideals, and in reality, Americans today enjoy less opportunity than do people of other wealthy nations. The land of opportunity needs to bring the opportunity back.”

“The secret of Nordic success is not big government. It’s smart government. And as many Americans themselves are already well aware, less big government, and more smart government, is something the United States desperately needs.” What is still

Why is Australia with only 24 million people chasing the USA down the spiral of doom?

So hallmarks of Nordic welfare states like universal free healthcare, free college, subsidized day care, and free elder care exist not to lull people into dependence on the nanny state, as American conservatives tend to argue. They exist to allow people to live the lives they choose. It’s easier to start a company when leaving your job doesn’t mean giving up your health insurance. It’s easier to raise kids when every public school is good, and college is free. Their social programs aren’t about dependence on the state; they’re about independence from each other, the better to allow healthy and free bonds to form without the distortions of constant economic need.

But to assume that “freedom” and “government” are engaged in a zero-sum battle is to miss entirely the role of economic coercion in the decisions we make in daily life. To the extent that governments can reduce the strength of economic coercion — through, say, free community college — they can actually increase their citizens’ freedom to live the lives they want to live. If healthcare is a right of citizenship, then it’s easier to leave a crappy job and start a new company. If every school is good and college is free, parents don’t have to strain to salt away money for tuition, and new graduates don’t start their adult lives with student loan debt. If women and men fare equally well in the workplace, and parental leave is paid, then each family can determine the childcare arrangements that make the most sense for them. The conditions that make certain decisions “rational” are, themselves, subject to conscious change.

via Thoughts on The Nordic Theory of Everything | Confessions of a Community College Dean

Gay conversion therapy survivors share painful legacy of ‘ex-gay’ treatments – RN – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Christian Liam Webb wearing patterned shirt.

“It’s wrong… it’s totally unacceptable. I’m an example of the enormous damage that it can do to people.”

That was Ron Smith’s reaction to Health Minister Greg Hunt’s refusal to condemn a controversial plan by a section of Victoria’s Liberal Party to debate gay conversion therapy.

The 71-year-old former Baptist minister is a survivor of electroshock therapy, a now discredited practice once believed to rid patients of their same-sex attraction.

“They … put a wiring on my private parts that measured temperature changes, and showed me about a thousand pictures of men and a thousand pictures of women over about a 10-day period,” Mr Smith recalls.

“When my body temperature rose when I saw the guys, which is natural for me, they delivered high voltages of electricity through wires that were attached to punish me for being gay and try to make me straight.

“It was horrific.”

Mr Smith received the treatment in 1976. It was recommended by his psychotherapist — a respected member of the Baptist community — who knew Mr Smith was gay, and promised this would change his sexual orientation. It didn’t.

via Gay conversion therapy survivors share painful legacy of ‘ex-gay’ treatments – RN – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Israel kills child and crushes bones in Gaza | The Electronic Intifada

Landscape view of protesters against thick plumes of smoke from burning tires

Muhammad Ibrahim Ayyoub, 14, shot in the head east of Jabaliya in northern Gaza on Friday, is the fourth child among the more than 30 Palestinians killed during protests since the rallies began on 30 March.

Israel kills child and crushes bones in Gaza

Israeli soldiers open fire on Gaza protesters fourth week in a row | +972 Magazine

Palestinian medics evacuate a protester injured during the Great Return March in Gaza. April 20, 2018. (Mohammed Zaanoun / Activestills.)

Some 70 percent of the Gazan population are refugees, meaning they, their parents, or their grandparents fled or were expelled from towns, villages, and cities inside the territory that became Israel in 1948.

Speaking to +972 Magazine before the first day of protest last month, one of the ‘Great Return March’ organizers, Hasan al-Kurd, explained that the plan was to set up camps between between 700-1000 meters from Israel’s border fence, outside the Israeli army’s unilaterally imposed buffer zone. In the weeks leading up to Nakba Day, there would be weekly marches as well as bicycle races and other events.

By mid-May, the Return March organizers hope that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians will join.

via Israeli soldiers open fire on Gaza protesters fourth week in a row | +972 Magazine

Exposing Canary Mission’s campaign against Palestinian human Rights: A Resource for College and University Leaders | Informed Comment

What is Canary Mission?

Canary Mission first appeared in the spring of 2015 with a series of online attacks on undergraduate student activists who had spoken out about the denial of Palestinians’ human rights. Though the organization’s leadership and membership are anonymous, it is clearly ideologically aligned with the far-right end of the Israeli political spectrum.

via Exposing Canary Mission’s campaign against Palestinian human Rights: A Resource for College and University Leaders | Informed Comment

Turnbull looks to India as home for Australian super funds

  1. Australian companies scammed and remain unpaid from the Commonwealth Games in India
  2. One of the world’s most volatile Stock markets
  3. The  slowest court system on the planet when it comes to complaints
  4. Turnbull the mony manager wants to risk our Super in a highly corrupt commercial market

The troubled Adani coal mine continues to raise anxieties in Australia’s relationship with India, but the project was not raised in the leadership talks, with the focus on investment from superannuation and other big funds.

via Turnbull looks to India as home for Australian super funds

The African-Australian success stories you’ve probably never heard

 

With a PhD in economics, Mr Haraco quickly set about starting his own business. He imports food and drinks, deals in real estate, and runs a pizza and billiards parlour.

He works hard to ensure other African-Australians can enjoy the kind of success and prosperity that he and his family have.
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via The African-Australian success stories you’ve probably never heard

How Trump’s hair-raising level of debt could bring us all crashing down

 

Twin reports by the International Monetary Fund sketch a chain reaction of dangerous consequences for world finance. The policy – if you can call it that – puts the US on an untenable debt trajectory. It smacks of Latin American caudillo populism, a Peronist contagion that threatens to destroy the moral foundations of the Great Republic.

The IMF’s Fiscal Monitor estimates that the US budget deficit will spike to 5.3 per cent of GDP this year and 5.9 per cent in 2019. This is happening at a stage of the economic cycle when swelling tax revenues should be reducing net borrowing to zero.

The deficit will still be 5 per cent in 2023. By then the ratio of public debt will have ballooned to 117 per cent (it was 61 per cent in 2007). Franklin Roosevelt defeated fascism with a total war economy at lower ratios.
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via How Trump’s hair-raising level of debt could bring us all crashing down

African Gangs Makes Melburnians Afraid To Go Out, But AMP And The Banks Make People Unsafe In Their Houses – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The Liberals were right. There’s no need for a banking Royal Commission. It’s just fostering ill will and leading to a lot of complaints from people. Ok, not perhaps, the dead clients that the Commonwealth Bank continued to charge for advice even though they knew that they’d died. Let’s be real here, people. Dead people aren’t in the best position to make their own decisions so they probably needed the advice more than anyone. I have it from a source that in many cases the advice was: “You should stop paying me now that you’re dead.” Not one of these dead clients are complaining that the advice was wrong, even if it wasn’t heeded.

Yep…

via African Gangs Makes Melburnians Afraid To Go Out, But AMP And The Banks Make People Unsafe In Their Houses – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Tony Shepherd is well paid to tell the government what it wants to hear – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Tony Shepherd has been paid $55,000 for 17 days work producing a report which recommended that the rules governing the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund be changed to allow the government to pretty much do what it likes with its five billion dollar slush fund.

That’s the same Tony Shepherd who was paid $85,000 for a few weeks work as head of the Commission of Audit that was the basis for Abbott’s 2014 budget from hell.

via Tony Shepherd is well paid to tell the government what it wants to hear – » The Australian Independent Media Network

EDITORIAL: The ‘shocking’ Royal Commission and the banking mafia

The most shocking thing about the Banking Royal Commission is how shocked so many profess to be by its findings.

The grandly titled Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry is, daily, hearing more outrageous examples of financial institutions’ shameless fleecing of their clientele.

via EDITORIAL: The ‘shocking’ Royal Commission and the banking mafia

To reduce inequality in Australian schools, make them less socially segregated – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Finland has no Private Schools but far far better outcomes

Inequalities of educational opportunities and experiences are a result of socially segregated schools. Australia has one of the largest resource gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged schools in the OECD. Australia has large the largest gap in the shortage of teachers between disadvantaged and advantaged schools among all OECD countries.

Disadvantaged schools in Australia also have far fewer educational materials (books, facilities, laboratories) than high SES schools. This gap is the third largest in the OECD, with only Chile and Turkey showing larger inequalities between schools.

via To reduce inequality in Australian schools, make them less socially segregated – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Australia’s young people are under attack

There’s a war being waged in Australia – on our 4.3 million young people. You hear it in the negative and dispiriting language of our national conversation, from being told to just ‘get a good job’ or ‘cut back on the smashed avo’ as the solution to housing affordability, to Prime Minister Turnbull’s assertion his cabinet is ‘young at heart’ when the average age of that cabinet is over 50. Young people and the issues they face are being trivialised.

via Australia’s young people are under attack

Fox News, White House Advisers and Press

Hannity Should Be Fired From Fox News For Being A Presidential Advisor

The next time you hear Donald Trump bluster and harumph about something he’s angry about, you should assume Sean Hannity is his anger translator. Trump doesn’t need speechwriters as long as he can call up Hannity and get his lines for the next day.

 

The Washington Post’s Robert Costa, Sarah Ellison and Josh Dawsey published an excellent story today, outlining just how embedded Fox News personality Sean Hannity is with Donald Trump’s White House.

Right-winger? Not me, says alt-right darling Jordan Peterson

Right-winger? Not me, says alt-right darling Jordan Peterson

Why all this heat about a 55-year-old university professor, who, in his personal deportment, looks as plain and harmless as an aspirin? Because Peterson has the cojones to say a lot of bold, some would say bad, things. Political correctness has gone overboard. Men are in crisis. The gender gap isn’t simply the result of sexism but of deep biological differences that no amount of social engineering will remove. Women tend to choose caring careers that pay less; men are more likely to opt for dangerous and dirty jobs that pay more. Motherhood has been devalued. Blaming inequality on capitalism or the patriarchy is a leftist delusion. The Western helicopter parent needs to back off: children are tough and resilient. The term “white privilege” is a racist insult, a self-loathing term used by shallow liberals.

Right-winger? Not me, says alt-right darling Jordan Peterson

Israel to French Mayor: You can’t visit Occupied Palestine if you stand against Occupation | Informed Comment

Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry explained Leclerc was turned back over his support of the pro-Palestinian boycott movement, which was recently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

“The decision not to let him into the country was made for a series of reasons in connection to his activity in the BDS movement and his promotion of boycotts against Israel,” reads the statement.

via Israel to French Mayor: You can’t visit Occupied Palestine if you stand against Occupation | Informed Comment

Richard Flanagan: ‘Our politics is a dreadful black comedy’ – press club speech in full | Australia news | The Guardian

Richard Flanagan

I told a friend the other day I was to be speaking here in Canberra today and she told me a joke. A man is doubled over at the front of Parliament House throwing up. A stranger comes up and puts an arm around the vomiting man. I know how you feel, the stranger says.

It’s not a bad joke. But it felt familiar. I went searching my book shelves, and finally found a variation of it in Milan Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, set in communist Czechoslovakia in the dark years after the Prague Spring. In Kundera’s version the two men are standing in Wenceslas Square.

 Richard Flanagan: ‘Our politics is a dreadful black comedy’ – press club speech in full | Australia news | The Guardian

Canberra public servant’s sacking over asylum seeker policy tweets found to be ‘unlawful’ – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Canberra public servant Michaela Banerji

A Canberra public servant sacked for expressing her views on asylum seeker policy, has won her case for compensation after the Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia found she was unlawfully dismissed.

In September 2013, Michaela Banerji was fired from the Federal Department of Immigration after it was revealed she had been using the anonymous Twitter name @LaLegale to criticise the then-government, the minister and department policies — particularly over the handling of refugees.

In one tweet Ms Banerji wrote:

“Think of the deaths we are responsible for in Iraq! Think of the refugees we have created by our invasion of Iraq!”

via Canberra public servant’s sacking over asylum seeker policy tweets found to be ‘unlawful’ – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Diante Yarber: Police kill black father with barrage of bullets in Walmart parking lot | US news | The Guardian

Diante Yarber was driving his cousin and friends to a local Walmart when he was shot and killed by police on 5 April.

The shooting happened weeks after police in northern California killed Stephon Clark, an unarmed father who was standing in his family’s back yard. Though Yarber’s killing has not prompted massive rallies, both shootings have shone a harsh light on the way police continue to aggressively use lethal force in black communities, even in a liberal state where the Black Lives Matter movement has long protested against police violence and racism.

via Diante Yarber: Police kill black father with barrage of bullets in Walmart parking lot | US news | The Guardian

Watch NPR’s David Folkenflik’s brutal takedown of Fox’s handling of Sean Hannity

Murdoch and Hannity are Trump “confidantes” and see value in that relationship.

The contradiction then becomes in the terms “news” and “journalism” and the product  that’s actually being delivered.

Watch NPR’s David Folkenflik’s brutal takedown of Fox’s handling of Sean Hannity

Sean Hannity’s link to Trump lawyer Michael Cohen latest twist in Mueller probe – Donald Trump’s America – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

via Sean Hannity’s link to Trump lawyer Michael Cohen latest twist in Mueller probe – Donald Trump’s America – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Are there hidden costs to high immigration?

migrants tend to be younger than the existing population, and so they are more likely to work. They tend to be more skilled, and so more productive. Inherently they tend to have a lot of “get up and go” – because by definition they have already got up and gone. And they contribute to Australia’s cultural diversity and resilience.

The benefits of migration have increased over the past 15 years. The Howard government shifted Australia’s migration intake towards younger and more-skilled migrants. There are now fewer family reunion migrants, and most of them today are partners rather than parents. Many of the extra temporary migrants are students who both contribute to Australia’s exports, and then contribute to the economy as relatively well-trained workers.

via Are there hidden costs to high immigration?

40 degrees in April: Why this autumn has felt more like summer – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

A packed Bondi beach is filled with swimmers in the ocean and sunbakers on the sand.

“When you’re breaking a record over a whole state by that sort of margin, that’s a significant event,” Dr Trewin said.

via 40 degrees in April: Why this autumn has felt more like summer – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Elderly, disabled, jobless or homeless? The Coalition is still blaming you

 

Despite the myriad of studies highlighting Australia’s growing inequality, the take-home message from the Turnbull Government is, if you’re poor, it’s your fault. Senior editor Michelle Pini reports.

And that meesage is even worse when delivered by the conservatives of the LNP

via Elderly, disabled, jobless or homeless? The Coalition is still blaming you

Will Bolton and MEK pull an Iraq War-like Chalabi-type Scam on Iran? | Informed Comment

1 million Iraqis and 4,486 US service members killed. Another is the destabilization of the region, perpetuated by ISIS’ rise. The US, the UK and their allies went to war on the premise that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, and that he had cooperated with al-Qaeda. As the 2004 Duelfer report to Congress revealed, there were no WMDs. It had all been fabricated.

via Will Bolton and MEK pull an Iraq War-like Chalabi-type Scam on Iran? | Informed Comment

Sean Hannity is Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s secret client

The mystery client that President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, fought in court to keep secret is Fox News host Sean Hannity, Cohen’s lawyer divulged on Monday.

via Sean Hannity is Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s secret client

Sean Hannity revealed as Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s mystery third client | US news | The Guardian

Sean Hannity said his dealings with Cohen involved ‘occasional discussions with him for his input and perspective’.

 

 

Donald Trump’s legal fixer Michael Cohen has also been representing the firebrand conservative Fox News host Sean Hannity, one of only three private legal clients Cohen has taken on in the past year, his lawyer told a federal court on Monday.

Prosecutors suggested in their filing that while Cohen “holds himself out as a practicing attorney”, he is actually exaggerating the extent of his work in an attempt to cast a wide net of attorney-client privilege over the records seized by the FBI. Cohen denies this.

The justice department has “reason to believe that Cohen has exceedingly few clients and a low volume of potentially privileged communications”, McKay wrote.

Sean Hannity revealed as Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s mystery third client | US news | The Guardian

Behind the Struggle with Mueller; Comey: Trump is the Triumph of Privilege over Law

Frustration and bewilderment are common in media accounts of this administration’s expansive chaos. Even well educated writers turn to expletives, as if proper language were inadequate to convey the shock and dismay. Still, it is not that difficult to identify the source of puzzlement: neither Trump nor his appointees follow the rules. From the beginning he has systematically pursued the substitution of a pre-modern style of arbitrary rule for a modern, rule-based government. What we call chaos is what he calls power. The bad news is that, with help from a gullible press, this administration has been surprisingly successful in confusing these two systems in the public mind. That is dangerous. The longer we fail to mark the distinction between arbitrary and rule-based government, the more successfully the president can install personal privilege as the default conception of authority in the popular imagination.

via Behind the Struggle with Mueller & Comey: Trump is the Triumph of Privilege over Law

Government’s institutional brutality (Part 1) – » The Australian Independent Media Network

‘Correctional Services’ is a euphemism often used in Australia. Don Dale Youth Centre revealed itself in time as a place of torture. The Centre had been built in 1991 to detain young male and female offenders from across the Northern Territory. It provided ‘medium and high level’ detention, usually in single cells.

via Government’s institutional brutality (Part 1) – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Truth tampering – a sinister political reality – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Australians were justifiably shocked, appalled and embarrassed by the ball tampering our test cricketers attempted last month in South Africa. Somehow, better was expected of them. After all, they were playing the gentlemen’s game – cricket – where any cheating was simply ‘not cricket’.

Why then are we not even more disgusted by the truth tampering our politicians perpetrate day after day? We ought to be! But we seem to accept it as the norm. We allow them to lie to us with scarcely a murmur of protest.

The motive behind their tampering is the same: an insatiable desire to win, win, win at any cost; to utterly defeat the enemy. 2353NM expanded on this theme in his insightful piece: A Winning Culture.

via Truth tampering – a sinister political reality – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Geoffrey Rush And The Newspaper Accused Of Defaming Him Are Arguing About Who Is Liable

Actor Geoffrey Rush.

News Corp is trying to blame their source for their lack of verification

The newspaper accused of defaming Geoffrey Rush says the theatre company that confirmed a complaint had been made about Rush’s alleged “inappropriate behaviour” should also have to pay up if the publisher loses the high profile lawsuit.

via Geoffrey Rush And The Newspaper Accused Of Defaming Him Are Arguing About Who Is Liable

In Searing Interview, James Comey Unleashes Against ‘Morally Unfit’ Trump | HuffPost

Former FBI Director James Comey gave a searing interview about his encounters with President Donald Trump to ABC News on Sund

“A person who sees moral equivalence in Charlottesville, who talks about and treats women like they’re pieces of meat, who lies constantly about matters big and small and insists the American people believe it, that person’s not fit to be president of the United States, on moral grounds,” Comey said.

via In Searing Interview, James Comey Unleashes Against ‘Morally Unfit’ Trump | HuffPost

Alabama police shot a teen dead, but his friend got 30 years for the murder | US news | The Guardian

A’donte Washington, who was killed by police in 2015.

Unlike in the vast majority of fatal shootings by police officers, someone is going to prison for the 2015 death of 16-year-old A’Donte Washington in Alabama. It just isn’t the police officer who shot him.

Lakeith Smith was sentenced last week to 30 years for A’Donte’s murder, even though no one disputes it was an officer’s bullet that killed him. Smith is not even accused of having possessed a weapon. Under the state’s accomplice law, co-defendants can be guilty of murder if a death occurs when they are in the midst of committing a felony.
Felony murder: why a teenager who didn’t kill anyone faces 55 years in jail
Read more

Smith was one of five teens who were allegedly committing a burglary when responding officers opened fire, killing A’Donte. Smith, now 18, was also sentenced to another 35 years for crimes related to the the burglary, for a total of 65 years.

via Alabama police shot a teen dead, but his friend got 30 years for the murder | US news | The Guardian

 

Nearly 4 People Are Evicted Every Minute: New Project Tracks U.S. Eviction Epidemic; Effects | Democracy Now!

A new project called the Eviction Lab examined more than 80 million eviction records going back to 2000 and found that in 2016 alone there were nearly four evictions filed every minute. More than 6,300 Americans are evicted every day. Studies show that eviction can lead to a host of other problems, including poor health, depression, job loss and shattered childhoods. Having an eviction on one’s record also makes it far more difficult to find decent housing in the future. Now the Eviction Lab’s database is being shared with the public in an interactive website that allows people to better track and understand evictions in their own communities. We speak with Matthew Desmond, who runs the project at Princeton University, where he is a professor of sociology. It grew out of his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.”

via Nearly 4 People Are Evicted Every Minute: New Project Tracks U.S. Eviction Epidemic & Effects | Democracy Now!

China’s Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao mega bridge is more than an engineering challenge – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Remember when Tony Abbott bragged he’d be the Infra Structure PM what a joke. This 55 km sea bridge too 8 years to build

 

China is about to open the world’s longest sea bridge to traffic in the latest demonstration of its infrastructure ambitions.

The 55-kilometre bridge and tunnel project links the two special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau with the mainland, slashing travel time and linking up to 60 million people into a metropolis-style economy.

via China’s Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao mega bridge is more than an engineering challenge – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Ball Tampering and Anti-Siphon Tampering – Is there a Difference? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

In whose pocket are we?

The broadcasting anti-siphoning regime was intended to preserve access to major sporting events to so called free-to-air and public broadcasters and the anti-siphoning list mandates that broadcasting rights cannot be acquired by a subscription broadcaster unless they have first been offered to or acquired by a free-to-air broadcaster who has either declined or otherwise failed to broadcast.

Well, it seems that the goal posts have been shifted and Cricket Australia have done a deal with Channel Seven and Foxtel, putting One Day Cricket Internationals and the T20 Internationals behind the Foxtel pay wall exclusively for the first time.

So, that’s fairly clear and it would seem that the Foxtel deal would contravene these regulations but, the Minister responsible, Mitch Fifield, has a lot of discretion when it comes to what can be gifted to pay TV broadcasters for exclusive broadcasting.

 

 

via Ball Tampering and Anti-Siphon Tampering – Is there a Difference? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Australians landed almost 1 million new jobs in five years — so what kind of jobs are they and is that a big deal? – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Bye Bye  Full Time work Benefits Holidays, Sick leave and Security. Bye Bye Bank loans and long term planning.

Australians landed almost 1 million new jobs in five years — so what kind of jobs are they and is that a big deal? – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

“He’s the closest to a statesman we have” – » The Australian Independent Media Network

If any statement has shown how much trouble the Liberal Party is in, it’s that one.

Peter Dutton? A statesman?

via “He’s the closest to a statesman we have” – » The Australian Independent Media Network