Category: Informed Comment

Australia fires: Climate change, our greatest threat, is overlooked by defence expenditure

Australian Defence Force troops and members of Forest Fire Management Victoria clear felled trees on the Princes Highway just outside Genoa.

Moreover, there are basic questions such as why we are building inferior French-designed subs instead of leasing from the US; or why have we made ourselves more of a target for terrorists and the likes of Iran by having joined wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now the US armada in the Straits of Hormuz; or why would we contemplate an additional “national guard” to handle disasters.

All this rather than assigning national disaster responsibilities to all three arms of the ADF – for transport and logistics, recovery programs, our own fleet of water-carrying aircraft.

via Australia fires: Climate change, our greatest threat, is overlooked by defence expenditure

The baggage they have lugged from one year to the next means 2020 will be a hard slog (part 4) – » The Australian Independent Media Network

via The baggage they have lugged from one year to the next means 2020 will be a hard slog (part 4) – » The Australian Independent Media Network

If Scotty-from-Marketing was fair dinkum about reducing emissions, he would drop the spin – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Would it be too much to ask that we drop the “talking points” crap and actually tell the truth about the current situation so we can make a plan that actually reduces emissions without having to resort to accounting dodges and PR spin designed to make it look like you give a shit?

Enough of the lies!

via If Scotty-from-Marketing was fair dinkum about reducing emissions, he would drop the spin – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Australia needs to punch above its weight on carbon emissions

 

The politics of climate change are again sharply back in focus.

The problem has been a relative small group of deniers have dominated policy as they did anti- Marriage Equality and we saw what happened there howerver they are still in play and we see their efforts to legislate laws for bigotry as opposed to equality. Strangely enough many are also science deniers and simply political opportunists who the current Australian leadership still pander to the API the most obvious and whose members media giants like News Corp, Sky and 2GB give a voice far louder than their true representation in the community. However we saw what happened in Warringah and the possibilities when the electorate isn’t distracted by economic bullshit and fear by the likes of a billionaires like Clive Palmer and Gina Rineheart with Coal interests next to Adani . (ODT)

When I had the privilege of serving as Australia’s minister for climate change, I had access to the leading scientists in Australia and internationally, the evidence and the analysis. That is what motivated me to legislate a comprehensive set of greenhouse gas emissions-reduction policies, including a carbon price. My objective was to respond to the climate science with policies that were environmentally effective, economically efficient and socially fair.

In Australian politics, a relatively small group of science-deniers and appallingly irresponsible political opportunists have successfully dominated the policy response to climate change in recent years. We all know who they are. In Australia’s national interest, in the interest of future generations, this group should be marginalised.

via Australia needs to punch above its weight on carbon emissions

As straw men in a firestorm. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

There is no link between droughts and climate change is the argument posited by News Corp pundits like Andrew Bolt and the LNP government’s right wing who Morrison says has “no influence”. It’s the same argument put by Big Tobacco smoking and cancer that there is no direct link. But Kelly Morrison and News Corp pundits keep silent on that score and I’m sure don’t encourage their kids to smoke.

After 40+ years of scientific research the evidence is clear that there is a correlation between the rate rise of CO2 and global warming records. That warming has intensified lengthened and changed the nature of droughts and lengthened the fire danger periods changing the nature of the fuels readily burnt. Climate change has in fact significantly impacted the consequences experienced of the bushfires we see today. Predictions to this effect were made by climatologists more than 10 years ago ignored and scoffed at.

The biggest response in 2013 was heard by ex LNP PM Tony Abbott who said science of global warming was crap. Today we hear Scott Morrison declaring it’s no time for politics. We need to deal with the new reality and we are doing that but forget the cause. (ODT)

“There is no link, the facts that cause the fires are the drought and the drying of the environment,”

“I follow the science,” lies Craig Kelly, MP for Hughes, who lobs on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, a pulpit for Piers Morgan, a Daily Mirror, former editor, sacked in 2004, for publishing fake images purporting to show British soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners.

via As straw men in a firestorm. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Australia’s bushfires show why democracy requires shared truths

The surge of bushfire disinfo drives home the dilemma of disinformation faced by democracies.

The problem is: democracies can’t function properly if there isn’t a shared truth, no matter how broad, among the voting public.

And yes, the split in our shared reality didn’t happen overnight. It has eroded for years with the help a strident, polarising Murdoch media and talkback radio, much of which is spread widely online.

But social media’s ability to filter the facts, and experience, has accelerated this trend to a crisis level.

This is something being learned the hard way in the US, when life and death decisions are being taken on worldviews that are only half-shared within the nation.

Australia’s bushfires show why democracy requires shared truths

Killing Inside Iraq to Punish Iran, by Philip Giraldi – The Unz Review

Trump is a know-nothing President simply following plans laid down since the 80s after the 6 day war. No country in the Middle East was allowed to establish an Army let alone a number of Arabic and Muslim States and so the demise of Libya, Iraq Syria and Iran were laid out years ago by Israel and the US acting as it’s proxy their reward oil and global dominance. The greatest threat to that plan today is Renewable and clean energy. (ODT)

And there is no end in sight with Donald Trump now tweeting furiously that if the Iranian government seeks to retaliate for Soleimani the U.S. will strike 52 targets inside Iran, including cultural sites, a war crime. Congress will do nothing to stop the carnage because it is just as completely controlled by the Israel Lobby as is the White House.

The blood of the Americans, Iranians and Iraqis who will die in the next few weeks is clearly on Donald Trump’s hands as this war was never inevitable and serves no U.S. national interest. It will surely turn out to be a debacle, as well as devastating for all parties involved. And it might well, on top of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, be the long-awaited beginning of the end of America’s imperial ambitions. Trump has had three years to learn the lesson gleaned from Iraq and Afghanistan. He obviously used that time to learn nothing.

via Killing Inside Iraq to Punish Iran, by Philip Giraldi – The Unz Review

The Keating and Blair consensus has failed

The neoliberal trickle-down story is a myth. It never shows up. It fails because the wealthy put much of their wealth into unproductive asset speculation and luxuries for themselves, not into productive investment. This keeps the financial markets and housing prices high, but our economy has been hollowed out. We are left with being China’s quarry.

The right-wing neoliberal parties of Margaret Thatcher and John Howard set upon the industrial unions with a vengeance, so it is almost comical now to see the Morrison Government’s continuing obsession with the last feeble vestiges of union power. But Labor and Labour also undermined and defanged the unions, and allowed industries to wither and collapse with little help for displaced workers.

In place of real jobs, people are offered the gig economy, with no security and a likelihood their wages will be stolen as well. Yes, the nature of the economy has changed, but the employed still have a common interest against the owners of capital, as Adam Smith himself well understood in his day.

via The Keating and Blair consensus has failed

Trump’s New Year Fireworks this time were Chaos in Iraq

https://media.juancole.com/images/2020/01/trumps-new-year-fireworks-this-t-750x422.jpg

When an easily manipulated President  with short term self -interest in mind rather than any long term common good what else can one expect when in the year of an election Trump needs a War. (ODT)

In orchestrating a “maximum pressure” campaign, Trump made a big mistake. When Mike Pompeo demanded what amounted to almost a complete surrender by the Iranians, Trump thought he could get a new treaty with better terms for the US. Instead, Iran acted like a rational sovereign actor and used available tools to push back. As the 2020 election nears, the time may have been deemed right by Trump to capitalize on Iran’s understandable defiance and commence war, either proxy or direct.

Such unhinged behavior of a superpower is only one instance among many that feeds the mountain of why “they hate us,” and, consequently, much of why Times Square on New Years Eve and America, in general, has become intensely securitized over the past few decades: there is blowback for illegal and immoral US foreign policy.

Yet, still, when the news reads of the US Embassy under attack by Iraqi protesters and the president blames Iran, many Americans’ minds will revert back to the US Embassy in Tehran and the 1979 hostage crisis. Unfortunately, it may not be difficult to convince the American public to support military action against Iran. On the other hand, the “end forever war” mantra has come a long way in recent years and may give Trump pause in escalating a very dangerous situation that would inflame the entire region, which had shown signs of simmering.

via Trump’s New Year Fireworks this time were Chaos in Iraq

Why America and Iran hate each other – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Russian president shakes hands with Iran president during bilaterals talks at the Trilateral Summit Iran-Russia-Turkey

The problem Trump has no vision and is totally manipulated by those with short term interests (ODT)

“When Trump comes to power, the Arab spring is turned into an Arab winter. There are bushfires in Syria, in Libya, in Egypt, in Tunisia, in Yemen and elsewhere in the region,” he says.

“America’s interests are endangered, and Iran is seen by America’s allies, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, as the main beneficiary of Arab uprisings.

“And the more Iran is involved in Syria, the more it is involved in Yemen, the more it supports the Shias in Bahrain and inside Arabia and in Iraq, the more fearful and hostile America’s allies in the region get. And while they felt that Obama did not have a listening ear, in Trump they found a willing ally in not just containing Iran but to try and roll back Iran’s influence.

“And so when you get those three, inevitably Trump’s strategy of an aggressive reaction to Iran wins the day.”

“Our problem in the West has been that largely we’ve tended to be very reactive, we haven’t really had the patience to deal with this as a strategic issue, which I have to say the Russians do.

“I mean, the one advantage of Putin, as unpleasant as he is, is that certainly for those rulers in the Middle East is he seems to have a strategy and he sticks to it, whereas the West seems to be at sixes and sevens about what it’s planning to do and doesn’t really have a plan.”

Why America and Iran hate each other – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

War With Iran

The United States, like Israel, has become a pariah that shreds, violates or absents itself from international law. We launch preemptive wars, which under international law is defined as a “crime of aggression,” based on fabricated evidence. We, as citizens, must hold our government accountable for these crimes.

via War With Iran

The baggage they have lugged from one year to the next means 2020 will be a hard slog (part 1) – » The Australian Independent Media Network

via The baggage they have lugged from one year to the next means 2020 will be a hard slog (part 1) – » The Australian Independent Media Network

We were once the envy of the world, but look at us now – » The Australian Independent Media Network

“Politics is a set of activities associated with the governance of a country or an area. It involves making decisions that apply to group of members. It refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance—organized control over a human community, particularly a state. … Politics is a multifaceted word.”

Our current Prime Minister needs to read the paragraph above very carefully. His very position and all activities in which he engages are political and both affect and are affected by the policies which he and his cabinet formulate.

via We were once the envy of the world, but look at us now – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Climate Bullying – A Deviant Behaviour – » The Australian Independent Media Network

To stamp out climate bullying that prevents action on climate change, which then results in the most devastating consequences, it is critical, for every single person in the country must make the commitment today that they will put the Liberal and National Parties LAST on their ballot.

Our future depends on it.

via Climate Bullying – A Deviant Behaviour – » The Australian Independent Media Network

My New Year Resolution: Goodbye, Morrison – » The Australian Independent Media Network

“I will do everything in my power to enable Australia to be restored to responsible government.”

That is a big ask for an individual, but I know I am not alone.

My New Year Resolution: Goodbye, Morrison – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The Impeachment’s Moral Hypocrisy | The Smirking Chimp

There is no difference, the Afghanistan Papers make clear, in the mendacity and incompetence of the policymaking apparatus no matter who controls Congress or the White House. No party or elected official dares defy the military-industrial complex or other titans of the deep state. The Democrats through impeachment have no intention of restoring constitutional rights that would curb the power of the deep state and protect democracy. The deep state funds them. It sustains them in office. The Democrats are seeking to replace the inept and vulgar face of empire that is Trump with the benign and decorous face of empire that is Joe Biden. What the Democrats, and the deep state that has allied itself with the Democratic Party, object to is the mask, not what is behind it. If you doubt me, read the six-part series on Afghanistan in the Post.

via The Impeachment’s Moral Hypocrisy | The Smirking Chimp

Gatsbyed Half to Death: Is America’s Trump Gilded Age another 9/11?

https://media.juancole.com/images/2019/12/42448585075_b8b51938f6_b-750x488.jpg

Instead, responding to the destruction of those towers in Manhattan and part of the Pentagon, the Bush administration essentially launched a war against much of the planet. They soon dubbed it a “Global War on Terror,” or GWOT, and key officials almost instantly claimed it would have more than 60 countries (or terror groups in them) in its sights. Eighteen years later, the U.S. is still at war across a vast swath of the globe, involved in conflict after conflict from the Philippines to Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq to northern Africa and beyond. In the process, that GWOT has produced failed state after failed state and terror group after terror group, enough to make the original al-Qaeda (still going) look like nothing at all. And of course, in all these years, the U.S. military, hailed here as “the finest fighting force that the world has ever known” (and similar formulations), lacks a single decisive (or even modest) victory. Meanwhile, everywhere, yet more towers, real or metaphorical, continue to fall; in fact, whole cities in the Middle East now lie in rubble.

via Gatsbyed Half to Death: Is America’s Trump Gilded Age another 9/11?

A couple of quick take-outs from MYEFO – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Smoke and the figures in short cook the climate books do nothing cook the MYEFO and do nothing (ODT)

via A couple of quick take-outs from MYEFO – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Australian workers are ‘standing on the outside looking in’ as the wealthy share the pie – » The Australian Independent Media Network

via Australian workers are ‘standing on the outside looking in’ as the wealthy share the pie – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Wake up, Australia: deceit and post-truth politics will not save you from the flames | Quentin Grafton, Matthew Colloff, Virginia Marshall and John Williams | Opinion | The Guardian

Smoke from bushfires filling the sky

via Wake up, Australia: deceit and post-truth politics will not save you from the flames | Quentin Grafton, Matthew Colloff, Virginia Marshall and John Williams | Opinion | The Guardian

Royal Attrition: Government caves to a “few big interests”, ignores Aged Care Inquiry reforms – Michael West

Royal Attrition: Government caves to a “few big interests”, ignores Aged Care Inquiry reforms

The Federal Government’s protection of “a few big interests” was on show last week when it voted against accountability proposals from the Royal Commission into Aged Care. Public health researcher, Dr Sarah Russell, reports.

via Royal Attrition: Government caves to a “few big interests”, ignores Aged Care Inquiry reforms – Michael West

Billionaires Are Not the Answer – Mother Jones

Image of billionaires who run media companies

Deadspin (where, interest declared, my amazing colleague Tommy Craggs was once editor-in-chief), was a lot of what journalism should be: a thorn in the side of the smug, self-righteous, and overly comfortable. The story of its demise is the story of a news industry bleeding from a thousand cuts—litigation, the collapse of advertising revenue, platform changes, political point-scoring, and rapacious and/or incompetent owners.

At Mother Jones, we’ve encountered a lot of the same challenges Deadspin and so many other organizations have. We fought a massive lawsuit from a conservative billionaire. We’re regularly attacked by everyone from members of Congress to Twitter trolls. We lost advertising revenue with the flick of a switch at Facebook.

But here’s the difference: Our owners have a deep commitment to journalistic independence and fearlessness. They are smart, funny, and exceptionally good-looking. They are…you.

via Billionaires Are Not the Answer – Mother Jones

Ensuring there will be no integrity – » The Australian Independent Media Network

As catastrophe engulfs us, what is our government doing?

Union-bashing.

Refugee-bashing.

Labor-bashing.

Decimating the public service.

“Refusing to apologise” for blatant misdeeds by Angus Taylor.

It’s business as usual for the do-nothing Coalition sticking to their age-old ideological vendettas.

via Ensuring there will be no integrity – » The Australian Independent Media Network