Category: Informed Comment

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

For Donald Trump, the line between allies and foes is fuzzier than ever – Donald Trump’s America – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Canada, one of its two closest neighbours and largest trading partner. Britain, with which it enjoyed the heralded special relationship.

And France, whose Marquis de Lafayette was instrumental in the American Revolution of the late 1700s.

Who could have anticipated that an American president would have been the subject of mocking among their leaders?

And worse, that one of those allies would tangle with him publicly under a global spotlight?

That’s what happened this week at the summit of NATO countries in London.

Whether Donald Trump was embarrassed, upset or simply tired from recent travels, he packed up early and went home to Washington — an even more hostile place, given that impeachment proceedings are swirling.

via For Donald Trump, the line between allies and foes is fuzzier than ever – Donald Trump’s America – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

George Christensen and other secrets. What do you think? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

What sort of democracy are we? We are not allowed to know about the Lambie secret deal or the content of the Taylor emails; nor the circumstances of the secret trial jailing or witness J or the contents of an AFP report about George Christensen; and we are not allowed to know why Pastor Houston isn’t allowed into the White House. Why?

This government takes our right to know what they are doing very lightly.

via George Christensen and other secrets. What do you think? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Uppercut: call for violence at Parliamentary Inquiry into accountants – Michael West

Uppercut: call for violence at Parliamentary Inquiry into accountants

Amid the squabbling over audit standards and the fineries of interpretation, it is always open to government to simply insist all companies over a certain size report fully and uniformly. This might do the Big Four out of some business but it would bring the tax dollars in. After all, if business people wish to enjoy the protection of the corporate veil, with that should come accountability and transparency. Otherwise, just don’t incorporate.

Uppercut: call for violence at Parliamentary Inquiry into accountants – Michael West

The End of the Rule of Law | The Smirking Chimp

a former senior official in the Department of Justice and a constitutional scholar has identified 12 impeachable offences committed by Donald Trump. But, as he notes, many of these constitutional violations are not unique to the Trump administration. They have been normalized by Democratic and Republican administrations. These long-standing violations are, for this reason, ignored by Democratic Party leaders seeking to impeach the president. They have chosen to focus exclusively on Trump’s attempt to get the Ukrainian president to open an investigation of Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in exchange for $400 million in U.S. military aid and a visit by the Ukrainian leader to the White House. Ignoring these institutionalized violations during the impeachment inquiry, Fein fears, would legitimate them and lead to the death of democracy.

The End of the Rule of Law | The Smirking Chimp

The Finite Game Of Scomo And Albo… Oh, And Nato. (which is obviously Richard Di Natale!) – » The Australian Independent Media Network

On other matters, I have to say that I was gobsmacked by the story about China trying to get someone elected to Chisholm. All I can say is thank God we got Gladys who assured us that she was never a member of all those Communist Party groups and thank God that we have Scott who told the media that they take these allegations seriously, because I find it pretty hard to take anything coming out of Canberra seriously these days!

via The Finite Game Of Scomo And Albo… Oh, And Nato. (which is obviously Richard Di Natale!) – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Sacha Baron Cohen attacks Facebook’s policy on political advertising with Hitler comparison – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House Financial Services Committee

Isn’t this what Trump is doing currently and is going to do in 2020 along with the Russians, Nth Koreans and any other donations he can muster. Fox has a Quid pro Quo arrangement withhim under the guise of “news” and “opinion” Trump has excluded other media agency access to the White House even cancelling subscriptions. Is domestic Quid pro Quo not required to be declared as a political donation? (ODT)

“If you pay them, Facebook will run any ‘political’ ad you want, even if it’s a lie. And they’ll even help you micro target those lies to their users for maximum effect,” he said.

“Under this twisted logic, if Facebook were around in the 1930s, it would have allowed Hitler to post 30-second ads on his ‘solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem’.”

via Sacha Baron Cohen attacks Facebook’s policy on political advertising with Hitler comparison – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Man up, Morrison – » The Australian Independent Media Network

You will never hear a Coalition politician say we caused this problem, we must fix it. You will never hear them say this approach hasn’t worked, we must change it.

Since John Howard unexpectedly won the 2001 election, wedge politics is the Coalition MO and Scott Morrison is a devotee.

But when you use that approach, you can never take responsibility for anything, as demonstrated so pitiably by the climate change debacle.

Yesterday, Scott Morrison trotted out this old chestnut.

“To suggest that with just 1.3 per cent of global emissions that Australia doing something differently, more or less, would have changed the fire outcome this season, I don’t think that stands up to any credible scientific evidence at all. If anything Australia is an over-achiever on global commitments.”

How Morrison can continue to make this claim flabbergasts me.

via Man up, Morrison – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Money and power completely out of balance – » The Australian Independent Media Network

To be honest, I struggle sometimes these days to understand why we elect and pay politicians, because it is increasingly hard to find any benefits to the general population of such work as the politicians might do to justify the level of benefits they claim!

via Money and power completely out of balance – » The Australian Independent Media Network

MYEFO will be interesting – » The Australian Independent Media Network

What we don’t need is to waste hundreds of billions on obsolete weapons of mass destruction, billions on consultants and government advertising, and politicians who think attending sporting matches is more important than their day job.

We don’t need a surplus. We need someone who has a clue about how to invest in this country rather than their own political future.

via MYEFO will be interesting – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Politically illiterate, or just plain dumb – » The Australian Independent Media Network

My thought for the day

At some time in the future history will record that even though they should have known better the people of Australia made, in May 2019, a monumental mistake in electing a Morrison government. Subsequently some lessons will be learned the hard way. (JOHN LORD)

via Politically illiterate, or just plain dumb – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Forged in Fire: California’s Lessons for a Green New Deal

https://theintercept.imgix.net/wp-uploads/sites/1/2019/11/AP_19269687424575-camp-fire-1573077001.jpg?auto=compress%2Cformat&q=90&w=1024&h=683

Because it isn’t only our dry and overheated forests and grasslands that are tinderboxes, just waiting for a tiniest spark to go up in flames. All around the world, our human societies, scorched under the stresses of late capitalism, are political tinderboxes as well.

via Forged in Fire: California’s Lessons for a Green New Deal

Impeaching the President: 5 possibilities – » The Australian Independent Media Network

My thought for the day

America may be the most advanced technological nation on earth but its social progress on matters of great moral importance, INCLUDING ITS POLITICS is still fighting its way out of the dark ages when mysticism was rampart. (John Lord)

via Impeaching the President: 5 possibilities – » The Australian Independent Media Network

“Insiders see problems with insiders’ eyes” – my review of the Labor review – » The Australian Independent Media Network

via “Insiders see problems with insiders’ eyes” – my review of the Labor review – » The Australian Independent Media Network

“How Good Is Putting Everyone On The Indue Card To Stop Secondary Boycotts?” – » The Australian Independent Media Network

As altruistic miners try to enter a building they’re stopped from their humanitarian aims by these incredibly selfish protestors who are just there for the fun of harassing the saints who, out of the goodness of their hearts, give up their spare time to find ways of giving people jobs. These saints of industry have worked tirelessly to eliminate all canaries from their coal mines and are moving towards a world where mining is fully automated and no humans will be forced to undertake such dangerous work. At such a time, they’ll then share the wealth they’ve created by donating their stuff to the people who can’t afford it at current prices because they’re such great human beings, unlike the bullies who are blocking their way just for the fun of it.

Whichever way you look at it, the protestors believe that they’re trying to save the planet. Even if you think that the planet doesn’t need saving, it’s really hard to argue that they’re the selfish ones. “You bastards, you’re only trying to save the Earth because you live on it! Have some consideration for people like Alan Jones who haven’t been on the planet for years!”

via “How Good Is Putting Everyone On The Indue Card To Stop Secondary Boycotts?” – » The Australian Independent Media Network

“I called the Royal Commission” – » The Australian Independent Media Network

A couple of days before the Four Corners investigation, Who Cares, was to air, Scott Morrison rushed to announce a Royal Commission into Aged Care. This was a government turnaround directly in anticipation of the damning ABC expose.

When interviewed for the program about a month earlier, Wyatt had said a royal commission would be an unnecessary move because the Government was already reviewing the sector.

“A royal commission, after two years and maybe $200 million being spent on it, will come back with the same set or a very similar set of recommendations,” he said, preferring to see that money go towards frontline aged care services.

Emails revealed at the RC show a flurry of activity in response to programs on the ABC whilst reports from the department on how to address the problems languished on the Minister’s desk.

Protecting his precious surplus, Morrison is willing to let people die while waiting for help.

Not only that, he wants kudos for calling yet another inquiry into a crisis of his party’s making in its never-ending pursuit of profit and deregulation

via “I called the Royal Commission” – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The Enemy Within | The Smirking Chimp

The removal of Trump from office would not threaten corporate power. It would not restore civil liberties, including our right to privacy and due process. It would not demilitarize the police or champion the rights of the working class. It would not impede the profits of the fossil fuel and banking industries. It would not address the climate emergency. It would not disrupt the warrantless surveillance of the public. It would not end extraordinary renditions, the kidnapping of those around the globe considered to be enemies of the state. It would not halt the assassinations by militarized drones. It would not halt the separation of children from their parents and the warehousing of these children in filthy, overcrowded conditions. It would not remedy the consolidation of wealth and power by the oligarchs and the further impoverishment of the citizenry. The expansion of our prison system and of black sites throughout the world, sites where we torture, would continue, as would the gunning down of poor, unarmed citizens in urban wastelands. Most importantly, the catastrophic foreign wars that have resulted in a series of failed states and wasted trillions of taxpayer dollars, would remain sacrosanct, enthusiastically embraced by the leaders of the two ruling parties, puppets of the deep state.

via The Enemy Within | The Smirking Chimp

Tender Truncheons: Lendlease concedes Tax Office closes net on retirement village racket – Michael West

Tender Truncheons: Lendlease concedes Tax Office closes net on retirement village racket

The East India Company once owned the British kingdom. The State had no control today much can be said of the LNP and it’s Corporate donors today.(ODT)

“Outlaw these indulgent and selfish practices that threaten the livelihood of fellow Australians,” declared Scott Morrison last week as the protests raged outside a Melbourne mining conference.

Ironically, most of the pesky protestors who have been upsetting the Prime Minister probably pay more income tax than the big businesses the PM seeks to protect; party donors mostly. Lendlease is one, zero income tax in Australia in the past six years. Michael West reports on Australia’s tax dodge du jour.

via Tender Truncheons: Lendlease concedes Tax Office closes net on retirement village racket – Michael West

The more you tell me to shut up, the louder I am going to get – » The Australian Independent Media Network

So this is what we have sunk to – a Prime Minister who wants us all to be quiet and, if we don’t, he’ll make us.

He doesn’t want us to talk about his government’s woeful record on greenhouse gas emissions.  He doesn’t want us to talk about reefs dying and rivers drying up and mass extinctions.  He doesn’t want us to choose ethical investments in sustainable industries.

He wants to bully insurance companies into insuring unviable projects and he wants banks to lend money to uncommercial ventures.  He wants to make our superannuation funds invest in what will inevitably become stranded assets.

The idea that one would get their investment advice from the likes of mummy’s boy Matt Canavan is hilarious.

via The more you tell me to shut up, the louder I am going to get – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Declaring a water emergency means putting people before profit – Michael West

Declaring a water emergency means putting people before profit

The current drought in Eastern Australia has focused the attention of all Australians on water but effective policy responses are missing in action. Isn’t it time to call it a water emergency? Quentin Grafton and John Williams report.

via Declaring a water emergency means putting people before profit – Michael West

Essential poll: most think economic stimulus more important than surplus | Australia news | The Guardian

Josh Frydenberg and Scott Morrison leave the Reserve Bank building

Survey shows 56% of respondents would rather see the government fend off a downturn than deliver a surplus

via Essential poll: most think economic stimulus more important than surplus | Australia news | The Guardian

Killing Me Softly with Militarism: The Decay of Democracy in America

https://www.juancole.com/images/2019/10/killing-me-softly-with-militaris.jpg

That’s not America. After all, Lady Liberty used to welcome newcomers with a torch, not an AR-15. We don’t wall ourselves in while bombing others in distant parts of the world, right?

Militarism in the USA & The Decay of Democracy

Democracy shouldn’t be about celebrating overlords in uniform. A now-widely accepted belief is that America is more divided, more partisan than ever, approaching perhaps a new civil war, as echoed in the rhetoric of our current president. Small wonder that inflammatory rhetoric is thriving and the list of this country’s enemies lengthening when Americans themselves have so softly yet fervently embraced militarism.

via Killing Me Softly with Militarism: The Decay of Democracy in America

House of Cards: is Brookfield the next Babcock & Brown? – Michael West

The Foreign Investment Review Board has already waved through the Healthscope acquisition and is presently deliberating on the Aveo deal. Yet the question must be asked; as Brookfield pays so little tax in Australia, what is the national interest in allowing this tax haven operator to buy billions of dollars buying key infrastructure when it merely siphons the profits offshore?

via House of Cards: is Brookfield the next Babcock & Brown? – Michael West