Category: Informed Comment

Comic explainer: how does Islamic finance work?

Interest fuels the financial world. The money sitting in your bank account accrues it, and the credit cards in your wallet charge it. If you ever want money quick, you’re going to being paying a decent amount of interest for having that money now rather than later.

But under Islamic law, interest is explicitly forbidden.

via Comic explainer: how does Islamic finance work?

How We Fight Fascism

that the longer the stagnation and rot of a dysfunctional democracy went unaddressed, the more attractive fascism would become.

Zetkin warned, arises when capitalism enters a period of crisis and breakdown of the democratic institutions that once offered the possibility of reform and protection from an uninhibited assault by the capitalist class. The unchecked capitalist assault pushes the middle class, the bulwark of a capitalist democracy, into the working class and often poverty. It strips workers of all protection and depresses wages. The longer the economic and social stagnation persists, the more attractive fascism becomes. Zetkin would have warned us that Donald Trump is not the danger; the danger is the growing social and economic inequality that concentrates wealth in the hands of an oligarchic elite and degrades the lives of citizens.

via How We Fight Fascism

If you have good ratings you can do whatever you please – just ask Donald Trump, Don Burke and Barnaby Joyce. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Despite all of Barnaby’s failings and poor judgement calls, my real disgust lies with the other 20 Nationals in parliament who have implicitly condoned his behaviour using the Don Burke excuse. Barnaby’s ratings are so good that he can do whatever he pleases and they will still support him for the sake of their own incomes.

The “don’t tell us what to do” attitude is ludicrous. You are obviously so out of touch with what is appropriate, or you never cared, that you have lost all credibility.

You are enablers. And for that, you all deserve condemnation.

via If you have good ratings you can do whatever you please – just ask Donald Trump, Don Burke and Barnaby Joyce. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The unintended consequences of Barnaby Joyce’s affair

Illustration: Letch

But perhaps some obligations should be beyond political calculations. Perhaps there are times to spend political capital on people other than colleagues, allies and donors. Perhaps there are times to spend it on those whose people were wronged enough to receive a formal apology a decade ago, who’ve since seen several policies that concern them effectively abandoned, and who in spite of that, when asked to give us their ideas share them from the heart. Perhaps, but apparently not this week.

via The unintended consequences of Barnaby Joyce’s affair

 

Michaelia is hoping we have short memories – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Michaelia Cash must have been hoping that everyone would keep looking at Barnaby when she chose to stick her head up today to spruik her take on the latest labour force survey but, thankfully, some journalists have memories that stretch back further than last week.

via Michaelia is hoping we have short memories – » The Australian Independent Media Network

You may have to reconsider your reality, Scott – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Overall, according to the ABS, company profits rose by 20% to the year ended 30 September 2017, but the only wages that are going up are the excessive bonuses for CEOs.

The NAB monthly business survey for December said that “Strong business conditions are broad-based across all major industry groups with the exception of retail.”

The business conditions index was unchanged at a strong +13 index points, which is well above the long-run average of +5 index points.

So with business conditions and profits at very high levels, and supposed jobs growth of over 400,000, we should see wages going up.

Except they are not as the following graph shows.

via You may have to reconsider your reality, Scott – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Left turn necessary for Labor to end narrow policy convergence

 

IN 1998, RADICAL American Leftist intellectual Noam Chomsky made the telling observation that:

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.”

Another name for this phenomenon is convergence politics.

In Australia there is convergence on the economy, with debates focusing on relatively minor differences; but where heated debate on the so-called culture wars fills the vacuum.

via Left turn necessary for Labor to end narrow policy convergence

Bonking, nepotism and the trials of being a politician away from home – » The Australian Independent Media Network

As Ted Mack pointed out in his 2013 Henry Parkes oration:

Over the last 30 years politicians’ staff has increased dramatically. At federal level there are now some 17 hundred personal staff to ministers and members. The states probably account for over two thousand more. Add to this the direct political infiltration of federal-state public services and quangos with hundreds more jobs for the boys and girls, there is now a well-established political class.

But it’s not just a political class – it’s blatant nepotism.

via Bonking, nepotism and the trials of being a politician away from home – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Day to Day Politics: Their illicit practices should be stopped by law. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Every decision the honourable members make will be based firstly on how best it serves his or her party. Rarely on how it serves the country and the people.

via Day to Day Politics: Their illicit practices should be stopped by law. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Like bees to a honey pot, foreign defence manufacturers flock to Australia – » The Australian Independent Media Network

When the government announced that it would spend $400 billion over the next twenty years on defence materiel and that it would, in opposition to its supposed commitment to free trade, adopt a protectionist requirement for local content, foreign defence manufacturers flocked like bees to a honey pot.

via Like bees to a honey pot, foreign defence manufacturers flock to Australia – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Carl Bernstein: These Could Be The Darkest Days Since Joe McCarthy | HuffPost

Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein warned Friday that the Trump administration may be ushering in the darkest days in America since Joe McCarthy.

Bernstein blasted Donald Trump’s White House and Republicans like Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) who helped release a GOP memo on Friday attacking the FBI and Justice Department investigation of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Bernstein called the memo a “disingenuous partisan document.”

via Carl Bernstein: These Could Be The Darkest Days Since Joe McCarthy | HuffPost

Day to Day Politics: It’s all a secret. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

“Good government is about making and implementing decisions that serve the common good. That give security to the people it governs. Follows the rule of law and is truthful about its intentions. When making decisions it must be responsive to the will of the people. It should allow its citizens to be participatory in the function of government. It should be inclusive, equitable and supportive of the people’s right to know. By equity, I mean the people have a right to a fair reward for the fruits of their labour. And above all it should be answerable to the people.”

I then asked myself how the Abbott/Turnbull governments stacked up against my thinking, and I had to admit they have been deplorable.

via Day to Day Politics: It’s all a secret. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The Useful Idiocy of Donald Trump | By Chris Hedges | Common Dreams

"The elites in dying cultures turn everything into a commodity. Human beings are commodities. The natural world is a commodity. Government and democratic institutions are commodities." (Photo:Mr.Fish)

The inability of the political establishment and the press to moderate or reform Trump’s egregious behavior is rooted in their loss of credibility. The press, along with political and intellectual elites, spent decades championing economic and political policies that solidified corporate power and betrayed and impoverished American workers. The hypocrisy and mendacity of the elites left them despised and distrusted by the victims of deindustrialization and austerity programs. The attempt to restore civility to public discourse and competency to political office is, therefore, fruitless. Liberal and establishment institutions, including the leadership of the two main political parties, academia and the press, squandered their moral authority. And the dogged refusal by the elites to address the engine of discontent—social inequality—ensures that they will remain ineffectual. They lay down the asphalt for the buffoonery of Trump and the coming tyranny.

via The Useful Idiocy of Donald Trump | By Chris Hedges | Common Dreams

Day to Day Politics: “Know your place,” the words spoke, as chains rattled and the dust rose – » The Australian Independent Media Network

At the age of 77 I feel well-versed in voicing the opinion that contrary to what the Prime Minister said on the 26th that we are a very welcoming country. We are not. We didn’t welcome the Italians, the Greeks the Jews, Chinese or Vietnamese. It has taken maybe three to four generations to overcome our ethnic and religious aversions.

via Day to Day Politics: “Know your place,” the words spoke, as chains rattled and the dust rose – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Andrew Laming’s $20,000 family holiday at your expense – value for money? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

 

All up, the trip cost us $19,619.87.

According to the new “Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority”, any claim for expenses must be “for the dominant purpose of parliamentary business”, it must represent “value for money”, and parliamentarians must be “prepared to publicly justify their use of public resources in conducting their parliamentary business.”

‘Parliamentary business’ includes activities that fall within four streams:

parliamentary duties: covers activities of the Parliamentarian that relate directly to the parliamentarian’s role as a member of Parliament
electorate duties: activities of the Parliamentarian that support or serve their constituents
party political duties: activities of the Parliamentarian that are connected with both their political party and their membership of the Parliament
official duties: activities that relate to the Parliamentarian’s role as an office holder or Minister.

via Andrew Laming’s $20,000 family holiday at your expense – value for money? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Australia Day in the age of anger: it’s a fight with myself that I can’t possibly win – Analysis & Opinion – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

 

via Australia Day in the age of anger: it’s a fight with myself that I can’t possibly win – Analysis & Opinion – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Day to Day Politics: We don’t need science to be hijacked by the likes of this boorish primordial example of capitalistic gluttony – » The Australian Independent Media Network

What I am, however, is an artist, an observer, and given that observation is the basis for all science I feel entitled to a view. For me the ability of thinking human beings to blindly embrace what they are being told without referring to evaluation and the consideration of scientific fact, truth and reason, never ceases to amaze me. It is tantamount to the rejection of rational explanation. Science has made in my lifetime the most staggering achievements and they are embraced, recognised and enjoyed by all sections of society. John Lord

via Day to Day Politics: We don’t need science to be hijacked by the likes of this boorish primordial example of capitalistic gluttony – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Day to Day Politics: Are they all raving lunatics? Bloody conservative bullshit. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

For me, the changes brought about by the advancement of science and technology have been astonishing. As a progressive, I crave change that is worthy and is advantageous for the betterment of society and the world that we inhabit.

I believe that our lives should be subject to constant reflection, otherwise the way forward is locked into the constraints of today’s thoughts.

You cannot change what happens. Particularly when you have no control over it. What you do have control over is the way in which you respond.

via Day to Day Politics: Are they all raving lunatics? Bloody conservative bullshit. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Day to Day Politics: How enlightened are we really? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

 

Why is it, in “the name of free speech”, that we need to enshrine the right to abuse each other, in law?

You would think that an enlightened progressive free thinking society would want to eliminate it not legislate it.

It is not a question that requires great philosophical, ideological or even theological debate. It is a black and white question. Supposedly we live in an “age of enlightenment,” a period where the world has made enormous technological advances, but at the same time our intellects have not advanced the capacity to understand simple tolerance.Indeed, if we were truly enlightened we would treat our fellow human beings, with respect love and faithfulness.

We would do unto them as we would expect them to do unto us and we would strive to do no harm. We would love life and live it with a sense of joy and wonderment.

We would form our own independent opinions on the basis of our own reason and experience; and not allow ourselves to be led blindly by others. And we would Test all things; always checking our ideas against our facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it did not conform to them.

We would readily admit it when we are wrong in the knowledge that humility is the basis of intellectual advancement and that it is truth that enables human progress.

via Day to Day Politics: How enlightened are we really? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Day to Day Politics: One man’s journey into an interest in politics – » The Australian Independent Media Network

But for me my early journey has shaped what I believe in, the way I think about social justice and my world view. I hope you enjoy this account of my first 14 years.

via Day to Day Politics: One man’s journey into an interest in politics – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Day to Day Politics: Him or Him? What do you think? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

it’s hard not to see a group of people who have no idea how to govern for the country as a whole, who are purely in politics for what they are able to extract from being an MP for themselves, being able to win the next election.

What a disaster it would be, if for whatever reason they were given the reins for another three years.

When a party is in such disarray the need to stay in “power” becomes the overarching imperative. This gives rise to the likes of Dutton to take any short cut to maintain his and the government’s grip on power. The Coalition’s only policy has been the demonising of those who are not white, Anglo-Saxon, and Christian.

So Dutton and others see no reason to deliver good government so close to an election. They see the rhetoric of blame as a “winning formula”.

 

Day to Day Politics: Him or Him? What do you think? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Sixteen years later and the contemptuous Peter Dutton is still making the same speech – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Image result for Images of a right wing Dutton

It was only seven months ago that Greg Hunt, Michael Sukkar and Alan Tudge, under threat of contempt of court charges, made an unconditional apology to Victoria’s Supreme Court for comments critical of terrorism sentencing.

In comments that were published in The Australian newspaper,

Chief Justice Warren said the court was “gravely concerned” there was a prima facie case that the ministers and The Australian had committed contempt. “But for the apologies and retractions we would have referred the groups, namely the ministers and The Australian … for prosecution for contempt of Court.”

 

So how come Peter Dutton is not facing similar censure for saying there was a “problem with some of the judges and magistrates that Daniel Andrews has appointed” who were wrongly allowing bail and imposing “very soft sentences” in the name of political correctness.

And this is not the first time he has made such comments.

via Sixteen years later and the contemptuous Peter Dutton is still making the same speech – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Day to Day Politics: What makes them tick? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

But today, Mr Dutton stepped up the rhetoric against the judiciary, blaming “soft sentences” on the appointment of civil libertarians as magistrates, and labelling one Supreme Court judge a “left-wing ideologue”.

The judge in question, Lex Lazarus is one of Victoria’s most respected jurists and Dutton would know that by convention he is unable to reply.

And the “who” they want to be’ politician during times of poor leadership is a most dangerous animal because the likes of Turnbull have no power to stand up to them.

So Dutton will keep up with his sarcasm (except for when he sleeps) and other offensive expressions calculated to raise racial hatred and break down society.

We can only conclude that Dutton is not in it to help create a better society with a better future for all. He has been a failure at his two other Ministries and compassion has eluded him thus far in this one. I can only conclude that the Liberal Party when it comes to the immigration portfolio believes that it needs a mongrel in charge, so Dutton was an easy choice.

 

My thought for the day

“Sometimes it is good to stop, think, evaluate and formulate one’s own opinion instead of being influenced by the media and other vested interests.”

via Day to Day Politics: What makes them tick? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Day to Day Politics: Lies, lies, lies, lies, lies … fundamentally a dishonest bunch of liars – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Peter Dutton, speaking on radio said:

Following the Abbott handbook of “panic”

“I think the economy will come to a shuddering halt and I think the stock market will crash.”

“I think once people realise how dangerous Labor’s economic proposal is I think they’ll be happy to see an election and deal with it.

“Labor’s essentially said they want to lower house prices and they want to increase rents and I think that would be a disaster.”

via Day to Day Politics: Lies, lies, lies, lies, lies … fundamentally a dishonest bunch of liars – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Day to Day Politics: Who is the biggest grub in the Coalition? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The new Minister for Anything approaching evil insists that “people are to scared to go out to restaurants of a night-time because they are followed home by these gangs”.

When asked to provide factual evidence of this the former copper from Queensland could not. No one is surprised for it is a method of demonising people that he has used for some time now.

Is it effective? Well, he must think it is because he takes every opportunity to use this malevolent methodology of scaring people at every opportunity. He is the sort of bloke I would never like to meet up a dark ally on a bleak cold winters night.

In short I have posted a summary of the qualities of some of our cabinet members. Surely the Liberal and Country Party can come up with better people than these.

via Day to Day Politics: Who is the biggest grub in the Coalition? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Day to Day Politics: The year 2017 declared yet another political disaster. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

http://2.gravatar.com/avatar/d44030a8b1d53aa6a153a8845e0613d7

“Our lives should be subject to constant reflection, otherwise the way forward is locked into the constraints of today’s thoughts.”

As I write I reflect on the year 2017. I can only conclude that it is another wasted in the advancement of our nation. I try to think of things positive that I might share but I cannot. I stop, hesitate, because marriage equality must surely go down as a magnificent victory for the people. I can’t even count how many pieces I wrote on the subject. Yes, it was a victory for the people, we did it in spite of the politicians not doing what they were elected to do.

We showed what we are capable of doing when we turn our collective attention to the common good.

Day to Day Politics: The year 2017 declared yet another political disaster. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Day to Day Politics: A gift of lies before Christmas. But that’s Turnbull for you. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

If I do not support the 95% of scientists, every major scientific institution and the research that is constantly peer evaluated I am obliged to accept the alternative. That is that I should take seriously the likes of Andrew Bolt (a journalist), Alan Jones (I’m not sure how you would describe his contribution to society), Lord Monckton (a discredited something who was once a lobbyist for the tobacco companies), Nick Minchin and Tony Abbott (both politicians). In fact, Minchin is on the record as saying that climate change is a left-wing conspiracy to replace communism. None of the aforementioned people has a background or expertise in climate science.

via Day to Day Politics: A gift of lies before Christmas. But that’s Turnbull for you. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The Permanent Lie, Our Deadliest Threat

The most ominous danger we face comes from the marginalization and destruction of institutions, including the courts, academia, legislative bodies, cultural organizations and the press, that once ensured that civil discourse was rooted in reality and fact, helped us distinguish lies from truth and facilitated justice.

 

The Permanent Lie, Our Deadliest Threat

With rapidly evaporating respect Mr Turnbull, that’s crap – » The Australian Independent Media Network

With rapidly evaporating respect Mr Turnbull, that’s crap. The rest of the world is moving to fibre whilst you have made us a communications backwater, ranking 50th in the world behind places like Thailand, Estonia, Bulgaria and Kenya. With rapidly evaporating respect Mr Turnbull, that’s crap – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Stop the dumbing down of the ABC

Eleanor Hall of ABC Radio's The World Today.

flagship offerings on ABC Radio, they are unique in our broadcasting line-up and critical to our collective education. The World Today, the lunchtime wrap, and PM, in the evening, will run to just 30 minutes, down from one hour. One has to ask, where is the logic? Stop the dumbing down of the ABC

Is the IPA running Australia? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Tony Abbott speaks at last year's IPA dinner (image from glennmurray.com.au)

Unless you have forgotten who once ruled the country and wants to again. Why. Turnbull and the moderates must go.

Bolt’s just their hack and his son is be groomed is for want of a better word.

via Is the IPA running Australia? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Behind the Mask of the ‘Moderates’

The focus on multiculturalism and identity politics is anti-politics. It is accompanied by sterile reforms—such as more professionalized policing—that never challenges the underlying structures of corporate power, which has turned the workers of deindustrialized communities into surplus or redundant labor. We no longer seek to eradicate poverty; instead we applaud ourselves for not stigmatizing the poor.

Behind the Mask of the ‘Moderates’

Christian dominionism in Australia – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Andrew Bolt.

“Whoever wants to make their own private or religious arrangements about living together can do so, provided they do not conflict with Australian law. But for the law to specifically endorse verdicts of religious groups is to give them a power and legal standing that seems at odds with not just our notion of one law for all, but with our Constitution’s insistence on a separation of church and state.”

But now we see the anti-marriage equality campaigners asking for just that – they want special laws to accommodate their religious beliefs.

Christian dominionism in Australia – » The Australian Independent Media Network