A crew working for the outlet 7News was targeted on Tuesday while reporting from a demonstration in the US capital against police brutality. Correspondent Amelia Brace and cameraman Tim Myers were battered as the police cleared a protesting crowd, footage of the incident showed. Brace was hit with a baton, while Myers was attacked with a riot shield.
Australia’s Defence Connect (20 May 2020) called for even greater loyalty to the US Global Alliance from Australia in this time of crisis over the spread of COVID-19:
“It is Australia’s indispensable relationship, the core of our national security and the key enabler, that has allowed Australia to freely engage and prosper within the post-Second World War order. However, in an era of mounting great power competition and disruption, the US-Australia relationship will become ever more important, explains retired Army officer Jason Thomas.”
Australia is being hurt commercially by its growing antagonism towards China, our best and most profitable trading partner. What is going on behind the scenes in the corridors of power in Canberra in the halls of the Defence and Foreign Affairs Departments to justify this wanton folly to protect US interests across the Indo-Pacific Basin?
Surely, the Trump Administration with the support of the Department of State and the Pentagon can fight their own battles with China. So, what is the real payoff for Australia in these difficult times? And if the war games in the South China Sea go astray, are Australians instantly at war with China through the chain of command in these joint patrols?
Before we get too smart and ahead of ourselves(ODT)
Australian intelligence agencies have grown increasingly concerned about the Trump administration’s efforts to link the virus to a Wuhan laboratory, saying it is hampering the push to eliminate dangerous wildlife wet markets.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the Australian government did not have strong evidence linking the Wuhan lab to the virus.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly poses with the COVIDSafe app downloaded to his mobile phone.
Coronavirus updates LIVE: COVIDSafe downloads continue to rise, global COVID-19 cases top 3.6 million as Australian death toll stands at 97
US President Donald Trump last week said he had seen evidence that gives him a “high degree of confidence” that the virus began at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
But the US government’s top infectious diseases expert, Anthony Fauci, has dismissed the idea, saying all the scientific evidence suggests the virus began in bats and then spread to humans.
These very labs were refunded by Trump in 2017 after Obama had stopped. Doesn’t anybody find it odd Trump fails to mention that? Pompeo is publicising Australia’s support of American suspicions whe the opposite is true. Let’s not forget American Intel ia an Oxymoron. Iraq proved that with the lies spread by Bush/Rumsfeld and Cheney. (ODT)
For weeks the Australian government had been growing concerned about the Trump administration’s promotion of the theory that experiments on bats at a Wuhan laboratory had unleashed COVID-19. This week that anxiety peaked.
Multiple diplomatic and political sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age the suggestions by our biggest ally that Chinese lab experiments on bats had unleashed the new coronavirus would undermine Australia’s calls to ban the sale of exotic live animals at wet markets around the world.
“We can’t repeat the mistakes of the past. The WMDs fiasco was not that long ago,” one former security official said, referring to the incorrect intelligence claims of huge Iraqi weapon stockpiles that formed the basis for the Iraq War in 2003.
It is impossible to pinpoint the exact moment concerns within local security and intelligence circles morphed into genuine anxiety, but an April 14 article in The Washington Post is regarded by some as a turning point. The article quoted leaked diplomatic cables detailing how US officials had in March 2018 raised concerns about the Wuhan Institute of Virology “conducting risky studies on coronaviruses from bats”. Shortly afterwards President Donald Trump began raising the “lab theory” during his press briefings.
The problem no addressed here is the involvement and irresponsible incitement by Murdoch Media to incite back to work demonstrations in the English speaking world. The demand to go back to the normal rather than progress to a very different economy. The talk of 28 years of GDP growth doesn’t begin to address the increasing income and wealth gap that helped generate it and the public austerity measures that accompanied it leaving us ill-equipped to deal with emergencies we face. Yes, Australia has fared better but I’d suggest it’s more a sake of good fortune than intent. We have always been some years behind first following the British and now the Americans last in line but nevertheless over that cliff. We aren’t our own masters we do have a level of solidarity but when the Oligarchs, LNP IPA and News Corp hold the wealth and power and are now assisted by the ALP what chance is there of a progressive peoples bailout and not just a corporate one in the future? (ODT)
Morrison government setting itself for an aggressive pro-business plan for our post-pandemic economy. Specifically, that means tax breaks for businesses and even a big swing at industrial relations. It’s the road that leads to lower wages, worse conditions and limited tax revenue. And while some of that might end up being an economic necessity, if that’s not done perfectly, it’s a road of austerity and increasing inequality that has proven so destructive elsewhere.
Obviously, all that will depend on the detail. But we should take this chance to heed the warning from those nations that are presently unravelling. Sacrifice a basic level of equality for economic growth and you risk social and political fracture. There will be much we can’t afford after this, but one of them is losing the threads of social solidarity we still have left, because we’ll need them desperately when the next crisis hits.
We’ve seen an impressive level of federal-state co-operation where the two tiers of government have each contributed, led and even persuaded each other. The federal government led on shutting borders, for example, while the states pushed the feds to accelerate shutdowns of restaurants, cafes and especially schools. We’ve seen a federal government that has consistently described fiscal stimulus for a flagging economy as reckless, embrace it at unprecedented levels; a government that flatly refused to increase the Newstart allowance suddenly double it; a Liberal-led government introduce a wage subsidy.
Before the coronavirus, property market pundits were tipping their usual, regulation, 10% rise in house prices. They have been quiet in recent days. Callum Foote reports on the impact of the virus on an already weak economy, racking up the present crisis against the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Australians are unprepared. The ratio of household debt to household disposable income is now at an all-time high, suggesting the risk to property is also at an all time high.
Since 2002, Quinn showed, the most productive Australian firms (the top 5 per cent) had not kept pace with the most productive firms globally. In fact, Australia’s ‘productivity frontier’ has slipped back by about one-third. The best of ‘Made in Australia’ hasn’t kept pace with the best of ‘Made in Germany’, ‘Made in the Netherlands’ or even ‘Made in America’.”
And then there’s the other 95 per cent. In the past two decades, their output per hour worked has barely risen. So 19 out of 20 Australian firms don’t produce much more per hour than they did when Sydney hosted the Olympics.
A Productivity Commission study has found that half the slowdown in productivity improvement in the market economy in recent years is accounted for by manufacturing. A separate survey of management practices in manufacturing firms found that Australia’s managers rank below those in Canada, Sweden, Japan, Germany and the US.
The drop we’ve experienced is “not the fault of employees: there are simply fewer good opportunities available. According to Treasury’s analysis, much of the drop in job-switching is because workers are less likely to transition from mature firms to young firms. With fewer start-up firms, it stands to reason that there are fewer start-up jobs.”
The Government meanwhile deregulates (ODT)
Australian Detention Centers are sold as Holiday Resorts by Murdoch Media’s Chris Kenny, They are places however where detainees resort to rape, suicide, and mental collapse, children included. Where doctors nurses and staff are threatened jail if they inform. (ODT)
China regards intellectual property as just another factor of production and wants to lower its price to a minimum. By contrast, high-tech American firms often derive their profits by obtaining higher and higher prices for intellectual property.
US diplomatic cables leaked to Wikileaks in 2010 reveal the high priority American diplomats give to the surveillance and defence of intellectual property regimes around the world. Thousands of cables and millions of words are devoted to this subject.
Australia, as a net importer of intellectual property, has good reasons to side with the developing world, which has been calling for a “development agenda” that facilitates technology transfer as a key enabler of development. Instead, Australia sides with the “patent agenda” of the US, the EU and Japan even though it comes with a high price.
There can be no reconciliation until politicians acknowledge the harmful impacts of race baiting
Business and Banking call for CALMNESS. Workers beg for FAIRNESS (ODT)
Union members will stand together, whether it’s against a bullying local manager, or an entire wages system that profits only the very few, but there’s one issue that always receives unanimous and overwhelming support from the people I meet – that everyone needs to pay their fair share of tax.
Australia’s unionists may not all know the complexities of how tax avoidance operates, and they may not be across the ins and outs of each tax-minimising loophole and rort, but the reluctance of Australia’s rich to make taxation contributions that are in any way proportional to their wealth is as well known as it is enraging. When I explain to meetings of our members that there are 62 Australians who each earned $1 million last year and paid not one cent in tax – not even the Medicare levy – it is pitchfork time.
As in the 1930s we have been witnessing for some time now in Australia how easy is it for these forces to normalise brutality towards vulnerable people, and how those same forces are deliberately creating a society of increasing inequality, distrust and fear of ‘otherness’, through racist dog-whistling about immigration and multiculturalism.
Just as in the 1930s Australian conservatives are again ideologically aligned with fascism. We need to remember the story of Lt-Col Scott of Gull Force, for his contemptuous and contemptible attitude to the fate of his own men is ultimately a classic example of the character and values of fascism in practice.
They failed badly in Victoria (ODT)
How does a small handful of commentators such as Alan Jones and Ray Hadley wield political power?
Our side of politics spends their whole time in their offices with Sky News playing in the background.
Last year, the Canadian government set an ambitious target of admitting 1 million total immigrants from 2018-2020. The target for next year is 330,000 immigrants, of which about 190,000 will be economic migrants. The remainder will enter under the family reunification category and the refugee, humanitarian and protected category.
Behind the scenes at Westminster and the teetering fate of the British government lies an even more profound change in British politics: the very real possibility of the break-up of the United Kingdom. In this situation Australia needs to tread carefully and maintain its good relations with what has emerged as its more stable European partner, the European Union, while offering silent support for whatever governments or countries could emerge from Brexit. Is the UK headed for dissolution?
Instead of accepting free tickets to attend sporting and cultural events, instead of posing for photographs, instead of marketing your family, instead of calling yourself by a nickname and putting your arm around anyone you are standing next to, how about you get back to the office and do the job you are being paid to do.
So, there we have it, the UN the IPCC and the scientists who have prepared 6,000 research papers, on the subject, are urging action on climate change. We have been told that we need to remove extreme right-wing governments to be replaced by more progressive thinking governments prepared to take up the challenge.
The solution then for this new government and, mechanism to gain across the board public support, would be a positive response. This aims at atmospheric Co2 management including, in particular, carbon capture at point of emission, removing Co2 from the atmosphere, reforestation, incentive-based emission reduction guidelines, electricity storage and support for alternative energy.
This has been promised by the Labor if they win the next election. Both government and big business need to take affirmative action on behalf of each and every one of us. If the fossil fuel industry wishes to survive they need to participate and work towards reducing or eliminating their carbon footprint.
News Corp Australia follows are we now no longer going to shirtfront Putin?(ODT)
On Sept. 26, 2018, President Donald Trump made an extraordinary accusation against China during his remarks to the United Nations Security Council, saying, “Regrettably, we found that China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election coming up in November against my administration.” He made the claim without offering any evidence, but he did speculate about China’s motivation: “They do not want me, or us, to win because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade.”
Murdoch Media tells Australia it’s too difficult too expensive too painful. It seems we are being scammed. (ODT)
Since California if it were a country would have the world’s fifth largest economy, and since so many other states are economically integrated with it, this plan, if signed by governor Jerry Brown, could help transform the entire country.
The goal is less difficult than it seems on the surface. California had already committed to getting one third of its electricity from renewables by 2020, and reached that goal in 2017. It committed to getting 50% of its electricity from renewables by 2030, and in fact will likely reach that goal 10 years early, in 2020.
Europe just reached a milestone of one million electric vehicles on the road. Chinese bought 600,000 or so just last year. California is set to become a leader in this area, as well.
California is showing us where the whole country is going, even if some states will take longer to get there. But likely it also will be a big influencer for the whole Pacific Rim. Can Japan really continue its natural gas + nuclear electricity mix once California has shown how easily renewables can supply all our needs? Moreover, California’s efforts will synch with those of China, in ways that will create synergies and thwart Trump’s fossil fuel obsession.
California will save enormous amounts of money by going to green energy, but more importantly, it will rapidly reduce carbon dioxide emissions and show others how to do it, putting a brake on the runaway greenhouse gases that threaten the stability of our natural ecosystems on earth. California is one of the more vulnerable states to the climate crisis.
The income survey data show an even more mixed record. The Our World in Data database shows that by 2003 the real income of the median Australian household was only about 5% higher in real terms than in 1989, while the second and third decile households – mainly headed by those on low wages and some on social security – were actually no better-off than in 1989, largely due to the effects of the early 1990s recession.
Despite the way it’s been spun, the Commission’s main message is that in the decades ahead we will need both policies that generate economic growth and policies that ensure it’s well spread. One without the other could leave many of us worse off.
In the book he describes a movement “fed by the rivulets of hate mongering and disinformation-fuelled propaganda flowing out of rightwing media for at least a decade and the hospitable dark environment provided by a virtual blackout in mainstream media concerning the growth of rightwing extremism”t
The savagery of US conservative media, he says, is one of the key differences between the United States and New Zealand.
“I don’t think we can escape the fact that in the US we have a cable TV station that at least 22 hours a day and seven days a week is devoted to coaching half of America to hate the other half,” Neiwert says. “That’s been going on for 20 years or more, and it’s had a profoundly toxic effect on our discourse, our social contract, our view of each other.
Soutphommasane accorded that Australia’s success as a multicultural society is under threat. This threat is not from extreme factional groups or mask-wearing fascists, it is from the mainstream of Australian public life.
The real danger, he argued, comes from “dog-whistling politicians” and “race-baiting commentators” eager to harness populist attention through the careless “mixing of race and politics”. Just about a week later, Senator Fraser Anning proved how devastatingly true that was when he called for a “final solution” to “ethnocultural diversity” in Australia in his maiden speech.
And as I indicated in the Facebook post, “The Road to Anning” has not surfaced overnight. Along the way to getting to that piece of unmitigated and unfettered racism that was his maiden speech, we have had a Parliament that has:
- continued to treat refugees abhorrently;
- continued to preside and perpetuate discrimination against people of Aboriginal heritage and ancestry in a systemic fashion;
- given voice to such people as Pauline Hanson and others who continue their campaigns of hatred towards anything non-Anglo-Celtic; and
- allowed racism to exist in its various manifestations along the way.
Anning is not a new phenomenon. He is but a by-product of a society that places little or no value on diversity.
Equality for Australian women has worsened dramatically since the beginning of this decade, with high levels of sexual harassment in the workplace, the former President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, recently warned.
Fifteen classrooms, 17 toilets, three urinals, 32 rubbish bins, 12 drinking fountains and 40 windows.
That’s what Lisa Berryman is expected to clean during her four-hour shift at a Melbourne primary school.
Then there are the less frequent tasks: mopping the gym and art room, wiping down 600 chairs, scrubbing the classroom sinks and cleaning the staff room and offices.
Ms Berryman used to have an extra hour and 20 minutes a day to complete these tasks.
But in the wake of a state government overhaul of school cleaning, she’s been stripped of seven hours of work a week and her pay has dropped from $25.65 per hour to $23.49.
This amounts to more than a $200 weekly pay cut
“How can they do this to people?” she said. “They have given us worse working conditions.”
While the changes were aimed at stamping out the underpayment of workers, cleaners like Ms Berryman say their pay and conditions have deteriorated.
In this context, paying CEOs massive bonuses when the average Australian worker is doing it tough is disappointing and out of step with the community expectations of business.