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Monday, 14 December


Dog Blog Again: Looking Around DUCK POND

Sometimes Dexter and Hannah may look back, and sometimes when they do something I am ready to catch that moment. Most of the time we are moving on, getting to where we are going without reflection.

Sometimes there are things to not seen before. Sometimes, just to test me more than Dexter and Hannah, another dog or person crosses our path, or blindsides us from behind. Then there are the rare moments when something is going on. This week it was the bushfire on Maddens Plains that posed a threat to the  escarpment. It was extraordinary how quickly it was controlled. The smoke became black, and then was greatly reduced. We could see the helicopters, but not the giant water bombers that had been employed.

The anticipation is that this year will be a bad one for bushfires. Meanwhile in Paris an agreement was reached that addressed, however obliquely the  the “civilizational” challenged presented by Climate Change crisis. Practical and effective measures are best.

These are the memories recorded for the week. The music is “Green Leaves” by Audionautix:

Kate Wolf seems to have had a thing about green eyes, including composing a song with that name:



So this guy walked into the 'loo, or was that a bar, and pulled out a jar of mango chutney and bunged on a funny accent ... loon pond

And so to the ongoing tragedy of Bill Leak.

The decline and fall of satirists is always a pitiful sight.

Barry Humphries is one such example, Patrick Cook another ...

But has there ever been a more tragic figure than Bill Leak?

Oh okay, we kept Larry Pickering out of the mix because we didn't want to go there. Anne Summers went there here, but if the pond had its druthers, we'd rather link to Larry Pickering - the conman stalking Gillard.

Back to the tragedy of Bill Leak and the news of the tragedy spread a little further thanks to social media and the Graudian here.


Why is anyone talking about an early election? Catallaxy Files

An interesting bit of tittle tattle from today’s paper.

Malcolm Turnbull is facing his Kevin Rudd moment. Should he call an early election?

Several cabinet ministers have privately urged the Prime Minister to go early next year to bank the political capital he has in the opinion polls as Bill Shorten and Labor flounder at historic lows.

My first question is, who is leaking? Who could possibly know that several cabinet ministers have done anything, especially something as sensitive as that? Really, I thought with the change, leaking would become a thing of the past.

Second, why the rush? If Mr Popular is so fantastic, why not wait till the three years are up before testing the market? Whether it’s Bill Shorten or anyone else, the future is bright and certain. Seems a bit impetuous. This being an unlosable election, can’t see what all the pressure is about. Why not just bring down the budget, give the ABC another few million, promise to raise the GST after the election and go for it then? It’s all such a puzzle.


French flirt with far right before sanity prevails Independent Australia

French flirt with far right before sanity prevailsFor a week, Marine le Pen’s extreme right Front National was the most popular political movement in France, but this morning, Australian time, the French pulled back from the brink. read now...


Please, stand well clear and allow Polonius to shirt front history ... loon pond

'Tis the season to be merry, but the pond is over-whelmed by the excruciating workload ...

The commentariat never rest, there's never enough days to cope with the flood of reptiliana, and as a result, the pond is ashamed to admit that these days it regularly overlooks the sublime work of the prattling Polonius.

But here, better late than never and never better than when late, is an example of the master ancient mariner stopping one of three weekend readers to deliver one of his wonderful guides to history.

Now there's a particularly choice moment in this screed. Others will have their favourite passages - Polonius is always generous in his droning - but we must wait a little while until we reach it:

There, did you agree? The most successful Liberal Party leaders are those who led their party into government from opposition; namely Robert Menzies in 1949, Malcolm Fraser in 1975, John Howard in 1996 and Tony Abbott in 2013.


Climate change: Still doing nothing No Right Turn

Over the weekend, 200 countries agreed a new climate deal in Paris. Despite the rhetoric of "the end of the fossil fuel era" and "the worlds greatest diplomatic success", its just the usual bullshit of promises no-one intends to keep sweetened with money no-one intends to give. Tellingly, it doesn't include any binding emissions reduction targets, making the entire thing purest hot air. Its aspiration, not action - and its a bit fucking late for that.

As for our government, its clearly got the message. In the face of an empty agreement, it has no plans to change its policies:

Mr Key told Morning Report New Zealand's significant steps on emission reduction would not involve cutting back on the mining of oil, gas and coal.

"Not in terms of the production side of the house, if you like ... I can't exactly tell you off the top of my head how many barrels of oil we produce a day but it would be what Saudi Arabia, Iraq and those other countries, Iran, produce in a nano-second. It's just not large."


[Climate Change Minister Tim] Groser said no change in goverment policy was needed in the short term, but in the long run, New Zealand would have to do more to meet the agreement. Part of that would be finding technical solutions to agricultural emissions.

...which they intend to do by doing... nothing! In other words, we're going to respond to this "historic" agreement by just keeping on shitting in out atmosp...


Showtime Independent Australia

ShowtimeRoll up for Malcolm Talcum's magical mouthtery tour. read now...


Open letter to Zombie Abbott Independent Australia

Open letter to Zombie AbbottThe best thing for the nation and all of us, says Michael Galvin, is for Tony Abbott to just keep his mouth shut. read now...


An agile innovative lunch time on the pond, thanks every so much to the poodle ... loon pond

It takes a champion, best of breed poodle to make a come back from spruiking one dog's breakfast to shamelessly spruiking another ...

The pond of course loves to be innovative and agile ... except the aged HFC outside the pond's house - admittedly better than the corrupt, sodden wretched copper ... decided to bung on a do this morning, and got as slow as a wet wick for hours on end.

Bang went the innovative, agile uploading of teh data ...

Still agile is as agile do ...

So the pond understood broadband isn't a thing you buy. It's a thing you are if you happen to have a carrier pigeon near by...

Naturally the pond turned to the poodle for further guidance,  and happily this very day he's in the lizard Oz showing how innovative and agile he is ...

Inspirational s...


Sick note! Dr Ken Levy uses illness defence to escape action by PCMC Independent Australia

Sick note! Dr Ken Levy uses illness defence to escape action by PCMCQueensland's Parliamentary Ethics Committee refuses to hold controversial former corruption body boss Dr Ken Levy to account for intentionally misleading Parliament, despite overwhelming evidence he did. read now...


High IQ idiots Catallaxy Files

It would be one thing if I thought these people were saying what they’re saying and doing what they’re doing because that is where the votes are. What amazes me more than anything is that these people really believe it. From The Oz just now: Paris Climate Deal: Turnbull government stares down dissenters, from which:

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has defended the non-binding nature of the Paris climate agreement, as the Turnbull government stares down climate change dissenters within its own ranks.

Liberal MP Dennis Jensen, an outspoken climate change sceptic, warned the agreement was “essentially meaningless” and Australia should avoid “metaphorically burning our economy just to appear good on the global stage”.

“Basically countries set their own targets and there’s no enforcement strategy. It provides flexibility to do anything essentially,” he told ABC Radio.

“The entire globe needs to have similar commitments and be similarly achieving those goals.” . . .

Mr Hunt regretted there would be “no sanctions or penalties if a country falls short of its target”.

“Our preference would have been for that. That’s probably the only real and significant element that we would have wanted, but we all knew that that wasn’t possible for the United States, it wasn’t on China’s agenda,” he told Macquarie Radio.

“Others haven’t always honoured their agreements in the past, that is true. But the difference this time is everybody’s in the cart, everybody’s made their commitment; if countries fall short of that or indeed they renege on it I think there would be enormous internal and ex...


Monarchical fiction again No Right Turn

Sigh. People hate the TPPA, and as with other controversial political topics - banning child beating, the 90 day law, and retrospectively approving Parliamentary spending - they're demanding the Governor-General do something about it, via a petition asking him to "command" the government hold a referendum.

These people are fools. In our constitutional system, the Governor-General "commands" nothing. They act only and always on the advice of elected Ministers, even to the extent of signing their own execution warrant if told to do so. They're a rubberstamp, nothing more, and the idea that they are (or should be) anything more than that is pure monarchical fiction.

But they're fools in another way too. Because if your whole argument is that the TPP lacks any democratic mandate (one I agree with), then surely the answer to that cannot be to appeal to an official who lacks one himself. Because fundamentally, the Governor-General is illegitimate. They are appointed, not elected. And that means they have no more right to make decisions in our name than Canterbury's unelected dictators.

If you want to defeat the TPPA democratically, then the answer is to vote out the government which signed it, and vote in a government which will withdraw from it. If no political party will offer that choice, then you need to argue and lobby and vote the fuckers out until one will. But appealing to the representative of a vestigial hereditary dictatorship is neither constitutional nor democratic.


COP21: Euphoria as Paris finally seals the deal Independent Australia

COP21: Euphoria as Paris finally seals the dealIn Paris on Saturday, 196 member states of the United Nations signed an important agreement aimed at preventing dangerous climate change. read now...


Meh No Right Turn

So, John Key's vanity flag referendum has had the expected result, with National Fern pipping Labour Fern for first place in the preliminary count. Meh. It was always an uninspiring choice, and the addition of Red Peak - a flag which emerged from the grassroots and showed us what the process could have been like - at the last minute didn't change that. So now we have an uninspiring design stolen from a weetbix packet versus a colonial relic. And to be honest, I hate either option. So I gues snow its a question of what I hate more: Britain, or John Key?

I want the flag to change, but not like this, and not to John Key's stupid fern. So I'm with Simon Pound: vote for the current flag, then have another go at it in five years - and next time, do it properly.


Keynesian economics – almost everyone knows better but almost no one can resist Catallaxy Files

Keynesian economics

How ridiculously empty Keynesian theory is. But if you combine deficits with the promise of billions of dollars to businesses that lose money and individuals who don’t work, along with voting majorities for parties who promise never to reduce the level of welfare, it’s amazing how attractive these ideas become.


MYEFO: spending reform won’t come easy Catallaxy Files

In The Australian today
With the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook only a sleep away, the Treasurer is facing his baptism of fire. But whatever the political risks involved in acknowledging the seriousness of our fiscal challenge, simply closing one’s eyes and wishing really hard for the deficit to disappear is hardly an option. Rather, while avoiding both alarmism and complacency, Scott Morrison must show the government has a credible strategy for budget repair.


Let the wailing and the gnashing of reptilian fossilised teeth begin ... a super dooper survey of Paris coverage, reptile style ... loon pond

There's a tremendous amount of good climate science work being done these days ...

Little Timmie Bleagh is on the case ...

What a joy it is to see a top notch climate scientist in his prime ...

And then there are the parrots ...

Yes, there second from the top this day is the Lomborgian setting the agenda for the reptile Oz. And look, elsewhere the Lomborgian is running hot ...


Cross-post: Kesten Green – Is climate forecasting immune from Occam’s razor? Catallaxy Files

Several authors have argued that the hypothesis of dangerous man made global warming fails the test of Occam’s razor because the simple hypothesis of natural variation fits the data with fewer assumptions. As Harold Jeffreys noted, “simpler laws have the greater prior probability”. But are forecasts of dangerous warming immune from Occam’s razor?

It is on the basis of forecasts that the political leaders and government officials gathered in Paris are discussing agreements that would impose extraordinarily disruptive and expensive policies on the nations of the world. Those forecasts—called scenarios and projections by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—are the product of complex computer models involving multitudes of interacting assumptions.

The finding of Kesten Green and Scott Armstrong’s recent review that complexity increased forecast errors by 27% on average should give delegates at the Paris climate policy talks pause for thought. Occam’s razor would appear to apply to scientific forecasting, too.

At this year’s International Symposium on Forecasting, Kesten and Scott presented a review of the IPCC’s modeling procedures using a nine-item checklist on conformance with evidence-based guidance on simplicity in forecasting.

They found that the IPCC procedures have a “simplicity rating” of 19%. That figure contrasts with a simplicity rating of 93% for the Green, Armstrong and Soon no-change (no-trend) model of long-term global average temperatures.

Given the vast sums that have been spent on the IPCC process and how seriously the outputs are being taken by the Paris delegates, is it possible that alarm over dangerous manmade global warming is an exception to Occam’s razor in forecasting

Apparently not. The evidence presented by a notional bet between Scott Armstrong and Al Gore—represented by forecasts from the simple no-trend model and the IPCC model “business as usual” projected wa...


What is the difference … Catallaxy Files

between Kevin Rudd’s stimulus packages and Malcolm Turnbull’s innovation package?

So glad you asked – Paul Kelly explains (mind you that wasn’t his intention):

The standout feature of this week’s orchestration of innovation and science policy is the extent of support for Turnbull from third parties, notably media, universities, scientists, entrepreneurs, finance and virtually every segment of business. The trade unions have rarely looked so irrelevant.

Every rent-seeker and his dog was on board for Rudd’s stimulus packages and every rent-seeker and his dog, excluding the union movement, is on board for Turnbull’s innovation policy.

In the end we’re going to see a lot of government taxpayer money wasted for no return. On the positive side, however, nobody will die or have their house burnt down.

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Sunday, 13 December


Turnbull, Shorten and the next election Independent Australia

Turnbull, Shorten and the next electionBob Ellis is now convinced Shorten will win the next election. read now...


Farewell 2015 — you could have been worse The Political Sword

It is common at this time of the year to reflect on what was, what could have been and how it all manages to fit into the ‘scheme of things’. This article is the 50th piece posted to The Political Sword in 2015 — and, if we didn’t have enough to do, late in January we changed the look and feel of our website as well as commencing a second site TPS Extra, where the concept is for shorter ad-hoc articles on issues of the day. Given that each Political Sword article runs for somewhere between 1500 and 2500 words, somewhere around 100,000 words have been written, coded and presented for you to think about. At the time of writing 45 articles have appeared on the Extra site — of varying lengths to address a current issue.

At the end of 2014, we started our annual reflection with the following:

It was a year in which we saw Abbott and his cronies trying to destroy the country and make us a paradise for the neo-liberals, the neo-cons and the economists that support them — and, of course, big business. We saw the worst budget in living memory and have, so far, only been saved from its full ramifications by the senate. We saw Clive Palmer appear with Al Gore to talk about the importance of climate change but, at the same time, cave in to support the repeal of the carbon price. We have seen Abbott, more through luck than design, deflect the budget issue and ‘bask’ in the glory of the world stage, taking on the Russian bear and alienating our closest Asian neighbour. He has ‘stopped the boats’ but also stopped government transparency in the process. He is undertaking more privatisation of government services and...


Stalkin' Shorten Independent Australia

Stalkin' ShortenThe News Corp newshounds are on a mission to Kill Bill. read now...


And Yuri Geller can bend spoons with the power of his mind Catallaxy Files

First this, which might get lost in the wash of today’s events: Malcolm Turnbull has lifted Tony Abbott’s wind power investment ban.

Malcolm Turnbull has lifted Tony Abbott’s controversial ban on government investment in wind power, in his first major break from the former regime’s environmental policy.

Fairfax Media can reveal that Environment Minister Greg Hunt has issued the Clean Energy Finance Corporation with new orders that negate the Abbott government’s June decree, which prohibited the $10 billion green bank from investing in new wind power projects. . . .

Under the new mandate, the corporation will be allowed to invest in any wind projects provided they involve “emerging and innovative” technology, although it does encourage it to “focus on offshore wind technologies”.

This is what innovation apparently means: wasting our money on useless projects that will never provide any benefit to anyone other than those who get to spend the money (see the NBN for the prototype). The reality is you cannot trust them to keep their word. And why this is especially grievous is that the agreement signed in Paris commits the government to do precisely nothing it does not want to. If they are stupid enough to fall for all of this, then they can continue believing that Yuri Geller can bend spoons with the power of his mind and act on this belief. This is from Skeptics Central in London, explaining how empty the agreement is.

London 12 December: Dr Benny Peiser, the director of the Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF), has welcomed the non-binding and toothless UN climate agreement which was adopted in Paris tonight.*) Dr Peise...


Why Australia doesn’t have a Bernie Sanders Independent Australia

Why Australia doesn’t have a Bernie SandersGerard May compares Australia's economic position with "The Great Recession" facing the U.S. and finds that we lack a social advocate like Bernie Sanders because young Australian voters have not known such struggle — yet. read now...


Should Male Feminists Know Their Place? Independent Australia

Should Male Feminists Know Their Place?How do white, straight, progressive men in Australia fight racism, sexism and homophobia without hijacking the movement from historically oppressed groups? Dr Benjamin T. Jones examines the role of the male feminist. read now...


Building a hell in heaven's despite, with Akker Dakker trowelling, or is that trolling?, away at the keyboard ... loon pond

(Above: the reptile readership on the move).

Speaking of anniversaries, as the commentariat is inclined to do - what easier way to assist with regurgitation? - it would be remiss of the reptiles not to celebrate Cronulla, and their glorious role in it ...

It will be recalled that the parrot got in to tepid water way back when ...

John has a good answer. He says that it seems that the police and the council are impotent here. All rhetoric and no action. My suggestion is to invite one of the biker gangs to be present in numbers at Cronulla railway station when these Lebanese thugs arrive. It would be worth the price of admission to watch these cowards scurry back onto the train for the return trip to their lairs. Australians old and new shouldn't have to put up with this scum. — 2GB, Alan Jones Show, 7th December, 2005

And so on and riotously forth, and naturally the parrot had his Billy Bunterish supporters:

Piers Akerman: It is absolute humbug and I suggest that any of your listeners who have any deep interest in this go to the website and read exactly what's taken place and they will reject ACMA absolutely, wholly. You have been dealt a very grave injustice…these people are a joke. Alan Jones: Well thank you for that. I mean the other concern that I have I suppose and you know me, I never talk about myself… — 2GB, Alan Jones Show, 12th April, 2007 (Media Watch, here)....


A Turdball Kind of Christmas.. Truth Seekers Musings

A Turdball kind of Christmas… With Christmas fast approaching, and things not looking really flash in the last couple of weeks for the Turdball  (and I use the term loosely   :razz:   ) “led” LNP. With the defection of  Macca, … Continue reading


Over the cliff: the climate agreement consumated Catallaxy Files


If all the industrial nations went down to zero emissions it wouldn’t be enough, not when more than 65% of the world’s carbon pollution comes from the developing world

John Kerry December 10 2015

An agreement on climate change action

On what is theoretically the final day plus one of the Paris Climate Change Conference, we have a final agreement. Delegates are lining up to get selfies with Al Gore.

Everyone has agreed that human emissions of carbon dioxide is a bad thing.  Everyone has agreed that we should do less of it in a way that is graduated by what nations see as their capability to reduce emissions and there is a goal to limit emissions so that global temperatures do not rise by more than 1.5C.

There is talk of justice, and building upon the agreement. Graham Lloyd’s is among the finest analyses

Different national interests
The vast number of square brackets around the previous draft texts reflect major differences.

Developing country representatives see the conference as an opportunity to extract additional support from a developed world that has fomented the hysteria surrounding anthropogenic induced global warming.  Third world countries seemingly had before them an offer, first made by Hillary Clinton, of $100 billion a year in aid. The third world knows that the sum will be diluted by rebadging – Australia has, for example, offered $1 billion with $800 million of this coming from existing aid disbursements. But it also knows that pressure will yield incremental sums.  Third world countries strongly favour emission commitments being tradeable and acquitted within their own borders.  This is something that Australia has now agreed to.

The rapidly developing group of develo...


The beginnings of Ashbygate Independent Australia

The beginnings of AshbygateIn a speech at the Ashbygate book launch on Thursday (10/12/15) in Caloundra, managing editor David Donovan explains how the book came to be. read now...

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Saturday, 12 December


Fight back Independent Australia

Fight backIn which national icons come to the rescue and set the world to rights... read now...


Abbott: the next Mark Latham Drag0nista's Blog

The Political Weekly: There’s nothing quite so pathetic as a self-deluded has-been politician, desperately trying to squawk their way back into the political spotlight, but in so doing only reinforcing the reason they were relegated to feather duster status in the first place.


New Music Through Old Ears: Kurt, Adele, Justin and Daisies Independent Australia

New Music Through Old Ears: Kurt, Adele, Justin and DaisiesIt’s time for some new music as entertainment editor John Turnbull returns to take a listen to new releases from soul diva Adele, grunge maestro Kurt Cobain, pop scrotum Justin Beiber and metal “supergroup” The Dead Dasies. read now...


The heart of Cardinal Pell No Place For Sheep

  Cardinal George Pell certainly has a heart condition, one that has been apparent to even the most casual observer for some considerable time. It could be thought of as heartlessness or a lack of heart in his attitude to survivors of sexual abuse by priests of Pell’s church. Pell has consistently placed victims and […]


Abbott gets it wrong again. And again. Independent Australia

Abbott gets it wrong again. And again.Deposed prime minister Tony Abbott has yet again exposed his deep ignorance of important matters to the watching world. This time in the field of religious affairs, in which he was believed to have had some actual training. Apparently not, writes Alan Austin from France. read now...


In which the dog botherer and the bromancer commit extreme acts of verbal violence ... or at least violent acts of verbal stupidity ... loon pond

Well there's nothing more to be said on that matter, thanks to Rowe, and more Rowe here.

But it does introduce, yet again, a religious theme for the day.

First let us look at the preliminary attempts to begin the quick sanctification and beatification of St. Chris.

Amongst the stunning EXCLUSIVES?

Will anyone tell them it's Xmas and the ABC has done a bunk like a politician leaving Canberra for the break ... or jolly Joe leaving his wife's rental accommodation ...

Does anyone out there notice the epic recycling of the BBC and Al Jazeera, as opposed to a little pointless fun?

Is there no end to the ABC axes the reptiles will grind?

Though the endless grinding away at Fairfax is equally priceless, and well worth what the pond paid fo...

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Friday, 11 December


Inequality Independent Australia

InequalityAll animals are equal, but some animals Trump others. read now...


Reist, porn and sexualisation. No Place For Sheep

  For a long time now, I’ve wondered how Melinda Tankard Reist is able to conduct her extensive and lengthy campaign against the “sexualisation” of girls, without addressing the sexual abuse of children. I can think of no more powerfully destructive act of “sexualisation” than childhood sexual abuse, and yet Ms Reist goes nowhere near […]


China's forgotten people of Xinjiang Independent Australia

China's forgotten people of XinjiangFew people know the names of Rebiya Kadeer or Dolkun Isa or the struggle for self-determination taking place in China’s far west for the people of Xinjiang. Lawrence Hamilton reports. read now...


This isn't helping No Right Turn

Speaking of ham-fisted anti-terror measures increasing radicalisation, Radio New Zealand has the appalling story of a kiwi Muslim questioned at the airport after visiting her family in Iraq. There seems to have been no justification for this questioning, and its primary effect is to reinforce the perception that Muslims aren't real kiwis and are enemies of the state who will not be left to live their lives in peace. Which is not exactly going to encourage a positive perception of the state which bullies them in this way, or encourage them to volunteer information which may result in others being similarly bullied.

Countering terrorism ultimately depends on community cooperation. And you don't get that by victimising and bullying an entire community. Instead, that just makes things worse. We have only to look at the UK or Australia for the consequences.


Making the problem worse No Right Turn

From the UK, a warning that ham-fisted anti-terror policing is radicalising Muslims:

UK authorities are radicalising young Muslims by tackling the terror threat in the wrong way, a former Home Office counter terrorism advisor has claimed.

Jahan Mahmood, who resigned from his government job over disagreements on counter-terrorism strategy, claims authorities are misrepresenting the severity of the threat facing the UK.

Mr Mahmood said far too many people were being arrested, with the majority never charged or convicted.


He claimed this led only to further radicalisation of already ostracised individuals, arrested on “very flimsy” evidence only to be released.

Apparently only 39 percent of those arrested in the UK under anti-terrorism legislation are ever charged. Which suggests a huge level of over-policing. And the experience of these unjustified arrests for the victims and their families and their communities is not exactly going to be a glowing recommendation of the British state. Instead, it makes it clear to them that the state regards them as an enemy and that they will not be permitted to peacefully get on with their lives like any other citizen. And that last bit - the basic denial of human dignity - is a chief driver of radicalisation and terrorism. Its hard to escape the conclusion that if the UK didn't look so hard for "terrorists", and didn't go around kicking in people's doors in the middle of the night because someone was seen wearing a hijab, they'd have a lot less of them.


ISIS fails to maintain anti-Muslim bigotry Independent Australia

ISIS fails to maintain anti-Muslim bigotryISIS is a misrepresentation of the Quran and does not reflect the true Muslim teachings — Bilal Cleland examines an open letter to the extremist group from 120 international scholars. read now...


The cost of austerity: Northland's forests No Right Turn

Back in October, Forest & Bird released drone footage of Northland's forests, showing them dead and dying due to rampant pests. The Department of Conservation should obviously be doing something about this, to prevent total ecological collapse. But they won't, because of budget cuts:

Six weeks after a Forest & Bird video revealed Northland native forests dying of neglect, the Department of Conservation (DoC) has admitted it has no plan or budget to save them and no intention of asking the government for more funding.

DoC manager for Northland Sue Reid made that clear this week to a meeting of the Northland Regional Council's environment committee.


"We have to show what we will achieve within our current budget, and it is not sustainable to just go cap-in-hand to the government for more money."

So, DoC is going to stand by in the face of a pressing ecological crisis because their Minister has cut their natural heritage management budget by $6 million and they're too chickenshit to ask for it back so they can do their job properly. It really makes you wonder what the point of them is. Meanwhile, National's austerity looks like it is going to cause permanent damage to Northland's forests.

...but I guess that just means more Swamp Kauri for Judith Collins' partner to export to China, right?


In the unreformed church of heavily honoured latter-day fossils ... loon pond

(Above: there's nothing like a papal bull to put the pond on high irony alert, and more from the most Divine Papist of them all here).

The pond is winding up for the year and will in a week or so be taking an Xmas break.

The war on Xmas this year has been exhausting, even though the only shot fired to date came from a reader drawing attention to the most excellent Embassy hosts traditional Dutch Sinterklass event in ACT with characters dressed in black face. 

Ah the Dutch, the sensitive Dutch ... no wonder the Bolter deserves a place on the ABC, along with Pauline Hanson ...

And so to the pond's awards for the year, a little premature, but to be expected when dealing with ejaculatory scribbling.

Of course Tony Abbott is already enjoying his title of 'loon pond politician of the year' and those titans, the Bolter and Akker Dakker have been e...


Seven days: The beginning of the end for Turnbull Independent Australia

Seven days: The beginning of the end for TurnbullMalcolm Turnbull's inability to deal with the actions of Brough, Morrison, Pyne et al, together with the Abbott legacy, have set in motion the end of the "Turnbull Adventure", writes Bob Ellis. read now...

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Thursday, 10 December


Dual Dog Blog: Summer Starts DUCK POND

I do not seem able to complete on time the weekly presentation of photos. It was always going to be a more difficult task with the passage of time. Now, there are emergent signs that I am no longer physically capable of completing the walks. Let’s hope that conclusion is inaccurate.

Still the fact remains, if different things are done there will be different results. I assume that the numbers of people who might be interested is vanishingly small.

One of the things I notice from the prior week is the mash-up of daily photos. I think that approach is a mistake. Everyday is different. The music is  “Easy Day” by Kevin MacLeod:

Who knew the local primary school has an affiliation with Bhasa and Indonesia? I should take Pepe from next door for a walk more often and learn more about the neighbourhood.

Then there is the symbolism of the cut grass and the potential for bush fires. The daily temperatures have been widely fluctuating. As can be seen from the creek there has not been much rain.

So this week  I tried to gather together photos taken on the same day. Nonetheless, it is not  a deliberative and careful assemblage. “How it Began” is performed by Silent Partner:



Duckgate: A tale from the seat of Dunkley Independent Australia

Duckgate: A tale from the seat of DunkleyFormer Liberal Party MP and now hopeful pre-selection candidate for the Federal seat of Dunkley Donna Bauer is in troubled waters over a questionable Facebook post, says Oliver Burton-Smith. read now...


Stuff happens. Live with it, or die, who cares, or how to be a Lomborgian philosopher ... loon pond

(Above: and more Moir here).

The pond has been studiously avoiding the Lomborgians during the current Paris talks, but felt an obligation - the Lomborgians are hot contenders for the pond's 'lizard Oz climate science scribbler of the year' award - to take notice of today's effort, which might just sway the judges before they scribble the winning name and tuck it into the envelope.

It's true that it is feeble, and short, and clearly written in haste, and as a result, has even greater charm:

The formatting leaves something to be desired - much like Google's current fiddling with the way blogs are formatted, which has produced something of a total fuck up and led to many tears and much frustration at the pond - but let us not use form as a distraction from content ...



The vandals are back No Right Turn

Back in March, a pair of environmental vandals in Auckland tried to have a stand of 500 year old kauri cut down. People rallied to protect the trees, and after days of protest and a treetop occupation, they were saved, with the landowners agreeing not to cut them.

But they lied. Today, the chainsaws were back again - as are the protesters. The good news is that the contractors hired to do the deed have walked off the job after being made aware of the issue; they care about their reputation. And it would be a brave tree-cutting firm who took it on now. But now that the vandals have gone back on their word once, any future promise they make simply cannot be trusted. The natural suspicion will be that they are simply saying whatever it takes to get the protesters to go away, so they can murder these trees when no-one is watching.

Ultimately, the only thing that will protect these trees from the chainsaw is robust planning protection from the Auckland Council. While the National Party, which supports environmental vandalism, has tried to make this difficult, it is still possible. And the Auckland Council should get a bloody move on in doing it.


Follow the money to climate science denial Independent Australia

Follow the money to climate science denialA Greenpeace investigation uncovers a complex climate science denial machine involving cash from big business in exchange for "peer review" studies. Graham Readfearn from DeSmogBlog reports. read now...


Spy propaganda and our national museum No Right Turn

Last month I highlighted the New Zealand Intelligence Community's Draft NZIC Communications Strategy 2014-2017, which included (among other things) a plan for a "museum exhibition" to "help deliver our key messages". While the proposed venue was redacted, there was only one real place where such an exhibition would be held: Te Papa. So I sent them an OIA request asking whether they'd been in negotiations about an exhibition with the NZIC or any of our component agencies, and if so, all communications relating to it and their vision for the exhibition. I got the response yesterday, and the answer, of course, is "yes". But the good news is that the plans have been shelved:

Te Papa had some engagement with the New Zealand Intelligence Community regarding their collections including possible collaboration with Te Papa for an exhibition. In March 2014 a brief 'Idea Summary' document was drafted and agreement to proceed to a proposal stage was approved.

Due to changes in Te Papa's long-term exhibition planning in July 2014, ideas for an exhibition With the NZ Intelligence Community did not proceed beyond this stage. No exhibition proposal document was developed, nor was further negotiation about an exhibition with the NZ Intelligence Community undertaken.

Te Papa doesn't currently have any plans for an exhibition on the New Zealand intelligence community.

Why is it good news that the plans have been shelved? Because as the communications strategy made clear, the aim was essentially for a propaganda exhibition designed to boost the reputation of the...


Getting married is not terrorism No Right Turn

Radio New Zealand reports breathlessly that none of the SIS's supposed "Jihadi brides" has had their passport cancelled - meaning they could be "free to return to New Zealand". Well, of course they haven't, and of course they are. Cancelling a passport requires that a person be a danger to the security of New Zealand (or another country) because they intend to engage in "a terrorist act within the meaning of section 5 of the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002". To point out the obvious, getting married is not terrorism.

As for the "problem" of "returning to New Zealand", every New Zealand citizen has the right to enter New Zealand at any time, and the government is required to facilitate this by issuing emergency travel documents even to people whose passports they have cancelled for "terrorism". More generally, the idea that we can or should effectively exile New Zealanders from their own country is abhorrent, and Radio New Zealand should be ashamed of themselves for propagating it.


In which the pond honours its politician of the year ... loon pond

What a happy, beautiful synchronicity of minds this morning brings:

More Pope here and more Rowe here, and so to the business of the day.

It has taken a tremendous act of will for the pond to ignore frivolous distractions announced yesterday. Like this poignant juxtaposition:

And this poll (warning, spoiler alert):



Ashbygate launches: Big Bill, Brough and the book Independent Australia

Ashbygate launches: Big Bill, Brough and the bookWith Independent Australia launching the Ashbygate book today, author Ross Jones takes a look at the electoral battle for Fisher, Mal Brough’s seat, in the heart of which the launch will be held. read now...


New Matilda furore dangerously misses the point No Place For Sheep

  The point of the Jack Kilbride article published in New Matilda earlier this week, is that women are responsible for adjusting our behaviours so that we do not incite male aggression and violence against us. The website has since published three reactions to Kilbride’s piece, one supporting him, one attacking him, and one likening […]


Chicago radio, This Is Hell!, on Disaster Capitalism Antony Loewenstein

I’ve been interviewed by Chicago radio program, This Is Hell! (“Manufacturing Dissent since 1996”) about my book Disaster Capitalism:


ABC Radio Sunshine Coast on Disaster Capitalism Antony Loewenstein

I was interviewed by Australia’s ABC Radio Sunshine Coast about profiting from misery and my book, Disaster Capitalism:

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Truffles Independent Australia

TrufflesThe amazing adventures of a fantastically rich fungus. read now...

Monday, 09 November


Shorten’s union troubles aren’t over yet Drag0nista's Blog

The royal commission into union corruption may have cleared Bill Shorten, but the Labor leader is still facing pressure over his party's union links and in many ways his job has just been made harder.

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