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Saturday, 16 January


Electoral redistribution in federal seats and what it might mean on NSW Far North Coast in 2016 North Coast Voices

Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), Proposed redistribution of New South Wales into electoral divisions, October 2015:

A total of 944,592 electors or 19.42 per cent of electors in NSW would change from their current federal electoral division under the proposed redistribution. Once a redistribution is final, the AEC automatically transfers existing elector enrolments, where required, to the correct electoral division.

The augmented Electoral Commission has adopted boundary changes* in the Cowper,Page, and Richmond electorates proposed by the Redistribution Committee for New South Wales.

Electoral boundary changes on NSW Far North Coast according to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC):


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Friday, 15 January


Screen Themes — The Revenant vs The Academy Awards Independent Australia

Screen Themes — The Revenant vs The Academy AwardsAs awards season kicks into gear and celebrities work out the best way to pat themselves on the back, entertainment editor John Turnbull takes a look at The Revenant and ponders Leonardo DiCaprio’s chances of finally winning an Oscar. read now...


NO Keynesian stimulus has ever succeeded in bringing about a recovery Catallaxy Files

Some ideas just will not die, no matter how much damage they do. Keynesian economics is one of those. So let me say it again: NO Keynesian stimulus has ever succeeded in bringing about a recovery. Not one, not ever. Go on, you Keynesians out there. Name one, anywhere, any time. Name a single occasion when an increase in public spending brought a recession to an end and returned an economy with high unemployment to full employment. The General Theory was published in 1936. Since then, there is not a single occasion when an increase in public spending led to an economic recovery. Every pre-Keynesian economist would have understood not just this fact, but also why it was so. But such is the dead hand of received ideas, that economists continue to push for an increase in public spending to bring recessions to an end.

So here is the latest set of economic instructions, this time from Canada. The headline reads Economy needs bigger deficit spending with the sub-head, “economist tells Ottawa now is the time to spend, not worry about balanced books”. This is how it begins:

Ottawa should not be afraid to spend a lot of money it doesn’t have quickly in order to give the economy a shot in the arm, an influential economist says.

That was the gist of a note Thursday from David Rosenberg, the chief economist and strategist at Toronto-based money manager Gluskin Sheff Inc.

During the recent election campaign, the Liberals ran on a pledge to run “modest” deficits in the $10-billion range for the next few years, in an attempt to stimulate the economy.

Debt-to-GDP can come down even with deficits, economists say.

But Rosenberg says more drastic measures are warranted, noting that Ottawa could run deficits of up to $24 billion a year all the way until 2020 and still be below the average 70 per cent debt...


ARENA tender suggests solar PV costs to fall below $A100/MWh Independent Australia

ARENA tender suggests solar PV costs to fall below $A100/MWhARENA shortlists 22 renewable energy projects for $100 million funding with solar projects falling well below its benchmark. RenewEconomy's Giles Parkinson reports noting that the Turnbull government is yet to withdraw legislation seeking to close down the CEFC and ARENA. read now...


Journalistic standards on the line ... loon pond

Well after that little burst of teh Donald and teh attached hair, the pond is proud to present an Oz editorial with which the pond agrees ...

Sound the alarums, let off the fireworks, is this a fairly unique event? (Hmm, must consult the ABC's style guide on that one, perhaps it'll do better than their broadcasters) ...

Indeed, indeed. Who can argue with that? Apparently there's a huge twitter war raging about this, which is another reason the pond is glad it tends to ignore the twittering. Science doesn't come in 140 characters.

But the editorial deploring fuzzy thinking, conspiracy theories and nonsensical superstitions, perhaps including the transubstantive kind - oh what will Gre...


Not quite corporate welfare Catallaxy Files

If you don’t already subscribe the the CIS’ Ideas@TheCentre weekly email you should.

This week Trisha Jha makes the obvious point about ASADA being a waste of public money:

Of course, nowhere in what ASADA does is there a compelling case for why it has to be done by government and funded by the taxpayer, at a cost just shy of $17 million.


But I disagree with what she says next:

But the primary beneficiary of this is sport itself, and the multi-billion dollar economy that exists around it.

I’m more inclined to agree with...


Yesterday's news Independent Australia

Yesterday's newsGee reflects on the great artists of Australian politics. read now...


Jamie Clements' resignation closes bleak chapter in ALP history Independent Australia

Jamie Clements' resignation closes bleak chapter in ALP historyThe turbulent reign of Jamie Clements as state secretary of the NSW Labor Party is over, with a hopeful new era at Sussex Street being ushered in with his successor, Kaila Murnain. Peter Wicks comments. read now...


Some thoughts on the WADA/CAS outcome Catallaxy Files

So several people have asked me what I think of the Essendon decision and whether I have changed my mind on that matter. I have been toying with the idea of writing something longer but it seems I do need to put up a post on my thoughts.

So here we have an interesting situation:
1. There is no evidence in the public domain of actual doping.
2. Two tribunals have (in secret) looked at exactly the same lack of evidence in the public domain and one has ruled that no doping occurred and the other ruled that it did occur.

The AFL Anti-doping Tribunal had three Australian members: David Jones, John Nixon, and Wayne Henwood. The CAS also had three members: Michael Beloff, Romano Subiotto, and James Spigelman. Beloff and Subiotto are not Australian. In all six “judges” have looked at the evidence and, at most, three “judges” and very likely just two “judges” have formed the opinion that doping occurred. That difference of opinion has been explained by the WADA chief:

It’s the standard of proof you’re looking at, not the evidence itself. It’s the way you construe the evidence and say how much is required to get to the situation where a breach of the rules has been made.

Quite simply, and in a colloquial way, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said it was the ‘strand approach’ — in other words, you get each strand of evidence and line it up to see if it’s a strong enough rope. Rather than the ‘chain approach’, which was adopted by the other tribunal decision where if one chain is not there then whole thing falls over.

And that’s quite a distinct difference in how you link evidence.

When you have no evidence, you have to change the standard of proof – that it the overarching lesson I took away...


Conspiracy and censorship Catallaxy Files

The Australian newspaper has been reporting on a PhD thesis submitted for examination at the University of Wollongong.

The University of Wollongong has accepted a PhD thesis from a prominent anti-vaccination activist that warns that global agencies such as the World Health ­Organisation are colluding with the pharmaceutical industry in a massive conspiracy to spruik immunisation.

Hardly a conspiracy at all I would have thought. Global agencies, national governments, most of civil society, and almost every intelligent person are all spruiking immunisation. The pharmaceutical industry are the people who provide the immunisations. But moving along:

Senior immunology academic John Dwyer, spokesman for the Friends of Science in Medicine, said he would write to the university and express his concerns. “The ­candidate (Ms Wilyman) has endorsed a ­conspiracy theory where all sorts of organisations with claimed vested interests are putting pressure on WHO to hoodwink the world into believing that vaccines provide more benefits than they cause harm,” Professor Dwyer said.

This is the nub of the matter – an anti-vaxxer has written a thesis and has had it sent out for examination. The thesis is a humanities thesis not a science or medical thesis. Reading the article in the Australian I get the impression that the examiners have passed the thesis. Now third parties want the thesis to be failed. I think I agree with the supervisor:

Professor Martin dismissed concerns about the paper, saying they were “not genuine concerns about quality and probity but instead part of a campaign to denigrate viewpoints they oppose”.

The fact of the matter is that much of the humanitie...


By Grabthar's hammer, how adept the reptiles are at obligingly reprinting ABC statements .. loon pond

(Above: Moir's flogging prints of these here. Hmm, wonder if he'd do one for the pond with that immortal Tamworth instruction, get around behind Barners, get around behind).

By Grabthar's hammer, by the suns of Worvan, the pond has suffered a blow this day, but never give up, never surrender, because the good news is that we are all feminists now ...

That's a tendency restricted to Middle Eastern men?

Oh wait, that's just the reptiles of Oz importing all that's vile and repulsive in the United States and the WSJ and the house of Murdoch, but while we've got you on the line Bret, there's a few other men with difficulties down under ...



In the run up to the federal election, we need to talk about problem gambling Independent Australia

In the run up to the federal election, we need to talk about problem gamblingIn the run-up to this year's federal election, isn't it time we talked about problem gambling again? Former gambling industry employee, Matthew Coscia, having witnessed the lack of will by governments to act, decided to start his own campaign. read now...


Commonwealth Ombudsman Annual Report 2014-2015 with a sidedish of Shorter Commonwealth Ombudsman North Coast Voices

Wading through annual reports can be a bit of a chore so I give you some highlights from the Commonwealth Ombudsman Annual Report 2014-2015 with a Shorter Ombudsman cheat sheet for those unable to find time to read the full document:

Department of Human Services & Centrelink

In 2014–15 we received 8116 complaints about DHS programs. This represents a 21.5% increase against the 6682 complaints we received in 2013–14, largely as a result of the 26.5% increase in the number of Centrelink complaints. Complaints about the Centrelink program made up 77.4% of complaints about DHS, followed by 18.1% about the Child Support program. Of the remaining complaints, most were about Medicare and the early release of superannuation benefits programs…..
In 2013–14 DHS paid out $159.2 billion to customers in respect of programs across the Australian Government and ‘touched the lives of around 99 per cent of Australians’ through the delivery of payments and services.1 It is inevitable that errors and delays will occur in an operation of this scale. However, the potential for these errors to impact on the lives of a significant number….


OH, WHAT A FEELING!: vandalising a beach just for the fun of it North Coast Voices

It happens on the NSW North Coast in holiday periods. Dragging the weekly shopping out to the car you suddenly notice the number of big, sleek, brutal looking four-wheel drive vehicles with well-known brand names and number plates which indicate they might be holidaymakers.

Every year somewhere along the coastline the drivers of these vehicles prove the relationship between images from car advertisements like this…..

Image from Toyota “Top to Bottom” ad campaign

And stories like this….


Thursday, 14 January


Shadowproof interview on Disaster Capitalism Antony Loewenstein

Late last year I was interviewed by US website Shadowproof about my book, Disaster Capitalism. It was a live conversation with any number of subscribers tuning in from across the world:


So what was it related to? Catallaxy Files

Picked up on Instapundit where the story read:

PRECAUTIONARY MEASURE “NOT RELATED TO TERRORISM” IN SIDNEY, AUSTRALIA: Sydney Opera House evacuated and Manly ferry cancelled during police operation.

So they can’t spell Sydney in America. This, however, is what they were referring to:

The Sydney Opera House precinct reopened to the public Thursday afternoon after a police operation caused staff and tourists to be evacuated from the landmark.

Police simultaneously conducted an operation across the harbour in Manly as a “precautionary measure” following information on social media.

“Following information on social media, police conducted an operation in the vicinity of the Opera House and Manly as a precautionary measure,” police said.

It is understood the operation, which began just after lunchtime and was over by mid-afternoon, was not related to terrorism.

Well, that’s a relief.


Obama thanks Iran for spitting in his eye Catallaxy Files


This is pretty well where things have washed up: Iran Releases Sailors After U.S. Promises ‘Not to Repeat Such Mistakes’. There is also this, Iran’s Humiliation of Barack Obama is Now Complete. Meanwhile, perhaps out of embarrassment, this is so far down the page on Drudge that for all practical purposes they might as well have left it out.

Iran says seizure of boats lesson to ‘troublemakers’ in Congress…
Warns Missiles Locked on US Aircraft Carrier…
Releases Humiliating Images of Sailors in Captivity…
Sanctions Seen Lifted by Monday as Nuke Deal Implemented…
TRUMP: Why isn’t Iran releasing other Americans?

It’s that first one that is the truly interesting link. This is the entire story:

Iran’s army chief said on Wednesday the seizure of two U.S. navy boats and their 10 sailors should be a lesson to members the U.S. Congress trying to impose new sanctions on Tehran.

“This incident in the Persian Gulf, which probably will not be the American forces’ last mistake in the region, should be a lesson to troublemakers in the U.S. Congress,&#822...

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