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Monday, 25 January


Dog Blog: Small Steps DUCK POND

After his operation relating to his Aural Haematoma, Dexter is required to wear what our friend Ursula calls “an Elizabethan Collar”.

I started by taking him out separately for a short walk down the street (and back across my neighbours backyard, since he was on holiday). Hannah would not be happy to be left alone. So I took both of them as far as the look out. Admittedly, Dexter in his crash collar bumps into everything along the way, which is not desirable since it too easy to injure his ear. I take more chances than I should. So we then went to the next step and engaged the full circuit.

While it was raining, Hannah might be judiciously allowed off the lead. Otherwise, she is likely to have to contend with other dogs and possibly motor bikes. Most of the time it is better to take the safe option. It does not follow that everyone has the experience or aptitude to deal with dogs.

Dogs, like lambs (a reference to Invasion Day) are sentient beings, and it is not surprising that they can recognize emotions. Next, it will be alleged they are not conscious. We assume that human consciousness is necessarily superior in realization as distinct from potential.The odd feature, as can be observed, is that humans not only cling to delusions of reality, but strive for that state. The Invaders never gave any credit to the continuity of culture of the landowners they murdered or otherwise killed.

Small steps can take us in one direction or another. Dexter seems to be coping. Durin...


The only way Tony Abbott will leave the Australian Parliament is if the voters of Warringah kick him out North Coast Voices

Apparently desperate to hang on to his seat, parliamentary salary and entitlements, as well as intent on regaining the prime ministerial position he now recalls he ‘left’ rather than was sacked from – far-right politician Anthony John “Tony” Abbott is renominating in the Warringah electorate as a candidate in the 2016 federal general election.



Port of Yamba Expansion Deconstructed*: Des Euen is running out of timetable very fast North Coast Voices

This was Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson in February 2011, on his own initiative, endorsing the heavy industrialisation of the Port of Yamba:
Click on image to enlarge

This was the Mayor in March a year later when approached by a journalist from The Daily Examiner:

Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson was succinct in his opposition to the proposal.
"In the words of Darryl Kerrigan (in The Castle), 'tell 'em they're dreaming' - it's not going to happen," he said.


On an official visit to Italy in May 2015 Australian Attorney-General George Brandis secretly met with Royal Commission witness Cardinal George Pell in Rome and still refuses to explain himself North Coast Voices

No wonder Labor’s Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC MP decided to take Attorney-General Senator George Brandis QC to court in order to see his official diary containing the weekly agenda between 18 September 2013 and 12 May 2014 – appears it’s not just about an alleged lack of consultation over environmental legal agency and arts funding cuts.

The following also suggests more than one motive may lie behind the Attorney-General currently using taxpayer funds to appeal the Administrative Appeals Tribunal decision in the Federal Court, in order to continue to block Dreyfus from seeing his ministerial diary.

This is a snapshot of a 4 May 2015...

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Sunday, 24 January


Tim and Karl, separated at birth? Catallaxy Files

Forget about bushfires and the budget for a moment and contemplate the remarkable resemblance between our colleague Tim Blair and our other late colleague Karl Popper (aged 28).

In a book about Michael Polanyi and his generation (Popper, Kuhn and others) there is a very clear head and shoulders pic of Karl in 1930. This caused some amusement among Tim’s close associates. Checking the Google page of Popper images there are a couple of Tim among a lot of others where there is no resemblance (yet).

A strange image on the page which heads a glowing reference to Popper by Herbert Gintis.

Herbert Gintis is a game theorist, and the author of what is, in my opinion, the best beginner-book on Game Theory out there: Game Theory Evolving. Interestingly, he is also the author of a boat-load of Amazon book reviews. Here’s one he wrote for the book, The Myth of the Framework, a collection of Karl Popper’s essays:

… Popper was the avowed and indefatigable enemy of Freudian psychology, Hegelian/Marxian philosophy and political theory, and other highly emotive and value-laden ideologies that appealed to True Believers but had no serious roots in the scientific method. If he were alive today, he would be launching his attacks on post-modernism, creationism, and other such drivel that has taken away the rationality of so many smart people in recent years. So, I Love Popper! I’m sure you will love Popper, too, unless you are among the decorticate folk who believe that some ideas are just too precious to be subjected to empirical testing.

“I may be wrong and you may be right,” says Popper, “and by an effort, we may get nearer to the truth.” (p...


No excuses Catallaxy Files

From the Sky News Morrison interview:

Paul Kelly: What’s the message you’re going to give the Australian people in this election year about the budget and about spending? Now, we know you’re reducing spending over three years as a proportion of GDP from about 25.9% to about 25.2%, – which is a modest, modest and incremental progress…
Scott Morrison: But difficult.

Let’s roll the history: Peter Costello gave his first budget speech on 20 August 1996 and it related to the 1997-98 financial year. According to the budget papers in 1996-97 government spending as a percentage of GDP was 25.1%, the next year it was 23.9%. A difference of 1.2% – yet we are invited to believe that Scott Morrison is struggling to cut 0.7% over three years!


What Costello said; what Morrison heard Catallaxy Files

Peter Costello yesterday, writing in the Australian:

As is well known, in 1996 we decided to balance the budget over a two-year time frame by cutting expenditure.

We did not decide to increase revenue to match spending. We decided to cut spending to match revenue. Over the next two years expenditure was cut to 23.9 per cent of gross domestic product, a reduction of 1.7 per cent of GDP, and the budget was balanced.

At the time our critics said this would lead to recession. There were grounds for fearing unemployment then because the rate was 8.4 per cent compared to 5.8 per cent today. In the short term unemployment got worse but as our strategy began to work we made major strides in reducing it.

Scott Morrison this morning, on Sky News:

That’s spot on, and that’s exactly the point Peter Costello was making yesterday which I… He wasn’t saying that we shouldn’t have tax reform. He’s saying that you shouldn’t be jacking up taxes to achieve a surplus and I agree with him. I mean, our revenue as a percentage of GDP over the budget and forward estimates are rising and they’re rising partly because of the significance of bracket creep. They will rise more strongly, naturally, if we can lift the rate of GDP growth, particularly nominal GDP growth.

Now, back in those years, they had a much stronger rate of nominal GDP growth than we have today. World growth is flatter than it was then. Commodity prices are lower. All of those things are different to what was happening back then.

But you’re right to say the way to do this is to focus on what should be the government as a share of the economy. And history tells us that if it’s anything more than a quarter, then you are o...


Decency, righteousness and the add-more-morality error Skepticlawyer

Having what we might call a moral sense, but which is better called a normative sense, has been basic to the evolutionary success of homo sapiens. The ability to accept, and internalise, constraints on behaviour hugely expands the range of practicable social interactions. Particularly important over the longer run in “scaling up” human social interaction has been the constraint of accepting the right to control specific objects, for that allows exchange to take place. The virtue of exchange is that it permits positive social interactions in the simple swap sense–this thing I have for that thing you have–between individuals with little or no other social connection: an obvious prerequisite for significant “scaling up” of human interaction and resource use.

But the normative sense lowers the costs, and so expands the ambit of, embedded exchange between people with strong social connections, such as those which operated within foraging groups–those who hunt and those who gather sharing the fruits of their labour while shaming or excluding those who attempt to free ride. In other words, normatively constraining aggression–whether active (protection of life and person, blocking theft or deceit) or passive (taking without contributing)–hugely reduces the actual or potential costs of transacting, thereby greatly expanding the range of possible transactions. The increased intensity and extent of socially connected interactions within foraging groups was likely the key arena within which the normative sense evolved due to the high level of interaction and information (pdf) within said groups.



Scott Morrison – I’m coming for your money Catallaxy Files

As reported fresh in this morning’s OZ, the Treasurer, the Hon. Scott Morrison has proposed taking tax changes to the next election.

As reported in the Oz and quoted from SkyNews, Morrison says:

“There’s plenty of talk of compensation for people who are receiving transfer payments and this is something that obviously important given the context of a tax debate. But what about the compensation for people who are running businesses, going to work every day, backing themselves every day? There’s no compensation for them if we leave the tax rates where they are.”

So basically, he wants to compensate transfer payment recipients, people running business, people going to work every day and people back themselves every day.

He is absolutely silent on cutting expenses.  He also does not want to rule things in or out.

So how will this be achieved and funded?.  Will the government start on a large money printing exercise to fund this – not ruling anything in or out?

Or more likely, will they take with one hand what they give with the other – raise other taxes to give compensation.  Let’s not also lose sight of the mass distortion effect of this but also the 10-15% sunk cost from passing funds through the Canberra resource washing machine.

Who needs Wayne Swan when you have Scott Morrison.


More platitudes from Wayne Morrison Catallaxy Files

download (6)I am now firmly of the view that our new Treasurer is not up to the job.  The fact that he was never Assistant Treasurer, Finance Minister or shadows of these roles (including of Treasurer) really shows.

When he talks about local and global economic developments, it is around Year 12 level – and we all know what a complete lot of tosh is school economics.

And as Sinc picked up, all that drivel about the Australian economy transitioning like the Chinese economy.  What the ???  The Australian economy has been a service-dominated economy for decades.

And check out his latest pronoucment: he will not countenance superannuation being used as a tax-free inheritance scheme.

Here are two things, mate:

  • There is actually a 15 per cent tax imposed on beneficiaries of (part of) superannuation inheritances which is much more than can be said for the inheritance of the family home, which is completely tax-free;
  • With the annual concession contributions cap set at $35,000 per year for those 50 and over and $30,000 per year for those under 50, the idea that superannuation is some sort of tax preferred wealth-maximising arrangement is a complete joke.

Wayne is on the record as saying that no one needs more than average weekly earnings to live on when they retire (around $77,000 per year).  I’m not sure that’s per person or for couples.

But here’s a thought:  let us cap the maximum yearly payouts in the Parliamentary Superannuation Scheme (a fair wack of parliamentarians are still on this scheme) at $77,000 per year – I’m sure the Senate would vote for this.

And while Wayne is at it, he could do the same for all state and federal p...


Boots on the ground Independent Australia

Boots on the groundAustralia might be enamoured with Malcolm Turnbull's charm but his indecisive stance on war does nothing to assuage his nation's insecurity and may awaken the "Monkey Pod" stirring within his own party,​ writes David Tyler. read now...


Is this a joke? Catallaxy Files

download (5)Is it possible that the Turnbull government could support the nomination of former sociopath (query: former?) and prime minister, Kevin Rudd, to be Secretary-General of the United Nations?

How could this government think that it could be appropriate to support the candidacy of such a flawed personality and whose prime ministership was so strongly contested by the Coalition when in opposition?

The federal government says it will consider backing Kevin Rudd for a top United Nations job if the former prime minister puts his hat in the ring.

But Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says the former Labor leader has yet to apply to replace UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon when his term expires at the end of this year.

“Should Kevin Rudd nominate, then of course the Australian government would consider what sort of support he would require,” she told reporters in New York.

But if that is not bad enough, we have Julie Bishop making a complete goose of herself spruiking the ridiculous Innovation Statement in the US.  (I guess a trip with the boyfriend – I call him Ken Doll – to the US is not a bad perk.)

And to think that Australian taxpayers contribute to these ridiculous G’Day USA ‘gala’ event.

Australia is “unleashing the full potential” of the nation’s entrepreneurs on the global market in a new phase of economic diplomacy, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has told a high-powered New York audience.

The move comes as Australia transitions from a focus on resource-based investment to a broader, more diverse economy, Ms Bishop says.

The ad...


More pointless red-tape: loud groan Catallaxy Files

When the Abbott government came to office, there was talk that the pointless and burdensome Workplace Gender Equality Agency would be abolished.

Can anyone point to one noticeable impact that this authoritarian-sounding behemoth has achieved anything at all apart from keeping even more value-detracting HR staff – sorry People and Culture – filling out forms and harassing front-line managers who are trying to get on with their jobs?

The Abbott government did promise that there would be no extension to the reporting requirements imposed by the WGEA (recall that, Senator Abetz?), but here again we see a government consumed by soft mush, undermining the competitiveness of Australian businesses.  Can anyone see the difference between the Coalition and Labor governments now?

What happened to all that bragging about deregulation days?

Oh, 136 complaints is just trivial out of a workforce of 11.5 million, nearly half of whom are women.

COMPANIES will be compelled to provide information about how they treat the new mums in their business, under strengthened gender reporting requirements which come into force this year.

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency will now require companies with more than 100 employees to provide data on the proportion of women who quit or who are made redundant after a period of parental leave.

The additional reporting requirement is designed to shine a light on the discrimination against pregnant women and new mums, a problem former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick found was rife throughout corporate Australia.

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s director Libby Lyons said the data would be used to provide an insight into corporate culture and she warned action would be taken against companies where an exodus of new mums is identified. (Oh please, what action would that be?)



The pond would rather welcome back Kotter than Miranda the Devine and the rest of the gang of misfits ... and the pond enjoyed Kotter as much as a scientologist enjoys Xenu ... loon pond

Yes, more properly formatted Rowe here, and welcome back Malware, to the land where a dinkum rort can remain a splendid rort, and copper and "the Optus HFC the" (it's better in German "die Optus HFC die") a wondrous futurist's vision ...

This Sunday, the pond hopes, in a meditative way, to promote the end of blogging at News Corp, as it welcomes back Miranda the Devine and Xenu.

With the Bolter fled to New Zealand (it could have been worse, it could have been to the new Canada), there are only a few warriors remaining ... and they've taken to twittering to be as offensive as they can ...



A poet’s manifesto: The Republic of Australia (Part 2) Independent Australia

A poet’s manifesto: The Republic of Australia (Part 2)Timoshenko Aslanides continues his manifesto for The Republic of Australia — a modern, revitalised and vibrant sovereign nation in which innovation and culture would flourish. read now...


The outcome of three complaints about newspaper articles North Coast Voices

Australian Press Council dealing with unsubstantiated serious allegations and unfairness, lack of balance and inadequate remedial action:

Adjudication 1659: Complainant/WA Today (December 2015)The Press Council has considered a complaint about an article in WA Today on 9 May 2015 headlined “Bong claims Santa Maria teacher’s job: You’ve got to be toking?”, which was also posted by the publication on Twitter and Facebook.
The article referred to a teacher losing her position at a named Catholic girls’ school as a result of a “social media incident”, said to involve a photograph of her holding a bong . The incident had been referred to in a local radio station’s “Rumour File” segment. The WA Today article was accompanied by a stock image of a person apparently smoking a bong. That article suggested a topless photograph of the teacher may also have been behind the loss of her position.
The Council concluded that drugs played no part in the teacher’s resignation and accepted that no photograph of the teacher with a bong or topless existed. As the article had originated from the radio station’s “Rumour File” segment and the allegations were serious, the publication was required to take greater care to establish the facts. In addition, even after the school Principal's denials, the publication repeated the allegations and the article remained online without sufficient remedial action,...

Tuesday, 05 January


Most Muslims are non-violent Skepticlawyer

It is true: most Muslims are non-violent (in the straightforward sense that, outside defence of themselves and their immediate family, they do not engage in violence). In fact, as far as I am aware, that has true across the history of Islam, especially as Muslims includes women and children. But even if we just consider men, most Muslim men are non-violent. Again, as far as I am aware, that has also been true across the history of Islam (apart from its earliest years).

It is also irrelevant. Sadly, across the breadth of human societies through time, it is the violent who have been wildly disproportionately important in determining the trends and patterns of human history. So, with Islamic history, the key issues have far less to do with what connection it has to the non-violent majority, but what sort of connection it has to the direction, forms and patterns of violence (and violence-laden aggression) among any violent minority.

There the news is less good. We can observe among the Muslim minority (pdf) in France–including those born and raised in France, and given a secular state education–the same patterns of persecution of minority kafir as we do in Muslim majority countries.

Recurring patterns

What is striking about Islamic history is how powerful the recurring patterns are. While we currently observe violent movements claiming to purify Islam and return it to its original vision, such started not long after the death of Mohammad, with the Khwarij, and continued in medieval Islam, with the Almoravids and...

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