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Friday, 05 February


Labor called Turnbull Government's bluff - now ordinary voters should demand their right to know North Coast Voices

When Dyson Heydon decided to permanently conceal from public view one volume of the report produced by the Royal Commission into Union Governance and Corruption, he did a grave disservice to the democratic process.

Opposition and cross-bench parliamentarians are starting to demand access to the secret 'facts' a commissioner (trailing apprehended bias allegations behind him) relied on, before they consider new government legislation. 

Now in this 2016 federal election year it's time that Australian voters also fight for access to a copy of this volume with individual/company/place names redacted.

It may be a hard fight as I rather suspect that Heydon's hidden hyperbole won't stand up to close public scrutiny.

The Australian, 18 January 2016:...

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Thursday, 04 February


Jacques Barzun on race Catallaxy Files

From Race: A Study in Superstition by Jacques Barzun, 1937/1965

The principle of judging individual cases must apply whenever a group, thinking racially, feels attacked through a representation of one of their members in a work of art. The repeated attempts to have The Merchant of Venice banned and Huckleberry Finn removed from library shelves proceed from the same associative tendency which the interested group should on the contrary combat…The children in school must not be protected from reading about Mark Twain’s lovable creation but from thinking that Negroes are born slaves and fated illiterates.
The anxious wrangling which goes on about books and plays at times seems trivial but is in fact fundamental. If democratic culture yields on this point, no prospect lies ahead but that of increasing animosity among pressure groups. A dozen years ago a Broadway play was picketed by a union of domestic servants because the maid in the play was made fun of…

It is clear that in the absence of such limitations on race-thinking and group solidarity as I am suggesting, every self-conscious group will have to engage in raucous self-defense and self-praise or risk being slandered and abused by a more powerful group or cartel of groups. In social and cultural relations the law rarely intervenes effectively; the protection of rights and feelings only comes from decency and self-restraint…

How ridiculous and even offensive to be told that one must love one’s fellow man because the geneticist tells one to – via UNESCO. The point is not to love one’s fellow man but to be fair to him; is not to show that social groups, previously despised, are all good companions and budding geniuses who will shortly reinvent the electric light. The point is to render absurd (not to say obscene) the hostile or friendly attribution of qualities to men otherwise than as individuals…



Why didn't The Canberra Times report on the Invasion Day protest in Canberra? Independent Australia

Why didn't The Canberra Times report on the Invasion Day protest in Canberra?John Passant asks why the whitewash of the Invasion Day protest in Canberra by The Canberra Times. read now...


The science is settled, so get another job Catallaxy Files

There is a certain logic here:

CSIRO is set to cut dozens of jobs from its climate research units, as part of a wider series of job losses to be formally announced today.

In a message to staff, chief executive Larry Marshall said that the question of human-induced climate change has largely been answered, and outlined a list of new priorities for the agency, including health, technology, and “big data” research fields such as radioastronomy.

With the science being settled and all, there is no need for further basic research and valuable research funds need to be allocated to other purposes.


Inflicting on-going damage: the relentless green energy push Catallaxy Files

Yesterday saw the publication of one of the regular horse-chokers that emerge from the electricity regulators and government funded analysts.  This one was looking at the Queensland situation, with a view to examining how the ALP can implement/diverge from the crazy policies they proposed for an election they never expected to win.

One piece of good news? “Modelling of a Queensland 50 per cent target for renewable generation by 2030 suggests an average increase in retail electricity prices of 0.5 per cent for households and 0.3 per cent for industry, and a reduction of 0.7 per cent for commercial customers for the period 2015–16 to 2034–35.”

Less than good news “The ACIL Allen modelling estimates that (this) would require a subsidy of about $10.8 billion (real) over the period to 2030.”

Doubtless the renewable cheer squad will highlight the former but not mention the latter.

But even with the $10.8 billion subsidy (say, $650 million per annum) the numbers have a credibility shortfall.  If we lift the share of renewables (which cost three times fossil fuels) from 5 per cent to 50 per cent, the annual cost, given a 70 terawatt hour demand, on the present price differentials, ends up in 2030 being about $1.2 billion a year.

Depending on the path to 50 per cent, that might be consistent with the average cost to Queensland energy customers of $650 million a year.

However, the irregularity of renewables will mean very big additional investments required  in storage and fast start gas plant.  To protect political sensitivities, there are clearly some hidden assumptions contained in the report.  Doubtless these will include fables about how renewables are going to become comparable to the cost of the demonic fossil fuels they’ll replace, how fast storage costs will be reduced in price and so on....


Ireland 2016 – map available The Tally Room

I was requested to update my Irish constituency map for the upcoming general election. I’m not planning any further coverage of the Irish election, which is due at the end of February, but if you’re interested you can download the map here.


Criminalising basic humanity No Right Turn

Via Crooked Timber: The European Union wants to make it a crime to save drowning refugees by classifying it as "people smuggling". Its as monstrous as it is absurd; when confronted with a drowning person or a sinking ship, you don't stop and ask for citizenship papers before helping. And its clearly illegal, a violation of the right to life affirmed by the European Convention on Human Rights (not to mention Article 98 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea). But this apparently is what the EU stands for now: letting people die rather than fulfill their basic obligation to provide humanitarian assistance.


Repellent versus Repulsive Catallaxy Files

Here’s the distinction:

“Repellent” and “Repulsive” both speak to dri­ving oth­ers away, but REPULSIVE is more REPULSIVE than REPELLENT is REPELLENT.

Repellent is more about distaste.

Repulsive is more about disgusting.

Here’s the context:

Malcolm Turnbull risks punishing more than nine million workers with higher taxes on their retirement savings as he prepares a drastic change to superannuation alongside controversial plans to increase the GST.

The super changes would hit every worker earning more than about $18,000 a year if the government proceeds with a tax ­increase on super contributions, highlighting a grave political danger at a time when Coalition MPs are nervous about a GST hike.

Modelling obtained by The Australian shows the government would have to scale back the super reform — and sacrifice $6 billion in extra revenue — in order to limit the damage to millions of workers on average incomes.

The modelling also highlights the challenge the government will face to ensure 200,000 Australians earning more than $300,000 are not left untouched or even better off under the key super ­reform plans being considered.

Angry MPs are pushing back at the Prime Minister’s reform ambitions amid fears of a voter backlash against a GST increase, but the increase in the consumption tax and the separate overhaul of super tax breaks remain the leading ways to pay for generous cuts to income taxes.

I get it, they are going to raise taxes so that they can cut taxes. Makes as much sense as the rest of it. Cuts to spending are for a parallel universe. Taxing superannuation so that they can blow more of our money on proje...


Are the police spying on our democracy? No Right Turn

The TPP was signed today in Auckland, surrounded by massive protests. I've been watching it over Twitter, and there have been several reports from those protests of the police filming and photographing protesters. While there's obvious merit in filing or photographing people for evidential purposes if they are committing a criminal offence, there police seem to be doing far more than that. Which raises obvious questions about what will happen to those photographs, and about what they are using them for.

Someone has already used FYI, the public OIA request site, to ask some of those questions, but I doubt we'll get real answers. But the obvious suspicion is that they're doing this for intelligence purposes, because they regard all protesters as dangerous, seditious criminals who need to be tracked and monitored (and, occasionally, intimidated).

We've seen this attitude before, in the UK. Police there conducted extensive surveillance of peaceful protesters, databasing them in an intelligence system for years and tracking their names, political affiliations and photographs - and all just for attending a peaceful protest. Our police may be doing the same thing.

In a free and democratic country, police have no business gathering or holding information on anyone not suspected of a criminal offence. And they certainly have no business photographing and potentially databasing people simply for exercising their legally affirmed right to protest. The police owe us...


Royal Commissions: Partisan politics or public interest? Independent Australia

Royal Commissions: Partisan politics or public interest?John Menadue looks at the string of politically inspired and useless royal commissions and asks why Coalition governments are so partisan in letting the really big offenders get off scott free just because they are closely aligned to the Liberal Party.  read now...


Rafe’s Roundup 4 Feb Catallaxy Files

Progress on the nuclear front. Japan and the United States. LATE ADDITION in case you missed it last year Tesla electric car takes on the Model T Ford cross-country and wins in a photo finish.

Regulation nation. Richard Ebeling on the need to keep alive the discussion about the legitimate role of government.

News and Weather. Lewandowsky makes a fool of himself again, but what is his rubbish doing in Nature?

Popper versus proportional representation. Undermining responsibility and accountability.

The immediate consequence of proportional representation is that it will tend to increase the number of parties. This, at first glance, may seem desirable: more parties means more choice, more opportunities, less rigidity, more criticism. It also means a greater distribution of influence and of power.

However, this first impression is totally mistaken. The existence of many parties means, essentially, that a coalition government becomes inevitable. It means difficulties in the formation of any new government, and in keeping a government together for any length of time.

Minority rule

While proportional representation is based on the idea that the influence of a party should be proportional to its voting power, a coali...


Tone is illegal Catallaxy Files

I think The Australian is having a lend of Judge Mordy Bromberg:

Comments have been closed on this story due to concerns over tone.

Please remember the underlying case is currently before the courts.


The Iowa Caucus: Are the American people stealing back the power? Independent Australia

The Iowa Caucus: Are the American people stealing back the power?Have Americans finally woken up to the fact that presidential candidates, whether red or blue, are simply paid puppets for powerful corporations? Sue Stevenson looks at the Bernie Sanders phenomenon and whether the Iowa Caucus signals a revolution by the people. read now...


Let your heart bleed: compassion is not weakness No Place For Sheep

  Yesterday in Australia the High Court upheld the legality of off-shore detention of refugees, a decision that should come as a surprise to no one given legislation passed by both major parties in June 2015 that virtually obliges the Court to arrive at this decision. The June legislation was rushed through by the LNP […]


We are all Englishmen here, even the women are Englishmen ... loon pond

Surely this must be something of a first for the Terrorists when it comes to premium articles and features, but who is the author of this premium article which requires payment for unrestricted access? Oh wait, here it is...

James Crafti? That name jiggled and joggled a pond memory ... was the credit a clue?

Writer? Community activist?

Nope, that's not how the pond remembers Crafti.

But it seems that it's the way the Terrorists care to describe Crafti?

So who is this crafty figure trolling away with click bait for the Terrorists?

Well you can Twitter him here, and catch up on his riotous behaviour, and a link to his latest article...


High Court judgment enables Australian Government to wash its hands of asylum seekers' fate North Coast Voices


Today the High Court held, by majority, that the plaintiff was not entitled to a declaration that the conduct of the first and second defendants in relation to the plaintiff's past detention at the Nauru Regional Processing Centre ("the Centre") was unlawful. The majority of the Court held that s 198AHA of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) ("the Act") authorised the Commonwealth's participation, to the extent that the Commonwealth did participate, in the plaintiff's detention.



Well done, Bill Shorten! North Coast Voices

This Cruz canard went all around the world  in January 2016:
U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz has claimed that Australia's 1996 firearms buyback led to a significant increase in sexual assaults on women - as the debate about gun control takes centre place in the race for the White House. Republican Senator Cruz, who is vying to win the top job, made the comments during an interview with American radio host Hugh Hewitt on January 12. And as you know, Hugh, after Australia did that, the rate of sexual assaults, the rate of rapes, went up significantly, because women were unable to defend themselves,' Cruz ...


FILE UNDER NOTHING CHANGES: Liberal & Nationals MPs poised to help out their banker mates once more North Coast Voices

Assistant Treasurer and Liberal MP for Higgins Kelly O'Dwyer was quick to deny the content of the media release (below) concerning the Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Transparency Measures) Bill 2015: Product dashboards.

However Allens Linklaterappears to support Industry Super Australia’s take on the new rules:

The Bill sets up (and proposes changes to) the application of the product dashboard rules as follows:

* Choice product dashboards now only need to be provided for a fund's 10 largest choice investment options by funds under management (with some exclusions) rather than all choice products. For the purposes of working out a fund's largest choice investment options, a lifecycle...

Wednesday, 03 February


Dog Blog: Invasion Day Week DUCK POND

Invasion Day came and went for another year. It might be an exercise in historical reflection, but it never seems to deliver. For example, considering last year, if given a chance, Phil would probably say his jousting days are done. The only memory I have this year is of the sound of lawn mowers – a more apt metaphor.

Now, Dexter’s plastic helmet has been discarded and the stitches removed from his ear. He did not suffer any further injury from bumping into almost every tree and obstacle in his path. The decision to take him our for the past three weeks was a risk. The lead was attached to his collar. The advice is that puts pressure on the trachea. Dexter did not seem to mind. Then, dogs cannot talk.

As an aside it is often the greatest dangers are those not expected. It may have been a celebration, but empty and broken beer bottles. How the dogs did not step on the broken glass in various shapes is amazing. There is no guarantee that I was able to find it all. I put it under some witches hats. The bottles were Houten beer.

The problem with Dexter’s ear was not due to an infection. That option was thoroughly checked out by the vets. I suspect the injury was incurred when I removed the harness.I was taking this variety of harness off with the lead attached, and Dexter in a hurry would pull away. Dog ears are susceptible to injury because they consist of a double layer of cartilage. The obvious thing to do is to unleash him and let him run around in the harness, and then take it off later.

The photos will be something to look back on. The music, “Pioneers”, is performed by Audionautix:


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