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Sunday, 28 February


Is Rupert Murdoch about to gobble up ten Queensland and two NSW regional newspapers? North Coast Voices

It probably comes as no surprise to readers of APN News & Media’s The Daily Examiner that newspapers in the Northern Rivers are battling and Rupert Murdoch may be poised to swallow whole  APN’s print stable Australian Regional Media.

If News Corp does purchase ARM that would leave only three Northern Rivers newspapers not in Murdoch’s control.

Echo NetDaily, 26 February 2016:

The owner of The Northern Star and other local newspapers including Byron Shire News, Tweed Daily News Lismore Echo and Ballina Advocate has put them on the market, saying they are dragging the company down....


Two Malcolms that the Liberal-Nationals Coalition not so secretly despise North Coast Voices

The then Leader of the Opposition and MP for Wannon John Malcolm Fraser resoundingly won government for the Liberal-Nationals Coalition in 1975 and became the twenty-second Prime Minister of Australia.

At the time the general public considered him little more than a haughty silvertail and, by the time he retired from politics in 1983 even he was aware that his party considered his time in office as a wasted opportunity.

Thirty-three years later and the same Liberal Party supplied another perceived silvertail, MP for Wentworth Malcolm Bligh Turnbull, as Australia’s twenty-ninth prime minister.

This time the Liberal-Nationals Coalition desperately want their second Malcolm to waste the opportunity to drive new policy and instead urge him to pursue the far-right ideological agenda of his predecessor in office, Tony Abbott.

That Malcolm Mark Two is as equally despised as Malcolm Mark One can be inferred by this gif which is doing the rounds at the moment on the NSW North Coast………


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Saturday, 27 February


The rape of East Timor: 'Sounds like fun' Independent Australia

The rape of East Timor: 'Sounds like fun'Previously sealed documents have exposed Australia's complicit and callous role in the East Timor holocaust. John Pilger reports. read now...


Tony’s economic narrative Catallaxy Files

This is what Tony Abbott thinks: Malcolm Turnbull lost without an economic agenda. This is what John Howard thinks: Tony Abbott would have won coming election. And this is what Tony Abbott now writes: In defence of my economic narrative and tough decisions. He begins:

The first law of governing is that you can’t spend what you can’t raise through taxes and borrowings; and the second law is that today’s borrowings have to be paid for — with interest — by tomorrow’s taxes. Governments, like households and businesses, have to live within their means.

You know, the Micawber Principle of public finance. Which really comes down to this: the reason it is still only just barely worth voting for any of those 54 unworthy bunch of nonentities in the Liberal Party is because Tony and others like him on his side of the speaker remain in the Parliament. The PM is exactly the kind of narcissistic buffoon most of us here took him to be.


How the PM spurned his most devoted supporters Drag0nista's Blog

The Political Weekly: Voters can react very badly to discovering their new leader is not the shiny and […]


In which Pond Trucking carts truckloads more of the case for the Pellist defence ... loon pond

What a delicious array of bon bons the reptiles have delivered this day.

So many temptations, so many treats, though you know what they say about gorging on liquorice all sorts. Soon enough you'll be trotting off the toilet. It might seem cruel to compare the dog botherer to a laxative, but that's the way he works on the pond.

Even so there's something unnerving about that new leering snap the reptiles have fixed him up with in the splash: a hint of the Uncle Ernies, perhaps a suggestion of a mint too many, or is it just an old school smug, complacent smirk?

Whatever, the pond is always willing to get in to the dog botherer mood, so while we're talking about making people face the music, how about we make the war criminals and their lackeys sing a song of repentance?

Sorry, this is how the tune goes when you avoid facing the music:

Iraq really forms the backdrop of my whole time with Alexander really. A few weeks after I started working with him the international debate about Iraq and what needs to be done began. So I’ve seen Alexander where the Iraq issue from its infancy from beginning to talk about what we should do as an international community to combat Saddam Hussein and the threat he posed right through the United Nations process of resolutions and trying to get Iraq to comply with those resolutions to the formati...


Screen Themes — The Hateful Eight and ranking Tarantino Independent Australia

Screen Themes — The Hateful Eight and ranking TarantinoLet’s all go to the movies with entertainment editor John Turnbull, as he checks out the latest Quentin Tarantino epic The Hateful Eight and considers how it rates in comparison with his somewhat uneven filmography. read now...


Malcolm Thomas Brough: Born 1961. Sacked 2016 Independent Australia

Malcolm Thomas Brough: Born 1961. Sacked 2016The rat’s nest that is the Queensland LNP has decided Mal Brough does not meet its high standards and has sacked him, writes Ross Jones. read now...


How Australian households became the most indebted in the world Independent Australia

How Australian households became the most indebted in the worldThe results are in: Australian households have more debt compared to the size of the country’s economy than any other in the world. Economist Philip Soos reports. read now...


Please, pack a sandwich, make sure you've refilled the flask, the walking boots are sturdy, there's no leak in the Driza-Bone, because there's an epic hike through blather this day ... loon pond

(Tweeting here)

So the rough gruff Brough is no longer slouching towards Bethlehem - look at all those dry eyes in the house - but there's no time to waste on the fallen, because much is happening this day ...

Let us just pause first of all to observe the level of political reporting in Fairfax, two days after the great Paul "magic water man" schmozzle, and silence descending on the house, and people marvelling that Fairfax remains silent on Paul Sheehan's palpably false column ...

How long can Sheehan remain a thing? Whatever he writes next, however marvellous and fact-checked, perhaps for the first time, it will be mocked and ridiculed, because he stands revealed as a fop, a fool and an epic failure ...

Meanwhile, speaking of fops ...

Say what?


Trump card is changing the rules of the game Catallaxy Files

Today in The Australian

And then there were seven, ­Agatha Christie might have said. But even with 16 candidates leaving the field since the outset of the primary season, there is still a lot of blood to be spilled before the line-up for the US presidential election is finally determined.


Private immigration facilities making money from misery Antony Loewenstein

My debut article in the New York Times:

Berlin — Immigration and Customs Enforcement calls the detention site in Dilley, Tex., a “family residential center.” But to the 2,000 migrant children and mothers who live there, it’s something else: “People who say this is not a prison are lying,” Yancy Maricela Mejia Guerra, a detainee from Central America, told Fusion last year. “It’s a prison for us and a prison for our children, but none of us are criminals.”

The Dilley center holds people detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a government agency, but it is run by the Corrections Corporation of America, America’s largest private prison and detention company. It is one part of a worrisome global trend of warehousing immigrants and asylum seekers at remote sites maintained by for-profit corporations. The United Nations estimates that one in every 122 people on the planet is displaced. This is a crisis that requires a humanitarian solution; unfortunately, some people view it as a business opportunity.

In recent decades, many Western governments have increasingly outsou...


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Friday, 26 February


What is it with government and dodgy regressions? Catallaxy Files

I have caught the Australian government producing dodgy regressions before; here and here. I’ve caught the Australian misinterpreting good regressions before too.

Then there is the Tobacco PIR analysis.

It is contained in Appendix A to the PIR.

So first things first. What does the analysis report?

To measure the effect of the packaging changes on smoking prevalence, I adopt a widely-used approach in policy analysis often referred to as “before-after” regression analysis. My analysis relates an individual’s decision to smoke to a set of explanatory variables, including sociodemographic factors and controls for tobacco control policies (including the policies governing plain packaging and enlarged graphic health warnings) that are widely believed to influence individuals’ decisions to smoke. There are two important features of this analysis. First, it disentangles the effects of multiple factors that may simultaneously be influencing the observed outcome. Second, it identifies the effect of the packaging changes by comparing smoking behavior before the policy to smoking behavior after.

So far, so good.

The analysis makes use of Roy Morgan data and shows a time trend.


A bit dodgy – the analysis does not test to see if a linear trend is appropriate or not. These things are...

Wednesday, 24 February


The year of the union The Political Sword

For the Chinese, 2016 is the ‘Year of the Monkey’ but I think in Australia it may well be the year of the union — although not in a positive way. As it is an election year, and in the light of the Trade Union Royal Commission (TURC) report in December, we can expect the Coalition government to have a lot to say about unions during the year. Turnbull, in releasing the TURC report, has already indicated that he will make union ‘corruption’ an election issue if his legislation to implement the TURC recommendations, including the reintroduction of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), does not pass parliament.

Unions of course will not take this lying down. The ACTU responded to the release of the TURC report by stating:

The ACTU rejects any accusation of widespread corrupt, unlawful behaviour in the union movement. We take a zero-tolerance approach to unlawful conduct, whether in the union movement or elsewhere. Isolated instances of unlawful conduct must always be referred to the police. Unions stand united to ensure any individuals convicted should feel the full force of the law. There is no place for crooks in our movement.

The ACTU welcomes sensible discussions about best practice governance. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull must allow space and time for these discussions to occur. This report should not be used to rush legislation that removes employee rights.
It also saw that the TURC report and a Productivity Commission review, which recommended a reduction in penalty rates, were related:
It is clear from the timing of the Royal Commission’s report that these two reports...

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