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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

here we go again   September 1, 2014

It's mission creep under the guise of humanitarian help--to prevent genocide against beleaguered minorities in northern Iraq. It follows the RAAF humanitarian supply airdrops to thousands of people still stranded on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq. Australia's’s response to Islamic State (Isis) should be on humanitarian aid.

Mission creep that is a continuation of the war of terror. Last week Australia was dropping food and water to prevent a humanitarian crisis. This week Australia is dropping weapons in a region where the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), one of 19 organisations that Canberra lists globally as terrorists, is active. The SAS is also involved as they will provide protection to the crew when they land in coming days in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq to deliver arms and munitions.

RowsonMISwar.jpg Martin Rowson

So Australia has intervened into a civil war by supporting one terrorist organization --the PKK-- against another --the Islamic State (IS) that is tacitly supported by Saudi Arabia, which Australia sees as one of the good guys who are part of the West. Australia is a gun runners for the Kurds at the behest of the United States. Australia also supported IS in its opposition to the Assad regime in Syria. Will Australia now support Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, as an ally in the fight against Islamic State (Isis) extremists? If the US does Australia will follow suit.

Continue reading "here we go again" »
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:59 AM | | Comments (12)
closing down of Australia’s renewable energy industry   August 29, 2014

The Renewable Energy Target has been a success. It's built up a wind and solar power generation industry at a very low cost to electricity users and, along with carbon pricing it has helped to reduce pollution and energy efficiency. It has helped to create Investment in windfarms, solar PV'S and other large-scale renewables, created jobs, and help to start the shift to decarbonize the Australian economy.

But its killing the coal-fired power generation industry. So the Abbott Government comes to the defence of the fossil fuel industry. The abolition of the carbon pricing gave coal-fired power generators a windfall and the proposals to kneecapping the Renewable Energy Target will give them a second windfall.

PopeDRET.jpg David Pope

The Warburton RET Review argues there are cheaper ways to reduce greenhouse emissions than by changing the way we generate electricity – clearly implying no change in electricity generation is necessary. Hence the defence of the fossil fuel industry and the status quo. There is no need to change the dominance of electricity generation by the fossil fuel industry.

Continue reading " closing down of Australia’s renewable energy industry" »
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:59 AM | | Comments (14)
establishing authoritarian rule?   August 26, 2014

Contrary to the rhetoric from the Abbott Government Australia doesn't have an imminent debt crisis or a budget emergency. Australia has a long-term structural budget problem caused by an ageing population, which the Coalition is not seriously addressing.

An ageing population means the government needs to spend more (on pensions and health care) it will also receive lower income tax. If the government does nothing it will experience a rise in the structural budget deficit.

PopeDbudgetemergency.jpg David Pope

The Coalition is more concerned with using the rhetoric of national security and terrorist threats in Australia to put in place the steps to establish authoritarian rule. One of these steps is the way the proposed national security legislation that ASIO is demanding that journalists could be jailed for revealing intelligence operations. Journalists could face penalties even if they did not explicitly know what they were reporting on was linked to a special intelligence operation.

Continue reading "establishing authoritarian rule?" »
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:45 AM | | Comments (5)
selling austerity   August 21, 2014

The Coalition has changed its budget rhetoric.

It has dumped the budget crisis/ rhetoric and sovereign risk in favour of there is no need to worry as most of the appropriations bills have passed the Senate and that there is no problem if the Senate doesn't hurry up with the rest of the budget. The rest --Medicare co-payment, deregulation of universities, tough new arrangements for the unemployed etc--- amount to $25 billion.

The bullyboy tactics to impose austerity haven't worked. Australians haven't bought it, and they are skeptical of the government's selling of austerity and the need for a shift to a deregulated market. They see unfairness.

RoweDCorman.jpg David Rowe

There is a medium term (a decade) for a consolidation of the budget, given the end of the mining boom and and the ageing population. There is a need for debate over how that consolidation will happen given the lower income growth than in the past decade.

Continue reading "selling austerity" »
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:36 AM | | Comments (4)
the severed head picture   August 13, 2014

Here's the picture of the child clutching the severed head of the Syrian soldier. According to the mainstream media the young boy (seven years old?) pictured with the severed head is the son of convicted terrorist Khaled Sharrouf, who escaped Australia on his brother’s passport late last year, three months into the Coalition's watch. It's all Labor's fault says the Coalition.

The politician's banging the drums of war are saying its iconic of the horror of the home grown terrorist threat and are the reason for the new anti-terrorism laws and mass surveillance of the Australian citizens, both of which require a lessening of citizens civil liberties.


This brings the threat of the civil war in Syria and Iraq home: our children are threatened by barbaric people who train their children to be terrorists. But the LNP stands resolute and firm to defend Australia's national security against the barbarism and brutal violence of the jihad terrorists. The terrorist attack could be any day now. That's the conservative rhetoric of the picture.

Continue reading "the severed head picture" »
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:44 PM | | Comments (11)
it's the inequality folks   August 12, 2014

It is now pretty clear that the Abbott Government, in turning away from the public service, has contracted out its public policy to the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) and the Business Council of Australia (BCA) turned away from the public service and that the task of the Abbott Government is to implement the recommended policies. When Hockey refers to the federal government having an overarching plan that will balance the books and avoid a fiscal crisis he means the outsourced plans.

The economy i is being managed for our benefit for the benefit of the big businesses that dominate it. Increasing inequality is the consequence, and people are acutely aware that the 2014 Hockey Budget is designed to increase this inequality. They are seen to be seeking to reduce income support provided to the lowest income earners in Australia.

RoweD EconomicStrategy.jpg David Rowe

As the economy transitions away from its reliance on resources projects the Abbott Government is seen to have little interest in reduce inequality, as it moves to unwind both welfare provisions and the progressive nature of our tax system. Senior ministers imply that inequality (including gender inequality) is not just unavoidable, but also beneficial.

Continue reading "it's the inequality folks" »
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:54 AM | | Comments (6)
a diversionary tactic   August 11, 2014

The Abbott Government continues to think of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS ) as a terrorist organization along the lines of Al Qaeda, thereby implying that it will conduct terrorist operations in the west and in Australia.

The Islamic State is in fact a state in a region where the European drawn boundaries, that used to mark out Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, are collapsing. The shape of this region is being redrawn by the Islamic State expanding its territory. The Sunni Muslims are using their army to establish their own systems of government in their own territory. Let them. Iraq can collapse.

RoweDMEdeath.jpg David Rowe

Despite the sabre rattling by the Abbott Government Australia will not fight the advance of ISIS. For what national interest reason would it do so? They will just hang onto the coat tails of the US which has just re-engaged militarily with the conflict in the region with its modest airstrikes to protect the Kurdish region.

Continue reading "a diversionary tactic" »
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:01 AM | | Comments (9)
a pantomime   August 7, 2014

The widespread surveillance of activity on the phone and online advocated by the spooks and government allies in the name of security paints us all as potential criminals. Just in case we do the wrong thing, or are up to something, it would be best to keep an eye out.

When we haven't consented to that, the surveillance becomes invasive. WikiLeaks, the phone-hacking scandal, the Snowden files indicate he extent to which our communications are being monitored by the e triumvirate of state, press and data-harvesting corporations.

RoweDTeamAustralia.jpg David Rowe

The menace is within say the spooks. An emergency is threatening. Mass surveillance is needed.

So how wide is the proposed surveillance. It's very unclear what stuff is going to be subject to surveillance. Behind the pantomime and confusing messages the emphasis on security does appear to sacrifice individual liberty through state intrusion into our phone calls, physical location, and our email and browsing history.

Continue reading "a pantomime" »
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:17 AM | | Comments (9)
the surveillance state's dragnet   August 6, 2014

The increased security fears about the threat posed by 150 Australians suspected of fighting in Syria and Iraq, if they should they return home has given rise to proposed anti-terrorism legislation. This security threat does not justify the need for the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) to access 2 years of personal data (metadata) about Australians; and to share “bulk” amounts of Australian citizens’ metadata with its 5 Eyes intelligence partners overseas.

PopeDTerrorismAsio.jpg David Pope

Our civil rights are in danger of being eroded in the name of national security. This surveillance, which involves mandatory collecting information in bulk about ordinary citizens' day-to-day activities ---intimate, highly private, social, medical, business, religious etc – without warrant, dismisses the presumption of innocence and accompanying procedures of legal and parliamentary oversight that are supposed to be the hallmarks of democratic societies. We have government stonewalling (both Labor and Liberal) on a more extended regime of checks and balances.

Continue reading "the surveillance state's dragnet" »
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:05 AM | | Comments (3)