JON STANFORD: Second rate leadership: Future Submarine Part 3 of 4

I have suggested in earlier posts that recent governments have failed to provide leadership in the defence portfolio. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the case of SEA 1000, the future submarine program. Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY.  In defence of Bridget McKenzie

In the court of public opinion Bridget McKenzie has become the scapegoat for systemic poor administration. Continue reading

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ABUL RIZVI. The Australian again falls for Government spin on the record number of asylum seekers arriving by air.

In a front page exclusive on 28 January, Geoff Chambers and Joe Kelly of The Australian uncritically regurgitate the Government’s talking points on asylum seekers arriving by plane. Either they are just innocents with no idea how to do the job of a journalist or they see their role as purely to defend the Government. Continue reading

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ROSS GITTINS. Zero net carbon choice:do we want to be losers or winners?(SMH 29.1.2020)

You may regard economists as a dismal lot, always reminding us of the cost of this or the risk of that. But there’s one prominent economist with a much more positive story to tell. Continue reading

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MICHELLE FAHY. The merchants of death.Selling arms with impunity

Australia’s military industry exports are increasing rapidly fuelled by $195bn in federal funding to 2025-26 and strong collaboration between federal, state, and local governments and agencies. Team Defence Australia showcases Aussie weapons-making ingenuity at arms expos world-wide, all year round. Where is all this cash and activity leading us? And do we want to go there? Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER AND RICHARD WHITINGTON. “Manufactured Consent”. Think Tanks – two different animals.Part 4 of 4

In the last of this series examining the contemporary relevance of Noam Chomsky’s thesis on “Manufactured Consent”, Richard Butler says there is a sharp division between Think Tanks that mainly think and those that target specific interests. Continue reading

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NOEL TURNBULL. Hope despite climate change denialists indefatigability

There is no doubt about climate change denialists – they keep shifting shape and keep manoeuvring to cast doubt on scientific reality – irrespective of whatever events make their arguments look ridiculous. Continue reading

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PAUL MALONE. The Australian media and the alleged Douma chemical weapons attack.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons inspector who led the team investigating the alleged Douma chemical weapons attack in Syria in April 2018 has gone public saying that his investigation team “had serious misgivings that a chemical attack had occurred.” Continue reading

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JENNY HOCKING. High Court to hear bid to release the Queen’s secret Whitlam dismissal letters.

As the Queen reels from one family crisis to another, Buckingham Palace would be looking on a little anxiously as the ‘Palace letters’ case is heard by the full bench of the High Court next week. Continue reading

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TREVOR PARMENTER. Tune Report on the National Disability Insurance Scheme

One of the findings of the recent review of the operations of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), conducted by Mr David Tune was that, “some participants feel NDIA staff do not understand disability or appreciate the challenges people with disability face as part of everyday life”.. Continue reading

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GEOFF HARCOURT and PETER KRIESLER. Secular economic stagnation around the world

“Secular stagnation” refers to the long-run (or secular) tendency for growth rates to stagnate in advanced capitalist economies – associated with high unemployment and excess capacity. Continue reading

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LAURIE PATTON. Overexposed – let’s hear from someone else!

In the film classic Casablanca, whenever a crime is committed the local police captain orders his officers to round up the usual suspects. Political commentary, in fact public commentary in general in Australia suffers from the Casablanca effect. The same old bunch of over-opinionated fringe players who see themselves as instant experts on anything and everything. Never slow to pop their heads up with a controversial quote for the media. Continue reading

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RICHARD WHITINGTON AND RICHARD BUTLER. Noam Chomsky’s theory of “Manufactured Consent”. Where “lies” the media? Part 3 of 4

In this series, Richard Whitington and Richard Butler discuss what’s changed since philosopher and psychologist, Noam Chomsky, identified the relationship between business, the military, the intelligence community and the media, in manipulating public opinion. Continue reading

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RAY BRICKNELL. Fixing our Democracy – Step one – Community Involvement in Policy Formulation

The Problem. As indicated in an earlier post, there is a fundamental deceit in the concept of governments claiming to have a mandate to introduce particular policies on the basis that the policy was presented as part of a multi-policy election platform, and the party proposing that policy was subsequently elected. Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON. Mnuchin, Thunberg, Economics and Science

The comments of US Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin concerning Greta Thunberg were meant to be droll. However, they reveal a serious and dangerous cognitive dissonance affecting much of the world’s political elite.

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HAGAI El-AD. Netanyahu Exploits the Holocaust to Brutalize the Palestinians (Haaretz23.1.2020)

Netanyahu didn’t invent the idea of leveraging the Holocaust for political gain. Yet he is taking even that low to new depths, stripping Palestinians of basic human rights in the name of the survivors of the Holocaust Continue reading

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ANDREW WONG. Logging Makes Bushfires Worse

In the wake of the recent bushfires, the logging industry wants to ‘thin’ Australia’s forests to reduce fire hazard. But their plan is likely to make the fire hazard far worse. Could there be another agenda at work? Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 4 Comments

RICHARD FLANAGAN. How a nation adapts to its own murder.(NYT 27.1.2020)

Australia is going up in flames and its government calls for resilience while planning for more coal mines. Continue reading

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JACK WATERFORD. Are our leaders morally fit for purpose?

Sports rorts, scandals, climate inaction and contempt for public interest show a robber mentality.   Continue reading

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MUNGO MACCULLUM. Our prime minister knows that most of his ministers are past both knowing and caring.

Scott Morrison’s puerile sneer that most of cabinet ministers wouldn’t even know who (NSW Environment Minister) Matt Kean was actually contains a grain of truth. Continue reading

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ABUL RIZVI: Why 5% unemployment today is not the same as 5% unemployment 10-20 years ago

The unemployment rate, and even the underemployment rate, have become an inadequate measure of the true health of our labour market. Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Refugees, Immigration | 2 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER AND RICHARD WHITINGTON. “Manufactured Consent” in truth-deprived and electronic times.Part 2 of 4

This is the second in a series by Richard Whitington and Richard Butler about the contemporary validity of Noam Chomsky’s thesis on “manufactured consent”: the coalition of convenience between business, the military, the intelligence community and a complicit partner – “big” media. Continue reading

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HENRY BATEMAN. Digging Holes After the Bushfires

Is repeating our short sighted, business as usual thinking to recapture our economy after the bushfire holocaust the smartest way to face climate change? Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. Brexit, the ‘final ‘ stages. Will Europe be the same again?

In the highly complicated and complex negotiations soon to be underway between the UK and the EU, and others, to complete Brexit, it cannot be assumed that truth will displace ‘fact’ or that international trade law will be respected in the process Continue reading

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RICHARD WHITINGTON AND RICHARD BUTLER. Noam Chomsky’s “manufactured consent”. What’s changed, 30 years on? Part 1 of 4

Thirty years ago, psychologist and philosopher, Noam Chomsky, wrote of “manufactured consent”, the phenomenon which sees the self-serving interests of the powerful and often opaque – the military/industrial complex and “big business” – coalesce with those of the supposedly transparent and independent, but equally powerful: the media. Continue reading

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ABUL RIZVI. No end in sight to growth in Dutton’s backlogs-the asylum seekers who came by air.

End December 2019 data shows the backlog of asylum applications at the primary stage, at the AAT and those who have been finally refused and have become overstayers continues to grow. Continue reading

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MUNGO MACULLUM. The Land of Hopeless Tories

January 26 is , in the end, no more than an excuse for a self-indulgent and self-deluded piss-up. Continue reading

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JOHN MCCARTHY. Reflections on the Accidental Independence of East Timor.(The Strategist 18.1.2020)

Every country has its legends. They may be important to national self-esteem, but they’re not necessarily good history. Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | 8 Comments

PETER SAINSBURY. Emission reduction or fuel reduction

The last month has clearly demonstrated to all thinking Australians that Scotty-from-Marketing may well know how to run a brilliant election campaign that against all predictions saved the Coalition from an absolute drubbing (while basically maintaining the political status quo), but that he has no vision for Australia beyond keeping the masses as docile as possible . Continue reading

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DUNCAN GRAHAM. This bus isn’t moving fast.

It’s not too difficult for outsiders to get the gist of Indonesian economics.  That’s because terms, like ‘administrasi, deficit, bangkrut, fiskal’ and others have been pinched from English and tweaked. Continue reading

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