GOOD READING AND LISTENING FOR THE WEEKEND …

Writing in The Guardian Alfred McCoy explains “how the heroin trade explains the US-UK failure in Afghanistan“. In that war-torn country opium is the farmers’ most viable cash crop, and the Taliban, once opposed to drugs, are now financed by the opium trade.

Canberra Times journalist Crispin Hull makes a strong case for fundamental tax reform, not only to make the collection of tax fairer, but also to boost public revenue. He also puts up for consideration the idea of a universal basic income, an idea gaining currency in many European countries, including Finland and Scotland.

Peter Martin writing in the Fairfax Press explains the vulnerabilities in our electricity supply industry. He shows how good fortune and good management have saved us from blackouts over recent weeks of hot weather. The weaknesses and vulnerabilities are not where the Commonwealth Government and the coal industry would have us believe they lie.

“For the vast majority of owner-occupiers and would-be buyers, falling house prices are good news”. This is a quote from The Age editorial of January 6 – a refreshing reminder that rising house prices over recent years have not owner-occupiers wealthier. In fact for many high house prices have simply allowed them to get into debt.

Robert Reich on the great Trump con.

Our ridiculous frenzy of road construction will swallow up resources for two decades – Canberra Times.

When it comes to refugees, Abbott, Turnbull, Morrison and Dutton are hypocrites – Julian Burnside

Even the UK courts believe the UK’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia are wrong – which is why protesters were acquitted of criminal damage this week. In addition to selling military equipment for Saudi Arabia attacks in Yemen, BAE in Australia is a major funder of the Australian War Memorial with a theatre named in its honour. It is also a funder of the ‘independent’ think tank, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. The Australian Chair is a former senior Australian official.

The growing support for preferential voting in the United States

Trump shows a host of personality disorders – Charles Blow in the New York Times

African gangs just the latest ruse to stoke national insecurity – Jack Waterford

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