549 thoughts on “2016 Christmas

  1. This is heart-breaking.

    ‘I need you guys to look after my family’: Sudanese refugee Faysal Ishak Ahmed’s final message.

    Faysal Ishak Ahmed carried a deep secret and a burning fear during his years in detention on Manus Island, long before he became the fourth asylum seeker to die after seeking protection in Australia and being sent to Papua New Guinea.

    His secret was that he left behind a wife and baby boy when he fled Sudan in 2013, having refused to be recruited by the same militias that had tortured him, killed several members of his family and raped his sister


  2. Hopefully something to look forward to in the new year is Assange being kicked out on his arse of the Ecuador Embassy and fronting the courts for skipping bail. Surely they can’t keep him in there forever.

    Especially in that Ecuador has a left-wing government and his acts to assist Trump might not go over well there.

  3. Kirsdarke

    “Surely they can’t keep him in there forever.”

    The benchmark is the Hungarian Catholic cardinal József Mindszenty. He hung out in the US Embassy in Budapest for 15 years. 🙂

  4. The relevant part of the Omnibus Bill, as explained in the Explanatory Memoranda. Labor voted for this.

    Debt recovery
    Schedule 13 to the Bill introduces the legislative amendments required for
    the 2015-16 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook measure, Enhanced
    Welfare payment Integrity – expand debt recovery.
    The Schedule will protect the integrity of outlays through welfare
    payments, and encourage welfare debtors to repay their debts, by using
    departure prohibition orders (similar to the arrangements applying in the
    child support legislation) to prevent targeted debtors from leaving the
    country. Departure prohibition orders will be used for debtors who
    persistently fail to enter into acceptable repayment arrangements.
    The Schedule will also remove the six-year limitation on recovery of
    welfare debts. This will align social welfare debt recovery with the
    arrangements applied by other government agencies involved in the
    recovery of Commonwealth debts, where there is no such limitation.
    Date of effect: The amendments made by this Schedule commence on the
    later of 1 January 2017 and the day after Royal Assent.
    Human rights implications: This Schedule is compatible with the human
    rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international
    instruments listed in section 3 of the
    Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011. See Statement of
    Compatibility with Human Rights at the end of Chapter 13


  5. leonetwo

    I think this government has a death wish. I also see a class action from one of those ambulance chasing legal companies.

  6. We can’t have a public holiday looming without a thwarted ‘terrorist’ threat.

    Terrorism squad arrests man at Sydney Airport over New Year’s Eve ‘threat’

    A home at Chippendale and a storage facility in Sydney’s inner-west were searched, and items including documents and hard drives were seized, police said

    What was the bloke going to do? Give everyone nasty paper cuts with his ‘documents’? Beat up revellers with his hard drives?

    Note – this is a white guy with a good Irish-Aussie name, so of course there is no hint of ‘we must keep bombing Syria to protect Australia from ISIS’ crap in the political spiel. . Things are very different when a bloke with a Middle-Eastern name is arrested.

  7. What a lovely late Christmas present to read what Eric Abetz had to say about Cori and Tony being such honorable men. I’v e sat up till after midnight playing with the idea and come up with a draft.

    All, All Honorable Men?

    “Tony is an honorable man.
    Cory is an honorable man.
    Both of them are honorable men!”
    Said Eric Abetz, but then again,
    Is his opinion over-rated?
    I’d hardly call him educated.
    Unless he is trying very hard,
    To be our own Downunder Bard,
    And demonstrating subtlety,
    Thus referring to their treachery.
    Is he sick of them and of government,
    Secretly longing for retirement?

  8. Blackfellas don’t count:

    Germany Grapples With Its African Genocide

    During German rule in Namibia, called South-West Africa back then, colonial officers studying eugenics developed ideas on racial purity, and their forces tried to exterminate two rebellious ethnic groups, the Herero and Nama, some of them in concentration camps.

    “It will be described as genocide,” Ruprecht Polenz, Germany’s special envoy to the talks, said of a joint statement that the two governments are preparing. Negotiations, which began this year, are now also focusing on how Germany will compensate and apologize to Namibia.

    The events in Namibia between 1904 and 1908 foreshadowed Nazi ideology and the Holocaust. Yet the genocide in this former colony remains little known in Germany, the rest of Africa and, to some extent, even in Namibia itself.

    Throughout Namibia, monuments and cemeteries commemorating the German occupiers still outnumber those honoring the victims of genocide, a concrete reminder of the lasting imbalance of power.

    “Some of us want to remove that cemetery so that we can put our own people there,” said Magic Urika, 26, who lives about an hour away from the cemetery here in Waterberg. “What they did was a terrible thing, killing our people, saying all the Herero should be eliminated.”

    While Germany’s efforts to atone for crimes during World War II are well known, it took a century before the nation began taking steps to acknowledge that genocide happened in Namibia decades before the Holocaust.

    About 80 percent of all Herero, who numbered as many as 100,000, are believed to have eventually died. Many perished after the battle of Waterberg: They were shot, hanged from trees or died in the desert, where the Germans sealed off watering holes and also prevented survivors from returning.

    Even after the centennial of the Namibian genocide in 2004, Germany’s willingness to acknowledge it officially has proceeded so slowly — and, to critics, grudgingly — that it has set off accusations of racism in how the victims in Europe and Africa have been treated.

    “The only difference is that the Jewish are white in color and we are black,” said Sam Kambazembi, 51, a traditional Herero chief whose great-grandparents fled during the genocide. “The Germans thought they could keep this issue under the carpet and the world would never know about it. But now we have made noise.”

  9. The Inventors of “Fake News”:

    2016 and the truth behind fake news

    In light of the present huffing and puffing over Russia’s suspected complicity in fake news dissemination, it’s worth revisiting US behaviour during the Cold War – a solid reminder that the “fake news” industry is nothing new.

    Consider the testimony of John Stockwell, former CIA intelligence officer and chief of the Angola Task Force in the mid-1970s, which recounts how the CIA continuously manufactured false news stories to feed to major media outlets in Britain and the US. Among these widely reported fabrications, Stockwell notes, was that Cuban soldiers were raping Angolan women.

    Further back on the Cold War timeline, meanwhile, the 1953 CIA coup against Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh was facilitated by attacks on Mossadegh in the Iranian press.

    According to former New York Times foreign correspondent Stephen Kinzer, “most of these tirades were either inspired by the CIA or written by CIA propagandists in Washington. One of the propagandists, Richard Cottam, estimated that four-fifths of the newspapers in Tehran were under CIA influence”.

    Fast-forward to 2016 and the resurrection of the Russian menace on the international scene – where Vladimir Putin is said to be rigging US elections and sponsoring all manner of media propaganda in between pursuing an ever more apocalyptic capacity for military devastation.


  10. One has to wade through a long article on Russian Hacking before this little tidbit deep into the article, typical NYT:

    How Russia Recruited Elite Hackers for Its Cyberwar

    American intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency, have for decades recruited on college campuses. In 2015, the N.S.A. offered a free summer camp to 1,400 high school and middle school students, where they were taught the basics of hacking, cracking and cyberdefense.

  11. U.S. Sold $40 Billion in Weapons in 2015, Topping Global Market

    WASHINGTON — The United States again ranked first in global weapons sales last year, signing deals for about $40 billion, or half of all agreements in the worldwide arms bazaar, and far ahead of France, the No. 2 weapons dealer with $15 billion in sales, according to a new congressional study.

    Developing nations continued to be the largest buyers of arms in 2015, with Qatar signing deals for more than $17 billion in weapons last year, followed by Egypt, which agreed to buy almost $12 billion in arms, and Saudi Arabia, with over $8 billion in weapons purchases.

  12. Putin: Russia will not expel anyone in response to US sanctions

    The Russian president has rejected a suggestion of the foreign ministry to expel 35 American diplomats in response to a similar move by the US. He said Obama’s act was designed to provoke a reaction, but Russia would not take the bait.

    “We reserve the right to retaliate, but we will not sink to the level of this irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy. We will take further moves on restoring Russian-American relations based on the policies that the administration of President-elect Donald Trump adopts,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a statement published by the Kremlin website.

    Putin said that, unlike the Obama administration, Russia will not target foreign diplomats and their families days before New Year’s celebrations.

    “We will not forbid families and children from spending the New Year’s holidays at the places they are used to. Moreover, I invite the children of all American diplomats with accreditation in Russia to New Year’s and Christmas festivities in the Kremlin,” the Russian president said.

    Putin said he regretted that US President Barack Obama is ending his term “in such a way,” but that he extended his New Year’s congratulations to the outgoing US president and his family nevertheless.

    “I congratulate President-elect Donald Trump and the entire American people!” he concluded.

    The Kremlin said it will send a government plane to the US to evacuate the expelled diplomats and their family members. Earlier, there were reports that the diplomats were having problems buying tickets on such short notice, with airlines already booked by New Year’s travelers.


  13. Why Obama waited 8 years to take on Netanyahu&lt

    John Kerry’s closing act as secretary of state is a 72-minute speech devoted to a problem that was removed from the Democratic Party platform just five months before. Remember– Clintonites insisted that the words settlements and occupation appear nowhere in the party platform.

    As Elise Labott said last night on CNN, Obama did not push the settlements/Palestinian state issue before the election out of deference to Hillary Clinton. Labott was saying, without saying it, that Clinton was so dependent on the Jewish establishment and large Jewish donors, that she could not “undermine [the] party’s fundraising capabilities” (as the National Journal says) by saying a word against Israel. Today on NPR Daoud Kuttab said very much the same thing: that presidents take these actions in their last months when they are freed of “domestic, political, lobbying” pressures. This is a central truth of our politics that ought to be explored. But NPR promptly brought on Aaron David Miller to refute it; Miller said it was a “myth” that lobbying affects US policy.


  14. New Zealand: Report reveals rampant exploitation of migrant workers

    One interviewee recalled working 12 hours daily, seven days a week for six months, for only $5 an hour. The hourly minimum wage is $15.25. Others said they were denied payment for months, or had excessive wages deducted for food, accommodation and transport. Requests for holiday pay, which workers are entitled to under the law, were met with responses such as: “I will give you holiday pay but you will lose your job.”

    Workers also spoke of being charged excessive recruitment fees, being denied an employment contract, having their documents confiscated, as well as verbal, physical and sexual abuse.

    One interviewee feared pressing charges with New Zealand police because he was continuously told by his employer, “You don’t know my powers.” Another was threatened by a contractor that if he spoke out “nobody’s gonna find your dead body in New Zealand.”

    The report cites a 2012 story about a liquor store owner who withheld payment to 12 new immigrant workers, paid as little $4 an hour, and an alleged death threat. It also refers to a US report from the same year which named New Zealand as a major “source country” for sex-trafficking of underage boys and girls.

    Because many migrants have no official employment contract, New Zealand authorities often refuse to help them. One interviewee explained: “I went to IRD [the Inland Revenue Department], I went to Labour Department, I went to Immigration, everywhere, to complain against these guys… but no one is doing anything.”


  15. Arms maker Lockheed Martin opens University of Melbourne research centre

    Behind the backs of the student body, the University of Melbourne has agreed to host a leading new research centre for the American arms manufacturing giant Lockheed Martin.

    The decision represents a further step in Australia’s integration into the US global military build-up and Washington’s preparations for war against Russia and China.

    The $13-million Science, Technology, Engineering Leadership and Research Laboratory (STELaR Lab) will open its doors in 2017 at the university’s Parkville campus. According to Lockheed Martin Australia, it will be the first “multi-disciplinary R&D (research and development) facility” established outside the US.

    It is inconceivable that such a decision could be made without the active involvement of the highest levels of the American and Australian states, in tandem with the university chancellor. Lockheed Martin (LM) is the largest arms maker in the world. It is responsible for developing some of the latest, and most highly-coveted, American war technology, the secrecy of which underpins Washington’s ability to remain militarily in advance of its geo-political rivals. LM’s designs include the next generation of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter combat aircraft, as well as Hellfire-II missiles, the signature weapons of Washington’s fleet of Predator and Reaper drones, which have become synonymous with the Obama administration’s criminal wars in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Yemen.


  16. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Richo writes that this year was an annus horribilis for Malcolm Turnbull and 2017 is shaping up to be no better. This article is well worth reading. Google.
    What the wave of retirements is doing to Sydney.
    I could not agree more with this opinion about NYE telecasts.
    PvO on what 2017 will hold politically. Google.
    Bernardi fires back at Abbott. Let ’em rip!
    Ebony Bennet writes that some of our most important civil and political institutions are under sustained and deliberate attack. And as 2016 draws to a close, when it seems politics is more divided than ever, it’s even more important to protect and defend the bedrock institutions of our democracy. She has a point.
    The effect of the government’s slash and burn management of the ATO is being manifest in a significant rise in complaints.
    Get ready for even more culling of packaged products in supermarkets. Google.
    Here are the new law changes for 2017 that will affect some big cohorts of people.
    James Massola looks at the MPs who will have a higher profile in 2017.
    Our cosying up to Trump over Israel has brought a quick response from SMH letter writers. One makes a good point that Mesma needs to explain to us the reasoning for us not to support the recent UN resolution.
    The backlash over the pension changes is starting to bite. Google.

  17. Well that went well –

    No 1 son rang and asked to borrow the cat carrier, his girlfriend needs to transport her moggie. No problem.

    So – we arrange a time and I get the cat carrier out of the laundry to dust it off and whatever.

    Only problem is my two kitties know the sound of a cat carrier being moved. The metal cage part makes a very distinctive rattle when moved. To them it means only one thing. A trip to the vet. Two all but comatose kitties lolling around the lounge room suddenly spring to life, slam out through the cat flap and head for the hills.

    Thy’ll be back – eventually – and I will, of course, be punished for giving them a fright.

  18. Julius Caesar walked toward the senate house and he spotted the auger who warned him about the Ides of March:
    Caesar : “Auger..the Ides are here and as you see..so am I still.”
    Auger : “Yes, Caesar..the Ides are here..but they are not yet gone.”

    The rest…
    The year is not yet ended…keep looking over your shoulder!

  19. The real death toll thanks to this government’s policy is at least 19.
    Recent deaths of people subjected to Australia’s current immigration policies.

  20. I went looking for the original NZ report mentioned above.


    Click to access Worker-Exploitation-in-New-Zealand.pdf



  21. http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/kkk-leaders-allege-producers-paid-them-to-fake-scenes-in-canceled-ae-documentary-exclusive-1201950078/

    • The LNP have turned our once reliable manufacturing based economy into a gambling economy..with high risk speculative investment in trickle-down , high-risk energy networks and high-risk investment in shonky communications…all gambling on a market driven up-surge in some point in the future..like betting “on the nose” on a horse-race…FFS!!

  22. The Gambling Economy of the LNP.
    (or: How to make a million dollars without really trying!)

    In William Saroyan’s story ; “Little Miss Universe”, he traces the characters of three gamblers in “The Kentucky Pool Room number One Opera Alley”.

    These three gentlemen each have a “system” thoroughly tested and proved un-assailably accurate to their personal satisfaction, and if followed to the letter, would , in time make them millionaires…of course..just now they were all penniless.

    These three characters are good and accurate metaphors for the current policies of the IPA / LNP / MSM gambling coalition.

    The first character had a system whereby he could examine the running form of the horse in question, and by a mix of calculated insight, psychological knowledge of horses and his own savvy eye for a “good thing”, he could unfailingly ( if requested) pick the winner of a race , any race with all the certainty of “a sure thing”…and according to his own calculations, if he had bet on one particular horse back a year or two ago and followed it’s career till now, he would be “rolling in the stuff!”

    This system is reminiscent of those promises of the LNP before the last election…or was it the one before? About the promise of a booming economy and jobs and growth..MILLIONS OF JOBS!..MILLIONS OF ‘EM!…if only the voting public give them the nod…and they did..and the result?

    Same system, different “horse race”, same result!

    The second character based HIS system not on the chancy risk of a horse (read ; open market), but rather on the secrets of the machinations of owners, jockeys and wise gamblers (read ; entrepreneurs / speculators/ corporate investors )..his system took into consideration outside events like the weather in another state, at the track, the amount of horse manure taken out , money going into the bookies bag, in short, everything that could be squeezed into the realm of possibilities to win or lose…much like the reliance by the free-market and economic rationalists on the breathing and farting statistics of those extreme gambling houses; the stock exchanges of the world.

    Same system, different “horse” , same result.

    Now the third character is the most reliable “winner” of the lot..This character can never lose, because he has cut out the whole tiresome particular of risk and capital venture and just listens to the race without placing a bet and at the final call, quickly scribbles the winners name on a piece of paper and rushes into the gambling den holding the paper high and exclaiming : “Here!…See..I had the winner all the time..here’s the proof!” ..of course only a fool would ever take such a claim seriously after the second attempt…but there’s no explaining the amount of foolish people in this world.

    This last “system” is an exact representation of our own Main-stream media reporting on the “economic success story that is the LNP.”..win, lose or draw, there they are , rushing about in the media dens of the nation, every person-jack of them flourishing that little piece of LNP. Press-release exclaiming how well they are doing “picking the winners”, “managing the economy” and “rescuing the budget” and securing those “jobs and growth”..Just like their namesake in the William Saroyan story : “San Jose Red” , as reliable as clockwork, just as the final call is given, there they are with their little slip of copy..: “Look, we told you..the LNP will always be better at picking the horses..oops!..sorry..managing the economy than your local bookie!

    Same system , different “jockey”, same result.

    So : “Do you feel lucky…punk!?”

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