Merry Christmas 2017


Another Christmas has arrived and I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Pubsters ,contributors and lurkers, a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.



I will not be hypocritical and warn you all not to eat or drink to much as I am certain that I will be overindulging in both.



I will however add my usual warning about driving over the holiday period. Be careful there are a lot of stressed, tired, cranky, crazy people out there all trying to get somewhere fast. Be patient and be aware of what is going on around you.I know I don’t have to caution Pubsters against drink/drug driving but plenty of people still do it and unfortunately I can almost guarantee that some peoples Christmas will end in a tragedy.Please don’t let it be your’s.


A special thank you as always goes to Fiona and BB for there valuable assistance in keeping the pub ticking over and of course to BK for his daily dawn patrol which has become the first place many people go to in the mornings.



So on behalf of Ned, Syd and myself  a happy Yuletide and lets look forward to a great year of the Dog.


643 thoughts on “Merry Christmas 2017

  1. Michael Moore vows to drill for oil offshore Trump’s Mar-a-lago resort

    Filmmaker Michael Moore is threatening to frack near President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-lago resort in an apparent response to the administration’s plan to open the US coast to offshore drilling.

    “Our fracking off the coast of Mar-a-Lago begins right after Labor Day,” Moore wrote in a tweet on Saturday, along with an image of a Halliburton fracking rig.

    “The oil we drill just off your beach will pay 4 our entire show!” he continued, in reference to his upcoming television show. “And any spills – we’re going to let the ppl of Florida keep whatever they collect 4 free!”

    • They probably get SFA. After all if you had a gazillion in your bank thoughts about “do I really have to bother” would become loud.

  2. Pakistan’s Asymmetrical Response To Trump Is A Clever Way To Flip The Tables On Afghanistan

    Pakistan’s announcement that it will seek the expulsion of over 1,5 million Afghan refugees in the next 30 days is being tacitly justified by Trump’s tweet and channels his zero-tolerance stance towards immigration from “terrorist”-prone states, but it also represents the employment of reverse-“Weapons of Mass Migration” in pushing Kabul closer towards the edge of collapse and consequently filling the Taliban’s rank of supporters.

    Trump is going to soon regret what he tweeted about Pakistan on New Year’s Day in accusing it of “giving safe haven to terrorists”, since Islamabad is poised to hit Washington with an asymmetrical counterpunch that it surely won’t forget.

    The Pakistani government just announced that over 1,5 million Afghan refugees must leave the country within the next 30 days, a plan that it’s been working on for a while but which just received a fresh impetus and internationally-acceptable justification with Trump’s tweet.

  3. “The Pakistani government just announced that over 1,5 million Afghan refugees must leave the country within the next 30 days, a plan that it’s been working on for a while but which just received a fresh impetus and internationally-acceptable justification with Trump’s tweet.”

    Only one thing to say: 1849.

  4. A Great Article, well Worth a Read:

    PLA Strategist: The U.S. Uses Its Dollar to Dominate the World

    Thus, on August 15, 1971, then U.S. President Nixon announced that the U.S. stopped pegging the dollar to gold. It was the beginning of the collapse of the Bretton Woods system, and also a way in which the Americans cheated the world. However, the world didn’t realize it.

    People trusted the U.S. dollar because it was supported by gold. The U.S. dollar had been the international currency, the settlement currency, and the reserve currency for over 20 years. People were used to the dollar. When the U.S. dollar suddenly lost its tie to gold, it then, in theory, became a pure piece of green paper. Why did people still use it?

    In theory people could stop using it., Bbut in practice what would people use for international settlement? Currency is a measure of value. If people stopped using the U.S. dollar, was there any other currency they trusted?

    Thus, the Americans took advantage of people’s inertia and forced the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to accept the U.S. condition that the world’s oil trade must settle in U.S. dollars. Previously, oil trades were settled in any international currency, but, since October 1973, settlement was limited to the U.S. dollar only.

    After unpegging from precious metal, the Americans linked their dollar to oil. Why? The Americans were very clear: people might dislike the U.S. dollar, but they could not live without energy. Every country needed development and thus needed to consume energy. In this way, the need for oil translated into the need for the U.S. dollar. For the U.S., this was a very smart move.

  5. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Peter Martin explains why Treasury thought Turnbull was wrong on negative gearing.
    More than two-thirds of cabinet ministers in the Turnbull government own investment properties, the register of members’ interests reveals. Hmm.
    John Birmingham writes on the race baiting going on and makes the point that it is a stain upon us all.
    This article form a Climate Council member should be put into pop-up story book form and given to Trump.
    Preliminary discussions are under way for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to potentially interview US President Donald Trump.
    Jenna Price urges Americans to tell Trump to grow up or get out.
    What a pathetic line of argument from the Minerals Council! If a butcher could claim the cost of his purchased carcasses was a tax then he would pay no company tax.
    The AMA is planning a war on sugar.
    This SMH editorial goes right off on the PPP rorts being perpetrated upon us.
    Anna Patty writes about the “clueless class system.
    Here’s Tony Wright’s tribute to Ron Tandberg.
    This lady served in the jury on a long trial about child sexual abuse and relates her fraught experience and concerns. Well worth reading.

  6. Section 2 . . .

    Richard Dennis says that an energy policy based on feelings is no use to consumers. Google.
    Auto dealers lead the pack with respect to a surge in consumer complaints handled by the ACCC.
    The ACCC is seeking millions in fines and up to 10 years jail for executives of a series of high-profile companies in first criminal cartel cases. Google.
    To see the political narrative at play in Victoria’s alleged African gang crisis, criminologist Mark Wood says, look no further than the surf coast town of Torquay.
    The Washington Post is concerned that the US is heading for a recession.
    Oh oh! Now we have a second councillor telling the investigator about new allegation against Robert Doyle.
    The foreign affairs department spent close to $100,000 of taxpayers’ money on an Australian tour for European journalists which included business class flights.
    The number of Australians dipping into superannuation early to pay for medical bills is rapidly increasing. Google.
    Prominent Liberal ministers have launched a stinging attack on one of their own – the head of the NSW Young Liberals, Harry Stutchbury – over his stance on housing affordability. They branded him a “private school boy”.
    The New South Wales Labor opposition narrowly leads the Berejiklian government 51% to 49%, according to a three-month average of Guardian Essential polls.
    Only in America. Now Oprah Winfrey is “actively considering” a run at the US presidency.
    Facing defeat at the next election and with a record of failure, Dutton and the Coalition are conjuring up African gangs in a desperate attempt to enlist fear-based support, writes John Passant.,11085

  7. Section 3 . . .

    The Coalition government has escaped paying nearly $350 million in wage rises to public servants at the largest agencies after they rejected workplace deal offers amid bitter rows over conditions, figures from the public service commission show.
    Telemarketing complaints continue to soar.
    Stephen Koukoulas writes that Sydney house prices are still heading lower.
    Robert Winder writes that after Brexit, England will have to rethink its identity.
    The Turnbull Government is negligently concealing its massive climate change policy failure, writes Peter Boyer.,11087

  8. Section 4 . . . Cartoon Corner.

    Matt Golding farewells Ron Tandberg.

    Cathy Wilcox is right on to Turnbull and Co.
    Glen Le Lievre posted one of Tandberg’s best.

    Peter Broelman on the Fifth Test.

    From Jenny Brockie. Sad.
    Tandberg’s epitaph to himself.

    Another one of his classics.

    Paul Zanetti labels Turnbull.

    Matt Golding’s work for the day.

    Glen Le Lievre is inspired by Fisher-Price for this contribution.

    David Pope thinks it’s time to go back to work.

    Andrew Dyson continues with the Trump/Kim pissing contest.

  9. Sunday was a scorcher in Sydney and other parts of NSW, the official Sydney temperature reached just over 47C, the second hottest day on record. The power grid could not cope. There were blackouts in Chatswood and on the Central Coast.

    Turnbull has not said a word about the power failures, neither has his little buddy Frydenberg, not even to blame the blackouts on renewables. Why? Because unlike SA, NSW is not (yet) a Labor state.

    NSW is lucky, apparently, that the heatwave happened on a weekend, when a lot of industries were not operating. Just imagine what might have happened in Sydney if the same scorching weather happened on a weekday.

    I just love the comment from the Ausgrid chap – ‘the community’ would not want, or be able to pay for, continuous coverage. Well Mr Donaldson, we pay through the nose for our power in NSW, have done for years, to provide (allegedly) a ‘gold-plated’ system. We expect that system to work and and we most definitely do want that power to be available 100% of the time to 100% of customers. Anything less means you have squandered the money we pay on something other than a proper, functional power grid.

  10. Today is the first day same sex couples can legally marry in Australia. My eldest and his lovely fiance are going to a special wedding today, the happy couple will be among the first to take advantage of legal same sex marriage.

  11. Speaking of notorious Victorian criminal gangs .

    John Setka‏ @CFMEUJohnSetka · 9h9 hours ago

    Mafia linked opposition leader who’s president is in jail on fraud charges & who’s Young Lib president is in jail on theft & drug charges has a problem with ‘ethnic’ kids!

  12. Get ready for more Potato and Truffles led dog whistling and assorted political stunts.

    Vic Libs seek alliance with PM on gangs
    Matthew Guy

    State Opposition Leader Matthew Guy talks with federal colleagues about a “united ­approach’’ over the gang crime wave

    • I’m wondering how Turnbull, Dutton and the Victorian Liberals intend to keep this hate campaign going until November, assuming, of course, the Turnbull government itself lasts that long. The fear and loathing campaign is already wearing thin, with only the rusted-on types buying the ‘you can’t go out to dinner for fear of African gangs’ rubbish. The star spruiker of the government line was quickly revealed as a compulsive liar with no links to the South Sudan community. Questions are now being asked about why Fairfax, the ABC and The Guardian accepted this person’s word and work without any checks at all about his background or the real source of the article he said he had written. Too eager to push the government line? You bet. Credibility destroyed? Probably. At some stage in the near future the MSM might not be so willing to accept a Liberal Party stooge as a spokesperson.

      The more Dutton, Turnbull, Guy and their mob talk this sort of rubbish the more ridiculous it will become and the more people will realise they are being fed lies by the Turnbull government and the Victorian Liberal Party and by their stooges in the media.

      If the Victorian Libs want to win the next election then they might like to think about doing something they have never tried before – coming up with policies the voters might find appealing.

  13. What a difference in press and political coverage not being ‘melanin enhanced’ makes.

    On Thursday, while politicians were debating whether Victorians were afraid to dine out at restaurants because of “African gang violence,” more than 100 young people rioted and threw bottles at police cars in the tourist town, hitting one officer in the face and prompting local police to call for back-up from Geelong and Melbourne.

    The Geelong Advertiser ran a story on Saturday, picked up by its stablemate the Herald Sun, but it caused barely a blip on the national media radar. If the assailants had been of African appearance, Wood says, it would have been front-page news.

    The youths would also probably have been called a “gang”, not “a group”, he said.

  14. At last, at last!…I’m free at last!…They’ve all gone…

    I must be getting old..

    You know I have said many times that I live out here in the Mallee “ in splendid isolation”..and indeed, not having a neighbour within approx’ one kilometre from me and then only on occasion (it is a retreat house from the city), I have come to expect and enjoy that relaxed atmosphere that greets one at the dawning of the day along with the harking of birds and the rustling of leaves and obscure small creatures in the undergrowth..why even my blood relatives in the district leave me alone, not solely, I would believe, because of my greeting them on the occasion I do meet them at the local general store with :

    “None of you come out to see me anymore….and DON’T THINK I’m not grateful!”

    Such was my existence on this perimeter of Nirvana…as a matter of interest, there is a, I suspect, soul-mate on a property some kilometres away farther out in the Mallee who has named his property : “Precipice” ..I will leave you to cogitate over THAT witty description….But come this Xmas just gone, I was invaded by not one , but TWO blights…I am not talking “Downey mildew” on the vines, nor “black spot” on the roses…no..much worse..more insidious…I am talking about the know..those life-long burdens one inherits for so innocently and enthusiastically mumbling those two little words..: “I do”..I mean, really..there oughta be a law…

    Curse of the Gods be upon me that I have brought such wrath and blitzen into my house!..I ask them; “What have I done to deserve this Oh Gods?…I do not tear down your sacred icons, your temples, I did not drive your believers into the desert for forty years nor hand out pamphlets at the local fair proselytising for the Rosicrucians!..Why me??”

    To no that which was prophesised ; they came ..and they stayed..fortunately one only for a few days…the other I have still amongst me…like a rogue flea in “Danny La Rue’s” matter what you do, you can’t get rid of the irritation!

    The first one was bad enough…He arrived in a petulant, brooding sulk, stayed in moody, brooding sneering sarcasm , broken only by his exaggerated sucking sounds as he emptied the crayfish legs of their tasty morsels at Xmas dinner and slurred up the last juices of the ice-cream Yule-tide log, topped with rich maraschino cherries and a chocolate syrup..he was also quiet when he pasted and nibbled on the Roquefort cheeses and washed down the Haig’s after-dinner choccys with the last swills of his generous serving of Krug Champers…

    THEN he started see, being from the Eastern States and politically connected to where it matters, he was a political prodigy, with his finger from a young age on the pulse of every surge of government pump of blood…you could propose this point, extrapolate that policy, those stray manoeuvres of the government, and he would be there with his irritated boyish temperament and voice ( a little like a Viennese castrato) pooh-poohing with wave-away dismissal every proposition not conjured up in his fertile political vocabulary nor first thought up by himself..all in a tone of voice I would call : “Sommelieran” …ie; always with a touch of whine in the back of his throat!

    Anyway..I am shot of THAT one..I suspect his many kilograms of talent was wanted back at the office and he took himself off…just as the Apple and Rosemary Pork Roulade ran out…He will not be missed!

    And now I have one to go..I have to suffer through five more wakes of this most bumptious, supercilious, vacuous arsehole since that “Warnie” chap first bowled his “flipper” (sp?) and gained international phone credits!..I have to tell you about this one..he’s a little beauty folks..only been used once for work and then only on a Sunday a long time almost forty years of age and still a student..studying a subject that will guarantee him a lifelong career as an over-qualified, loquacious, verbose specimen whose perspicacity is only exceeded by his perspicuous gluttony..his gluttony then only exceeded by his latent (and STILL waiting!) genius and will remain totally unemployable for any task save the parting of “informed comment” on the most inane obscurities like the most qualified feuilletonist.

    We have been graced with his company every Xmas for as long as I can block the memory of..and for the last six years, while he has wrestled with a PhD. on a subject only he could reveal and never did. We have been walking around the house on egg-shells lest we disturb his cogitations on such deep thought or interrupt his line of inquiry with trivial bounty of gourmet food and drink…which he WOULD interrupt his explores into elusive genius with gluttonous delight, savouring every morsel within a one metre radius sweep of his arms with all the eye-boggling, mouth stuffing, munching and gulping of a cow knee deep in clover or a free-loading guest at table of Trimalchio’s Feast..the dexterity he shows with cutlery attacking the roast turkey would match the android in “Alien” stabbing between his fingers at lightning speed..never has so much been consumed by so few for the sake of… fill in the rest!!

    But hey!..don’t get me wrong..I was willing to creep around like Uriah Heep’s ghost while he laboured at the saving of humanity..I see myself as an educator..I recognise the need for applied genius…and he DID complete his PhD..and He has submitted it..and he can now relax and really concentrate of the food..and I asked him as he sat there smacking his almost satiated lips ..:

    “So, now that you have got the PhD. Completed…what was the final conclusion of your thesis?”

    After a couple of self-satisfied dabs of his lips to touch away the lion’s share of Xmas pud’ (w/crème brûlée ), he made a kind of flippant, wavy-handed gesticulation and dismissed my enquiry with a voice as weary of futile condescension as Methuselah once again explaining his secret for a long life and a pouty admission that such a depth of philosophical investigation would be beyond the ken of the lay adult, it being in a branch of that discipline too obscure to analyse in just one life-time..or words to that effect..


    No bullshit!!!!!..where’s those f#cking harissa topped enchiladas and the enthusiastically voiced “HOW TO” instructions on the Zappa/Mothers white “Filmore East” album (1971) ? Because by Geezus…Five days left before he fucks off back to the Eastern States and I beg the Gods to just please…FUCKIN” PLEEEEESE….give me strength!

  15. From the lunatic fringe that is Your Government

    Australians would pay more for electricity and have more volatile supply if the Snowy 2.0 pumped hydropower project is not built, Josh Frydenberg has said.

    The energy and environment minister has strongly argued for the necessity of the scheme in an opinion piece for the Australian Financial Review, despite the feasibility study revealing that its estimated cost had blown out by more than $2bn to between $3.8bn and $4.5bn.

    The Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro scheme would add 2,000 megawatts of capacity to the existing hydro plants and 350,000MW hours of storage.

    Frydenberg said that the scheme was “a giant battery that makes renewables reliable”, filling what he called a “gaping hole in the National Electricity Market” – the lack of storage.

    “With the capacity to store enough energy to run for seven consecutive days at its maximum output, Snowy 2.0 will be Australia’s biggest battery,” he said.

    At a rough guess, that project will cost us taxpayers $8 billion. Add that to your energy bill!

    • It’s a lemon, it’s never going to be viable despite what Fizza’s hand-picked feasibility study writers say. It’s meant to be a vote winner, nothing more, the thing you talk up when you have nothing real or useful to offer, and in the unlikely event this government is returned at the next election the whole mess will be shelved and never spoken of again.

      Why Snowy 2.0 is a write-off from the start

      Will it nonetheless be money well spent? This is very unlikely. Pumped hydro is an inefficient storage technology. Australia already has significant pumped hydro capacity – 900 megawatts (MW) at Tumut 3 in Snowy and 500 MW at Wivenhoe in Queensland. Both are rarely used because they are inefficient.

      The feasibility study says that at capacity, Snowy 2.0 will only produce about 1 kilowatt hour for each 1.5 kilowatt hours needed to pump water to the top reservoir. Add to that 10 per cent for losses in transmitting electricity from generators in the Hunter and Latrobe valleys to pump the water uphill. And then add another 10 per cent for losses in transmitting the stored electricity back to the main load centres in Sydney and Melbourne where most of it will be consumed. In other words, Snowy 2.0 will use about 1.8 kilowatt hours for each kilowatt hour that it actually delivers to consumers. By comparison, a battery installed on a customer’s premises or on the local grid can be expected to use about 1.1 kilowatt hour for each kilowatt hour delivered

  16. From what I understand of FIFA rules, when a player is transferred each club for which he has previously transferred gets a slice of the fee, right down the the initial suburban club they played for in the beginning.

    So if one of these big transfers happened, then Wolves United in suburban Adelaide would get a tiny slice of the transfer fee because they had a hand in developing the player’s career.

    The players do end up with about 10% of the transfer fee, some of which will go to their agent. So of a 100mill transfer the player will get 10mill.

    The same for their wages. A percentage to their agent, then there are taxes etc but being a top footballer means you are a millionaire. For the journeyman footballer. much less so.

  17. I love this.

  18. Lately I’ve taken to watching the West Wing in an effort not to hate America lately, and it’s working. I would like to think that maybe one day there’ll be a genuinely benevolent man such as Jed Bartlet leading such an administration like that and the red haze that I get when thinking about that pack of mentally challenged white supremacist “kill the poor” assholes fades just a little.

    • Or woman, mustn’t forget that possibility. Just a female Jed Bartlet is a little hard to imagine. Hopefully not for long though.

    • We will finally get to see a female Dr Who this year. It only took 50 years, and the USA has been practising somewhat longer and has more baggage. Just hold the thought that it will get better … eventually
      *sighs despairingly yet still hopeful*

      PS – I’m with you on the watching of “West Wing” as an antidote. Also “Independence Day” and even numbered “Star Trek” movies. Other suggestions greatly appreciated. *wry grin*

  19. We will finally get to see a female Dr Who this year. It only took 50 years

    And certain people chucked a massive tantrum over the doctor being female.

  20. I’m sure the two billion dollars (current out of their backsides figure) spent on new stadiums will make the “commuters” feel much better.

    Sydney train commuters face ‘indefinite delays’, union hits out at staff shortage ‘cover-up’

    Sydney commuters have battled with a train network in meltdown during tonight’s peak hour, lashing out on social media after some were told to expect “indefinite delays”.

    At Central Station, eight out of 10 train lines are not running to a timetable anymore, with no expected departure times available.

    Travellers have also been turned away from certain platforms at Central and Wynyard due to significant overcrowding.

    Sydney Trains angered many by telling them to avoid trains and instead catch buses due to extended delays expected to continue into the evening.

  21. Some South Sudanese scaring people with gospel music

    Tukoki Pharoah By Khamis Kenedy SOUTH SUDAN

    Just as scary up north
    ‘Nubian Music From North Sudan”

  22. Speaking of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and the movie Natural Born Killers.What a voice

  23. Well, a monster storm up here in the beautiful mid-North Coast last night.

    Lightning, thunder, pissing down rain in absolute sheets.

    So what’s the deal Leone?

    Is this normal? And if so, why?

    • Welcome to the Mid-North Coast! Get used to storms.

      Storms are normal from November to March, but there have been more big storms lately. You can guess why. Usually they are over quickly, we get a lot of noise and tons of rain in a very short time, then they move north or go out to sea.

      Last night’s storm was big, but nowhere near as bad as the ones we had over Christmas and New Year. This one came from down south, it had been working its way up the coast all day after hitting Sydney yesterday morning. By the time it got here it was nowhere near as bad as the Sydney version, so actually you have dodged a bullet.

      Sydney’s big storms seem worse than the storms up here

      Should I tell you about the water spouts, and what the old-timers up here call ‘black nor-easters’, and the Great Boxing Day Storm of 1984 and the Great Twister of 1985? Nah, maybe another time.

  24. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    The Berejiklian government will tell investors, but not the public, how many motorists are using the first section of the WestConnex motorway. Come on Gladys, lift your game!
    And what a monument to mismanagement is the train system shambles in Sydney!
    The SMH editorial has its say about it.
    In a very long contribution Ben Eltham reveals Turnbull’s five policy failures of 2017.
    Rob Burgess writes “When the Australian people are being lied to, you’d hope that the bulk of the mainstream media would swing into action to expose the liars. But that did not happen during the Coalition’s phoney defence of negative gearing and capital gains tax discounts before the last election.”
    Nicholas Stuart says we need to know where our politicians stand on climate change and big data.
    Terry Banes says that the bellicose Australian Medical Association needs to be put in its place. He describes the AMA as the CFMEU of the white-coats. Google.
    Rob Stokes is questioning the selective public schools system.
    Richo says that Pyne needs to up his political game in 2018. Google.
    Centrelink has a really soft touch at times.
    Jeff Kennett defends Dan Andrews’ right to take a break. Google.

  25. Section 2 . . .

    Nearly 5,000 public servants witnessed corruption in their agencies as the number of bureaucrats reporting cronyism, nepotism and other misconduct grew in a new survey.
    The Adani coal project is not quite dead yet.
    Michael west looks at the effect of lack of regulation on gas pipelines.
    How workplace bullying can affect the body.
    And when HR practitioners stand up for fairness, they may sometimes be standing on precarious ground with respect to their own careers.
    The Australian Council of Social Service is mounting a last-ditch lobbying campaign to convince Senate crossbenchers to oppose the Coalition’s welfare overhaul, warning the changes will reduce payments for up to 80,000 people.
    Michael West examines what happened to Joe Hockey’s $8.8b gift to the RBA.
    No Africans? No outrage!
    Events are moving so fast at Retail Food Group that management is having trouble keeping up, as shown by the second profit downgrade within a few weeks.
    The desire of thousands of gravely ill Australians to die without pain and surrounded by family is going unmet because palliative care services fall badly short, the national peak body has warned.

  26. Section 3 . . .

    The ATO has warned partners in law, accounting, engineering and medical firms who reduce their tax bills by income splitting with their spouses that the rules are being reviewed. Good!
    John Harris opines that Theresa May can rally her troops, but the Tory party is dying on its feet.
    Child protection and family services should focus on assisting vulnerable families as opposed to removing children, says Gerry Georgatos.,11090
    Stephen Koukoulas tells us that Australia’s international trade position is getting markedly worse.
    Controversial former sheriff Joe Arpaio announced on Tuesday that he would run for the United States Senate in Arizona. And he’ll probably get up.
    Debate about the early release of superannuation has ramped up after it emerged that a rising number of Australians were raiding their retirement funds to pay for non-vital procedures such as weight loss surgery and
    Telecommunications companies have reduced their prices, with some customers saving an average of $120 a year, following last month’s national broadband network wholesale price cuts.
    MP Ian Goodenough has accused a Liberal rival of breaching electoral law, in the latest development in a bitter feud. Google.
    Kate McClymont with more on the McLachlan problem.

  27. I just love the way the media are telling us yesterday’s Sydney train woes yesterday, and again this morning, were due to lightning strikes and a lack of train drivers. Not one of the usual suspects is saying the delays were an embarrassment for the Gladys government, caused by new, idiotic timetables, or because the shortage of train drivers happened because no-one thought training of new drivers was important when more trains were going to be put into service. Now the penny has dropped and the geniuses in the NSW government have realised trains don’t drive themselves (who would ever have thought?) they are rushing to train more drivers. Would you want to be on a train driven by some bloke who had been rushed into the job after minimal training? I certainly wouldn’t.

    How very different to the reporting during the time of the last Labor government. Back then everything that went wrong with the trains was Labor’s fault. A blown transformer shutting down a rail line? Labor mismanagement. The hatch cover blowing off a train and causing delays? Labor’s fault. Some poor sod throws himself in front of a train and causes rail delays while police remove the body? Absolutely Labor’s fault. You get the idea.

    Here’s an example – in March 2007, just a week before the state election, overhead wiring broke somewhere on the city circuit. It was just one of those breakdowns that happen from time to time, but from the media reports at the time you’d be forgiven for thinking Premier Morris Iemma had climbed onto the roof of a train and cut the wires all by himself. Trains on the circuit were stuck, including trains on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Thousands of passengers were inconvenienced.

    It was an embarrassment for the Iemma government, according to the SMH. An investigation was demanded, the then Minister for Transport apologised, even though he had done nothing wrong.

    Transport meltdown

    Interesting note – Gladys Berejiklian was Shadow Minister for Transport until that election, then she was given another shadow portfolio, probably because she sucked at transport. Later on she became Fatty O’Barrell’s Minister for Transport, where she again showed she had NFI, and was moved from that portfolio to others, always sucking at the job, until eventually, as usually happens in the Liberal Party, she was rewarded for years of incompetence by being made premier, where again, she sucks at her job. As premier she has been a total disaster, a walking, talking waste of space who thinks turning Sydney into one giant freeway (with lots of bonus tunnels) stretching from Wollongong to Parramatta is going to make everything better. Just who will be better off, apart from the big companies that buy the infrastructure, is a question Gladys can’t or won’t answer. She won’t discuss who will be owning the new stadiums she wants to build either, or who is going to benefit from the increased ticket sales she says they will bring, stadiums that are not needed when NSW is screaming for more classrooms, more hospitals, more TAFE colleges, more public transport, including – oops – trains ……..

    • Gladys Berijiklian was the Transport minister who cut the Sydney Trains budget to ribbons.
      All Sydney Trains employees loathe her and consider her the architect of their current woes but hey she wants to rebuild perfectly good sports stadiums for $2+ billion

  28. off subject does anyone have the name of the British ABC drama re military police in Aden in the sixties. as I was serving there in 62 and just heard about it

  29. Mysterious white powder found in Parliament House, one of the security high-ups licks his finger, sticks it in the powder, then pops his finger in his mouth and declares the powder is salt. Such is the state of ‘security’ in Parliament House.

    Security taken with a pinch of salt: alarm at Parliament House white powder scare
    A security officer’s response to a suspicious substance in a public area has prompted accusations of ‘recklessly ignoring proper protocols’

  30. Not that I think Oprah will seek to run:

    Oprah is supported by Bill Kristol, supported Iraq War, and has helped promote very shady people

    With media mogul Oprah Winfrey reportedly considering a run for the Democratic presidential nomination and a large section of the Democratic establishment being at least interested in supporting her candidacy for the Democratic nomination, it’s time for me to talk about reasons why I wouldn’t support Oprah unless she wins the Democratic nomination.

    I will begin by saying that I don’t have an issue with the fact that she’s never held government office of any kind. Criticizing Oprah or anyone else without prior experience in government is elitist, and there isn’t a provision in the U.S. Constitution requiring the president to have served in prior elected or other government office, and I wouldn’t support such a requirement. There will be, in all likelihood, a very large field of Democratic presidential candidates (possibly as many as 20-35 candidates) come early 2020, with candidates coming from many different backgrounds.

    Since there’s not a whole lot that is known about Oprah’s own political views, here are currently three main reasons why I would not support Oprah’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

    Her support for the unjustified Iraq War

    Like Hillary Clinton and many other right-wing Democrats, Oprah supported the unjustified Iraq War that was supported by, among others, George W. Bush:

  31. Many Were Not Happy About Kirk Douglas Getting Honored At The Golden Globes

    When that long Golden Globes montage to 101-year-old Kirk Douglas ended on Sunday, I was mainly enraptured by his daughter-in-law Catherine Zeta-Jones’ blowout (and apparently so was Kirk), thinking it was about to snatch away Oprah’s Cecil B. DeMille Award since it was contributing plenty to television in just its three minutes of air time. Alas, others thought the whole pomp and circumstance was brutally tone deaf the same night where “Time’s Up!” was the message since Kirk is said to have been a Grade-A Hollywood predator when he allegedly raped Natalie Wood back in the day.

    Mediaite says there has been a revival of an old Gawker article where Robert Downey Jr. was said to have commented on a blind item back in 2012 accusing Kirk of raping Natalie in a hotel room when she was an up-and-coming actress. The commenter, going by the name “Himmmm,” shared blind items about abusive men in Hollywood on Crazy Days and Nights. Most people thought Himmm was Robert based on clues he left. Himmmm accused Kirk of repeatedly and gruesomely raping Natalie and then mocking her about it. Twitter clearly did not forget about the Gawker story and thought the Globes lauding was rather hypocritical:

  32. Russian army repels attack by 13 militant drones on its Syrian compounds – MoD

    Russian military have repelled a massive drone attack on its bases in Syria, which was carried out by militants, Moscow said. The extremists may have been aided by a “technologically advanced state,” it added.

    The militants launched their assault during the night on Saturday, the ministry said in a statement. The Russian Kheimim Airbase in the Syrian Latakia province was attacked by 10 unmanned combat aerial vehicles, while three more attempted a strike against the Russian maritime logistics base located in the city of Tartus.

    All of the drones were detected by anti-aircraft defense systems “at a considerable distance from the Russian military objects,” the ministry said. Seven of them were then successfully shot down by the Russian Panzir-S air-defense system.

    The Russian radio electronic warfare specialists also managed to override the operating systems of six more drones, and eventually gained control over the UAVs. Three of them were destroyed when they hit the ground, while another three were landed intact outside the base controlled by Russian forces.

    The ministry also confirmed that the attack had resulted in no casualties among Russian military personnel, and the two bases “continue to operate as normal.”

    It was the “first time that terrorists massively used unmanned combat aerial vehicles of an aircraft type that were launched from a distance of more than 50 kilometers, and operated using GPS satellite navigation coordinates,” the ministry said in a statement.

    The country’s specialists are now examining the seized unmanned aircraft and the recovered data has already allowed the specialists to pinpoint the exact location from which the drones were launched. The examination also showed that advanced technologies were used in the drones’ construction. They “could have been obtained only from a country possessing state-of-the-art technologies, including satellite navigation and remote control of … explosive devices [for] release at certain coordinates.”

  33. Israeli suspected in Kosovo organ trafficking case arrested in Cyprus

    PRISTINA – An Israeli citizen accused of involvement in a human organ trafficking scandal in Kosovo a decade ago has been arrested in Cyprus and the authorities in Pristina have requested his extradition to face trial, police said on Friday.

    Police accuse Israeli Moshe Harel of seeking out people in need of kidney transplants and of luring donors to Kosovo from Turkey and the ex-Soviet Union with the promise of up to 12,000 euros ($14,500) in payment.

    Recipients, mainly Israelis, paid between 80,000 and 100,000 euros for the organs. Some donors never received any money.

    “Based on an international arrest warrant the suspect M.H. was arrested a few days ago in Cyprus. He has been a wanted person since 2010,” police spokesman Baki Kelani told Reuters. Russia has also issued an international arrest warrant for Harel.,7340,L-5066962,00.html

  34. US police kill 29 during first week of 2018

    How many people will the United State police kill in 2018? If the death toll keeps pace with the 29 killed in the first seven days of the year it will finally top 1,500. According to the, the first week of 2018 marks the deadliest first week of any year since 2013 when the site began counting police killings in the US.

    Almost all of the killings follow a general logic: police kill anyone they suspect to be a threat, regardless of how severe or even real the threat. And, in many cases, the dead led lives beset by poverty, mental illness, and violence of all forms.

  35. Thomas Monson, President of the Mormon Church, Dies at 90

    Smith was a reluctant polygamist, agreeing to multiple marriages only after an angel threatened him with a sword.

    • “So where did you go on your holidays, kids?”
      “We went to Israel and learned how to kill Palestinians.”

      I always though Seinfeld was an arsehole, about as funny as a gallstone attack. This confirms my impression of him.

  36. Yesterday’s Sydney train meltdown has been described as “an act of God” by New South Wales Transport Minister Andrew Constance, who says furious commuters will not get a refund.

    He said more than 200 train drivers had been employed since 2016, and 18 new drivers would start work in February.

    However, Sydney Trains and the NSW Government appears to be at odds with their drivers over staffing numbers.

    One driver, who did not want to be named, described staff shortages as “severe” and claimed there were now no emergency staff available to cover people who were sick.

    They described the NSW Government as being “solely responsible” for the “chaos”.

    • It’s an ‘act of God’ when lightning strikes destroy power substations in NSW, and the ABC reports that without any criticism, but when a storm destroyed transmission towers in SA the very same media outfit gleefully told us it was all Labor’s fault for ‘rushing’ to use renewables. Remember Chris Uhlmann’s support for the government lies back then?

      According to media logic storm damage affecting states with Coalition governments is always an act of God, but storm damage affecting states with Labor governments is always Labor’s fault.

      Some religious nutter or other is going to tell us yesterday’s catastrophes and storms were punishment because yesterday was the day same sex marriage became legal.

    • Someone has joined a few dots

      The state’s transport minister, Andrew Constance, said on Wednesday that he had asked transport officials to provide a report on the delays that have crippled the network since Monday ……………

      And this waffle from a transport minister that has overseen a period of utter chaos on our transport system, and whose ongoing response has been to build even more chaos into the scheme whilst inanely grinning like a Cheshire cat.

      His sillier decisions include:
      • Ordering substandard trains from Korea and then finding out they would not fit in all platforms – every platform from Springwood to Lithgow must now be rebuilt.
      • Building a maintenance facility at Kangy Angy on a floodplain.
      • Disastrous administration of the new CBD and South East Light Rail, causing costs to escalate out of control.
      • A disastrous time table with no wriggle room as demonstrated this week.
      • Utter contempt for Australian industry culminating in his stupid Korean train decision and purchasing rails from Spain.
      • We have had some silly decisions made by Berejiklian as Transport Minister, none sillier than the crazy specification for under gauge tunnels for the Norwest project, requiring yet another bunch of non standard rolling stock, together with spares an maintenance problems. Now there is Constance’s decision made to compound the original bad decision, close down the recently opened Chatswood to Epping railway line, convert it to use this new
      stock and then call it the Metro. Basically covering up a costly mistake and acting like its a favour to the people of NSW. In reality it will cause transport chaos.
      • And finally we come to his crowning achievement. Ferry McFerryface!

  37. Twitter making ‘helpful’ suggestions again – Twitter thinks I might like to follow Paula Matthewson (no thanks, I’m not interested in the ravings of former Howard advisors) and – wait for it – Justin Bieber. FFS! I’d rather stick bamboo spikes under my fingernails.

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