Einstein, Mack Dog, and the Interregnum

Two wise sages to support us into this interregnum – now that a 3rd March 2019 poll is predicted.

However, I wouldn’t be totally surprised if FauxMo were to call it sometime in February. St Valentine’s day is, perhaps, a tad too soon (and, anyway, it’s not a Saturday), but I still wouldn’t rule out February … after all, there might be the distraction of disasters, like cyclones and bushfires. Surely, Shirley, that would play best for the Coalition.

Meanwhile, I hope Mack Dog and the ghost of Einstein will – somehow – preserve us.

256 thoughts on “Einstein, Mack Dog, and the Interregnum

  1. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    David Crowe reports that at yesterday’s COAG State premiers have demanded more say over infrastructure decisions in a debate with Prime Minister Scott Morrison over whether to cut permanent migration by 30,000 a year, amid fears of a hit to the economy from a smaller intake.
    Katharine Murphy reviews the interview Andre Bolt had with Shorten last night.
    Now who could this possibly be referring to?
    In a thoughtful and confronting contribution Anne Aly writes that multiculturalism in Australia is in desperate need of a recalibration.
    Latika Bourke tells us that the Liberal candidate for Wentworth, Dave Sharma, has hit out at “ideological zealots” taking over mainstream political parties in a late-night tweet widely believed to be directed at far-right MPs in his party.
    Greg Jericho tells the RBA that housing is enough of a worry so don’t scare us with warnings of rising interest rates.
    NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet defends privatisation.
    Michael Koziol looks at the real motives behind the review of the operation of the ABC and SBS.
    But John McDuling writes that the inquiry has found that the public broadcasters are “not having a significant negative impact on the commercial market”.
    More from Koziol on this.
    Greg Sheridan says that Theresa May brought this leadership challenge on herself. The surprise is not that her leadership has been challenged, but that it went unchallenged for so long.
    Jonathan Freed land says Brexit is a national crisis – not the time for a pointless Tory feud.
    Eryk Bagshaw reports that Dutton has ordered the Australian Border Force to maintain its current level of ocean patrols despite the leak of an internal directive that some ships should stay in port due to a fuel cost-blow out.
    Shane Wright explains that there is fresh pressure on the Morrison government to deal with spiralling energy prices as new figures show Australians are spending a record high proportion of their income to keep the lights and air conditioning on. An update by the Australian Bureau of Statistics of the consumer price index shows a spike in the past 12 months in how much of an average Australian’s weekly spending is going towards electricity expenses.
    David Wroe reports that the Morrison government has been advised by key bureaucrats and retired “wise elders” against moving its Israel embassy to Jerusalem or making other significant changes to Australia’s stance on the status of the city central to the Middle East peace process. Will Morrison ignore this advice?
    Victorian Liberal Party treasurer David Mond has sensationally quit his post just eight months into the job, alleging in a public spray that “a culture of intimidation and belittling” exists in the party.
    John Warhurst writes about the trust deficit for the system and political parties.
    Jess Irvine tells Australians why they should check their mortgage rates.
    The AFR explains why APRA had no choice but to take IOOF to court.
    John McDuling writes that the social media behemoth Facebook has broken its silence to hit back at the Australian competition regulator’s tough new proposals.
    The Australian reports that Morrison will take a religious discrimination act to the next election, in a major change to commonwealth discrimination laws that will introduce, for the first time, stand-alone legal protections for Australians of faith. This could end up being quite interesting.
    And this rabidly religious LNP senator will ensure it.
    Sally Whyte reports that almost 32,000 non-public service employees were given government security clearances by the Defence department in the past two years, pointing to an explosion of high-level outsourced work at the department.
    Historian Robin Harris contends that Theresa May is the least competent prime minister ever to represent Britain.
    Matt O’Sullivan says that the case for building light rail lines in NSW has taken another hit after an audit found Newcastle’s 2.7-kilometre light rail has failed to justify its $368 million cost.
    David Wroe examines the progress of the fraught negotiations between Defence and the French submarine contractor. Is there still life in Collins?
    Noely Neate explores whether or not the Labor Party is offering a genuine, inspiring alternative to the current mess of a Government.
    Sam Maiden tells us that Labor will campaign for “free”, safe and accessible abortion in public hospitals and clinics if Bill Shorten is elected Prime Minister.
    Sarah Danckert reports on a tough day for Cash Converts at a Senate inquiry yesterday. Bloody leeches!
    The AFR tell us that Australia’s electricity challenges have now been laid bare by three regulators but the federal government continues to fight a problem that doesn’t exist.
    Meanwhile the Morrison government has sent a clear signal that it is prepared to provide taxpayer support for both new and existing coal plants, opening registrations of interest in its controversial new power generation underwriting program.
    Elizabeth Knight tells us how shareholders are hell-bent on punishing and it’s making boards nervous.
    For the second time in a week the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has given observers reason to think it can be a tough regulator with the release of a package of new and enhanced requirements for superannuation funds.
    The hapless New South Wales Greens are on the verge of “an irrevocable split”, with two MPs threatening to quit the party unless it holds a recount of its preselection ballot and formally bans a section of the party’s hard-left faction.
    A “zombie cyclone” that is reviving into a powerful storm, thunderstorms threatening Sydney and the east coast and another scorching start to a Test match will be among the highlights of wild early summer weather. The next few days will be an “extreme weather week”.
    An Associated Press investigation has found US President Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in law stand to benefit from a program they pushed that offers massive tax breaks to developers who invest in downtrodden American areas.
    And in breaking news Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen has been sentenced to three years in prison for a string of offences, including campaign law violations he said he committed at Trump’s direction.
    John Haley writes that the full effects of climate change are nearly upon us. We can’t afford to keep arguing about it. The battle for climate change mitigation is euphemistically referred to as a “debate” among ideologically-restrained political advocates that still think there are legitimate reasons to deny the existence of global warming.
    Time Magazine has just announced its “Person of the Year” for 2018, and for once, it isn’t one person. This time it is four people and a newspaper in recognition of the global assault on journalism.
    The demise of another local building company has prompted the Master Builders Association of SA to say there is a crisis in the industry and push for an inquiry into the factors driving up the cost of builds.
    The UK Guardian opines that Jacinda Ardern’s heartfelt apology spoke volumes about compassion. It says nobody demanded that the New Zealand leader say sorry for Grace Millane’s murder and it can’t imagine British leaders showing such humanity.
    The SMH editorial gets behind Clover Moore’s Cloud arch.
    The government is investing in oyster farms and Wagyu beef start-ups. Having privatised things which made a lot of money, like electricity assets and the Land Titles office, our leaders in NSW are now investing taxpayers’ money, alongside a posse of ex-Macquarie bankers, in a WA beef project and a South Coast oyster caper. Michael West reports.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe and Brexit in Berlin.

    Cathy Wilcox goes pill testing, NSW government style.

    David Pope launches our new space agency.

    Quite a few from Matt Golding.

    Andrew Dyson with the UK’s Theresa Maypole.

    Fiona Katauskas with a Coalition Christmas.

    Zanetti’s at it again!

    Some perspective from Alan Moir.

    Cathy Wilcox with a history of Brexit.

    Sean Leahy sees Theresa May in a particular light.

  2. “Now who could this possibly be referring to?

    I know, saw it yesterday, but I won’t say, because I don’t want to get The Boss into trouble.

    Easy to work out, easy to find on Twitter yesterday, still plenty of comments floating around there this morning. .

    For anyone who hasn’t caught up with the news – no-one in politics, not Geoffrey Rush.

    My advice? Google your suspect, see what you find.

    • A hint – Morrison’s Religious Discrimination Act being taken to the next election, just after the suppression order has been lifted and the final trial verdict announced, is not going to be a good look for the ATM government. Talk about bad timing!

      Maybe this will help convince FauxMo that a March election is a damn good idea.

  3. Clover Moore’s Cloud Arch is an abomination and a waste of money. I’m usually very supportive of public art, but not this time. It’s hideous.

    Anyone supporting it, like the anonymous writer of the SMH editorial, needs their head read. Anyone likening it to the Opera House, like the anonymous writer of the SMH editorial, is totally insane.

    The thing is just a vastly over-priced piece of metal and in typical Australian style it has already been named “The Big Tapeworm”.

  4. Trump Is Preparing To Deport Vietnam War Refugees

    A day after proving himself to be hopelessly obsessed with harsh and unnecessary immigration measures, President Trump is amping up his xenophobic policies by deporting Vietnam War refugees.

    The Atlantic reported that the Trump administration is in the process of starting to deport certain protected Vietnamese immigrants who have lived in the United States for decades after presumably fleeing their then war-torn country. Last year, the president flouted a 2008 agreement with Hanoi that specifically bars the deportation of Vietnamese who arrived in the United States before July 12, 1995 — the date the two former foes re-established diplomatic relations following the Vietnam War. As is often the case with this virulently anti-immigrant president, Trump claims he wanted to punish countries that allow “violent criminal aliens” into the United States


  5. I’m going out here on a limb but Cathy Wilcox struck a nerve today with her cartoon. I see the point, and its a good one but having seen my son on a slab last year the cartoon sails very close to the edge

  6. The Clayton’s Commission

    Scott Morrison will move to establish a federal anti-corruption commission, less than a month after dismissing the proposal as a “fringe issue”.

    But the Coalition’s proposed integrity commission will operate outside of public view, with the investigative body to make no public findings, hold no public hearings, and refer any recommendations directly to prosecutors, who will make the ultimate decision on whether or not to go forward with a case.

    A former commissioner of the NSW independent commission against corruption described the omission of public hearings was “very weak”.

    Morrison said the government had not “kicked up a lot of dust” on the issue as it had “just been working on it”, and was not “interested in jumping on band wagons”. Labor announced it would establish a national commission in January.


    Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Hitler?

    • Just heard this on news radio coming home from town, Bill was excellent, said it’s not worth doing, what they are proposing. At least they won’t have time to set it up before the next election. They’ve only got 8 working days, and you can’t pass something that big in that time, especially as they have to get a budget through.

      My own thought, they are making all these announcement now, will hopefully call an election before parliament even returns. They are just so full of bullshit, it’s dripping out of their ears, nose and mouth.

  7. Just weeks ago FauxMo dismissed a federal ICAC/integrity commission as just a fringe issue. I’m glad Amy Remeikis made that her first comment in her article.

    Morrison government announces new federal anti-corruption commission
    Scott Morrison announces new Commonwealth Integrity Commission in response to calls for a federal Icac

    Another Labor policy stolen, with the government putting up a Mickey Mouse alternative. .

    As always with anything this government proposes, this commission is flawed and unlikely to achieve anything.

    But the Coalition’s proposed integrity commission will operate outside of public view, with the investigative body to make no public findings, hold no public hearings, and refer any recommendations directly to prosecutors, who will make the ultimate decision on whether or not to go forward with a case.

    A former commissioner of the NSW independent commission against corruption described the omission of public hearings was “very weak”

    Why would you trust this rabble of a government with an anti-corruption commission when they are responsible for so much corruption practice in the business sector and have given so many contracts and so much funding to cronies and party donors?

    I think this is all about heading off another Labor or crossbench bill, not a genuine attempt to fix a huge issue. It’s FauxMo’s strategists trying to head off another damaging day in parliament. The government can refuse to allow debate on such a bill on the grounds they will be “doing something” after the election.

    From 2 December –
    No, Prime Minister, an integrity commission is not a ‘fringe issue’

  8. In 2019 the Coalition will release a religious discrimination bill to protect people from being discriminated against on the ground of religion.

    The Morrison government will also move a separate omnibus bill to amend other discrimination laws to provide “equal status” to freedom of religion alongside the right to non-discrimination.

    Morrison said he was “looking to legislate before the election” and called on Labor to support the religious discrimination bill, which he framed as a safeguard for multiculturalism in Australia given the high rates of religious belief in some migrant communities.

    Porter said the bill would “not necessarily be very contentious” because it “follows a very standard architecture” for other federal discrimination laws.

    The law will define religious belief as a protected attribute in the same way federal law prohibits racial and sexual discrimination but will not include an equivalent of section 18C that prohibits speech that offends, insults or humiliates a person based on their race.

    A religious freedom commissioner will be appointed to the Australian Human Rights Commission to handle religious discrimination complaints.

    Porter said it was “wise and very useful” to appoint a new commissioner despite the Ruddock review recommending it was not necessary.


    Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Hitler?

    • “Scott Morrison’s Liberal Government” ?????

      I’m sure the Nationals will be happy about that.

      They have chosen the most ignored media to favour. No-one except rusted-on aged conservatives go near Sky News, only old farts deliberately listen to 2GB, the circulation numbers for the Murdoch rags are now so low they give their publications away free in supermarkets and the strong paywalls mean casual online readers can’t see anything. What a great way to spread Liberal lies.

  9. https://www.rt.com/business/446250-afghanistan-saffron-poppy-alternative/

    Afghan authorities want to provide farmers with an alternative means of income, other than growing opium, by turning to the world’s most expensive spice.

    Saffron production has risen to record levels this year in the country, hitting 13 tons, the Ministry of Agriculture said. Official figures showed that saffron cultivation has increased to 6,200 hectares of land in 2018, up 22 percent on last year.

    More than 6,600 saffron workers have been trained on production, processing and packaging of the spice this year, according to the government’s statement.

    “We start our field work before sunrise and each of us can collect about four to five kilograms of saffron flower,” 16-year-old Joma Khan who’s one of the 156,000 seasonal workers helping to harvest the spice, told AFP. The workers earn about $1 an hour.

    The harvest is then sent to factories where gloved workers remove the red pistil, made up of the three stigma that, when dried, constitute the spice.

    The spice is being exported to 17 countries through new air corridors (mainly to China, India, and the Persian Gulf countries), as well as to the European Union and North America, according to the Agriculture Ministry

    Officials are struggling to wean Afghanistan’s farmers off the highly-profitable opium poppy trade. Cultivation of poppy still covers 263,000 hectares in Afghanistan, with nearly 90 percent of the opium harvested on the planet coming from the country.


  10. In other little-mentioned news –

    The Royal Commission into the aged care industry has suffered a couple of setbacks.

    First, the date for the initial first directions hearing was been pushed back from 7 December to 18 January 2019. Hearings are not expected to get under way until February.

    Second, one of the appointed commissioners, Justice Joseph McGrath, resigned and has been replaced by Richard Tracey, a very Liberal-friendly, union-hating retired judge, so Liberal-friendly that Howard, impressed by Tracey’s work at the Cole Commission (that should strike terror into your heart) wanted him on the High Court. Thank goodness Howard didn’t get his way that time. Tracey has also been the president of the Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal and Judge Advocate General for the Australian Defence Force.

    Do you expect someone with this record to be a reasonable commissioner? I don’t.

    Justice Tracey has probably handed out more fines to the union, formerly known as the CFMEU, than any other Federal Court judge.
    He came to the court as a recognised expert in industrial law. He was counsel assisting the Cole Royal Commission into the construction industry and defended Workchoices in the High Court


    Surprise announcement comes on top of delays for the aged care royal commission

    And –

  11. This thread is a good read, fills in a few blanks. It was great to hear Bill and Mark going full throttle on the stupidity of this government.

  12. Sorry about posting so much on this, but I’m just furious. They had a mock RC into the banks, and now they want to do the same for the anti corruption commission.

  13. The ATM government – such as it is – is certainly acting like a government heading into an early election. We have had a lot of announcements from them this week, all things that could have been announced weeks or months ago. All of them seem to have been hastily concocted and pretty much useless, some are disastrous. All of them seem to be attempts to negate Labor policies, like more money for health (doesn’t go anywhere near Labor’s promises) and the ineffective “Claytons” RC. There’s the pointless religious discrimination brainfart. We still haven’t seen the actual Ruddock report it’s allegedly based on, we probably never will, unless someone leaks the whole thing to the media. Then there’s the “more money for coal power stations” nonsense. I see the grubby fingerprints of the incompetent Anus Taylor and the loopy RWNJs all over that one.

    It’s only Thursday, heaven knows what lunacy will be announced tomorrow.

    And then there’s the bombshell waiting to explode, the suppressed court case that no-one in Australia can talk about until some time in March.

    We are governed by idiots, by a corrupt, rotting from the head walking dead government bereft of ideas and totally unable to solve the infighting in its own ranks, let alone solve major issues facing this country.

  14. Is FauxMo’s anti-religious discrimination whatsit going to ban discrimination against ALL religions, or is it just for the Christianist ones like his own cargo cult?

    If it’s across all faiths then he’s not going to be able to denigrate Muslims any more.

    I wonder if he thought of that, or if he assumes the word “faith” only applies to Christianity.

  15. Two Koreas begin verifying removal of DMZ guard posts: defense ministry

    North and South Korean soldiers “peacefully” move across MDL for first time since it emerged

    Update on 12/12 at 1730 KST: The South Korean Ministry of National Defense (MND) said the North Korean verification team crossed the military demarcation line (MDL) at 1653 local time and returned after completing the on-site verification of guard posts (GPs) on the South Korean side.

    North and South Korea began a mutual on-site verification of the trial withdrawal and disarmament of 22 guard posts (GPs) along the demilitarized zone (DMZ) on Wednesday, the ROK Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced the same day.

    The verification process follows the completed demolition by November 30 of 10 GPs on either side of the DMZ as part of the two Koreas’ implementation of September’s joint military agreement.

    Seoul and Pyongyang originally agreed to destroy a total of 22 GPs from the area, but after withdrawing firearms, equipment, and all personnel decided to leave two standing for historic purposes.

    The verification of GPs on the North Korean side was conducted Wednesday morning by assessing the status of firearms, equipment, and personnel withdrawn from the GPs.


  16. Sundar Pichai Lies to Congress About Google Tracking Location of Users

    Google CEO Sundar Pichai lied to Congress during testimony today when he claimed that users could opt out of Google’s location tracking services, a claim that the Associated Press previously found to be false.

    During his appearance in front of the the House Judiciary committee for a hearing entitled: Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices, Pichai claimed that users had control of what information Google stored about them.

    “For Google services, you have a choice of what information is collected, and we make it transparent,” Pichai said, adding, “We give clear toggles, by category, where they can decide whether that information is collected, stored, or – more importantly – if they decide to stop using it.”

    However, this is categorically untrue.

    As an investigation by the Associated Press back in August confirmed, Google is tracking the location of its users even when the location tracking option is turned off.

    “An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used a privacy setting that says it will prevent Google from doing so,” the news agency reported.

    Even with the option to pause location history turned off, “Some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking,” states the report.

    Google’s maps app stores a snapshot of your location whenever you open it, daily weather updates on Android also record your rough location and Google searches also pinpoint and store your precise latitude and longitude down to a single square foot.


  17. AFRICOM is More about Natural Resources than Fighting Terrorism

    Lucrative trade in illicit goods, drugs, human trafficking, and more has continued to line the pockets of militant organizations in Africa and the very fact that they are continuing calls into question the efficacy of, and agenda behind, the US AFRICOM force.
    by Eric Draitser

    It’s the Resources, Stupid

    President Obama was not the architect of AFRICOM, which was established in 2007 under Bush, but he was perhaps its greatest champion, greatly expanding its scope and funding.

    Obama grandly proclaimed in 2014:

    Today’s principal threat no longer comes from a centralized Al Qaeda leadership. Instead, it comes from decentralized Al Qaeda affiliates and extremists, many with agendas focused in the countries where they operate…We need a strategy that matches this diffuse threat; one that expands our reach without sending forces that stretch our military thin, or stir up local resentments.”

    As with all things Obama, the truth and disinformation so seamlessly blend together that it can be difficult to parse one from the other. While no doubt there is truth in what he stated, the underlying subtext is much more interesting to consider. For while Obama and his cohorts would endlessly wax poetic about security and stability, the true mission of AFRICOM is neocolonial in nature.

    Yes, it must be said that in fact AFRICOM is an occupying force that in no way functions to guarantee the security of African people (see Libya, among others), but rather to guarantee the free flow of resources out of Africa and into the Global North, particularly former colonial powers like France and Britain, and of course the US.

    In case there’s any doubt, consider the following statements from Vice-Admiral Robert Moeller, military deputy to former commander of AFRICOM General William ‘Kip’ Ward, who told an AFRICOM conference in 2008 that AFRICOM’s goal was “protecting the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market.” Furthermore, Moeller wrote in 2010, “Let there be no mistake. AFRICOM’s job is to protect American lives and promote American interests.”


  18. ‘The Ugliest Chapter Since Slavery’: How Illicit Financial Flows Thwart Human Rights in Africa

    Corporate malfeasance saps the African continent of billions in badly needed funds each year — and the U.S. is a top destination.

    In 2015, the African Union’s Economic Commission on Africa released Illicit Financial Flows: Report of the High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa. The report — generally known as the Mbeki Report after the panel’s chair, former South African President Thabo Mbeki — defines IFFs as “money illegally earned, transferred, or used,” a definition that includes money laundering, tax abuse, and market and regulatory abuse, along with practices that “go against established rules and norms, including legal obligations to pay tax.”

    Some 30 percent of IFFs are attributed to criminal activities, and 5 percent to corruption. The panel determined that 65 percent is attributed to commercial or business activity. The most prevalent method of commercial theft is the practice of trade misinvoicing, where companies report export values to the developing country that are far below their actual worth, which results in a reduction in corporate income taxes, customs duties, and value added taxes (VAT).

    Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and its largest economy, lost $2.2 billion this way in 2014, which according to Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, was equal to 4 percent of total government revenue.

    Those resources could have been used for investment in education, in health, or to address the persistent problem of government wage theft. Nearly 30 out of Nigeria’s 36 states are unable to pay their workers on time. According to Working for Peace in North-East Nigeria, a September 2018 report by the Solidarity Center, a U.S.-based international labor organization, medical professionals caring for internally displaced victims of Boko Haram are paid their government wages irregularly, despite the fact that they — along with teachers and civil servants — are targeted and killed by the extremist group.

    Ghana loses nearly $1.4 billion a year to IFFs. As monies owed to Ghana left the country, it borrowed $930 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

    South Africa, one of the most economically unequal countries in the world, reports an average of $7.4 billion per year lost to IFFs from 2010-2014. In a country with 36.3 percent unemployment, where nearly a quarter of people go hungry every day, IFFs can have deadly consequences.

    With this type of normalized theft, how can citizens in developing countries secure the global promise of fundamental freedoms?


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