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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

selling austerity   August 21, 2014

The Coalition has changed its budget rhetoric.

It has dumped the budget crisis/ rhetoric and sovereign risk in favour of there is no need to worry as most of the appropriations bills have passed the Senate and that there is no problem if the Senate doesn't hurry up with the rest of the budget. The rest --Medicare co-payment, deregulation of universities, tough new arrangements for the unemployed etc--- amount to $25 billion.

The bullyboy tactics to impose austerity haven't worked. Australians haven't bought it, and they are skeptical of the government's selling of austerity and the need for a shift to a deregulated market.

RoweDCorman.jpg David Rowe

There is a medium term (a decade) for a consolidation of the budget and a need for debate over how that will happen. Should it be a shift towards small government, greater scope for the deregulated market and rolling back the welfare state? Or should it retain the welfare state and end corporate welfare?

Continue reading "selling austerity" »
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:36 AM | | Comments (0)
the severed head picture   August 13, 2014

Here's the picture of the child clutching the severed head of the Syrian soldier. According to the mainstream media the young boy (seven years old?) pictured with the severed head is the son of convicted terrorist Khaled Sharrouf, who escaped Australia on his brother’s passport late last year, three months into the Coalition's watch. It's all Labor's fault says the Coalition.

The politician's banging the drums of war are saying its iconic of the horror of the home grown terrorist threat and are the reason for the new anti-terrorism laws and mass surveillance of the Australian citizens, both of which require a lessening of citizens civil liberties.


This brings the threat of the civil war in Syria and Iraq home: our children are threatened by barbaric people who train their children to be terrorists. But the LNP stands resolute and firm to defend Australia's national security against the barbarism and brutal violence of the jihad terrorists. The terrorist attack could be any day now. That's the conservative rhetoric of the picture.

Continue reading "the severed head picture" »
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:44 PM | | Comments (11)
it's the inequality folks   August 12, 2014

It is now pretty clear that the Abbott Government, in turning away from the public service, has contracted out its public policy to the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) and the Business Council of Australia (BCA) turned away from the public service and that the task of the Abbott Government is to implement the recommended policies. When Hockey refers to the federal government having an overarching plan that will balance the books and avoid a fiscal crisis he means the outsourced plans.

The economy i is being managed for our benefit for the benefit of the big businesses that dominate it. Increasing inequality is the consequence, and people are acutely aware that the 2014 Hockey Budget is designed to increase this inequality. They are seen to be seeking to reduce income support provided to the lowest income earners in Australia.

RoweD EconomicStrategy.jpg David Rowe

As the economy transitions away from its reliance on resources projects the Abbott Government is seen to have little interest in reduce inequality, as it moves to unwind both welfare provisions and the progressive nature of our tax system. Senior ministers imply that inequality (including gender inequality) is not just unavoidable, but also beneficial.

Continue reading "it's the inequality folks" »
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:54 AM | | Comments (6)
a diversionary tactic   August 11, 2014

The Abbott Government continues to think of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS ) as a terrorist organization along the lines of Al Qaeda, thereby implying that it will conduct terrorist operations in the west and in Australia.

The Islamic State is in fact a state in a region where the European drawn boundaries, that used to mark out Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, are collapsing. The shape of this region is being redrawn by the Islamic State expanding its territory. The Sunni Muslims are using their army to establish their own systems of government in their own territory. Let them. Iraq can collapse.

RoweDMEdeath.jpg David Rowe

Despite the sabre rattling by the Abbott Government Australia will not fight the advance of ISIS. For what national interest reason would it do so? They will just hang onto the coat tails of the US which has just re-engaged militarily with the conflict in the region with its modest airstrikes to protect the Kurdish region.

Continue reading "a diversionary tactic" »
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:01 AM | | Comments (9)
a pantomime   August 7, 2014

The widespread surveillance of activity on the phone and online advocated by the spooks and government allies in the name of security paints us all as potential criminals. Just in case we do the wrong thing, or are up to something, it would be best to keep an eye out.

When we haven't consented to that, the surveillance becomes invasive. WikiLeaks, the phone-hacking scandal, the Snowden files indicate he extent to which our communications are being monitored by the e triumvirate of state, press and data-harvesting corporations.

RoweDTeamAustralia.jpg David Rowe

The menace is within say the spooks. An emergency is threatening. Mass surveillance is needed.

So how wide is the proposed surveillance. It's very unclear what stuff is going to be subject to surveillance. Behind the pantomime and confusing messages the emphasis on security does appear to sacrifice individual liberty through state intrusion into our phone calls, physical location, and our email and browsing history.

Continue reading "a pantomime" »
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:17 AM | | Comments (9)
the surveillance state's dragnet   August 6, 2014

The increased security fears about the threat posed by 150 Australians suspected of fighting in Syria and Iraq, if they should they return home has given rise to proposed anti-terrorism legislation. This security threat does not justify the need for the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) to access 2 years of personal data (metadata) about Australians; and to share “bulk” amounts of Australian citizens’ metadata with its 5 Eyes intelligence partners overseas.

PopeDTerrorismAsio.jpg David Pope

Our civil rights are in danger of being eroded in the name of national security. This surveillance, which involves mandatory collecting information in bulk about ordinary citizens' day-to-day activities ---intimate, highly private, social, medical, business, religious etc – without warrant, dismisses the presumption of innocence and accompanying procedures of legal and parliamentary oversight that are supposed to be the hallmarks of democratic societies. We have government stonewalling (both Labor and Liberal) on a more extended regime of checks and balances.

Continue reading "the surveillance state's dragnet" »
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:05 AM | | Comments (3)
tabloid politics   August 1, 2014

The Abbott Government's tabloid politics is very explicit with respect to the unemployed. That policy is demands, on threat of sanction, that the unemployed apply for 40 jobs per month, do 25 hours of community service a week, and wait six months before getting their first cheque.

The economic reality is that there are 750, 000 unemployed and approximately 140,000 jobs work for the dole is the answer because the dole bludgers are refusing jobs and staying on the dole because the work they are offered doesn’t suit their lifestyle. They are job snobs.

RoweDDole.jpg David Rowe

So the welfare recipients need to be punished and disciplined. No concession is to be made that there are less jobs now for young people than before the 2007 global financial crisis, or that only 36 per cent of job seekers finishing work for the dole obtained employment or education and training – compared with 61 per cent who had been placed in training. Work for the dole is unlikely to help people find jobs.

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| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:44 PM | | Comments (16)
coal dreaming   July 29, 2014

The spin is that coal is the future and that the boom is eternal. The reality is otherwise: low profits, declining demand, collapsed global prices. Despite this the federal government has approved Adani's giant Carmichael Coal Mine in the Galilee Basin in Queensland and associated rail link to the coast that it says will generate as much as $300 billion for the Australian economy and help lift 100 million Indian consumers out of poverty.

RoweDcoalslag.jpg David Rowe

Who are they kidding? The 60 million tonnes of coal a year from the Carmichael Coal Mine will push global coal prices down further, double the price of electricity for Indian consumers and is not financially viable, given the amount of infrastructure that needs to be built to get the coal mine operational. The Carmichael Coal Mine is a potentially stranded fossil fuel asset.

Continue reading "coal dreaming" »
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:34 AM | | Comments (11)
going down the US path   July 24, 2014

As we know few people buy Hockey’s phoney "budget emergency" and the Abbott Government is facing billions of dollars of lost savings and revenue as a result of the divided Senate due in part to its inability to negotiate with the minor parties controlling the balance of power in the Senate. Belligerence, bluster and revenge is the style of this government.

RoweDHockeyabridged.jpg David Rowe

This global world we are now living in is one in capitalism and democracy are becoming increasingly incompatible, and where big business wants to completely free itself from democratic regulation. Democracy is increasingly being treated with contempt by the neo-liberals whose mode of governance is structured around reduced taxation, reduced regulation over labour costs, minimal consumer protection and fewer restrictions over services and the marketing of new financial products.

Continue reading "going down the US path" »
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:16 AM | | Comments (7)