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Monday Message Board (test of threading)

February 16th, 2015

It’s time for another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

I’m going to switch on threaded comments. If it works you can try it out here. I’m not sure what will happen to older posts.

Also, I’ve tweaked the settings to show 100 comments at a time, and to begin at the beginning, rather than showing the last page first.

Categories: Metablogging Tags:
  1. John Quiggin
    February 16th, 2015 at 17:46 | #1


  2. John Quiggin
    February 16th, 2015 at 17:46 | #2

    @John Quiggin
    Testing threading

  3. Megan
    February 16th, 2015 at 18:28 | #3

    @John Quiggin

    Is it working?

  4. Collin Street
    February 16th, 2015 at 18:29 | #4

    Test, non-threaded [top level]

  5. Collin Street
    February 16th, 2015 at 18:30 | #5

    @John Quiggin

    Test, threaded [“reply” to post 1]

  6. Collin Street
    February 16th, 2015 at 18:30 | #6

    John Quiggin :

    Test, threaded [“quote” on post one]

  7. Collin Street
    February 16th, 2015 at 18:30 | #7


    That’d be a “no”.

  8. John Quiggin
    February 16th, 2015 at 18:40 | #8

    @Collin Street
    Testing again

  9. Megan
    February 16th, 2015 at 18:47 | #9

    @Collin Street

    True. But it’s easy to follow the discussion!

  10. TerjeP
    February 17th, 2015 at 11:07 | #10

    Facebook introduced threading on Pages (but not Groups). It helps immensely. You have to drill in to see the replies to a given comment and so you can easily skip over side debates. They only thread down one level but that’s enough. Facebook pages now also have better anti spam measures and moderation methods. You can also hide unfortunate comments that you don’t wish to delete so only the commenter and their friends can see the comment. You might have reasons to avoid migrating to a Facebook page but it’s worth considering.

  11. TerjeP
    February 17th, 2015 at 11:14 | #11

    Here is an example of a Facebook page run a bit like a blog. 😉


  12. Megan
    February 17th, 2015 at 12:37 | #12

    Looks like we are going to get another one of those politically motivated audits newly elected governments do to justify plans they already have [from brisbanetimes]:

    Labor will review Queensland’s finances to get a clear picture of the state of the economy, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told a meeting of more than 100 business leaders on Tuesday.

    No, sorry. My mistake:

    “This is not another politically motivated audit, but a way for Queenslanders to see we will progress projects on key infrastructure projects to get the sector moving again,” Ms Palaszczuk told the business leaders gathered at Queensland Parliament.

  13. jungney
    February 17th, 2015 at 14:04 | #13

    I’m merely joining in the test threading. I cannot see any difference so far.

  14. Donald Oats
    February 17th, 2015 at 14:15 | #14

    IGR? Still waiting, Hockey.

  15. Donald Oats
    February 17th, 2015 at 18:23 | #15

    The submarine competitive evaluation process is a staged tender process, apparently well-known: the Double Dutch Process. Well, why didn’t they just say so from the start?

  16. Tony Lynch
    February 17th, 2015 at 19:05 | #16

    Jugney, neither can I. As I said, I’ve lost the thread.

  17. Megan
    February 17th, 2015 at 19:30 | #17


    Ha, ha.

  18. jungney
    February 18th, 2015 at 19:59 | #18

    Greek Australian Finance Minister for Syriza, Yanis Varoufakis, provides a wonderfully old fashioned humanist account of his Marxism at the Guardian:


  19. jungney
    February 18th, 2015 at 20:25 | #19

    Moreover, from Varoufakis:

    Instead of radicalising British society, the recession that Thatcher’s government so carefully engineered, as part of its class war against organised labour and against the public institutions of social security and redistribution that had been established after the war, permanently destroyed the very possibility of radical, progressive politics in Britain.

    Which is what we are facing here in Australia: a deliberate plan to provoke an economic crisis, to send tens of thousands of workers in manufacturing, the public sector, agriculture … in any sector, onto the dole; to create the conditions for immiseration, racist rivalry and hatred that are now such a feature of life in the public realm in the UK. Abbott and the IPA’s project is for a programmatic destruction of all of those institutions, underpinned by a sense of the common weal, that hold our polity together. So far, we have responded like stunned mullets.

  20. plaasmatron
    February 18th, 2015 at 20:26 | #20


    just read it and was going to link it myself. Well worth the read. My favourite quote is “nothing succeeds in reproducing itself better than a false sense of entitlement”.

  21. plaasmatron
    February 18th, 2015 at 20:29 | #21

    Jungey, just read it. Well worth the read. My favourite quote is “nothing succeeds in reproducing itself better than a false sense of entitlement”.

  22. jungney
    February 18th, 2015 at 20:52 | #22

    Yeah, an old fashioned political economist, one who writes about the economy as it is engaged and understood by people. Amazing. God, he even dares to mention false consciousness!

  23. Megan
    February 18th, 2015 at 21:39 | #23

    He also had a piece in the NYT.

    He writes about “game theory” and the idea that when he says there are “red lines” that must not be crossed the 1% (my term, not his) just don’t get it:

    We are also determined not to be treated as a debt colony that should suffer what it must. The principle of the greatest austerity for the most depressed economy would be quaint if it did not cause so much unnecessary suffering.

    I am often asked: What if the only way you can secure funding is to cross your red lines and accept measures that you consider to be part of the problem, rather than of its solution? Faithful to the principle that I have no right to bluff, my answer is: The lines that we have presented as red will not be crossed. Otherwise, they would not be truly red, but merely a bluff.

    But what if this brings your people much pain? I am asked. Surely you must be bluffing.

    The problem with this line of argument is that it presumes, along with game theory, that we live in a tyranny of consequences. That there are no circumstances when we must do what is right not as a strategy but simply because it is … right.

    “They” will probably try anything to crash Greece’s determination to defy them.

  24. plaasmatron
    February 18th, 2015 at 21:50 | #24


    but I guess the jury is still out on what he can actually acheive. He even talks himself about being corrupted by a “sense of self-satisfaction from being feted by the high and mighty”. Tsipras and he have made a pop-star tour of Europe, with no aims at compromise from any of the players involved. As Varoufakis points out, it is not a dynamic left that will arise from the ashes of a burnt Greek state, but an extreme right. The stakes are high, for Greece and for Europe. But if they can regain some pride from the implacable demands of the Troika then there may be some hope. As Krugman pointed out recently, it was the demands placed on Germany after the first world war that were (partly) responsible for getting Europe into such a big mess in the 30’s.

  25. Megan
    February 18th, 2015 at 21:55 | #25

    He had a piece in the NYT.

    I tried to post a comment quoting from his 7th-10th paragraphs of that column.

    If it ever makes it out of eternal moderation, I’ll be interested to find out what “bad” words sent it there.

  26. Megan
    February 18th, 2015 at 22:02 | #26


    game bluff bluffing red

  27. Megan
    February 18th, 2015 at 22:02 | #27



  28. Megan
    February 18th, 2015 at 22:06 | #28


    Weirdly ironic: including the word “[email protected]” in a comment will send you to eternal moderation.

  29. Megan
    February 18th, 2015 at 22:07 | #29

    He writes about “game theory” and the idea that when he says there are “red lines” that must not be crossed the 1% (my term, not his) just don’t get it:

    We are also determined not to be treated as a debt colony that should suffer what it must. The principle of the greatest austerity for the most depressed economy would be quaint if it did not cause so much unnecessary suffering.

    I am often asked: What if the only way you can secure funding is to cross your red lines and accept measures that you consider to be part of the problem, rather than of its solution? Faithful to the principle that I have no right to bluff, my answer is: The lines that we have presented as red will not be crossed. Otherwise, they would not be truly red, but merely a bluff.

    But what if this brings your people much pain? I am asked. Surely you must be bluffing.

    The problem with this line of argument is that it presumes, along with game theory, that we live in a [email protected] of consequences. That there are no circumstances when we must do what is right not as a strategy but simply because it is … right.

    “They” will probably try anything to crash Greece’s determination to defy them.

  30. jungney
    February 18th, 2015 at 22:09 | #30

    I’m recognizing an old fashioned humanism in his statements. I’ll back humanism any day over the opinions of experts. As an aside, I organized and was part of many May Day festivals and official marches in the auld blue collar cities. At the end of which, me and all of my mates (that includes any women I ever met in the trenches in the fight for freedom) always went to the Greek Mayday celebrations where, in contrast to the official trades unionism of Protestantism , there was music, booze and solidarity.

    May those days be our future.

  31. plaasmatron
    February 18th, 2015 at 22:56 | #31

    Do you think “they” would go so far as to engineer a coup? It happened in the Ukraine, could it happen in the EU?

    Jungney, I see a lot to like in the Greek attitude, especially compared to (my) Protestantism. But let’s remain secular here.

  32. Donald Oats
    February 19th, 2015 at 00:03 | #32

    Joko has received PM Tony Abbott’s recent comments with seething resentment at having “threats” used against it as a means of diplomacy. This isn’t a good sign.

    On a related note, I am sadly bemused to see so many of the previous conservative government, the ones who were in power at the time of the arrest of the Bali 9, have unconditionally rejected the death penalty—now, that is. Back in 2005, it was a different story.

  33. Megan
    February 19th, 2015 at 00:09 | #33


    A coup? Of course. Assassination maybe, if that’s what they think will do it. Extortion, blackmail, smears, lies, propaganda….they do all these things all the time.

    Just today in our establishment media I read a piece attributed to a “source” saying that the Greek government was going to fold to the troika’s demands (more or less).

    Enough of that talk and the people might rise up against Syriza. Problem solved.

    The curious thing is not that these tactics are the stock in trade of the Empire, but that so many people still won’t believe it – despite all the obvious and proven facts.

  34. Megan
    February 19th, 2015 at 00:45 | #34

    @Donald Oats

    What about the ALP/LNP duopoly line that the best way to save people from drowning is to send other people to languish indefinitely in concentration camps as a deterrence and a sign of strength showing that we are cracking down with zero tolerance?

    It seems very hypocritical that we Australians want to lecture Indonesia about “getting tough”, “cracking down”, showing “zero tolerance” in order to create a “deterrence” when we have killed at least two INNOCENT men and they only want to execute two guilty ones.

    If the ALP shills who are making me nauseous right now pretending to care about those two men put that effort into releasing all refugees from detention it would happen within a week.

    But they don’t, because they don’t care about the innocent people WE kill.

  35. Julie Thomas
    February 19th, 2015 at 06:11 | #35

    Yesterday on The World Today, Professor Philip Alston who was the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions at the time the Bali Nine drug smugglers were convicted.says the Australian Government can take very little credit for the postponement of the executions.

    Excerpt from the interview:

    ELEANOR HALL: So it’s not only pressure from the Australians that forcing the Indonesians’ hands here?

    PHILIP ALSTON: Fortunately not.

    Australia’s own human rights record is so poor in recent years that it would be a not particularly credible interlocutor if it was on its own.

    It’s been supported by the UN executor general, it’s been supported by the US Special Rapporteur, and a whole range of other countries whose nationals are also implicated.”

  36. TerjeP
    February 19th, 2015 at 08:49 | #36

    I’m a fan of Yanis Varoufarkis. He seems to be one of the few people with media access who has spoken truth to power regarding Greek debt. Given a choice between screwing the Greek taxpayer or screwing the lenders he instinctively sides with the former. Bravo. But he also does so in a manner that is designed to minimise division. He talks of what is good for Europeans not what is good for Greeks alone. He is very quick to point out the dangers of Nazis and xenophobia. And he seems willing to embrace privatisation if the price is right and the structural benefits stack up. I could quibble with several of his policy ideas but all up he is the circuit breaker that has been needed. I just hope that he is not too late and he can persuade the EU elite to pause and reconsider.

    That said I think the critique of capitalism in his essay is laced with sophistry. He talks of capital wanting this and wanting that as if capital has any aspiration at all. And he mixes this with a discussion of alienation as if the system of capitalism was the only system to give rise to that phenomena. It is hard to point to any social order in history that has not involved some people, some of the time, feeling disconnected from their greater humanity and reduced to a sense that they are just a cog in a machine. It was certainly true in the communist systems inspired by Marx.

    If Yanis gets his sense of humanity from a selective reading of Marx then so be it. It is not where I get mine but we all find our inspiration in different places. I can sense from his words, deeds and actions that Yanis is deeply concerned with the human condition and whether he gets that concern from Karl Marx, Adam Smith, Jesus Christ or Elton John is irrelevant so long as it is tempered by reason. And in his case it seems to be. Yanis Varoufakis is one of the politicians in the world today that gives me hope.

  37. Julie Thomas
    February 19th, 2015 at 09:23 | #37


    That is so very post-modern of you to claim there is no difference between the concern for the human condition that is inspired by Karl Marx, Adam Smith, Jesus Christ and Elton John. Is there a rational reason that you have for this belief or is this also a value judgement that you can “sense”.

    And while you are being rational, how do you go about “sensing” things? Can we all sense things equally? Is your sensing tempered by any rationality?

  38. Donald Oats
    February 19th, 2015 at 09:42 | #38

    The US has decided in favour of David Hicks, and all charges against him are dropped, the sentence vacated. I think that means he was innocent. It doesn’t mean he was sensible. Nevertheless, it is unlikely to matter much to the conservative LNP who were in power during that whole sorry saga.

    Again, I say it is breathtakingly hypocritical for all these ex-government neo-cons to be lining up and saying they deplore the death penalty (being applied to two Australians), and yet were belligerent in their unwillingness to offer any aid at all for Mamoud Habib and David Hicks. I’m glad they now admit the death penalty is morally wrong, but are they referring to themselves as “bleeding hearts”, in the same way they did to anyone opposing the death penalty *before* the Bali 9?

    Sorry, guess today my cynicism is stuck at 11.

  39. TerjeP
    February 19th, 2015 at 11:09 | #39

    That is so very post-modern of you to claim there is no difference between the concern for the human condition that is inspired by Karl Marx, Adam Smith, Jesus Christ and Elton John.

    People can arrive at the same destination via different routes. Likewise people can arrive at the same conclusions via different thinking. It seems to me that Yanis is reminiscing on the beauty of the road that took him to where he now stands in his thinking. Some of my earliest thinking on economics was inspired by family members (now dead) who were communists. As such I am not too concerned that he likes the road that got him here or that he identifies with the Marxist label so long as he is promoting sensible ideas. And for the most part, in the areas that matter, he is.

    To the point about post modernism I’d accept that most people inspired by Karl Marx are probably not at the same destination as most people inspired by Adam Smith. And in that case it probably does have a lot to do with the road they first embarked on. But just because something is true of the average case it does not mean it is true of the specific case. Yanis is a specific case.

    To reiterate I think Yanis is wrong on several things. But on the issue of the moment for which he is currently responsible for managing (the Greek debt crisis) I think he is right.

  40. Julie Thomas
    February 19th, 2015 at 13:14 | #40


    “People can arrive a the same destination via different routes”.

    Now you are Zen Master, as well as a philosopher of science. 🙂

    But really it isn’t important in the big scheme of things that need discussion what you personally think about the great men of history who thought about stuff and how the hell you can consider that Elton John is in the same category.

    Did you know that it really isn’t that much of a benefit for us for you to present your ‘self’ here in the way that you do? I don’t think it benefits the image of libertarians as smarter than the average bear either but whatev…

    But the Elton John thing, is that like comparing the Sistine Chapel to the stars I painted on the ceiling for my kids when they were young?

  41. TerjeP
    February 19th, 2015 at 14:02 | #41

    Julie – I wouldn’t see any loss of benefit if you discontinued commenting here. So the feeling is mutual.

  42. jungney
    February 19th, 2015 at 15:47 | #42

    @Donald Oats
    Couldn’t agree more about both Habib and Hicks. One day someone in Egyptian intelligence will give us the name of the Australian consular ‘official’ who was present when Habib was tortured. As to Hicks, I just finished his account of his time in Guantanamo. If Hicks isn’t heartbroken about his country due to the way they let him be tortured for years then I can’t imagine how. Maybe it was the public support, and his dad and the rest of his family, who did not let go in despair.

    But he sure has grounds for anger at the Australian establishment.

  43. Donald Oats
    February 19th, 2015 at 16:02 | #43

    The following paragraphs are from Skeptical Science, LBJ’s climate warning 50 years ago, where they are discussing scientific findings since LBJ’s environmental report in 1965:

    Geologists and paleo-climatologists have examined the geological record of the last 500 million years; it shows that major climate changes, mass extinctions including the biggest extinctions ever recorded, and frightening disruptions to the chemistry of the oceans have occurred repeatedly. And CO2 played a major part in much of this. When CO2 levels change, climate changes, sometimes very, very, seriously. During the biggest mass extinction event ever, 252 million years ago, over 90% of species went extinct, as CO2 levels climbed hugely and temperatures rose; the tropical regions may well have been uninhabitable for most complex life.

    And the rate of change of CO2 concentrations today is 10 to a 100 times faster than at any time in the last 500 million years. Humanity with our wondrous harnessing of technology are changing the world faster than just about any time in the past.

    If we look back over the cycle of ice ages over the last 800,000 years for example we see CO2 concentrations in the air changing as the earth cools and warms, driven initially by changes in the Earth’s orbital parameters. Typically CO2 concentrations changed by ½ to 1 part per million (ppm) every century as the world slowly swung in and out of ice ages, contributing to the swings.

    Today average CO2 levels change by 1 ppm every 20 weeks!

    That final sentence is a kicker.

    PS: Both ALP and LNP have/has refugee detention policies which are immoral. If we processed asylum seekers in transit countries, we could simply fly the successfully processed ones direct to Australia, negating the need for a risky boat journey. Unfortunately, we have possibly soiled our relationship with Indonesia, so for the time being this isn’t viable. Simply denying entry and sticking them in arbitrary detention is immoral though. In my opinion…opinions differ.

  44. jungney
    February 19th, 2015 at 18:10 | #44

    From wiki-p on Marx’s theory of alienation:

    Alienation is the systemic result of living in a socially stratified society, because being a mechanistic part of a social class alienates a person from his and her humanity. The theoretic basis of alienation within the capitalist mode of production is that the worker invariably loses the ability to determine his or her life and destiny, when deprived of the right to think (conceive) of himself as the director of his actions; to determine the character of said actions; to define their relationship with other people; and to own the things and use the value of the goods and services, produced with their labour. Although the worker is an autonomous, self-realised human being, as an economic entity, he or she is directed to goals and diverted to activities that are dictated by the bourgeoisie, who own the means of production, in order to extract from the worker the maximum amount of surplus value, in the course of business competition among industrialists.

    To this day there’s nothing wrong with this analysis of the social relations of production under capitalism. Pointing out, as you do, that other systems of production produce alienation is irrelevant to Varoufakis’s argument. It is also a perfect example of a ‘tu quoque’ argument to suggest that because other systems of production and distribution also produce alienation then somehow what Varoufakis says about capitalism is invalid.

    Unless you find that human misery created by the act of earning one’s daily bread is unavoidable and therefore tolerable? In which case you are no sort of humanist at all.

    I don’t doubt that very many on the left are more than aware of the contradictions, in Marxist terms, of production in a socialist economy. One of my pathways to post-Marxism was via Miklos Haraszti’s (1977) ‘Worker In A Workers State’ in which he tested the actual conditions of factory work in Hungary against Marx’s critique of capitalism. He found little difference between the relations of production in Hungary or in a capitalist economy. Harry Braverman’s ‘Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century’ which searingly criticised the fragmentation of worker’s intellectual capital, ie, how to do a job beyond anything other than mundane and routine tasks, into the machinery of production itself. This process, which has finally almost entirely engulfed the white collar workforce as well as the working classes, is ongoing and at the core of precisely what Varoufakis is concerned about when he argues that capitalism has within itself the seeds of its own demise.

    It is hard to point to any social order in history that has not involved some people, some of the time, feeling disconnected from their greater humanity and reduced to a sense that they are just a cog in a machine.

    Wrong. It is only under the social order of industrial production, capitalist or otherwise, that people can be reduced to experiencing work as just a cog in a machine. You can’t extricate your understanding of the experience of work in capitalist economy sufficiently to avoid drawing a metaphor from it. In fact, you are so blinded by ideology that you cannot even see alternatives where they do exist let alone even imagine something other than what is. This failure obscures from your view numerous other non-capitalist types of relations of production which did or do not have the harrowing impact on the mind/body state of generation after generation of workers. Worker’s cooperatives is one instance. Human history abounds with others.

    You persist in offering libertarianism as a way forward but the narrowness of your own knowledge and the limitations of your imagination prevent you from presenting the sort of informed as well as reasoned argument that might be persuasive.

    It looks to me that you cannot comprehend what Varoufakis is on about when he criticizes the deadening effect on human ingenuity and energy imposed by deskilling and incompetent managerialism. This may be because you’ve never directly experienced them, or, if you have, you’ve managed to blithely tolerate them. However, the essence of the drudgery of industrial production, including white collar work which has been thoroughly proletarianised, will continue to have exactly the effect that Varoufakis describes because so many others than you actually experience the drudgery and rebel in the multitudes of ways that workers do rebel: as much indolence as possible under the circumstances; poor or shoddy work; using all sick leave annually whether it is needed or not; theft of all types of property; fleeing to the welfare state; worker’s compensation fraud; sabotage, which term derives from the habit of early industrial workers throwing their ‘sabot’ in the machinery in order to stop work; ‘clogging up the works’, the same thing except in North England; strikes, go slows, stoppages; hacking, the future of sabotage. To name just a few. Then there’s the rational responses of depression and indifference.

    I suggest to you that any system of production that necessarily creates these responses among the very people upon whom the system relies, is abjectly irrational.

    If you can’t understand that then you should stick to the safe depth of Elton John.

  45. jungney
    February 19th, 2015 at 18:27 | #45

    @Donald Oats
    Abbott may very well have sent those two poor b*stards to their graves with his comments about Indonesia showing a little gratitude to Australia for all the tsunami aid. The poor numpty just does not understand that all those years under Dutch colonial rule create an instant anger in Indonesians every time some honky opens his mouth about them. I thought we had a diplomatic service to deal with idiots like Abbott. Apparently not. This is the reason that Carr turned up on the ABC last night saying that Abbott should definitely NOT raise sanctions as a response. Well, not if you wan to keep these sorry people alive, anyway.

  46. Megan
    February 19th, 2015 at 19:03 | #46


    Well, not if you want to keep these sorry people alive, anyway.

    I don’t have any evidence, but I have been thinking that they really don’t want to keep these two guys alive – or at least don’t really care.

    Every time one of our federal politicians or establishment media types mention the subject I wince, they’re almost begging Indonesia to get on with it.

    I’ve been thinking about Chambers and Barlow. Once it’s all over they can shrug and get back to their own rhetoric about law and order, cracking down, getting tough, having zero tolerance etc..

  47. jungney
    February 19th, 2015 at 20:55 | #47

    No, they don’t want at all to save these lives. It appears to me that there was some sort of deal…err…diplomatic understanding, between the Howard government and the Indonesians, facilitated, no, I should say lubricated, under the knowledgeable eye of the head of the AFP at the time, Mick Keelty, a Companion of the House of Slitherin’, to sacrifice a few w*g drug dealers in return for cooperation with the project of stemming the Indonesian military’s nice little earner of running refugees to Australia.

    No business in Indonesia is conducted without the Javanese ruling castes, the military castes, the junta in waiting, taking their cut. So the Australian ruling castes, heavily represented in DFAT, took the deal. Strewth, why wouldn’t they? So much opportunity for business, for a seat at the table, a crack at West Papua, in deforestation, mining etc and so on.

    Two w*g lives against that?

    I have already arranged for a silent service with friends, for a communion of life, on the day when they are executed. In order to be amongst humans who know sorrow and regret, on the day, rather than put up with the isolation imposed on us by the idiot blather of the MSM, on the day.

  48. tony Lynch
    February 19th, 2015 at 21:42 | #48

    it will be a TerjePud moment.

  49. Megan
    February 19th, 2015 at 22:10 | #49


    The AFP knew exactly what the Bali 9 were up to and secretly told the Indonesian’s all about it, thereby ensuring the current outcome.

    The AFP were also implicated in the Barlow & Chambers matter.

    The AFP train an Indonesian death squad:

    The men who killed Mr Tabuni, was was deputy chairman of the National Committee for West Papua (KNPB), were allegedly part of Detachment 88.

    Trained in forensics, intelligence gathering, surveillance and law enforcement by officials from the US, the UK and Australia, the unit was established in the wake of the Bali bombings and has played a crucial role in Indonesia’s counter-terrorism efforts.

    They are ruthless, often killing suspects, and their anti-terrorism mandate is now creeping into other areas like policing West Papuan separatists.

    In December 2010, Detachment 88 killed militant Papuan activist Kelly Kwalik.

    Now, if Abbott came out and publicly threatened to stop funding and training Indonesian death squads unless these two were spared….that would be interesting.

  50. February 20th, 2015 at 07:35 | #50

    Ironman Varoufakis’s Revolutionary Plan for Europe

    If you haven’t been following developments in the Greek-EU standoff, you’re really missing out. This might be the best story of the year. And what makes it so riveting, is that no one thought that little Greece could face off with the powerful leaders of the EU and make them blink. But that’s exactly what’s happened. On Monday, members of the Eurogroup met with Greece’s finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, to decide whether they would accept Greece’s terms for an extension of the current loan agreement. There were no real changes to the agreement. The only difference was semantics, that is, the loan would not be seen as a bailout but as “a transitional stage to a new contract for growth for Greece”. In other words, a bridge to a different program altogether.

    In retrospect, Varoufakis’s strategy was pure genius, mainly because it knocked the EU finance ministers off balance and threw the process into turmoil. After all, how could they vote “thumbs down” on loan package that they had previously approved just because the language was slightly different? But if they voted “thumbs up”, then what?

    … It was not a particularly proud moment for the European Union. But what’s even worse, is the subterfuge that preceded the meetings; that’s what cast doubt on the character of the people running EU negotiations. Here’s the scoop: About 15 minutes before the confab began, Varoufakis was given a draft communique outlining the provisions of the proposed loan extension. He was pleasantly surprised to find that the document met all his requirements and, so, he was prepared to sign it. Unfortunately, the document was switched shortly before the negotiations began with one that backtracked on all the crucial points.

    I’m not making this up. The freaking Eurogroup tried to pull the old switcheroo on Varoufakis to get him to sign something that was different than the original. Can you believe it? And it’s only because Varoufakis studiously combed through the new memo that he was able to notice the discrepancy and jam on the brakes. As it happens, the final copy was just a rehash of the same agreement that Varoufakis has rejected from the onset. The only difference was the underhanded way the Eurogroup tried to slip it by him.

    Now you tell me: Would you consider people who do something like that “trustworthy”?

    Of course not. This is how people behave when they don’t care about integrity or credibility, when all that matters is winning. If the Eurogroup can trick the Greeks into signing something that’s different than what they think they’re signing; then tough luck for the Greeks. “Caveat emptor”. Buyer beware. The Eurogroup has no problem with that kind of shabby double-dealing. That’s just how they play the game.

    But their trickery and bullying hasn’t worked, mainly because Varoufakis is too smart for them. …

  51. TerjeP
    February 20th, 2015 at 07:52 | #51

    jungney – you actually raised some good points but you do it with such venom that I’m not sure a response from me would even be welcome.

  52. Julie Thomas
    February 20th, 2015 at 08:24 | #52


    Wow, it is a good thing for your own self-development that you can sense this extreme dislike that many of us feel toward you – not just Jungney. I am ‘rude’ enough – as you judge me to be – and obsessed enough by this dislike that I waste my time responding to you.

    But I’m pretty sure that many of us have suffered from, or in neutral language, have negatively been affected by, the simplistic and anti-human ideology that you have been espousing over the years, and/or we have known people who have been badly affected.

    And you continue to disrespect people by recommending the good Senator David Leyonjelm as someone who has something to offer in the way of solutions to the problems that the people I live among are experiencing. Why?

  53. February 20th, 2015 at 08:31 | #53

    Megan wrote on February 19th, 2015 at 22:10 :

    The AFP knew exactly what the Bali 9 were up to and secretly told the Indonesian’s all about it, thereby ensuring the current outcome.

    The role of the role of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in setting up Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran to face execution is chilling and shameful. Regardless of how this turns out, the AFP should be made to answer before the public for their actions, ideally through a parliamentary inquiry.

    In any case, if Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran deserve to face the firing squad, so to do members of the Indonesian police, who are also known to be corrupt and implicated in drug trafficking.

    One of many articles which explain heroin trafficking is Deep Events and the CIA’s Global Drug Connection, originally published 6 Sep 2008, by Professor Peter Dale Scott. The global flood of heroin, particularly from Afghanistan after the invasion 2001, show that the Opium Wars of 1839-1842 and 1856-1860 never ended.

  54. Donald Oats
    February 20th, 2015 at 14:54 | #54

    Marx was keenly aware that capitalism has within it the seeds of its own demise. Marx reminds us that capitalism, in its current form(s), is only one of a long line of modes of production. I haven’t (yet) read enough of Marx to say much more than that, but clearly, it is an easy trap to be caught by, thinking capitalism is “It.” Who knows what a post-capitalist society will look like, or even when such a thing will eventuate? Personally, I have no idea on this score. Nevertheless, it is hard to see how the vast accumulation of wealth among such a small number of people can be self-perpetuating: is there is a point where the metaphorical cogs seize up?

  55. jungney
    February 20th, 2015 at 16:33 | #55

    Venom? My dear fellow, welcome to the world of genuine cut and thrust discussion. If it appears venomous to you it is perhaps you haven’t too often come across people who don’t buy the innocent possum look that libertarians adopt when trying to sell a car without an engine. Or wheels.

  56. jungney
    February 20th, 2015 at 18:32 | #56

    Today, the fiftieth anniversary of the day that the Freedom Ride bus arrived at Moree, I heard for the first time Troy Cassar Daley’s song memorialising the event. I think Paul Kelly had a hand in composing this.

    I’m retiring for the evening with spliffs, drinks and this song on repeat 🙂

  57. Ikonoclast
    February 20th, 2015 at 18:55 | #57

    For a change of pace, a song so bad that it’s good. I love this song.

    NB: Stong language warning!!!

  58. jungney
    February 20th, 2015 at 19:14 | #58

    Beautiful sentiments beautifully expressed 🙂

  59. Ikonoclast
    February 20th, 2015 at 20:02 | #59

    Same riff, sort of, as “Shakin’ All Over”… who stole the riff from whom? Or are such things really cultural possessions? The Strauss’s used a lot of folk tunes. Even Beethoven used folk tunes. They embellished and transformed but they also stole or plagiarised from the folk, from the ordinary and humble people. Same old story.

  60. Megan
    February 20th, 2015 at 20:21 | #60

    There is a very good movie all about that issue “RiP – A Remix Manifesto”.

    Watch this clip.

    It’s about 3 mins and is funny/sad.

  61. Ikonoclast
    February 20th, 2015 at 21:22 | #61


    Exactly, so much of cultural IP today is about owning stuff that was originally a folk creation. That’s capitalism for you. Everything that the people originally created gets appropriated and “owned” and slectively makes (mostly) white punks, WASPS etc. rich.

    If you want to go really deep into Western literature (for another example) narrative itself is a folk creation; especially what can be called “narrative grammar”. Find “Morphology of the Folk Tale” by Vladimir Propp. There are something like 30 odd narrative elements in folk tales and all superhero myth tales. You can find all or most of these elements in lowbrow lit or cinema (Harry Potter or Starwars) and yet also in self-conscious highbrow literature (Siddhartha by Herman Hesse) follows the plan exactly) yet it could have a highbrow justification for doing so. I won’t go into that here.

    Joseph Campbell’s “Monomyth” thesis covers the same ground but Propp (1922) got there before Campbell (1949). It’s just that Propp was obscure outside of Russia (and maybe inside Russia. I wonder if Campbell credited Propp (if he secretly studied him) or discovered such stuff later and independently?

    Great authors (like Leo Tolstoy for example) are also very well aware of what profoundities are going on in folktales though whether Tolstoy uncovered the formal “narrative grammar” like Propp I would not know without more research. Tolstoy certainly loved, collected and analysed Russian folktales (analysed in terms of symbolism). He also used Russian folktales in his reading primers for young children. He pushed for education of the peasants and sunk enormous time and effort into helping them. Of course, it helps if you are a Count with lots of spare time, property, serfs and money. 😉

    Here’s a pdf for excerpts of Propp’s short work. I will try to make it a non-link to avoid moderation. Remove asterisks to make it work again.


  62. Megan
    February 20th, 2015 at 21:44 | #62


    Thanks, I’ll read that thing about Propp.

    I’m reminded of an interview of Paul Kelly (I don’t think much of Denton, but I think highly of Kelly – so it’s a compromise!) from 2004 where Kelly basically admits that he steals songs and then, like stolen cars, changes them a bit:

    ANDREW DENTON:…You’ve said that songs come from other songs. Can you show us what that means?

    PAUL KELLY:…I can show you. I can show you. (Strums guitar) There’s a band from the ’60s called the Lovin’ Spoonful, which is…a songwriter called John Sebastian, and I always thought they were a wonderful band, and I used to hear these records through my big brother Martin. But this is one of their songs.

    (Sings) Every time I see that Greyhound bus
    Rolling down the line
    Makes me wish that I’d talked much more to you
    When we had the time
    Still it’s only wishing
    And it’s nothing more
    So I’m never going back
    Never going back
    Never going back
    To Nashville anymore…

    (Sings to same tune) From St Kilda to Kings Cross
    Is thirteen hours on a bus
    I pressed my face against the glass
    Watched the white lines rushing past
    All around me it felt like all inside me
    And my body left me
    And my soul went running

    Every time I see that Greyhound bus
    Rolling down the line.

    ANDREW DENTON: Wow. That’s amazing. So, is that…

    PAUL KELLY: There’s a whole lot more. There’s a lot more too.

    ANDREW DENTON: Is that a conscious thing that you do, or is it just a chord structure that appeals to you so you think you’ll build on it?

    PAUL KELLY: …No, often it’s not conscious, but often…I might write a song…and then it reminds you of something. Sometimes you have to go back and check…

    ANDREW DENTON: So John Sebastian could probably sue you for everything you’ve got?

    PAUL KELLY: No, no, there’s a few… No, no, you’ve got to just change a couple of… You know, Woody Guthrie always said just write tunes from other tunes and just change a couple of the notes.

  63. Megan
    February 21st, 2015 at 12:10 | #63


    I suggest reading the story about Cory Barnardi in today’s “The Saturday Paper”.

    Unsurprisingly, it appears to have been ignored by Rupert’s ABC and Fairfax (News Ltd would be expected to ignore it, but the rest of the establishment media?).

  64. Donald Oats
    February 21st, 2015 at 14:06 | #64

    Read it. The business stuff is easily checked and verified, so you are right to wonder why they haven’t also run a story on it in the MSM. Perhaps the MSM are so impoverished of old-school journalists, they can’t afford to follow up on a story with fact checking in it 🙁

    Today’s Australian has a lead story which is designed to sink PM Tony Abbott: there is a certain amount of Schadenfreude, watching a Murdoch bum-wrap go after the LNP’s top man. They claim that the PM wanted to know if we could go it alone, invading Iraq/Syria and fighting ISIL ourselves, with a 3500 strong military force. The article goes on to say that the ADF were shocked at the idea. The article also claims the PM wanted to send 1000 troops to the plane’s crash site in the Ukraine, to secure it. Again, the article claims the military were shocked at the proposal, given our troops would not know the languages of the region, or be capable of discerning Russian separatists from Ukraine loyalists.

    I point out that the PM vigorously denies aspects of this news article, in a manner so often employed in the past. Tacit in that is whether I think the article is correct or not.

  65. Megan
    February 21st, 2015 at 14:40 | #65

    @Donald Oats

    I refuse to read any Murdoch output whatsoever.

    In theory I should have no idea what you are talking about. But in reality that “story” (together with the “counter-story” courtesy of Murdoch’s “Sky”) is prominently featured/regurgitated – without any fresh follow-up of their own – on brisbanetimes, ABC and Guardian and all of them deliberately and explicitly promote/attribute the Murdoch outlets in the re-telling.

    Hence my original observation about the silence regarding the Bernardi story.

  66. alfred venison
    February 21st, 2015 at 15:55 | #66

    i read “loon pond” now – clicks: in right place – http://loonpond.blogspot.com.au/ -a.v.

  67. Hermit
    February 22nd, 2015 at 13:05 | #67

    I just noticed the Bureau of Meteorology website is running popup ads
    and select a state capital. One advertiser is a fossil fuel company. Perhaps that company will tell the govt they are not keen on Direct Action or other bothersome policies, though that particular policy is not bothersome. Supposing it was there could be a veiled threat the ad money stops unless the policy changes.

    Advertising on BoM or the ABC carries more gravitas because the organisation has a reputation for objectivity compared to say the Murdoch media. This could be the start of a slippery slope.

  68. alfred venison
    February 22nd, 2015 at 17:35 | #68

    strange: all i see are “pirate bay” popup ads. are you sure you haven’t been hanging around service station sites before you went off to the bom site? -a.v. 😉

  69. February 22nd, 2015 at 21:04 | #69

    This article is getting a lot of social media following the election. I would be interested in comment as it would appear to be just a form of PPP where we can’t really determine anything on the information provided and the concept that the library is “self-funded” misrepresents the position whether it is a good deal or not. I seem to recall JQ had some criticisms in the past on PPP’s in Brisbane related to swimming pools or something but no idea on this one? http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/construction-to-begin-on-wynnums-selffunded-library-20150218-13ikyx.html

  70. Megan
    February 22nd, 2015 at 23:17 | #70

    @Mark Beath

    Brisbane’s Lord Mayor, Campbell Newman, first proposed this model in 2005.

    Back in those days, for whatever reason, public opposition to the concept of privatising our city libraries prevailed and it didn’t proceed – at that time.

    Neo-liberalism is like a cancer or a weed infestation, if it isn’t absolutely and totally destroyed it will return again and again until it destroys everything.

  71. Megan
    February 22nd, 2015 at 23:54 | #71

    PS: Lord Mayor Campbell Newman addressed the Wynnum Chamber of Commerce in March 2007.

    They reported:

    The Wynnum Library, recently identified as the sixth busiest in the Brisbane City area, has also been marked for redevelopment. Possible funding avenues are currently being addressed with a potential public/private partnership high on the list. The prospect of other complementary services sharing the vicinity is also being investigated with the statutory plan expected to address these issues.

    Hopes that a new civic centre would address a lack of entertainment for young people were expressed but Cr Newman was careful to stress that there’s a fine line to be walked.

    “If we rush this process we will have all kinds of accusations,” he said, “we have to tread carefully.”

    Somewhere along the line in the last ten years or so the neo-libs (ie ALP/LNP duopoly) have thrown off the idea of treading carefully and have proclaimed that their mutually agreed agenda should be “let rip”.

    And they wonder why the electorate seems to be so “volatile”. They should be glad it is hard to find pitchforks lying around these days.

  72. Donald Oats
    February 23rd, 2015 at 00:01 | #72

    I noticed this some time ago. The ALP is to blame for this, as far as I can see. Under the LNP, I doubt they’ll reduce the advertising or cease it. I am entirely in agreement that the difficulty with accepting advertising on their website—even if the revenue goes elsewhere—is that they are offering a tacit endorsement of the advertised product and/or service. If the BOM does not appreciate what can go wrong with being associated with an advertised company, they should have a chat with CSIRO about brand recognition and the hassles of protecting reputation. It is a very very slippery slope, something akin to giving a cigarette lighter and some sticks of dynamite to a primary school kid—or a politician. Very predictable, very messy.

  73. Megan
    February 23rd, 2015 at 00:59 | #73

    @Donald Oats

    Yes, definitely an ALP “reform”. Advertising on “BOM” was introduced in 2013.

  74. Megan
    February 23rd, 2015 at 01:14 | #74

    Today we are to have all our rights and freedoms, such as remain, taken away on the strength of the conclusions of a “review” carried out by LNP hacks.

    Where is our right of appeal? The “Rugby League Judiciary”?

    Fascists, and that is most certainly what these people are, hate the rule of law and the separation of powers.

    Of course Shorten’s ALP is 100% on board.

  75. Megan
    February 23rd, 2015 at 01:25 | #75

    Maybe Mr Denmore is best placed to answer this question [a quote from Rupert’s ABC]:

    “Australia has entered a new, long-term era of heightened terrorism threat, with a much more significant home-grown element,” Mr Abbott will say in his national security address.

    When did it become acceptable journalistic practice to report from the future – with direct quotes?

  76. sunshine
    February 23rd, 2015 at 11:39 | #76

    Abbott is trying to outflank Labor on the right ,hoping the community will go further right than Labor is prepared to. It isnt certain that this wont backfire on our Big Man -maybe there is enough intelligence out there .Abbott is a dangerous bigoted man full of hyperbole – existential threats and new dark ages indeed . He is terrifying the Australian community for political gain. He is elevating and glorifying the work of the few nutters we have had so far -ensuring that we will have more. Its a self fulfilling prophesy .

  77. Tim Macknay
    February 23rd, 2015 at 11:45 | #77

    Good news: climate change denying ‘scientist’ Willie Soon is in disgrace and is almost certain to be sacked by the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysics Centre, after revelations of his receipt of massive undisclosed payments from the fossil fuel industry.

  78. David Irving (no relation)
    February 23rd, 2015 at 12:37 | #78

    Hilarious! I used to have a record with “CIA Man” on it.

    I really enjoyed hearing it over the closing credits of “Burn After Reading” when I saw it.

  79. fatimahpoon
    February 26th, 2015 at 06:45 | #79

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