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MacroBusiness Monday, December 22, 2014 - 07:51 Source

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MacroBusiness Monday, December 22, 2014 - 07:50 Source

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The Australian Independent Media Network Monday, December 22, 2014 - 01:11 Source

The shooting down of MH17 is part of larger, longer-term conflict, writes Dr George Venturini*. In Part 7 Dr Venturini concludes his investigation into the ‘oil factor’ in this conflict.

Cui prodest? Huh … It is the oil, men! (Continued).

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Your Democracy Monday, December 22, 2014 - 00:35 Source

american psychos .....

In 1964, the Brazilian military, in a US-designed coup, overthrew a liberal (not more to the left than that) government and proceeded to rule with an iron fist for the next 21 years. In 1979 the military regime passed an amnesty law blocking the prosecution of its members for torture and other crimes. The amnesty still holds.

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North Coast Voices Monday, December 22, 2014 - 00:18 Source

Just when I thought it was safe to exhale along came this last paragraph from Senator Arthur Sinodinos’ media release announcing his resignation as Assistant Treasurer, a position he stepped aside from in  March 2011 due to allegations (see here,  here and

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North Coast Voices Monday, December 22, 2014 - 00:16 Source

From Clarence Valley Council ordinary monthly meeting minutes of 9 December 2014:

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North Coast Voices Monday, December 22, 2014 - 00:15 Source

From polls, to punters, to political cartoonists and purveyors of fine condiments.......Ipsos Australia reporting on its Fairfax poll, 8 December 2014:The national poll of 1,401 respondents, interviewed from Thursday 4 to Saturday 6 December 2014, shows Labor with 52% of the two-party preferred vote (up 1 since November), ahead of the Coalition on 48% (down 1 since November), based on 2013 election preferences.

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Your Democracy Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 22:28 Source


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Politically homeless Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 21:02 Source

The reshuffle is interesting for how this government sees itself.

First, it's limited in scope, which reinforces Abbott's idea that there isn't much wrong with the government that a bit of spin can't fix. It also reinforces the idea that shifting some of the government's alternative leaders - Bishop, Turnbull,  and yes even Hockey - would be career-limiting for Abbott.

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Table Talk: Bob Ellis on Film and Theatre Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 18:58 Source

Amazingly, Morrison is now in charge of persecuting the old and sick, the jobless young, the two million carers of the disabled (that is, 25 percent of the vote), and the disabled, and negotiating with Christine Milne, who thinks him a monster, to get legislation through the Senate.

His habitual cruelty will lessen the Liberal vote in all age-groups, especially the over-65s, and smash all residual chance of the Coalition winning in any state, or federally.

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The Political Sword Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 18:30 Source

As we come to the end of another year, please forgive a little self-indulgence as the TPS Team discusses what TPS has achieved in the past 12 months. It was a year in which we saw Abbott and his cronies trying to destroy the country and make us a paradise for the neo-liberals, the neo-cons and the economists that support them — and, of course, big business. We saw the worst budget in living memory and have, so far, only been saved from its full ramifications by the senate.

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Poll Bludger Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 17:21 Source

Tony Abbott has reshuffled his cabinet in response to Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos’s announcement of his decision to step down, together with the government’s general state of disarray. The principal changes are that Defence Minister David Johnston has been dumped from cabinet to the back bench, and Sussan Ley fills his cabinet vacancy as Health Minister, having previously been Assistant Education Minister.

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The Australian Independent Media Network Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 16:46 Source

A couple of weeks ago, Mr Abbott suggested that some of his colleagues had a problem with Peta Credlin because of her gender, and that they had trouble relating to a women who was so powerful. He made it clear that her sex was irrelevant to him and that he’d have the same relationship with her whatever sex she was. Some people, however, argued charges of sexism were pretty hypocritical coming from a man who’d only appointed one woman to Cabinet.

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Croakey Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 16:46 Source

Prime Minister Tony Abbott today announced a reshuffle of his Ministry, that has seen Peter Dutton move from Health to Immigration and replaced by Sussan Ley, former Assistant Minister for Education, who becomes the second woman in Cabinet...

Read more on the blog...

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En Passant Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 13:37 Source

Through the back door the Abbott government has introduced  what is in effect a $5 co-payment on visits to the doctor and also frozen the indexation of the Medicare rebate until 2018.

At the moment, the Medicare rebate is $37.05. This is well below the rate needed to cover the real cost of attending the doctor.

The Australian Medical Association for example recommends doctors charge $75 for each standard consultation and many, including mine, do.  That rate will increase to $85 by 2018.

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John Quiggin Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 13:11 Source
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Cheeseburger Gothic Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 13:10 Source

Emergence officially drops into the world next Tuesday, Dec 23. I"m not touring this first book because of the odd release date, but I"ll be doing a few signings here and there.

First up, Avid Reader at West End, 8.30-9.30 am on the release day, 23 Dec.

If Pulp Fiction in the city has copies by then I"ll drop in sign some there too. If you want an inscribed copy, but can"t make it, just call the bookstore and leave a message. In fact it might be an idea to do that anyway to reserve your copy. Supplies might be limited.

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En Passant Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 11:44 Source

I sent a press release as a prospective Socialist candidate for the Senate in the A.C.T. about the successful stopping of a forced deportation back to harm of a Chinese asylum seeker to a range of bourgeois media outlets.  I also called on the putative Labor Senator Katy Gallagher to condemn Morrison’s brutal attack and to join the fight to defend refugees.

I received this response from TV station Prime 7:

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The Mugwump Post Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 11:24 Source
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North Coast Voices Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 06:22 Source

The second front forms in the ongoing Liberal-Nationals ideological war against ordinary workers and their families.I, Joseph Benedict Hockey, Treasurer, pursuant to Parts 2 and 3 of the Productivity Commission Act 1998, hereby request that the Productivity Commission undertake an inquiry into the workplace relations framework…..The Productivity Commission will assess the performance of the workplace relations framework, including the Fair Work Act 2009, focussing on key social and economic indicators important to the wellbeing, productivity and competitiveness of Australia and its people.

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Table Talk: Bob Ellis on Film and Theatre Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 04:51 Source

Joe Hockey said his Budget was ‘fair’ though it persecuted the old, starved the young, ended public schooling and enriched pregnant millionairesses, and added, ‘All right, if it wasn’t, it’ll be fair next time.’ His rating as the least popular Treasurer in world history he said was a ‘misfortune’ but he had ‘goodies’ which would intensify the ‘debt and deficit disaster’ next May. ‘We’ll have the biggest deficit in our history,’ he exulted, ‘and, look, debt works.’ He would never bring down a Surplus, of course, but the new Obama-Castro deal would keep him ‘well-stocked with Cuban cigars’.

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North Coast Voices Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 00:16 Source

Ever wondered how often the twitterverse calls Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott incompetent?Wonder no more, the tweeted mesages of political 'love' run for pages - going as far back as 15 August 2010.Here are a few recent examples:

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North Coast Voices Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 00:15 Source

Something to think about from the NSW Dept. of Environment, Climate Change and Water as many of us in New South Wales frolic by the sea over the holidays:The NSW Government has adopted a Sea Level Rise Policy Statement (NSW Government 2009) to support consistent adaptation to projected sea level rise impacts.

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John Quiggin Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 15:52 Source

Among the unforeseen (by me, at any rate) events of 2014, the collapse in the price of crude oil may be among the most significant. Prices have fallen from more than $100/barrel in mid-2014 to around $60/barrel today. This follows a more gradual fall in the price of coal. The thermal coal price peaked at $140/tonne in 2011 and has now fallen to around $70/tonne. Prices for metallurgical coal and iron ore have also collapsed.

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En Passant Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 15:51 Source

Independent socialist and A.C.T. Senate candidate John Passant today welcomed the failure of the Abbott government to forcibly deport asylum seek Wei Lin back to harm in China.

Refugee Action Coalition and other activists leafleted passengers as they boarded about the forced deportation. When on board, Wei Lin, handcuffed, spoke out on the plane against his refouelment by Scott Morrison. He said:

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Table Talk: Bob Ellis on Film and Theatre Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 13:49 Source

Eight children were killed by a troubled woman in Cairns. This equalled in number the abortions procured by despairing women on Christmas Island after Morrison threatened their unborn with life imprisonment on Nauru. Morrison now threatened other unborn with equivalent punishment for the crime, he said, ‘of being born in 2015 and not, as I will tolerate, 2014. My patience is not limitless.’

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Hoyden About Town Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 12:18 Source

Feel free to talk services, observances, decorations, rushing, shopping, gifts, surprises, feasting and family traditions heart-warming and otherwise. If anyone making other seasonal observances wants to join the thread, please do.

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Popular Science Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 11:11 Source

The most remarkable thing about the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that you can buy outright is how unremarkable it is to drive.

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Popular Science Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 11:11 Source

The planet Venus, named for the Roman goddess of Love, certainly wouldn't be a very loving place to live. On the surface, Venus hosts scorching temperatures of more than 800 degrees Fahrenheit, a heat capable of melting lead, as well as an atmospheric pressure 92 times greater than Earth's. That's the same kind of pressure found at nearly 3,000 feet below the ocean's surface.

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Popular Science Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 11:11 Source

You've heard the statistics: the world population may hit between 9 and 12 billion within the century. The middle class is especially growing fast, and will likely continue to demand more meat and dairy, which take more energy to make compared to plant-based staples. The big question is: how are we going to feed all those people?

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