Tuesday 30th of September 2014

Recent Comments

by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2014-09-30 18:56

It does not take great powers of prophecy to discern the outcome of the latest U.S. intervention in Syria and Iraq. Soon, ground forces will become more directly involved. Fighting bravely and intelligently, those forces will win many victories, although at a high cost in battle casualties and terrorist outrages. Meanwhile, Islamic State forces only have to stay on the defensive until the patience of the U.S. public becomes exhausted, prompting another undignified American withdrawal in 2016 or 2020. Islamists will then regain power, just as the Taliban will almost certainly do in Afghanistan. Americans will be left scratching their heads seeking to explain another strategic failure.

Actually, American or other Western forces could win such wars very easily, obliterating their enemies to the point where they would never rise again. The problem is that they could do so only by adopting tactics that Americans would find utterly inconceivable and intolerable—in effect, the tactics of Saddam Hussein. Yet without these methods, the West is assuredly destined to lose each and every of its future military encounters in the region. I emphatically do not advocate these brutal methods. Rather, I ask why, if the U.S. does not plan to fight to win, does it become embroiled in these scenarios in the first place?

To illustrate the principles at work, think back to the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi in 2012. Ordinary Libyans were furious at the killing of an American diplomat they respected greatly, and they struck hard at the terror groups involved. With dauntless courage, they stormed the militia bases, evicting many well-armed Islamist fighters. Explaining his fanatical behavior under fire, one of the attackers was quoted as saying “What do I have to fear? I have five brothers!” As in most of the Muslim world, whether in the Middle East, North Africa, or South Asia, people operate from a powerful sense of family or clan loyalty, with an absolute faith that kinsmen will avenge your death or injury. That process of vendetta and escalating violence continues until the family ceases to exist. As a corollary, the guilt of one is the guilt of all. An individual cannot shame himself without harming his wider family.


by Gus Leonisky on Mon, 2014-09-29 17:07


The spirit of Chifley, the humble visionary whose optimistic belief in peace was a beacon of hope, is to be cynically stolen by the present reality of a man who thrives on conflict and aggression, writes Mungo MacCallum.

The minor earth tremor you detected around Bathurst cemetery last week was Ben Chifley turning in his grave as Tony Abbott invoked his memory (though not his name).

Abbott appropriated Labor's most memorable image, the light on the hill, in Labor's most respected venue, the United Nations General Assembly, to celebrate his pawing at the ground to Washington to give the OK for Australian war planes to bomb Iraq. The man has no shame.

It was only last week in the same city that our Prime Minister publicly gave his finger to most of the world by very publicly rejecting the invitation to participate in the UN secretary-general's Climate Summit. His office, he said, was too busy attending to affairs in Canberra, presumably to do with preparations for the Great Humanitarian War.

read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-29/maccallum-the-cheek-of-abbott-channelling-chifley/5776484


by Gus Leonisky on Mon, 2014-09-29 17:01


Prime Minister Tony Abbott, former prime minister John Howard and Queensland Premier Campbell Newman are holding a $5,000-a-head dinner to raise cash for the Liberal National Party (LNP) ahead of next year's state election.

The dinner, which Brisbane Mayor Graham Quirk and LNP state and federal ministers will also attend, could raise $500,000.

Whoever buys tickets will not have to be declared by the LNP after the party increased the reporting threshold earlier this year from $1000 to $12,800.

Labor however said it would voluntarily declare amounts more than $1,000.

Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queenslanders would not know who was attending the event or buying access.



All political donations should be declared because one cannot trust anyone, especially in a political party, not to do favours for cash. ALL POLITICAL DONATIONS SHOULD BE DECLARED. It would make life a lot easier for everyone. Meanwhile, we can only be VERY suspicious of a dinner at $5000 a plate... Anyone buying such thing might get away with the cutlery as well... Favours? Yes, there might be a lot of favours paid back...


by Gus Leonisky on Mon, 2014-09-29 14:07

Yes... Fanatics are our enemies... I totally agree with you, Amanda. And I will add that fanatics are not only in Isis. I will name Most of the Australian government at present to be fanatics of whatever, including bashing the poor, the workers and going to war in A FANATICAL WAY. Led by the most fanatics of neo-fascist capitalists, namely Abbott, Bishop and Brandis, most of the rest of our illustrious members of parliament are like kangaroos caught in the headlight of an incoming 4X4... not knowing where to go morally.

Shame on Abbott, the sneaky fanatic...

by Gus Leonisky on Mon, 2014-09-29 12:33



by John Richardson on Mon, 2014-09-29 09:54

Nearly a third of companies have an average "effective tax rate" of 10 per cent or less.” (‘ASX 200 company tax avoidance bleeds Commonwealth coffers of billions a year, report finds’, Canberra Times, September 29th.

Golly, what does that say about the 60% of Australian companies & 70% of mining companies that pay no income tax at all?

Gives new meaning to the term 'free enterprise'.

by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2014-09-28 12:58

Last night, the Abbott Government passed laws removing freedoms, increasing surveillance and which may see the gaoling of journalists and whistleblowers. Managing editor David Donovan comments.

WELL, I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, but I’m not feeling much safer after the Senate passed new “counter-terrorism” legislation last night.

Speaking as a publisher and practicing journalist ‒ and critic of this Government ‒ it is difficult, in fact, to not feel some terror about where these laws are leading. Especially when they are being waved through enthusiastically by the nominal Opposition under so-called Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

Ben Grubb from the Sydney Morning Herald summarised last night's troubling events this morning (25/9/14):

Australian spies will soon have the power to monitor the entire Australian internet with just one warrant, and journalists and whistleblowers will face up to 10 years' jail for disclosing classified information.

The government's first tranche of tougher anti-terrorism laws, which beef up the domestic spy agency ASIO's powers, passed the Senate 44 votes for and 12 against on Thursday night with bipartisan support from Labor.

The bill, the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014, will now be sent to the House of Representatives, where passage is all but guaranteed on Tuesday at the earliest.


read more: http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/terrifying-tonys-terrible-terror-laws--and-lil-bills-big-betrayal,6939

by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2014-09-28 12:39

The marchers and mayors, the ministers and presidents, have come and gone. So what is the verdict on Climate Week, the summit meeting on global warming convened by the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, in New York?

The meeting was not intended to reach a global agreement or to extract tangible commitments from individual nations to reduce the greenhouse gases that are changing the world’s ecosystems and could well spin out of control. Its purpose was to build momentum for a new global deal to be completed in December 2015, in Paris.

In that respect, it clearly moved the ball forward, not so much in the official speeches but on the streets and in the meeting rooms where corporate leaders, investors, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and state and local officials pressed the case for stronger action.

It was important to put climate change back on the radar screen of world leaders, whose last effort to strike a deal, in Copenhagen five years ago, ended in acrimonious disaster. President Obama, for one, was as eloquent as he has ever been on the subject: “For all the immediate challenges that we gather to address this week — terrorism, instability, inequality, disease — there’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.”

But most of the positive energy at this gathering came from people closer to the ground, like the 300,000 activists who marched last Sunday. They included mayors like New York’s Michael Bloomberg and his successor, Bill de Blasio, who both spoke of the critical role that cities can play in reducing emissions. They included governors like California’s Jerry Brown, who is justly proud of his state’s pathbreaking efforts to control automobile and power plant pollution. And they included institutions like Bank of America, which said it would invest in renewable energy, and companies like Kellogg and Nestle, which pledged to help stem the destruction of tropical forests by changing the way they buy commodities like soybeans and palm oil.

Underlying all these declarations was a palpable conviction that tackling climate change could be an opportunity and not a burden, that the way to approach the task of harnessing greenhouse gas emissions was not to ask how much it would cost but how much nations stood to gain by investing in new technologies and energy efficiency.

This burst of activity comes at a crucial time.


read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/28/opinion/sunday/a-group-shout-on-climate-change.html?_r=0

by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2014-09-28 09:06

Remember “mission accomplished”? President George Bush, standing on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln proudly declaring victory in Iraq. That was more than 11 years ago – and since then not a single day has passed without blood having been shed in that region. Rememberthe march against the Iraq war in London? A million people out with banners, desperately trying to persuade Tony Blair that war was a bad idea. This week, a few dozen assembled outside Downing Street to protest at the proposition that yet more bombing is the answer to Iraq’s problems. I am reminded of Albert Einstein’s famous definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” The difference this time is that even the public is on board. And the theatre has extended to Syria too.

I suppose we think it is different now because it’s just air strikes we are going in for. But air strikes have limited operational effectiveness. Lots of satisfying sounding noise and power, yes. Like a King Kong roar. But the Islamic State fighters know that all they have to do is blend into the civilian population. And when the bombs rain down on the innocent as well as the guilty, a new generation of jihadi warriors is born. Last time it was al-Qaida, now it is Islamic State – and next time they will be called something else. The bombs might help change the nomenclature but they do little to shift the underlying reality.

There are times when I can see that there really is no alternative to war. But when air war has become so easy (something conducted from above the clouds or from the safety of a bunker in Nevada or Lincolnshire) and peace-making so difficult (because we don’t really understand Islamic sectarian conflict) bombs and cruise missiles are increasingly used as the first resort and not a last one. Our fighters can press a few buttons, twiddle a few joysticks, and then drive home for tea. But on the other side of the world, mothers will be staring into the coffins of their dead children and new grievances will be born that will one day return to our shores, seemingly from out of nowhere.

read more: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2014/sep/26/loose-canon-education-can-inoculate-young-muslims-against-radicalism

by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2014-09-28 06:27

Table 5 of this week’s Treasury document shows that in just seven weeks between the May budget and June 30, expenditure on ‘legislative and executive affairs’ blew out by a staggering $68 million.

That was not Labor’s doing.

Other unjustifiable spending by the Abbott Government includes its punitive border protection regime and an $8.8 billion grant paid to the Reserve Bank that it didn’t ask for and doesn’t need. On the revenue side, equally damaging failures include abolishing the carbon and mining taxes without adequate replacement income. Those were not Labor decisions.

This week’s proof of the debt expansion follows confirmation after the May budget that Abbott and Hockey had more than doubled the projected budget deficits over Labor’s levels.

ABC Fact Check unit showed in June that government decisions increased the deficits for the four-year forward estimates period by more than $68 billion.