Saturday 8th of August 2020

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by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2020-08-08 18:50

There has been one consistent, loud and very helpful suggestion made from many quarters about what the federal government could most efficiently and productively do to stimulate employment and business: Build extra social housing.

And the verdict from the federal government is: No – it’s not happening.

With perverse synchronicity, on the same day a telling National Homelessness Week report was released, the AFR‘s Phil Coorey had the inside word that, while the government would pepper its October budget with housing incentives, it didn’t want to know about social housing.

Federal Housing Minister Michael Sukkar reportedly told a closed conference that the Commonwealth did not want to “usurp the states and territories” on social housing.

A mildly sceptical soul might think there are no votes for the Coalition in social housing, so the government will leave it to the states and instead trot out various shades of middle-class housing welfare that will play well to the faithful.

A little perspective before moving on, a little stating-the-obvious from more reports and studies over the years than I care to remember:

  • There is a shortage of social housing. The story differs a bit from place to place, but lengthy waiting lists are rather standard. Even crisis accommodation is often in short supply
  • The real housing crisis in Australia isn’t affordability for first-home buyers, but shelter for people who will never be able to buy a home
  • The proportion of public housing in Australia is low by developed world standards and has been steadily falling for decades

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by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2020-08-08 18:22

China, Russia and Iran are among countries seeking to influence the US presidential election this year, a top US intelligence chief has warned.

A statement issued by the director of US counterintelligence said foreign states were using "covert and overt influence measures" to sway the vote.

It said China did not want President Donald Trump's re-election while Russia wanted to hurt Democrat Joe Biden. 

Intelligence chiefs accuse Russia of interfering in the 2016 election. 

They say Russia wanted to help boost Mr Trump's campaign, including by spreading disinformation online. Russia has denied the allegations. 

Asked at a press conference on Friday what he planned to do about the report on election interference, President Trump said his administration would look "very closely" into it.

The announcement comes amid claims by Mr Trump about the dangers of mail-in or postal ballots. He has suggested that the vote be delayed to prevent "the most inaccurate and fraudulent election in history", prompting a backlash even among members of his own party.


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This is BS with some BS added. The main players for the elections are the US media of which 90 per cent want Trump gone and the Murdoch media being covert about their intentions... The Russians, the Chinese and the Iranians care less about who will be their next tormentor... Trump or Biden? Same bloody thing...

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2020-08-08 17:27

Over the past decade, Umeshwar Singh Amra has witnessed his homeland descend into a battleground. The war being waged in Hasdeo Arand, a rich and biodiverse Indian forest, has pitted indigenous people, ancient trees, elephants and sloths against the might of bulldozers, trucks and hydraulic jacks, fighting with a single purpose: the extraction of coal.

Yet under a new “self-reliant India” plan by the prime minister, Narendra Modi, to boost the economy post-Covid-19 and reduce costly imports, 40 new coalfields in some of India’s most ecologically sensitive forests are to be opened up for commercial mining.

Among them are four huge blocks of Hasdeo Arand’s 420,000 acres of forest in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, which sit above an estimated 5bn tonnes of coal.


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by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2020-08-08 17:17

A former US Republican political operative and senior policy adviser to the NSW Treasurer was part of a $50,000 government trade delegation to America while he was on the payroll of troubled workers’ compensation insurer icare.

Edward Yap had not worked a day for icare, the state-owned but independent insurance agency, when Dominic Perrottet's office arranged for him to be "seconded" from the organisation so he could remain as a senior policy adviser to the Treasurer.


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by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2020-08-08 15:20

Will we ever reach the next level of international peace without threats, bickering and war?



In his 12 volumes of the Study of History, English historian, Arnold Toynbee examined the rise and fall of 26 civilisations in the course of human history. He concluded that they rose by successfully responding to challenges under the leadership of creative groups composed of elite leaders. Civilisations declined when their leaders stopped responding creatively, and civilisations then sank owing to the sins of nationalism, militarism, and the tyranny of a despotic minority. 

Unlike Spengler in The Decline of the West, Toynbee did not regard the death of a civilisation as inevitable, for it may or may not continue and evolve to respond to successive challenges. Unlike Karl Marx, he saw history as shaped by spiritual (say intellectual/information) not economic forces.

Toynbee’s philosophy of history provoked much discussion and was criticised by many historians — mostly for his use of myths and metaphors as being of comparable value to factual data — his general argument about the rise and fall of civilisations, relying too much on a "view of religion as a regenerative force." 

The conclusions Toynbee reached were said to be those of a Christian moralist rather than those of a historian, but he was praised nonetheless for stimulating the conversation of the specialised modern historical research. What Gus thinks is that, contrary to his critics, Toynbee was valuing the importance of fake news as much as that of “facts”, in the creation of civilisation

In our modern era, fake news (the age of deceit) has become our nemesis, yet it has shaped the way entire civilisation behaves. Hitler was using propaganda (fake news mostly) as a motivator for the German people. Previously many kingdoms relied on the support of religion (fake news) as a crutch for the civilisation they were trying to shape  — which was to create opulence, golden castles and fill coffers to go to war by using ignorant plebs. 

The tricks of religion and myths was also used by the Greeks and the Romans. On this site, Gus has exposed many of these that DEFINITELY shaped history. Presently, we have run out of major religiosity and myths. The European enlightenment killed those and replaced them with sciences…. But, lower class of information in general, has been replaced by cruder bullshit that floats around the social media and government alike. In the recent past (WW1 and WW2), religions and myths were still used as motivators to go to war.

Information, which was mostly mono-cultured till the French revolution in the Western world, has followed the trends of artistic movements that nowadays is broken into sets of personal artistic delusions. It is difficult to shape a decent history while Republicans and Democrats bicker about issues that have lost their mythical importance. And sciences demand a difficult and complex exactitude that try to exclude bullshit, while politics swims in it, happily.

One new element in our human civilisation development is that we have better information tools to challenge the bullshit more than ever before, even if our wits are not as good as those of Voltaire. Yet those tools are also controlled by our controllers, by default. We have to be aware that propaganda has penetrated our best information channels...

"Civilisations die from suicide, not by murder."

                — Arnold Toynbee

This is the case of taking the entire planet down with MAD… Suicide and murder at the same time... It simply is time for peace….
by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2020-08-07 17:24

Western Australia has been dealt a blow in its legal battle with Clive Palmer after the Commonwealth stopped short of backing a new trial.

The latest twist came as Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann urged Mr Palmer to drop his challenge of WA’s border closures.

The matter returned to the Federal Court on Friday for a case management hearing sought by the WA government.

WA is arguing the case should be vacated and a new trial of the issues convened after the federal government withdrew its support for Mr Palmer’s position.

But the Commonwealth has declined to submit whether its evidence should be struck out on the basis that it is no longer involved in the matter.

Health Minister Roger Cook said West Australians would be “bitterly disappointed” with the Commonwealth’s stance.

“We believe it does not go far enough,” Mr Cook said.

“We can’t understand why they would not support us in what we believe is a very reasonable submission.”

The Prime Minister said he had an “outstanding relationship” with WA Premier Mark McGowan and backed calls for Mr Palmer to abandon the proceedings.


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Scott Morrison owes big to Clive Palmer without whose yellow campaign attacking Labor every minutes, ScoMo would have bitten the dust of his sports rorts... That Scummo's government was working against the WA government is disgusting. 


At this stage one wonders if Scumdog was trying to return a favour to Clivus Palmerus, the dinosaur of Aussie politics, for his yellow banners... One wonders, also how much rigmarole went under the table between Scumcrap and Palmy, like there possibly was a deal made between Turdy Abbott and Cliviola to kill off the carbon trading scheme...

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2020-08-07 17:13

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has seen his personal wealth rise to $100bn (£76bn) after the launch of a new short-form video feature.

On Wednesday, Facebook announced the US rollout of Instagram Reels, its rival to controversial Chinese app TikTok.

Facebook shares rose by more than 6% on Thursday. Mr Zuckerberg holds a 13% stake in the company.

He joins Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Microsoft’s Bill Gates in the exclusive so-called 'Centibillionaire Club'.

Technology bosses have been in the spotlight recently as the size and power of their companies and their personal fortunes continue to grow.

Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google have been among the biggest benefactors of coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions as more people shop, watch entertainment and socialise online.

Mr Zuckerberg’s personal wealth has gained about $22bn this year, while Mr Bezos's has grown by more than $75bn, according to Bloomberg.


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And my bank account is barely floating on a sea of hope and charitable borrowings from the other half, enough to buy a few red ned casks in advance, just in case... But one cannot value happiness... Meanwhile Lebanon is suffering more than ever. 

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2020-08-07 16:56

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has blamed “tiredness and frustration” for an astonishing personal tirade aimed at the state Labor leader in parliament.

Mr Hazzard called opposition leader Jodi McKay a “goose”, “stupid” and a “complete pork chop” and made disparaging comments about her appearance and dress sense in the NSW Parliament on Thursday.

He said Ms McKay “needed to wear a mask” and went on to say: “If I was sitting next to someone like you in the bus, I would definitely wear a mask.”

It came after Ms McKay had asked Mr Hazzard whether NSW had enough masks stockpiled if they became compulsory to help fight the pandemic.

Mr Hazzard erupted, describing Ms McKay as Labor’s “temporary leader” and calling for her to resign or be stood down.

Ms McKay asked again: “Do we or don’t we have enough face masks?”

“You certainly need one!” Mr Hazzard yelled in response.

On social media later, Ms McKay described Mr Hazzard’s remarks as “unfitting of the minister in charge of our pandemic response”.


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by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2020-08-07 16:32

The NSW government tried to withhold documents that show bureaucrats concealing Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s personal involvement in a council grants scheme now alleged to be the subject of rorting.

In email correspondence seen by the Herald, a draft answer to parliamentary questions said the Premier signed off on a $1 million grant to Hunters Hill Council under the Stronger Communities Fund, but that answer was struck out and amended.

The correspondence was released to Greens MLC David Shoebridge after Parliament’s independent arbiter, Keith Mason, QC, upheld the upper house MP’s challenge to the government’s claim of privilege over the material.

‘‘Today we can confirm the government deliberately hid the Premier’s role in this $250 million local government grants scandal,’’ Mr Shoebridge said.

‘‘The government knew that what they had done was wrong and that’s why they kept hiding the Premier’s involvement.’’


Sydney Morning Herald 7/8/2020

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2020-08-07 15:50

News Corp has posted a US$1.5bn loss, with its Australian and United Kingdom newspaper businesses suffering sharp declines in revenue and its Foxtel pay-TV business in Australia bleeding subscribers, new financial results for 2019-20 show.

The global media giant released its financial results for 2019/20 on Thursday in the US. The reports paint a grim picture across the last quarter and year, with the exception of its Dow Jones business.

News Corp Australia and News UK revenue declined 16% and 13% respectively across the year.

In the last quarter, as Covid-19 hit, revenue declined 31% at News Corp Australia and 22% at News UK.

The results come in a tumultuous week for News Corp, after James Murdoch resigned from the board on Saturday, citing “disagreements” over editorial content.

The company’s report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission made no mention of James but directly thanked Rupert and Lachlan, saying the successes of the company would not be possible without their leadership .

One of the few positives for News Corp was the performance of its Dow Jones business, which incorporates the Wall Street Journal and other financial wire services and publications

For the first time, the company reported separate figures for Dow Jones, a move the company said “better highlights its growth and value”. It managed to post a 3% profit, despite the crisis.

The picture was less rosy across the rest of its business.

Total revenues were down by 11% over the year, from $US10.07bn to $US9.01bn. Advertising revenues in July at the newspaper mastheads declined 25 to 30%.


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News Corp losses have nothing to do with the ABC. Uncle Rupe should make a deal with Google, Facebook and Twitter rather than trying to fight them... Say provide them with better content for a fee... But this could be a bad idea, as Google, Facebook and Twitter are trying to get rid of Trump in their own hypocritical ways, while Uncle Rupe is cagey about his position — after having placed The Donald on the throne in 2016... 


Still awaiting the vice-president choices... Surprise!