Thursday 23rd of January 2020

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by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2020-01-23 16:29


by Kit Knightly


The fast-paced world of geopolitics can be disorienting to follow and unsettling to witness.

The US Empire teeters on the brink of total collapse, and lashes out recklessly this way and that as feuding factions struggle for control. The world’s finances are a dystopian mess of imaginary money, controlled by an elite class who care nothing for ordinary people and have rigged the game so they win no matter where the roulette wheel stops. And the less said about the environment, the better.

In these uncertain times, it’s important to take comfort in the familiar and the predictable…

…like the mainstream media flashing up a photograph of an Arabic man, and crowning him the evilest man in the world. 

That’s right: ISIS has a new leader. At least, according to the press (or, more accurately, the people that tell the press what to say).

This is Amir Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Mawli al-Salbi, and he is the new Public Enemy Number One.

That’s what the Guardian says, anyway:

The new leader of Islamic State has been confirmed as Amir Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Mawli al-Salbi, according to officials from two intelligence services. He is one of the terror group’s founding members and has led the enslavement of Iraq’s Yazidi minority and has overseen operations around the globe.

Oh, and the Daily Mail too:

The new leader of Islamic State has been revealed as Iraqi Amir Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Mawli al-Salbi. Two intelligence services said al-Salbi took over from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi after the terrorist leader blew himself up in October. Al-Salbi, who helped found ISIS, brought in brutal Sharia Law in Iraq and Syria, led the enslavement of the Yazidi and has operated across the world.

(Sidenote: When a schoolfriend of mine copied my homework with that little effort at rewriting we both got in big trouble. But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt, and assume they’re both copying from the same GCHQ memo.)

Interestingly, neither article actually names the “two intelligence services” who provided this information. In fact, they give us no evidence the man even exists. They just say it, because they were told to, and we need a new “face of evil”.

Just as Osama Bin Laden was killed (several times), and then buried at sea…only to be replaced by al-Baghdadi. So is al-Baghdadi killed (several times), and then buried at sea…only to be replaced by al-Salbi. 

(I’m sure, when the time comes, the next Democrat administration will happily kill off al-Salibi, claim to have “done what Donald Trump could never do”, only to replace him with Arabic Terrorist #4 from central casting before the end of the year.)

Whether or not he’s real – whether or not that photo is real, stolen from the website of some cricket team, or invented entirely in photoshop – we have our new Goldstein. Get familiar with him, because you’ll likely be hearing about him a lot.

For starters, don’t be surprised if his “fortification” of ISIS means Donald Trump can’t pull out of Syria after all.

Or maybe if ISIS attacks on Iraqi civilians/militias result in the Iraqi parliament revoking their request for the US to remove their troops from Iraqi soil.

There’s the possibility that ISIS will start a resurgence in Libya, meaning that NATO has to get in there and sort things out.

Maybe some furious ISIS fighters will be the ones who assassinate Iranian generals in future. It’s much less messy that way.

Or, hell, maybe we’ll return to the hits of the 90s and early 2000s, and Islamic jihadists will get back to work in Chechnya.

Whatever happens, ISIS are back baby. And that means that some way, somehow, Mr al-Salbi is about to make the foreign policy goals of the United States much easier.

That’s what Goldsteins are for.


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by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2020-01-23 09:23

We are quickly running out of time to act on climate change because governments across the world, led by our own intransigent, denying government are failing to focus on cutting emissions. The biggest problem with the prime minister’s shift towards blaming the states and doing all he can to avoid actual emissions cuts is he continues to make it even harder for future governments to undo his damage.

Let us never again suggest this government might be about to take climate change seriously. Scott Morrison has taken the view that saying he believes in climate change is enough to avoid any suggestion that he is in fact a climate change denier.

In reality he is like a bloke who says he is against drink-driving, but then tells his mates the way to drive home from the pub without getting caught by the cops.


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by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2020-01-23 09:19

Councils and sports clubs in former PM's [Tony Abbott] seat received $1m in grants.

Trent Zimmerman did not declare to parliament that he was a patron of the Hunters Hill Rugby Club, which received $500,000 grant just before election.

Councils and sports clubs in Tony Abbott’s seat of Warringah received more than $1m in grants under a controversial federal program, including a $70,000 grant to a surf lifesaving club of which Abbott was a member.

The Guardian can also reveal that a second Coalition MP failed to declare his connection to a rugby union club in Sydney’s affluent north shore, which received a $500,000 grant just before the election.

The revelations come as Scott Morrison said he had referred former sports minister Bridget McKenzie’s handling of the $100m sports grants program to his department to investigate whether ministerial standards were breached.

On Wednesday Guardian Australia reported that nine clubs which received funding under the $100m sports grants programs have links to current Coalition ministers, MPs and senators, including the Wangaratta Clay Target Club, which received $35,980 and boasts McKenzie as a member.


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Don't expect this "investigation" to find any "rules" having been breached... All clear for the rorts express... McKenzie’s job and MPship will be deemed "above board"... Scott Morrison should sack himself but he won't.

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2020-01-23 09:08

It’s not every day that the future arrives, but here we are in 2020. The number itself is pregnant with possibilities, evoking as it does foresight, clarity, vision. It’s little wonder that this year has acted almost like an idée fixe on the political and cultural imagination — much like 1984, or 2000, or 2001 did in the twentieth century.

Back in 2008, newly elected prime minister Kevin Rudd convened a summit of Australia’s "best and brightest" to discuss what kind of nation they wanted Australia to be in 2020, what were the big challenges that confronted the nation and what were the big ideas or the great innovations that would be needed to meet those challenges. Going back and revisiting the summit’s final report is a bracing exercise. Because 2020, now that we’re here, doesn’t look very much like the future at all.

What happened?

Following the heady-optimism that was in the political air — which carried Kevin Rudd to power in 2007 and Barack Obama to the presidency in 2008 — why was there such a violent reversion, not just to the norm, but to its stunted, Lilliputian parody? Why was the open, expansive vision of the future to which Rudd and Obama appealed, and which they seemed to almost embody, so roundly repudiated? Is there a lesson here about the importance of adopting a sceptical posture, a profound reticence to claim to know, much less predict, our political future? Or are we just reading the wrong signs?


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Imagining the future is like walking on a high wire with several forks towards buildings that don't exist yet... Adaptation is required. Our politicians are mostly devious dinosaurs on the way to extinction but they breed delusions and hubris faster than their demise. The past is our memory, whether it is remembered correctly or not... So, what do we want?...

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2020-01-23 05:22




The headline attached to the link to an RT America interview I gave this week is certainly provocative: “Let royals die & let Scotland leave!” 

The reaction on social media from some quarters has been predictable. Royalists have been sending abusive comments and accusing me of disrespecting the monarchy. On the one hand, the comments are sad because they stink of ignorance emanating from individuals who have clearly not watched the interview but, on the other hand, I am relaxed if the furore draws attention to the fact I have no respect for the royals, the monarchy and the whole decrepit and decaying Empire they represent.

The full twenty eight minute edition of the News with Rick Sanchez show is well worth watching for an alternative and more objective analysis of important world news stories and I would recommend it to those seeking a less manufactured and US/UK spin designed to under-inform and misinform in equal measure. If you only want to watch the segment containing my comments about the royals and Scottish independence you will find them twenty minutes into the show or via the YouTube video complete with the provocative headline.

Meghan Treatment Is Laced With Racism and Rabid British Chauvinism

The overarching point in the midst of the nauseating wall to wall coverage of the Harry and Megan story in every news bulletin and TV show this last week is that the institution of the monarchy and royal family has decayed beyond repair and should be allowed to die completely when the 93 year old Queen passes away.

The multitude of lickspittles and sycophants who have been paraded in front of our screens incessantly to defend the Queen and defy any hint of racism or rabid British nationalism while they verbally assault the ‘outsider’ Meghan and remind us constantly of her ‘mixed race’ background has been gut wrenching. The continual contrast with polite and English Kate and American mixed-race Meghan is the not so subtle chauvinism and racism that underpinned the bloody British Empire’s domination of two thirds of the world’s surface at the end of a bayonet under the auspices of bringing ‘civilisation’ to unruly savages across the globe. The British Empire was built on racism and the inherent belief in entitlement to rule born from the mother of rabid chauvinism. England has just elected the ‘Piccaninnie’ PM and surely the Windrush scandal is not forgotten already?

The different treatment meted out to Kate and Meghan is simply a matter of recorded fact. It has no doubt fuelled the healthy distaste of the British press which Harry has articulated recently. One conversation on the ITV Good Morning Britain ‘Pierced Organ’ show really summed up the farce in splendid technicolour for me when one female royal groveler bemoaned the refusal of Meghan to walk a full pace behind her royal husband on formal occasions unlike the more regal and civilised Kate who knows her place… We are entering a new decade of the 21st century and still apparently well-educated adults think it is acceptable for royal wives to dutifully walk behind their Prince husbands in due deference to their rank in life. The rest of us should remember we are mere subjects and bow and curtsy like the plebs we are.

British Trait of Occasional Democracy

Without a brass neck in sight the same royal lickspittle sycophants who demand we respect the monarch and its unelected status wax lyrical about democracy when it suits their Brexit agenda. Democracy is all important when it serves the interests of the rich and powerful but forgotten in discussions about the monarchy and ignored when the Scots vote for the right to have a second independence referendum.

The existence of a hereditary monarchy is an offence against equality and human dignity. In Britain’s context it underpins and props up the privilege and patronage which corrupts society from top to bottom. Monarchy and the royal family belong in the dark ages. It has no place in a modern and democratic society. Two of the most powerful arguments which feed and sustain me in my pursuit of an independent Scotland are the removal of nuclear weapons and the building of a modern democratic republic. The arguments around both issues are similar in many respects.

Oppose Monarchy in Principle Not Just On Cost

My opposition to nuclear weapons is rooted in the immoral nature of them. Killing millions of people indiscriminately and destroying the very planet we inhabit in the process is what compels my intransient stand for unilateral nuclear disarmament. The fact they cost so much to build and maintain is merely an incidental but powerful supplementary argument. Over £200 billion invested in schools, hospitals and social housing over the next 30 years rather than immoral weapons of mass destruction is a slam dunk bonus but even if they were cheap and affordable I would still be implacably opposed.

The same cost/benefit argument often enters the fray in relation to the monarchy. My opposition is in principle. No man or woman should inherit power over others by virtue of birth right. Power must always be accountable and subject to democratic curtailment. My late friend and rich source of socialist inspiration, Tony Benn, taught us that the monarchy is no quaint and harmless relic of the past but a living and breathing instrument of power wielded on behalf of the powerful status quo to keep the established order in place. Everything in Britain is done in the name of the monarch and no laws can ever be enacted without their royal assent. Politicians are elected but their power is acutely conditioned by royal prerogatives and allegiance to the crown is obligatory. No MP in Westminster or MSP in Scotland can take their seat regardless of the size of their majority unless they first swear allegiance to the monarch.

Tony Benn Was Compelled To Lie To Serve in Government

Tony explained in his memoirs how he had to lie 18 times in order to serve in Parliament and cabinet such were the number of royal oaths imposed upon him by the unwritten but royalist British constitution. In any democracy worth its salt the people are supremely sovereign.

Monarchy is undemocratic and completely outdated.


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by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2020-01-22 16:24

Australian PM Scott Morrison has been accused of lacking leadership during the bushfire crisis - by the man he replaced after a party room coup. 

Malcolm Turnbull, who was deposed in 2018, told the BBC that Mr Morrison had misled the country by "downplaying" the influence of global warming.

Mr Morrison apologised last month for taking a US holiday amid the fires. He has insisted his policies are adequate.

But Mr Turnbull said he "cannot explain" his successor's approach.

In a wide-ranging interview, Mr Turnbull also said US President Donald Trump was the world's "leading climate denier" and that America's lack of leadership was "extremely damaging".

Mr Turnbull said "everybody knew we were in a very dry time" before the fire season, and that it "was likely to be very bad".

"Rather than doing what a leader should do... [Mr Morrison] downplayed it, and at times discounted the influence of climate change, which is just nonsense from a scientific point of view. So that's misleading people," said Mr Turnbull.

"Then of course [he] chose to go away on holiday in Hawaii at the peak of the crisis. So I can't explain any of that. 

"It's just not consistent with the way in which a prime minister would or should act in a national crisis like this."


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by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2020-01-22 16:18

Christian Porter has defended Bridget McKenzie after the revelation she approved a $36,000 grant to a shooting club of which she is a member, claiming being a “paper member” of a club raises no probity issue.

The attorney general made the comment to 6PR Radio on Wednesday, continuing the government’s defence of the Nationals deputy leader and former sport minister after a scathing auditor general’s report found she had skewed the $100m sports grant program towards marginal seats.

Porter also clarified that he is “not investigating or reviewing” the community sport infrastructure grant program, but rather has sought legal advice from the Australian Government Solicitor about McKenzie’s authority to approve grants.


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Read from top. Porter is as amusing and useful as sitting on a box of tacks...

by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2020-01-22 16:03

A legal challenge against plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight has been launched in the Federal Court.

Key points:

  • Equinor was given conditional approval to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight last month
  • The Wilderness Society is challenging the decision in the Federal Court
  • It said Equinor failed to consult adequately with environmental organisations


The Wilderness Society is taking the national regulator — the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) — to court after it granted conditional environmental approval to Norwegian oil company Equinor to conduct drilling.

The society alleges Equinor did not consult "important and relevant parties", which it said was required by regulations.

Equinor, which is majority owned by the Norwegian Government, plans to drill its Stromlo-1 exploration well 372 kilometres south of the Nullarbor coastline, off South Australia.

Last month's environmental approval will allow the company to drill 24 hours a day for about 60 days between November and April in either 2020–21 or 2021–22.

Drilling in the Bight has been fiercely opposed by environmental groups concerned about the threat of a catastrophic oil spill.

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by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2020-01-22 15:49

The IMF added that climate change and weather-related disasters such as tropical storms, floods and heatwaves had caused "severe humanitarian costs and livelihood loss across multiple regions in recent years" and that could spread to other parts of the world.

"Intensifying social unrest in several countries posed new challenges, as did weather-related disasters from hurricanes in the Caribbean, to drought and bushfires in Australia, floods in eastern Africa and drought in southern Africa," the IMF warned.

"It could pose challenges to other areas that may not yet feel the direct effects, including by contributing to cross border migration or financial stress.


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So, what are we going to do about it?... I see, more of the same nothing...

by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2020-01-22 14:21

Donald Trump is the world’s “leading climate denier”, the former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has said.

Turnbull, who lost the prime ministership in August 2018 in part because of his own party’s opposition to his plans to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, made the comments to BBC Newsnight on Tuesday (Wednesday morning, Australian time).

The US president told the world’s business leaders to stop listening to “prophets of doom” as he used a keynote speech at the World Economic Forum to attack the teenage activist Greta Thunberg over her climate crisis warnings.


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Pity you weren't so vocal about this when at the head of the Moronic Party. Pity you also destroyed Australia's chance to have the best broadband in the world... A few mea culpas would not go astray...


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