Monday 16th of December 2019

Recent Comments

by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2019-12-08 11:31

...

But CIVICUS said “the most alarming deterioration in civic space [across the Pacific] is occurring in Australia, which has been downgraded from ‘open’ to ‘narrowed’”.

Australia has seen the recent criminal justice examples of the prosecution of whistleblower Witness K, who exposed Australian bugging of ally East Timor’s cabinet room under the guise of a benevolent aid project, and the secret trial of Witness J, who was tried, convicted, and sentenced on national security charges in complete secrecy.

Victoria police have also been condemned for using violence against protesters at a series of anti-mining demonstrations in Melbourne in October. A report from legal observers Melbourne Activist Legal Support said police were antagonistic and “set a tone of violence” during three days of protests. Police sprayed demonstrators with capsicum spray excessively, were overzealous in using batons and drove police horses into protest lines to break them up, endangering animals and people. Victoria police has consistently denied the allegations, maintaining officers responded appropriately to the situation.

 

Read more:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/07/australias-civil-rights-rating-downgraded-as-report-finds-world-becoming-less-free

 

 

Read from top.

 

And this without mentioning Assange...

by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2019-12-08 10:22

I think that both Left and Right can agree that the fact that we have come to this point in American politics and society is a sign of profound decadence — that is, of the decay of the body politic. We are a culturally divided country, and each side fears and loathes the other. I can’t see how this ends well. And here’s the thing Christians should understand: the faith is in collapse among the younger generations. If the Left prevails, the core of the anti-Left resistance in the America of the near future will not be among conservative Christians. There won’t be enough of us remaining to make a significant difference. It is going to coalesce along lines of racial identity — “Back to blood,” as the title of Tom Wolfe’s final novel had it — because the Left has made a god of identity politics. Without a healthy sense of nationalism to unite this disparate country, and without a shared religion, it stand to reason that race is the only thing left. This is what I mean when I keep saying that the identity-politics Left is summoning up demons that it can’t control. Christians won’t be able to control them either. We are going to be marginalized, and faced with having to hold our own churches together, and keeping ourselves — white, black, Latino, and Asian believers — from descending into race hatred.

Earlier this week, I got a message from an East Coast journalist, someone I’ve never met, whose name most of you would know. He was commenting on some of the things I’ve been writing — most recently, my piece about the parallels between our time and place, and late imperial Russia. My correspondent said that he’s not one for woo-woo religious stuff, but “I can feel the demonic energy in this country right now, from all sides. There will be violence.”

You feel it too, don’t you? That growing sense of apocalypticism is a sign of the times. Pay attention.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/view-from-culture-war-trenches/




Oh, dear Rod...


This sense of Apocalypse looks more like a common dunny flush than a godly raptures in the clouds… But is it so bad that “progressives” accepting diverse ideas are becoming more prevalent? The birth of Venus by Respighi is a musical sample of the great deception that has been with us for along time and illustrated by Botticelli. Conservative Christians are holding on to a hypocritical anachronism. I guess Conservative Christians do not sin apart from a bit of gluttony on Sundays and some tiny pornographic thoughts on Tuesdays… 


We’re not in the trenches of culture. We’re just living the way we can with a different view of life. No one is going to get hurt, except the gay people who get bashed verbally and physically for being so. Recognising their existence is not a sin nor a blight on society. Many people have suggested that Christ was a homo, because he only choose men as his companions  Women were relegated to second fiddles and repenting sinning whores. The men did the thinking, the women washed the sheets. 


The social decadence is racism, sexism and bellitling-ism of any kind. And this is not new. Actually, the “progressives” are trying to eliminate these profoundly ingrained social factors from years of religious bigotry and despotic rulers dictating the terms of one’s life at the mercy of a hierarchy of class. Even in the religious and royal ranks, homosexuality was common. Sometimes (often) royal/priestly rape was also common. 


What we’re seeing with the Epsteins of this world isn’t “progressive” nor new, what is progressive is that these guys are being exposed.



Being blind to sciences isn’t going to endear yourself with the future. The idea of god and sciences do not mix. Conservative Christians hold on to ideas that do not and cannot make sense of the world as it really is. Yet, you and your beliefs won’t disappear like the “Russian Imperial family”, but you could find yourself marginalised like the gays and lesbians have been for centuries, though the social network will protect you like it will now protect the gays and lesbians from your travails.


In regard to the “demonic energy’ in your country, blame the CIA, the FBI, the political system and a mediocre media that has failed to inspire people beyond going to bash anyone else we don’t like — including Russia, Iran and China, countries that are doing what they can to survive into the future in their own ways.


At this level, America deserves its first gay Christian president. The trenches may be no more than tiny ditches alongside the road to a bright future.




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freedom-ish


by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2019-12-08 08:13

We even have articles in The Financial Times suggesting Corbyn might be the best choice after all.

The recent “leaked” documents, on both Brexit and the NHS, have certainly been a boon to Labour. Though some sections of the establishment claim it was “the Russians” (a warning Labour should heed – Russiabaiting is a two-edged sword), the more likely explanation is that was other sections of the establishment, keen (for whatever reason) to give Labour a bit of ammunition. 

Some of you might think this means the Establishment had a change of heart and likes socialism now. 

If that’s helping you feel engaged and optimistic then sure – you go with that.

Others – OffG included – suggest what we’re looking at are clear signs Labour has capitulated on some vital issues, offered assurances to key people on key questions that make the Establishment feel able to back them as a safe alternative to the wildly unpopular Tories. 

One key difference, of course, is that back in 2017 Labour were still committed to honouring the 2016 referendum result and taking the UK out of the European Union. Now they have – for reasons no doubt good to them – all but signed up to Remain.

This will, of course, make them more appealing to the very powerful pro-EU faction in the Establishment. 

And as an added bonus, if Labour does get in on its current ‘Remain in all but name’ policy it will very likely render itself constitutionally unable to enforce its own manifesto of re-nationalisation, since EU laws expressly forbid any such ‘monopoly’ move (although this is a matter of debate).

That’s probably a nice reassurance for the chaps at the FT too.

Then there’s the much-touted “Green New Deal”, an issue at the heart of the neo-liberal agenda and which seeks to corporatise the environmental movement and net the wealthy elite billions of pounds in taxpayer’s money.

 

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2019/12/06/the-offguardian-view-ge2019/

by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2019-12-08 07:04

The wit, caricatures and illustrative political satire usually reserved for the morning newspaper can now be seen on the walls of Old Parliament House.

Key points:

  • The popular exhibition is displayed every year at Old Parliament House and also travels the country
  • Most of this year's cartoons examine the election campaign and Scott Morrison's surprise victory
  • Cartoonist of the year Jon Kudelka says politicians regularly buy copies of the art that lampoons them

 

The annual Behind the Lines exhibition has selected and framed what it says are the 80 best political cartoons of 2019.

Unsurprisingly, cartoonists drew heavily on this year's federal election campaign and the main parties' leaders.

While Prime Minister Scott Morrison was often depicted as a "one-man band" who won the election himself, cartoonists were at times scathing of his thwarted opponent, Labor's Bill Shorten.

The cartoonist of the year, Jon Kudelka, said using humour and cheek to cut through political spin helped keep the country's leaders honest.

"In a federal election, both sides are desperately trying to trick the electorate into believing that they've got their best interests at heart — and there's always plenty to work with there," Kudelka said.

A recurring theme was criticism of the Australian Federal Police raid on the ABC and the home of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst.

 

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-07/best-political-cartoons-of-2019-on-display/11775988

 

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And not one single cartoon by Gus Leonisky in this glorious exhibitionist display. Possibly Gus is too crass, pedestrian and didactic for the intellectual judges of the pencil-pushers. Or as has been the case for a long time, no-one knows Gus exists in the little YD corner... Who cares? Goodo for the exhibitors. WE'RE GOING TO NEED MORE AND MORE AGGRESSIVE CARTOONING SHIT TO COUNTER THE SMOOTH DEVIOUS SCUMCRAPSON AND HIS SILKY HYPOCRITICAL CHRISTIAN MOUTH...

Note: the election of Scummyson was not a "surprise". This household knew that Mr Murdoch was working the room, Clive Palmer was ready to take a bath to help Scumgrubsonny and that Queensland and WA were CONservatived by the hip-pocket nerve and the disinformation about Labor. Bill Shorten did not help either...

by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2019-12-08 06:21

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A Queensland study found that Indigenous people are 12 times more likely than non-Indigenous people to be charged with or receive infringement notices for public nuisance or offensive language. Where these matters were dealt with in the court, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were more likely to receive a custodial sentence.

Sadly, this also supports what we already know: Aboriginal people are massively overrepresented in the criminal justice system of Australia. They represent only 2.1% of the total population, yet more than 28% of Australia's prison population is Aboriginal.

They are also the group most likely to die in gaol.

 

Read more:

https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/screw-it-swearing-shouldnt-be-a-crime-anymore,13381

 

 

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by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2019-12-07 20:31

 

From Robin Nagy

After 25 years as a successful mathematics teacher, I have packed away my books and will not be returning to the classroom. I no longer wish to teach in Australia. 

This decision stems from a combination of factors, including a lack of systemic respect for teachers, over-compliance, superficial regulation and the erosion of teacher autonomy. 

The worse Australian mathematics is perceived to be, the more layers of restriction and overbearing compliance and regulation are added, and the more impossible it becomes to teach.

There's a dearth of qualified mathematics teachers

First let me start by saying that the last 25 years have been amazing. At its best, teaching is the most fulfilling job in the world. 

But teaching is all about nurturing and relationships. Most students will only enjoy a subject if they believe that their teacher is interested in them personally.

It is a performing art, not a science, requiring a multiplicity of dispositional skills, including communication, empathy, emotional intelligence and listening ability. 

And mathematics teaching requires an additional skill set, akin to that of a logician or scientist. 

The paradigms of these often-polarised factors are a small subset of the population, and so excellent mathematics teachers (and science teachers) will always be in short supply. 

This dearth of qualified mathematics teachers has resulted in "out-of-field" teachers taking many mathematics classes, and in the tightening up of regulation and compliance for all mathematics teachers to try to ensure consistency of delivery and student achievement. 

This has been an epic failure.

Testing has become more like an Olympiad

The root of the problem does not just lie in a lack of qualified mathematics teachers, however.

Extension mathematics is considered the domain of prodigies, and at the pinnacle of high-school mathematics in NSW are the HSC extension courses.

These courses are vital for our future engineers, scientists and mathematicians (as well as our future mathematics teachers), but participation in these courses is pitifully low and has been decreasing for years. 

Many schools do not offer these courses at all (particularly in regional areas where there is often scant capacity to teach them), and if they do, they typically require students and teachers to run them outside the school timetable.

External assessment of these courses is far too hard, resembling more of a mathematics competition or Olympiad rather than an assessment of learning, which has a direct impact on their uptake.

Our classrooms are overwhelmingly influenced by this inappropriate level of difficulty, resulting in many students failing to complete, or even start, courses of which they may be quite capable. 

The only students who thrive in this situation are those who, in the words of UNSW Professor Andrew Martin, have innate "academic buoyancy".

The teaching utopia is a thing of the past

So how do we attract more qualified teachers to mould our mathematicians of the future?

First and foremost, inspirational teaching can only flourish with a high degree of teacher autonomy and trust.

When I first started teaching, I was able to adapt my approach for each class and each student, based on my assessment of their needs, to build confidence and motivation.

I was free to create and invent opportunities for learning and to be flexible in the delivery of the content. 

I communicated with my colleagues and shared ideas and resources, but I ran my own show. 

This teaching utopia has long since evaporated. 

Superficially the classroom still looks the same, but there are now invisible fetters and shackles restricting a teacher's every move.

'One-size-fits-all' is not the solution

Most teachers do not run their own assessment regimes. 

Due to perceived compliance requirements to maintain equity and fairness across all classes in a cohort, most assessment is written and marked collectively.

This results in a "one-size-fits-all" test which is not tailored to the developmental and motivational needs of any individual student or class. 

The assessment dates are usually fixed long in advance, before teachers even know what it is that will be assessed. This is the tail wagging the dog. 

The results of these assessments have a disastrous effect on student confidence, with many students achieving crushingly low scores and losing all confidence in their ability to learn mathematics. 

Teachers typically do not mark their own students' assessments but rather, mark a single question across the cohort. 

This leads to a lack of vital feedback for teachers about their own students' understanding. 

Teachers have become 'automatons'

Teachers are also now discouraged from developing relationships with students. 

In recent years, the climate in schools has been damagingly affected by the burgeoning concern to protect children from abuse.

Teachers are warned about getting "too close" to students and what is intended as a "professional distance" to protect teachers from accusations, can sometimes be interpreted by students as a lack of interest in them. 

Moreover, there has been a systemic and insidious depersonalisation of teaching, seeking to replace the persona and charisma of the teacher with the blandness and uniformity of a facilitator of learning, in the mistaken belief that this will result in more consistent and better learning outcomes. 

Teachers are no longer encouraged to be creative and performing artists, but rather automatons who paint by numbers. 

The dehumanisation of teaching can be epitomised by teachers not being allowed to use "I" or "me" within their school reports in many schools. 

The rationale is that the report is about the student, not the teacher, but the reality is that the report is the teacher's opinion of the student and it is most effective if the student can clearly hear the teacher's voice, rather than a generic, insipid comment.

There's no silver bullet

To put mathematics at the forefront going forward, we must give teachers back more classroom autonomy, trust and opportunities to be creative and responsible for their classes. 

Compliance and regulation need to be reined in to improve genuine quality teaching and learning.

We need to give teachers the environment they need to be able to thrive, and we need to recognise and encourage the importance of teachers' individual personality and character in inspiring the next generation of students. 

There is no silver bullet to the crisis in mathematics education, but tightening up compliance regulations and forcing all students to study mathematics will certainly make matters a whole lot worse.

Robin Nagy has taught high school mathematics in three continents and has been a Professional Learning Consultant for the Mathematical Association of NSW, in which capacity he ran courses for over 1,000 mathematics teachers across NSW.

 

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-07/the-demise-of-australian-mathematics-teachers-students/11768644

 

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All this degradation of skill and enthusiasm has happened under the Liberal (CONservative) policies of crap, who prefer teaching about little Jesus. The decision to hammer the public service "for more efficiency" is a furphy of gross proportion designed, as usual, to remove the efficient managers of public service and replace them with government stooges who will muck up service as much as possible in order to "remove the red tape" that is preventing the Liberal (CONservative) mates to rape the land (clear-fell) or build shoddy buildings (developers) for profit... We've seen it before... and Scumshitologist is doing it again...

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2019-12-07 19:32

It’s in the very nature of the visual arts that they are visible. Visible works. Visible artists. Visible arts workers. Visible galleries. Visible ecologies.

Visible not merely as something that sighted people can perceive, but visible as a presence, an experience and a force for cultural development. Visible as a powerful industry. Visible as a set of policy priorities that transform a nation’s confidence, resilience and ambition.

Thursday’s ministerial restructure creates a situation where, for the first time since the existence of a cultural portfolio, there is no government department with the word “arts” in its title.

Scott Morrison has said these changes are not about cutting costs but about improving decision-making...

 

 

Read more:

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2019/dec/06/lumping-the-arts-portfolio-in-with-infrastructure-is-retrograde-and-unimaginative

 

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Scumdunny has no idea about "improving decision making" about the arts or about anything else for that matter. He is there to flush anything he does not like into the toilet of his office, while praying to little Jesus about to be born (again) in a manger because "he believes" in fairy tales, meerakles and Noah's Ark. He has NO IDEA, and I mean NO IDEA, always hoarding a bagful of hubris and masticating a loud mouth that has no other mantra than "in the national interest..." "in the national interest..." bullshit bullshit, spray with gold paint and repeat "in the national interest"... Once more again... Have a merry Shit-mas !

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2019-12-07 19:07

Americans are in the midst of a toilet-flushing epidemic, according to the president.

Speaking to the press on Friday, with the hammer of impeachment poised to fall and countless domestic and international crises to consider, Donald Trump took on a pressing enemy: poor water pressure caused by conservation laws.

“People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times as opposed to once. They end up using more water,” Trump said while talking with business owners about what he called ‘‘commonsense” steps to end overregulation.

The government, Trump said, was investigating: “We’re looking very strongly at sinks and showers,” he said, prompting listeners to picture him staring as hard as he could at a tap.

 

Read more:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/dec/06/trump-says-people-flush-the-toilet-10-times-and-seeks-solution

 

Read from top.

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2019-12-07 18:38
After more than a year of school strikes, climate marches and high-profile speeches, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg told supporters that her movement hasn’t achieved any actual change and she doesn’t want to continue.

“We are getting bigger and bigger and our voices are being heard more and more, but of course that does not translate into political action,” Thunberg told activists in Madrid on Friday. The 16-year-old activist arrived in the Spanish capital earlier in the day to attend a UN climate summit.

 

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/475244-greta-thunberg-madrid-achieved-nothing/

 

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Don't give up... It's a long long fight that will soon turn around... Victory (vindication) will be yours...

 

See:

http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/33287

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2019-12-07 13:28

When Cormann took his walk across the chamber, Labor’s Katy Gallagher had moved an order for production of documents, which would, if passed, have compelled the tabling of anything relevant to the “secret deal” before the bill could pass the senate.

The government didn’t want that, and it was voted down.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale, who was sitting at the next desk to Lambie’s, was one of several people who claim to have overheard what happened next.

“Senator Cormann came up to Senator Lambie and said, ‘Is it okay, I’m going to say there’s no deal?’ And he goes ahead and does that,” Di Natale told a press conference after the sitting.

“Senator Lambie then stands up and goes into great detail about how she’s been negotiating with the government on a secret deal but can’t reveal the contents of it because of national security.”

Whether Di Natale’s recollection is entirely accurate – he later conceded his quoting of Cormann was not verbatim but “words to the effect of”, and he did not hear Lambie’s reply, although he thought he saw a grim nod – it’s hard to dispute his central point that one party or the other was not telling the truth.

Cormann’s denial of a deal appeared unequivocal.

“There is no secret deal,” he told the senate. “There will be no change to our strong border protection arrangements. There will be no change to our strong national security arrangements. And there will be no change in the way we deal with the legacy case load that Labor left behind …”

ONE MIGHT WONDER WHY THE GOVERNMENT WAS SO DETERMINED TO REPEAL A POPULAR POLICY THAT WAS WORKING.

Lambie, however, insisted through tears that she had forced change on the government and that repeal did not mean “we can go back to the way things used to be”.

She continued: “… I put a proposal to the government, and since then we have worked together really hard to advance that proposal … As a result of that work, I’m more than satisfied that the conditions are now in place to allow medevac to be repealed.”

But still she would not say what change had been achieved, beyond giving the government a badly needed but narrow 37-35 political win and returning Australian policy to the status quo ante – where decisions about the medical care of long-detained, desperate people were not driven by doctors but fought slowly and expensively through the courts.

“… When I say I can’t discuss it publicly due to national security concerns, I am being 100 per cent honest to you,” Lambie said. “My hand is on my heart and I can stand here and say that I will be putting at risk Australia’s national security interest if I said anything else about this.”

Refugee advocates were genuinely confused. And distressed. Di Natale, a doctor himself, said: “This was a shred of hope those people were clinging on to, and now it’s gone. We know that already [there have been] 12 deaths. And I worry that more people will die as a result of the decision of this government.”

There is reason for such concern. Madeline Gleeson, of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, told a senate inquiry into the repeal bill in August that her research since 2012 had shown reports of self-harm and mental health problems among those in offshore detention tracked to political developments in Canberra.

“Nauru and Manus Island might seem to everyone here to be very far away, but the reality is that the decisions made here have a very real impact on the state of people over there,” she said.

Kon Karapanagiotidis, the chief executive of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, was only too aware of the potential consequences of the senate vote.

“What makes it so deeply problematic – beyond the way it betrays our democracy and the will of the majority of Australians – is that it has been done without anyone knowing what has been traded off here. We’ve got refugees wanting to know what it means for them,” he told The Saturday Paper in the wake of the repeal.

“I’ve already got my team on the phone, on WhatsApp, on email trying to reassure sick refugees, of which there are still hundreds left behind, that we’re still there for them and they should not lose hope.

“We are gutted and we are devastated. Yet Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton sit there thinking they have a victory. How ghoulish and depraved that is: stripping away medical care from sick refugees, just before Christmas,” he said.

The uncertainty is made all the more cruel because it could so easily be resolved.

 

Read more:

https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2019/12/07/lambies-secret-medevac-bargain/15756372009186

 

 

Lambie deserves to be tarred and feathered... Read above comment. Read from top.

 

 

Cro-magnon Cormann should resign for misleading parliament: THERE WAS A DEAL.