Tuesday, 31 October 2017

A farewell political singalong for a departing Senate President

So it looks like the President of the Senate Stephen Parry will return to his family undertaking business. Another victim of section 44 of the Constitution. Not a happy day for a political singalong. The Owl thought these words from Daniel Johnston of the Texas Instruments might be appropriate:

Funeral home 
Funeral home 
Goin' to the funeral home 
Got me a coffin 
Shiny and black 
I'm goin' to the funeral 
And I'm never comin' back

Too gloomy for a family website, ruled the social editor. Go for a popular funeral service anthem with a less morbid message.

So to send the good President back home on the Princess of Tasmania join in with this:

And the wake? Well he might be gone but he's not actually dead yet. Maybe his colleagues not  victims of the dreaded section 44 will take part in something like this:

Revenue of Murdoch's Fox News in the US takes a dive and links to other news and views

Fox News’ ad revenue nose-dives, declining a whopping 17 percent - Media Matters for America

Hannity’s advertiser losses signal that Fox’s business model is not sustainable
Angela Merkel and CDU struggle to form 'Jamaica' coalition - Deutsche Welle
Four German political parties — the Christian Democrats, Christian Social Union, Free Democrats and Greens — are now in their third week of talks to form a government. They disagree about more things than they agree on.
Don’t overlook the Kremlin’s threats to our courts - Washington PostI
t is well understood that Russia is engaged in a strategic campaign to undermine support for democracy and weaken the United States. A key element of the West’s appeal is the idea of an independent judiciary that protects the rights of individuals and ensures the fair and consistent application of the law. This pillar of democracy is particularly vulnerable to information operations because it relies so heavily on public confidence in the legitimacy of its outcomes. Active measures such as those used to undermine elections could also be used to threaten the credibility of our legal system. We need to call out any such efforts and strengthen the nation’s resilience to them.
The Tweet of the day - Joanne Ryan MP

Facebook and Twitter to seek help in online manipulation fight - London Financial Times

Fed Up With Uncivil Discourse Online, Lawmakers Block Their Constituents - NPR

Publicizing the Plight of Journalists Project Syndicate
Every five days, on average, somewhere in the world, a journalist is murdered for being a journalist. Nine out of ten times, no one is prosecuted, creating an atmosphere of impunity that extends beyond death threats or violence. Imprisonment of journalists is at an all-time high, and members of the press routinely suffer harassment and intimidation while on assignment. Today, journalism is one of the most dangerous professions anywhere.
One way to address this state of affairs is by talking about it. Three recent examples highlight the risks journalists take to report the news, and underscore why publicizing their plight is the only way to bring about change.

A happy looking Julie Bishop seems so close to all she wants for Christmas as Malcolm flies off with only 56 sleeps to Christmas

Julie Bishop. seemed so comfortable in her designer running gear as she jogged along the beach for her first photo op as acting Prime Minister. Little wonder that the press are asking this kind of question:
And surely the current state of the government makes Sportsbet's $8 about her leading the Liberals at the next election a value proposition? And snap up the $1.70 about Malcolm Turnbull facing a Liberal Party Leadership ballot prior to the next Federal Election.

In the meantime singalong with this:

A British view of parliamentary sexual behaviour and other news and views of the day

Complicity in the sexual abuse of women is built in to the heart of our politics - The Guardian
The archaic ways of the Palace of Westminster are well-known. Many become so institutionalised, including the embedded lobby journalists, that they are not questioned. So researchers, staff, assistants are all subject to harassment by men whose “wives don’t understand them” or with whom they don’t live most of the time.
... For a long, long time certain men have taken such complicity for granted. But something is changing. Women are speaking out. These men are not sex “pests”, they are elected representatives exploiting their positions of power. If disrespect for women is tolerated at the heart of government, it will be tolerated everywhere. Who wants to live in such a place?

How Russian Propaganda Spreads On Social Media - NPR

Nations waged campaigns of influence against each other for centuries before Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and nothing is likely to stop them anytime soon.
You Will Lose Your Job to a Robot—and Sooner Than You Think - Mother Jones
Until we figure out how to fairly distribute the fruits of robot labor, it will be an era of mass joblessness and mass poverty. Working-class job losses played a big role in the 2016 election, and if we don’t want a long succession of demagogues blustering their way into office because machines are taking away people’s livelihoods, this needs to change, and fast. Along with global warming, the transition to a workless future is the biggest challenge by far that progressive politics—not to mention all of humanity—faces. And yet it’s barely on our radar.
Yes, the BBC is biased - Stumbling and Mumbling
... the BBC does have a bias – a bias against radical questions. This corroborates Tom Mills’ point, that “the BBC will aim to fairly and accurately reflect the balance of opinion amongst elites.” Or as Cardiff University researchers put it (pdf):
The paradigm of impartiality-as-balance means that only a narrow range of views and voices are heard on the most contentious and important issues.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

The French language is in 'mortal danger' and links to other interesting news and views

The French language is in 'mortal danger', say its own panicked guardians - The Local
And on Thursday night the Académie issued a "solemn warning" intended to grab the attention of the government.
The immortals are furious about the rise of so-called "inclusive writing" which basically puts the masculine AND feminine forms of nouns in the text.
While its aim is to promote gender equality and reduce sexist stereotypes to "make women more visible" in texts, the Academie called it an "aberration", which "now puts the French language in mortal danger for which our nation will be accountable to future generations."
Previously texts have in French have only included the masculine form of nouns for example citoyen (citizen) consommateurs (consumers) or agriculteurs (farmers) but if inclusive writing was used the words word be written as follows to include the feminine and plural forms: citoyen.ne.s, consommateur.rice.s, agriculteur.rice.s
Other examples include "acteur.rice.s (actor/actress), ingénieur.e.s (engineer) and directeur.rice.s (directors). Inclusive writing also encourages avoiding the word man, where possible, or just simply adding "and women" where appropriate.
Who Says You Can't Train A Cat? A Book Of Tips For Feline-Human Harmony - NPR

LOUSES OF PARLIAMENT Sex-pest MPs named by female Westminster employees in secret WhatsApp group — as resignations are ‘anticipated’ - The Sun, London
Lurid allegations swirling around Westminster included:
  • SENIOR MPs having sex with staff in Parliamentary offices;
  • A CABINET Minister “groping” during drinks parties;
  • A LABOUR MP nicknamed the “disco king” groping a woman while away on a foreign trip;
  • ONE MP demanding that staff buy sex toys as gifts;
  • A TORY grandee banned from hiring young “leggy” women to join their staff;
  • LEERING bosses calling female workers “sugar t**s” and demanding affairs, and
  • TOP government aides aggressively pursuing female juniors.
The indictment was sealed under orders from a federal judge so it was not clear what the charges were or who the target was, the source said, adding that the indictment could be unsealed as early as Monday.
The Reformation, 500 Years Later - NPR
Five hundred years after a rebellious act by a single German monk divided the Christian world, religious leaders on both sides of that split have finally agreed their churches share responsibility for the historic rupture.

The Guardian's Katharine Murphy as guest selector for today's political singalong chooses Chris Isaak and "... did a bad bad thing"

The Owl was delighted to see that the Guardian's astute political writer Katharine Murphy has joined the happy band using song to describe the political scene. She writes:
So if you are a prime minister who might, periodically, be entranced by the mirage of a knockout blow (an instinct which has gotten Turnbull into trouble in the past), or even if you aren’t after a KO but are in the market for some momentum and a sense that fortune has turned in your favour, you will peck away at Shorten, hoping to convince voters that their hesitation is well founded.
So this pecking away happens constantly, often on the theme of Bill did a bad, bad thing (to borrow from Chris Isaak; sorry, yes, my musical tastes really are that sad). Just a little backing track.
And so you can singalong, the lyrics of the chorus:

Baby did a bad bad thing
Baby did a bad bad thing
Baby did a bad bad thing
Feel like crying
I feel like crying
Oh feel like crying
Feel like crying
Oh, feel like crying
Feel like crying

Friday, 27 October 2017

And singalong for Malcolm Roberts

How every twitch of government should be considered as an opportunity to manipulate the public and other news and views

Bloated, glossy $212,000 federal budget cover a fitting symbol of modern government - National Post, Canada
It isn’t the document obviously, that’s the problem. It’s the underlying attitude of which it is an expression: that every twitch of government should be considered as an opportunity to manipulate the public — that the symbols and practices of a great and democratic state, hard won through centuries of struggle, should be reduced to a billboard for the party in power — that every last shred of institutional dignity should be pureed into the same mush of adspeak that now envelopes all of Canadian politics — that absolutely bloody everything that can be politicized should be.
Mundane end to historic reform to recognise indigenous Australians - Chris Kenny in The Australian
An energy crisis? My Hat! - Pearls and Irritations
The present ‘energy crisis’ is symptomatic of our nation’s leaders to obfuscate the truth to avoid doing what should be done.
The Doctrine of Trumpal Infallibility - Paul Krugman in The New York Times
But we are living in the age of Trumpal infallibility: We are ruled by men who never admit error, never apologize and, crucially, never learn from their mistakes. Needless to say, men who think admitting error makes you look weak just keep making bigger mistakes; delusions of infallibility eventually lead to disaster, and one can only hope that the disasters ahead don’t bring catastrophe for all of us.
'We will be toasted, roasted and grilled': IMF chief sounds climate change warning - The Guardian

'Distracted Walking' Law Bans Texting While Crossing Streets In Honolulu - NPR

Japan looks to ban before-and-after plastic surgery photos used in advertising - Japan Times

The declining interest in an academic career - PlosOne

The nihilist Left wants to abolish free speech completely – and universities are capitulating - London Daily Telegraph

Australia’s Got a Lock on Supply of the Metal Used for EV Batteries - Bloomberg

A song for Barnaby - I fought the law and the law won

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Singalong as "Australia's best retail politician"* has Friday, and a whole lot more, on his mind

Is it the High Court high jump for Barnaby Joyce at 2.15pm on Friday?

Thanks to Michael Danby MP for this singalong

* as described by sometime commentator Anthony Abbott

See the Owl's earlier singalong on this subject Hey Little Girl 

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

It's raiding nostalgia time at the Owl - Is Michaelia "the looks of a super model the voice of a wharfie"* Cash the new Lionel Murphy?

*thanks to Nikki Savva for the Michaelia description.
And how astute of Michaelia to have the police tackle a trade union
when the Police Commissioner was explaining how there was a shortage
of resources preventing drug raids and the chasing of pedophiles.

For those not born when Lionel Murphy was Attorney General (and that's probably the majority of the Federal Press Gallery) a little history lesson via a segment from the ABC's 'This Day Tonight', first broadcast in 1973. Using the popular program, 'The FBI', it satirises the raid on the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation by the Whitlam government's Attorney-General, Senator Lionel Murphy.

The public's right to know, acid-dropping activists trying to levitate the Pentagon and links to other news and views

Barnaby Joyce and the public’s right to know - Sydney Daily Telegraph
... politicians (and, indeed, certain members of the Canberra press gallery) believe the gallery’s role is not to report but to conceal.
And the story that started the debate:

Barnaby Joyce battles vicious innuendo as Coalition fears citizenship woe - Sydney Daily Telegraph

'Impossible To Save': Scientists Are Watching China's Glaciers Disappear - NPR

The Three Students Who Uncovered 'Dieselgate' - Der Spiegel
The diesel emissions scandal has already cost Volkswagen 25 billion euros, and no end is it sight. But how did it start? In a corrugated iron shack in the forests of West Virginia, discovered by a trio of university students.
Club Fed - Why the government goes easy on corporate crime - New Republic

Fifty Years Ago, a Rag-Tag Group of Acid-Dropping Activists Tried to “Levitate” the Pentagon - Smithsonian.com
The March on the Pentagon to end the Vietnam War began a turning point in public opinion, but some in the crowd were hoping for a miracle
Serco, Centrelink, and the privatisation of human services - Eureka Street

Researchers have demonstrated how to decode what the human brain is seeing by using artificial intelligence to interpret fMRI scans from people watching videos, representing a sort of mind-reading technology.

China bans foreign waste – but what will happen to the world’s recycling? - The Conversation UK

Monday, 23 October 2017

Political sex scandals - an historical perspective

I'm not sure why Malcolm Fraser and his visit to Memphis did not make the historical list published in the Melbourne Herald Sun a few years ago but it's a starting point. Jim Cairns and Juni Morosi, Gareth Evans and Cheryl Kernot, Labor PM Ben Chifley and his secretary, Bill Snedden and SA Premier Mike Rann. Wonderful memories.

In Britain, where the press is less inhibited than journalists in the Canberra press gallery, provides some wonderful examples. There's a lively little summary on the BBC website looking at "Why MP sex scandals no longer shock" and the record of the Conservative government of John Major puts the Australian examples in the shade.
But it was the government of John Major in the 1990s that is perhaps best remembered for its fallen politicians.
In 1992 the national heritage secretary David Mellor resigned after his affair with the actress Antonia de Sancha continued to dominate the newspapers.
"The particular difficulty on that occasion was that his party, generally, was claiming the moral high ground about the family", while Mr Mellor himself also had a bad relationship with the press, Mr Cole says.
Only a year later Major's government launched the morally charged "Back to Basics" campaign, which sparked intense media interest in MPs' private lives.
First to fall was environment minister Tim Yeo in 1994, who was exposed for fathering an illegitimate child with Conservative councillor Julia Stent.
His resignation was followed by a string of others, including that of the minister for aviation and shipping, the Earl of Caithness, whose wife committed suicide following his infidelity, and the whip Michael Brown, who the tabloids claimed had had an affair with a 20-year-old man.
Eventually Mr Major himself would admit to having had a four-year affair with the Conservative minister Edwina Currie, prior to his premiership when he was a whip in Margaret Thatcher's government.
Personally I have always had a fascination with the speculation about US President John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. Catch the conversation British Prime Minister Harold McMillan recorded in his diary as told in this video.

And surely Bill Clinton would be a gold medallist

Back in the summer of 2016 Vanity Fair looked at what it called a very unscientific study of "Which political party has better sex scandals?" An extract:
My own, unscientific—and, in fact, brazenly biased—sense is that Republicans get tangled in the web of conventional morality more often than Democrats. I haven’t even mentioned all the right-wing family-values preachers with wide stances on the Appalachian Trail in recent years. Or some of the men who were so vociferous in their condemnation of Bill Clinton—such as Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who at the time was conducting an extramarital affair with a woman on the Hill, later to become his third wife, and Senator David Vitter, whose phone number was found in the records of the fabled “D.C. Madam,” Deborah Jeane Palfrey, and who admitted that he had sinned. Or the current governor of Alabama, Robert Bentley, a former church deacon and Sunday-school teacher who (thanks to what the press calls “lusty audiotapes”) is believed to have had an affair with his married top aide (a charge they both deny), and who now faces impeachment. Or the raft of potboilers by Republican writers—from Newt Gingrich (“Suddenly the pouting sex kitten gave way to Diana the Huntress”) and Lynne Cheney to Scooter Libby and Bill O’Reilly—that could themselves be turned into lusty audiotapes.
Could it be that these conservatives are fighting an inner battle on the public stage? Or is that too simplistic? Perhaps conservatives are just sexier than liberals and can’t stop themselves from misbehaving. Or maybe it’s the other way around: it’s not that conservatives tend to be pervs (as Donald Trump charmingly called Anthony Weiner) but that pervs tend to be conservative. Or maybe a belief in free markets leads to a belief in free love. All that talk about the “invisible hand” can give a guy ideas—and make him think he’ll never get caught.
Even a brief survey like this one would be incomplete without a reference to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berslusconi who was engulfed in a sex scandal involving a 17-year-old Moroccan belly dancer, Karima El Mahroug, known as "Ruby the heart stealer." Berlusconi, owner of AC Milan football club and a billionaire media mogul, held wild events, known as 'bunga bunga' parties at his private residence, to which he would invite numerous prostitutes. He was found guilty of paying for sex with minors and of asking the head of the Milan police to release Mahroug, who was being held on theft charges and sentenced to seven years imprisonment. He was later acquitted of all charges on appeal. His wife left him soon after the allegations surfaced.

Parliament House Canberra's Song for Today

Up there on the hill they might be writing about something else but that's what they're talking about.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Trump's bullshit about the media, Australian journalism's freak show and links to other interesting news and views

Nearly half of voters are buying Trump's bullshit about the media - Media Matters for America

Australian journalism’s freak show: how a serious newspaper deals with its enemies - Crikey
Intellectual Property for the Twenty-First-Century Economy - Project Syndicate
Developing countries are increasingly pushing back against the intellectual property regime foisted on them by the advanced economies over the last 30 years. They are right to do so, because what matters is not only the production of knowledge, but also that it is used in ways that put the health and wellbeing of people ahead of corporate profits.
Post-Brexit, the U.K. is becoming a hotbed of far-right violence - Think Progress
Hate crimes and Islamophobia are rising, and security services are overstretched.
With fast-charging, electric cars will soon match or beat gasoline cars in every respect - Think Progress

Quebec Enacts 'Religious Neutrality Law' That Curbs Full-Face Veils In Public - NPR

What's in a name?When it comes to wine it's a lot of dollars.
Wine producers spend plenty to promote their brand as they try and persuade us that what they spent $4 or so to produce is worth paying $40 or more for.
Good luck to them. It's the free enterprise way I guess.
But not the way that my brother David and I have approached the wine business over the last 42 years. We prefer the honest and no nonsense way. Forget the image building and give value for money to wine lovers. We have been doing it since starting Farmer Bros as retailers in Canberra back in 1975.
Now that David has his own winery in the Barossa the savings from this honest-to-goodness approach are even greater. No middle-men and no expensive brand building hype. Just well made wine at a value for money price.
Like this one.
Fabulous Barossa Gold

Singalong as Julie "Tora Tora Tora" Bishop attempts to rebuild trust with Jacinta "can't work with her" Ardern.

The Owl warned her.
Back in August we warned that Jacinda Ardern put Tora Tora Tora Julie Bishop on notice following poll surge in NZ election race. "You're so Vain" we suggested as the appropriate political singalong.
And now it has come to pass.
Jacinda has the top job across the ditch and Julie will have to play please forgive me.
The diplomats who were shocked at the strength of Tora Tora Tora' s outburst at the time, now claim "the bilateral relationship is strong and broad enough to bear the strain".
Perhaps a chorus or two of this might make things easier.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Singalong as Tones makes Malcolm "do things I don't want to do" in the great power debate

Yeah yeah yeah yeah

He makes me do things I don't want to do
He makes me say things I don't want to say
& even though I want to break away
I can't (stop saying I adore him
I can't stop doing things for him)

The irrelevance of opinion polls a long time out from an election

While updating my table of The Australian's Newspoll results today (you will find the collection HERE) it struck me once again just how irrelevant poll results are a long time out from an election.
The table below compares Labor's two party vote 15 months after an election (like the one this week) with Labor's actual vote at the following election.

Labor on Newspoll 15 months after an election Labor vote at next election Difference in percentage points
55 49.3 5.7
43 46.5 3.5
58 50.1 7.9
48 52.7 4.7
49 47.2 1.8

The Australian's Newspoll from 2016 election to present

Date ALP Coalition Green OneNat Other 2 Pty ALP 2 Pty LNP
13/11/2017 38 34 9 10 9 55 45
20/12/1971 37 35 10 9 9 54 46
15/10/2017 36 37 10 9 8 54 46
24/09/2017 36 38 9 8 9 54 46
3/09/17 38 37 9 8 8 53 47
21/08/17 38 35 9 9 9 54 46
4/08/17 36 36 11 8 9 53 47
24/07/17 37 35 9 9 9 53 47
10/07/17 36 35 10 11 8 53 47
19/06/17 37 36 9 11 7 53 47
30/05/17 36 36 10 9 9 53 47
16/05/17 36 36 10 9 9 53 47
24/04/17 35 36 9 10 10 52 48
3/04/17 36 36 10 9 9 53 47
20/03/17 35 37 9 10 9 52 48
27/02/17 37 34 10 10 9 55 45
6/02/17 36 35 10 8 11 54 46
6/12/16 36 39 10 5 10 52 48
20/11/16 38 38 10 4 10 53 47
5/11/16 38 39 10 4 9 53 47
25/10/16 37 39 10 5 9 52 48
10/10/16 36 39 10 5 9 52 48
27/09/18 37 38 10 - 15 52 48
12/09/16 36 41 9 - 14 50 50
30/08/16 36 41 9 - 14 50 50
2/07/16 34.7 42 10.2 1.3 11.8 49.6 50.4

How long does the typical political party last? And links to other interesting news and views

The typical political party only lasts 43 years - Quartz
The following chart shows the number of parties that have placed in the top two in terms of seats since 1950. Only the 21 countries for which the database has data going back to 1950 are included. The United Kingdom, New Zealand, Germany, and Australia are notable for their stability.
How long do parties usually last? To calculate this number, we used a statistical technique called survival analysis (pdf). It is a method for estimating a person or organization’s typical lifespan when some of the people or organizations that are part of an analysis are still in existence. We found that the median major political party lasts around 43 years, and one third of parties don’t even last 20 years.
Why Spy Now? The Psychology of Leaking and Espionage in the Digital Age - CIA
Don't turn doctors into killers - Eureka Street

Jockeying for cash: North Korea allows racetrack gambling as sanctions bite - Reuetrs

Austria's Great Millennial Hope Walks a Fine Line - Sebastian Kurz hasn't so much copied as temporarily defanged the far right - Bloomberg

The spread of populism in Western countries - Vox

Monday, 16 October 2017

Will Tony be drafted and be top of the pops again? A singalong as we consider if Tony Abbott will make a comeback

Explained: How Liberal leadership spills work - ABC News
Here ... is a guide to how a spill could work.
Any member may move a motion to spill leadership position(s)
When the party meets in the party room, any member can move the motion to spill the leadership position.
He or she would rise, with or without prior indication to the leadership group, seek the call and move a motion to spill.
The motion would normally specify whether the spill was of leader, deputy leader or both.
A seconder would be called for, but is not technically required if the leader chooses to let the discussion proceed.
The leader invites speakers 'for' and 'against' the motion
An exhaustive discussion and debate will follow.
Members will indicate, usually to the leader or deputy leader, their desire to speak.
Speakers will often be called in alternating order; a "for" followed by an "against".
In the past, members have spoken, offered commentary, but neither declared themselves "for" nor "against".
All who want to speak may. Normal time limit for contributions is a "bell" at three minutes.
The leader assesses general will or mood of the party room
Even if every member has not yet spoken, but it is becoming obvious that there are many more "against" the spill motion than "for" it, the leader may exercise the right to call that the motion clearly will not succeed, and that debate should end and there is no spill.
There is no show of hands, rather the mood is gauged by listening to the speeches.
Alternatively, once all members have spoken, the spill may proceed.
Nominations are called
Candidates will stand and nominate themselves.
Whips will conduct a call of the roll, to get the exact number of members in the party room. That number of ballot papers will be prepared and distributed for a secret ballot.
Each member will write the name of the candidate they vote for on the ballot and place in a box.
Whips count ballots, rank the candidates in order of votes received and advise the result to the party room.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Giving Thomas the Tank Engine some female friends and links to other news and views

Thomas the Tank Engine gets two female trains as show is overhauled for a new generation - London Daily Telegraph

Bannon: 'It's A Season Of War Against The GOP Establishment' - NPR

Harvey Weinstein was protected for decades by the cowardice of the press - The Guardian

‘Mind-boggling’: Daniel Barenboim on Jacqueline du Pré – and speaking out - Financial Times
Christopher Nupen’s short film The Trout endures as an important, and charming, group portrait of talented young musicians on the cusp of greatness. It follows Barenboim and du Pré, together with Itzhak Perlman, Zubin Mehta and Pinchas Zukerman, during their rehearsals and live performance of Schubert’s Trout Quintet as part of the festival of South Bank Summer Music (of which Barenboim was artistic director) in 1969.

Balance of power: Shift toward renewable energy appears to be picking up steam - The Japan Times

Global policymakers grapple with half-baked recovery short of wage growth - Reuters

In both football and politics, Corbyn has a surprising weakness – loyalty - New Statesman
He might have been a rebel in parliament but he is a loyalist when it comes to his team.
Corbyn’s support for Wenger has an emotional element, too: the two men have known each other for a long time, and they discuss not only football but politics and philosophy. It might seem counter-intuitive, given his long record of voting against official Labour policy, but Corbyn puts a great premium on personal loyalty. That’s why he will not use his enhanced internal clout to conduct a wide-ranging reshuffle, even if Theresa May refreshes her team, as seems likely. Corbyn feels a sense of obligation to those MPs who stuck with him even during his most difficult period as leader. 
 Coerced sterilization lawsuit filed - Canadian National Post 
In July, the Saskatoon Regional Health Authority released an external review conducted after several women came forward saying they had been pressured into having tubal ligations in the hours before or after giving birth. The reviewers were contacted by 16 Indigenous women with experiences of coerced sterilization, who said they felt “powerless, ignored and coerced into obscurely explained tubal ligation procedures,” the statement of claim says, referring to the report entitled “Tubal Ligation in the Saskatoon Health Region: The Lived Experience of Aboriginal Women.”

Some interesting links to news and views with a moron edition of the political singalong

Paul Krugman's Friday night music: moron edition
Since what prompted Rex Tillerson was, reportedly, Trump’s desire for a tenfold increase in America’s already civilization-destroying nuclear arsenal, the obvious:

Which bank could give Australians a better bang for their buck? The RBA - Nicholas Gruen in The Guardian

The thoughts of Chairman Xi - Xi Jinping is tightening his grip on power. How did one man come to embody China's destiny? - BBC News

“I Hate Everyone in the White House!” - Trump seethes as advisers fear the president is “unraveling.” - Vanity Fair

Silicon Valley’s Religious Drive - New Republic
The engineer Anthony Levandowski has reportedly founded a religion led by bots, the latest manifestation of the tech world's spiritual underpinnings.
The First Anglo-Afghan War shows us how the same pattern follows whenever Afghanistan is invaded - Dawn

Triumph of the Shill - The political theory of Trumpism - n+1

Is This How The Trump Administration Might Save Coal? - NPR

Say Goodbye to the China Bid The flow of Chinese money into assets around the world is coming to an end - Wall Street Journal

Paris Mayor Plans To Eliminate All Non-Electric Cars By 2030 - NPR

Why the Harvey Weinstein story became such a major news event - Think Progress

Miss Russia Thanks Putin for Lack of Weinstein-Style Harassment in Russia - The Moscow Times

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Peta Credlin, the Grace Jones of Australian politics, turns on Laura Jayes for talking "piss and wind"

Grace Jones knows how to deal with lesser people
And so does Peta Credlin as she gives a verdict on her Sky News colleague Laura Jayes

Eminem calls out President Trump in today's political singalong plus other news and views

Eminem wasn’t just calling out President Trump. He was talking to his fans - Think Progress
Tuesday night during the BET Hip Hop Awards, Eminem essentially initiated a rap battle with President Trump. He also, as he put it, “drew a line in the sand” for anyone who loves his music: You can’t be a Trump supporter and an Eminem fan.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Presidential obstruction of justice: The case of Donald J. Trump - and other news and views for the day

Presidential obstruction of justice: The case of Donald J. Trump - Brookings Institution
The public record contains substantial evidence that President Trump attempted to impede the investigations of Michael Flynn and Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, including by firing FBI Director James Comey.
The fact that the president has lawful authority to take a particular course of action does not immunize him if he takes that action with the unlawful intent of obstructing a proceeding for an improper purpose. 
While the matter is not free from doubt, it is our view that neither the Constitution nor any other federal law grants the president immunity from prosecution. 
How Russia Harvested American Rage to Reshape U.S. Politics - New York Times

Wicked gambling firms exploit the weakest - The Times, London

Has Tony Abbott jumped the goat? Singalong politically to appease the volcano gods - Politicalowl

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Has Tony Abbott jumped the goat? Singalong politically to appease the volcano gods

Well that's a story worth singing along with.

Fancy some other political singalongs? Click HERE

Socialism is back and would Kim Jong-un rather be obliterated then give in? News and views links from the Owl

Socialism with a spine: the only 21st century alternative - John Quiggin in The Guardian
Socialism is back, much to the chagrin of those who declared it dead and buried at the “end of history” in the 1990s. ... The soft neoliberalism represented by Tony Blair, Bill Clinton and Paul Keating has exhausted its appeal, and not just in the English-speaking world. Throughout Europe, new movements of the left have emerged to challenge or displace social democratic parties discredited by the austerity politics of the last decade. ... The idea of a socialist economy with unconditional access to basic incomes and greatly expanded provision of free services might seem utopian. But in the aftermath of neoliberal failure, utopian vision is what is needed. To re-engage people with democratic politics, we need to move beyond culture wars and arguments over marginal adjustments to tax rates and budget allocations, necessary as these may be in the short term.

The Madness of Donald Trump - The pressures of the presidency have pushed Trump to the edge, but is he crazy enough to be removed from office? - Rolling Stone

The North Korean Cult - Project Syndicate
It is possible that North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, and perhaps even some subjects of his despotic rule, would rather be obliterated than give in. It would not be the first time that a quasi-religious movement turned suicidal.
Almost 40% of LDP candidates back U.S. military action against North Korea, survey finds - Japan Times

Monday, 9 October 2017

The political logic of bickering and other news and views for the day

Polarize and Conquer - The New York Times
Bickering with people who are in the news has a political logic: It deepens the country’s polarization ... The main objective of hating is to incense your critics so that they hate you back even more. Insults tend to provoke more extreme postures.
Cash, T-Shirts and Gallons of Booze: How Liberian Candidates Woo Voters - The New York Times

Why the NBN is a fiscal debacle - The Australian

Denmark jumps on 'burqa ban' bandwagon - Deutsche Wells

Why Bitcoin’s Bubble Matters - If there’s a price crash in the cryptocurrency, it could hit the tech sector—and more - Wall Street Journal

The mainstreaming of right-wing extremism - Washington Post

Tory nuts cause mayhem as Prime Minister's leadership is dead - London Daily Mirror

Sunday, 8 October 2017

The naughty Murdoch News Group and links to other news and views for today

Murdoch’s News Group admits benefiting from hacking of army officer's emails - The Guardian

This is a dramatic new revelation in the saga of criminality in Murdoch’s media empire - Labour Press
Tom Watson, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport,commenting on News Group’s admission of computer hacking, said:
“This is a dramatic new revelation in the saga of criminality in Murdoch’s media empire. Despite being asked about the use of private detectives by the News of the World at a parliamentary committee in 2011 it’s taken a five year civil case for the company to admit to further illegal behaviour.

“We can now add computer hacking to the long list of criminal activities undertaken by Murdoch’s operatives. We know from experience of phone hacking that there won’t just be a single victim. So my question to Rupert Murdoch and his subordinates is this: Who else was hacked?
Trump explains why he’s different than Harvey Weinstein - Think Progress

How Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., Avoided a Criminal Indictment - The New Yorker

How Russia’s Facebook ads inflamed America’s social tensions - Think Progress
Fake Russian accounts didn't just push Trump or batter Clinton — they preyed on deeply-rooted cultural tensions between Americans
Inside North Korea, and Feeling the Drums of War - Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times

As U.S. Retreats From World Organizations, China Steps in to Fill the Void - Foreign Policy
Beijing is trying to repurpose abandoned international agencies like UNESCO to serve its strategic interests — such as controlling the internet.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Melbourne the innovator - a report from the Brookings Institution and other news and views

Innovation districts down under: A postcard from Melbourne, Australia - Brookings Institution
I recently returned from a fascinating week-long visit to Melbourne, Australia, where I spent time with key representatives from the state of Victoria, the University of Melbourne, the city of Melbourne, and other key stakeholders to learn how Melbourne is advancing innovation districts. Frankly, I was surprised by the level of work underway: there are multiple innovation districts (or innovation precincts, as they are often called there) in various phases of development, which cumulatively has the potential to create a broader innovation ecosystem—or innovation spine—across the city.
In short, Melbourne is a city to watch. ...
Yet the biggest takeaway from Melbourne was their ambition to develop innovation precincts in multiple areas across the city. ...
To conclude, while Melbourne is at the initial stages of developing a cluster innovation districts, their work-in-progress offers a glimpse of what could be new models of innovation-led development for other to learn from—from the “superfloor” level to the “innovation spine.” We look forward to learning more from Melbourne in the months and years to come.
Kezelman saga timely reminder for McClennan royal commission - Gerard Henderson in The Australian

Speaking Freely, Retiring Sen. Corker Warns GOP He Could Oppose Tax Plan - NPT

Justice Department issues new ‘religious freedom’ memo that invites anti-LGBTQ discrimination - Think Progress

Swedish model gets rape threats after ad shows her unshaved legs The Guardian

A radical feast: why we need Michelin’s culinary elitism - Financial Times

A Former ICC Chief's Dubious Links Luis Moreno Ocampo hunted the world's worst war criminals and brought them to trial at the International Criminal Court. But internal documents show that he allowed himself to be exploited by a Libyan to protect him from investigation and that he took money from the billionaire. - Spiegel

How Tillerson Is Trying to Save the Iran Deal From His Boss - New York

What Jagmeet Singh’s historic NDP leadership win means for Canada - The Conversation

Our Time Has Come - How India is Making Its Place in the World - Council of Foreign Relations

Trump supporters eager to ‘drain the swamp’ help fill Republican Party coffers - Washington Post

How to remove a Conservative leader - New Statesman

Friday, 6 October 2017

Of gherkins, abortions and granola - some news and views suggestions for today

Dutch Regulator Warns Banks and Insurers to Factor in Climate Change - Bloomberg

Can white supremacy be legislated under Trump? - Brookings

The price of paid news may not stay high - Financial Times - Google could soon bundle information like a cable television company

The Gherkin Story: For Explaining Exchange Rate Risk - Conversable Economist

Is it now okay to discriminate against people who oppose abortion? Globe and Mail

Indonesia strengthens navy, air force in face of China expansion - Nikkei Asian Review

FDA Says 'Love' Isn't An Ingredient In Granola NPR

Solving the Korean crisis with game theory - Roger Myerson

How experts can regain our trust - ‘They can learn from Trump, who communicates in stories and images rather than numbers and jargon’ - Financial Times

James Murdoch faces potential investor backlash at Sky AGM - Shareholder activist groups push for vote against his re-election as chairman - Financial Times

Is Nonviolence—or Fighting Back—the Answer to Far-Right Thuggery? As Trump incites violence, the left needs a counter-strategy. - The Nation