Further Followup On The Soleimani Assassination

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 15/01/2020 - 10:13pm in

Further Followup On The Soleimani Assassination I wish to point out some matters not getting a lot of attention in the US media. An important one of those was reported two days ago by Juan Cole. It is that apparently it has not been determined for certain that the initial attack that set off this […]

The Interview (Updated).

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 13/01/2020 - 8:29pm in

That journalists love a scoop is a fact so well-known it has become a commonplace.

So, when last Sunday ABC journos were given an unscheduled opportunity to interview Scott Morrison (no doubt with little notice and by someone close enough to the man himself), it is understandable that they were eager to seize the opportunity.

And, given the tragedy of apocalyptic proportions that has hit Australia (and indeed how unusual the situation appears to an outsider like yours truly) it was reasonable to expect not only a big announcement, but The Big Announcement.

I get up early every morning. The first thing I’ve been doing in the last months is to turn the TV on, to learn of the latest disaster. Call me masochist. I was watching. I saw the “Weekend Breakfast” crew advertising the surprising interview earlier that morning (it must have been between 0600 and 0700 AEDT). I saw the interview (at 0830). The excitement in the young reporter’s voice and expression was reasonable; as was the perplexity in the more veteran interviewer.

The same disbelief is evident in David Speers’ account of the interview (my emphasis):

“Asked three times, the Prime Minister refused to rule out increasing Australia's target to reduce emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030 under the Paris Agreement.”

Anyway, this is how Speers sums up Morrison’s answers. While I don’t quite agree on everything, I am just a low-paid worker and an outsider and Speers was there doing what he does for a living.

Michelle Grattan has been around for a while. She’s seen many things and learned from them. I think her assessment, a month ago, was prescient:

“Morrison is the ultimate pragmatist and so, if he sees it in his interest, he may well be willing to readjust. Not radically, nor quickly. Just enough, as and when he judges it, to satisfy middle-ground voters.

“He did a little of this before the election when he topped up funding for ‘direct action’ and advanced pumped hydro, although some read more into the shift than was there.”


So, my assessment of Morrison’s “adjustments”? His big announcement?

Firstly, as former Liberal Stephen O’Doherty remarked after the interview, Morrison now talks of climate change and bushfires openly, without appealing to Michael McCormack’s “self-combusting piles of manure” or paranoid conspiracy theories. This is a step in the right direction, I guess, and it may anger some of the rabid freaks in the COALition ranks: from the higher-ups like McCormack himself and Matt Canavan through Keith Pitt, George Christensen, Craig Kelly, Barnaby Joyce and Giovanni “John” Barilaro, down to nobodies like Michael Pengilly.

Secondly, Morrison wants to persuade us he gets it, as Speers says. Moreover, he wants to persuade us he cares. His trademark crooked smirk -- the “coal lump” smirk -- is gone as is gone his off-hand, contemptuous dismissal of questions (“Gossip!”, “Canberra bubble!”); he now insists on shaking all hands (even unfriendly ones). He makes a show of humility; he’s suddenly understanding and forgiving. How persuasive that was? It’s for you to answer.

Thirdly, he may or may not call a royal commission which -- at best -- will provide plenty of theatre during a year or two and a report which will be promptly left to dust; and -- at worst -- will be a witch hunt and rubber stamp destructive practices the rabid freaks want. (Update: thank you, Pauline Hanson, for your unbeatable illustration of that last point.)

As I see it, after months of bushfires, that’s it. That’s as far as Scott Morrison will shift his stance and that because it is in his interest.

Against numerous denials from Morrison and his lackeys, others insist on reading more in his words. Perhaps they are right. They may have inside information. Honestly, I wish they were, although I suspect there is more than a little wishful thinking there.

For, most of all, what I heard was Scott Morrison parroting zombie-like the mantra he and his COALition henchmen have been parroting forever now: “meet and beat our targets”, or a slight variation thereof. One must have been comatose or catatonic to have not heard the same inane phrase.

And one doesn’t need psychic powers to know that there was no thought in Morrison’s head beyond the need to control political damage and empty talking points that everybody, Morrison included, knows are false.

The 2020 Electoral College playing field expands for Democrats

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 13/01/2020 - 4:39am in

The 2020 Electoral College playing field expands for Democrats Polling firm Morning Consult has an interactive graph measuring Trump approval by State for each month since January 2016. You can visit it here. The map has some interesting insights for the 2020 Presidential election race. In the first place, while it would be too cumbersome to […]

Can The US Assassination Of Qasem Solemiani Be Justified?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 11/01/2020 - 3:36am in

Can The US Assassination Of Qasem Solemiani Be Justified? We know from various Congressional folks that briefers of Congress have failed to produce any evidence of “imminent” plans to kill Americans Soleimani was involved with that would have made this a legal killing rather than an illegal assassination.  The public statements by administration figures have […]

The Fixer: Fighting Pollution Like a Mother

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 09/01/2020 - 8:02am in

Welcome back to The Fixer, our weekly briefing of solutions reported elsewhere. This week: a mom-led war on pollution in Pakistan scares us straight. Plus, yet another Airbnb-inspired solution, this time for young journalists. And Milwaukee looks for better ways to spend its bloated policing budget.

Airing grievances

Don’t mess with the moms: That’s the message that ScaryAmmi, or Scary Moms, a network of fed-up mothers in Lahore, is sending to the Pakistani government. Concerned about their children’s lungs, ScaryAmmi’s members are on a mission to clean up Lahore’s air pollution by bringing school buses back to the city. 

Lahore has some of the dirtiest air in a country where 128,000 people die of air pollution-related illnesses each year. The problem stems from many sources: Lahore has lost 70 percent of its trees to development, and is overrun with sulfur-spewing cars. A lot of this traffic comes from parents driving their kids to school — some schools in Lahore receive over 2,000 automobiles per day, something ScaryAmmi wants to change.

Lahore used to have lots of school buses, but after two decades of militant attacks many schools abandoned them. Now the group wants the buses back so parents have an alternative to driving. They’ve lobbied politicians, and screened UN-produced videos for local parents about the dangers of airborne particulate produced by traffic-clogged streets. Their efforts are working — support for school buses has grown, and the province’s education minister recently announced a pilot program to introduce buses to one school in March. 

The group’s goal is to ultimately bring bus service to 50 to 100 schools, which could eliminate hundreds of thousands of daily kid-toting car trips. Parents, for their part, are ready to put their kids on board the new buses. “We are suffering. Me and my girls are asthmatic,” said one mom. “If the school could offer safe transport, then we can go for it.”

Read more at NPR

Nightly edition

Journalism’s diversity problem is well documented. Low salaries, unpaid internships and long stretches of unemployment mean that those without a safety net face barriers to entry. One of the biggest hurdles? Affording an apartment in the pricey urban centers where many news outlets are located.

A London-based initiative called PressPad offers a workaround by matching aspiring journos with established newsroom vets who are willing to shelter them for cheap. PressPad was founded by a BBC reporter named Olivia Crellin. “I had no idea if it would work or if people would be interested in it,” she told the Guardian. “Journalists work long hours; it’s a very demanding career. So the idea of taking a complete stranger, including one who is likely younger and in need of mentorship, into your home is quite a big ask.”

Credit: Yukiko Matsuoka/Flickr

But not too big, as it turns out. Since it launched in 2018, PressPad has signed up 150 hosts, who have provided accommodation to 50 budding muckrakers. Fees are standardized: the first two weeks of the stay are free; after that, guests pay 150 pounds per week, with discounts for those that can’t afford the full rate.

For journalists just starting out, the career advice can be just as valuable as the bed to crash on. As one young guest said of the journalist couple that hosted her: “They weren’t just offering a place to stay but they were cultivating this experience that would be something I could look back on when I’m hopefully a more established journalist.” 

Read more at the Guardian

Follow the money

Milkwaukee, Wisconsin spends 47 percent of its municipal budget on policing — an imbalance that could be corrected by educating residents on how to influence their city’s spending choices. To achieve this, last summer a coalition named the African-American Roundtable launched a campaign called Liberate MKE to move the city closer to participatory budgeting. 

Credit: Vincent Desjardins/Flickr

After surveying residents about how they felt policing money could be better spent, Liberate MKE prioritized violence prevention, affordable housing and youth employment. They then enlisted the city’s budget director to hold a series of workshops teaching residents about how to discuss budgeting and allocation. This allowed everyone to participate in a series of public conversations that ended up influencing the way the city spends its money, particularly in regards to policing.

For instance, the 2020 budget eliminates 60 officer positions through attrition, saving the city $575,000. The next step — not yet achieved — is to funnel this money into community services. One of the proposals involves using the savings to launch Universal Basic Income in Milwaukee, an idea that has earned support with the city’s Common Council. Alderwoman Chantia Lewis, for instance, has proposed that the seed money for UBI come from the police department’s computer budget. The coming year will show whether such proposals will come to fruition or fall by the wayside, but already, the conversation about how the city can better spend its policing budget has shifted dramatically.

Read more at Next City

The post The Fixer: Fighting Pollution Like a Mother appeared first on Reasons to be Cheerful.

Republics and the war-making power

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 06/01/2020 - 12:00pm in

Republics and the war-making power In view of the militry carrying out Trump’s order to kill an Iranian general, I thought I would weigh in on the issue of the war-making power historically by republics. I don’t have much to add to the substance of the immediate debate. Killing an Iranian general was certainly an […]

The criminalization of homelessness

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 01/01/2020 - 10:29am in

Poverty is the worst form of violence.  Mahatma Gandhi This particular Baltimore Sun commentary goes hand in hand with Paul Krugman’s commentary on making life more difficult for the <less than 138% FPL  using Medicaid. The motive of the Trumpians. Trump, and Republicans is to punish people for things impacting them through no fault of […]

Paul Krugman: The cruelty of a Trump Christmas Medicaid, Work Reqmts, and Food Stamps Edition

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 01/01/2020 - 1:00am in

This sets the tone in Michigan as the richest Republican controlled County of Livingston continues its attack on women along with the State of Michigan House and Senate using a petition to pass a veto-proof law limiting abortion without putting it forward on a ballot initiative. A tyranny of a minority imposing its will upon […]

Is There An Objective Reality?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/12/2019 - 11:34pm in

Is There An Objective Reality? Yes. So this is the ontological question: is supposed apparently “objective” reality really real? I come at this as someone who in the past questioned this.  I had my period of post-modernist questioning of objective reality. This culminated in a paper, which  I presented as a major address to receive […]

Does Menzie Chinn Or Tyler Cowen Replace Mark Thoma?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 23/12/2019 - 11:01pm in

Does Menzie Chinn Or Tyler Cowen Replace Mark Thoma? The retirement of Mark Thoma, whose Economist’s View has been praised on his retirement with having transformed the econoblogosphere back in the mid- noughties by linking regularly, daily in his heyday, to other blogs, including this one. Thanks to him when the big crash happened, there […]