SemiArticulate

Random Musings

Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

June 30th, 2015 by Lucas

#Grexit

As I type this, it looks like Greece will default on the IMF payment of €1.6b. It looks like the Greek people view this as the lesser of the evils facing the country. Austerity has produced a depression-level contraction of the economy, 25% smaller than the peak, 25-30% unemployment (60% youth unemployment). All the IMF and the ECB (not to mention lender economies such as Germany) could offer is years of “more of the same”.

The Greek government was elected earlier this year on an anti-austerity platform. Anyone half paying attention could see that the democratic mandate was going to have issues with the unelected troika.

One thing I will have to point out, is that “Greek bailout” is seriously incorrect. If Greece defaults, Greece will still exist. It is not like when a company defaults. Countries cannot be dissolved. There will be consequences, some bad and quite painful, but Greece will still exist. So when they talk of bailouts, they are actually talking about bailing out Greece’s creditors (by and large private banks in France and Germany – although a lot of that debt was transferred to the public debt of the IMF and the ECB).

Whatever happens over the next few weeks, it will be rough for the Greeks. Exit from the Euro currency and returning to a devalued Drachma may be the best long term strategy  (due to increased competitiveness of Greek exports), but it won’t be pretty for either Greece or the other exporting nations in the Eurozone.

June 30th, 2015 by Lucas

Zaky Mallah

The QandA controversy: was Mallah’s appearance a freedom of speech issue? Or, as the government and the Murdock press hyperventilators would suggest an attack on the good Abbit Government?

Tim “freedom boy” Wilson would suggest that it is not a freedom of speech issue. He also suggests that the ABC should not have given Mallah a platform to express himself. How is denying a platform for expression of ideas not a freedom of speech is beyond my comprehension.

Paul Kelly only sounded like a broken record saying (paraphrasing) Bad ABC, Bad ABC. Sounding only slightly less coherent than Granpa Simpson’s more lucid moments.

Mallah is the first to admit that he has done some stupid things in the past, including threatening ASIO officers (yes, those same freedom-loving busybodies). He has participated in activities that would get you arrested nowadays. He has even threatened two NewsCorp female “journalists” with gang rape (only just recently). By all accounts, Mallah is not a pleasant fellow.

There is one Thorne in the governments current narrative of denying terrorists Australian citizenship: that once a terrorist we don’t want them back here. Now, apart from the bad neighbour behaviour of dumping our problems on the rest of the world, the likes of Mallah (who had gone to Syria to fight) come home are actually anti-terrorist. For all his abhorrent faults, he has been doing good work educating young people in his community against the evil ISiS/ISIL/Daesh. 

So much for the narrative, and the urgency to prevent these people from returning to Australia. We can’t have these people returning to Australia to face the music – they may tell the inconvenient truth of what is happening over there.

May 27th, 2015 by Lucas

Private sector Autocracy 

This is a first post in a series of posts that might not be much more than thought bubbles.

In Australia, most people work for a wage or salary. If they work the standard 38 hour week, they will spend a third of their lives in what could be described as a autocratic system. Most workers do not have much (if any) say in matters of how the organisation they work for is run, or even how much they are paid.

In other words, they don’t have alot of control over the output of their labours. This is unlikely to change unless we get to close to full employment.

This combined with the concentration of brands into mega companies, at some point we have corporations that start to look like planned economies.

With the decline in governments (think about the push for “small government”, combined with the anti-democratic investor-state dispute clauses in “free trade deals”) we could be witnessing a conversion to an autocratic corporatism.

November 26th, 2014 by Lucas

When the PM normalises lying

Reblogged from http://noplaceforsheep.com/2014/11/26/when-the-pm-normalises-lying/

 “It is an absolute principle of democracy that governments should not and must not say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards. Nothing could be more calculated to bring our democracy into disrepute and alienate the citizenry of Australia from their government than if governments were to establish by precedent that they could say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards.”  Tony Abbott, August 22, 2011 

Every time Abbott lies to the citizens of this country we become increasingly disaffected, and not only from our Prime Minister, but from the institution he represents. Abbott has normalised the discourse of lies. He has taken the dishonesty of politicians to a whole new level. We barely expect anything else from him, and from his fellow politicians. Under the leadership of our mendacious Prime Minister, we have increasingly abandoned hope of fairness, straightforwardness, belief and trust. Our Prime Minister doesn’t think we are worthy of the truth.

One of the many unpleasant effects of being lied to is that the liar insults and patronises me by creating a false reality that I have to inhabit, until I discover I’m the victim of deception.The liar denies me the right to know the truth, a serious offence against me, because truth is something no one has the right to deny me.

Whether it’s on a personal or a political level, lying to me signifies the liar doesn’t consider me as entitled to the truth as is he or she. This infantilises me, is disrespectful to me, and denies me the knowledge I need to make informed decisions about my life. There’s little more insulting than being lied to, kept in the dark with lies of omission, and intentionally misled because the liar doesn’t consider you capable of handling the truth, or is acting entirely in their own self-interest because you knowing the truth will in some way threaten them.

The Prime Minister of our country, Tony Abbott, has never made any secret of his ambivalent relationship with truth. There is his notorious assertion that nothing he says is “gospel” truth unless it’s written down.

There’s his prescriptive declaration that “It is better to seek forgiveness than ask permission.” While this isn’t necessarily an endorsement of lying, it is a ruthless and callous prescription for relationship with one’s fellow humans. It recommends that one do that which one desires and if it backfires apologise, but it isn’t necessary under the terms of Abbott’s prescriptive to negotiate with or communicate intention to others, prior to taking an action. This has a similar effect to lying, in that it assumes an inferiority of some kind on the part of another that doesn’t require Abbott to enter into an equal, respectful relationship in which another’s opinions and wishes count for the same as his own.

We have a liar for a leader. When the lies start at the top, there’s little hope truth will ever see the light of day. Abbott is leading us into an abyss of normalised deception that will damage every one of us, because when dedicated liars are in power, the country will inevitably lose its way. If you don’t think this country is losing its way, you’re dreaming.

July 6th, 2014 by Lucas

Gliding at the Marsh

Whilst I didn’t go flying, I took some pictures at the Marsh yesterday:

 

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June 22nd, 2014 by Lucas

In the news

Whilst First Dog on the Moon makes lite of the situation with the school chaplaincy program, there are serious problems afoot.

For those not following the situation, the high court has ruled that the funding arrangement for the program is unconstitutional.

The government seems to have tried to get around the decision by pre-funding all of this year, and “forgiven” the debt created by the high court ruling.

This, and the issue with refugee visas, gives a picture of an arrogant government that believes that it can do anything they want, unbounded my democracy.

March 29th, 2014 by Lucas

Spam accounts

March14 update: I’ve had to do it again.. I’ve disabled accounts now that people can use their wordpress.com accounts.

It looks like I’ve been hit with a lot of spam user registrations.  I’ve gone through and deleted them all.

If I have deleted a real person’s account, my apologies.  Please email me at lucas.james@ldjcs.com.au to reinstate your account.

August 12th, 2013 by Lucas

Lucas’ Chickpea curry

Well, it isn’t a real curry, but nice enough (even if I do say so myself 🙂

 

Ingredients

  • 2 400g cans chickpeas
  • 1kg tomatoes
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1/2 packet cumin (whole seeds – about 12-13g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon rock salt
  • chili flakes
  • chicken stock.
  • olive oil

Method

  • Put tomatoes in hot water until the skin splits.
  • Peel tomatoes, chop and set aside.
  • Chop onions, set aside.
  • Grind cumin, cardamom, pepper and rock salt together.
  • Bring a pot to a medium heat.
  • Saute onions with spice mixture.
  • Once onions start being translucent, put tomatoes and chickpeas and enough stock to cover.
  • Bring to boil.
  • Add chili flakes to taste.
  • Simmer for an hour.
  • Season to taste, adjusting chili as required.
  • Serve with rice.

 

March 11th, 2013 by Lucas

Gliding Report

Another hour in the LS4: http://skylines-project.org/flights/13607/

Not bad, considering the day had overdeveloped.  As you can see from the trace, the second climb was hard work – 500ft in 10 minutes = 1/2 kt!

March 3rd, 2013 by Lucas

Gliding report

Just a quick* flight today in the LS4: http://skylines-project.org/flights/13454/

* 1h41 quick, half way to Mt Annkie

November 9th, 2012 by Lucas

Royal Commission into Child Abuse

Following an interview with a senior police officer on ABCs Lateline last night, admissions of pack rapes of children there have been growing calls for a royal commission into the systemic cover ups of child abuses in the Catholic Church.

Up until now, Barry O’Farrell (Premier of NSW) have resisted those claims. Today he announced a Special Commission of Inquiry into the matter, which has rather narrow terms of reference.

I would argue  that this organisation, if found to be systematically covering up child abuse, be designated a criminal organisation, have all state subsidies removed (tax breaks etc).

In related matter the Australian Christian Lobby (or ACL, funded in part by the Catholic Church) has called for a mandatory internet filter to hide child abuse material, porn, and other things they don’t like from everyone on the internet.

November 9th, 2012 by Lucas

Mandatory Internet Filter is dead! Long live the mandatory internet filter!

The minister for DBCDE (pronounced debacle) has announced that the plans to impose a mandatory internet censorship is dead.

The only problem is that we are all still getting the mandatory filter. Just not via legislation (which would be impossible to get through the current parliment).

The ACL is NOT HAPPY.

In other reportage the minister is planning to use s313 of the telecommunications act to impose a blacklist of the INTERPOL child abuse websites.  For those not paying too much attention, this means that the infrastructure to “improve” the scope (say at the request of some pressure groups like *ahem* the ACL) is now already in place.

As this is a danger going into the future (but I predict not this electoral cycle or the next), we will need to be vigilant.

June 26th, 2012 by Lucas

Urgent – Lobby Greens to Uphold High Court Challenge Ruling on Chaplaincy

Reblogging from http://thatsmyphilosophy.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/urgent-lobby-greens-to-uphold-high-court-challenge-ruling-on-chaplaincy/

National School Chaplaincy/High Court Challenge Update:

This is urgent. It would be great if everyone could get behind this today and promote it to your own networks. This is the time to mobilise folks.

The Federal government announced last night they are going to pass legislation to circumvent the High Court ruling on funding for the National School Chaplaincy Program. This is a cynical, underhanded move which, I imagine, won’t impress the High Court at all. It is not at all clear that this attempt to snub the ruling won’t end the government back in the High Court, but we have to wait to see their legislation first.

What we can do immediately, although it won’t overturn the legislation, is try to get the Greens to stand up in Parliament and oppose it – or at least demand amendments to the program. This will get publicity about what is going on and shine a spotlight on what the government is doing. But we need *you* and your networks to help.

As a matter of urgency, please send an email to the following list:

senator.milne@aph.gov.au, adam.bandt.mp@aph.gov.au, senator.dinatale@aph.gov.au, senator.hanson-young@aph.gov.au,
senator.ludlam@aph.gov.au, senator.rhiannon@aph.gov.au, senator.siewert@aph.gov.au, senator.waters@aph.gov.au, senator.wright@aph.gov.au, senator.whish-wilson@aph.gov.au

Here is a sample letter. You can use your own words if you like, but please use the three dot points as they appear so we present a cohesive message.

Subject: Funding – National School Chaplaincy Program

Dear Senators and Mr. Bandt

You will be aware the ALP are planning to rush legislation through parliament to subvert the High Court decision in Willams v the Commonwealth and Ors.

This is an opportunity for the Greens to hold the government to account. The High Court has made a ruling which provides a greater level of public accountability and now the ALP – undoubtedly with the support of the coalition – intend to circumvent that ruling through legislation.

This is an opportunity for the Greens to make a public stand for some incredibly important issues, including public accountability, separation of church and state and our children’s right to a secular public education system.

I would be grateful if the Greens would represent my views in respect to this matter. They are as follows:

1) I do not support the Howard-Gillard program that supplies chaplains of any faith in Australia’s public schools, and I urge you to prevent the continuation of chaplains in today’s forthcoming legislation.

2) If we are to have Commonwealth assistance supplied to schools in this manner then I am firmly of the view that they must be fully qualified as school counsellors, which means they are qualified teachers with a degree in psychology and postgraduate qualifications in school counselling, and nothing less can do.

3) It is time to stop outsourcing this work to third party contractors and these fully qualified school counsellors must all be employed as public servants in the relevant Education departments in each state and territory in order to ensure some high level of confidence in their training, integrity and the outcomes.

Yours sincerely

————————————

Fellow bloggers – can you please consider reblogging this – either cut and paste this post or rephrase as you see fit, but please keep the three dot points intact.

February 13th, 2012 by Lucas

New cat enclosure

Sarah acquired a new cat enclosure, and we’ve erected it just outside the kitchen window:

January 24th, 2011 by Lucas

HDCP Master Key

Another act of civil disobedience (see this post), and posterity, I’ll post the HDCP (think HDMI cyrpto):

hdcp-master.txt

Don’t ask me how to use it (there are some technical instructions in the file), as I don’t know and have never used it.