Make America Do What?

It seems like a rather strange thing to want Americans to do, but I guess he is the President.

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Everyone can agree that culture is impor

Everyone can agree that culture is important in the workplace. But who really drives it? What makes a good culture? And what can destroy it?

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Grandma’s Jumper

So many, many words
Floating all around us 
From sublime to absurd
Their meanings oft’ reduced
To txt

Some like grandma’s jumper
Knitted with love
Left hanging, unworn
Until it’s too late

Others, finely crafted
By the spinner’s needle
Fill the atmosphere 
With chatter over beer
To the delight of the overseers

Too long for many
When a tweet is sweet,
Periods, bring a full stop
And the last line is drowned
By the first word 

Once well versed,
A part of the whole
Insightful, sharp and droll
Now just gangs of Harleys
And the biker’s moll

The Novel
Modernity’s demoted
To a small n.
Literature ,hanging beside
Grandma’s discarded jumpers

But whilst I breath
I will try to weave
The shabby threads of my existence
And be happy wrapped
Unfashionably and perhaps poorly
In my ancestor’s wordy attire.

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Neil Young – Who’s Gonna Stand Up? (And Save The Earth)

With a 92-member orchestra & choir

“What started as a live Crazy Horse song and was introduced to thousands of audience members wearing organic cotton EARTH shirts this fall in Europe has now been recorded live on the old MGM Sound Stage, (Now SONY), in Hollywood. With over sixty of the music industry’s finest musicians and a thirty-voice choir, this epic version resonates with a sound that has never been heard on a protest song before.

Neil Young and all of these ninety musicians and singers recorded the song live together with no overdubs. Arrangement is by Christopher Walden. Mix is by Al Schmitt, who is one of the great “eminences grises” of the American music world, the most decorated engineer/mixer in Grammy history, and the recording is produced by ‘The Volume Dealers’.”

Neil Young Times

“There’s nothing quite like an angry Neil Young song, and the latest finds him more ticked off than ever.

The new song, titled ‘Who’s Gonna Stand Up?’ was inspired by the documentary ‘Under The Influence,’ which makes an impassioned argument against the influence of corporate money in American politics. The track serves as the latest act of musical advocacy in a career filled with them.”


“Under the guise of democracy, huge global corporations have purchased our politicians and are writing laws that poison our planet and dismantle our democratic process. Corporations have usurped democracy by using their vast wealth to influence politics and silence the citizen voice in government.

All natural living systems are in rapid decline, pushing the human race ever closer to extinction. Despite enacted environmental protections, global corporations have recklessly abused the four natural resources that we rely on for life (air, soil, fresh water and oceans) as an open sewer for their toxic wastes with blatant disregard for humankind.

Neither the environmental crisis nor the many other social and economic crises we face can be addressed until democracy is restored and this cycle of corruption is broken by corporate money being removed from politics.

UNDER THE INFLUEN$E focuses on what can and is being done by conscious and committed citizens, movements and businesses to reverse the ecological destruction and take back democracy.”



Protect the wild, tomorrow’s child
Protect the land from the greed of man
Take down the dams, stand up to oil
Protect the plants, and renew the soil

Who’s gonna stand up and save the earth?
Who’s gonna say that she’s had enough?
Who’s gonna take on the big machine?
Who’s gonna stand up and save the earth?
This all starts with you and me

Damn the dams, save the rivers
Starve the takers and feed the givers
Build a dream, save the world
We’re the people know as earth

Who’s gonna stand up and save the earth?
Who’s gonna say that she’s had enough?
Who’s gonna take on the big machine?
Who’s gonna stand up and save the earth?
This all starts with you and me

Ban fossil fuel, draw the line
Before we build, one more pipeline
Ban fracking now, save the waters
And build a life, for our sons and daughters

Who’s gonna stand up and save the earth?
Who’s gonna say that she’s had enough?
Who’s gonna take on the big machine?
Who’s gonna stand up and save the earth?
This all starts with you and me

Who’s gonna stand up
Who’s gonna stand up
Who’s gonna stand up
Who’s gonna stand up
Who’s gonna stand up

Photograph by Jarle H. Moe

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[mi-sojuh-nist, mahy‐]

noun: a person who hates, dislikes, mistrusts, or mistreats women.

Misogynist is a word that has been heard a lot in this part of the world in recent years, but it only occurred to me on hearing it again this morning that the word was probably created by a women.

Given folk law, a man would quite possibly have spelt it Mrsogynist, at least initially. After constant use, I suspect that Mrsogynist would most likely have become Msogynist.

Just a thought.

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Ten Virtues For The Modern Age from The

Ten Virtues For The Modern Age from The Philosopher’s Mail

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Enough Is Enough

Enough Is Enough lays out a visionary but realistic alternative to the perpetual pursuit of economic growth—an economy where the goal is enough, not more. Continue reading

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My Best Ideas…


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Is This Tony Abbott’s Shopping List For Australia?


Tony Abbott’s request for trust should fall on deaf ears

By @SainterSan]

This post first appeared on The Peoplez Daily and is re-posted with permission of the author @SainterSan

9bc_12c88f_894214b9_ojFact checking political statements is a fairly recent phenomenon in the U.S, Britain and now Australia, and has proved to be particularly useful to the public during election campaigns. Principally a FactCheck organisation monitors the factual accuracy of what is said by politicians in TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases by scrutinising an already well established database of facts on the public record and/or consulting with leading academics to establish the validity of economic policies. For a FactCheck organisation to have credibility it must uphold the best practises of journalism and scholarship, and be nonpartisan and independent. By all measures they have been highly successful in their mission to hold politicians to account. However, there are other ways to fact check political promises doled out to the voter in the lead-up to an election.

When a campaign is in full swing, often what concerns the electorate most is not what political parties are promising to DO but what they are promising NOT to do – the old fear of voting in a wolf in sheep’s clothing. But how is it possible to factually know in any meaningful way what an incoming government will do in the future? Policy statements are basically useless and reading up on a party’s charter or platform at its website is equally useless. To know the real agenda of a new government you must familiarise yourself with a party’s root ideology. In the case of the conservative Coalition (LNP) in Australia, favoured to win the 2013 federal election on September 7, this can be found at the website of it’s principle thinktank, The Institute of Public Affairs.

Founded in 1943 the IPA is primarily made up of right wing academics known as “research fellows”, political figures in the Liberal and National parties, and prominent members of the business community. It is funded by its members, namely wealthy individuals and large corporations like Exxon, Shell, Telstra, Caltex, News Corp and BHP-Billiton. It has been revealed by ABC journalist,Clive Hamilton, that the IPA has a strong link with the Heartland Institute in the United States, a conservative/libertarian think tank and leading climate denier bankrolled by the oil and mining sector. Recently it held it’s 70th anniverary dinner in Melbourne, attended by leading business figures such as Rupert Murdoch and the world’s richest woman, mining magnate Gina Reinhart – the event was MC’d by conservative blogger, Andrew Bolt.

In 2012 the Institute posted an article at it’s website which included a wish list of economic and social changes it wanted Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to implement should he win government. Though the article’s contributors, John Roskam, Chris Berg and James Paterson claim that the list is deliberately radical, their 75 changes to Australia fundamentally represent the core ideology of both the IPA and the LNP Coalition. To quote:

Here we provide a list of 75 policies that would make Australia richer and more free. It’s a deliberately radical list. There’s no way Tony Abbott could implement all of them, or even a majority. But he doesn’t have to implement them all to dramatically change Australia. If he was able to implement just a handful of these recommendations, Abbott would be a transformative figure in Australian political history. He would do more to shift the political spectrum than any prime minister since Whitlam.

Just as the IPA is the church of the Coalition the wish list can be seen as its scripture. And so anyone wondering whether an incoming government headed by Tony Abbott (John Howard’s head kicker) would ‘slash and burn’ (to quote the current Labor government) should ponder any selection or all of the 75 goodies they may well have in store for the land down under. The wish list is not fact in the present tense nor can it be verified in any empirical way, but it constitutes facts in principle which are awaiting implementation if/when the Coalition gets it’s way.

During this campaign Mr Abbott has consistently appealed to the public to trust him. “Trust me”. This from a man whose party still will not release it’s policy costings only two weeks from polling day. Reading the list it’s any wonder why the LNP avoid at all costs being transparent with the public.

List of Radical Changes

1 Repeal the carbon tax, and don’t replace it. It will be one thing to remove the burden of the carbon tax from the Australian economy. But if it is just replaced by another costly scheme, most of the benefits will be undone.

2 Abolish the Department of Climate Change

3 Abolish the Clean Energy Fund

4 Repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act

5 Abandon Australia’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council

6 Repeal the renewable energy target

7 Return income taxing powers to the states

8 Abolish the Commonwealth Grants Commission

9 Abolish the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

10 Withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol

11 Introduce fee competition to Australian universities

12 Repeal the National Curriculum

13 Introduce competing private secondary school curriculums

14 Abolish the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

15 Eliminate laws that require radio and television broadcasters to be ‘balanced’

16 Abolish television spectrum licensing and devolve spectrum management to the common law

17 End local content requirements for Australian television stations

18 Eliminate family tax benefits

19 Abandon the paid parental leave scheme

20 Means-test Medicare

21 End all corporate welfare and subsidies by closing the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education

22 Introduce voluntary voting

23 End mandatory disclosures on political donations

24 End media blackout in final days of election campaigns

25 End public funding to political parties

26 Remove anti-dumping laws

27 Eliminate media ownership restrictions

28 Abolish the Foreign Investment Review Board

29 Eliminate the National Preventative Health Agency

30 Cease subsidising the car industry

31 Formalise a one-in, one-out approach to regulatory reduction

32 Rule out federal funding for 2018 Commonwealth Games

33 Deregulate the parallel importation of books

34 End preferences for Industry Super Funds in workplace relations laws

35 Legislate a cap on government spending and tax as a percentage of GDP

36 Legislate a balanced budget amendment which strictly limits the size of budget deficits and the period the federal government can be in deficit

37 Force government agencies to put all of their spending online in a searchable database

38 Repeal plain packaging for cigarettes and rule it out for all other products, including alcohol and fast food

39 Reintroduce voluntary student unionism at universities

40 Introduce a voucher scheme for secondary schools

41 Repeal the alcopops tax

42 Introduce a special economic zone in the north of Australia including:

a) Lower personal income tax for residents

b) Significantly expanded 457 Visa programs for workers

c) Encourage the construction of dams

43 Repeal the mining tax

44 Devolve environmental approvals for major projects to the states

45 Introduce a single rate of income tax with a generous tax-free threshold

46 Cut company tax to an internationally competitive rate of 25 per cent

47 Cease funding the Australia Network

48 Privatise Australia Post

49 Privatise Medibank

50 Break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function

51 Privatise SBS

52 Reduce the size of the public service from current levels of more than 260,000 to at least the 2001 low of 212,784

53 Repeal the Fair Work Act

54 Allow individuals and employers to negotiate directly terms of employment that suit them

55 Encourage independent contracting by overturning new regulations designed to punish contractors

56 Abolish the Baby Bonus

57 Abolish the First Home Owners’ Grant

58 Allow the Northern Territory to become a state

59 Halve the size of the Coalition front bench from 32 to 16

60 Remove all remaining tariff and non-tariff barriers to international trade

61 Slash top public servant salaries to much lower international standards, like in the United States

62 End all public subsidies to sport and the arts

63 Privatise the Australian Institute of Sport

64 End all hidden protectionist measures, such as preferences for local manufacturers in government tendering

65 Abolish the Office for Film and Literature Classification

66 Rule out any government-supported or mandated internet censorship

67 Means test tertiary student loans

68 Allow people to opt out of superannuation in exchange for promising to forgo any government income support in retirement

69 Immediately halt construction of the National Broadband Network and privatise any sections that have already been built

70 End all government funded Nanny State advertising

71 Reject proposals for compulsory food and alcohol labelling

72 Privatise the CSIRO

73 Defund Harmony Day

74 Close the Office for Youth

75 Privatise the Snowy-Hydro Scheme

The list amounts to full strength Thatcherism thrust upon a largely unsuspecting Australia that continues to be distracted by meaningless political argy bargy and frivolous debates. And any time soon it could become empirical fact.

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Where In The World Is Tony?



Where In The World Is Tony?

Last night saw yet another QANDA on ABC without the presence of the man who wants Australia to believe he is the best choice as a Prime Minister who’ll represent all of us. I understand Tony has been on QANDA as this profile shows, but I believe the last time was in April 2010. As far as I can make out, Tony has also refused to go on the ABC’s Lateline program since November 2010.

So What?

Whenever this is raised on twitter, one gets a chorus of Coalition faithful saying it’s because of the left wing bias on ABC TV, presumably this is exactly why Tony is all too often to be seen on News Limited’s media – all be it it in well scripted conversations, or his famous 30 second ‘arse kick’ soundbites.

My first concern about the lack of Tony Abbott on the ABC is that I feel as if my democratic right to hear Tony is being stifled. I confess I avoid commercial media like we’re told medieval people avoided the plague. I can’t abide stimulating intellectual conversations being interrupted every five to ten minutes by advertisements [Editor’s question: stimulating intellectual conversations on 7, 9 & 10?]. Surely a Rhodes Scholar like Mr Abbott must also be tiring of three years of not being able to truly get his vision for Australia out. His intellect must be itching to be allowed to break through the soundbite barrier and show us who he truly is?

My second concern is that this lack of appearance on ABC’s flagship current affairs programs (watched by the Australians who actually think and talk about politics) is portraying Mr Abbott as either (a) Scared (b) Arrogant or (c) both. Surely the man who has been chosen by his highly experienced peers to walk in Mr Howard’s (*all bow deeply*) footsteps can’t possibly be either of these things. If the Coalition are to successfully remind the voters of Australia that the policies and cabinet ministers that saw Prime Minister Howard loose government and his seat [Editor’s note: to an ex ABC Journalist] so resoundly, then aren’t the viewers of these programs exactly the people he will need to convince?

This all being said, I haven’t allowed for the possibility that it could be Tony’s humility as a transformational leader that is seeing him stand out of the spotliight to allow his troops to fight the good fight in enemy territory. Bishop, Payne, Hockey have all repeatedly shown up and QANDA and Lateline and demonstrated their steadfast loyalty to their leader and the Howardian cult. They’ve loudly trumpeted Tony’s policies from Boat People to Boat People for three years now…so successfully that they forced Labor to adopt the very same policy.

Then there’s poor old Malcolm Turnbull who’s been forced onto the political stage by Tony’s lack of appearance. Like Kevin Rudd, Malcolm is clearly terrified of the media spotlight and unlike Tony, struggles to get the approval of the Australian people. But Malcolm’s real trouble is sticking to well scripted answers [Editor’s question: answers or non-answers?]. Instead, Malcolm wonders off piste showing his true colours with well thought out, intellectual and common sense responses – all at the drop of a leather jacket. Surely Tony must step in, he can’t prolong Malcolm’s agony much longer?

On the bright side, Robbie Dean’s has finally been toppled from the position that he has been so unpopular in for so long to be replaced by the popular, intelligent, experienced Ewen Mackenzie [Editor’s note: who’s been wearing a red tie for many years] …so I hear on the ABC anyway.

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