Oz Blog News Commentary
En Passant Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 13:37 Source

Through the back door the Abbott government has introduced  what is in effect a $5 co-payment on visits to the doctor and also frozen the indexation of the Medicare rebate until 2018.

At the moment, the Medicare rebate is $37.05. This is well below the rate needed to cover the real cost of attending the doctor.

The Australian Medical Association for example recommends doctors charge $75 for each standard consultation and many, including mine, do.  That rate will increase to $85 by 2018.

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John Quiggin Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 13:11 Source
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Cheeseburger Gothic Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 13:10 Source

Emergence officially drops into the world next Tuesday, Dec 23. I"m not touring this first book because of the odd release date, but I"ll be doing a few signings here and there.

First up, Avid Reader at West End, 8.30-9.30 am on the release day, 23 Dec.

If Pulp Fiction in the city has copies by then I"ll drop in sign some there too. If you want an inscribed copy, but can"t make it, just call the bookstore and leave a message. In fact it might be an idea to do that anyway to reserve your copy. Supplies might be limited.

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En Passant Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 11:44 Source

I sent a press release as a prospective Socialist candidate for the Senate in the A.C.T. about the successful stopping of a forced deportation back to harm of a Chinese asylum seeker to a range of bourgeois media outlets.  I also called on the putative Labor Senator Katy Gallagher to condemn Morrison’s brutal attack and to join the fight to defend refugees.

I received this response from TV station Prime 7:

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The Mugwump Post Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 11:24 Source
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North Coast Voices Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 06:22 Source

The second front forms in the ongoing Liberal-Nationals ideological war against ordinary workers and their families.I, Joseph Benedict Hockey, Treasurer, pursuant to Parts 2 and 3 of the Productivity Commission Act 1998, hereby request that the Productivity Commission undertake an inquiry into the workplace relations framework…..The Productivity Commission will assess the performance of the workplace relations framework, including the Fair Work Act 2009, focussing on key social and economic indicators important to the wellbeing, productivity and competitiveness of Australia and its people.

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Table Talk: Bob Ellis on Film and Theatre Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 04:51 Source

Joe Hockey said his Budget was ‘fair’ though it persecuted the old, starved the young, ended public schooling and enriched pregnant millionairesses, and added, ‘All right, if it wasn’t, it’ll be fair next time.’ His rating as the least popular Treasurer in world history he said was a ‘misfortune’ but he had ‘goodies’ which would intensify the ‘debt and deficit disaster’ next May. ‘We’ll have the biggest deficit in our history,’ he exulted, ‘and, look, debt works.’ He would never bring down a Surplus, of course, but the new Obama-Castro deal would keep him in Cuban cigars.

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North Coast Voices Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 00:16 Source

Ever wondered how often the twitterverse calls Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott incompetent?Wonder no more, the tweeted mesages of political 'love' run for pages - going as far back as 15 August 2010.Here are a few recent examples:

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North Coast Voices Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 00:15 Source

Something to think about from the NSW Dept. of Environment, Climate Change and Water as many of us in New South Wales frolic by the sea over the holidays:The NSW Government has adopted a Sea Level Rise Policy Statement (NSW Government 2009) to support consistent adaptation to projected sea level rise impacts.

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John Quiggin Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 15:52 Source

Among the unforeseen (by me, at any rate) events of 2014, the collapse in the price of crude oil may be among the most significant. Prices have fallen from more than $100/barrel in mid-2014 to around $60/barrel today. This follows a more gradual fall in the price of coal. The thermal coal price peaked at $140/tonne in 2011 and has now fallen to around $70/tonne. Prices for metallurgical coal and iron ore have also collapsed.

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En Passant Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 15:51 Source

Independent socialist and A.C.T. Senate candidate John Passant today welcomed the failure of the Abbott government to forcibly deport asylum seek Wei Lin back to harm in China.

Refugee Action Coalition and other activists leafleted passengers as they boarded about the forced deportation. When on board, Wei Lin, handcuffed, spoke out on the plane against his refouelment by Scott Morrison. He said:

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Table Talk: Bob Ellis on Film and Theatre Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 13:49 Source

Eight children were killed by a troubled woman in Cairns. This equalled in number the abortions procured by despairing women on Christmas Island after Morrison threatened their unborn with life imprisonment on Nauru. Morrison now threatened other unborn with equivalent punishment for the crime, he said, ‘of being born in 2015 and not, as I will tolerate, 2014. My patience is not limitless.’

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Hoyden About Town Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 12:18 Source

Feel free to talk services, observances, decorations, rushing, shopping, gifts, surprises, feasting and family traditions heart-warming and otherwise. If anyone making other seasonal observances wants to join the thread, please do.

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Popular Science Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 11:11 Source

The most remarkable thing about the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that you can buy outright is how unremarkable it is to drive.

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Popular Science Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 11:11 Source

The planet Venus, named for the Roman goddess of Love, certainly wouldn't be a very loving place to live. On the surface, Venus hosts scorching temperatures of more than 800 degrees Fahrenheit, a heat capable of melting lead, as well as an atmospheric pressure 92 times greater than Earth's. That's the same kind of pressure found at nearly 3,000 feet below the ocean's surface.

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Popular Science Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 11:11 Source

You've heard the statistics: the world population may hit between 9 and 12 billion within the century. The middle class is especially growing fast, and will likely continue to demand more meat and dairy, which take more energy to make compared to plant-based staples. The big question is: how are we going to feed all those people?

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Popular Science Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 11:11 Source

All hail the world's deepest dwelling fish.

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Popular Science Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 11:11 Source

Since the first gun appeared on a battlefield, bullets have dealt death in straight lines. As the shortest distance between two points, lines are great, but they mean enemies can hide behind walls or buildings and not get hit, a clearly undesirable prospect for anyone in the business of shooting enemies. Now, the Department of Defense is testing a bullet that can change direction in mid-air.

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Popular Science Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 11:11 Source

In the old days, the battle between condiments was fought by Hellmann's Mayonnaise and Miracle Whip. That was mostly a debate about taste rather than substance. Nowadays, vegan mayonnaise that uses plant ingredients instead of eggs is shaking up the world of sandwich slathers. One brand in particular, Hampton Creek's "Just Mayo" has drawn the wrath of food giant Unilever, maker of Hellmann's. (In 2013, Popular Science gave Hampton Creek a Best Of What's New award for their eco-friendly eggless eggs.)

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Popular Science Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 11:11 Source

Earlier this week, roughly 50,000 Skype users woke up to a new way of communicating over the Web-based phone- and video-calling platform, a feature that could've been pulled straight out of Star Trek. The new function, called Skype Translator, translates voice calls between different languages in realtime, turning English to Spanish and Spanish back into English on the fly. Skype plans to incrementally add support for more than 40 languages, promising nothing short of a universal translator for desktops and mobile devices.

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Popular Science Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 11:11 Source

This slithering, contortionist robot is named the “Series II - X125 system.” The robot snake-arm is over 7 feet long, and can carry over 13 pounds. It has a flexible tip, and can bend over 225 degrees. In the video, it appears to also have a camera and a flashlight.

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Hoyden About Town Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 10:06 Source

Today's otter is taking a dive at the Seattle Aquarium.

Please feel free to use this thread to natter about anything your heart desires. (Note: this Otterday post is a Christmas-free zone.)
Related posts:
Otterday! And Open Thread
Otterday! And...

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Table Talk: Bob Ellis on Film and Theatre Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 09:46 Source

(First published by Independent Australia)

Let us imagine Campbell Newman stood on Murray Street, Manoora, and, his eyes welling, said, ‘We will get through this. We…will get…through this.’

This is a measure of how inadequate Liberal strategy sometimes is. Taking a leaf out of 9/11, it strives to alter a cock-up into religious occasion; to turn the emphasis away from the bungling bureaucrats that caused the calamity, or failed to prevent it, and towards the ‘glorious dead’.

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The Australian Independent Media Network Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 09:06 Source

It is just a few days before Christmas and probably not the best time to be warning people of impending doom, but then, when is a good time? The world is in a precarious position right now, brought into sharp focus with the sudden and dramatic fall in the price of oil.

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MacroBusiness Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 08:42 Source

  This will be a little slower than usual today…..   China China’s superlative growth looks hard to sustain – Reuters Chinese corporate failures pegged to rise – Nikkei Asian Review Xi’s Reform Gambit – Project-Syndicate What Bad-Loan Crisis? China Banks Jump Most Since 2009 – Bloomberg Russia may seek China help to deal with crisis – […]

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Global Guerrillas Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 07:43 Source

It should be clear to everyone that the economic and political system that replaced feudal agriculture is starting to fall apart.  

It's also pretty clear we need a new system, one that can operate at a global scale and fully embrace the potential of new technologies without turning us all into slaves (or killing us).

What does that system look like?  Obviously, it's very hard to see what is going to replace industrial capitalism and the nation-state while we are still inside of the system.  

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Your Democracy Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 07:27 Source

annus horribilis .....

from Crikey ….

In the course of 2014, around 70 women and children will have died at the hands of a partner, ex-partner or father. We don’t know exactly how many, because governments across Australia don’t keep uniform sets of data, but we know roughly how many based on historical data.

read more

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The Australian Independent Media Network Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 07:10 Source

“Chapter 1: Economics:
The Study of Choice.”


“Ultimately, Economics is the study of choice.”

Economics Textbook.


How do people choose between a number of alternatives?

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Duck Pond Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 03:03 Source

If it is true that everything is transient, then good fortune will pass in due course. There is a suggestion, and it is difficult to what credence some intelligence might have that much of the area will be converted to housing. Meanwhile Dexter and Hannah live in the present.

We have to change our familiar walk path if that were to happen or, perhaps something worst might happen. It is incredible to reflect that no human being, or any other land animal, could sustain life beyond seconds without the work of vegetation, but a tree can be destroyed without a moments thought.

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Your Democracy Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 00:51 Source

NoForn .....

Drone strikes and other "targeted killings" of terrorist and insurgent leaders favoured by the US and supported by Australia can strengthen extremist groups and be counterproductive, according to a secret CIA report published by WikiLeaks.

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