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Murdoch’s Fox caught doctoring fake ‘riot’ pictures

The following article was republished in the New Daily (14 June 2020). The source is Associated Press. The name of the author is not provided. The article is noteworthy, as it provides details of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News knowingly publishing fake photographs to back its portrayal of protests against the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Seatle, as violent and needing to be suppressed. Fox is the source of the fiction that armed gangs hare holding areas in American cities hostage terrorising inhabitants and demanding protection money, now making the rounds of social media. Bringing the truth to light is important.

Continue reading Murdoch’s Fox caught doctoring fake ‘riot’ pictures

Groups put forward plan to reduce indigenous imprisonment and end deaths in custody

By Ben Wilson

As the controversy over black deaths in custody in Australia gathers momentum, the big Black Lives Matter marches around the nation have been added to, with an alliance representing more than 1000 legal services, representing First Nations and non-indigenous Australia, welfare, disability organisations and others, which has come up with a five Point Plan to bring about major change. Continue reading Groups put forward plan to reduce indigenous imprisonment and end deaths in custody

Donald Trump’s isolation grows as Americans stay on the streets

By Jim Hayes

It seems that Donald Trump is becoming increasingly isolated as state governors, prominent military personnel, and even a growing proportion of Republican politicians, are either condemning or distancing themselves from his declaration of war against fellow citizen of the United Sates. Continue reading Donald Trump’s isolation grows as Americans stay on the streets

Bushfires and the Corona virus have put Australia’s systemically failing economy in an even worse position

By Joe Montero

So Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has confirmed Australia is in the midst of its first recession in 29 years. There can be no denying that this has been a bad year. But seriously, the 29 year bit implies that everything was alright before then. It wasn’t. Continue reading Bushfires and the Corona virus have put Australia’s systemically failing economy in an even worse position

Events in the United State become increasingly sinister and protests begin in Australia

Joe Montero

The United States continues to be rocked by the consequences of the murder of George Floyd and pent up anger over other deep social and economic divisions. Curfews are failing to have an effect most of the time, and American society starts to propel towards rapid militarisation. Continue reading Events in the United State become increasingly sinister and protests begin in Australia

March on Rome in 1922 and its imitators in the United States today

By Glen Davis

America seems to be on its way to hell in a hand basket. Coronavirus deaths have passed 100,000, an estimated 40 million are receiving an unemployment benefit, and riots are setting big swathes of the county ablaze, after the murder of George Floyd.

The Tangerine Mussolini [Donald Trump] is unable to control this spiralling mess, with rumours he has gone into hiding; though still aggressively Tweeting.

Photo by Evan Vucci/AP: Donald Trump

In response to the growing death toll from Coronavirus, several Democrat governors imposed lock downs within their states. The lock downs are premised/supported by medical advice.

However, we’ve seen armed groups marching to the various State capital buildings, along with calls from the Tangerine Mussolini to ‘liberate’ states such as Michigan, Minnesota, Virginia.

Armed supporters of his, have taken to the streets, aiming to impose their will on these states. In Michigan we saw 300-400 armed protestors driving around holding up traffic, trying to pressure the elected government end the lock down.

It draws some parallels to the ‘original Mussolini’, Benito Mussolini. Yes, the specifics are different. But the parallels of an armed Right-wing mob taking to the streets to threaten an elected government is concerning.

The 1922 March on Rome saw an estimated 25,000 fascist marchers. From 26 October they seized control of government offices and railway stations, in preparation for the march on Italy’s capital.

The 1922 Blackshirts march on Rome

On 28 October, the fascist hordes, known as the Black shirts, commenced their March on Rome. Their goal was to capture Rome’s strategic posts.

The government of Prime Minster Luigi Facta prepared for them, ordering a state of siege for Rome, as he sought to defend it. Yet the King, Victor Emanuel III, refused to assist the elected government. This meant the support of the army was not available to defend the democratic structures being attacked.

The March on Rome continued with the King approaching Mussolini on 29 October, requesting his fascists form a cabinet and establish a new government.

Mussolini, who was in Milan, boarded a train on 30 October, arriving just prior to his marchers. A triumphant parade was then held, ushering in two decades of fascist rule.

Yes, what is happening in America is quite different but the parallels of capitalism spiraling out of control, with armed right-wing mobs seeking to prop up their choice of rulers has scary overtones.

Continue reading March on Rome in 1922 and its imitators in the United States today

Americans are rebelling against racism and the conditions they are living in

By Joe Montero

The United States of America is reeling as protests continue in tens of cities around the country. They don’t look like ending soon, and could possibly escalate into an even bigger movement.

Donald trump’s hard line response to date, is only throwing fuel into the discontent. The more he scapegoats, blurts out conspiracy theories, and promises to shoot people in the streets, the deeper gets the crisis faced by the nation and his presidency

Why should Australians be interested in the in what is going on there on the other side of the world? Because as Australia’s political elite, has been hitching onto Uncle Sam using the United States as the role model. Many of the problems there are therefore coming to roost here. So, there is good reason to take note of what is happening.

We already have black deaths in custody, the detention camps for refugees model, disproportionate policing of minority and less well healed neighbourhoods, and the growing militarisation of the police force.

Australian society does not really want to go down this road. We have our own economic and social crisis and need to find a proper way out of them.

Over the six days of unrest in the United States so far, compliant media has sought to turn focus on ‘protester violence,” the burning of police cars and building, and the looting of shops. In doing this, they are, whether intentionally or unintentionally, working to bury why this is happening in the first place.

Dr Martin Luther King put it well, by saying this is what happens when people feel they have no voice, feel powerless and see those with power failuring to respond over a long time. In these conditions, people believe they have no other choice. To bury this reality, is to keep on silencing the unheard.

And this is exactly what Donald Trump has done and is being aided and abbeted by a good part of the media. Not that Joe Biden has proved to be a great deal better. He has failed to provide leadership to those calling for a fair go. He has not called out systematic use of state violence for political purpose.

Contrast this to the brave action taken by some police officers, who have chosen to show their support for those on the streets.

Portland Police Kneel in Solidarity with George Floyd Protesters

Video from Now This News

After joining the protesters kneeling down with them in Portland they chose to leave. The result? There was no rioting or looting.

Here is another example.

Police officer kneels to hug protester at California rally

Video from Ruptly

Unfortunately, in many other cities the story has been vastly different. Tear gas, rubber bullets, stun grenades and capsicum spray have been deployed, and often on people behaving peacefully. A good example is what happened outside the White House.

Shocking footage of fires outside the White House

Video from

This is what happened in Las Vegas

Tear gas and several arrests as Las Vegas protests turn aggressive

Video from Ruptly

In Austin

Police use tear gas and rubber bullets at George Floyd protest in Austin

Video from Ruptly

These are only three examples of what has been taking place across dozens of cities.

Discontent on this scale, has not been seen since the assassination of Dr King. This alone, suggests a great deal.

A noticeable characteristic is that it does not only involve African Americans. People of all races are taking part.

The killing of George Floyd was the spark. This spark fell on extremely dry tinder. Discontent has been simmering for some time, over the lack of proper jobs, the much wider gulf between the haves and have nots, the impact of and fear surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak, as well as the institutional racism within the police force and and across US society.

That the Democrats, especially after blocking the rise of Bernie Sanders, no longer inspire confidence from Americans who want a very different nation. Trust in elected politicians and institutions has taken a battering.

When media outlets serve as mouthpieces of the establishment, are seen to show far less concern for those who are on the streets, than they do about their own comfort, their standing falls. No wonder they are sometimes seen as part of the problem.

The best situation, of course, would be for problems to be resolved in a peaceful way. But when peaceful means prove to be a dead end, is it any wonder they see that resistance and attack is the only solution?

This is a nation where the routine brutality and murder of blacks and other minorities is an ongoing reality; where the mass  shootings of school children are shrugged off by political leaders, where millions work for virtual starvation wages and the number living in the streets have not been so high for a long time; where the president makes it so clear that he doesn’t care whether American live or die, applies the politics of hate and division.

Blaming it all on Donald Trump is wrong and misleading. He may be part of all the problems mentioned, and he may even be aggravating them. The truth is that they were there well before him. Past administrations had failed to put the people ahead of Wall Street.

Some thought Trump would be different. He has proved to be a more extreme version of the same.

The United States may be approaching a crossroad. Which way will it turn? And what does this mean for the world?

Government’s $60 billion not spend doesn’t look like an accident

By Joe Montero

The Australian government is accused of stuffing up over $60 billion worth of JobKeeper money. media commentators are largely passing this off as a massive blunder. Scott Morrison agrees, and even suggests that the buck stops with him. There is something surreal about this. It doesn’t add up, and there’s the smell of a rat about it.

JobKeeper is supposed to cushion income losses caused by the coronavirus lock down. It was was announced as a measure to cover 6.5 million Australians out of work. Now we are told there was a miscalculation, and the number of those said to have found themselves out of work has been halved.

The critical words are “said to have.” This is not the same as actually out of work. Asutralia went into the pandemic with about a third of the workforce being part-timers, casuals, or designated as contractors, and signed up with Centrelink and worked less than one hour in the week are considered unemployed. Add to this those on work visas, and who who have worked with the same employer for less than a year.

None of these were covered, and it gave a distorted view of the true situation. The government knows it, and this leads to the conclusion that there is another agenda here.

Secondly, employers relying on providing insecure jobs have had little reason to sign on. This especially effects the hospitality and tourism industries, which have been hardest hit by the lock down. They also have the highest proportion of part time and casual workers.

For many small businesses, the application process has been confusing, and a big number of submissions were ruled invalid. They got nothing.

Is it any wonder that there is a huge gap between the political hype accompanying the introduction of JobKeeper, the spin today, and the reality on the ground?

When the government must have known this all along, and the bean counters in the Treasury and the Australian tax Office must have as well, passing off, that only $60 billion of the allocated $130 billion budget went out was a simple mistake, is not good enough.

The most plausible explanation is that the surplus had been engineered to make the package look much better than it was, provide political capital to Scott Morrison, and quieten the voices of the critics.

And it serves as a convenient means to hike off a portion of government resources for other purposes. It is now available to be used to help some close mates.

Doubters should consider the integration of the functions of government and sectional interests within the corporate world in recent times, which has provided both greater influence over government decisions and access to public funds. the practice of government has become more corrupt.

This can be seen being played out in the National Covid-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC) to oversee the spending of the Covid-19 money. Its members have been hand picked and it is riddled with conflicts of interest.

These handpicked members include:

  • Former CEO of Fortesque Metals Group and deputy chair of Strike Energy Nev Power;
  • Catherine Tanna, the managing director of Energy Australia and on the Board of the Business Council of Australia. She is former managing director of the Queensland Gas Company;
  • Andrew Liveris is director of Saudi Aramco and deputy chair of Warley Parsons and former executive of Dow Chemicals;
  • James Fazzino, former CEO of Incitec Pivot, one of Australia’s largest gas users, and director of infrastructure company APA;
  • Ben Eade, Executive director of Manufacturing Australia, and director of the Liddle coal fired power station;
  • Innes Wilcox the CEO of the Australian Industry Group;
  • Greg Comet, former consultant to gas companies AGL and Santos, which have been for greater support for the gas industry.

Added to this are:

  • John Kunmel a former Mineral Council of Australia top executive and now Scott Morrison’s Chief of Staff;
  • Brendan Pearson a senior advisor to Morrison and former owner of Crosby Textor (CT Group) and former advisor to mining giant Glencore.
  • Yaron Finclstein, Morrison’s Private Secretary;
  • Jim Reid, who has just received a private research contract from the government to work with the NCCC;
  • Neville Porter director of Strike Energy and chair of the NCCC.

This clearly shows the government/corporate network in operation. So much so, that it has induced a range of concerned organisations to sound the alarm, including the Human Rights Law Centre, Transparency International, the Grata Fund and the Centre for Public Integrity.

The $60 billion surplus and the NCCC appointments fit in nicely, with the just released announcement to shift from JobKeeper to JobMaker, marking a big shift from handing out money, to a more intense version of the neoliberalism practiced before the pandemic.

We can expect the big stick to be brought out against against the unemployed.

At Tuesday’s speech at the National Press Gallery, the Prime Minister talked about the priority being to “enable business to earn Australia’s way out of the crisis.” Is this the trickle down effect? Sounds very much like it.

Photo by Mick Tsikas/A: Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the National Press Club in Canberra on Tuesday. Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the National Press Club in Canberra on Tuesday

The cornerstone is the creation of a new industrial relations system

Last year’s Ensuring Integrity Bill to take the big stick to the unions had to be shelved. It failed to get through the Senate. Now we have its replacement. A kind of committee system for four months, where the parties, including the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), are locked into a process to deliver the desired outcome.

This will involve pressing for agreement on simplifying awards, extending individual enterprise agreements, a shift in the use of casual and temporary work, the establishment of new workplace laws, and the use of ‘greenfields’ agreements (can be used to lower wages and conditions in existing awards) for new enterprises.

In the context of the Morrison government’s ongoing commitment to neoliberalism, this means shifting the share of national income upwards, cutting back government expenditure on all but that used to boost private business, holding down wage rises and stripping of the capacity of the union movement to counter any of it.

An attempt is being made to sweeten this, with a promise of more money for vocational training, although no details of this have yet been released.

It doesn’t stop here. Other key planks of the government’s strategy are in train.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor has announced the intention to implement the findings of the King Review, to expand the fossil fuel industry through the Climate Solutions Fund, as well as Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) about to go into operation. These bodies are stacked in a similar way to the NCCC.

The King Review was headed by the CEO of the Business council of Australia Grant King.

Environment Minister Susan Ley has announced the “cutting of green tape,” to to fast track and clear the process of approval through new environment protection laws, which will be applied through the above bodies.

In this light, is it likely that the so-called $60 billion excess in the JobKeeper budget was just an accident? I don’t think so. It’s just too convenient.

A people’s call for healthcare not warfare

The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) has initiated the letter below. It is part of a campaign to draw attention to the reality that the needs of people are being sacrificed as billions are spent on wars and other aggressive acts originating with the United States. The letter has attracted a long list of signatories. Australia’s political leadership joined in on ignoring the call by the United Nations Secretary general, Antonio Guterres, for a global ceasefire during the pandemic. Now we look towards an uncertain future, where attention to the needs of people has become even more important. IPAN’s call deserves the support of all. Healthcare has been revealed to be high on the list of priorities. You too can sign the letter via this link.

We the undersigned, call on the Australian Government to stop funneling billions of dollars into offensive weapons for unjust U.S. led wars, and invest instead in the health and safety of people and the environment. Continue reading A people’s call for healthcare not warfare