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The NTEU Strike

On May 9 the NTEU called a short strike as part of renegotiations on an enterprise bargaining agreement with the University of Melbourne. The union wants to ensure that everyone is covered by one agreement, that everyone receives the same rate of superannuation, and that academic freedom is part of the agreement.

Punishing the Banks

Here are some revelations from the Royal Commission into banking so far:

NAB employees in Western Sydney were paid bribes of up to $2800 to wave through loans they knew were based on fake documents.

Fake payslips, IDs and Medicare cards were allegedly made up to generate loans for the bank’s “Introducer Program”, which generated $24 billion worth of home loans and paid out between $100-$150 million in commissions between 2013 and 2016.

Stop Some Wars in Syria

A note to otherwise well-meaning people:

If you participate in any "Stop the War" event on Syria, you are an enemy of the Syrian people.

Before I explain, see the image below, which are from today's protest in London. This is supposedly an event to "stop war". Yet, the protestors are carrying the Russian flag and the flag of Syria's fascist regime. Between them, the regime and Russia are responsible for nearly 94% of all civilian deaths in Syria.

This week in welfare

A former member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal said the government's robo-debt system often calculates debts that are inflated or non-existent.

A 17-year old girl with leukaemia was ordered to visit Centrelink in her wheelchair so staff could “sight her” despite her mother’s protests that she was immunosuppressed.

The girl and her mother have made several attempts in the last 18 months to obtain a Health Care card which would make her chemotherapy drugs more affordable.

Karl Popper's Critique of Marxism

Karl Popper's critique of Marxism is equally applicable as a critique of Austrian Economics, and Hayek failed to recognize that.

Trump's Positions on DACA

An incomplete chronological list of Trump's positions on DACA:

1) Supports DACA in spirit, but has concerns that it isn't enshrined in law.

2) Continues DACA.

3) Kills DACA, but gives Congress six months to find a legislative solution.

4) Undermines his own threat by hinting that he'll fix it himself if Congress doesn't.

5) Privately commits to a clean Dream Act.

6) Publicly promises to sign whatever Congress agrees on without making demands of his own.

7) Demands funding for the wall.

Afrin has fallen to Turkey

Afrin has fallen to Turkey and is being looted and culturally cleansed. Large portions of the Kurdish population have already left.

The question now is if Turkey will attack Manbij. If it does, it could bring the Turkish army into direct conflict with US troops. That, in turn, would lead to either war between the US and Turkey or American withdrawal in the face of Turkish aggression. I'm honestly not sure which one is worse.

This is a "Hitler annexes the Sudetenland" moment. If Turkish expansionism is not checked, it could lead to a wider ethnic war against the Kurds.

A rare agreement with Trump

This is another rare instance where I agree with Trump. There are major gaps between the US and the DPRK on a huge number of issues, but a large part of the bad relations between the two countries comes from constant failure to communicate.

The Gaseous Truth in Syria

As I sometimes do, I engaged in some correspondence on a matter of politics and war recently. Specifically it involved an individual who was promoting the idea that the United States has "admitted" that it has no evidence that the Syrian government used Sarin against civilians in 2013 and 2017 [1]. I pointed out that this was a misrepresentation, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Mattis, that this was in reference to the most recent claim, as the U.S.

Syria Update February 2018

There are reports that al-Qaeda (namely Hayat Tahrir al-Sham) is getting kicked out of a bunch of locations in Idlib, including Deiret Izza and Kafranbel. It looks like it's a new group (groups? operation room?) that's doing it, but I'm seeing a number of possible names for them. Based on the iconography on one of the press releases, I'd guess they're moderate Islamist, but Zinki (the militant group, not the Secretary of the Interior) also seems to be involved, which would suggest they have more of an edge to them.

I swear this war gets weirder every day.

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