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Pluralism

The article in the Sunday Age (29/6), "Two tarnished sides of the Arab Coin" by Thomas Friedman which advocates pluralism – the devolving of power from a central authority to a network of government and non-government groups as the solution to the many problems that arise when power is centralised in a secular or theocentric state, raises serious concerns for Australia as well as the Middle East.

Reality cheque.

The proportion of people in Australia on welfare is the lowest it has been in 17 years. Out of 30 OECD countries Australia ranks 25th for spending on social security. Australia spending on disability support and pensions is well below the OECD average and total welfare spending is less than two-thirds of most European countries.

Government's response: Radical overhaul.

An Encounter with An Anti-Vaccinator and the Issue of Scientific Literacy

On Sunday June 23, 2014 Charles Lazelle posted to Facebook an article claiming that herd immunity had been disproven. Whilst Lazelle was clearly not a good advocate for the anti-vaccination cause, for a first discussion with such individuals it was interesting insofar that it revealed some of the mindset of some anti-vaccination thinkers some of which can be summarised as follows.

The Power of Recall

The Geoff Shaw parliamentary saga highlights the limitations of parliamentary democracy when the electorate does not have the power of recall in between elections. Geoff Shaw was elected as the Liberal member for Frankston at the last state election. He became an "Independent" when the Speaker, Ken Smith, referred his case to the Victoria Police. Mr. Shaw's antics in and out of state parliament have been directed to ensure he will never be accountable for his actions. His balance of power status gives him the power to dictate the government's parliamentary agenda.

Slackers and Slouch Hats

As a general rule I don't like to dignify Murdoch's brown shirts at the Daily Telegraphy by commenting on the vicious hatred that spews from the pages of this septic rag, but I take great exception at today's front page. Four generations of my family have served in the Australian military and I don't take kindly to them, or anyone else who has defended this nation, being used by gutless bigots in an attempt to disguise their cruelty as patriotism.

It's No Surprise

It's no surprise inequality, in Australia, has been rising gradually since 1982, "Inequality warning on budget", Sunday Age (11/5). The growth of the internationally recognised Gini index (an index that measures inequality) from .27 in the early years of the Hawke government to .33 today is directly linked to the deregulation, privatisation, globalisation and corporatisation revolution launched by the Hawke led Labor government in 1982 and carried forward by every Federal government during the last 32 years.

War!

The Abbott led government has declared war on every social security beneficiary, every wage earner and every small business in Australia in its 2014 budget. No budget since Federation, not even during World War One and World War Two, has been so draconian. The 2014 budget has placed the burden of a very questionable deficit on the shoulders of the individual while sparing a corporate sector that pays voluntary taxation and the country's richest people (who have the assets to legally minimise their tax liability) any significant pain.

To the Honourable Bill Shorten, Leader of the Opposition:

Dear Mr Shorten,

You will have no doubt seen the most recent opinion polls which show the Abbott government is quite unpopular at the moment. They show that people are angry at being ripped off by a budget that amounts to little more than the pillaging of public assets by corporate lobbyists and donors.

No copyright for Marx-Engels collected works!

It is immensely ironic that a private publishing company is claiming the copyright of the collected works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the philosophers who wrote against the monopoly of capitalism and its origin, private property, all their lives.

USA Children in Prison

In the USA there are 100,000 children in adult prisons. Children as young as 8 are being tried as adults at the discresion of prosecuting attorneys meaning children are targeted on the basis of race and socio-economic status.

The US Supreme Court has decided that children do not have the same level of responsibility as adults in criminal cases. This has not stopped some states sentencing children as young as 13 to life without parole.

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