joe.toscano's blog

Triumph and Delight

The biggest smiles in Congress and the US Senate are on the faces of the Republican ideologues. Blindsided by President Donald Groper during the never ending US Presidential campaign, they will be the major beneficiaries of President Groper’s political demise. Irrespective of what we may think of President Groper’s behaviour, he is not, unlike those Republican Senators and Congress members who currently have a Cheshire cat size grin on their dials, an ideologue.

Hand on Hand Interaction

Have you noticed how the interaction between human beings involved in a financial transaction is charging. I’m old enough to remember the days when cash and bartering were the main means people used for their day to day transactions. Today the act of passing change from one person to another is slowly being superseded by the ubiquitous tap of a plastic card. Technological innovations have not only had a significant impact on financial transactions, we now pay a third party for the luxury of being involved in a financial transaction, they have also changed the way human beings interact.

Dole bludgers and Corporate bludgers

There are “dole bludgers” and “corporate bludgers”. When it comes to 24 carat bludgers, Australia’s banking oligopoly – National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Westpac and their little brother Macquarie Bank – take the cake. The Treasurer Scott Morrison has done the big four banks (who between them control over 80% of Australia's financial system) a big favour by introducing a six basis points (0.06%) banking debt levy which will claw back approximately 1.5 billion dollars a year over the next four years.

Biped Posturing

You and I are bipeds, the most dangerous and cunning animals created by evolutionary forces on planet earth. When our ancestors took their first tentative steps and raised their heads above the savanna two to three million years ago, we scavenged what the other animals left for us. Our ability to clearly see the horizon when we stood up on our two hind legs was our eventual undoing. Nature played with our DNA creating branches of the human evolutionary tree that eventually petered out. The first human prototypes were just that, human prototypes. Evolution is never linear.

Fake News and Propaganda

FAKE: to practise deception by giving a false indication or appearance of something.
PROPAGANDA: the systematic widespread promotion of a certain set of ideas, doctrines or values.

Publicly Good Science

What is publicly good science? Publicly good science is value free science that is accessible to both government and the public. Over the past four decades we have seen the destruction of public science. All state governments and the Federal government have, in the rush to privatise and outsource every service they have traditionally provided, closed down and downsized a whole host of government instrumentalities that provided government with vital value free scientific advice.

Dennis Dreaming

Dennis Richardson has had a long and distinguished career as an Australian public servant – 48 years to be exact. He has given “free and frank” advice primarily about national security to a bevy of Ministers and Prime Ministers over five decades. A few days ago he addressed the National Press Club about his experiences. He seems to have a bee in his bonnet about Chinese spooks keeping tabs on Chinese students and business people in Australia. I can understand his concerns about a foreign power conducting espionage in a sovereign nation state.

Revenue Revelation

Budget time is always a revelation. Not the Treasurer’s theatrical performance but where’s the money coming from? Things have changed a little bit over the past decade. Projected revenue for 2017-2018 is estimated to be 444.4 billion dollars (a lovely round figure). It is estimated about 209.6 billion will be squeezed out of individual income tax (that’s approximately 45% of total revenue). Fringe benefits tax will raise about 4.4 billion (1%). Superannuation taxes about 8.5 billion (2%). Customs duty 14.7 billion (3.5% approx.). Fuel excise 18.78 billion (4.5% approx.).

Ellen Jose and Mabo Day

Since 2003 Ellen Jose, a Torres Strait Islander Elder who has lived in Melbourne for over 40 years and whose family comes from Mer, Darnley and Horn Island in the Torres Strait, has organised a yearly Mabo Commemoration in Melbourne at Federation Square to mark the end of the historical fiction this land was uninhabited before it was colonised by the British Crown in 1788 – Terra Nullius.

The Biggest Con

I'm pretty confident most Australians are unaware of the biggest privatisation CON that has occurred in the history of this country. I'm not talking about the privatisation of the Commonwealth Bank, Telecom, Medibank Private, Australia's airports and a host of other publicly owned assets over the past four decades. At least in these cases the revenue made from the sale of profit making publicly owned assets was absorbed back into consolidated revenue.

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