Issue 113: 3 to 9 November 2022


Revelling in Republican defeat with the New Liberals of NYC
Guy Rundle | Crikey
The Republican red wave didn’t rise up, all the polls were wrong, the aggregates were wrong, the partisan Republican polls were surreally wrong. 

2022: Democracy takes a gap year, US hegemony is over 
Alison Broinowski | Pearls and Irritations
The attack on the Capitol in January 2022 didn’t set a great example of democratic renewal. The recent hammer assault on Paul Pelosi didn’t either. But when the second virtual summit does happen, its aim will be the same, to ‘renew democracy at home and confront autocracies abroad.’ Its three themes will be repeated: defending democracy against authoritarianism, addressing and fighting corruption, and advancing respect for human rights. Whose rights, is one question.

They had a dream, but US Democrats are now waking up to their nightmare
Guy Rundle | Crikey
“The D in Democrat is for ‘done’! We get it done. We got the infrastructure act passed, we got the reduce inflation act passed, and we saved millions of jobs,” said Zimmerman to cheers. “Until you fired them!” the ex-teachers shot back. They were vaccine refuseniks, blaming the union for failing to defend them when a New York City vaccine mandate came in.


COP27 – we’ll do it this year, for sure, you just wait
Alan Kohler | The New Daily
COP1 was held in Berlin in 1995, three years after the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was first established, and it was agreed then that “the parties should protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind”. Since then, global carbon emissions have risen 61 per cent, increasing every year apart from during recessions and the pandemic, and after each of those inadvertent reductions, emissions from the burning of fossil fuels bounced back and continued marching upwards.

Ukraine war turns COP27 into a summit with little hope
Manuel Ostos | Independent Australia
Germany wants to reactivate the coal mines in the Ruhr area. This year, the Berlin Parliament approved reactivating the mines to limit purchases of Russian natural gas, thus following the sanctions measures of the European Union. Poland is preparing to do the same. But consuming coal to generate electricity means saying goodbye to Kyoto and Paris. It will be another consequence of the Ukraine war started by Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally. The Ukraine war, coal and sanctions against Russia penalise the whole world. If Putin had not sent tanks to the neighbouring country, we would not have so many bad prospects for climate change.

The tragedy of the State Electricity Commission
Jerome Small | Red Flag
Visiting the Latrobe Valley last month, I was startled to learn that the former State Electricity Commission of Victoria was developing a plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as long ago as 1988. […] The Australian Conservation Foundation wrote in 2000 that the SECV target—cutting carbon dioxide emission to 20 percent below 1988 levels by 2005—was never implemented “because the SECV was split up and sold off by the Kennett government. Had the plan gone ahead, brown coal power stations other than Loy Yang would have been more or less phased out by 2005 … “


I’d like apologies for robodebt, but I really want Australia to abandon punitive welfare
Nathan Kearney | The Guardian
Unsurprisingly, it also seems that those involved, including Scott Morrison in his role as social services minister in 2015, dismissed the legal and ethical issues around the system. It only makes it more obvious that the intention of robodebt was to punish those on income support. I’d like to see accountability from people such as Morrison, Campbell, Alan Tudge, and many others. I want them to apologise and to understand why what they did was wrong. I want them to listen to those affected and the loved ones of victims of suicide who aren’t around any more due in large part to the scheme they put in place. I want both major parties to commit to moving from a punitive to a supportive system.

At Foodbank, a Melbourne mother’s query about yoghurt raises some very difficult questions about inequality in Australia
Virginia Trioli | ABC News
We started with a mum who wondered if she could get a pot of yoghurt to last until Christmas for her small family. And while maximising profits and minimising tax is the legitimately accepted practise of any business (or household) it is good to remember that just as not having a home causes homelessness, not having money is the thing that causes poverty.

The mess left by the Coalition is (almost) overwhelming
Michael Pascoe | The New Daily
Government shovels were hard at work in the lead up to the Budget dealing with the immediate grants corruption left over by the Morrison mob. An important footnote to the scandal was provided by former senator Rex Patrick on Monday when his freedom of information request to release the Gaetjens report on #sportsrorts finally succeeded.

Australia Is a Subimperial Enforcer of the US-led Order
Joe McLaren, Zacharias Szumer with Clinton Fernandes | Jacobin
When we think of empires, we often think of direct physical occupation. But the real point of an empire is to control another country’s sovereignty — physically occupying that country is just one way of doing it. An imperial power is a power that can exert control over other countries’ sovereignty. If you understand an empire as controlling sovereignty rather than controlling territory, then you can see how Australia has long been an imperial power to countries in our region. These include Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, and East Timor. However, “empire” is an unutterable taboo, so the preferred term is “our Pacific family.” What is “our Pacific family,” if not a euphemism for our vassal states?

Abortion and reproductive rights in Australia
Jane Caro | The Saturday Paper
As is the case in the United States, there are people in this country – albeit a small minority, and often on religious grounds – who are opposed to allowing women, trans men and non-binary people to terminate a pregnancy for any reason. The fact that 21 public hospitals in Australia are operated by Catholic Health makes this situation particularly fraught. One of these “public” hospitals is the Mater in Brisbane, which includes the Mater Centre for Maternal Fetal Medicine. According to its website, the centre “provides expert diagnosis and management of complex pregnancies for women with high-risk pregnancies”. However, it also makes clear that “in accordance with the principles of the church, we do not provide termination of pregnancy or contraceptive procedures”.

The fall of Twitter and the work of creating democratic social spaces
Lilly Ryan, Lizzie O’Shea | Overland
Musk is the personification of the Dunning-Kreuger effect. Born into a wealthy family, he lucked out with Paypal, becoming a multi-millionaire seemingly in spite of himself, and has since turned the millions into billions thanks to tax-payer subsidies and staggering hubris. Much in the way that Donald Trump reshaped American politics by aggressively flouting norms, Musk may well shape Twitter in a similar manner. So far, it appears that Musk’s ideas for monetisation are equal parts stupid, careless, and dangerous. He is antagonising high-profile Twitter users, mass firing sections of the Twitter workforce with experience at tackling complex policy problems, and alienating the advertisers that he needs to bring in a significant chunk of revenue to the platform. His conduct recalls the adage that any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice. Twitter may not survive.


Developers threaten First Nations people’s burial site at Deebing Creek
Coral Wynter | Green Left

Statement Against Racism in Western Australia
John Kinsella | Arena

NSW TAFE teachers hold one-day statewide strike 
Max Boddy | World Socialist Web Site

Refugees call for permanent residency
Chris Slee | Green Left