An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.
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The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.
Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.
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The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.
For some reason three of the Saturday salons I preset to appear while I was away didn’t show up.
As mentioned elsewhere I didn’t hear much news apart from Hockey’s foot-in-mouth contribution. Here are a few bits and pieces that came to my attention since I got back.
1. Abbott reacts as per script
From The Brisbane Times:
Horrific acts of terrorism such as the “truly sickening and utterly evil” beheading of journalist James Foley could happen in Western countries including Australia, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said.
Yes, Prime Minister, that’s exactly why IS chose an executioner with a British accent, to induce hysteria from people like you.
I think Abbott is hoping for a war or something to boost his electoral stocks.
2. The real deal on Islamic State
Michael Ware, interviewed by Richard Fidler, gives perhaps the best exposition I’ve heard on the origins and nature of Islamic State. He’s also good on other jihadist groups and Islamic political movements elsewhere. He says IS are very media savvy and know exactly what effect on-camera executions will have. IS is by far the most extreme and vicious we have yet seen.
Ware’s forthcoming documentary Only the Dead to be released in 2015 shapes as essential viewing.
3. Rundle on the coming East-West conflict
Rundle reckons that Clive Palmer and Jacqui Lambie are uttering what many ordinary citizens believe when warning about invasions by China or Indonesia. Indeed he reckons that East-West conflict leading to a multi-polar world and a form of reverse colonisation is pretty much inevitable some time this century.
I think Rundle overcooks it somewhat but there is a perception that we are slack and lazy and have vast unoccupied space. There is every reason why we should be alert, but the move is more likely to be commercial in character. China, for example, would love to use their own labour to extract our minerals.
This photo of Abbott and the Japanese PM is priceless:
William Bowe explains that support for the LNP is on the slide federally in Queensland to an extent that could see Shorten in the Lodge. There are as many winnable seats for Labor in Qld as there are in NSW with its larger population. In fact in Qld the ‘sophomore effect’ only applies to two seats. This effect, worth about 1.5%, applies when you have a first-timer in the seat. Only two Qld seats fell in 2013, whereas a stack fell in 2010.