Archive for May, 2013


‘…In normal times, an arithmetic mistake in an economics paper would be a complete nonevent as far as the wider world was concerned. But in April 2013, the discovery of such a mistake—actually, a coding error in a spreadsheet, coupled with several other flaws in the analysis—not only became the talk of the economics profession, but made headlines. Looking back, we might even conclude that it changed the course of policy…’

…click here to go through to the piece in full & free at The New York Review of Books…

Here in Australia, as we head towards September’s federal election, conservative politicians are once again spruiking their mantras of fear and loathing, in conjunction with a “delusional” misreading of basic economics.

As the Abbott/Hockey rhetoric demands that all Australians “be afraid, be very, very afraid…of, look, at the end of the day, err, everything…” at the interpretOr, we’ll be beavering away across realms digital to find evidence to the contrary.

As an introductory antidote to such neoLiberal gobbledigook, here’s Paul Krugman in a recent Guardian interview…

....(Paul Krugman's) following is a reward for battling the conventional wisdom that austerity can foster a recovery. From the moment Lehman Brothers was allowed to crash, it seemed that only Krugman, his compatriot Joseph Stiglitz, another Nobel prizewinner for the liberal cause, and New York professor Nouriel Roubini, who had loudly predicted the crash, consistently confronted the "austerians" in Washington, Brussels and the UK Treasury.
More than four years on, austerity is being questioned as never before, not least because most countries implementing a deficit-reduction policy have failed to grow. Krugman, his blog and comments on Twitter, have become the focal point for objectors worldwide.
Speaking to the Guardian to publicise the second edition of his book End This Depression Now, he argues that his battle will go on until policymakers realise that their reliance on deficit reduction is a "delusional" misreading of basic economics. But despite his persistent criticism, austerity remains the default position for most western governments.

Oh, and here’s a local fear-buster from Russell Marks at THE CONVERSATION:

Public debt in Australia is not a problem. The ratio of public debt to GDP is about 27%, compared with an average of about 90% for developed economies. And Australia is well down the list of effective taxation rates among OECD nations.
Indeed, on standard economic measures, Australia is not only performing better than the rest of the world, but performing better now under Labor than it was when Labor took office from the Liberal-National Coalition in 2007. Since then, GDP per capita hasclimbed 13%. Real wage levels have increased 27%. Household savings have more than doubled. Labour productivity is now at an all-time high, and is a clear eight index points higher than in 2007...

a timely reminder?

the interpretOr

The SMH today claims that “opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s Press Club speech attacked the very point Labor sees as its greatest strength — economic management — armed with little more than rhetoric and previously announced promises.”

The interpretOr would like to reinforce the emptiness of Abbott’s rationale with a few more words from Nobel laureate, Professor Joseph Stiglitz, a former World Bank chief economist and economic adviser to the US government…

“[Labor] actually did a fantastic job of saving your country from problems.”

Stiglitz applauds the objectives of the government’s mining tax but was not surprised at the response of BIG MINING…

“Having watched what happened in the United States I’m not surprised at all what’s happened here; the mining companies do not want to pay their fair share.”

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Special Report by Center for Media and Democracy and DBA Press

The report reveals for the first time:

    • How law enforcement agencies active in the Arizona fusion center dispatched an undercover officer to infiltrate activist groups organizing both protests of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the launch of Occupy Phoenix– and how the work of this undercover officer benefited ALEC and the private corporations that were the subjects of these demonstrations.
    • How fusion centers, funded in large part by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, expended countless hours and tax dollars in the monitoring of Occupy Wall Street and other activist groups.
    • How the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has financed social media “data mining” programs at local law enforcement agencies engaged in fusion centers.
    • How counter terrorism government employees applied facial recognition technology, drawing from a state database of driver’s license photos, to photographs found on Facebook in an effort to profile citizens believed to be associated with activist groups.
    • How corporations have become part of the homeland security “information sharing environment” with law enforcement/intelligence agencies through various public-private intelligence sharing partnerships. The report examines multiple instances in which the counter terrorism/homeland security apparatus was used to gather intelligence relating to activists for the benefit of corporate interests that were the subject of protests.
    • How private groups and individuals, such as Charles Koch, Chase Koch (Charles’ son and a Koch Industries executive), Koch Industries, and the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council have hired off-duty police officers– sometimes still armed and in police uniforms — to perform the private security functions of keeping undesirables (reporters and activists) at bay.
    • How counter terrorism personnel monitored the protest activities of citizens opposed to the indefinite detention language contained in National Defense Authorization Act of 2012.
    • How the FBI applied “Operation Tripwire,” an initiative originally intended to apprehend domestic terrorists through the use of private sector informants, in their monitoring of Occupy Wall Street groups. [Note: this issue was reported on exclusively by DBA/CMD in December, 2012.]

The report is authored by Beau Hodai, DBA Press publisher and Center for Media and Democracy contributor.

Read the full report and Appendix

Read the full report on DBA Press here and view the document archive on DBA Press here.

In addition to the report, PR Watch will be publishing articles extracted from the report throughout the week at



Forget Big Brother. Companies and countries are discovering that algorithms programmed to scour vast quantities of data can be much more powerful. They can predict your next purchase, forecast car thefts and maybe even help cure cancer. But there is a down side. By Martin U. Müller, Marcel Rosenbach and Thomas Schulz more…

Australian surrealist poet ‘Gina’ has wowed Melbourne audiences with her debut performance of “ATM”.

Appearing on stage, in her ‘signature’ guise – that of a cross-dressing  middle-aged bank manager aka “Mike”, Gina’s rendition included the memorable lines…

I am not an ATM.

am not an ATM.

not an ATM.

an ATM.




an ATM.

not an ATM.

am not an ATM.

I am not an ATM.

To a standing ovation, ‘Gina’ thanked her Melbourne audience, exiting stage RIGHT…

Clive Hamilton warned us of  ‘Growth Fetish’ back in 2003 – a decade on, and the advance of the rapacious continues unabated. Below a couple of snippets from George Monbiot’s disturbing, yet fascinating piece…

‘…Governments today have no vision but endless economic growth. They are judged not by the number of people in employment, let alone by the number of people in satisfying, pleasurable jobs, not by the happiness of the population or the protection of the natural world. Job-free, world-eating growth is fine, as long as it’s growth. There are no ends any more, just means.

In their interesting but curiously incomplete book, How Much is Enough?, Robert and Edward Skidelsky note that “Capitalism rests precisely on this endless expansion of wants. That is why, for all its success, it remains so unloved. It has given us wealth beyond measure, but has taken away the chief benefit of wealth: the consciousness of having enough. … The vanishing of all intrinsic ends leaves us with only two options: to be ahead or to be behind. Positional struggle is our fate.”(9)…’

To find out which billionaire megalomaniac has a throne in his 747 (sic), please click here to go through to the piece in full @ George Monbiot.

Economic determinism is a hungry beast; ugly too.

On 1 May 2013 a 35 yr old man arrived to Christmas Island with his 9yr old son. Hours later he complained of feeling unwell and died in the local hospital shortly later.

ChilOut fully expected the Dept of Immigration to act swiftly and bring this boy to the Australian mainland where family members await his arrival and are ready to care for him. Six days later and with no response to our request for information to the Minister’s office, we have gone public in the hope that bureacracy moves faster to support and help this little boy.

Following the 2010 Christmas Island boat tragedy, young Seena was orhpaned. A debacle played out around his treatment, re-detention, funeral attendance and more. We thought that lessons would have been learnt and procedures would be in place to act immediately in the best interests of children in such a tragic situation. Seemingly not. Click here for ChilOut press release

ChilOut is an Australian group that formed in 2001. Their position is that “all children regardless of race, religion, class or immigration status should be covered by child protection laws. There should never be a loophole for child abuse or neglect. ChilOut does not usually undertake individual advocacy but exceptional circumstances warrant it.”

Below is an extract of a recent opinion piece by Bruce Haigh, who has very kindly given the interpretOr the okay to cite and link to his pieces…

 …To my mind the issue which has defined federal governments over the past decade and a half is the manner in which both major parties have chosen to handle refugees. Fearful of polls and lacking the quality most needed in politicians, that of leadership, they have chosen to demonise and bully the weakest amongst us, the one group requiring our care and compassion – asylum seekers.

Howard, Rudd, Gillard and Abbott have all used bullying as an instrument of politics. Their policies toward asylum seekers were and are not designed to protect and embrace those most in need, but rather to deter asylum seekers coming to Australia by boat.

The rhetoric of the Gillard government has been to claim that they are trying to break the people smuggler business model, and to assist they appointed an ‘expert panel’ to come up with policies to back their exclusionist boat policy. The government and opposition claim they want to stop people taking dangerous sea voyages, yet they stubbornly refuse to consider the option of processing on Indonesia for fear of encouraging more arrivals.

Current policies harm people. The victims are victimised, some incarcerated without hope of release because of fear they may engage in acts of terrorism. Advice tended to ASIO by a discredited Sri Lankan government, who happened to be the winner of a cruel civil war. The deal being if we detain their nominees they will prevent asylum seekers coming to Australia by boat. How low can we go as a nation?

Deterrence amounts to an unconscionable and prolonged act of state bullying…

…This piece can be read in full at Bruce’ site – just click here to go on through…



Dr Dennis Jensen MP

Federal Member for Tangney

Electorate Officer B

 Propaganda Officer

Applications are invited for the above position based in Perth, Western Australia

The duties of the position include: responding to constituent enquiries, liaising with Liberal State Government departments and other organisations, preparing and coordinating propaganda, liaising with News Ltd, organising functions and AWB memorabilia.

Applicants should possess the following skills and experience:

  1. Ability to work as part of a white, male dominated hierarchy
  2. Exceptional New Media Vision and Imagination – roll VCR!
  3. An understanding of Apartheid models and parliamentary processes
  4. Excellent oral and written communication skills – fluent Afrikaans preferred
  5. Well developed office hygiene skills and familiarity with TupperWare systems
  6. the ability to suspend disbelief going forwards…

A commencing salary between  $5,284 and $5,285

A probationary period of 3 years will apply.

Applications setting out details of experience and the names of two referees should be forwarded to

Applications close on Friday May 13 2013. For further information please contact Sean Terre’Blanche on (08) 9354 9633.

Email: Please click the ‘Apply Now’ button below.


...I have gone through a difficult time, through a life or death situation really. I have been injured and detained, my studio was destroyed and they fabricated a sky-high tax bill for me. So I am not representing myself but a certain cause. This is about justice. It is about people who have no voice or are too shy to use it. I have become a symbolic figure for this anti-authoritarian attitude -- not just in China, but in any country that is dominated by such a political or economic power, also in the so-called free world...

Ai Weiwei in conversation with SPIEGEL, May 2013.
...Please click here to go through to piece in full...

Here at the interpretOr, we view Ai Weiwei as a courageous and decent person who fell foul of the CCP when he highlighted the tragedy of thousands of Chinese school kids dying in recent earthquakes - crushed by collapsing school buildings...

Cosgrove L, Krimsky S (2012) A Comparison of DSM-IV and DSM-5 Panel Members’ Financial Associations with Industry: A Pernicious Problem Persists. PLoS Med 9(3): e1001190. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001190


All medical subspecialties have been subject to increased scrutiny about the ways by which their financial associations with industry, such as pharmaceutical companies, may influence, or give the appearance of influencing, recommendations in review articles [1] and clinical practice guidelines [2].

Psychiatry has been at the epicenter of these concerns, in part because of high-profile cases involving ghostwriting [3],[4] and failure to report industry-related income [5], and studies highlighting conflicts of interest in promoting psychotropic drugs[6],[7].

The revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), scheduled for publication mid May 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), has created a firestorm of controversy because of questions about undue industry influence. Some have questioned whether the inclusion of new disorders (e.g., Attenuated Psychotic Risk Syndrome) and widening of the boundaries of current disorders (e.g., Adjustment Disorder Related to Bereavement) reflects corporate interests [8],[9]. These concerns have been raised because the nomenclature, criteria, and standardization of psychiatric disorders codified in the DSMhave a large public impact in a diverse set of areas ranging from insurance claims to jurisprudence. Moreover, through its relationship to the International Classification of Diseases[10], the system used for classification by many countries around the world, the DSM has a global reach.

…this open source article continues by clicking through here t0 PLOS Medicine…

“One who stands up for the underdog, who refuses to tolerate oppression and injustice…”

(Green Left Weekly on the character of Jock Palfreeman, an Australian man currently imprisoned in Bulgaria for an act of conscience…of courage…)

Saturday, May 4, 2013
A rally for Jock Palfreeman was held in Sydney on April 30.

“In a different world — in a better world — Jock Palfreeman would not be in a jail serving a 20-year sentence. Instead he’d be awarded a medal for great courage, principle and instinctive support for victims of racist violence.

He would not be locked away in a jail in Bulgaria. He’d be toured around as an example of the sort of person we should all aspire to be. One who stands up for the underdog, who refuses to tolerate oppression and injustice.

His extraordinarily brave act in coming to the defence of two Roma men being attacked by a violent gang one dark night in Sofia, Bulgaria, would be discussed and studied in schools all over the world — as I believe it is studied in his old school, Riverview…

…click here for the piece in full @ Green Left Weekly…

Published in ON LINE OPINION @

Australia was founded as a penal colony by Great Britain two hundred and twenty five years ago. There were no expectations on the part of colonial Britain that it would ever amount to much more. However, enterprise and greed, on the part of administrators, soldiers and released convicts saw commercial activity and farming gradually established; all at the expense of the original Aboriginal inhabitants who not unnaturally saw the move to permanent settlement as an invasion.

There was no concept of civil liberties relating to the Aboriginals and the convicts. Industrialisation in Britain saw social upheaval within a class structured society; the acquisition of wealth was a means of moving upwards in the structure. As the colonies began to prosper, some viewed migration to them as an easier way to gain wealth and status, others as the only way to escape poverty.

Wealth bestowed certain rights to the new elite in the Australian colonies, but that was the extent of civil liberties. Some cite the gold rushes as bringing people, mainly men, to Australian with a more independent outlook and a notion of the ‘rights of man’. They cite armed protest on the Victorian gold fields in December 1854, known as the Eureka Stockade, as proof of this and Republicans in Australia employ the symbolism of the event and the flag used by the protesters, as a prop in their campaign. However the uprising, as it romantically referred to, was a protest of frustration at the imposition of mining licence fees and police harassment involved with the collection of these fees.

White miners killed and injured Chinese miners, most seriously at Lambing Flat near Young in NSW but also on gold fields in Victoria. There was no notion of civil liberties relating to the persecuted Chinese, on the contrary fear over the loss of white jobs led to The White Australia Policy, in force from the 1880’s to the 1960’s.

Cheap Labour was introduced to Queensland sugar fiel…

…Bruce Haigh’s piece continues here @…

Former diplomat Bruce Haigh spent years in some of the world's hotspots where he saw and did some extraordinary things. In South Africa he befriended the legendary dissident Steve Biko. In Afghanistan he took pictures of Russian military installations. In Pakistan he flirted with Benazir Bhutto, or perhaps it was Benazir flirting with him...


Current issue: May 2013

…tyranny of the one per centNorth Korea, scary and scared; China’s space war; UK, in or out? France and Nato, Védrine to Debray; those problem EU bordersthe Kurds’ changing reality; special report: do we need a basic minimum incomeenergy for people or profit? Gordon Ramsey’s tv coaching… supplement: the question of international solidarity… and more…

…just click the pic above to access…


ZaoIn an interview, Chinese artist Zhao Zhao, who has a new exhibition in Berlin, discusses the state harassment he has experienced, his role as a troublemaker and why, recently, he is spending more time on his art than activism.

Of China's young artists, Zhao Zhao, 30, is one of the most provocative. For a long time, he worked together with Ai Weiwei. A new show of his work opened over the weekend at Berlin's Alexander Ochs Gallery. SPIEGEL conducted a brief interview with the artist shortly before the opening of "Zhao Zhao: Nothing Inside II".
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