Oct 30

Witch hunt II Bitcoin Ascendancy II Eyes of a Dreamer II Headlines of Impact II

Witch hunts II Bitcoin Ascendency II Eyes of a Dreamer II Headlines of Impact II 

Today is the 50th BLOG for Research1Media.  The monthly blog is now automatically published on my personal Facebook page and on my Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, where the blog has achieved 36 followers in the first few months it has been appearing.  Headlines of Impact include GST free electricity bills, Farewell to war and Cuba – sonic attack.

The Cairns Post publication Invest Cairns (Oct 2017) which was included in last Wednesdays Cairns Post and this weekend’s Weekend Australian illustrated just how much Cairns is growing and what a beautiful paradise we live in.  Speaking with my Aunt over the phone on Sunday morning, she promised to visit and I added the Cairns Aquarium, the recently renovated Cairns Museum and the new Performing Arts Centre to our bucket list of places to visit together,  and all this aside from the Reef,  Fitzroy Island’s nudey beach (one of my favourites), the Wet Tropics, Crystal Cascades and Tobruk Pool.  Cairns is growing and you can almost feel the buzz. 

Witch hunts 

The One Nation bill (as it is known) was the result of a Four Corners expose on the party’s governance.  Earlier according to Mike Seccombe, a journalist writing for The Saturday Paper,  One Nation had threatened to withdraw support for any government legislation unless the ABC budget was slashed by another $600 million over 4 years. As it happened Senator Hanson’s demands were rejected but a media bill did pass the Senate on September 14, 2017.

Back in June 2016,  the R1M blog featured a piece on Ms Guthrie and the $260.5 million (over 2 years) which was cut from the ABC’s budget at the time by the Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull under the Abbott government – ABC Content.  Fourteen journalists lost their jobs as a result and countless repeats resulted in complaints from viewers. Ms Guthrie who became Managing Director of the ABC in May last year,  described the new media legislation [as] “designed to further a political vendetta”.  Adding that “technology has given us a sea of content abundance, [but] the commercial media is lobbying for the government to restrict the public broadcaster’s access”.     “Attacking the national broadcaster does not and will never constitute a viable business model” Guthrie said. 

Her advice to government is “The ABC Act and Charter should not be tempered with simply to suit political or commercial agendas.”  The Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield introduced the media ownership law changes to parliament and the bill was subsequently passed (Sept 14, 2017).

  • The bill will scrap rules preventing one company from owning print, radio and television assets in one market, and TV broadcasters from reaching more than 75pc of the population
  • Government passed the bill with help from NXT and One Nation
  • Media companies have welcomed the changes, which they say reflect the industry’s changing landscape.
  • There will also be a change to revenue-based licence fees for commercial operators, which will be replaced by a lower spectrum charge.

Minister Fifield was not finished,  he then introduced what journalists had been referring to as the One Nation Bill on 18 October,  The Australian Broadcasting Corporation Amendment (Rural and Regional Measures) Bill outlined the establishment of a Regional Advisory Council, greater transparency on salaries and that the ABC’s coverage, particularly in rural and regional areas was to be ‘fair and balanced’.  The ABC’s own editorial policies already cover ‘fair treatment’ and ‘a balance that follows the weight of evidence, and the MEAA’s Journalists Code of Ethics refers to ‘fairness’ no less than six times.’   The bill was DOA – dead on arrival with Labor,  the Greens,  Hinch and Lambie all opposing it in the Senate.  But be ready for yet another attempt by Goverment to cut services and content.   The ABC is indeed under seige.

Sources: Minister Hon Mitch Fifield – Media Release,  The Saturday Paper Front Page & p10, National correspondent – Mike Seccombe, 

Another witch hunt erupted last week involving Senator Michaeli Cash, the Minister for Employment and the AWU (Australian Workers Union).  Senator Cash referred a $100,000 union donation to GetUp! for investigation only to find the process blew up in her face.

Senator Cash also wanted the Federal Government’s newly appointed ‘regulator of unions’ the Registered Organisations Commission to investigate the donations to three MPs for their election campaigns, one of those MPs is opposition leader, Bill Shorten.  The question was – had the AWU authorised the payments?  Also reported in the Weekend Australian (p20), “an AWU national executive resolution passed in November 2006 left all requests for donations for Labor candidates in the 2007 federal election “in the hands” of Shorten.   The argument here is that this action would not be acceptable union governance. The  Australian Federal Police duly raided the AWU Head Office in Sydney and Melbourne at the behest of ROC in order to obtain specific documents. It is indeed strange that the head of ROC, Mark Bielecki called Ben Davis, the head of the Victorian branch of the AWU and alerted him that the raid was about to happen.  If destroying documents was feared the AWU were now given time to do precisely that.  

The AFP did remove minutes of union executive meetings and other documents relating to 2006 and 2007 however the union is not required by law to hold documents longer than 7 years.  Dave De Garis,  the Minister’s media officer took a bullet for the debacle and it was revealed in The Weekend Australian he was not alone,  major television networks were alerted to the raid by separate sources.  

In his major article in this weekends The Saturday Paper,   Seccombe states “The AWU [has now] began a Federal Court challenge over the seizure of the documents and insists… the relevant documents had already been provided to the trade unions royal commission”  (p10-11).  The Royal Commission was set up in March 2014 and reported to government in December 2015. 

So why the double up,  they have the documents they intended to get in the raid,  they were not in danger of being destroyed, or tampered with and if they were, it did not matter,  the government already had copies   … doesn’t the right hand know what the left hand is doing?  This may be a two-pronged attack – Shorten and GetUp.

And now today Friday 27 Oct,  Attorney General George Brandis announced to the Senate Committee investigating the complete ‘balls up’  –  with the press arriving before police to raid the headquarters of the AWU,  Brandis announces that now there will be a further Federal Police investigation into how the media knew –  it was leaked,  hello !!!   Has the government really got MONEY TO BURN.

Sources: Brad Norington, Weekend Australian, Inquirer Oct 28-29, 2017, Mike Seccombe, The Saturday Paper, Oct28-Nov3, 2017

Bitcoin Ascendency 

The cryptocurrency rose this month to $5,243 having started the year at $966.  That’s a staggering 750% profit in the one year.  Bitcoin is now worth four times as much as an ounce of gold. The easiest way to find out about bitcoins, the currency, how to purchase them and their value is via the CNN money website.

Invented so-called, by an Australian, Craig Wright who also claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin was created in 2008 and first ‘open sourced’ in January 2009.  Today you can buy and sell bitcoins any way you like, just access this one trading site as an example Bitcoin trader.

Can patent law slow down Bitcoin? No..because enforcing patent law becomes difficult with a global decentralised pseudo-anonymous network. This is where it gets difficult understanding a cryptocurrency.  Only 21 million bitcoins can be built into the system (as designed).  There are currently 16.6 million bitcoins in circulation worldwide as of September 2017…  if only I’d got into this pyramid scheme at the bottom.

noun: crypto-currency
  1. a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank.
    “decentralized cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin now provide an outlet for personal wealth that is beyond restriction and confiscation”

So as a decentralised pseudo-anonymous network,  bitcoin operates independently of a central bank.  It’s a virtual currency.  Oh no,  it doesn’t exist,  so the above is just an image, a drawing, no bitcoin at all. A fake.

I sought to confirm with wikipedia…
 A cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is an intangible commodity that can be used as a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency.  
 
Just like qualitative easing … printing more money,   you can do this too with bitcoin except you are not printing out anything.  It’s all virtual,  in your imagination.
No, no,  at 1 bitcoin = $5,243.00,  I won’t be purchasing a bitcoin anytime soon.  I simply can’t imagine it 🙂
 Source: The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 p.14 Finance

Again – what is bitcoin? A digital currency, used to make payments of any value without fees. It runs on the [a] blockchain, a decentralised ledger kept running by “miners” whose powerful computers crunch transactions and are rewarded in bitcoins.

Is a bitcoin worth anything ?  Yes.  16.6m bitcoins are in circulation.  Each bitcoin as of 20 October 2017 is worth $5,243.  

Bitcoin cash?  In August 2017, the blockchain forked to support another cryptocurrency, Bitcoin Cash, which is optimised slightly differently. People who held Bitcoin received an equal value of Bitcoin Cash following this ‘hard fork’.   Now that’s generous.  

Sources: The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 p14, Bitcoin Trader,  CNN Money

Eyes of a Dreamer

The artist who created the installation on the Mexican border goes by the initials JR.  He said on Instagram that he painted “the eyes of the dreamer” atop the installation extending across Tecate, Mexico and Tecate in California.

Picnic-goers on both sides of the [Mexican] border came together to break bread at the fully functioning table during the one-day display.  “People eating the same food, sharing the same water, enjoying the same music (half of the band on each side) around the eye of a dreamer… we forgot the wall for a minute,” JR said. Acknowledging his artwork was technically forbidden, it was not shut down and during the Sunday display he even paused for tea with a border patrol officer.  I love installations which convey a positive political message. Sources: Time magazine, Oct 23, 2017 p14-15 and time.com/lightbox,   JR’s art & website – take a look. 

Headlines of Impact

GST-free electricity bills ‘affordable’ – Dennis Shanahan, journalist for the Weekend Australian suggested Malcolm Turnbull should drop the GST on domestic gas and electricity bills.  This would deliver an immediate cut of approx., $200 to the average power bill and would cost the states and territories about $2 billion.  The States could absorb the cost with a corresponding reduction in their GST payments.  The above figures from the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) were commissioned by Liberal Democratic Senator David Leyonhjelm.  The proposal would equate to a 9.1% reduction in average power bills.  The Treasurer unfortunately is resistent to the proposition.  Sources:  Dennis Shanahan, Simon Benson and Joe Kelly, The Australian, Sept 7, 2017. 

Farewell to war

“Farewell to arms, farewell to war, welcome to peace,” said the Farc’s top leader, Rodrigo Londoño, to a cheering crowd of former combatants at a ceremony in Mesetas, a mountainous area in south-eastern Colombia.  Colombia’s Farc rebels, who once terrorized the country with kidnappings, killings and attacks on towns, have ended half a century of armed insurgency at a low-key ceremony in which the United Nations certified that more than 7,000 guerrillas had turned over their weapons.  This week October 21, 2017,  The Economist reported that Columbia’s constitutional court has ruled that the peace deal with FARC cannot be modified for 12 years. 

President Juan Manuel Santos said: “Today is a special day, the day when weapons are exchanged for words.” Santos was awarded the 2016 Nobel peace prize for his efforts to secure a deal with the Farc to end their part in a 53-year armed conflict that has left an estimated 250,000 dead, tens of thousands of people missing and forced millions from their home. Source: The Guardian, Wed 28 June, 2017 – Sibylla Brodzinsky in Mesetas, Colombia.

Cuba – sonic attack 

In August this year the BBC reported a possible sonic attack on diplomats in Cuba. Symptoms of a sonic attack may include dizziness, headaches, vomiting, bowel spasms, vertigo, permanent hearing loss and even brain damage. Cuba has denied involvement and security analysts say it may have been done by a third country, hostile to the US.  

 Even the potential motive is unclear. Investigators are at a loss to explain why Canadians were harmed, too, including some who reported nosebleeds. Fewer than 10 Canadian diplomatic households in Cuba were affected, a Canadian official said. According to The Guardian, 30 Sept 2017,  the US has pulled out more than half its embassy staff from Cuba and warned its citizens not to travel to the island. 

Officials with Cuba’s Interior Ministry said that US investigators had presented them with three recordings made by presumed victims of sonic attacks and that analysis of the sounds showed them to be extremely similar to those of crickets and ­cicadas that live along the northern coast of Cuba.

“It’s the same bandwidth and it’s audibly very similar,” said Lieutenant Colonel Juan Carlos Molina, a telecommunications specialist with the Interior Ministry. “We compared the spectrums of the sounds and evidently this common sound is very similar to the sound of a cicada.”  The White House insists that Cuba must be held responsible for not preventing the attacks; Havana says it cannot control crickets and cicadas.  

Sources the Australian, AP Oct 28, 2017,  Reporter Tim Fernholz,  Quartz Media, Oct 27, 2017

End of blog quote:  The collision of hail or rain with hard surfaces, or the song of cicadas in a summer field. These sonic events are made out of thousands of isolated sounds; this multitude of sounds, seen as totality, is a new sonic event.   Iannis Xenakis

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