Eat Your Greens

We speak truth to power and we eat our greens


There are no recipes here, although the advice holds - it's good to eat your greens. Eating our greens is good for us and, in time, we come to love them. Some of us even end up growing them. Being informed is also good for us, it's a core responsibility we have as humans, as is giving way to pedestrians, sharing our food with a stranger, greeting our neighbour and not drinking bad coffee.

Even more than that, if we want a kinder, gentler, more compassionate society, one which, presumably, we would all benefit from, it's also incumbent upon us to refrain from taking a position on any subject by basing that position on an ideology, merely because we are not prepared to apply the intellectual rigour required to properly understand it.

With that as a foundation, it's reasonable therefore to conclude that in today's world, with its surfeit of news coverage, and with it no shortage of opinion, on topics various - drought, bushfires, water management, the environment, climate change, economics, human rights, the welfare of others, political machinations, the list goes on, we need to, dare I say, be attentive and with it develop the skills to separate well constructed reportage from mere opinion, masquearading as analysis.

It's against this background of news saturation that a library of 3,000+ (and counting) pieces of credible journalism from reliable sources was established. It morphed into 'Eat Your Greens', in an attempt to present information, easily accessible, that contributes to making us a better informed, gentler and kinder society. It's also incumbent upon us, if we are to have this kinder, gentler, more compassionate society, that we hold the political class to account.

There are no answers here, only questions, that is what good journalism does, it shines a light into dark corners that the powers that be are happy to have remain in darkness. 'Eat Your Greens' attempts to expose this and hold accountable those who weild power, by shining a light into those dark corners and turning over some rocks - and - who wouldn't want that. Read on.

Every now and then someone will begin a sentence with "I'm no expert but …" which will invariably, though not always, precede a monologue resembling little more than a passing acquaintance to the subject at hand, revealing the speaker's pre-conceived version of the truth. This is not knowledge, it's an opinion, which, as Plato put it, is the bridge between ignorance and knowledge, and which outs itself as nothing more than ideology.

Ideology is not grounded in kindness or knowledge, it's usually grounded in the preservation of power, in privilege, prejudice, in any or all its manifest forms, or in fear, or a combination of all of those things. Ideology preserves injustice, destruction of environment, marginalisation of minorities, racism, institutionalised discrimination, species extinction, preservation of privilege, and high-office graft. And for the ideologue, the truth of a matter, or the facts that may prove or undermine their ideology more often than not is less important than the number of people prepared to believe in it.

Ideology encourages hyper-partisan reasoning due to what psychologists call "motivated cognition," which is the act of deciding what you want to believe and using your reasoning power, with all its might, to get you there. Just as it's true for individuals, it's also true for organisations and nation states.

Economic Ideology, for example, as it's extant is underlined by the following patently contradictory statement by Australia's Prime Minister, meeting at the junction of ideology and neo-liberalism (which we'll get to), probably unaware of his statement's obvious juxtaposition, in response to the government's reducing the Jobseeker payment - "the government can’t allow the lifeline [to] hold Australia back as we move into the next phases of recovery." (Nov '20). Whilst this statement (article here) demands closer examination it's perhaps best left to let it speak for itself, or, in the spirit of Hamlet, allow it to be "hoist with its own petard."

'Eat Your Greens' looks at the juxtaposition between economy and society, a distinction that political ideology fails to make. Making political decisions based solely on an Ideology starts wars, divides communities, discourages innovation, promotes secrecy and advances prejudices. And yet ideology is often based on minimal examination or appreciation of the things that make a society work. It's good then to ask oursleves how we might go about defining one.

The modern incarnation of the term, popularised by post World War II free-market proponents, such as economist Milton Friedman, emanated out of a push-back against post-Keynesian theories that advanced the view that the state is best positioned to support the social and economic well-being of its citizens.

Neo-liberalism's underlying principle is one of the State having a passive, rather than an active, role in society and economy, although the theory never holds because governments intervene in the economy when it suits their ideology, which, with that one single stroke, has their theory disproven. It's proponents claim that the market is better positioned to deliver prosperity, health outcomes and many services hitherto the preserve of governments, adopting a “if it's not working, and particularly if it is working, let the market take it over” philosophy. If there was a single event to punch a crater size hole in that theory it is Covid-19, although it's not as if we weren't warned, with the failure of the privatised aged care system being its poster child.

A neo-liberal would advocate government staying out of the way and allowing individuals decide, individualism being the bastard child of neo-liberalism. This meme falls at the first and most fundamental hurdle, that being a mis-interpration of what economics actually is. Economics has very little to do with maths, or statistics, it’s not logical, it never has been.

Economics is a study in sociology, it’s irrational, mad as a cat and prone to outbursts that defy the logic purported to it. A neo-liberal, even a rabid one, would surely not attempt to make the claim that their theory is a panacea but nonetheless, they will almost always look to the market as the default setting for addressing what they adjudicate to be a hitherto faulty or implacable situation.

Let’s step back a bit - the natural enemy of the neo-liberal would be the socialist, another term most people would struggle to muster up a definition of. Broadly speaking, socialism is the democratic (or in some cases, the revolutionary) socialisation of the means of industry, production, distribution and exchange. In its diluted form then, socialism exists in some form or another, in every developed country in the world. Each time a government interferes in the market, it is, by its actions, setting aside any ideological adherence to neo-liberalism while at the same time trumpeting its virtues.

Publicly funded health care is a form of socialism yet very few of us would demand that the government placed the responsibility for health care wholly and solely into the hands of the market, particularly given that private health care costs two to three times the cost of operating the public system. It would represent something more than an act of political folly.

Neo-liberalism, econonically speaking, advocates a takeover, while politically it abdicates responsibility, arguing that it has handed over control and therefore oversight, to the market. It will argue that is therefore not at fault if the whole thing implodes. And here is the rub, neo-liberals find it almost impossible to seperate a society from an economy, they view the economy as holding primacy and believe that all good things emanate from it. Time and time again they are proved wrong and time and time again, they look for new strategies to implement and promote their logic. We only have to look at how neo-liberalism increased inequality in the aftermath of the GFC to prove the point.

There is no doubt that the market has given us great innovation, it can and does drive progress but it is, at its core, an amoral system, it makes no attempts at being moral, nor should it - such that any contingency related to catering to the needs of people, be it fairness kindness, or compassion will have a price, or cost, assigned to it, set against the end result, which is not fairness, kindness or compassion but profit.

It’s important to note that Socialism on it’s own does not work any more than neo-liberalism on its own does, however, neo-liberalism as it’s advocated by our current government, does not deliver a strong or fair civil society any more than putting a saddle on a horse guarantees that you will be able to ride it. Neo-liberalism makes no effort to account for suffering, citing disadvantage as a natural by-product of a healthy economy and therefore, according to the neo-liberal model, a healthy society. I enjoy the dynamics of the market and the benefits it can provide but at the same time I bristle when caring for people is reduced to an auction, it begets the things that diminish us as a society and reflects back to us our core values.
Stop/Start Ribbon
Opinion is the bridge between ignorance and knowledge" - Plato
ECONOMY:
The Morrison government wanted tax cuts for the wealthy, and that is what they have delivered (Dec '20)
Quarterly Growth Rates of real GDP, change over previous quarter … OECD
Remember Josh Frydenberg scoffing at a 'wellbeing budget'? He's not laughing any more
Backflip to the home: NBN to upgrade FttN areas with fibre (Sep '20)
Jim Chalmers says two-thirds of the debt in the budget was borrowed before the start of the pandemic. Is he correct? (Aug ’20)
Government Tax Receipts as a percentage of GDP (2000 -2019) (Nov ’20)
HOMELESSNESS/SOCIAL HOUSING:
More Australian social housing is the obvious answer to more than one question (Oct '20)
400,000 women over 45 are at risk of homelessness in Australia (Aug '20)
Australia's housing market is boosted by policies designed to ensure prices keep rising | Housing | The Guardian (Feb '21)
$1 billion per year (or less) could halve rental housing stress (Oct '20)
MENTAL HEALTH:
No, this is not an episode of Yes Minister, it's the Morrison government's response to the mental health crisis (Dec '20)
If Australia really wants to tackle mental health after coronavirus, we must take action on homelessness (Jun '20)
How the government makes your mental health worse (Nov '20)
DISABILITY:
Why we need more people with disability appearing in the media and the ABC's IDPwD initiatives to be more inclusive (Dec '20)
Mums with an intellectual disability already risk family violence and losing their kids. Coronavirus could make things worse (Apr '20)
Disability royal commission finds Federal Government responsible for 'serious failures' during COVID-19 (Dec '20) …
Coalition plan on NDIS assessments has echoes of 'aged care debacle', Liberal MP says (Dec '20)
WOMEN:
‘Gender ignorant’ treasurers leave Australia lagging behind in women’s equality, equity advocate says | Gender | The Guardian (Jan '21)
The outlook for older women in Australia is dire – but no one seems to care (Nov '20)
There’s a big problem with the Murdoch media no one is talking about — how it treats women leaders (Nov ’20)
FIRST NATIONS:
NSW police commissioner says officer who slammed Indigenous teen to ground ‘had a bad day’ (Jun '20)
Indigenous prison population continues to increase, while non-Indigenous incarceration rate falls | Indigenous incarceration | The Guardian (Jan '21)
Police officers involved in Tanya Day’s death avoid prosecution (Aug '20)
An Indigenous 'Voice' must be enshrined in our Constitution. Here's why (Jan '21)
Why an Indigenous voice would not be a 'third chamber' of parliament Prof. Anne Twomey (May ’19)
Chelsea Bond: The ‘new’ Closing the Gap is about buzzwords, not genuine change for Indigenous Australia (Jul '20)
Stolen wages and living under wage control laws involved long hours, lonely days, say Aboriginal workers - ABC News (Dec '20)
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:
 We analysed almost 500,000 police reports of domestic violence. Mental health was an issue (Jan '21)
 Domestic violence: women's safety advocates say Coalition is ignoring experts (Mar '20)
 Women with disability are far more likely to suffer domestic and sexual abuse than non-disabled women (Nov '20)
AGED CARE:
 Coalition Spin Kings: real reform in aged care trumped by re-announcements and a deluge of cash (Nov ’20)
 No strings attached: aged care providers have the Coalition wrapped around their little fingers (Oct '20)
 Millions for aged care investors, but homes lack nurses: where does $13bn in federal funding go? (Sep '20)
WORK/UNEMPLOYMENT:
 Scott Morrison’s ‘work harder to earn more’ nonsense shows how out of touch with workers he is (Oct '19)
 ‘Deeply hurtful’ claims of Australian jobseekers turning down work are based on scant evidence (Jun '20)
 The 'job snob' stereotype has been used for decades to denigrate the unemployed. Facts tell a different story (Jul '20)
 Coalition proposes retrospectively stripping misclassified casuals of up to $39bn in claims (Dec '20)
SOCIAL SAFETY NET/WELFARE/ROBODEBT:
 New finding: boosting JobSeeker wouldn’t keep Australians away from paid work (Nov '20)
 Robodebt scandal: more than 3,000 deceased estates owed refunds by Australian government (Oct '20)
 Coalition stopped welfare payments to 55,000 homeless or at-risk jobseekers in six months (Apr '19)
 'Unfunded empathy': Scott Morrison pushes back on growing calls to lift Newstart rate (Jul '19)
 Coalition won’t rule out passing new laws to reboot robodebt scheme (Jun '20)
IMMIGRATION/ASYLUM SEEKERS/REFUGEES:
 Handcuffed asylum seekers 'paraded like criminals' in Australian hospitals, doctors say (Nov '20)
 Exclusive: War on refugees moves to final phase onshore (Oct '20)
 Caught in Australia’s campaign to ‘stop the boats’, 30,000 people reached the shore only to enter a legal limbo. (Dec '20)
 Reprieve for Biloela family after federal court rules they were denied procedural fairness (Apr '20)
 Home affairs fought for three years to stop Serco detention centre manual release (Mar '20)
  Dutton Slammed for Locking Up a Blind, Mentally Ill Refugee for a Decade  (Feb '20)
MULTICULRALISM/RACISM/FAR RIGHT:
 'A spoilt brat country': the Australians overseas who decided not to come home (Jan '21)
 Australia must reckon with the fact the Christchurch terrorist developed much of his hatred here 
 Asio boss warns of rising foreign interference and far-right extremism in Australia (Feb '20)
 Why is it so offensive to say 'all lives matter'? (Jan '21)
 Scott Morrison said all the right things after Christchurch attack, but his history tells another story (Mar '19)
 Coronavirus has fuelled racism against Asian-Australians, but why isn't official data showing it? (May '20)
 ‘Garbage’ and ‘cash cows’: temporary migrants describe anguish of exclusion and racism during COVID-19 (Sep '20)
IDEOLOGY:
 Scott Morrison, aerodynamic populism and the art of never choosing a side | Australian politics | The Guardian (Jan ’21)
 Scott Morrison refuses to condemn Trump for inciting ‘distressing’ violence in US Capitol (Jan ’21)
 The Morrison government is using the COVID-19 crisis to devastate the public service, the ABC, the arts and tertiary education (Aug '20)
 The blatant hypocrisy of Scott Morrison’s Christian faith (Sep ’19)
 Scott Morrison summed up | Australia news | The Guardian (Feb '21)
 'Christmas present for corporate criminals': inquiry's support for weakening corporate disclosure laws condemned (Dec '20)
 Bankster Bailout: will the trickle-down package trickle beyond the banks and big business? (Mar ’20)
 This pandemic has exposed the uselessness of orthodox economics (Jul ’20)
 Scott Morrison: Black Lives Matter protesters should be charged if they defy advice and march (Jun '20)
ACCOUNTABILITY/RORTS/CONFLICT OF INTEREST:
 Under COVID cover : Ministers in the Morrison government can get away with anything (Dec '20)
 Christian Porter has shown himself unfit to be federal Attorney–General (Oct '20)
 ‘A mockery’: Great Barrier Reef Foundation raises just $21m of $357m target (Jul ‘20)
 Coalition MPs urge Scott Morrison to restore funding to auditor general (Sep '20)
CORRUPTION/COVER UP:
 'Senator, I agree': $30m Western Sydney airport land deal 'looks like' a cover-up, says infrastructure chief (Oct '20)
 'Thinly disguised political research' fed into Morrison government's pandemic ads (Oct '20)
 The secrecy in the Witness K case is an attempt by the government to avoid scrutiny (Jul '20)
 Mystery of the doctored documents: Angus Taylor and the climate attack on Sydney's lord mayor (Oct '19)
SECRECY:
 The scandals he walks past: In Morrison’s government, a lack of accountability has become systemic | The Monthly (Jan '21)
 Scott Morrison's office met freedom of information deadlines in just 7.5% of cases (Nov '20)
 Morrison ditched Turnbull-era plans for greater transparency in political lobbying (Jul '20)
 Morrison broadens membership of Covid-19 commission but says advice to remain off-limits to public (Jul '20)
 Secrecy in trial of Witness K lawyer Bernard Collaery an offence against open justice: law council (Oct '20)
 Australia May Well Be the Worldʼs Most Secretive Democracy … New York Times - (Jun '19) 
FUNDING CUTS:
 Budget should reverse 'brazen’ Coalition cuts to transparency bodies that hold government to account (Oct '20)
 CapTel text-captioned telephones will not work as of February in blow for Australia's deaf community (Jan '20)
PROPAGANDA/CONTROLLING THE NARRATIVE/TOTALITARIANISM:
 Morrison government spent $128m on advertising in 2019-20, figures reveal (Dec '20)
 The announcement artist: Scott Morrison is good at promising but not at delivering (Sep '20)
 Morrison government paid empathy consultant $190,000 (Oct '19)
 Great Barrier Reef scientists told to focus on projects to make government look good (Sep ‘18)
FOREIGN AFFAIRS:
It's high time to question Australia's culture of military hero-worship (Nov '20)
Asylum or economic opportunity? The mixed messages in Australia’s new Hong Kong visa options (Jul '20)
Does Australia really have to be so strident when it comes to China? (Nov '20)
Saudi Arabia is confident it can buy out the West, and Australia is happy to oblige (Mar '19)
CLIMATE POLITICS:
‘Breathtaking’: what Joe Biden’s sweeping climate plan means for Scott Morrison | Environment | The Guardian (Jan '21)
Australia's climate wars were always stupid. Now they've got even dumber | Australian politics | The Guardian (Feb '21)
The Paris Agreement 5 years on: big coal exporters like Australia face a reckoning (Dec '20)
Coalition quietly adds fossil fuel industry leaders to emissions reduction panel | Energy | The Guardian (Jan ’21)
Out on its own: Australia the only country to use climate funding to upgrade coal-fired plants (Apr ’19)
ENVIRONMENT:
Scientists fear Coalition's push to deregulate environmental approvals will lead to extinction crisis (Jun '20)
Frydenberg proposed delisting wetland to allow Queensland's Toondah Harbour development (Dec '20)
Australia's environment in unsustainable state of decline, major review finds (Jun '20)
Morrison government has failed in its duty to protect environment, auditor general finds (Jun '20)
CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION/INACTION/DENIAL:
Bad Investments: What will it take for the Coalition to give up its fossil-fuel addiction? (Dec '20)
Australia’s most senior former public servants and scientists reveal their anger about climate policy failure (may '20)
Australia’s climate effort slammed as ‘simply embarrassing’, among worst in the G20 (Nov '20)
The biggest Coalition conspiracy theory is climate change denial | Climate change | The Guardian (Jan '21)
Scott Morrison backs coal wealth for decades to come (Jan '21)
Latest …
No strings attached: aged care providers have the Coalition wrapped around their little fingers
Don't call me brave for living with mental illness - it's condescending
Australian government cites 'chilling effect' on cabinet in bid to block release of papers in Timor-Leste spy case
Top economists back boosts to JobSeeker and social housing over tax cuts in pre-budget poll
New research: nitrous oxide emissions 300 times more powerful than CO₂ are jeopardising Earth’s future
Our world is facing irreversible destruction – and still there's no urgency in Australian climate policy
Jobs, health and climate: what Australians want the budget to pay for
Indigenous voice to parliament: Pat Turner urges PM to show 'a bit of backbone'
Tax break for weapons exports to Mid-East countries accused of war crimes

    Climate science

      Aotearoa (New Zealand)

      Jacinda Ardern is at her best in a crisis. Now she must tackle housing affordability (Dec '20)

      Life after Christchurch: one survivor's journey of recovery and reckoning (Nov '20)

      Gold star for you: New Zealand council puts stickers on bins of best recyclers (Nov '20)

      The 'staggering' potential of New Zealand's returning diaspora

      New Zealand media put Christchurch gunman in his place with focus on victims (Aug '20)

      Is the PM a transformer? Or just a manager? (Jul '20)

      Did a tragic family secret influence Kate Sheppard’s mission to give New Zealand women the vote? (Jul '20)

      Post-Covid New Zealand tackles a new threat – anxiety over an uncertain future (Jul '20)

      Reforming cannabis laws is a complex challenge, but New Zealand’s history of drug reform holds important lessons (Jun ’20)

      New Zealand supermarket chain becomes first to use 'period' label on menstrual products (Jun ’20)

      Trust, risk and routine arming: the killing of a frontline officer challenges New Zealand police practice (Jun ’20)

      Black Lives Matter outrage must drive police reform in Aotearoa-New Zealand too (Jun ’20)

      New Zealand drops armed police trial after public concern (Jun ’20)

      Armed police not what NZ needs (Jun ’20)

      New Zealand tackles 'period poverty' with free sanitary products for all schoolgirls (Jun ’20)

      Documents reveal serious lack of consultation before police armed response teams launched (May ’20)

      Like Christmas: New Zealand's post-Covid books boom (May ’20)

      'New Zealanders don't think like that': Kind Kiwi claps back at Melbourne woman after racist outburst (May ’20)

      Move over culture wars, New Zealand's post-virus election will be about economics (Apr ’20)

      The challenges and benefits of outdoor recreation during NZ’s coronavirus lockdown (Mar ‘20)

      As an MP in self-isolation, I’ve seen New Zealand’s collective power to respond to a crisis (Mar ’20)

      Ardern: New Zealand has ‘fundamentally changed’ since Christchurch shootings (Mar ’20)

      Far-right extremists still threaten New Zealand, a year on from the Christchurch attacks (Mar ’20)

      In New Zealand, we are starting to value women’s work fairly. It’s time for the world to follow (Mar ’20)

      Product of Australia – it’s fashionable to beat up on New Zealanders

      SOMEWHERE TO LIVE - EXPLORING SOLUTIONS TO THE HOUSING AFFORDABILITY CRISIS IN AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND (Feb ’20)

      ‘These children are in limbo’: the New Zealanders locked out of Australia’s NDIS (Feb ’20)

      Not much love actually: Jacinda Ardern was right to call out Australia’s ‘corrosive’ policies (Feb ’20)

      Jacinda Ardern lashes Scott Morrison for ‘testing’ friendship over deportations to New Zealand (Feb ’20)

      Vested interests in New Zealand politics are too big to ignore – we need a Royal Commission (Feb ’20)

      The haka isn’t yours – stop performing it (Jan ’20)

      I pioneered the four-day week – now it must be used to fight the climate crisis (Jan ’20)

      New Zealand lobby group plans to sue Australia over citizenship law change (Jan ’20)

      Aotearoa is at last finding its voice, helping us heal after a year of tragedy (Dec ’19)

      New Zealand to get 10 Gbps fibre to premises in 2020 (Nov ’19)

      New Zealand’s well-being approach to budget is not new, but could shift major issues (May ’19)

      Jacinda Ardern urges leaders to widen their definition of ‘prosperity’ – video (Jul ’19)

      New Zealand's electoral system — is it better than ours? (may ’19)

      The paradox of happiness: the more you chase it the more elusive it becomes (May ’19)

      Four lessons we must take away from the Christchurch terror attack (Mar ’19)

      Stop/Start Ribbon
      HIDE PREAMBLE
      It's reasonable conclude that during the past year or two, there has been a surfeit of news coverage, on topics various. Drought, bushfires, water management, the environment, climate change, political machinations, the list goes on. A library of credible journalism from reliable sources was established, which then morphed into the Flip-Side, in an attempt to present information that made all of us a better informed, gentler and kinder people. To be informed, it goes with saying, is a core responsibility of all mature citizens. Gentler and kinder because we all benefit by not engaging in ideological shouting matches over a meal or a drink. S

      Every now and then you'll hear someone begin a sentence with "I'm no expert but …" which will invariably, though not always, precede a monologue resembling little more than a passing acquaintance to the subject at hand, revealing the speaker's pre-conceived version of the truth. This is not knowledge, it's an opinion, which is, as Plato put it, the bridge between ignorance and knowledge, and which outs itself as nothing more than ideology.

      Ideology is not grounded in kindness, intellectual rigour or knowledge, it's usually grounded in the preservation of power, in privilege, prejudice, in any or all its manifest forms, or in fear, or a combination of all of those things. Ideology preserves injustice, destruction of environment, marginalisation of minorities, racism, institutionalised discrimination, species extinction, preservation of privilege, and high-office graft. The Flip-Side attempts to expose this and presents us with more to think about, by shining a light into some dark corners and turning over some rocks - and - who wouldn't want that. Hover to read the “flip-side.” Read on.

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