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  1. Drag over coals

    Last month I found myself on a fast train from Edinburgh to London. Too tired to read, I spent the whole journey gazing out the window. Recollecting that journey, one memory stands out: the number of wind farms, none of them that far from residential areas. I mentioned this to the couple seated by me, and they said that people are used to them. They realise the necessity. I have no idea if that is true, but their comment had me thinking how absurdly precious Australia can be.



    Also, we passed a solar farm, tucked beside the railway tracks. Obviously someone decided those panels would generate enough power, despite cloud.
    ...
  2. Change the State of political play



    There is nothing to be gained by relentless banging against the gates of perceived political power when we are regaling them within the system that they control.

    When the system rallies you to march in the street it is looking for photo ops for public disobedience and public safety issues that have open traps and stooges planted to fulfill your wildest dreams of conflict...but that is what they are, traps.

    I really do not have the energy to rally the masses to march the streets, but I would offer an alternative.

    We need to get a raft of independents and credible single interest parties into the Senate and break ...
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  3. Democracy and the financial markets

    President of Iceland Olafur Ragnar Grimsson identifies that it is a sane choice by nations to protect their democracies by simply allowing the banks to crash and default the payment of loans due to the IMF and simply rebuild their countries from the ground up.

    After suffering IMF debts that were 10 times their national GDP, when the GFC hit, unlike Australia, Iceland's banks went crashing down in tune with the EU.

    Iceland is country where the will of the people is sovereign, unlike Britain and Australia where the will of Parliament is sovereign and it makes you think we may have things the wrong way around here, after all our current constitution is modeled on ancient Westminster principles.

    The Icelandic
    ...
  4. Stop displacing Indigenous Australians!!!

    Signing this Change petition or this Avaaz petition is the very least I can do to show my support for the campaign to stop the eviction of 150 remote indigenous communities.



    Many are saying the evictions are about mining and therefore corporate greed. I expect they are. But they are also about a wanton display of power; these evictions justified using the same old neoliberal rhetoric of the ‘taxpayer can’t afford it’ bottom line.

    Yet we can afford to award Gina Rinehart billions in tax credits. We can afford F35 fight jets and new submarines.

    We can afford to pay for the ...

    Updated 19th March 2015 at 06:45 PM by Mick Pacholli

    Categories
    Authors and Contributors , isobelblackthorn , Politics
  5. What’s Driving the Merciless Asylum Seeker Policies in Australia?

    Late last year freelance journalist Catherine Wilson invited me to give my expert opinion on the asylum seeker issue in Australia. I’m delighted to now share the piece she wrote, which appears in the Inter Press Service news agency. I feel privileged to be a part of such an important, well-researched and thought-provoking article which invites us all to put the spotlight on our own beliefs and attitudes.



    Isobel Blackthorn is a regular contributor to the National Forum on the asylum seeker issue. Her first novel, Asylum, tackles the issue in a literary manner. To find out more, visit ...

    Updated 17th March 2015 at 12:50 PM by Mick Pacholli

    Categories
    Authors and Contributors , isobelblackthorn , Politics
  6. I love a good conspiracy



    I’ve been dipping into the introduction to a slim book entitled Propaganda by Edward Bernays. It’s the story of a long slow con, the main text written by one of its key proponents, who cites the enormous benefits of propaganda to the politician and the corporation.

    The book has me wondering about the rise of shifting shape of propaganda over the last century. I’m no expert but here are a few thoughts.

    Many would agree that Thomas Kuhn, in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) was spot on in identifying paradigm shifts in science. His insight is so powerful it has been used as a metaphor with much explanatory ...

    Updated 11th March 2015 at 12:10 PM by Mick Pacholli

    Categories
    Authors and Contributors , isobelblackthorn , Politics
  7. Abbott’s barrow of inhumanity

    I realise I have a number of Liberal supporters in my friendship network. I am not Liberal in a political sense, but I understand and respect those who are. If I didn’t, then I couldn’t in the next breath champion social democracy. A pluralistic society includes a wide range of views/beliefs/party affiliations and so on.




    Having said that, I cannot condone our current leadership. Yes, all politicians are apt to be very one-sided, to push their own barrows and in so doing make all the other barrows seem full of falsehoods and bad policies.

    Abbott, however, is beyond the pale.

    And he’s back to his old self.
    ...
  8. Writers for social justice



    I missed out on modern history at school and confess that for decades I shied away from gaining much knowledge of the rise of fascism as it all seemed too ugly, too horrific, to delve into.

    Now I’m finding it hard to put down Anna Funder’s All That I Am, a novel based on real events in the period between WWI and II, when Hitler rose to power and those on the Left, the communists and socialists of all stripes, were purged. The captured were rounded up and put in prisons until there were so many that concentration camps were created to house them. Thousands of journalists, writers, poets, activists and intellectuals fled Germany ...
  9. ASYLUM - a novel in weekly parts!!!

    Check out the 4th instalment of my serialised novel, Asylum.

    Seeking asylum from the wreckage of her life, Yvette Grimm arrives in Australia on a holiday visa. She applies for permanent residency with no hope of success. Resisting advice that she marry to stay in the country, Yvette invests her hopes in a palm-reader’s prophecy that she would meet the father of her children before she’s thirty. She’s twenty-nine.

    Set in the excoriating heat of an endless Perth summer, Asylum is a gripping tale of one woman’s struggle to stay in Australia. Dark, absurd and hilarious by turns.



    In which Yvette battles on in her dismal Maylands flat and makes an unexpected discovery…

    2.4
    ...

    Updated 18th November 2014 at 04:21 AM by Mick Pacholli

    Categories
    isobelblackthorn , Politics
  10. I should have done something sooner - a short short story on bullying

    Here's a true and very short story on bullying. I guess this might resonate with some. If you want to read more of my stuff go to http://isobelblackthorn.wordpress.com/




    I should have done something sooner. That’s what my neighbour said. Best nipped in the bud. A good hard slap across the face will shut her up. Said she never had any trouble in the playground after that. But my best friend’s husband was right about me. I’m a coward. And cowards cower. They don’t punch or slap. I found that out about myself in my old school playground. Now I was a teacher with a demon of a boss who had never outgrown the playground thug.
    I was working at
    ...
  11. Free Novel!!!! Asylum - Part Two

    2.1

    …in which Yvette confronts the squalor of her friend Thomas’ flat…

    Yvette stood in the aisle beside her back-row seat. Behind her the other passengers jostled for a place in the tightly-packed queue. After a ten-hour bus ride, another hour in transit to Tullamarine airport, and a tedious three hour wait for a smooth four-hour flight across the desert guts of Australia, her skin felt dirty and Special and she hankered for somewhere, anywhere, quiet, cool and still.


    Instead, the steward opened the plane’s rear door and Perth greeted Yvette with a gust of hot, dry air. November, and it must have been a hundred degrees.


    The heat was at once exotic and familiar, the heat Yvette ...

    Updated 18th November 2014 at 04:23 AM by Mick Pacholli

    Categories
    Authors and Contributors , isobelblackthorn , Novel Collective , Politics
  12. ASYLUM - a novel in weekly parts

    Not every day an author gives away a whole novel. I had been asked and asked again if I would blog a book-length story and I'm glad I'm doing it. Feedback so far is encouraging. Some readers have formed a reading group to discuss weekly instalments. Start reading the story here and for this week's instalment follow this link. http://isobelblackthorn.wordpress.co...part-one-cont/
    Here's what people are saying:
    ”Asylum has all my favourite elements: politics, social justice, strong women characters, and an unexpected ending. Impeccably written in clear, succinct, yet sophisticated prose, Asylum is a thoroughly enjoyable read.” – Jasmina Brankovich.
    ”Hurry up with instalment two – I am totally hooked and need ...
  13. ASYLUM - a novel in weekly parts

    I'm serialising on my blog my novel Asylum. Here's a taste. If you like what you've read please follow the link below for more.


    Asylum

    Seeking asylum from the wreckage of her life, Yvette Grimm arrives in Australia on a holiday visa. She applies for permanent residency with no hope of success. Resisting advice that she marry to stay in the country, Yvette invests her hopes in a palm-reader’s prophecy that she would meet the father of her children before she’s thirty. She’s twenty-nine.
    Set in the excoriating heat of an endless Perth summer, Asylum is a gripping tale of one woman’s struggle to stay in Australia. Dark, absurd and hilarious by turns.

    PART ONE

    1.1

    Dents in the loop-pile ...

    Updated 16th November 2014 at 09:25 AM by Isobel Blackthorn

    Categories
    isobelblackthorn , Novel Collective , Politics
  14. Building bridges: asylum seekers in rural Australia

    Just a little bit pleased to have published in e-journal On Line Opinion Building bridges: asylum seekers in rural Australia, reflecting on a recent home hospitality respite holiday for asylum seekers on bridging visas that I organised under the auspices of the Home Among the Gum Trees program run by Elaine Smith in Dandenong (Melbourne). Here are hosts Jon and Lou , who got involved in this project because they wanted to find out for themselves about refugees and provided the following feedback.
    ”There has been so much press about asylum seekers, but the human stories underneath hardly get a mention, and we really didn’t know what to expect when we met our young refugee family off the bus at Pambula,” Jon said. ”Language was a major ...

    Updated 21st October 2014 at 01:04 PM by Mick Pacholli

    Categories
    Authors and Contributors , isobelblackthorn , Politics
  15. Heeding the Jihad Call



    Hearing Obama outline his latest plan for the curtailment of ISIS it would be easy to believe that this group emerged spontaneously and entirely of its own accord out of the desert country of Syria and Iraq, filling a vacuum in the power shenanigans left when the US military pulled out of Iraq. That’s the propaganda. That is what the US and its allies would have us believe. And it isn’t true.

    An elite of concentrated power bent on expansionism, such as found in Empire America today, will inevitably spawn its nemesis; groups of the disenfranchised, the alienated or the diametrically opposed in belief and ideology, those who contest both the
    ...

    Updated 15th September 2014 at 11:33 PM by Mick Pacholli

    Categories
    Authors and Contributors , isobelblackthorn , Politics
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