Member Profile

Total number of comments: 17 (since 2013-12-11 23:04:23)

Joe Monterrubio

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  • Ghosts of King George III: Top 5 Things that threaten American Independence Today
    • Joe Monterrubio 07/07/2015 at 8:37 am

      "However, would YOU spend over 4 hours waiting in line [...]"

      Voting doesn't have to take that long.

      Here in Australia, voting is compulsory. Most schools are aused as polling places, and are largely staffed by volunteers.

      I've never had to queue for more than a few minutes, and the longest I've ever taken to vote was maybe 25 minutes or so in the last natinonal senate election Western Australia re-run, which had 77 (!) candidates.

      "[...] go back to work or be fired [...]"

      In Australia, a worker cannot be fired for taking time off work to vote; the same rule that applies to performing jury duty. We hold our elections on Sunday, so if the USA were to go down the compulsory voting road then you'd probably want to move the election day from a Tuesday to the weekend.

      Compulsory voting is quite rare, but works pretty well here.

    • Joe Monterrubio 07/07/2015 at 8:22 am

      "Indeed, true democracy probably requires a constitutional amendment imposing a $10 fine on citizens who do not vote in national elections for congress and the president."

      That's a good call, Juan. Here in Australia, voting in national and state elections is compulsory; the fine for not doing so is $25. One thing though, elections here are always held on a Sunday, and -by convention- never on the sunday when the (Aussie Rules) football grand final is held: You'd probably have to move the election from the Tuesday to a weekend day.

  • Your Fourth of July and My Fourth of July
    • Joe Monterrubio 07/07/2015 at 8:05 am

      That's magnificent stuff from Jefferson, Londo. It's about time I read some of his work- thanks.

      Great piece as usual, Juan. I totally agree with everything you write here.

  • Juan Cole: Syria, Yemen Conflicts only seem to be about Sunni-Shiite from 30,000 Feet
    • Joe Monterrubio 04/17/2015 at 8:35 am

      Thanks, Juan.

      This was magnificently illuminating; a great foil to the hysterical, shallow misinformation that the --largely News Corp-- mainstream media puts out here in Australia.

      Such murky, complex situations! Enough to make any pacifist into a 'pacifist, but...'

  • Iraq: ISIL surrounds 300 Sunni families, Closes in on Ramadi
    • Joe Monterrubio 04/16/2015 at 3:44 pm

      I respectfully disagree with your point, Andy.

      I don't think that partition into rump states along sectarian lines will help ensure peace. Such a partition wouldn't address *fomented* hatred between sects. A state that is explicitly or even de facto given over to one version of one faith is profoundly illiberal: The USA has the right idea with their First Amendment.

  • Iran: Putin Explains to Israel's Netanyahu: Air Defense System is, like, Defensive
  • The Banality of Terrorism: Sydney's other Hostage Crisis, of 1984
    • Joe Monterrubio 12/16/2014 at 6:13 am

      Australians have been tweeting messages of solidarity with Muslim Australians using #illridewithyou. The hashtag was coined after a young Sydney woman saw another woman on a train take off her head covering, and did a very compassionate thing:

      "In her post she said: "I ran after her at the train station. I said 'put it back on. I'll walk with u." "

      link to

      I just finished writing #illridewithyou on the back of a T shirt; I'm going to wear it while I'm cycling to work.

    • Joe Monterrubio 12/15/2014 at 11:09 am

      Thankyou for this level-headed dissection of this situation, Juan. As always, I agree with your perspective.

      I was in Sydney's Royal Botanical gardens- a few hundred metres away from Martin Place- this morning at 10:30, and I did not let this silly event ruin my stroll there with two of my family.

      Frankly, I was more disturbed by the young child this morning who was orphaned; apparently due to a murder-suicide perpetrated by his father.

      I would like to note that many of the journalists and police officers have been very measured in what they've said; I was bemused by one journo going on about how police had the area cordoned off and there was no apparent danger beyond the immediate area, at the same time as a blood red banner screamed "terror!" across the bottom of the screen.

      A few hours later, I was at the airport, on my way to Perth and my *only* concern was finding something decent to eat.

      Thanks, Juan.

  • Falluja and Gaza: Why Counter-Terrorism fails when the Problem is Political
    • Hi, JWalters.

      The link you provide makes for some fascinating reading. I've spent the last couple of hours looking around and following links from the first third or so of it, I've learned a reasonable amount about some of the key figures in political Zionism near the turn of the 20th century.

      However, further down the page comes a distinct problem with selectivity, and links to questionable sources such as "Behind the Balfour Declaration" by Robert John, published by the Institute for Historical Review; an organisation derided as publishing non-academic work:

      "We all abhor, on both moral and scholarly grounds, the substantive arguments of the Institute for Historical Review. We reject their claims to be taken seriously as historians."
      ~Journal of American Historians

      "[T]here is a strong presumption against censoring any advertisement, especially if we disagree with its politics. This case, however, is different. Their arguments are 'patently fraudulent.'"
      ~The Nation magazine, on refusing advertising from IHR

      In searching for a key quote attributed to Chaim Weizmann, Google returns a mere 99 verbatim results, almost exclusively on anti-Semitic or Holocaust revisionist sites such as Barnes Review and Stormfront.

      Restricting the results to academic sites, (adding "" to the search) returns zero results.

      Many of the more substantial arguments are taken from 'The Controversy of Zionism' the author of which, Doulgas Reed, during WWII wrote a book were summarised by Orwell as:

      "the dominant notes being back to the land, more emigration, down with the Reds and—above all—down with the Jews."

      Getting back to the substance Juan Cole's great article, I'd say that the problems with counter-terrorism and of terrorism are exclusively dependent on the absolutely divisive poison of identity politics.

  • Dear President Obama: Tar Sands & Keystone XL are more Dangerous than an Iranian Atomic Bomb
    • Joe Monterrubio 02/04/2014 at 8:15 am

      Here's James Hansen's TED talk on global warming:

      link to

      Very sobering stuff but, as Juan says above, there is a solution: No to "all of the above", yes to solar thermal & photovoltaic and to wind. Most importantly, no to fracking, tar sands, Keystone XL and coal.

      Coal is hugely damaging. Here in Australia, our federal government last week approved the dumping of dredge spoils in a Great Barrier Reef marine park area; but it's okay because look! we're only going to dump on the bits that are "sand, silt and clay and [do] not contain coral reefs or seagrass beds" according to Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chairman Dr Russell Reichelt.

      link to

      Sediment from dredge spoil travels up to eighty kilometres, certainly coral and seagrass areas will be in harm's way from the ongoing dredging operation, but it's okay, because the dredging is for Abbot (not the prime minister) Point port and the port is for local jobs for Queenslanders!

      And coal.

      Take a look at the port's current throughput; all coal:

      link to

      The "proposed" expansion for which the dredge spoil dumping has been approved will increase those numbers by a mere 70 mtpa! Isn't that nice? In plain English, and in mass of the resulting CO2 -how the pollution's measured- 257 000 000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

      Fly in, dig it up, ship it out, fly out, buy second jetski for kids, crank up the aircon and holiday twice a year in Bali, driving to the airport in the obscenely large vehicle of course- public transport's for poor people, who are ignored along with the planet as mere uncounted externalities of The Australian Dream(tm).

      You know what? I reckon that UK expat who hoofed it out of Singapore last week will fit right in here in Perth- I've lived here all my life and my cycle shorts and I don't, apparently?

      link to

      Good article, thanks Juan.

  • Christie, Clapper and other Officials who should be in Jail instead of Snowden
    • Joe Monterrubio 02/01/2014 at 3:51 am

      Spotted a typo, Juan:

      "Paul should as the families" should read "Paul should ask the families"

  • The GOP's War on Science Endangering America: Climate Change, Evolution, Regulation
  • Australia burns, swelters in Hottest Year on Record (Climate Instability Story of the Day)
    • Joe Monterrubio 01/04/2014 at 8:45 pm

      No worries. Thanks for your site; always enlightening!

      Best of luck with the rest of your fundraiser.

    • Here in Perth, we've actually had a pretty mild summer so far: If I recall correctly there were only two stretches of a handful of days each where the mercury approached 40C. The thing is, we also had a very mild winter, and not much rain at all. So, while it doesn't *feel* like it's been the hottest year on record, this is of course the kind of completely irrelevant snippet which is cherrypicked by AGW denialists in the same way as the old "1998 was the hottest year therefore the globe hasn't been cooling in 16 years" canard.

      Early this week, I was flabbergasted to read an editorial in The Australian (a conservative broadsheet) that trotted out more than a few denialist non-facts, including the above. Bullet point after bullet point; I'd heard Lord Monckton regurgitate each one in 2011 when he was last here at the behest of mining luminaries and pro-corporate think tanks to try and save us all from falling into a terrible, Luddite plot to sabotage modern industry and shackle us with One World Government, probably commie too. I'm not a scientist, but I've read enough of 'both sides' of the 'debate' to conclude that denialists don't have a leg to stand on, and haven't had for years; yet denialism persists?! It's nuts.

      Soon after his election, Tony Abbott de-funded the Australian Climate Commission, an independent advisory body. Less than a week of public hue and cry later, it was revived thanks to public donations to a newly formed not-for-profit group.

      In the same week, Abbott formed the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Council; appointing Maurice Newman as its chair. Mr Newman rang in the New Year with a little screed in The Australian titled "Crowds go cold on climate cost", the only saving grace of which is the fact it's behind a paywall. Here's Professor of atmospheric science David Karoly's take-out from it:
      link to

      His piece is a mix of common climate change myths, misinformation and ideology. While Mr Newman is welcome to his opinions, his writing reveals his sad misunderstanding of the facts about climate change.

      As Upton Sinclair wrote, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

      One can but hope that more rational heads in our current government pull Newman's rather less so one into line, but I'm not holding my breath. The icing on the cake? Lord Monckton is returning to our shores in February.

      And so it goes.

  • Photo of the Day: Was St. Nicholas "White"?
  • Dear Pres. Obama: Dissent isn't Possible in a Surveillance State
    • Very good article as always, Juan Cole.

      "Breaking wrong laws is key to much of the social progress the world has made in the past century."

      Particularly impressive! One succinct sentence, summing up the most important tenet of civil disobedience. I'd always thought along far more convoluted lines... organise, petition, boycott, protest, sit in, disrupt et cetera, but that's the coal face right there: Break bad laws.


  • Breadcrumbs and Circus Reruns: How and why US News gave Egypt Short Shrift (Cunningham)
    • Joe Monterrubio 07/08/2013 at 9:00 am


      Brilliantly written, incisively argued. What a piece!

      For all the elements of Ninteen Eighty-Four that are now real; the wealthy, western parts of the world are very much more Fahrenheit 451 than Orwellian. Materialistic, childlike, distracted.

      Thanks, Juan Cole and Philip Cunningham.

Showing comments 17 - 1