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A lover and fighter for truth from way back. Delighted to have an opportunity to talk and looking forward to shaking NSW politics up in a couple of years. Till then, lets learn stuff together hahahaha ;)


Human Services Privatisation Creep and TiSA

Australia has the highest rate of private incarceration per capita of any country in the world. We imprison more people now than in any time in history. Private prisons operate in five of Australia’s states: Queensland (QLD), New South Wales (NSW), South Australia (SA), Victoria and West Australia (WA). There are eighty-two state prisons between these five states with around 20% of Australia’s prison population residing in nine private prisons. Victoria has the highest number of inmates held in private prisons than in any of the other four states. It is comprised of thirteen state run prisons and two privately owned prisons. As of 2014 the two private prisons accounted for 31.8% of the total inmate population or 1,845 out of 5,800 inmates.

A report called: Prison Privatisation in Australia – The State of the Nation June 2016 was the first to collate publicly available information on private prisons in Australia. The key areas that were explored were Accountability, Costs, and Performance and Efficiency. The first private prison to open was the Borallon Correctional Centre (CC) in QLD, near Ipswich. It was operated by Serco until it closed in 2012. Serco is one of three private prison contractors favoured by state governments, the other two are G4S and the GEO Group (GEO), formerly known as Australasian Correctional Management (ACM). The privatisation stemmed from a 1988 report called the Kennedy report. It was chaired by businessman and accountant, Jim Kennedy and its intention was to reform corrective services in QLD. A program for privatisation was set out within his report: ‘(t)he opportunities for introducing private sector involvement are substantial and should lead to an increase in cost-effectiveness’. The reasoning behind this was that in some areas private providers ‘can do it cheaper and better’ and that introducing competition to the public sector would allow for the measurement of public sector performance. It was budgetary concerns with staff sickness and over-time that led to these measures not overcrowding as was the case for the other states except SA. Borallon CC was back in state hands in April 2016 as an education centre called ‘earn or learn’ for eighteen-thirty-year old offenders.

NSW followed QLD’s lead with an ‘Investigation into Private Sector involvement in the NSW Corrective System’ in 1989. The report cited a claim that Borallon CC had made cost savings of 7.5-10%. One parliamentarian cast doubt over the fact that no information had been provided as to how these numbers were established or calculated. Despite this questioning, Junee CC near Wagga Wagga was approved as NSW’s first private prison. It was originally managed by ACM in 1993, the ACM was restructured and became the GEO Group in 2004. GEO won the bid again in 2009 and still manages the facility today.

Independent inspection of private prisons in NSW has been sporadic, an Inspector of Custodial Services (ICS) was appointed in 1997 with a review off office scheduled for 2003. The ICS was to address issues not already covered by the Ombudsman. The review was carried out by former Police commissioner John Dalton and former chairman of the Corrective Services Commission, Vernon Dalton. They recommended it to be discontinued citing that many duties overlapped with that of the Ombudsman and the government accepted their recommendations. Another ICS wasn’t appointed until another nine years later in 2012 and within this time frame in 2009, the NSW government privatised Parklea CC in the North West of Sydney. The contract was awarded to GEO and it revised its plans to sell Cessnock CC in the Hunter due to an economic downturn in the region.

With a record 12,000 inmates in NSW, the NSW government announced “Better Prisons” in March 2016, with plans to “market test” the operation of the John Morony CC near Windsor, Sydney. For contrast, as of June 2015, there were 36, 134 people incarcerated across all eight states in Australia. Private companies were invited to compete against state owned, Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) for the tender with a winner to be announced in early 2017. A $3.8 billion expansion of the prison system was also proposed and includes a “Commissioning and Contestability Unit” costing $2.9 million. The unit is based on the work of former Serco worker, Gary Sturgess who was also an adviser to former Liberal premier Nick Greiner. The NSW shadow treasurer Ryan Park said “Contestability shouldn’t be an evil word – but under this government, all it means is privatisation by stealth. This government has shown time and time again that contestability isn’t about service delivery – it’s about saving money.” Mr Sturgess argues that it’s not about actually privatising but rather the threat of it to get public services and unions to improve their efficiency. “Gladys Berejiklian understands contestability – she used that approach as transport minister when she took on the private bus monopolies in western Sydney, and then initiated a reform agenda within the State Transit Authority … using the threat of competition if they did not reform,” he said.

The “Better Prisons” reforms also include cutting the number of teachers from CSNSW from over one hundred full-time positions to twenty. Corrective Services Minister David Elliott is to create sixty more roles but they don’t require a teaching degree. Prison teachers went on strike and up to two-hundred people rallied outside the NSW Parliament in September last year. “No-one can do the job that you do, you are highly skilled” Labor’s Guy Zangari told the crowd. “It’s more than just reading and writing, it’s more than just gaining skills to get a job.”

The Prison Privatisation in Australia – The State of the Nation June 2016 report covers publicly available data as of December 2015, and concluded that many problems in QLD private prisons were mirrored in NSW. NSW governments have favoured confidentiality and commercial-in-confidence protections for private, over providing the public with any transparency about their operations and costs. When it comes to Performance Level Fees (PLF), Key Performance Indicators (KPI) or bonuses for reaching “performance targets”, it gets even more opaque. One example from 2006 involved GEO still being awarded its PLF despite not meeting its performance targets for Junee CC. The justification given By Commissioner Ron Woodham was that ‘performance linked fees were designed to encourage performance rather than be punitive’. The Department of Corrective Services (DCS) makes an annual report about some of the prison’s performance but not the costs, they’re aggregated. In fact, the researchers of the above report could find no publicly available information regarding the breakdown of private prison costs on a year-by-year basis. NSW has an Ombudsman that handles prisoner complaints and reports their data prison-by-prison. According to the data there are more complaints in private prisons than in public ones. There’re contract “monitors” that make reports about both private prisons in NSW but these reports are also not publicly available. The monitors reports don’t marry up with the Ombudsman’s either especially regarding complaints made. In 2011 when inmates died at Parklea and three men escaped from the prison, there was no mention of these incidents at all in the monitors reports.

It is of interest that the NSW government at the end of March 2016, made both the Junee CC and the Parklea CC contracts available through the CSNSW website. The contracts are heavily censored, for example in schedule six of the Junee contract ‘Operational Service Level Fee and Opioid Pharmacotherapy Program Fee’, all of the financial information has been redacted. In section eight, the ‘Key Performance Indicators and Performance Linked Fee’ has had the targets for each KPI censored, meaning that we don’t know the level of service that is expected of GEO. The Parklea contract states that the operational fee in schedule six is $29, 124, 488 but any information relating to the breakdown of these costs has also been redacted. It also lists financial penalties for major incidents such as deaths in custody but it doesn’t include the KPI’s against which the PLF is calculated. Once again, we have no idea what level of performance is expected of the contractor by the NSW government.

Image by artist Banksy

Treasurer Scott Morrison asked the Productivity Commission to investigate privatising human services. The preliminary findings of the inquiry suggested that social housing, public hospitals, dental services, aged care, services for remote Indigenous communities and social housing services could all be reformed. The commission will work on recommendations for each sector and report back to Mr Morrison in October this year.

There has been much said about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by Prime Minister Turnbull, President Donald Trump and the media. Mr Trump has made it clear that he believes that it’s not in America’s best interests to sign the agreement but Mr Turnbull doesn’t want to let it go. What has been missing is any talk about the Trade in Services Act (TiSA) agreement in the media or by Mr Turnbull or Mr Trump. There is a media release from October 21st last year by Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister, Steve Ciobo. He chaired a ministerial meeting on TiSA in Oslo, Norway that weekend and the release talks of ‘increasing Australian services exports, a key part of the Turnbull Government’s national economic plan to create jobs and drive economic growth.’

Australia’s services sector is a major part of our economy and accounts for 70% of economic activity. It employs four out of five Australians and accounts for 20.9% of all of Australia’s exports. Services account for around 75% of the European Union (EU) economy and 80% of the US economy. TiSA was also meant to be signed off with the TPP at the end of last year but it stalled due to disagreements about the free movement of personal data across borders. Mr Trump has already promised and already met with thirteen US tech giants last year and promised to make it “a lot easier” for their companies “to trade across borders.”

TiSA according to Wikileaks and other whistle-blowing sites is a deal that will “lock in” the privatisation of services, even in cases where private service delivery has failed. Government’s would never be able to return water, energy, health, education or other services to public hands. Perhaps this’s why there is such secrecy and a five-year clause preventing public access to the TiSA agreement after it has been signed.

We have seen the Australian federal government’s attitude towards human services with Centrelink and Medicare, and the absolute lack of transparency when it comes to the treatment of private prison operators in Australia. Should our tax payer dollars be used to pay private, overseas companies bonuses for fulfilling their contract’s? If companies need incentives to do a good job it sounds like human services belongs in the hands of public. When will state government’s using private, prison operators admit that a lack of staffing appears to be much of that sectors problems? And lastly, I implore you to please help create awareness about this, if they come for our services it will be the end of Australia or the world as we know it.

This article was originally published on Political Omniscience.


NSW Government push to amalgamate councils goes awry

The Independent Review Panel’s final report into local councils was released in October 2013 and recommended amalgamations of councils among other things. In September 2014 Premier New South Wales (NSW) Premier Mike Baird, announced his Fit for the Future package that included funding of up to $1bn including cash incentives as sweeteners to merge.

It included: $258 million to assist councils who decide to merge and make the changes needed to provide better services to communities ($153m for Sydney councils and $105m for regional councils) and $13 million to support councilors who “lead the transition to a new council”; Cheaper finance for councils to build and maintain the facilities that communities need, saving them up to $600m; Up to $100 million savings through reductions in red tape and duplication; And improvements to the local government system, including the laws that govern it, the way the State works with councils and the support that councils receive.

The cheaper finance portion would only be beneficial if a council borrowed money from the NSW government of which it would probably receive a dividend meaning the $600m would most likely be covered by other councils and not the state government. President of Local Government NSW, Cr Keith Rhoades said “While there are many aspects of this reform package that councils agree with, the NSW Local Government sector also universally opposed the recommendation in the final report of the Independent Local Government Review Panel about rural councils having their responsibilities and regulatory powers stripped back. We will continue to oppose the Government on this issue should they persist in paring back rural councils. Rural communities deserve the same level and quality of council services as their city counterparts – another fact.”

Fit for the Future had the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) assess whether councils were financially viable alone or whether they should merge with neighbouring councils. On the 20th of October this year IPART found that more than two-thirds of Sydney councils were unfit, as well as more than half of the regional councils. Only 52 of 139 proposals were accepted that were submitted by 144 local councils, including four merger proposals covering nine current councils. Most councils that wanted to continue to operate alone passed the financial criteria but not on “scale or capacity”, and the report found that amalgamations could deliver $2bn in savings over the next 20 years. Lord Mayor Clover Moore was quick to reject the finding and said: “To say the City is somehow unfit in the face of this strong evidence to the contrary makes a mockery of the entire review process, and throws into question all decisions made as a result.” The chairman of IPART interestingly is Peter Boxall, he was also a commissioner for the Abbott Government’s Commission of Audit (COA).

An Upper House inquiry was set up to examine Mr Baird’s amalgamation push and it found yesterday that the process was flawed from the beginning, and that IPART was actually the wrong organisation for the job. “While IPART has significant capacity to analyse the finances of local government, it does not have the demonstrated skills or capacity to assess the overall ‘fitness’ of councils as democratically responsible local governments,” the report said. It also said that: “The scale and capacity criterion was a flawed criterion … and accordingly assessments of councils’ fitness based on this threshold capacity are not well-founded.” Committee member Peter Primrose, said that IPART’s findings were limited by the terms of reference. “It was a set-up from beginning to end” he said. “I don’t blame IPART. I blame the terms of reference which were handed to them by the Premier. “They had to find this illusory thing on the basis of this nonsense called scale and capacity.” The first of the 17 recommendations is “that the Premier and NSW Government withdraw the statements that 71 per cent of councils in metropolitan Sydney and 56 per cent of regional councils are unfit”.

It also found that the Baird Government should commit to no forced amalgamations of NSW councils unless they were bankrupt or otherwise unable to service their communities. Randwick council informed its residents that the NSW Government has made it clear that doing nothing is not an option. Randwick Mayor, Ted Seng said: “Randwick City Council already has a balanced budget and remains debt-free. Council is operating well and providing high quality services and facilities for our community,” And that “Unfortunately, despite Council’s excellent financial and asset management position, the NSW Government wants us to respond to the Independent Local Government Review Panel’s recommendations for ‘scale and capacity’.

It appears that the ‘scale and capacity’ part of the terms of reference, was almost a ruse to sneak forced amalgamations in. Randwick Mayor Mr Seng, also said that: “The Independent Review Panel’s final report released in October 2013 recommends an amalgamation with City of Sydney, Woollahra, Waverley and Botany councils – building a ‘global city’ with more than 500,000 residents. We don’t support the creation of a global city as we value our Randwick identity, local representation and existing quality services.”

I think we need to be celebrating our communities and their uniqueness and diversity not shunting them all into one basket under the banner of economics, the market or even efficiency. You cannot foster the innovation that this country is crying out for out of this ideology.

Councils have until the 18th of November to make a final submission to the NSW Government.

This article was originally published on Political Omniscience.


Is Uranium the Asbestos of the 21st Century?

After reading about incoming Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, and his interest in nuclear power today, I remembered that it wasn’t too long ago that Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said similar things of which I wrote about back in December 2014.

The minister for foreign affairs Julie Bishop, reignited the nuclear energy debate in Australia saying that it remains an option and a way to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions after 2020. “It’s an obvious conclusion that if you want to bring down your greenhouse gas emissions dramatically you have to embrace a form of low or zero-emissions energy and that’s nuclear, the only known 24/7 baseload power supply with zero emissions,” she told Fairfax Media. A “baseload power supply” is basically a continuous power supply. “I always thought that we needed to have a sensible debate about all potential energy sources and, given that Australia has the largest source of uranium, it’s obvious that we should at least debate it,” she said.

In 2006 businessman and nuclear physicist Ziggy Switkowski, headed the Review of Uranium Mining Processing and Nuclear Energy in Australia (UMPNER). Mr Switkowski is mostly known for being the former Telstra CEO that oversaw the initial privatisation of Telstra. He stepped aside controversially in 2005 with a “golden handshake” two years shy of his contract ending amid share prices slumping, and the fallout from risky financial decisions. Recently he is back in telecommunications after nearly a decade when the minister for communications Malcolm Turnbull, appointed him as Chairman of the national broadband network (NBN) in October last year. Ms Bishop was minister for education, science and training and minister assisting the Prime Minister for women’s issues, in the Howard government when the UMPNER review was released. She expresses dismay at the end results of the review: “The debate didn’t go anywhere. It descended into name calling about which electorates I intended to place a nuclear reactor in, and would I rule out Cottesloe Beach – that kind of puerile debate. So it didn’t ever get off the ground,” she said. Mr Switkowski’s review was pro-uranium mining and pro-nuclear power but many critics did not agree and felt that the narrow terms of reference set by the federal government restricted the panel to a study of nuclear power, not a serious study of energy options for Australia. And that there was already existing research indicating that meeting energy demand and reducing emissions can be done with a combination of renewable energy and gas to displace coal, combined with energy efficiency measures, without needing to use nuclear power. Another critic Dr. Mark Diesendor said that the report has no basis for its claim and that: “Nuclear power is the least-cost low-emission technology …” “How can the panel assert that nuclear is least cost, when it has neither performed any analysis nor commissioned any on this topic? To the contrary, wind power is a lower cost, lower emission technology in both the UK and USA and would also be lower cost in Australia.”

After hearing Ms Bishop’s comments, Mr Switkowski said: “It’s a big call for our leaders to engage in this debate, but a good one because it will take some time for communities and industries to get comfortable again with the current and future generations of nuclear technology.” He is of the belief that Australian community sentiment has been warming since the Fukishima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, where the aftermath is ongoing, with 100 thousand people still displaced. The disaster occurred due to a major earthquake and a 15-metre tsunami that disabled the power supply, cooling three Fukushima Daiichi reactors causing the accident. Mr Switkowski appears to have his hopes pinned on advances in Small Modular Reactors (SMR), which are part of a new generation of nuclear power plant designs being developed in several countries. “The small modular reactors will provide a real opportunity to consider nuclear power again because they are a tenth of the size of a nuclear or coal-fired powered station.” He also hoped that they could address concerns most people held about the reactors being waste, their closeness to residential areas and the risk of accidents such as the Fukishima or the Chernobyl nuclear power plant catastrophe in 1986. He admits however, that if there were improvements in wind and solar technology over the next twenty years, renewable energy sources could be more viable. “It’s a bit of a race, given the time that’s been lost due to Fukushima,” he said.

I would hope that we are on a race to come up with the best alternative energy options including renewable energy, rather than putting all of our eggs into one nuclear basket.

The 5th Annual SMR conference in Washington D.C. was held in May this year. Senior Policy Adviser, National Resources Defence Council (NRDC) Christopher Paine, commented that “no speaker even mentioned the swiftly emerging reality that in 2025, potential SMR deployments will be competing against cleaner simpler renewable electricity plus energy storage systems – nuclear power will no longer be able to market itself by playing on customer fears of the “intermittency” of renewable energy sources.” Mr Paine also noted that no presenters at the conference had made a case that the economics of an SMR power plant would be better than those of an advanced conventional nuclear plant. On average a nuclear plant takes between 5-7 years to build, not including the planning and licensing. The initial outlay is very high and up to 75% total of it’s lifetime which is around 40-60 years. Exact figures for the construction of nuclear power plants are often commercially sensitive and hard to provide. Recent examples in the United States though have been priced from $5-$12bn per reactor over a relatively short construction time span. Even though the running costs of a nuclear plant are fairly low, the upfront costs associated with the construction and financing of it make it much more expensive than fossil fuel power, or coal. Mr Paine mentioned “energy storage systems”, this would solve the “baseload power supply problem” that is used to explain why nuclear is better than renewable energy. In fact, the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) researchers are working on new battery technology promising more efficient and affordable solar and wind energy. The three year project has received a $750k investment from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (AREA) as well as $1.24m industry support. “The focus of this project is to find a storage solution. Solar energy is not continuous; it is only when you have sunshine that you can generate electricity. The same goes for wind and other renewable energy sources. We intend to develop a rechargeable battery that can store these renewable energy sources and make them available for later use.”

Australia supplies between 12-20% of the global market and we have around 30% of the world’s reserves of uranium. Prior to the Fukushima disaster, Japan bought around 2,400 tonnes of uranium from Australia, our second largest market next to the European Union. The former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, came to tour Australia this year at the end of August for a week and to campaign for large-scale renewable energy. It’s of note that the current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Australia and where he addressed the Australian Parliament a month before hand. Mr Kan, a trained physicist, was once convinced that nuclear power was the future but this changed in March 2011 with the Fukushima nuclear disaster, when he faced the prospect of evacuating 50 million Japanese citizens from their homes. “Japan as a country would have lost its capability to function for decades,” he said, adding that only luck and “the mercy of God” stopped the crisis from reaching such a scale. He started his tour in the Northern Territory (NT), where the Ranger uranium mine is located, and most likely the source of some of the uranium oxide that found its way to the Fukushima plants. Energy Resources Australia (ERA) and it’s majority owner, Rio Tinto, won’t confirm this, citing commercial confidentiality. What is known is that Australia was the largest supplier of uranium to Japan; ERA produces more than half our uranium ore; and that Canberra’s nuclear safeguards office confirmed in October 2011 that Australian uranium was present in the Fukushima plants. Mr Kan doesn’t doubt some of Fukushima’s pollution originated at Ranger. ERA insists it abides by the world’s best environmental safeguards and practises, that are policed by both the NT government and the federal government’s supervising scientist, who is the federal regulator of the site. There has been more than 200 safety breaches and incidents over the past 30 years at the site, according to the Environment Centre NT. The worst one to happen was last December and the third mishap that month, when a leach tank with a 1.5 million litre capacity burst and spilled out a radioactive and acidic slurry. Mine operations were closed for several months before the Abbott government declared no harmful effects had been detected from the spill.

The traditional owners were opposed to the mining of uranium on the site, yet a 1976 act of Parliament allowed mining to go ahead on Mirarr lands anyway. Justice Russell Fox, the chair of the evironmental inquiry into Ranger, and who recommended that the mine go ahead also noted that “the evidence before us shows that the traditional owners … are opposed to the mining of uranium on that site”. Nevertheless, he said, “we form the conclusion that their opposition should not be allowed to prevail”. He also expressed hope that the mine would improve the “general happiness and prosperity of the region”, he also acknowledged that “the arrival of large numbers of white people … will potentially be very damaging to the welfare and interests of the Aboriginal people there”. Based on his recommendations, the Kakadu National park came to be, with its boundaries carefully drawn to exclude the Ranger site. Toby Gangali, was a Mirarr man, and his documentary was shot more than thirty years ago, and was shown to former Japanese PM Mr Kan during his visit. Mr Gangali talked of ancient sacred sites nearby, and of his fears that “something might go wrong if the mine goes ahead … snake might come … big rainbow … he might kill all over the world”. Downstream from Ranger, inhabitants of the small Aboriginal settlement of Mudginberri are worried about what the mine may one day send their way. Mark Djandjomerr and May Nango, who spoke through an interpreter, said they live in “constant fear there could be an accident. We know that a lot of jobs have been created by the mine. But we are the people who have to live downstream from it, we are always frightened something could go wrong”.

As traditional landowners, the Mirarr take responsibility for the impacts that activities such as mining on their land, has on others. The possibility of uranium being incorporated into a nuclear weapon or present at the site of a nuclear accident is of enormous concern to Mirarr. In April 2011, after the Fukishima disaster, Yvonne Margarula wrote to UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon and expressed her sorrow at the impacts radiation was having on the lives of Japanese people. She noted that, ‘it is likely that the radiation problems at Fukushima are, at least in part, fuelled by uranium derived from our traditional lands. This makes us feel very sad. It was confirmed by Dr Robert Floyd, Director General of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), that, “Australian obligated nuclear material was at the Fukushima Daiichi site”.

David Sweeney is a long-standing nuclear free campaigner with the Australian Conservation Foundation and he poignantly said: “Australia did not stop extracting and exporting asbestos because we ran out of the resource, we stopped because the resource ran out of social license and the companies involved in this toxic trade ran out of excuses. The same will happen with the uranium sector.”

We do have a moral obligation and a humanitarian responsibility for the potential hazards posed by the uranium we sell. Once it leaves our shores, there are so many dangerous risks that we are taking and the ramifications of proliferation, nuclear waste and nuclear disasters could all have catastrophic impacts, on not just our country and economy but our neighbour’s countries and economies.

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s government, is set to restart at least two nuclear power plants operated by Kyushu Electric Power early next year, but is facing resistance from local lawmakers concerned that the evacuation plans in the event of an accident were inadequate, as one example. Other power companies would like to follow Kyushu Electric Power’s lead and reopen reactors next year, however many of the nation’s 48 reactors are aging or located in seismically sensitive zones. In a poll conducted in October 18-19 this year by Kyodo News, 60% of respondents said they were against restarts, while 31% were in favour. Japan has also just re-entered a recession and is using quantitative easing as an economic measure to counteract it, which I have written about as well and the link is included in this sentence for ease. When Mr Abe made his case in late 2012 that he was the man to save the economy and revive Japan, including tackling Japan’s national debt, which currently stands at around 240% of their Gross Domestic Profit (GDP); voters handed him a landslide win. Just two years on out of a four year term, Mr Abe has dissolved the Japanese government and declared a snap election for December 14th this year. “We cannot”, he thundered, “let this chance go.” Many Japanese think they are being asked to buy the same horse twice. Mr Abe’s popularity has tumbled from the levels that he enjoyed early on and analysts believe he is seeking another four-year term now before issues begin next year over defence policy and the restarting of Japan’s closed nuclear plants and more grow.

Prices for uranium however have been depressed since the nuclear crisis in Japan in 2011 and most of the Australian uranium miners haven’t made a profit since then. Exploring all of the sides of nuclear energy is pause for thought, before we can even contemplate using nuclear energy in Australia. That is not to say that we can’t keep on exploring better ways to harness nuclear energy safely, because let’s face it, it’s great emission wise, just really bloody dangerous, but it would be great as a back up plan. We can never have too many of those.

This article was originally published on Political Omniscience.