Advancing Australian Tourism

  By Denis Bright Denis Bright invites discussion on the social market foundations of…

Day to Day Politics: The Trump Report No…

Wednesday 21 February 2017 It's rather ironic that the President of the USA,…

Clean Coal, Malcolm's Principles And Other Oxymorons!

Now, I know that consistency isn’t a strong point with people generally.…

Is Trump the Disaster we had to have?

By James Moylan Since WWII the American government has been taken over by…

Day to Day Politics: How the right play…

Tuesday 21 February 2017 Much is being made of Donald Trump’s angst with…

Where are my (and your) taxes going?

While I was at Births, Deaths and Marriages I was stunned at…

Would you give your bank statements to Births,…

For reasons of privacy, I don't like giving my bank statements to…

Day to Day Politics: The ABC's INSIDERS.

Monday February 20 2017 Journalists Malcolm Farr, Mark Kenny and Niki Savva joined…

«
»
Facebook

John has a strong interest in politics, especially the workings of a progressive democracy, together with social justice and the common good. He holds a Diploma in Fine Arts and enjoys portraiture, composing music, and writing poetry and short stories. He is also a keen amateur actor. Before retirement John ran his own advertising marketing business.

Day to Day Politics: The Trump Report No 9 Making America Great Again. How is it going?

Wednesday 21 February 2017

It’s rather ironic that the President of the USA, a perverted obnoxious, blatant liar; a sexist, racist, misogynist and narcissist fool, should see himself qualified to describe the media as “the enemy of the American people”. It is laudable.

The problem is of course that Americans are prone to believe their own bullshit. Historically so. Donald Trump has, I imagine, been doing it all his life. Recently institutions usually reluctant to advise on the mental wellbeing of prominent citizens have broken ranks to declare the President mentally unwell.

Only a month into his presidency, the White House is in turmoil and Trump, rather than being born again with something like a presidential air, has become a source of contempt.

His latest Swedish lie (talk about fake news) and those he tweeted later, on top of the press conference debacle in which he told so many verifiable untruths, tends to confirm the mental health experts diagnosis.

Trump tweet:

“Give the public a break – The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!’’

Meanwhile people in Sweden are trying to work out what sort of incident had occurred in their country. Nothing had, crime is down. Former PM tweeted. Sweden to Trump: “when you are in a hole, stop digging” and then offered some advice on immigration policy.

Like most narcissists who believe their own bullshit they have no sense of cultural morality and tell lie on top of lie trying to explain the first, or erase it all together. Like most people who cannot distinguish between truth and untruth they blame others and cannot believe why their version of the truth isn’t accepted as the gospel truth.

A person like Trump, so used to others agreeing with his every word, find it difficult to accept real world facts. Liars don’t always have good memories and it brings them undone. Trump’s answer to a lie is to tell another or multiples of others so that the preceding ones are diminished or forgotten.

His attack on the press might be justified if it were argued by someone with more dignity. Like Obama for example. But when a known liar is trying to prosecute a case of lying by others of better standards, it has no beginning and no end.

Senator John McCain has warned that suppression of a free press is ”how dictators get started” Need I say more.

 Whatever your feelings towards President Trump you cannot deny that in a short space of time he is on track towards making America great again.

Here is some real truth.

  1. Unprecedented levels of ongoing civic engagement.
  2. Millions of Americans now know who their state and federal representatives are without having to google.
  3. Millions of Americans are exercising more. They’re holding signs and marching every week….
  4. Alec Baldwin is great again. Everyone’s forgotten he’s kind of a jerk.
  5. The Postal Service is enjoying the influx of cash due to stamps purchased by millions of people for letter and postcard campaigns.
  6. Likewise, the pharmaceutical industry is enjoying record growth in sales of anti-depressants. Millions of Americans now know how to call their elected officials and know exactly what to say to be effective.
  7. Footage of town hall meetings is now entertaining.
  8. Tens of millions of people are now correctly spelling words like emoluments, narcissist, fascist, misogynist, holocaust and cognitive dissonance.
  9. Everyone knows more about the rise of Hitler than they did last year.
  10. Everyone knows more about legislation, branches of power and how checks and balances work.
  11. Marginalized groups are experiencing a surge in white allies.
  12. White people in record numbers have just learned that racism is not dead. (See #6)
  13. White people in record numbers are also finally understand that Obamacare IS the Affordable Care Act. 15. Stephen Colbert’s “Late Night” finally gained the elusive #1 spot in late night talk shows, and Seth Meyers is finding his footing as today’s Jon Stewart.
  14. Mike Pence has donated millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood since Nov. 9th.
  15. Melissa FREAKING McCarthy.
  16. Travel ban protesters put $24 million into ACLU coffers in just 48 hours, enabling them to hire 200 more attorneys. Lawyers are now heroes.
  17. As people seek veracity in their news sources, respected news outlets are happily reporting a substantial increase in subscriptions, a boon to a struggling industry vital to our democracy.
  18. Live streaming court cases and congressional sessions are now as popular as the Kardashians.
  19. Massive cleanup of facebook friend lists.
  20. People are reading classic literature again. Sales of George Orwell’s “1984” increased by 10,000% after the inauguration. (Yes, that is true. 10,000%. 9th grade Lit teachers all over the country are now rock stars.)
  21. More than ever before, Americans are aware that education is important. Like, super important.
  22. Now, more than anytime in history, everyone believes that anyone can be President. Seriously, anyone.

Susan Keller

And from my American friend Ben Williamson: 

“In today’s press conference, Trump told no less than five extremely easily debunked lies. My favorite was when he said his election was the largest margin since Reagan.

If you delete from history both of Obama’s wins, both of Bill Clinton’s wins, and H.W. Bush’s win, then yeah. It seems in Trump history, after Reagan, George W. Bush held the presidency for the next 20 years.

I know Republicans are not known for intelligence or integrity, but how long will it take for them to realize this monster is a pathological liar?’’

Next time I post I intend trying to analyse the press conference Ben refers to.

My thought for the day.

“Sometimes wisdom jumps a generation. Well, we can always hope’’.

Day to Day Politics: How the right play with your head.

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Much is being made of Donald Trump’s angst with the media. What gets forgotten is that his dislike of the media only applies to those who dare to criticise. He has in fact legitimised Fox News as America’s top truth teller.

In Australia, we at THE AIMN criticise the Main Stream Media mainly because of Rupert Murdoch’s 70% ownership of major city publications. He also owns Fox.

The fourth estate is supposedly the peoples’ custodian of the right to know. That publications might have a stated leaning toward one ideology over another but they should reasonably endeavor to present a balanced point of view.

In the past I have posted other pieces on what could loosely be called social engineering. The first was titled.

”You’re Being Manipulated – Believe Me”

The second was titled.

”Political Lies and Who Tells Them.”

This one called  ”’How the Right Play with Your Head’’ canvases the subtle (or not so subtle) ways in which the conservative right of politics uses reprehensible media techniques to persuade people to a point of view they would not normally take with rationale analysis.

An observation.

“If a newspaper article is written in a manner to suggest objectivity but subjective words are scattered throughout together with carefully phrased unsupported statements, then dismiss the article as having no cogency”

While researching for this piece I came across an essay on the subject that illustrates how the Murdoch owned Fox News manipulated its audience. I cut and pasted the material into my research folder without noting its source. On perusing it later I concluded that although it is American in context, it mirrors the Australian political media scene exactly.

I decided to publish it in its entirety (I could not have written it better) with apologies to the author. If anyone knows the author please let me know and I will give due credit. In essence the piece gives thirteen examples of how Fox seeks to control the political debate by the use of these techniques.

Techniques that Australia’s Lynton Crosby employed and for which he received a knighthood.

The reader will be able to establish the connection with the Australian media. However I have incorporated into the body copy, a few sparse thoughts of my own and a selection of my own thoughts.

1. Panic Mongering. This goes one step beyond simple fear mongering. With panic mongering, there is never a break from the fear. The idea is to terrify and terrorize the audience during every waking moment. From Muslims to swine flu to recession to homosexuals to immigrants to the rapture itself, the belief over at Fox seems to be that if your fight-or-flight reflexes aren’t activated, you aren’t alive. This of course raises the question: why terrorize your own audience? Because it is the fastest way to bypass the rational brain. In other words, when people are afraid, they don’t think rationally. And when they can’t think rationally, they’ll believe anything.

”If one looks at the past few years and reflects on Tony Abbott’s leadership, you cannot help but acknowledge that he has been largely supported by the Murdoch Empire who together with Abbott sought to spread shock and awe throughout the community. Exaggeration and lies were the trademark of his leadership and the people fell for it. Talk fear often enough and people will fall for it. The demonization of asylum seekers. Everything in crisis.”

An observation.

”We would be a much better society if we took the risk of thinking for ourselves unhindered by the unadulterated crap served up by the media and self-interest groups”

2 Character Assassination/Ad Hominem. Fox does not like to waste time debating the idea. Instead, they prefer a quicker route to dispensing with their opponents: go after the person’s credibility, motives, intelligence, character, or, if necessary, sanity. No category of character assassination is off the table and no offense is beneath them. Fox and like-minded media figures also use ad hominem attacks not just against individuals, but entire categories of people in an effort to discredit the ideas of every person who is seen to fall into that category, e.g. “liberals,” “hippies,” “progressives” etc. This form of argument – if it can be called that – leaves no room for genuine debate over ideas, so by definition, it is undemocratic. Not to mention just plain crass.

”Need I mention how Julia Gillard’s character was constantly attacked?”

An observation.

”To those who think they can win a debate by being loud and crass, I say be quiet. To those who think they can win with a perceived superior intellect I say be humble. Discourse requires civility in order to produce reasoned outcomes.”

”Debate is not of necessity about winning or taking down ones opponent. It is an exchange of facts, ideas and principles. Or, in its purist form it is simple the art of persuasion”

3 Projection/Flipping. This one is frustrating for the viewer who is trying to actually follow the argument. It involves taking whatever underhanded tactic you’re using and then accusing your opponent of doing it to you first.

”We see this frequently in the immigration discussion, where anti-racists are accused of racism, or in the climate change debate, where those who argue for human causes of the phenomenon are accused of not having science or facts on their side. It’s often called upon when the media host finds themselves on the ropes in the debate. The denigration of science in this country is a typical example of this.”

4. Rewriting History. This is another way of saying that propagandists make the facts fit their worldview.

The Downing Street Memos on the Iraq war were a classic example of this on a massive scale, but it happens daily and over smaller issues as well. A recent case in point is Palin’s mangling of the Paul Revere ride, which Fox reporters have bent over backward to validate. Why lie about the historical facts, even when they can be demonstrated to be false? Well, because dogmatic minds actually find it easier to reject reality than to update their viewpoints. They will literally rewrite history if it serves their interests. And they’ll often speak with such authority that the casual viewer will be tempted to question what they knew as fact.

An observation.

”Lying in the media is wrong at any time, however, when they do it by deliberate omission it is even more so. Murdoch’s papers seem to do it with impunity”

5. Bullying. This is a favourite technique of several Fox commentators. That it continues to be employed, demonstrates that it seems to have some efficacy. Bullying and yelling works best on people who come to the conversation with a lack of confidence, either in themselves or their grasp of the subject being discussed. The bully exploits this lack of confidence by berating the guest into submission or compliance. Often, less self-possessed people will feel shame and anxiety when being berated and the quickest way to end the immediate discomfort is to cede authority to the bully. The bully is then able to interpret that as a “win.”

An observation.

”It is a pity that facts in journalism cannot be made compulsory and decency legislated.”

6. Scapegoating/Othering. This works best when people feel insecure or scared. It’s technically a form of both fear mongering and diversion, but it is so pervasive that it deserves its own category. The simple idea is that if you can find a group to blame for social or economic problems, you can then go on to a) justify violence/dehumanization of them, and b) subvert responsibility for any harm that may befall them as a result.

”Andrew Bolt comes to mind.”

7 Conflating Violence with Power and Opposition to Violence with Weakness. This is more of what I’d call a “meta-frame” (a deeply held belief rather than a media technique), but it is manifested in the ways news is reported constantly. For example, terms like “show of strength” are often used to describe acts of repression, such as those by the Iranian regime against the protesters in the summer of 2009. There are several concerning consequences of this form of conflation. First, it has the potential to make people feel falsely emboldened by shows of force – it can turn wars into sporting events. Secondly, especially in the context of American politics, displays of violence – whether manifested in war or debates about the Second Amendment – are seen as noble and (in an especially surreal irony), moral. Violence become synonymous with power, patriotism and piety.

 ”The use of exaggerated hyperbolic language by shock jocks.Does Alan Jones ring a bell? Confusion.”

8 As with the preceding technique, this one works best on an audience that is less confident and self-possessed. The idea is to deliberately confuse the argument, but insist that the logic is airtight and imply that anyone who disagrees is either too dumb or too fanatical to follow along. Less independent minds will interpret the confusion technique as a form of sophisticated thinking, thereby giving the user’s claims veracity in the viewer’s mind.

9 Populism. This is especially popular in election years. The speakers identifies themselves as one of “the people” and the target of their ire as an enemy of the people. The opponent is always “elitist” or a “bureaucrat” or a “government insider” or some other category that is not the people. The idea is to make the opponent harder to relate to and harder to be empathetic. It often goes hand in hand with scapegoating. A common logical fallacy with populism bias when used by the right is that accused “elitists” are almost always liberals – a category of political actors who, by definition, advocate for non-elite groups.

An observation.

”Sometimes it is good to stop, think, evaluate and formulate one’s own opinion instead of being influenced by the media and other vested interests”

10 Invoking the Christian God. This is similar to othering and populism. With morality politics, the idea is to declare yourself and your allies as patriots, Christians and “real Americans” (those are inseparable categories in this line of thinking) and anyone who challenges them as not. Basically, God loves Fox and Republicans and America. And hates taxes and anyone who doesn’t love those other three things. Because the speaker has been benedicted by God to speak on behalf of all Americans, any challenge is perceived as immoral. It’s a cheap and easy technique used by all totalitarian entities from states to cults.

”A large proportion of the membership of the Republican Party are fundamentalist Christians. Abbott’s faith dictated his policies.”

11 Saturation. There are three components to effective saturation: being repetitive, being ubiquitous and being consistent. The message must be repeated over and over, it must be everywhere and it must be shared across commentators: e.g. “Saddam has WMD.” Veracity and hard data have no relationship to the efficacy of saturation. There is a psychological effect of being exposed to the same message over and over, regardless of whether it’s true or if it even makes sense, e.g., “Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States.” If something is said enough times, by enough people, many will come to accept it as truth. Another example is Fox’s own slogan of “Fair and Balanced.” The use of repetition by Abbott.

12 Disparaging Education. There is an emerging and disturbing lack of reverence for education and intellectualism in many mainstream media discourses. In fact, in some circles (e.g. Fox), higher education is often disparaged as elitist. Having a university credential is perceived by these folks as not a sign of credibility, but of a lack of it. In fact, among some commentators, evidence of intellectual prowess is treated snidely and as anti-American. Education and other evidence of being trained in critical thinking are direct threats to a hive-mind mentality, which is why they are so viscerally demeaned.

”The attack on the equality of opportunity in education. Equality in marriage.”

13 Guilt by Association. This is a favourite of Glenn Beck and Andrew Breitbart, both of whom have used it to decimate the careers and lives of many good people. Here’s how it works: if your cousin’s college roommate’s uncle’s ex-wife attended a dinner party back in 1984 with Gorbachev’s niece’s ex-boyfriend’s sister, then you, by extension are a communist set on destroying America. Period.

14 Diversion. This is where, when on the ropes, the media commentator suddenly takes the debate in a weird but predictable direction to avoid accountability. This is the point in the discussion where most Fox anchors start comparing the opponent to Saul Alinsky or invoking ACORN or Media Matters, in a desperate attempt to win through guilt by association. Or they’ll talk about wanting to focus on “moving forward,” as though by analyzing the current state of things or God forbid, how we got to this state of things, you have no regard for the future. Any attempt to bring the discussion back to the issue at hand will likely be called deflection, an ironic use of the technique of projection/flipping.

Some final thoughts.

Less informed voters unfortunately outnumber the more politically aware. Therefore, conservatives feed them all the bullshit they need. And the menu generally contains a fair portion of untruths”

“It is said of pornography (and I am not expert in this field) that in order to maintain the viewers or readers interest it needs to progressively become more outlandish – more tantalising – more seductive-more flirtatious-more provocative – more stunning and more enticing. And in their desire to maintain some dominance, that’s exactly what main stream media is doing. It has chosen to prostitute itself in the forlorn hope of remaining relevant”

“If a newspaper article is written in a manner to suggest objectivity but subjective words are scattered throughout it together with carefully phrased unsupported statements, then dismiss the article as having no cogency”

”We would be a much better society if we took the risk of thinking for ourselves unhindered by the unadulterated crap served up by the media and self-interest groups.”

”In debating some of these tactics with colleagues and friends, I have also noticed that the Fox viewership seems to be marked by a sort of collective personality disorder whereby the viewer feels almost as though they’ve been let into a secret society.”

My thought for the day.

”People often demand free speech to compensate for the freedom of thought they rarely use”

 

Day to Day Politics: The ABC’s INSIDERS.

Monday February 20 2017

Journalists Malcolm Farr, Mark Kenny and Niki Savva joined Barry Cassidy for last Sunday’s edition of Insiders. Josh Freydenberg was the guest.

With Freydenberg it’s always difficult on reflection to fathom just what he said because he has a remarkable capacity to sound convincing after having said nothing. It’s why you see him so regularly doing interviews. He sounds calm, soothing and reassuring.

And there he was answering questions about Energy and Climate Change, Hunt like in their delivery. By that I mean lying. Security, affordability, energy storage and clean or cleaner coal have become the new buzz words as though the problem had just been identified in the last fortnight.

He managed to blame Labor a number of times for all manner of things while at the same time ignoring the fact that it was the Coalition who were in power. One has to wonder how they can continue to attribute so many blunders to Labor when they have only governed for six of the last 20 years.

Anyway the interview continued on its merry way and one was left wondering how odd it was that this problem of Climate Change had just arisen.

Its complex but we are onto it. Yes we know its urgent, we have it under control. We are waiting for new technology on clean coal and storage. There are a number of reports due to be released.

We might even change the RET rules so as we can invest in a Coal Powered station. Yes we know that no one’s interested in investing but we are looking.

Couldn’t it all be resolved with a bi-partisan Emissions Intensity Trading Scheme. Well yes of course but that would require to admit that we were wrong and we couldn’t do that could we.

In the end I was so exasperated that I was saying under my breath, “Barry, for God’s sake ask the stupid fool what he, Hunt and his party have been doing since they have been in power”. Because I knew the answer I just tried to relax. SFA.

One of the journalists named it “A nothing happens government”.

My suggestion to the Prime Minister, Freydenberg and all Members of the Coalition Party room is that they watch the National Press Club on ABC television next Wednesday when Bob Inglis, Lawyer and former US Congressman will deliver a speech titled.

”How conservatives can lead on climate action in the age of Trump”

His address to the National Press Club comes just weeks after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. He will offer important insights into what is actually at stake in climate politics under the new US administration, which will have major implications for Australia and the world.

Niki Savva was Peter Costello’s former press secretary with a dislike of Tony Abbott. Mark Kenny writes for Fairfax and doesn’t hide his leftish views. Malcolm Farr writes for Murdoch but is also leftish in spirit. He has a devilish sense of humour and is deeper in thought than his writing suggests.

As a panel they covered a variety of topics including the banks’ Royal commission and why they need a tax break, The Coalition is putting its toe into the Capital Gains pool. Labor’s ambiguity on its own RET (they have a reasonable policy but can’t explain it). Trumps news conference, the Omnibus bills and the associated blackmail of the NDIS. The bills in total have been sitting there since 2014 and total 13.7 billion. If they can’t get them passed, surely they cannot leave the savings there indefinitely. If you cannot fund the NDIS how come you can give tax breaks to the wealthiest businesses and private companies.

Barnaby Joyce’s rant about whatever and Tony Bourke’s request to the speaker that he use English. Our AAA rating coped a pounding with Savva suggesting it was about to be lost. They talked about the influence of George Christensen which of course is exactly what he wants them to do.

Benjamin Netanyahu will visit us on Wednesday and there is sure to be a bit of blood left on the dance floor.

 My thought for the day.

”Nothing matters in life so much as to live it decently.”

 

Day to Day Politics: The year ahead. Oh shit no.

Sunday 19 February 2017

At the foot of this piece are some words I wrote on the corresponding day last year. It has now become a habit for me to include them if appropriate. So much so that It has become both a source of amusement and serious concern. I’m amused because invariably they indicate our worsening standard of governance and concerned because Australians generally don’t seem to care.

As one year meanders its way into the next and one day bleeds into another.”She’ll be right” I hear my fellow citizens say with laconic laziness. Just as they have for the whole of my lifetime.

In a way its sad how for so many years we rode along on the sheep’s back and then what seemed an never ending minerals boom. Of course it all had to come to an end sometime, but our politicians didn’t want to tell us. They would rather have us confined in a vacuum of their creation than face the reality.

And look where we are now. The great rustic malaise of ignorance is eating away at our democracy and most are blissfully unaware.

There is a dearth of leadership that has passed us by not for reasons of aptitude or incompetence but simply a desire to self-serve rather than serve.

I’m trying not to be negative in my thoughts but circumstance gives me no reason to be optimistic about our future. We seem rudderless waiting for the impending storm.

Good Government is usually married to good leadership and we thought, even if it was just a mirage, that we had it in Malcolm Turnbull however, the evidence thus far would suggest that he has been worse than his predecessor. If that were at all possible. He has morphed from calm and thoughtful Malcolm to angry Mal in a matter of months. Now he is self-obsessed and consumed by the Prime Ministership. So much so that he is prepared to countenance anyone’s demands to retain it. Now this pandering to extremists might help him retain his job until the next election but it will not help him get re-elected. The policies are out of sync with community expectations.

There are a great many people on the extreme right who feel the party is out of touch with society and the voters but the reality is that it may be they who are out of touch.

It has to be said though that if the Polls continue to be negative then those in marginal seats will become anxious and we might see a scenario similar to that when Rudd replaced Gillard with Abbott replacing Turnbull. Although that might be the same as committing suicide.

However, all that said, unless something like Christensen pulling the plug happens then we will see Turnbull fumble along, taking orders from the highly educated but brain-dead of his party, until the next election where I cannot be sure that Australian’s will have woken to the fact that so many years have been spent in mediocrity of governance. Years that have not served them well. How conditioned to it we have become.

Those I described as occupying ”the great rustic malaise of ignorance” have little or no interest in policy or how it’s formulated. All they do is gain impressions of policy and people through their larger than life television sets. Then they draw conclusions on character based on whether the fellow is a good bloke or not. Fact checking they have no time for but they do look for the liar and in Turnbull they don’t have to look far.

The Government seems to have lost interest in budget repair, microeconomic or major reform and look like putting it in the too hard basket. They have no credible policy on renewable energy and climate change. Decisions seem to be put off while they find another reason to blame Labor. Marriage Equality will continue to embarrass then periodically. The banks are making record profits and the Government wants to give them more of our hard-earned cash and other companies who don’t pay tax will also be given some more.

It’s a Government who wants to take from the poorest to pay for better child minding so that women can get a non-existing job. Laughable isn’t it.

I shall finish by quoting from a speech given by Ross Gittens, of the SMH to the Australian Business Economists Annual Forecasting Conference Sydney, February 15, 2017

‘’Let me finish by saying that the area of economic reform where the government’s performance has been most egregious is on policy to ease our transition to a low-carbon economy and honour our commitments at the Paris conference. Leaving aside Abbott’s role in our policy regression, Turnbull’s disservice to the nation was to swear off introducing a carbon intensity scheme the moment his hard Right party members, led by the now departed Cory Bernardi, expressed their disapproval. This scheme had been carefully worked up by people of goodwill hoping to provide Turnbull with a face-saving way of returning to a form of carbon pricing, which would help ease the transition from coal power to renewables and do it with only a small increase in retail electricity prices. Since then, Turnbull has done nothing but dig himself in deeper, in the process creating great uncertainty in the power industry, something that could easily end up adding to blackouts and price rises.’’

On this day in 2016 I wrote.

‘’Gunna Morrison Was at the Press Club yesterday spruicking about what the Government is gunna do with the economy. It was highly anticipated that he might make a policy announcement on negative gearing but surprised no one when he didn’t. They need more time to talk and plan. A blueprint perhaps.

They came into Government two and a half years ago on the back of a concentrated campaign of the need for action. Remember there was a budget emergency. Unprecedented in its depth. The country was in a situation as bad as that of Greece. The sky was about to fall in. Day after day Hockey and Abbott told us that we were in dire straits.

Yet two and a half years after being in government, knowing all too well that aspects of the economy needed attention, they decide to formulate a plan. But it is a plan remarkably short in detail. If the strategy, or the answer is in savings it didn’t make sense that he had saved 80 billion but allocated 70 in new spending. What he didn’t say was that without the spending we may very well have had a recession.

The only thing we got today was journalists shaking their heads at his answers to their questions.

Where is the much vented real structural Tax reform that Turnbull has been talking about? The sort a treasurer of the ilk of Keating might deliver.

Like Hockey and Costello before him all Morrison did today was give himself a big pat on the back.

He’s going to fund tax cuts from savings on future spending. The look on Peter Martins face was priceless. I told you he could waffle. ‘Assembly of God’ men can. The punters really need to ask themselves what this government been doing for two and a half years.’’

My thought for the day.

‘’We exercise our involvement in our democracy every three years by voting. After that the vast majority takes very little interest. Why is it so?”

 

Day to Day Politics: Have you ever read The Ten Commandments?

Saturday 18 February 2017

 Authors note.

Although at first blush you may think that this piece has little to do with politics, indirectly it does. That is if decency, civility, compassion and good manners are to form any part of future politics. There are many members of Parliament who profess to be Christians. How do they measure up? Do they follow the Ten Commandments? Or would a revised set uninhibited by religion be more appropriate.

I cannot ever remember reading a book that has not in some way left an impression on me. It might just be the absurdity of a poorly written novel that adheres it to one’s memory. Alternatively, it may very well be the profound sense of goodness that books like To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee) or The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck) do for your thoughts on social justice. Or even the boredom that a text-book might bring in research or study. On the other hand, it may be writers like Tim Winton and Marcus Zusak who compose sentences that send one’s head into a divine heaven of literary bliss.

Even a poem can leave you with a beguiling sense of awe. I recently read a poem a friend sent me that painted a masterpiece with words that still occupy the labyrinth of my thoughts. The residue it leaves speaks of the power of one’s imagination.

This then brings me to the book by Richard Dawkins titled “The God Delusion”. It left me reconsidering many personal philosophical and theological concepts. However, with regard to impression. What has remained indelible in my mind is his short discourse on ”The Ten Commandments.” I have long-held the view (even at the zenith of a past theological acceptance), that in a modern-day society where science and reason have superseded literal Biblical thought, they hold little if any relevance. By relevance I mean directly connected with, and important to, a modern twenty-first century society.

In his book Dawkins advocates a replacement set of values drawn simply from a google search and ads in a few of his own for consideration. He points out that they are not the work of any great sage or prophet or professional ethicist but rather from ordinary citizens.

Listed below are the original Ten Commandments and the suggested alternatives. I will say no more other than with your reason and logic decide which have the more relevance and are therefore more applicable for the world of today.

”You shall have no other gods before Me”

”You shall not make for yourself a carved image–any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth”

”You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain”

.”Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy”

”Honour your father and your mother”

”’You shall not murder”

”You shall not commit adultery”

”You shall not steal”

”You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour”

”You shall not covet your neighbours’ house; you shall not covet your neighbours’ wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbours”

Or these as alternatives.

”Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you”

”In all things strive to cause no harm”.

”Treat your fellow human beings, your fellow living things and the world in general with love, honesty, faithfulness and respect”

”Do not overlook evil or shrink from administering justice, but always be ready to forgive wrongdoing freely admitted and honestly regretted”

”Live life with a sense of joy and wonder”.

”Always seek to be learning something new”

”Test all things; always check your ideas against your facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it does not conform to them”

”Never seek to cut yourself off from dissent; always respect the right of others to disagree with you”

”Form independent opinions on the basis of your own reason and experience; do not allow yourself to be led blindly by others”

Question everything.

And some further alternatives from Dawkins.

”Enjoy your own sex life (so long as it damages nobody) and leaves others to enjoy theirs in private whatever their inclinations, which are none or your business”

”Do not discriminate or oppress on the basis of sex, race or (as far as possible) species”.

”Do not indoctrinate your children. Teach them how to think for themselves, how to evaluate evidence and how to disagree with you”

”Value the future on a timescale longer than your own”

”In conclusion. The purpose in writing this is my contention that the Bible is the only ‘How To” book ever written never to have been updated. If the Bible is the supposed literal (or inspired) word of God why then did he stop dictating or even revising? Now that’s something to think about”

An observation.

”The ability of thinking human beings to blindly embrace what they are being told without referring to evaluation and the consideration of scientific fact and reason, never ceases to amaze me. It is tantamount to the rejection of rationale explanation”

My thought for the day.

”I have come to the conclusion that one of the truly bad effects religion (any religion) has on people is that it teaches that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding”

 

 

Day to Day Politics: Lies, lies, lies from Abbott to Turnbull.

Friday 17 February 2017

1 When asked what a government’s first duty is most would say that it is to look after the most vulnerable of its citizens. Others might say it’s the protection of all its citizens.

Both are obvious answers but in the broader consideration doesn’t the government have a duty of care to all the citizens of Australia? The young, the old and those not yet considered. Even if it’s not indelibly written into the statutes or the constitution.

This is on my mind when I read the confession of former Prime Minister Mr Abbott’s then chief of staff, Peta Credlin, now a commentator on Sky, that the Coalition’s campaign against a carbon price was entirely political.

The reason I use the word confession, rather than admission for example, is that in this instance the word best illustrates the fact that Abbott and his government, purely for political purposes, deliberately chose to ignore the best scientific advice on the subject of Climate Change. In doing so they also ignored their duty of care to all Australians and the yet to be born. They should really be found guilty of a crime against humanity.

Now, if hospital staff deliberately ignored the best available science in the treatment of a patient, they would face multiple law suites.

”That was brutal retail politics and it took Abbott six months to cut through and when he did cut through Gillard was gone,” Ms Credlin told Sky News on Sunday.

Now I’m sure that this revelation doesn’t come as any surprise to the reader. We all thought that was the case. But for a former Chief of Staff to confess that they created a deliberate scare campaign contrary to the best scientific advice in the world, should condemn Abbott and his entire party for what it is. And it should be of concern to every Australian.

Not content with lying about the benefits of an emissions’ trading scheme, they have all of a sudden invented power supply as a political scapegoat targeted at Labor when it is, in fact, their responsibility.

Adam Morten in the SMH said.

”The Turnbull government has been sitting on advice that an emissions intensity scheme – the carbon policy it put on the table only to rule out just 36 hours later – would save households and businesses up to $15 billion in electricity bills over a decade.

While Malcolm Turnbull has rejected this sort of scheme by claiming it would push up prices, analysis in an Australian Electricity Market Commission report handed to the government months ago finds it would actually cost consumers far less than other approaches, including doing nothing.”

Then prior to Christmas a government discussion paper recommending a price mechanism for carbon emissions intensity was quickly given the boot from the political agenda at the insistence of Abbott supporters within the Coalition party room.

Again they have rejected the best available advice based on ideology alone. What a way to conduct government. Lies, lies, lies, from Abbott to Turnbull. There should be a way in which the people can sue members of parliament, indeed the party itself, responsible for making extreme policy decisions counter to categorical scientific, peer-reviewed, evidence.

An observation.

”Science has made in my lifetime, the most staggering achievements and they are embraced, recognised and enjoyed by all sections of society. The only areas that I can think of where science is questioned is in the religious fever of climate change doubters, conservative politics and unconventional religious belief.”

We need some avenue by which the members of parliament who oppose vital legislation such as Climate Policy be given the opportunity to present contrary evidence. The public has the right to, not only know who they are, but also what evidence they have.

The fact that we have a Prime Minister who once championed a tax on carbon and now in order to keep his job is willing to put in jeopardy the future of our children makes him and his government criminals. Or if there were a law around deliberate policy misadventure, they certainly would be.

In a speech in 2011 Malcolm Turnbull said this.

“It is undoubtedly correct that there has been a very effective campaign against the science of climate change by those opposed to taking action to cut emissions, mainly because it does not suit their own financial interests, and this has played into the carbon tax debate,” he said.

“Normally, in our consideration of scientific issues, we rely on expert advice [and] agencies like CSIRO or the Australian Academy of Science, are listened to with respect.

“Yet on this issue there appears to be a licence to reject our best scientists both here and abroad and rely instead on much less reliable views.

“So in the storm of this debate about carbon tax, direct action and what the right approach to climate change should be, do not fall into the trap of abandoning the science.”

Greg Jericho put it this way in the Guardian.

”The government has clearly decided that electricity prices is its key message for the next three years – and as a result the prime minister has ensured the policy debate will be biased towards climate change denial and will continue to treat Australians as idiots.”

John Menadue said this.

‘The rest of Australia’s leaders, in particular the CEOs of our largest companies, should declare now that enough is enough, and pull these idiots into line.

Let’s be clear, the Coalition and particularly the Liberal Party and Malcolm Turnbull are responsible for the current mess and impasse on electricity prices and reliability and supply. This is the result of years of policy and political failure. We are now seeing the dreadful consequences.”

2. Peter Dutton was the only MP not in attendance when Kevin Rudd made his now historic ‘’Apology’’ speech. On Tuesday he chose not to sit with the front bench when his leader gave an update on the Bridging the Gap policy. You be the judge.

An observation.

”Commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence, and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith and mysticism, is the best way of providing solutions to human problems”

3. The damage that can be done by false news. You might recall at the height of the immigration influx into European countries, there was a report of immigrants assaulting women on New Year’s Eve in Frankfurt, Germany. Well it has now been exposed as “baseless” after investigation by police.

The publication, Bild, that originally printed the story has retracted and has apologised for what it said was a “false report”, which was based on the now disputed claims of a pub owner and some of their staff.

What damage they do.

4. Can I remind you that the next Budget is due to be presented in May, but a few weeks away? It’s probably a good time to remind the Government that they are actually in charge. Not Labor! How a party who has only governed for six of the last 20 years can be blamed for so much, is an ongoing fascination.

5 I have to say that the performance of Jacqui Lambie in trying to belittle Yassmin Abdel-Magied over sharia law was, to say the least, unpleasant. The best I can say is that one seemed to know what Sharia law is and the other didn’t.

An observation.

”If you have a point of view, feel free to express it. However, do so with civility. Then your point of view is laced with a degree of dignity.”

On this day in 2016 I wrote.

”Malcolm Turnbull still has a handsome lead over Bill Shorten in the preferred Prime Minister stakes but yesterday’s Fairfax-Ipsos showed a growing disquiet about his Governments performance. Opinion polls, especially so far out from an election, are but a guide to people’s thinking and not an indication of how they might vote. Trends are what we look for and recent polling suggests one is taking shape.

Crickey’s Poll Bludger says.

‘The latest Poll is another weaker result for the Coalition, whose two-party lead of 52-48 compares with 56-44 at the previous such poll in mid-November. On the primary vote, the Coalition is down four points to 44%, Labor is up three to 32% and the Greens are up two to 15%. Malcolm Turnbull takes a solid hit on his still very strong personal ratings, with approval down seven to 62% and disapproval up eight to 24%. Bill Shorten is little changed on 30% approval (up one) and 55% disapproval (down two), and his deficit on preferred prime minister has narrowed slightly, from 69-18 to 64-19. The poll was conducted Thursday to Saturday from a sample of 1403.”

Who said this?

”It is an absolute principle of democracy that governments should not and must not say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards. Nothing could be more calculated to bring our democracy into disrepute and alienate the citizenry of Australia from their government than if governments were to establish by precedent that they could say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards.”

My thought for the day.

”I am often staggered with the vigour American atheists use to confront religion. However when one examines the conduct of religious institutions in that country I cannot say I am the least surprised”

 

Day to Day Politics: The Trump Report No8. Is he mentally ill?

Thursday February 16 2017

While the President works on a revised version of his immigration policy, dismisses his first advisor and blunders along telling lie upon lie and tweeting his sarcasms, the concentration of us mere mortals seems cantered on his sanity, or to put it more politely, his mental health issues.

The whole of the American media seems fully concentrated on the state of the President’s sanity.

“Johns Hopkins Top Psychotherapist Releases Terrifying Diagnosis of President Trump”.

So read the headline on the ”Bipartisan Report” web page. Now the John Hopkins institute is a very well-respected institution so my curiosity begged me to dig somewhat deeper.

It seems that “John D. Gartner, a registered psychotherapist at the renowned Johns Hopkins University Medical School seems to think Trump may, in fact, be the one with the problem. Gartner, who teaches psychiatric residents at Hopkins, decided to break the ethical code known as the “Goldwater Rule” in order to warn the American public about the dangerousness of our new commander-in-chief’s mental state.”

Normally therapists don’t break the “Goldwater Rule” which is an ethics code of the American Psychiatric Association saying it is wrong to provide a professional opinion of a public figure without examining that person and gaining consent to discuss the evaluation.

So a decision to do so would not be taken lightly. He says that Trump is “temperamentally unfit” to serve as president, following his numerous sexist remarks about women, mocking of a disabled reporter, and blatantly racist statements about basically every single human being who isn’t white. Gartner unofficially diagnosed Trump with malignant narcissism. Although he himself has not personally examined Trump, Gartner claims it’s obvious from watching even a little of his behaviour that he meets the diagnostic criteria for the disorder. Some of the characteristics include:

  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Sadism
  • Aggressiveness
  • Paranoia
  • Grandiosity
  • Entitled
  • Regressed
  • Manipulative
  • Destructive
  • Egocentric
  • Use of projection
  • Lack of conscience
  • Narcissistic

But it’s not only the John Hopkins institute that is concerned about the President’s mental health. Bernie Sanders has called him a pathological liar.

“We have a president who is delusional in many respects, a pathological liar,”

A Democratic senator claims that “a few” of his Republican colleagues have expressed concern to him about President Donald Trump’s mental health, directly relating to questions about Mr Trump’s truthfulness.

“Some will say he’s not right mentally,” Senator Franken said. “And then some are harsher.”

The Washington Post has reported that Mr Trump is also said to have told some senators in a private meeting at the White House that he and former Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte would have won in New Hampshire if not for voters bussed in from out-of-state.

”You know, that is not the norm for a president of the United States, or, actually, for a human being”

During the election campaign Trump’s mental health came into question a number of times.

”Donald Trump is not of sound mind,” conservative Stephen Hayes wrote two weeks ago in the Weekly Standard.

”Have we stopped to appreciate how crazy Donald Trump has gotten recently?” liberal Ezra Klein wrote last week on Vox.

He ”appears haunted by multiple personality disorders,” conservative David Brooks wrote last week in the New York Times.

”We can gloss over it, laugh about it, analyze it, but Donald Trump is not a well man,” Stuart Stevens, chief strategist to Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, wrote last week on Twitter.

”Trump is crazy. And you can’t fix crazy,” Kevin Sheekey, a Bloomberg adviser, told The New York Times.

California congresswoman Karen Bass, whose district includes areas in and around Los Angeles, also put a hashtag behind her effort calling for a mental health examination of Donald Trump. #DiagnoseTrump.

The internet is swarming with articles about the mental fitness of Donald Trump. Whatever your opinion there is certainly enough behavioural evidence to suggest he is not the full quid’s worth as we Australians are apt to say. As for me well, I’ll settle for two slices short of a sandwich.

My thought for the day.

“We all have to make important decisions in our lives. None more important than the rejection of those things that tempt us into being somebody we are not”

 

Day to Day Politics: Anything but the truth.

Wednesday 15 February 2017

1 If nothing else, since electing Tony Abbott as its leader, one has to admire the determination of the Coalition to prove themselves deplorable managers of Climate Change policy.

From the day Tony Abbott declared Climate Change crap and a socialist plot in 2009, hardly a day has gone past that it hasn’t denigrated renewable energy and championed coal at every turn.

Now it is subjecting Labor, after it put in place an answer to the problem, to a torrent of anti-coal abuse. The spectacle in parliament yesterday with the Coalition trying to justify its scare campaign against renewables after they had been found out telling lies about the cause of the South Australian blackouts, said much about its inability to accept the science.

The scare campaign is in two parts. Firstly, that increases in renewable energy would lead to blackouts and secondly, that Labor was endangering our ”energy security”.

Is nobody listening? We are screaming out for our politicians to stop lying but they are getting worse. Trump seems to have inspired them to reach for greater heights. Turnbull’s hypocrisy on this subject has jumped into the realm of illusion and fantasy. Is he trying to out Trump, Trump? He lies with a self-belief born of pathological delusion.

It has been rightly suggested that we need a consensus based policy developed with the help of experts. Of course we do, but when you have a government that is determined to ignore the expert advice it already receives and the science behind it, what do you do?

It is only a short time ago that Turnbull castigated the Energy Minister for mentioning the words carbon price and last week they were playing show and tell with a piece of coal in question time.

On Monday it was revealed that the Coalition knew that the report would say that renewables were not the cause of the SA blackouts. (Shades of Tampa).

The fact is that everyone was aware of this but it didn’t deter the conservatives of lying about it. You would be hard pressed to find an economist that doesn’t support a carbon tax. Alan Kohler put it this way, “the only reason coal is ‘cheap’ is that the cost of dealing with the carbon dioxide that comes from burning it, is not included in the price”.

Kohler added, “The rest of Australia’s leaders, in particular the CEOs of our largest companies, should declare now that enough is enough, and pull these idiots into line.”

There is a consensus among those expert in these matters that urgent action is needed. It is not beyond the intellect of Turnbull, however, he apparently thinks the pursuit of power for power’s sake is more important than saving the planet.

2. Yesterday Bill Shorten introduced legislation to reform political donations in Australia. We have a 3 point plan to restore trust in politics, he said. 1) inquiry into the merits of a Federal ICAC. 2) Reform the expenses system. 3) Ban foreign donations, disclose all donations above $1000, and close loopholes in political donations.

Anyone listening?

3I took the American Facebook political quiz and they declared me extremely Left wing.

”You are a very solid liberal. You believe in social welfare and equality. You believe that large corporations should be regulated by the government. You also don’t believe that religion has a place in policy making and that people can make moral and just decisions without the belief in God. You do not see the need for growing and strengthening our military. You feel we all have a responsibility to help the less fortunate and that the government needs to help ensure that all people have their basic needs met. When it comes to marriage and family, you believe that they should be enjoyed by everyone”

4. Social Services Minister Christian Porter must wish people would stop listening when he talks. In Parliament, trying to justify his cuts to family payments he said:

“We invest all of the money we’re saving in the Family Tax Benefit system.”

This is wrong and Jenny Macklin was quick to let him know:

“Under the government’s policy, it’s cutting $2.7 billion in family payments and only spending $1.6 billion on its child care policy. Is the Minister aware he was misleading the Australian people, or is he just plain incompetent?”

Mr Porter embarrassingly conceded that:

“I should have said almost all, that is true, that is true.”

Hang on. Almost all? There’s a gap of more than $1 billion. It seems Christian Porter thinks that’s just a rounding error.

Anyway, as it stands the Nick Xenophon Team has rejected the Child Care legislation and unless the Government compromises further it is dead in the water.

 On this day last year I wrote.

”Malcolm Turnbull came to power promising much. A fresh approach to Government following the dark, angry style of Abbott. He promised fairness, transparency and explanations of why change was needed.

”’Change is our friend, our ally, we’ve got to be nimble, agile”

He said he could take us in the direction of honest Government with stability and purpose. A return to what Abbott opposed. A return to orderly Westminster processes defined by cabinet government. A Government that outlined its agenda and explained it.

The past fortnight has proved that besides looking and sounding like the Lord of the Manor, at the end of the first parliamentary fortnight for 2016, he has turned out to be a monumental flop.

Did we create an unfair expectation or did he?

Still hanging over Turnbull’s head is a defenceless policy on equality in marriage, a refusal to even give tacit approval to a debate on a Republic suggesting that he is beholding to those on the extreme right of his party instead of the national interest.

He has not as yet provided us with an answer as to why a change in leader was necessary. Abbott’s policies survive and there is little differentiation from this period.

He pumped up the innovation statement but at the same time would not commit to the final years funding of Gonski and the CSIRO, because of a lack of funding, will have to release more scientists. That’s hardly encouraging innovation.

On top of all this they decide to charge ahead with another Abbott policy, the Medicare payment system. It will not win votes even if it could be justified.

Leadership changes can throw up some unrealistic, even unfair expectations. The past two Coalition leaders have promised good leadership. Abbott never delivered and Turnbull thus far is following suit. Even with the revised Ministry announced on Saturday it is hardly likely to make a difference a few short months prior before the election.

Good governance will have been on hold for three years.

OMG. When will it all end.

My thought for the day.

‘When you tell a lie you deny the other person’s right to the truth’

Day to Day Politics: Class warfare and the feral right.

Tuesday 14 February 2016

1 What is it that occupies the minds of men and women that they need be so malevolent in their thinking? That the power of persuasion with reasoned thinking and debate no longer suffices.

What is it in the backgrounds of people that causes their narcissism and their inability to accommodate difference or equality?

Is it the sins of the fathers that invites their racism? In the media, is it loyalty to the despot? Or an acceptance of serfdom. Why is it that the megalomaniac Alan Jones with his vile gutter speech attracts a huge listing audience and a perverter of the truth like Andrew Bolt command mega readership?

Why is there this preponderance of right-wing attitude? This alignment to neo conservatism and nationalism. Why have we allowed ourselves to be saturated by extremism? Why do those who feel unrepresented and unheard think their problems will be reconciled by leaders from the right?

Perhaps the answer can be found in materialism. Or in an entitlement society. Maybe it’s those elements of Christianity who believe in a gospel of wealth. Do people believe it’s their individual right to take an ownership of prosperity and cultural worth? Perhaps the deliberate assassination, by the political and religious right, of science, has something to do with it. Maybe it’s the death of truth as we know it.

In my lifetime the left, as society has become more affluent, has certainly moved to the right and the right have gone further so.

Maybe it’s the preponderance of right-wing propaganda in our media. Whatever it is why are they so feral about it? Well I’ll have a bit of a stab.

With the media I believe it is the threat of annihilation and in turn profit. Social media and the advent of bloggers is now threatening their power and influence.

It is said of pornography (and I am not expert in this field) that in order to maintain the viewers interest it needs to progressively become more outlandish.

And that is exactly what main stream media is doing. In the process it has chosen to prostitute itself in the forlorn hope of remaining relevant. So they resort to lies and biased opinion with pursed lips.

In the case of politicians, well they have inherited the worst traits of American Republicanism, Trumpism and the Tea Party. It’s loud, powerful and crass. It’s determined to have its way.

An observation.

 ”Poverty is the fault of the victim but wealth comes from virtue and both are the natural order of things.”

But the mystery to me is why the middle and the deprived classes of society think their lot will be improved by electing those the least interested in them.

An observation.

”The purpose of propaganda is to make you feel good about the wrongs being perpetrated on you”

Every time the left in Australia shouts fairness equality and equity the right come back with envy, class warfare and jealousy.

But what the hell is this class warfare everyone talks about? I would have thought that there was less class distinction in Australia than in most countries. At least on the surface. We do however have an attitude known as ”them and us” syndrome. This phrase speaks of the wealthy who are privileged beyond conscience and then, well there’s us.

The battlers with aspirations to also be wealthy (and I am assuming that class pre supposes wealth) but with the common sense to know that not everyone can be. Although if you are one of them of course (the wealthy) it does afford you a better class of education, of medical treatment and access to the law.

In fact it gives you distinct societal advantages. Like tax havens, tax avoidance, and superannuation discounts not available to us. Oh and I forgot negative gearing and a myriad of other concessions .

The term ”Class Warfare” originates from the USA and has been a favourite form of attack by Fox News and the Republicans against the left. Like most things that have a basis in the worship of wealth and privilege the right in Australia adopt the same negative position. Fox News also uses the term ”War on wealth” in their efforts to support wealth as a national goal. Everyone should aspire to be rich even if everyone cannot.

Who is waging this so-called war? I don’t see the middle and lower classes up in arms over their treatment. But I do see the wealthy and the super-rich getting cranky every time there is a threat to their privilege. Or at the suggestion that they should contribute more to the public coffers. In fact never in the history of this nation have the rich and the privileged been so openly brazen about their economic self-righteousness.

They are ably supported by the Murdoch press who invariably perpetuate and use the phrase “Class Warfare” in a manner that suggests the lower and middle classes and particularly the Labor Party are at war with the rich. But ask yourself who is doing all the complaining. It’s the wealthiest it’s ”them” not ”us”.

When for the first time Australian mining companies campaigned against the Rudd government effectively telling them how much tax they were prepared to pay, they were playing the class warfare card. Such was the power of wealth that Gina Rinehart, Twiggy Forrest and Clive Palmer got away with it. The fact that the minerals belong to all of us seemed unimportant to them. Not to mention the enormous taxpayer-funded subsidies they receive. They don’t seem to understand the concept of fairness. There is ”them” and ” us.”

When Wayne Swan made his speech some years ago encouraging an equitable share of the country’s wealth he was accused of engaging in class warfare. Isn’t tax meant to be redistributed?

Even newspapers like the Herald Sun who pitch to a common man demographic, pander to the class of rich without hesitation. Perhaps it’s because they are owned by one of the world’s wealthiest men. Ironic, isn’t it?

Let’s look at the GST for example. It burdens the poor and those with the least capacity to pay. It discriminates against the poor and the pensioners who are living a hand-to-mouth existence and spending the bulk of their income on the necessities of life— clothing, rent, heating, power etc. The middle and lower classes pay more GST than the rich but I don’t see them in open warfare because of it. Goodness, once the rich had to pay a luxury tax of 33% on their BMWs. Now it’s 10%.

Media commentary research shows that the Murdoch press is the major contributor to this supposed idea of a class warfare. The Australian Financial Review at the time ran 10 articles on this theme. The Daily Telegraph 21 and the Australian 77. Add to that a few disgruntled Labor hacks who couldn’t get their own way and you can identify who is leading the chorus. But us, until now, well we seem to be leaderless.

When the wealthiest in the land have for years virtually been practicing tax avoidance literally paying no tax and large corporations following suit, who is playing class warfare?

When such behaviour is questioned the right-wing media portray it as an attack on the wealthy. “It’s class warfare” they shout.

However, at the time of Swan’s essay, the Coalition planned to cut the rebate for low-income earners (mainly women) and take away the  school bonus subsidies the war becomes a one-sided impasse. And when Abbott’s 2014 Budget was universally condemned as the most unfair ever because it placed the burden of budget repair on the poor and middle class, the right had the audacity to call it class warfare on the rich.

Yes, the rich are in a class of their own. And their success is judged on the size and value of their assets. A poor measure by any standard.

Even when it’s suggested that equality of opportunity in education is a noble pursuit and the right of every child, people like Christopher Pyne say it as class warfare and he ludicrously described the Gonski reforms as such. Mind you he confessed to never having read the report.

When a person like Pyne suggests that the implementation of Gonski is practicing class warfare, it’s easy to see who is actually practicing it. Those elitist bastards, not us.

The war it seems is only being waged against those who are wealthy and can afford it. Poor buggers. I’m tempted to donate 10% of my pension if they are doing it that bad.

So the “Class War” would appear to be a Clayton’s one at best. Only one side is fighting it. It’s ”them”  not ” us”. And it’s very hard to get through to a class who believes that what’s theirs is theirs and what’s yours is negotiable.

They want all the excesses that come with wealth and then they want some more. As for us, we don’t confuse what we want with what we need.

When you consider that currently taxpayer subsidies given to mining companies, the taxpayer assisted negative gearing, the tax loopholes and the wealthy who just don’t pay tax at all, is it any wonder the rich feel threatened? And with a growing awareness that banks and big business are ripping us off, it is the rich who are practicing a class warfare that is breeding a growing inequality.

You can be assured of one thing: When a conservative Government and right-wing MSM refer to class warfare they are simply saying “they are trying to take something from us that we deserve and it’s not fair”. And remember that Maggie assured us that the poor would be looked after by the drip down effect of the rich.

My arse it will! It never has before.

My thought for the day.

“Meritocracy is a term used to imply that those at the top of the social scale have merit and a slur against those at the bottom.”

 

 

 

 

 

Day to Day Politics: No I’m not rejoycing at all.

Sunday 12 February 2017

On this day in 2016 I wrote the following. Seriously, how do you think it’s turned out?

1 The day has finally arrived. Barnaby Joyce has become Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. Now we have a Prime Minister who firmly believes in a Republic, equality in marriage and the science of Climate Change and a deputy who does not. The intellectual gap between them is of sagacious proportion.

It is said of Barnaby that he is the best retail salesman in Australia. I would suggest the public sees him as a person of mockery. It’s not so much his ocker image. After all Hawke and Keating had colourful turns of phrase. It’s the depth of comprehension. The understanding of things beyond politics.

It seems incredible that a man who was one of the principle instigators in 2009 of the downfall of the then opposition leader can now be his deputy.

It also seems implausible that a Senator who has crossed the floor to vote against his party on 19 occasions can now lead it.

Remember what Joyce said about mining Antarctica in 2006. He went there for a month and came back spruiking the beauty of it. ’The vastness of nature itself’.

We staked a claim to a large part of it and signed an agreement not to mine it. Then he suggested on the ABC that we should.

‘We can really realise that [mining’s] the game… or we can stick our head in the snow’.

‘Do I turn my head and allow another country to exploit my resource… or do I position myself in such a way as I’m going to exploit it myself before they get there,’ said Barnaby

In the same year Barnaby opposed the new wonder drug Gardasil for the treatment of cervical cancer. The drug is now common place and is administered to boys and girls in their first year of high school.

Barnaby opposed it because of.

“The psychological implications or the social implications”. ‘There might be an overwhelming (public) backlash from people saying ‘don’t you dare put something out there that gives my 12-year-old daughter a license to be promiscuous’

It gets worse. On Climate Change. When he was a Senator he said, despite all the science, that he had,

‘Serious doubt about our ability to change the climate” and that “the climate change debate is an ongoing debate’.

In 2010 he said he didn’t believe that global warming is as bad as everyone says.

‘Why do I say that…not because I have the factual premise to debunk them on the science, ’Barnaby explained.

Then he said that Climate Change was…

‘An indulgent and irrelevant debate because, even if climate changes turns out to exist one day, we will have absolutely no impact on it whatsoever’

It doesn’t finish there. When he was asked about being identified as a climate denier he answered.

‘The whole terms repugnant. Climate change denier, like Holocaust denier…’

On the subject of abortion he tends to lecture women. Whatever your view on the subject in Australia the topic is generally treated with caution by politicians.

In 2004 speaking to Mark Colvin he said. He’s…

‘Pro-life, unashamedly pro-life” and that his “personal philosophy is anti-abortion’.

In 2005 he said that his greatest achievement would be to… ‘Stop abortion’ it was. ‘The slavery debate of our time’ he was ‘philosophically opposed’ to Medicare paying for abortions. He said that using the RU486 drug was like an act of murder. ‘So if I shoot a woman in the abdomen and do not kill her but kill the baby, I have not actually committed a crime’

Barnaby argued before the Community Affairs Legislation committee.

The absurdity of this statement was pointed out at the time by Women’s Electoral Lobby ACT convener Rosyln Dundas who commented ‘No, you actually have committed a crime by shooting a woman.’

He also gloated about rolling the then opposition leader.

Leadership demands more than just a ‘retail’ personality. It requires, in the sense of leading a country, a deep insightful world view. Anyone who has seen Joyce on a Q&A panel with guests who present an understanding of life in all its variances will acknowledge that he has not the capacity to appreciate life beyond politics. He is like Abbott, caught in a world that the rest of us have left far behind.

And so we have as Deputy PM the man who said a roast would cost $100 under Labor’s Carbon tax and who, when Finance Minister said Australia would default on its debt. The then Reserve bank Governor at the time said he was unfit for the job. We deserve better.

I also wrote.

2 The news that Greg Hunt has received an award as ‘Best Minister in the World’ will be received with much scepticism by many Australians. Even hilarity.

Mr Hunt told Fairfax Media he was “genuinely humbled” by the prize, but noted “this is really an award for Australia”. The criteria for winning the award, according to the organisers, is that the minister should lead quality successful initiatives that serve the needs of citizens.

Any economist, environmentalist or climate scientist or journalist specialising in the subject would be aghast that a person who has done so much harm to environmental policy could be honoured with an award.

Politics in this country is rapidly turning to farce. First we make Philip Ruddock our Human Rights Envoy and now this!

Internationally, in environmental gatherings Hunt is referred to as the man for all seasons. He has long been admired for his ability to put the case for Direct Action without ever explaining exactly how it might work. Or how it might be paid for.

He gained a masters with honours in 1990 with a brilliantly argued thesis for a carbon tax to reduce carbon emissions. Then he did an about turn when Abbott gained power supporting Direct Action. It was then that he lost all credibility and has been ridiculed ever since.

There is an award at every climate summit called ‘The Fossil of the Day’ The award is given by the international Climate Action Network to the country which has done the most to block progress at the climate change negotiations.”

My thought for the day.

“Be generous with your praise and considerate with your criticism”

 

Day to Day Politics: Have the right won?

Saturday 11 February 2017

The Australian public have delivered their verdict on what they think of our political system, the way it operates and the people who run it. The verdict is emphatic. It is not new. They think our politicians are morons, more intent on self-interest than our interests. We simply don’t trust them.

In the Australian context Pauline Hanson’s rise is an example of what occurs when the public thinks they are being had. Some protest by switching to people who say what they want to hear. It doesn’t matter whether the person is a drongo, as in Hanson’s case, and it is unlikely to change anything. They just want to protest.

Nothing could illustrate their frustration more than this week’s attack on Bill Shorten by the Prime minister and the Governments attitude to Climate Change and the blackout in South Australia.

What caused the blackouts in South Australia?. It’s fairly obvious if you think about it. It’s Climate Change. We are currently experiencing adverse weather conditions that will, in the future, become the norm or worse. And now we find the Government going hell for leather blaming anything and everything other than the reality of Climate Change. The other point is this. The previous blackout could have been avoided if firstly the towers had been built of a standard capable of withstanding extreme weather, and secondly, in the case of Wednesday’s crisis, some planned common sense that prioritised power over profit.

But alas it would seem, based on the current onslaught on renewable energy, energy reliability and its support for dirty coal, the government seems intent on following the Trump path of Climate Denial. There is no doubt that renewables will be the future and that other technologies will come along to support it. If gas and coal in the meantime are needed for base load power then let’s be sensible and make adjustments as required.

When I listen to panels of experts talk about their particular field, I am often left in awe of their knowledge and particularly their solutions to problems. Therefore I am apt to ask myself why we allow political ideology, vested interests, and media tycoons the freedom to know better.

Malcolm Turnbull has revived the ‘clean coal’ zombie. But why build expensive, polluting, new coal power stations when you can build wind for half the price!

It is now clear that the Government, in spite of the public saying they have had a gutfull, intend spruiking the goodness of coal, expressing alarm about the cost of living to create the illusion that power prices would rise steeply.

The lump of coal, I interpret, as being a metaphor for how it will save us from the relentless march of socialism which the right see as the root cause of all wrongs. Coal, in spite of the science, would be the saviour of the household power bill, whereas the cost of cleaning the planet would be hidden somewhere in our imagination.

If there is a problem with power security then who is at fault? It is just sickening to watch them openly lie and blame others for their own stupidity.

You might recall that prior to Christmas the government’s own experts recommended an emissions intensity scheme that actually favoured gas in the energy mix, would be the best way forward.

They couldn’t do that of course because it was too political. It sounded a little bit like Labor might have been right. Stuff the power blackouts. We cannot admit we might have been wrong. What a farce. In England they took the matter so seriously that the major parties took the ideology out of it a decade ago.

The tragedy is that while the Prime Minister is increasingly falling into line with his ultra-conservative feral backbench, Australia is missing out on clean energy investments.

The further tragedy is that the Government is still in denial about the peoples’ demand for better governance. Instead of acting, they are playing silly games like bringing a lump of coal into question time. The actions of our politicians this week in the parliament were nothing short of childlike.

It’s now official. The right have won.

 We deserve better but we won’t get it until we demand it.

On this day in 2016 I wrote. (In part)

”Bias is a bastard of a topic because it’s like rust. It spreads everywhere. The most common form of bias is found in sport. The one-eyed football supporter is so biased he/she can see no redeeming features about the opposition.

Collingwood supporters in the AFL are acknowledged as the most feral variety. (Have I lost any friends?) Bias also occurs in advertising where we are seemingly told with open prejudice the merit of one product over another. Bias also inhabits the corporate world where it is used in reporting profit or in surveys where the outcome is slanted toward the corporation.

Or even in polls where a certain outcome is beneficial to whoever commissioned it. Religion shows its bias when it will not allow certain practices in health, or excludes sex education in its schools.

Then there is omission bias where vital information is deleted or purposely left out. And of course there is the bias of sensationalism where it is given precedence over the mundane which might be the more factual. Another is concision bias, a tendency to report views that can be summarised succinctly, crowding out more unconventional views that take time to explain.

Then there is what I call social bias which favours or attacks a particular race, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, ethnic group or even an individual. Science of course has a bias of fact before feeling”

”Another example is “The Australian” newspaper. Sometimes called the official newsletter of the LNP. Why does it exist? It loses millions of dollars annually for an owner who has spent a lifetime in the pursuit of financial riches. There can only be one reason and that is to perpetuate its bias. And biased it is.

Generally speaking newspapers report (or should report) both sides of an argument, its bias will usually slant toward its own editorial bent. However, most will seek to achieve a reasonable balance in light of the weight of any given argument.

With climate change it would be hard to argue that the weight should not come down on the side of science. Yet in his Quarterly Essay critique 2014. Australian academic Robert Manne read almost seven years’ worth of news and opinion articles in the Australian Newspaper and discovered that, of the 880 articles printed, just 180 were “favourable to climate change action and 700 unfavourable” – a four to one difference. On the newspaper’s opinion pages alone, the sceptics out-number the “consensus” 10 to one. Enough said. You be the judge”

 My thought for the day.

Debate is not of necessity about winning or taking down ones opponent. It is an exchange of ideas and principles. Or in its purest form it is simply the art of persuasion”

Day to Day Politics: Play school parliament

Friday 10 February.

I’m not privy to what it is the Prime Ministers advisors suggested, but his attack on Bill Shorten did little more than confirm what we already know.

He is not who we thought he was. He is not the calm, balanced, untempered, openly transparent, persuasive man also prepared to listen and adjust. A man of fairness, a left of centre politician who before he was elected gave the impression he was our leader for years to come.

It was a speech born of frustration from a man being controlled, who is not leading but being led. It was full of hubris and class distinction. Shortens association with money was a sin for the lower class. He needed to lash out at someone  and chose Shorten.

It was a speech, with all its exasperation, that should have been directed at his own party. It is they who are preventing him from governing, not Bill Shorten.

As Katherine Murphy said in The Guardian.

”It was a speech of a politician who knows everything is ranged against him, that adversity sits in front of him, and poison and dysfunction behind; and the only option open to him, after reason, flattery, and crouching compromise has failed to deliver the breakthrough, is to lock your jaw, find the primal growl, and punch your way out of a corner”

When he sold out to the right, the extreme right, we knew that he was prepared to do there whim to become Prime Minister. Now it looks like, with his attack on Shorten, that he has decided, or been told to confirm it so.

In doing so it also confirms he has placed himself in the Trump camp. That being if you have nothing to offer, nothing to say then create a diversion. Sledge. So he attacks the man and creates a politics of envy scenario that to me is completely wrong. It is not the left that is fighting a class war. It is the rich who want to more of the class capitalist pie.

The worldwide political protest has been about the ordinary man not getting a say, of inequality, of a class warfare being fought by the right to increase its share of wealth.

The oddest thing is that the people’s of many nations who think they no longer have a say in their destiny are choosing the right to represent them. As if the right might  pursue that which they so long for. To seek equality in an unequal world.

In America the people voted that Trump would be the best to give them a say in their future, to decide that the American dream could best be re-established by him. That he would fix the enormous gap between rich and poor. The unregulated evil of capitalism that brings about inequality would somehow bring about equality with more deregulation. Just a nonsense. I can think of no other person as unqualified as Trump.

And so in Australia the mainstream media, particularly the Murdoch media sing the praises of a speech in Parliament designed to hit below the belt. One that had a big impact on government MPs who cannot see beyond the walls of the chamber, but none on those of reasonable principles. A speech that addressed nothing of the Governments incompetency. Just a suggestion that a Union man had no right rubbing shoulders with the elite.

So why did he need to do it? He is ahead in the most preferred PM polls. He did it not only because of his frustration but because his advisers told him Australia needed Trumpish politics. The way to cut through was not with charm, reasoned argument and truth but with anger directed at the lower classes who are just bludgers and hangers on to the upper classes.

For his part Shorten remained calm and pointed out Turnbulls frustration at being controlled by the right. That he understood and was sympathetic to his frustration.

‘’I don’t think (we) have seen that sort of anger from him since his election night speech’ says @billshortenmp of Turnbull.’’ Ouch

My thought for the day.

”If you have a point of view, feel free to express it. However, do so with civility. Then your point of view is laced with a degree of dignity”

Day to Day Politics: Enough to make you sick.

Thursday 9 February

Authors note.

Here I am in bed trying to shrug off a virus, wondering what I might write about when I’m well again. But as things stand, my mind can only absorb information from my iPad and television. So I write down my thoughts as they come and go.

Having observed our Parliament over the last couple of days I can only conclude that our MPs have not heard the voice of the Australian people saying so emphatically, they don’t like the way we practice politics. Dumber than dumb.

1 I wonder why it is that politicians cannot be upfront with us and tell the truth. For example employment is going to become increasingly more difficult to attain. 50% of existing jobs in America, similarly in Australia, will be lost to robot technology and 3D printing over the next 20/30 years. Why not explain the difficulties we face as a nation and how we might adapt. Making promises that cannot be kept is just lying by omission.

2 I’m watching question time in the House of Reps on Tuesday and it’s apparent that the Coalition intends making the cost and availability of electricity an issue to attack Labor’s renewable energy policy. What I have always found remarkable about the debate on Climate Change is the proposition by politicians that we can clean up the planet for free. A ludicrous proposition if ever I heard it.

Barry Jones raised the question of Climate Change over 20 years ago. People listened with understandable ignorance. With the passing of time science has unequivocally proven the danger it poses to the world. However, decisions are being made by people with no knowledge of the science. Despite all we have learned, we still remain dumb.

3 At long last the Gold card has gone. It didn’t cost much. Around a million dollars a year but it was symbolic of the way in which politicians rip off the taxpayer. Speaking on matters of expenses I note that the Coalition party room meeting was extended by an hour to accommodate discussion on the proposed changes to MPs entitlements.

4    Donald Trump may visit England but he won’t speak in its Parliament. So it was announced rather robustly by the independent speaker. Perhaps the use of the word robust was a bit light on. He sounded like he hated Trump with a vengeance.

5 The Vatican’s long-held view that it is not obliged to release evidence it holds from the Australian Royal Commission into child abuse, should be looked on as a sin of the Catholic Church and its leader. As usual, it is more interested in the institution than the flock.

6 I have decided that everything I read that I don’t agree with, is just fake news.

7 The Essential poll came in at 53/47 to Labor. How is it possible l ask myself.

8 It is unsurprising that a government who seeks to install, at horrendous cost, a second-rate NBN, would want to invest in dirty coal rather than invest in renewable energy.

9 Talk about robbing Peter to pay Paul. Child care is being paid for, by cuts to family payments. It will enable women to get jobs that don’t exist. $2.7 billion from family payments to pay for child care. You work it out.

10 It’s a pity more Australians don’t have the opportunity to see Bill Shorten when he is in full flight in the parliament. Impressive on Wednesday. On the other hand Turnbull got about as personal as you can get. Deliberately so.

The PM yesterday performed at Question Time like a footballer who had been told that if he doesn’t find form shortly he won’t see out the season.

11 Is the CEO of Australia Post-paid too much? Is he value for money? Entertainers are paid in excess of that and no one blinks an eye. What a joke.

12 The politics of everything is diabolical, says economist Chris Richardson.

13 I’m reading a piece in the SMH. The headline says, ‘Donald Trump reminiscent of Stalin says chief scientist Alan Finkel.’ Science is always under attack, I think to myself, if it confronts the greedy capitalists.

Science has, in my lifetime, made the most staggering achievements and they are embraced, recognised and enjoyed by all sections of society. The only area that I can think of where science is questioned, is the religious fever of climate change doubters, conservatism and unconventional religious belief.

14 Someone sent me this without putting a name to it. My mind goes back to when I met Pastor Danny Naliah. I put my hand out and instinctively knew that I was about to shake the hand of an evil man.

”Is it possible to sink any lower than the ‘’Rise up Australia’’ party and its leader Danny Naliah .

Following the tragedy in Bourke st last week in which 6 innocent people were mowed down by a person with mental health issues and addicted to Ice, Danny found something to celebrate before the victims were even cold.

 Despite the police determining that the tragedy had no connection to any form of terrorism, Danny and his despicable followers decided that Dimitrious Gargasoulis a person of Greek origin now charged with 6 murders was in fact a Greek ISLAMIC KURD’’

Never let the facts get in the way of this enormous tragedy Danny, of 6 people dead and many others still in a critical condition

Not satisfied, you and your feeble-minded toadies have weaved Islam into this tragic tale. It says a lot about how the dregs of society see yourselves.

I am surprised however that knowing how your mind has been poisoned by your Christian teachings you have not called for all people of Greek origin to be deported or maybe that’s on the cards to.

Hatred of the unfamiliar is what’s drives the toadies in your organisation the absolute hatred, you accuse others of.’’

It’s a sad day in this country when people filled with such hatred are even regarded as Christian. That seems like an oxymoron but I will try to keep it simple for you and your lot.

Fanatical Christians filled with hate and ignorance, seem a like what you claim to fight against.

I’m not one to play the racist card, but take a long hard look at yourself Danny. You are Sri Lankan, a fanatic, a new arrival to this country and you are brown to boot. Be careful what you wish for you loathsome man !!”

On this day in 2016, I wrote.

”It’s all but confirmed. If didn’t know already Tony Abbott is the biggest liar ever to have walked the halls of Parliament. Border Force officials told a Senate committee last week that 23 vessels have been turned around since Operation Sovereign Borders commenced after the election of the Abbott Government.

The most recognized slogan in Australian political history, used by Tony Abbott to perpetuate a myth that his policies had ‘Stopped the boats’ has been blown out of the water. He had not stopped them at all. They continued to come and according to the commander of Operation Sovereign Borders, Maj Gen Andrew Bottrell, there remains a persistent number of attempts, all of which have failed over the last year and a half.

In other words they are still coming. We are just paying the people smugglers to take them back. The boats have never been stopped.”

My thought for the day.

“Negativity is like rust, it never sleeps.

Day to Day Politics: Rudd Vs Murdoch

Author’s note:

Today I have given over my daily post to a repudiation by Kevin Rudd of the Murdoch press. At the end I have included the AUSTRALIAN PRESS COUNCIL REGULATIONS.

ANOTHER MURDOCH TABLOID WHOPPER

With all the recent coverage of Turnbull’s telephone encounter with Trump, I missed a story run on 1 February 2017 on page 1 of Murdoch’s Daily Telegraph which friends have just drawn to my attention.

It alleged that in 2010 as Prime Minister I imposed “the same type of visa bans” as President Trump has just done in the United States under his Executive Order of 27 January. This “news story,” not even classified as a comment piece, is utterly false. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/us-politics-trumps-visa-ban-just-the-same-as-kevin-rudds-tactics/news-story/eada2c68147e8e4394705623a77163d1

President Trump’s “Executive Order: Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States” imposes a blanket ban on seven majority Muslim countries (Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen), preventing all citizens from entering the country. It was based explicitly on the potential security threat that immigrants from these countries may pose to the national interests of the United States. The legality of this order is now being tested in the US courts after a US Federal Court judge issued an injunction against implementation, and subsequently upheld by the US Court of Appeal following a challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

In 2010 my government implemented a temporary freeze on asylum applications from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, not all citizens, for a period of three and six months respectively. Furthermore, these were based exclusively on official departmental advice that the security concerns in both countries had changed at that time, reducing the risks to local peoples, risks that would otherwise have caused them to seek asylum in other countries including Australia. These measures were neither proclaimed nor conceived as anti-terrorism measures. These Australian measures were similar to reviews that were then concurrently being conducted by the UNHCR concerning changing conditions within these countries. And this review was for the UNHCR’s own asylum seeker processing purposes.

At the time of announcement, then-Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Evans stated that “The decision has been made in the light of the changing circumstances in both Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. Evolving country information from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan is likely to have a significant effect on the outcome of assessments as to whether asylum-seekers have a well-founded fear of persecution within the meaning of the Refugees Convention.” Our position was aligned with the notion that conditions may be improving in the countries in question.

There are seven reasons why the Telegraph’s story is factually wrong. These are listed below.

I would appreciate them printing them as my response to their misleading story, or by providing evidence which disproves each of these. I’m not holding my breath. But it does give them time to send it to their friends in the government to draft a reply for them.

The core documents are:

President Trump’s “Executive Order: Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States” can be accessed here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/27/executive-order-protecting-nation-foreign-terrorist-entry-united-states

Our policy announcement can be accessed here: http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressrel%2F0U1X6%22

Fact Number 1:

President Trump suspended the entire US refugee visa program for 120 days. [Sec. 5 (a)]

My government never did this.

Fact Number 2:

President Trump has suspended refugee visa admissions from Syria indefinitely. [Sec. 5 (c)]

My government never suspended refugee admissions from any country indefinitely.

Fact Number 3:

President Trump has reduced the overall refugee visa cap to the US by more than half, from 110,000 to 50,000. [Sec. 5 (d)]

The Labor government never reduced the overall refugee visa cap. In fact, Labor later increased the annual intake by 50%, from 13,750 to 20,000.

Source: http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressrel%2F1867222%22

The conservative government under Abbott later cut this number back to 13,750.

Source: http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressrel%2F2903098%22

Fact Number 4:

President Trump has banned all citizens from seven Muslim majority countries (Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen) from entering the US for 90 days.

Source: Fact Sheet: Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry To The United States https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/01/29/protecting-nation-foreign-terrorist-entry-united-states

My government never banned all citizens of any country from entering Australia.

There is a massive difference in the scope of these measures: between banning all citizens from seven countries entering the US, and a temporary suspension of asylum seekers from two countries from applying for visas to enter Australia.

Fact Number 5:

President Trump’s blanket ban targets seven majority Muslim countries, inferring a problem with Islam.

My government never imposed a ban in relation to either citizens or asylum seekers from any country or countries based on race or religion. In the case of the temporary suspension of visa applications from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, Afghanistan is a Muslim country, whereas Sri Lanka is Buddhist.

Fact Number 6:

President Trump has announced his measures against seven Muslim countries as “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry to the United States.”

My government never announced nor conceived of its temporary measures in relation to asylum seekers from Afghanistan or Sri Lanka as a measure to protect Australia from terrorist attack.

As noted above, our decision was taken on the expert advice of officials that security circumstances had significantly changed in both countries warranting a reappraisal of previous government policy on protection visas for their nationals.

Fact Number 7:

As for these particular allegations from the Daily Telegraph of Labor double standards, it should be noted that on 10/04/2010 this same publication attacked the two measures announced by my government, as amounting to a “non-policy.” In fact, they noted that “Also of interest is that the Government will not reject asylum seeker claims; instead, it will merely suspend them.”

Source: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5rIyTTgClfuVUJwRUJ4aTFucTQ/view

It is peculiar that the Telegraph would now pay such attention to what they considered then as inconsequential. But, then again, consistency has never been the Telegraph’s strong suit, particularly if it means bashing the Labor Party and supporting a Liberal National Party government.

Comment

A number of the Murdoch papers continue to deal in factual inaccuracy. I have listed on Facebook just three recent cases as they relate to me. Heaven knows what they do to the people who do not have a social media platform to try to defend themselves. So why do they do this? As Murdoch newspaper editors have boasted privately to me over the years: “Because we can.”

Second, because Murdoch owns 70% of the Australian print media, and in my home town of Brisbane has a total monopoly, they know they can get away with it.

Third, they know the Press Complaints Council is a toothless tiger when it comes to policing journalistic standards.

Fourth, because they are not held to account for upholding such basic standards as asking for comment from people attacked in a story, in the case of this Trump story they did not bother to ask my office for comment before publication. This would have enabled us to have time to put these facts before them.

Fifth, and most importantly, people, corporations, universities, members of parliament, have learned to fear these same Murdoch papers over the years if you dare challenge the accuracy or fairness of their stories. In fact, they have created a culture of fear so that people refuse to stick their heads up. This is bad for our democracy. These guys are just as likely to launch a campaign against you on a long-term basis to teach you a lesson not to complain again. It’s a part of a bullying culture, reinforced by their monopoly position, towards people who have the temerity to challenge them on facts, or oppose their editorial line. Which is why papers like the Daily Torygraph in Sydney and the Courier Fail in Brisbane will continue to do the same to people like me and others who don’t just meekly bend the knee.

My prediction is that the Daily Telegraph’s response to this posting on Facebook, if it responds at all, will be to deride it as resembling the social media attacks by Trump himself on parts of the US media. The Brisbane Courier Fail has already tried that one. But as you can see, this 1500 word posting is not exactly a 140 character twitter attack. It’s a point by point factual response to the basis of the Telegraph’s original story for which they did not ask for my response before publication in the first place.

PS. For those not following the news coverage here in the US, the single largest media backing for the Trump Administration in the United States is Murdoch’s Fox News.

ANOTHER MURDOCH TABLOID WHOPPER

KEVIN RUDD.

The Australian Press Council regulates the Australian media. Just have a look at their principles;

THE FOLLOWING GENERAL PRINCIPLES APPLY TO MATERIAL PUBLISHED ON OR AFTER 1 AUGUST 2014.
Publications are free to publish as they wish by reporting facts and expressing opinions, provided they take reasonable steps to comply with the following Principles and the Council’s other Standards of Practice:
Accuracy and clarity
1. Ensure that factual material in news reports and elsewhere is accurate and not misleading, and is distinguishable from other material such as opinion.
2. Provide a correction or other adequate remedial action if published material is significantly inaccurate or misleading.
Fairness and balance
3. Ensure that factual material is presented with reasonable fairness and balance, and that writers’ expressions of opinion are not based on significantly inaccurate factual material or omission of key facts.
4. Ensure that where material refers adversely to a person, a fair opportunity is given for subsequent publication of a reply if that is reasonably necessary to address a possible breach of General Principle 3.
Privacy and avoidance of harm
5. Avoid intruding on a person’s reasonable expectations of privacy, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.
6. Avoid causing or contributing materially to substantial offence, distress or prejudice, or a substantial risk to health or safety, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.
Integrity and transparency
7. Avoid publishing material which has been gathered by deceptive or unfair means, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.
8. Ensure that conflicts of interests are avoided or adequately disclosed, and that they do not influence published material.

MY THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

“We would be a much better society if we took the risk of thinking for ourselves unhindered by the unadulterated crap served up by the media and self interest groups”.

 

Day to Day Politics: Bernardi’s best left on his own.

Tuesday 7 February 2017

1 On the day that the Australian Parliament returns from its lengthy slumber Cori Bernardi decides to give the Liberal Party the flick and form his own, probably bank rolled by the plump lady from the West. Disaffected conservatives, or Liberals, will now have a choice of two ultra conservative leaders to give their allegiance. It will certainly split the Right’s vote.

The stunningly stupid Pauline Hanson or the out of his depth (he has never held a ministry) Cori Bernardi. Of course this will have little effect on the structure of the Parliament. Senator George Christensen has said he will not be joining Bernardi but warned that Government would become “untenable” unless it gets more conservative.

“We need to reconnect with our core constituency and with the people at large and I think that there’s moves afoot to do that.”

Christensen said “Senator Bernardi’s defection sent a message to the Coalition that its base is “disgruntled” and that it needs strongly embrace “conservative principles”.

Conservative principles! Rubbish! I have been following politics for over 50 years and the Liberal party was never a conservative party. It has always been a Liberal party with a smattering of conservative members. He is of course referring to the National Party but Christensen should know his place. They are only a junior partner and get far more representation that their vote deserves. Only an ego of his size would suggest the Liberal Party become more conservative to suit the aims of the Nationals.

Now anyone who follows my writing will know that I am not a very big fan of Cory Bernardi. I find the man outrageous in the extreme. His views on gays, Islam women run counter to everything I hold dear in terms of progressive social justice. His views like many others belong in a past long gone and hold no place in a modern pluralist society. This move by Bernardi is yet another example of an oversized ego thinking it has all the answers to complex problems via black and white solutions and his own idea of Christianity. It is a selfish move that may very see his party out of power for some time.

With Tuesday’s disastrous polls Malcolm Turnbull’s job has become just that bit harder. If Bernardi attracts conservatives, in large numbers, who wouldn’t move to Hanson because they see her as a dope. Could it be that  for the LNP to govern they might need more than just an old out of touch National Party to form government. They might also need the help of Bernardi. It’s all a bit like Australia’s Right turning on each other. A looney left under Hanson or a self righteous right with Bernardi.

His defection may also be an opportunity for the Liberal Party and the National party to re-evaluate their own political philosophies. Do they want to be conservative or old fashioned small L liberals?

It is of course all part of this worldwide dissatisfaction with traditional politics and neo liberalism inequality. Might it not be possible just to govern for the common good?

An observation.

“The peoples of all the nations of the world increasingly seem to be having less to say about their destiny’’.

Last week I praised Bill Shorten for recognising this fact but he will have to do more than just promise a Senate enquiry into the need for an ICAC to win over. Labor made no gains in yesterday’s Newspoll and Shorten seems unable to break through in personality no matter what he does.

The Newspoll points out the alarming decline in the share of the vote for major parties.

The poll showed Labor leading the Coalition 54-46 TPP. However, a lead of 8 points may sound good, but based on performance it should be more like 12%

Support for the independents and small parties was at 19% (up from 15%, which was already sizeable), and One Nation on 8%, which is back to where it was in 1998.

The primary vote for the government stands at 35% which will make a few hands tremble in the Party Room.

On this day in 2016 I wrote:

2 Malcolm Turnbull is in affect an enormous contradiction. He came to the job promising much. After Abbotts calamitous period marked by ‘wars’ on everything he seemed like a breath of fresh air. He told the public everything they wanted to hear. No more slogans. Transparency, optimism and fairness would be the order of the day, he would respect the people. Things would be different. The public loved his enthusiasm.

However, after six months of heavily overdosing on syrupy over saccharised sweet talk he still remains in the concept of old politics. He gave promise of a new paradigm but other than style the prototype is still the same.

Lenore Taylor got it right when she said:

“He promised to “respect the intelligence of the Australian people”, to end the three-word slogans and instead advocate and explain policies he believed in.

But Malcolm Turnbull’s great dilemma was obvious as soon as he became prime minister. The public liked him for promising to be different, but many of his colleagues only voted for him because he told them he’d be pretty much the same.

If he can’t begin to resolve this dilemma quickly, Turnbull’s perceived authenticity – the view that he is a man true to his convictions, a different kind of politician – could quickly turn into a perception that he is an opportunistic fake, just more of the same.”

And it has. After 6 months of repetitious talk about coloured papers, taxation reform, proposals plebiscites and lectures about there’s never been a better time to be, well you name it, he has been a most indecisive leader.

The lack of any policy difference between him and Abbott is startling. The reason for this is probably contained in Lenore Taylor’s words:

“His colleagues only voted for him because he told them he’d be much the same as Abbott.”

He has shown little desire to be his own man. Unlike most incoming leaders there has been no inclination to put his stamp on the party, instead allowing members free rein to run with their own ideas. Abbott, Andrews, Barnardi and others seem to be determining policy.

People are now questioning what they got. He has done an about face on policies he once championed. He seems to be a leader captive to the extremists of his party?

3 As predicted the Prime Minister has held the line on same sex marriage maintaining the need for a plebiscite prior to a vote in parliament. The push for a free vote goes on regardless.

My thought for the day.

”You cannot successfully run a country and be fighting among yourselves at the same time, The shame of it is that the country suffers. Just look at Australia’s democracy.”