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Abbott is determined to destroy Turnbull

“It’s not that easy being green …” sings Kermit, the sage of Sesame Street, a truth NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon helps her party revisit in a wild week of backstabbing, slagging, poodle-poking and character assassination as our federal MPs let it all hang out in the bare-knuckle, free for all stoush that is our nation’s endless quest for effective, decorous and representative political leadership.

“When it comes to political white-anting, Lee is the Greens’ version of Tony Abbott,” says Bob Brown. Ouch.

In January, he bagged Rhiannon’s moves to challenge the party’s direction under Richard Di Natale’s leadership.

Rhiannon wants her mob to follow Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn and stress its left-wing policies on economic redistribution. She leads a debate between her “Eastern Bloc” on the party’s left and the more conservative environmentalists or “Tree Tories” who currently suck up to an anti-greenie government.

It’s a tough gig. Pilloried by MSM for her socialist parents, profiled by ASIO as a subversive revolutionary and attacked as a Leninist-Stalinist by News Corp’s Gerard Henderson – who also falsely accused her of being a communist, Rhiannon was asked by Bob Brown to quit the senate last July – just a month after being elected.

In response, the senator accuses her former leader of resenting that NSW preselected candidates are not his preferred nominees. Yet, in an open season of sniping and undermining, she is accused of betrayal. Brown says the rules provide for her to be expelled from the Greens’ Party Room and even to lose her party membership.

A case is building against her. Last week, all nine of her federal colleagues accused Rhiannon of undermining them over school funding negotiations after she distributed a leaflet in Sydney’s inner west against the deal.

The NSW Greens see Gonski 2:0 as a con. It’s neither needs-based nor sector blind. In fact, it guarantees 80 % of federal funds to the wealthy, private system. It has been imposed without state or public school consultation.

Rhiannon says the pamphlet is a local initiative. She has done nothing wrong. Her protests will, doubtless, come to little but they do make her a top scapegoat. Many teachers will see NSW as the only Greens to get it right.

Beneath all the fuss and alongside the left and right divisions, a grassroots party controlled by members struggles against the power imposed by few at the top in what John Passant calls a battle for the soul of The Greens.

An ugly public brawl ensues. Bugger consensus politics. Di Natale generously tells the Left Renewal faction their anti-capitalist rhetoric is ridiculous and that they should join another party. Critics accuse Di Natale of shaping The Greens into a potential coalition partner for the Liberals; point to his record of support for Coalition legislation.

Rhiannon is disappointed in Richard’s leadership, she tells Barrie Cassidy, on ABC Insiders, Sunday. Rather than explore the issue, Cassidy is keen to seek more details of the conflict but, like Kermit, the senator is philosophical.

“Sometimes democracy is messy”, says Rhiannon. She wins this week’s Golden Litotes for understatement of the week. Her thought is echoed and debased by Tony Abbott who proposes streamlining democracy to fix Senate obstructionism and resolve deadlock through a joint sitting of both houses to pass deadlocked bills.

Australia “increasingly resembles Italy”, facing chronic changes of PM and an inability to get things done, the MP whose career in and out of The Lodge is a byword for instability and policy paralysis Abbott explained straight-faced to a South Australian Young Liberals Federal Convention in Adelaide in February.

Or the UK. The young Libs may have lost a little sparkle as results filtered in at their UK Election champagne breakfast 9 June. Thank God guest speaker, nuclear lobbyist Haydon Manning was on hand to liven things up.

Manning is all too happy to help. Our nation’s politics is vastly enriched by an ever-growing army of lobbyists, think-tankers, bold ideas-men and women and former leaders who fearlessly shirtfront the onion of democracy.

The Centre for Independent Studies, for example, helped inspire Tony Abbott to cut the last two years of Gonski – for public schools, while continuing to fund the private system, a favouring of privilege continued in Gonski 2.0. Research Fellow Simon Cowan, one of its policy wonks, whipped up a nifty monograph on nuclear subs, too.

Then there’s “green lawfare”. An IPA and mining industry campaign against environmental groups raged under Abbott. It continues under Turnbull. What constitutes an “environmental organisation” will be redefined to strip such groups of their charitable status and is an “attack on Australian democracy”, warn legal experts.

The IPA would like to see environmental groups denied all government funding, a position they articulated in 2011. Their services to tidying up democracy, Abbott-style include selling the federal government the idea of imposing restrictions on advocacy, such as gag clauses and threats to curtail groups’ advocacy activities.

Emily Howie, a Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre warns:

“A thriving democracy needs an informed public debate with a range of voices. However, governments are making it clear to charities that work with families and communities doing it tough, that if they speak out about government policy, their ongoing funding will be put in jeopardy.”

Apart from the threat to free speech, the ban on advocacy adds another dimension; another layer of urgency to the Greens’ current existential struggle to maintain its own traditional social and environmental advocacy.

Greens’ harakiri or ritual disembowelment is just a warm-up act, however, to the hype, the trash-talk and the stare-downs of the World Championship Wrestling theatrics of our federal MPs who eye-gouge, hair pull and scissor-kick viciously in a desperate, no-holds-barred, last-ditch bid to upstage each other. Or worse.

Exterminate. Exterminate. Top of the bill is Dalek Abbott, a self-promoting attention-seeker and professional wrecker, programmed to destroy his nemesis Malcolm Turnbull in a fit of pathological hatred and payback.

A one-man opposition party, a self-described “whirling dervisher”, Abbo busts a gut this week to bag his nemesis Malcolm Turnbull, even if he has to destroy the Liberal Party in the process. He pulls out all the stops.

It’s a multi-faceted act. Upstage so far he’s in danger of being electrocuted by the footlights, Abbott promises to build new coal-fired power stations and freeze migration. A true-blue Rinehart Cowboy, he will Make Australia Work again by opening more mines, cutting government spending and scrapping his own renewable energy target. Best of all he dog whistles up our safety. No more known jihadists will run loose in our streets.

Wait. There’s more. Nuclear submarines. Raising the nation’s awareness of relevance deprivation disorder, wacky weirdo Abbott easily wins our public service award. His brave stand-up comic routine, Permission to Lower the Scope is fittingly staged by his loyal supporters at the Centre for Independent Studies, Thursday, in its leak-proof Sydney think tank. Tony goes off like a frog in a sock. The CIS love him. How he adds to the national conversation.

Tony’s all for nuclear submarines, all week, although Defence Minister, Marise Payne is unconvinced. She’s right. Abbott had ample time to declare himself a fan of floating reactors well before his prime ministership sank before the end of its maiden voyage. He just wants to scuttle Turnbull. Party-pooper Payne fires a salvo across his bows.

“We don’t have a civil nuclear industry, we don’t have the personnel or the experience or infrastructure, we don’t have the training facilities or regulatory systems that you would need to design to operate to construct a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines,” she says.

Apart from that, Tony, you know all this. You made the call. Remember. When you were briefly PM. Ouch again.

“What we are in fact doing is delivering the plan to acquire the plan that was set out and agreed by Tony Abbott and his team in 2015,” she says. It’s a forlorn appeal to a former PM who put the flip into flip flop commitment, the MP who warned Kerry O’Brien that he often lied – “gospel truth is those carefully prepared scripted remarks”

For The Guardian’s Jason Wilson, who builds a case that Abbott is a loose unit, “This was not only a blunder, but a revelation of the kind of confessional impulse that needs a national stage. After a while, you start to feel like a therapist, sitting in silence while Abbott regales us with his symptoms.”

In fact, as PM, Abbott ignored a sub submission from Australia’s peak defence industry group in May 2015. Australian Industry Group Defence Council chairman Chris Jenkins and Australian chief of French Industry giant Thales, told him to reconsider a nuclear option for replacing the ageing Collins class subs. It remains a great pitch.

No need to worry about having no local nuclear plant. New subs are so efficient they almost never require maintenance. No need to build if you don’t want to. Just lease a few of the bastards off the yanks. Trained crew? These babies practically steer themselves. What could possibly go wrong?

Now, torn by regret, lyrically, ever the tragic ham, Abbott cries. “Not more robustly challenging the nuclear no-go mindset is probably the biggest regret I have from my time as PM.” It’s pure, dramatic, poetry in a performance guaranteed to heighten anyone’s sense of the cruel suffering inflicted on those deprived of relevance.

His biggest regret? Even by Abbott’s yardstick, it’s an utterly incredible claim. But the CIS can’t get enough of him.

A powerful right wing lobby group which styles itself an Australian Libertarian think tank, the CIS is a big wheel in the oxymoron of Australian conservative politics. Tony’s no Tory; more of a radical ratbag with a grab bag of soundbite ideas. Some are socialist. Take state coal power. Yet his attention-seeking is a win-win for both parties.

Like the IPA, which set most of the Abbott government’s agenda, the CIS also keeps its donors’ names secret but it will get great mileage out of publicising the former PM’s nuclear conversion as evidence of its capacity to influence even those of our political class, like Trump, who are notoriously difficult to brief in anything but sketch outlines.

In return, Abbott is able to strut his stuff, this week, in front of both IPA and CIS, Australia’s most conservative and influential think tanks. The exposure can do his campaign no harm. A successful spill is impossible, he has only a handful of backers, but his regular sniping and undermining helps Turnbull toward the magic 30 dud News Polls.

Showing off his capacity as a quick nuclear study is a bonus for Abbott. His game plan is to highlight Turnbull’s not so secret plan to convert to nuclear its diesel submarines from French builder DCNS, despite no conversion ever having been done. The hulls are shaped differently. Some experts doubt it can be done.

The first DCNS Shortfin Barracuda submarine is not scheduled until the 2030s. Whilst the late delivery gives plenty of time to work out a solution to the retrofitted nuclear propulsion problem, it also means that the Collins subs will have to remain in service until the 2040s, becoming less safe as they age and requiring expensive refits.

Technical issues alone mean the whole project is a huge blunder, according to Jon Stanford a director of Insight Economics and past head of the Industries Division in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

“If you asked someone to devise a new submarine program with the highest risk factors at every stage, you could not have done a much better job. It will almost certainly end in tears and possibly a catastrophe,” a senior defence official told The Daily Telegraph in September last year.

Yet with a commitment to a drawing – “the development of a detailed design” – only at this stage, it is not too late to change course and Abbott knows this. He is also counting on causing maximum embarrassment to his PM.

Some unkind souls also interpret Abbott’s nuclear submarine proposal as revenge on Christopher Pyne, who, in a late night session at The Star Casino’s Cherry Bar has confirmed what the conservatives have always believed is Malcolm’s secret plan to turn the Liberal Party to the left. It’s all about legalising same-sex marriage. And more.

Marriage equality has become the proxy for the struggle in the Liberal Party between right and left. It also acts to focus the fear and rage of those Liberals who instinctively retreat from change; those whose lack of adaptive capacity leaves them open to a rampant paranoia that the modern world is a leftist plot against them.

Pyne’s indiscreet comments assuring gay marriage supporters of a victory sooner than later are calculated to offend and enrage those conservatives who remain resolutely opposed to change and suspicious of Turnbull.

It also provides Abbott with a receptive host for his wormholes as he continues his white-anting of Turnbull.

Posing as a conservative, he’s happy to coin a new breed of Liberal to make it clear that he’s making up a deficit in the current government. Not only is he self-sacrificing, he’s duty bound to continue indefinitely.

“I’m in no hurry to leave public life because we need strong Liberal conservative voices now, more than ever.”

For his part, Turnbull makes it clear that he is not going to hang around. Sunday he announces that he will leave parliament should he no longer be PM.

Some claim that Abbott’s strategy has all gone awry because his week of Turnbull-bashing has not led to a conservative uprising. If anything he’s been met with a chorus of put downs from those on the right.

Peter Dutton is wheeled out to claim “the Liberal Party operates at its optimum when we do have a broad church, when we do have people across the spectrum”, and that it was good to have a diversity of views in cabinet because “you have a more rounded discussion” and better decisions as a result.

Better decisions? Turnbull takes to listing his government’s achievements on social media. It’s a thin list which includes the Gonski 2.0 makeover boosted as a such as a new plan for education funding and contentious visa reforms. “Plans for an intervention on gas exports” are counted as achievements. And of course there is that magic faraway tree of action on a second Sydney airport.

Dutton’s defence and Turnbull’s list are as unconvincing their own way as Abbott’s manifesto, a big bucket-list gig routine featuring a good half-dozen bad ideas, or flip-flops and snappy, empty platitudes and hollow slogans.

Other coalition members during the week do their best to bring the rogue to heel. Some point out his contradictions. His advocacy of things he never stood for before. None will succeed. The ultimate test of his case against Turnbull’s ineffectual and indecisive leadership lies in what he can get away with. He’s made it clear this week that he will continue as long as it takes to exact his revenge on the man who deposed him.

Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, tells Abbott he can’t reinvent the past. It’s a futile reproach. As a former follower of BA Santamaria, Wilson points out, Abbott is necessarily committed to living and thinking totally against the grain of the present, and dreaming of an impossible restoration of the past.

 

31 comments

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  1. Terry2

    German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is showing the Turnbull government the way to resolve the marriage equality issue democratically. Mrs Merkel, who personally voted against the change in Germany’s law, allowed the vote to proceed when she signalled her backing for a free vote and allowed the Bill to be presented on Monday last week.

    It was as simple as that, the bill was backed by 393 lawmakers, 226 voted against and four abstained.The German legal code will now read: “Marriage is entered into for life by two people of different or the same sex”.

    When one commentator was asked if there had been talk of a national plebiscite in Germany, he seemed bemused and pointed out that Germany has no tradition of plebiscites on civil issues which are the responsibility of the Bundestag
    [ the parliament ] as the constitutional and elected legislative body at the federal level in Germany.

    Clear message there for you, Malcolm.

  2. Freethinker

    The new generation of Liberal’s, AKA the Young Liberals, are they on the extreme conservative right side or moderate?
    It will be interesting to know that because will show the future of the party.

  3. Johno

    Exactly Terry, exactly.

  4. Jerry

    Freethinker Matt Canavan scares me.

  5. David Tyler

    Not a lot of evidence to go on but – from their facebook they seem right-wing. Blaming Jay Weatherill for the SA power blackout etc. The nuclear spruiker is a bit of a hint.

  6. Miriam English

    We really need to change politics so that morons are no longer able to prance around in government, play-acting and throwing theatrical tantrums like idiot children, corrupting our society while thinking they are rock stars instead of serving the country and acting in the best interests of its people.

    In an era when science is utterly essential to understanding and coping with the world, when our future depends entirely upon science, there is nobody left in USA’s White House science division. The last staffer departed on Friday. USA, more than any other country, relies upon science. This is a dangerous new period of anti-science politicians.

    Australia is headed in that direction too. Our major research institution, the CSIRO, has suffered slash after slash, and science has diminished to become a standing joke in government, being made subservient to industry and less important than propaganda, added as merely an afterthought to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

  7. David Tyler

    Well said, Miriam.

  8. Johno

    Ditto Miriam…

  9. Terry2

    Gerard Henderson made the point on Insiders yesterday that the Liberal party are losing grass roots membership at branch level across Australia. Abbott obviously believes this is because the Liberal Party are not conservative enough but others, including the young, may say that this so called Broad Church doesn’t actually stand for anything beyond its quest to stay in power and representing corporate interests.

    Arthur Sinodinos was on the ABC Breakfast show this morning and remembered to say that the Liberal party can accommodate both the conservatives and those of the Left. What he failed to mention was how far you go with
    this ; already the Liberals have accommodated the Nationals to achieve power – by one seat – and now we are seeing the Liberals cuddling up to One Nation for Preference sharing in the next elections – both state and federal. This will turn even more traditional Liberal supporters away but the question is where will they go.

  10. helvityni

    Is Rhiannon seen as one of those infamous Reds under the Aussie beds, and has the lovely Redhead of One Nation been given a permanent place IN the Coalition’s bed….???

  11. helvityni

    …not all Greens are bad, we don’t mind flirting with Dr Richard…we better please him, otherwise he’ll go with Labor…

  12. David Tyler

    Thank you Freethinker. Lee writes cogently about the battle taking place – or the takeover by those who wish a corporate party structure to be imposed over what was once a representative grass-roots issues and causes party.
    She makes a good analogy with Labor. Labor lost support and credibility as a workers’ party by following the same Neoliberal-enhanced path.
    It doesn’t look good for her or fans of the old, leftist more democratic Greens party. Polling indicates that over three quarters of Greens members support Di Natale.

  13. Freethinker

    David, I am disappointed with the political awareness of the electorate, I appears to me that they cannot see what it is behind the politicians regardless from which party are from.
    In the case of the Greens it is very clear to appreciate where are heading, they look more and more like another Nick Xenophon party with a fence seating attitude and not a firm conviction of their polices.
    What depress me is the lack of support for groups like the Socialist Alliance which have policies similar to the to the left faction in the ALP and the lefts in the Greens.
    That disunity in the left, and the lack of political awareness in the majority of the electorate it is what make the extreme right, which it is a minority successful.
    When we re going to learn? when the new generations specially the students are going to weak up?

  14. wam

    Science is strong to move forward but for the rabbottians and trumpites there is no need for it as they are happier in the past. way way in the past.
    nb pigiron bob was a great supporter of the CSIRO tell the rrabbott that billy???

  15. helvityni

    Abbott will do his very best, but Mal declares that he is going to be prime minister for a very long time, delivering a warning to his critics that he will not be forced out of his job.

    Confident blokes those Liberals, aren’t they, can-do-men, both of them…

  16. Miriam English

    More and more politicians live inside a political bubble that has no real connection with the world outside. This is especially true in the USA, where the Republicans are pushing cruel bills that will take health care away from a majority of the people who are their core voters. Their “Trumpcare” system would kill more people than a 9-11 terrorist calamity every month for however many years they can foist it on the people of USA. It’s not just that they are mean, small-minded idealogues who think their irrational beliefs are more important than other people’s lives (though they are that too); it is that they are trapped inside a bubble of fake reporting where their lies are repeated back to them so much and so often that they believe them. They largely have Murdoch’s repellent “news” media to thank for that delusional bubble. Most Republican politicians actually believe their bullshit that most people in USA hate Obama’s Afforable Healthcare Act, but never bothered to find out if it was true.

    Our politicians here in Australia suffer from the same problem. They refuse to listen to anything but their own garbage spewed back at them. I don’t know how the Greens and Labor have been drawn into the same bubble of myths, but they have. What Lee Rhiannon was guilty of is telling the actual truth! How incredibly weird is that??!! The Greens are beginning to want power so much that they are acting like the deluded “big boys”. That’s worrying.

    Will this happen to all political parties? Are they all destined to just continually eat their own shit and shoot the messenger that tells them truths they don’t want to hear? Will it continue to worsen until it collapses in an almighty crash? Will it continue to damage and divide society with hate and fear along the way?

    Or is there a better way?

    Should we get rid of the entire political system and run the country the way we design complex, potentially unstable, dangerous systems such as spacecraft or self-driving cars? Use the best scientific and engineering knowledge available to ensure it goes where we really want it to, and as far as possible eliminate the chances of a crash and burn. Surely that would be better than letting irresponsible, semi-literate, narcissistic bullies mess up the country, driving it into ruin? We could all vote for what we want continually and have the course of the country be steered sensibly by science that takes into consideration crooks attempting to sway people with emotional advertising and racist slogans. The country could work in our genuine interests instead of pandering to the short-term suicidal goals of a few super-rich half-wits.

    Here’s what amazes me: We can organise the vast, ad-hoc, informal system that is Wikipedia, which gathers and guides an extraordinary wealth of knowledge and maintains it in the face of forces trying to subvert it, but we can’t manage a small childish group of appallingly ignorant politicians who are likely to drive the country into a war and who casually dismiss one in ten people (gays) as not worthy of love. We can contruct astounding programs inside computers comprising billions of switches that cascade in a symphony of causality to generate images, music, books, or even intelligence, but we can’t get our idiot politicians to even come close to making any kind of coherent good sense — still babbling on about trickle-down economics, disproven decades ago (and even if it hadn’t who would believe it when the wealthy are richer than ever and unemployment is at historic highs?); they continue to talk about austerity being a good thing (while awarding themselves ever greater slices of a diminishing pie) when it takes but a moment to wonder who will be buying goods from businesses if nobody has any spare money.

    We need to get rid of politics and use a science- and engineering-based system that genuinely takes our needs and wishes into account. Are we sick enough of politicians’ constant, reflexive lies yet? Do we want a system that we all control, but which is engineered to avoid psychological traps?

  17. nexusxyz

    Miriam English – the system you describe exists and would replace all the useless finance and economic planning which has hardly changed in over a century with respect the way government ‘justifies’ programs. It would ground decision making in science and technology. The challenge is not the capability but actually making the change and managing the transformation to a new approach.

  18. metadatalata

    The combination of David Tyler’s brilliant article and the replies previous to my post are fantastic. It is some of the best examples of journalism and community response in Australia. It just beggars belief that sensible discussion and solutions to our political problems can be found on this site but seemingly impossible to implement as the majority of Australians are still under the spell of Mainstream media.

  19. Miriam English

    One thing’s for sure: the politicians won’t make the change. I think it is up to us to become so impatient with and disgusted in them that we go around them. That’s already happening in the area of renewable energy. Politicians are nay-saying and dragging their feet, but people are doing it anyway.

    Maybe we need a focused effort by scientists, engineers, and computer programmers worldwide to create a completely infallible, yet anonymous, voting and policy-implementation system that utterly obsoletes politicians. I know some parts of this have already been created, such as the blockchain, encryption, anonymous randomised response, and anonymously verifiable voting. We need it to all be built into a framework that is 100% transparent, accountable, and secure. Something that takes stupid, ego-driven politics completely out of the picture. Something that requests votes in a form that doesn’t slant or twist the question. Something that is able to counter racism and hate and fear and deliver choices that work in the interests of society of a whole.

    Wow! Imagine! Secure, verifiable, science-backed, evidence-driven policies that are directed by the people at long last! Something that is robust, that can’t be hacked by spies or criminals, or the super-rich, or skewed by fake “news”; something that simply and verifiably delivers what society needs.

    I am so sick of simpletons in government who have not the slightest understanding of science or technology making decisions based upon corruption, fear, and hate that determine how our entire society limps along for the next several years. Over generations they’ve been given the chance over and over and over again to act like intelligent human beings and have reliably and spectacularly failed. We and future generations will pay an incredibly steep price for their corruption and pig-ignorance.

  20. Keith

    Some of the matters impacting on the Greens, LNP and other Political Parties are similar; though for different reasons. Abbott supports an extreme right wing ideology; more moderate forces are in control in NSW. Abbott says he wants to democratise the NSW LNP, apparently believing that those holding an extreme neo con ideology are discouraged from joining the Party.
    It could be seen as Branch stacking.

    The Greens formed out of various Environmental groups where decision making came broadly from the leadership, though all members shared similar goals. In NSW the Greens apparently formed from a more democratically based grouping of people.

    The leadership style appears till now to be the dominant way Parties operate. Whereas, having a democratic based Party gives a sense of members being involved in matters being legislated in Parliament.
    Arguably the two styles of Party are almost mutually exclusive.

    Membership of Parties comes from a broad group of people holding various views. Theoretically Political Parties hold a Philosophy which is endorsed by the membership.
    Even in Tasmania the issue between a democratised Party and a leadership type Party has come to the fore through a Parliamentary member having a spat with a group of Labor Party members.

    When nuanced negotiations are taking place between Political Parties it is not feasible to gain constant feed back from Political Party members. A problem increasing with the size of the Party.

    How to meld views of the membership of a Political Party with the day to day running within Parliament is a vexed matter for all Parties. Thrown into the mix are powerful lobby groups who provide huge donations with the clear expectation of decisions being made in their favour. Those lobby group decisions may go against democratic wishes of membership of a Party.

    In my view, Politicians need to have the ability to have a conscience vote, they also need to take into account views of members; though, how to juggle competing interests is almost impossible. Its a problem also faced by One Nation where an aggressive leadership style of operating is quite apparent causing fracturing between the leadership and members.

    Some thoughts after reading about how the Republican Party has been taken over by orchestrated social engineering in the community.
    This is the latest example of a process begun decades ago, not just by religious groups:

    https://www.autostraddle.com/i-was-trained-for-the-culture-wars-in-home-school-awaiting-someone-like-mike-pence-as-a-messiah-367057/amp/#sthash.fmXpzVgN.dpuf

  21. nexusxyz

    Miriam English – are you just spewing or do you really want to understand that there is an alternative based on technology and the fundamental of physics. The things you cite are quite useless (buzzwords) in the context you are trying to articulate. The end point for the current system is economic and social collapse without the adoption of a new approach. Even with a new approach it would not be possible to reverse the current situation.

  22. Miriam English

    nexusxyz, the things I mention (e.g. blockchain, encryption, anonymous randomised response, and anonymously verifiable voting) are real, well understood, and already exist. In your ignorance, you can be forgiven for thinking they’re just buzzwords, but a little bit of research with Google and/or Wikipedia can remedy that.

    What do you propose? You’ve vaguely hinted that there’s an alternative, while sneering at what I said. Care to actually elaborate?

    Unfortunately, judging by the doom-orientation of your reply I’m guessing you have no “solution” other than waiting out the collapse you’re hoping for in a bunker… not exactly a solution.

  23. Miriam English

    Keith, I read that article you linked to:
    https://www.autostraddle.com/i-was-trained-for-the-culture-wars-in-home-school-awaiting-someone-like-mike-pence-as-a-messiah-367057/

    That is one of the most thoroughly terrifying things I’ve read in a long, long time. I’m glad we live in Australia, however I can see glimpses of it here too. In reading the hundreds of comments, one struck me — well, many struck me, but one left me with an enduringly disturbing image of enormous armies of the three versions of Abrahamic religions fighting to bring Armageddon for their imaginary gods. Scary.

    For posting the link, thanks… I think. I hope I don’t have nightmares tonight.

  24. Kaye Lee

    I nearly choked as I listened to Tony Abbott saying he wants to democratise the party so rank and file take part in preselections. He seems to forget that he parachuted Lucy Wicks, a woman who lived in HIS electorate, into the seat of Robertson against the wishes of the local Liberals who had already endorsed a local candidate.

    http://novamagic.com/lucy-wicks-liberal-robertson/

  25. Miriam English

    I think Tony Abbott has the self-awareness of Trump. I doubt either of them have any real understanding of the implications or the history of anything they say. It’s all about the now for them. They are like Zen gone really, really bad.

  26. David Tyler

    Pathological narcissists, the pair of them, judging by the way each operates – with other parallel aberrant behaviours including a disturbing propensity for aggression and cruelty. Witness the former whirling dervishes boxer’s ditch the witch campaign and Trump’s latest bash the media video tweet and rallies inciting reprisal, if not violence.

  27. Johno

    Keith
    I also read your article re breeding out secularism…. Bizare stuff, America is certainly a land of extremes.

  28. Keith

    Some US Pychiatrists and Psychologists have pronounced Trump as having an extreme personality disorder.

  29. Freetasman

    In today Guardian is a very good article from Julia Gillard about mental health and politicians, I recommend to read it.

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