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…

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Day to Day Politics: The ABC's INSIDERS.

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Category Archives: News and Politics

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’’.

Clean Coal, Malcolm’s Principles And Other Oxymorons!

Now, I know that consistency isn’t a strong point with people generally. And I don’t have a problem with people who change their minds. As John Milton Keynes was alleged to have said, “When the facts change, I change my mind. How about you, sir?”

No, it’s not as Donald Trump administration would have it, “When I change my mind, the facts change and it’s all fake news anyway, because as Abraham Lincoln said to George Washington, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet!”

I found it hard to reconcile the Abbott government’s insistence that the workers killed installing insulation were the fault of the Labor government’s lack of oversight, while announcing that they’d get rid of all the red tape which slowed down business.

But lately, the Liberals are creating a new gold standard when it comes to saying one thing one minute, then another thing a minute later. Sometimes they’re even contradicting themselves in that same sentence when they tell us that negative gearing doesn’t make house prices higher, but removing it would make them lower.
Most you probably noticed Josh Frydenberg floating the idea of allowing the CEFC to invest in “clean” coal, and I suspect that many of you would probably argue that like it’s allowing QUIT to invest in clean tobacco.

Of course, you do have a strong argument, and I’m not denying that the idea of “clean coal” sounds more of an oxymoron than “Malcolm Turnbull’s principles” or “humble One Nation MP”, but I’m prepared to say that it’s not impossible that we may be able to create “cleaner” coal if we put our minds to it and pour money into researching it. Of course, I’m also prepared to say that unicorns may exist, that Scott Morrison may not be planning to be PM before the year is out and any day now, Donald Trump may announce he’s resigning because he’s done everything possible to get impeached but the Republicans are stupider than he imagined… It’s not the possibility of clean coal that I find inconsistent. It’s a strange idea. But the Liberals do have a lot of stranger ideas, like putting Cory Bernardi on their senate ticket or telling us that One Nation is now more “sophisticated than it was twenty years ago.

No, it’s their recent decree to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation that’s the weird thing. Late last year, Mathias Cormann and Josh Frydenberg lectured the CEFC about the need to strive for an annual return well above the bond rates. In other words, they were told that they needed to be investing in profitable enterprises. None of this helping out evolving industries and giving them a helping hand while they become more commercial. Nope, we want commercial decisions which make a profit, and not just a small profit: 3-4% above the interest rate!

So imagine the surprise from the CEFC when they hear that just a few short weeks later, they get told that Mal and his mates are looking at changing the legislation to enable an investment in coal from the fund. The fact that clean coal isn’t profitable is no problem. I almost expect Frydenberg to be telling us that “Field Of Dreams” is the evidence on which they intend to base energy policy, and if we build it, they will come.

Of course, this is on top of the fact that a voluntary levy which coal companies paid to investigate clean coal was used for political advertising. Of course, it’s rather scandalous that the money to pay for the advertising was deducted from state royalties. But that’s not what I found most interesting about the ABC’s story.

No, for me it was this simple statement which the ABC seemed to skate over:

‘With a lack of research projects to finance, the levy was suspended in 2012. In 2013, the coal lobby changed the mandate of Coal21 to downplay research and allow its funds to be used for “coal promotion”.’

Let me just repeat that first bit for you, “With a lack of research projects to finance, the levy was suspended in 2012.”

Or let me just put it in bold: With a lack of research projects to finance!

In other words, our government now wants to give taxpayer funds to something that even the coal industry itself didn’t think was worth looking at. The levy was stopped, not because it was too expensive in these hard times for coal producers, but because they had more money than there were projects to fund.

So, if you thought George Brandis was bad when he suggested that asylum seekers were breaking the law, but he wouldn’t tell us which section of the migration act they were breaking because that – like operational matters, on-water events and where they’ve hidden Christopher Pyne – is a secret, then you ain’t seen nothing yet. Just wait till they tell us that we can give millions of taxpayer dollars to the coal industry to research something that even they themselves thought wasn’t worth spending money on. Just wait till they tell us that it’s a mistake to be “ideologically driven”, but the coal industry is the way of the future. I mean, didn’t you see those great ads? Not only that, thanks to all the money they’ve been given, they’ll soon be making even better ads. They’ll have Scott Morrison, holding a lump of coal, telling us that it’s only through coal that the Budget will be back in the black, and it’s only the coal industry that stands between us and the Marxists forcing their clean energy ideology on us all. Not only that but they’ll have a row of dancing girls with lights powered by coal – that’s both the dancing girls and the coal.

Coal – if it’s good for humanity, it’s god for the Liberal Party!

Is Trump the Disaster we had to have?

By James Moylan

Since WWII the American government has been taken over by big business. Much of the American population does not vote, simply because they do not believe that their vote will count. And until recently, it was hard to disagree with this assessment.

When you think about the sort of country that the US has become, it is not hard to label it as a ‘rogue state’. It has 5% of the world’s population, consumes more than 50% of the worlds spending on armaments, it owns more than 82% of the world’s wealth and is directly responsible for 72% of the ‘two-state’ conflicts since WWII.

There has not been a single second since the end of WWII, in which the US has not been officially engaged in at least one war. And even in the wars where it is not ‘officially’ involved, it is usually deeply implicated.

The US currently has troops stationed in 118 of the 196 countries in the world. In these ‘official’ conflicts the US has killed more than 20 million people in 37 “Victim Nations” since the end of WWII. This estimate of causalities is dwarfed when the casualties inflicted in wars that were backed by American interests and undertaken using American armaments, are also taken into account.

In the Middle East alone, another 20 million souls have lost their lives when the ‘unofficial’ conflicts are added to the tally.

Why this huge army and armed presence? It simply reflects the reality that the US is now the home for the vast majority of the world’s wealth. The total value of all the assets on the face of the globe is a difficult sum to work out but, by all estimates, the US, or US corporations, control the vast bulk of all the assets that exist: anywhere.

The US government alone spends more than 7 million dollars a minute. All this in a country that tells its people that it cannot afford to provide a social safety net, a universal pension plan, or medical or hospital benefits, for its citizenry.

Aussies, like all of the western world, have been conned by our press into believing that the American alliance is essential for our safety. We are constantly told we need to be allied with this greatest of empires, if we want to remain safe.

However, few people bother to sit back and consider that the reason we need to be allied with the US is because we need to be protected from the conflicts that the US starts and controls. An alliance with the US is more akin to a protection racket than it is any sort of an open handed agreement.

America offers it’s ‘protection’ with a nod and a wink and a sly comment that: ‘It would be terrible to see something happen to your nice little country; wouldn’t it?’

Don’t get me wrong: I detest Mr Trump and virtually everything he stands for.

However, he is not a puppet of the establishment forces in the US, nor is he beholden to either of the corporately controlled political parties that have a stranglehold on the US political scene. So while he is a loose cannon, perhaps he is the loose cannon we need to have?

Trump is the face of corporate America when it steps out of its democratic drag. He is ugly, unhinged, greedy, and entirely self-centred. However, the damage he will inflict will be primarily restricted to the US economy and society. His lunatic actions are unlikely to unravel the social protections that are enjoyed by residents within many other countries.

So perhaps it is good to have a ‘leader of the free world’ who is openly, rather than surreptitiously, horrific? Perhaps it might cause the population of the globe to rethink the idea of ‘American exceptionalism’.

Is Trump really all that uglier than the last few incumbents in the White House? His ambitions are certainly disgusting and offensive, but Obama was happy to kill many thousands of people with unmanned drones, continue George Bush’s monetary policies, punish any country that dared step out of line with American financial interests, deport record numbers of poor and disaffected workers, increase military expenditure from obscene levels to even more obscene levels and expand and extend US military adventurism.

Perhaps Trump is just the raw face of American power where Bush and Obama and all the rest, were simply much the same thing, but wearing makeup and a fancy dress.

If the arrival of Trump causes the other 195 countries on earth to rethink their relationship with the U. S., can that be a bad thing? Maybe his arrival might even shake loose a little of the dead hand of control that the corporations exert on the American government and economy?

After all, it seems to have mattered little who was in the White House during the last fifty years: the corporatocracy was still in charge of the country.

Consider that even under Obama the banks got bailed out even after they had stolen trillions of dollars from the working public across the globe and had almost wrecked the global ‘economy’. Even after it was obvious that their actions were not only criminal but despicably unethical and greedy, not a single Wall Street banker was gaoled for their complicity in theft.

While the US continues to lock up a greater percentage of its population than any other country in the world, very few if any, of these inmates are guilty of corporate crimes.

The US corporate sector continues to cause massive destruction and murder across the globe, yet right now, as you read this, America has in its prisons and gaols more than one in every one hundred of its own citizens. However, these are mostly the poor, the disaffected, and members of minority groups.

In parts of the American continent a black man between the ages of 18 and 24 has a one in three chance of being in gaol right now. But not black businessmen. Or white businessmen. Or any businessmen.

If you steal to eat in the US then you will be gaoled; if you destroy the poor and disaffected population of an entire third world country, you will likely retire in comfort and be praised for your efforts. Perhaps one of the reasons they lock up such a huge percentage of their population, is because the inmates can never vote?

Perhaps another reason is because it provides for a workforce of millions who will work for the corporations for as little as 37c a day? The Russian Gulag system was never as populous, nor as efficient. Gaoling so many people must have some sort of a rationale: after all – it certainly does not seem to be doing anything to make America a safer place to live.

While Obama may have been black; he was nothing if not a part of the ruling class. The US gaol population continued to increase while he was in power. The disparity between the rich and the poor continued to grow. US corporations continued to plunder the world’s resources without check nor hindrance.

So while the change to a lunatic and ugly American President may be of significance for the American public, and while Trump might accentuate and worsen the hellish conditions for poor Americans within America, it is difficult to see how his presence can worsen the effects of the American empire outside of America.

The American Corporate Empire already has full control of the globe. It is hard to see how it can be made any worse.

So perhaps the reality that the American government is now being run by a monster who actually looks, sounds, and acts like a monster, may actually be a benefit?

Perhaps it might cause the population of the globe to question the nature of the propaganda that the American empire has been pumping out so skilfully over these many years.

Maybe we might even see a backlash within America? Maybe Trump is the disaster that we all have to have?

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”

 

Where are my (and your) taxes going?

While I was at Births, Deaths and Marriages I was stunned at the state of the waiting area. The seats were filthy. A friend asked “Did someone die or give birth on those seats?” when I shared the photo. Another along similar lines: “The right chair is for births, left chair for deaths. I’d hate to see the chair that’s used for marriages…”. Perhaps slightly flippant comments, but seriously, it is hard to understand how anything else could have made these seats quite this filthy. I noticed there seems to be a replacement program in progress as some seats are now plastic.

I then happened to find myself in Melbourne Central Station. Looking, as it happens, for a public bathroom. When I finally found one, the floor was filthy. Had nature not been demanding I obey, I would have found another convenience. Trust me, the photo is not nearly as bad as the reality.

Lack of cleanliness

We know the numbers of public servants employed per capita has drastically reduced over the years. Anyone who calls Centrelink knows not being placed on hold is an impossible dream. Yet The Sydney Morning Herald shares with us today that our federal government gave permission for Australia Post to keep the CEO’s $5.6 million salary a secret. Not technically a public servant, but such action is indicative of their perspective. Perhaps if we employed more taxpaying public servants at more realistic wages than $5.6 million per annum, we might have lower unemployment figures, have a phone answered at Centrelink and even, perhaps, we might have CLEAN facilities.

We all seem to pay a lot of tax (unless we are mining companies) to fund public services. Yet our hospitals are strapped for cash, TAFE is being killed off and the private education replacement isn’t working too well (the RTO I’m enrolled with has just gone into Administration, among others). I’m sure TAFE could have educated me for less than the $18,500 the course cost.

ROGUE operators drained billions of dollars in public funds through the vocational education system after a failed attempt to open the sector to the free market.

 

Source: https://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/how-most-vulnerable-were-used-to-rort-billions/3144955/

I know a few dirty seats and a dirty floor are not the worst things happening in Australia right now. However, they are very coal face indicators of a downhill trend.

As a taxpayer, I have simple expectations. I expect universal health, education, law enforcement, public transport and roads, environmental protection and various other services such as driver registration, births deaths and marriages and so on. Oh, and a decent NBN.

So far in the last twelve months I’ve broken a wheel (not just a flat tyre, broke the whole wheel) on the A10 and my car nearly fell into a huge pothole on the Westgate/M80 interchange. My RTO has gone into administration, I see our government risking destruction of our already fragile environment. I’m still on ADSL of some variety. I’m just one little person. Then I can’t find a clean seat to sit on.

Where are my taxes going?

Related:

It’s the economy, Stupid.

Would you give your bank statements to Births, Deaths & Marriages?

For reasons of privacy, I don’t like giving my bank statements to the government – but I’ve just been required to do exactly that.

After four marriages the time had come: I’m reverting to my birth name. While most people married and divorced within Victoria would have no problem reverting to their birth name, I am sure many other women in Victoria fall into my category: getting married overseas causes issues.

It starts when you get married overseas. While Australia recognises overseas marriages for most legal purposes, an overseas marriage certificate is not recognised for legally changing one’s name. For that (in Victoria at least), a Change of Name is required. Once you have had one Change of Name, you can forever thereafter only change your name by applying for another Change of Name.

To apply for a Change of Name at Births, Deaths and Marriages you must provide proof you have lived in Victoria for the preceding twelve months. There are four ways you can prove this, as shown in the above photo.

I had been living with my daughter and her husband for ten of the twelve months. Therefore I have no utility accounts covering the period. I did not have a lease agreement with my daughter (although Centrelink accepted a rent certificate from her). I was not enrolled in a Victorian tertiary institution (I was enrolled at an RTO). That left me with only one option – providing twelve months bank statements showing Victorian transactions.

When I objected on the grounds of not only privacy but also security (Births, Deaths and Marriages now has all the information required to impersonate me on the phone to the bank) I was told everything was strictly confidential as they are a government registry. Excuse my concern, but in my experience that doesn’t absolutely guarantee security. One just needs to look at the Trump leaks at the moment for evidence of that.

I also asked why a statutory declaration from my daughter was not acceptable. After all, Centrelink had no issue with accepting the situation. “Centrelink and us operate differently“, I was told.

So, much against my better judgement, I handed over twelve months worth of bank statements.

I can understand a car registration not being acceptable as proof I have been living here. After all, yes, I could live in NSW but own a car in Victoria which I let a family member drive. I’m not sure why my mobile phone records would not be acceptable, but then again do I want them knowing who I have called any more than I want them to have my purchasing history? We are required by law to change our address with VicRoads within fourteen days of moving, so I am not sure why my licence was not acceptable proof.

My situation is, I admit, rather unique. However I can’t help but feel this is yet another example of “big brother” being just a little too brotherly. There are other ways to prove I’ve been living in Victoria: payslips from employers, Centrelink communications to me in Victoria, licence (as noted above), medical bills from Victorian providers, a statutory declaration.

This whole situation made me feel decidedly uncomfortable. I am seriously considering closing that bank account and opening a new one. For security purposes.

The Births, Deaths and Marriages staff were lovely. They don’t write the policies, they just have to follow them.

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.”

 

Turnbull follows Trump’s lead in politics of personal abuse and campaign of lies.

“Don’t be a Malcolm”, warned The Toronto Star, as it urged Canadian PM, Justin Trudeau, not to ruffle Mr. Trump’s feathers as Malcolm Turnbull had done by trying to hold him to account over a refugee deal recently. The US President seemed ready to pull the pin on the US-Australia alliance when PM Turnbull foolishly expected him to commit to a pre-existing agreement. Hung up in his ear. It put the wind up the Turnbull government and other post-colonial toadies.

In a sense, the advice is old hat in Canberra. “Don’t be a Malcolm”, is a tip the Australian PM has long since deployed to advantage. This week he looks a lot like The Donald as he continues to turn himself inside out endorsing by evasion WA Liberals’ plan to do a preference swap with One Nation candidates in March.

“Preferences, he says, craftily, are a matter for the party organisation. In a state election, it is a matter for the organisation in Western Australia.”

WA Liberals will deal PHON its preferences in upper house multi-candidate electorates it may win in return for PHON preference support for Liberal candidates in single-member lower house seats, where One Nation victory is unlikely. What Turnbull is evading is the legitimacy, authority and credibility conferred by the deal upon One Nation.

Arthur “safe hands” Sinodinos, telegenic smooth operator and fixer for Coalition media damage control is sent in to peddle the lie that today’s One Nation is a “more sophisticated” party than it was twenty years ago. It’s an astonishing claim for a party which has merely shifted its scapegoats from “The Aboriginal Industry” and “Asians” to “Muslims”.

“Everyone changes in sixteen years” chimes in eternal opportunist John Howard, Great Helmsman of Liberal bigotry and One Nation dog-whistler, whose “babies overboard” lie demonised refugees; helped deny them rightful asylum.

On cue, One Nation anti-Gay Nazi mind control candidate Michelle Meyers, in the WA state seat of Bateman uses Facebook to warn voters abortion creates “societies of cannibals that consume our own progeny”. “Sexually confused” LGBTI people are “indoctrinating our kids” and transgender people are “broken”. In a nod to The Donald, “All terrorists ARE pretty much Muslims” and “the ‘peaceful’ majority [of Muslims] DO support them [terrorists]”.

The PHON preference deal is unlikely to shore up a WA Liberal rout. It may even cost Liberal votes. The PM’s main aim is to woo Pauline. Never in our political history has a PM so completely abandoned what he stood for prior to taking office. Malcolm Turnbull sheds his earlier progressive political identity as if it were a trendy leather jacket.

Not so easily cast off, however, is the historical record. In 2011 Turnbull blew the whistle on his future self.

“Some people would say that as we have a vested interest in coal being burned, we should oppose action on climate change and … muddy the waters on climate science in order to prolong the export billions from coal mining.” 

What Turnbull warned against six years ago is precisely what he is doing now. Daily, he steers himself and his government ever further towards the rabid right. His treasurer, Scott Morrison, fondles a lump of coal in the house. His government mounts an energy scare campaign based on outrageous, irresponsible lies and a fortune in coal funding that renewables threaten something he calls “energy security” and promoting a clean coal that doesn’t exist.

Peta Credlin attacks the scare campaign. She helpfully confesses on Sky the claim was groundless: “It wasn’t a carbon tax, as you know … but we made it a carbon tax. We made it a fight about the hip pocket and not about the environment. That was brutal retail politics.”

Josh Frydenberg is sent on to ABC Insiders Sunday to pretend that Turnbull isn’t following Tony Abbott in “making energy about the hip pocket and not the environment”. He patronises Barrie Cassidy and unleashes a torrent of Trump-like inconsistencies and non-sequiturs a morass of logical incoherence to confuse known as Derrida’s Kettle.

“See Barrie, politics is about ideas and when we see a bad idea, we will call it out. And just 18 months ago we had a deal with the Labor Party and legislated through the Parliament a 23.5% Renewable Energy Target. Bill Shorten then fell under the spell of the deep Green left-wing of his party and produced a 50% Renewable Energy Target. And now the Government is prosecuting the case against that target because we believe not only will it lead to higher electricity prices and hurt the hip pocket and cost jobs, but it will also destabilise the system like we have seen in South Australia.”

Frydenberg continues to repeat the false claim that coal is the cheapest source of energy. Cassidy does not counter that coal is cheap only because it is subsidised. Without fossil-fuel subsidies, wind and solar would be instantly cheaper in Australia today. He does, however, tell Frydenberg he’s ignored  the environmental costs of coal.

The Minister’s aim  is to present a mine of misinformation. A few examples will suffice. He blames renewables for the rising cost of electricity when network costs and soaring gas prices are chief causes. Solar drives down costs and provides huge benefits to the economy. 24, 000 jobs have been created so far. His claim of unreliability is refuted by scientific reports which show that reliable systems need only a mix of solar and wind. As the sun goes down wind generally increases and as winds drop in one region they pick up in another.

Author and essayist and one of Canada’s leading public intellectuals Jeet Heer summarises the government kettle technique as spreading lies while creating a state of dream-like delirium whereby reality and lies cannot be separated, where everything is just a pretext, an excuse or a rationale, and nothing is ever argued in good faith.

With his lies, his gibes at the media and his desperate right wing opportunism, his surrender to the mining industry and powerful backers in business and finance, Turnbull looks and acts more and more like an acolyte of Trump. The parallel extends into the use of invective.

Turnbull echoes The Donald’s attack on “crooked Hillary” as he leads his front bench in name-calling in a puerile assault on Bill Shorten’s phony, parasite and sycophantic character. Liberals bravely say it’s because “he started it” with “Mr. Harbour-side Mansion” but the taunt is Peta Credlin’s. He is on dangerous ground with “phony”.

After boasting of his leadership of the national conversation on the issue of domestic violence at the Parliamentary International Women’s Day Breakfast Thursday there are cuts proposed to women’s refuges. Turnbull vaunts the $200 million to be spent by his government over three years, as Anne Summers reports on advertising, research, information sharing, help lines, counselling services, trials of technology to improve victim safely, training of frontline staff, efforts to stop “revenge porn” and other worthy measures. Yet his government will cut $100 million from women’s refuges in May’s budget by axing the National Affordable Housing Agreement according to a leak last week.

As he fearlessly leads Christian Porter’s monstrous Robo-claw war on the poor, the sick and the vulnerable, Turnbull stands exposed as Tony Abbott in more expensive suit, another junkyard dog but with a more exclusive postcode.

“Don’t be a Malcolm” is, of course, meant as a wry caution to Trudeau not to stuff things up with shirt-fronting stunts. Yet when the lap dog is savaged by the top dog, the world is out of joint.  Australia’s “special relationship” with the US is sufficiently notorious to make even Canada wary of its own reception in King Donald’s court.

Can you believe Trump hung up on the Australian Prime Minister?, boggles The Washington Post in the subtext of a piece written when a “high ranking White House official” leaks the call. Now all is thrown into doubt. A terrible, new, world disorder, an anti-Pax Americana, is born out of Mar-a-Lago and New York.

Even dud former treasurer, now work for the dole Ambassador to the US, Joe Hockey is worried by Wednesday.

“When America says ‘America First’, as someone with nearly 20 years in politics, I get that . . . but what the rest of the world is hearing is that they’re coming second and they’re the losers and America is the winner,” he tells the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, before hosing down Turnbull’s failure to get Trump’s nod to the refugee deal.

“Some countries unfairly look to the US to solve every problem the world faces.” We don’t expect leadership.

Hockey even lies that our Manus and Nauru detainees are “economic refugees”. He’s picking up the vibe of the Donald’s approach to truth. Even if his 2014 budget cuts are now “zombie measures”, Joe’s not slow to catch on.

Seventy years of a US-led alliance system may now be undone as The Donald, a con-man occupies the Oval Office, the most inept, insecure and least qualified person ever to have nominally become president lashes out at world leaders and the media; blunders around a Washington he cannot remotely fathom.

His first press conference is train wreck of incoherence, misinformation and bullying in which he attacks the press publicly, even upbraiding the BBC. The “media is the enemy of the American people”. Foreign policy is also a disaster. A US naval ship is buzzed by the Russians in the Black Sea. Russia tests a missile, flouting an agreement and a 300 foot surveillance ship snoops along America’s east coast. Somehow, despite DFAT and our best intel we are blindsided.

Not everyone is afraid, however. The Coalition is in such trouble that it could use the distraction of another military adventure. Clearly a deal is being done with The Donald’s administration to supply more Australian troops to “fight ISIS”. Using the same words every government uses, the Prime Minister and Defence Minister Payne say a US request for troops will be “looked at carefully”. Historically this is code for unqualified approval. Tony Abbott wanted to send even more than requested and made creative suggestions about a crack squad of Aussie troops invading Syria.

Domestically, also MPs take heart. The Donald-monster, a seven year-old in a seventy year old body, inspires our own reactionaries to unleash their own inner enfant terrible; inspires the Turnbull government to greater depths in the politics of denunciation and deceit. Killing Bill Shorten is now the Coalition’s only coherent policy. It’s a tag team free for all wrestling match and the bovver-boys wade in all week.

“Counterfeit Bill” sneers Steve Ciobo while Mouth-that-roars, Christopher Pyne wants us all to know that Shorten, the social sycophant and parasite, holidayed with millionaire Dick Pratt, the cardboard packaging king.

Worse, Pyne, boxes on, as national secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union Shorten signed an agreement with Pratt’s company VISY “which removed maternity leave rights and turned them into unpaid maternity leave”.

It’s a lie. The Labor leader kept maternity leave in the 2002 agreement but the new world disorder discourages truth.

In a Trumpian universe of discourse every little fact must fend for itself against mad King Donald’s whim. No shot is too cheap, too wild or too low for the billionaire vulgarian. Nothing is what it seems. Ears pricked in Canberra, new, improved, Malcolm Mark III, unleashes his own inner pack leader. Now with extra junkyard dog, he sniffs the wind, reverse-engineers himself before our very eyes to maul Shorten and cock a hind leg over Labor’s track record.

Pausing his snarling and yapping only to beg a biscuit from his backers in media, mining and banking while Pauline Hanson’s political love child, the anti-halal crusader gorgeous George Christensen threatens to defect from Mal’s kennel; the Coalition’s Church of infinite breadth which, he says, needs narrowing because it’s squeezing voters and conviction politicians like himself out. Things are crook. The chief National Party whip is its least disciplined member.

“Don’t be a Malcolm” in the original context evokes Turnbull’s unparalleled gift for SNAFU, self-sabotage and gratuitous insult, all in play this week. The PM, whose own election night dummy-spit dismayed a nation, jeers Thursday that Bill Shorten is “defender of the biggest glass jaw in Australian politics”. All hail the crystal mandible.

Yet it’s Turnbull, not Shorten, who appears fragile lately despite the cheering-on he’s received from a tame ABC and others for shouting insults at Bill Shorten. The Coalition believes that painting the Labor leader as a working-class traitor and a social climbing brown-nose will win over an electorate already fed up with petty personality politics.

Desperate to arrest his government’s continuous decline in the polls, Malcolm’s been making a Donald of himself by descending to character attack and ever wilder claims in the manner of a president who publicly upbraids journalists at his first Press conference; lashing out at the lying hounds who report non-fake news merely to attack an administration which, any fool can see on Fox or read on Breitbart, is running “like a fine-tuned machine”.

All is going well according to the Turnbull spin machine which nearly blows a gasket as Scott Morrison goes up river like Mr Kurz and bullies the cross-bench, threatening new taxes if members fail to pass its childcare bill which cuts welfare to fund childcare. It’s a streak of SNAFU genius that only the Turnbull government could achieve and a sign of poor discipline and teamwork under the Prime Minister’s leadership.

Nick Xenephon and his senate duo get it right when they announce they would vote against the bill, saying “pitting battling Australians against Australians needing disability support services is dumb policy and even dumber politics”.

Despite his attack on Shorten, however, Turnbull finds himself boxed in like Tulloch as he wedges himself between his war on the poor and his tax cuts for the rich; a tricky spot he makes impossible by his failure to persuade anyone but the rich that trickle-down economics works; or that Centrelink’s Robo-claw debt collection is a riotous success.

A full third of the benefit of a company tax cut would be enjoyed by just 15 companies in Australia. Once phased in the cut would be worth $6.7 billion per year to these companies, reports The Australia Institute.

On top of that the government has to justify a $50 billion splurge right at the time it’s urging savings, threatening taxes and repeating the meaningless mantra of budget repair. Turnbull bats away the growing pressure for a Royal Commission on banks because Royal Commissions are lengthy and don’t achieve anything, which was no impediment to the $80 m Heydon Royal Commission to get Shorten which was actually extended, at great cost, by Tony Abbott.

Turnbull also bats away an allied proposal that the company tax cuts not apply to the big four as “not practical”.

Having increased debt by $100 billion since Labor left office and with its petrol excise tax and its budget repair levy tax, the Coalition is the big taxing, high spending it accuses Labor of being. Despite its rhetoric, the only jobs created are part time and casual and the economy contracted last quarter. So much for growth and hollow slogans.

Its war on renewables means the team must argue Abbott’s case that it’s only about the hip pocket, not the environment but Credlin’s blown the whistle on that. And you can’t build coal-fired power stations unless you can find investors, no matter how much you fudge the rules of the Clean Energy Foundation’s loan book.

A farrago of lies boosting fossil fuels over wind and sun vitiates debate as a Turnbull government blind-sided by Trump the disruptor and the dawn of a new world disorder, seeks to please its corporate backers and appease its insatiable right wing at any price. No truce is called in its class war on the poor while profiteering banks bleed the nation dry; escape all censure. Heartened by Trump’s trashing of covention, Turnbull’s jeering mob puts the boot into Shorten demeaning itself, the nation’s parliament and all “hardworking, ordinary Australians” it claims to represent.

 

What is Plan B, Malcolm?

By Bob Rafto

Imagine that you have consulted 100 doctors, 97 of them have diagnosed you with cancer and the other 3 said there’s nothing wrong with you.

You decide to side with the 3 doctors who told you nothing is wrong and refuse treatment although 97 of the doctors diagnosed the cancer as malignant and spreading. Your main rationale for this decision is that the treatment will be too costly.

This is a very simple analogy for climate change deniers. 97% of scientists agree with climate change, 3% say nothing is wrong.

This is the approach our leaders are using in the parliament to play down the cause of this cancer, on the grounds that it will be too costly to address it. And it is only because they have the numbers in parliament that coal will continue to be forced down our throats.

Trump and Turnbull are touted as successful business men who have accumulated millions and billions of the folding stuff and are best placed as leaders to ensure our economies maintain their prosperity, with coal leading the way.

Can anyone imagine a business owner not having contingency plans for the successful running of a business?

That is the case with these two master businessmen, Trump and Turnbull. They have no contingency plan should they be proved wrong on climate change. They have no Plan B, on a business venture that is considered by 97% of the world’s experts, to fail. Let’s not even consider Plan C or Plan D.

It’s time to call out Trump and Turnbull and ask, very loudly, “WHAT IS YOUR PLAN B, if and when the planet starts to fry?” What is your renewable energy policy?

We need to know what Plan B is if we continue down the coal path, because what is the point of saving a few dollars if we all end up frying?

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?”

 

Why Malcolm Roberts Is Right And How He Can Never Be Wrong!

Over the years, I’ve had some very frustrating arguments with people. I don’t always find arguments frustrating; sometimes I feel that the exchange of differing viewpoints helps everyone to grow. Sometimes I feel that I’ve learned something about the way that people with different value systems perceive the world. Sometimes, I even change my mind. So why is arguing with some people annoyingly frustrating?

I sort of intuitively knew that it was because I knew that I’d never be able to change their mind. I think that was the frustration: no matter what I said, they’d still go on telling me that I was deluded, that I hadn’t thought about the issue, that I was a victim of groupthink, that I was a left wing stooge, that I was a right wing apologist, that I was thinking like everyone else, that I was one of the few who thought like that, it was the chemicals in the water, it was the fact that I didn’t drink enough water! Whatever, they’d never feel the need to even consider the possibility that I might be right… Or at least, closer to being right than they were.

But listening to Malcolm Roberts over the past few months, it’s become even clearer to me what’s so frustrating about arguing with certain people. Now, I suspect that at times, we’re all guilty of this but Malcolm has turned into an art form. Basically, the thinking goes like this:

1. I know that X is a fact.
2. Because it’s a fact, I don’t need to prove it.
3. If you don’t believe that X is a fact, then it’s up to you to disprove it, because it’s up to the person arguing against facts to produce the evidence.
4. When you produce evidence I can ignore it because it’s clearly manufactured by people who don’t believe that X is a fact. Therefore, it can be ignored because if it comes from people who don’t believe that X is a fact, then they’re either brainwashed, part of the evil forces trying to peddle Y as a fact, or just plain stupid.
5. When I’m asked to produce evidence about X, I don’t need to because it’s clearly a fact. After all, you couldn’t produce evidence to disprove it without resorting to the lies put out by people who want to spread disinformation. You’ve clearly been brainwashed and are incapable of thinking for yourself.
6. Of course, not that I need to, but I can produce evidence in the form of anecdotes and links to various websites and there’s no need for me to worry about a conflict of interest because it’s only people who are interested who’d bother to investigate something.
7. No, no. Only people who agree with me are worth listening to, so I think that it’s time you just admitted the truth and gave up!

Now the thing about this, is that it’s impossible to fault. I’m serious. Once you replace X with almost anything, you’ll see how it works. Try vaccination! And just to be even handed, try it from the perspective of an anti-vax person, then try it from someone who believes that vaccinations are worth it. Try climate change. Try Donald Trump’s presidency…

Not that Donald Trump is president!

I mean, it’s a fact that the real powers in the USA had already appointed Hillary and, because of concerns about a possible revolt from those who wanted her jailed for her work with Russia, they created a reality show and used Trump to provide such an entertaining distraction that nobody cares about what the US is actually doing any more.
No, I don’t need to prove it. It’s a fact, I told you!
All right, can you disprove it without resorting to quoting the people behind the charade? You can? Not by resorting to the media. They’re the ones behind it, after all. Oh, no not him, either… He’s one of the architects of the whole thing. Just ask Monica about this… If you can find her… No, I don’t mean the person who’s pretending to be her… the real Monica. No, the one who was interviewed looks a whole lot older.
Look, if you don’t believe me, here’s a link to a website that was taken down by the CIA because it was too close to the truth. Come on, be reasonable, weren’t you all saying Trump could never be President, why I even remember someone telling me that they’d never allow Trump to be President and this was just to ensure that Hillary would take power. You were right and now we’re watching the “POTUS – Reality show, who’ll be fired this week?”

See, it’s easy!

So remember the simple seven point plan at the next family occasion where you have to deal with someone who tells you that they’d join Bernardi’s new party if only he’d thought to register it before he announced that he was leaving the Liberal Party. (I know that he established the name. He doesn’t have any way of allowing people to join yet… Mm, perhaps that’s his plan to ensure that he isn’t taken over by left-wingers like Turnbull, Pyne and Abbott…) Start with your fact, then just follow the plan and watch the person who normally gives you stress become the one to get all angry and frustrated…

Good luck. It’ll work – that’s a fact.

Why Are There Asian Australians Running As One Nation Candidates?

One Nation has endorsed a candidate in Western Australia who is from an Asian Australian background for the state’s upcoming election next month. You would think that after the Shan Ju Lin debacle, that would be the end of any candidates of an Asian heritage publicly running and supporting this political party, so please do not shoot the messenger when I say that this befuddles me. Asides from geo political stances and positions, there is no rational reason for any Asian Australian to run for a party which is shaded with strong undertones of racism and bigotry. Even the geo-political reasons are not an adequate excuse for being loud and proud One Nationers. Tshung Chang feels that One Nation and its leader Pauline Hanson have moved on from its 1996 anti-Asian platform rhetoric and is on the path of being “inclusive”. Chang who is contesting the WA Treasurer Mike Nahan’s seat of Riverton told the ABC in January that Pauline Hanson and her party have come a long way:

“Yes I do, I think that was the infamous speech, however that was I think 20, as you rightly said, 25 years ago and I think she’s actually become more and more experienced since then and the views back then are not reflective of what they are today because of her life experiences.”

“Pauline has got nothing against Asians, nothing against Asians that work hard, that come here and are good citizens.

Image Via ABC News Online

There is not a lot online about Chang’s background, so I did some digging and found that he has his own international consultancy business and has a corporate career that spans twenty three years with leading financial services providers including NAB, QBE and Fitch Ratings. His passion is education (according to his political campaign page on Facebook) and his primary concerns and issues which he is standing firm on appear to be about finance and the economy. He states on his Facebook political campaign page:

“Everyone I talk to is worried about the financial mess that we are in and how the government squandered the boom with state debt out of control. West Australians rightly feel they have been ripped off for years, with only 30% of GST being returned to the state. The government has proved time and again it is incapable of doing anything about this.”

“PHON is the only chance I see to make a real difference, and I am incredibly proud to be given an opportunity to stand as a candidate against Dr. Nahan who was at the helm when WA lost its AAA credit rating and presided over the worst performing economy in the nation.”

“My international ratings agency experience gave me insights into restoring the states ratings and finances”

So the question is why PHON? Why not join the LNP or the ALP or even run as an independent? Understandably, his frustrations are targeted at the Colin Barnett Liberal Government, but I don’t see how standing as a PHON candidate will allow him to impact on change? Considering there may be a PHON and WA Liberals preference deal, there is desperation on all sides to win the election in March. But moving away from the political games there is still no rational justification for Chang to run as a PHON candidate. So let’s analyse and assess Chang’s statements, because on the surface they appear to just be a typical assimilast approach and sounds pretty similar (but possibly a little more articulate) than Lin’s words. His statements about why he supports PHON are extremely problematic in that, he is willing to forgive and forget racism within the party which he plans to represent. Racist people don’t change their stripes, and this resentment within PHON is ingrained in the values and the agendas the political party runs on.  His second point stating “…nothing against Asians that work hard, that come here and are good citizens.”… is extremely ignorant because why do Asian Australians need to work hard to be recognised in Australia? Are Asians the lower class of Australians which need to show hard work to earn their keep in Australia? Chang’s words as stated earlier are just a more articulate and smarter way of saying “Good Asians will like me and Pauline Hanson” ( Lin’s words).

 A growing fear is that there are a growing number of Asian Australians who will vote for PHON. To see two Australians of Asian descent (with one who was dumped) running as candidates is quite telling of the ignorance within the community. We can laugh, make jokes and call them race traitors etc, but the issue is a lot more serious than the usual banter. So the question is why? Why do some Asian Australians feel proud to support PHON, knowing that it is built on racism and fear? Well if you think about it, it still goes back to geo-politics and the misconception of what it means to be a patriotic “Australian”. Many feel to run with the mainstream fear mongering is a show of patriotism, without an understanding of the history of Australian racism and oppression. Groups such as PHON and other “alt right” white supremacist type groups have publicly come out as “anti China” and this has earned the support of various Asian Australian diaspora groups whose roots are from Asian countries where China is seen as a “bully” of sorts. Many are unaware and ignorant that being anti a regime/Government does not give you a free pass to be anti an entire nation of people and they forget that this is essentially racism. In addition, in certain parts of Asia there is animosity towards Muslim Asians, and this is really as stated earlier all about geo-politics and the politics of blaming a group of people for the problems of a country. For many Asian migrants who have moved to Australia and who left countries which are dominated by Muslim Asians their anger is due to misunderstandings and how countries have misused religion for politics. The final reason which this piece will end on is that there are Asian Australians who are believe in the mainstream stereotypes of pure ignorance and lack an understanding of the intersectionality of race relations and its history in Australia.

Fake threats, and democracy

 

Demands that we be kept “safe” by governments play into the hands of conservatives who simultaneously, and with an alarming degree of cognitive dissonance, express their distaste for a nanny state while instigating extreme measures they claim will fulfil both our expectations of safety, and their responsibility to fulfil those expectations.

All too often those measures are an opportunity for authorities to increase surveillance, harvest personal information and exert unnecessary control over citizens, resulting in an erosion of rights that does nothing to keep us safe but rather makes us increasingly vulnerable, not to terrorists but to the state.

As in the family, so in public life. The greatest threat to our safety is allegedly the stranger, in both the private and the public narrative. So we have President Trump’s seven country “Muslim” ban in the US, designed to make Americans safe. In Australia we have the secretive, punitive Department of Immigration and Border Protection, with their ring of steel around our borders and their concentration camps off-shore. Both governments justify extreme measures with repeated assurances that their only objective is to keep us safe.

However, in the case of both family and country, danger is far more likely to come from within the circle than from without: the family is potentially the most dangerous place for women and children, and terrorism is overwhelmingly perpetrated by citizens/permanent residents of the target country rather than refugees, or foreigners who enter the country with the specific aim of conducting attacks.

In a liberal democracy we are supposed to be participants. We have agency. The degree of safety we demand governments provide is incompatible with the freedoms we rightly expect. Governments are not our parents. While as children we are entitled to protection, as adults we have no such entitlements. Protection and safety must be a joint venture: we have to participate in ensuring our own welfare. Once we relinquish our responsibility, we’re on the road to totalitarianism.

Democracy isn’t just the right to vote. It’s a way of being.

Neither will government assurances of safety from external threat protect us from what is most pressingly dangerous: violence in homes and institutions.

Governments are most reluctant to commit resources to these obvious threats to safety and stability.  Instead, billions are wasted on the containment of fake threats, and we continue to face real threats grossly under-supported and largely unacknowledged. Our protection in this instance does not require state intrusion into personal life: it requires adequate money and front-line resources administered by competent and experienced citizens, not politicians.

This is an example of democracy working. Secretive bureaucracies are not democratic, and neither is taking money from those in difficult circumstances to fund tax benefits for corporations turning billion dollar profits.

The robust exchange of views between Senator Jacqui Lambie and Islamic youth leader Yassmin Abdel-Magied, broadcast on ABC’s Q&A last week, is a complex example of the degree to which fake threats dominate our discourse. It also inadvertently provided a seminar in free speech, when a number of organisations petitioned the ABC to provide a “safe environment” in which Muslims may speak.

Senator Lambie has obviously swallowed the fake terrorism threat, as is evidenced in her noisy opposition to what she perceives as the imminent danger of Australia becoming subject to what she understands as Sharia law. At present, I’d argue, Australia is faced with the rather more urgent matter of dealing with the consequences of Catholic Canon law than with Islamic tenets, sad confirmation of the theory that the stranger is not our largest and most immediate danger.

I don’t like Lambie’s views on the matter of Sharia law, or her manner of expressing them, however, such views exist and attempting to silence them is not a useful option. Currently, the voices of prejudice, fear and hatred seem to have wrenched the mic from voices of reason and good will. We are under the governance of a conservative ideology that values combat and domination over citizens’ and community interests, while offering fake protection from outside forces in order to conceal that ideology’s very real threat to civil society.

Sharia law is not currently an issue for Australia: political negligence on matters of survival such as climate change and social inequality and injustice are.

I don’t yet know how we get the mic back. I don’t think anybody does. I don’t think forcible silencing of opposition is an option. It’s impossible to dictate the tone and language in which opposition is couched. Once again, personal responsibility stands side by side with freedoms. That there are people with platforms taking little or no responsibility for their speech and its possible consequences is truly awful, but it’s reality.

For mine, freedom of speech was exercised by all parties in the Q&A example, including the freedom of organisations to get up a petition protesting the event, and the freedom of their supporters to sign it.

This is how we contest fake threats. By embracing democracy as a way of being, not just something we perform at the ballot box every few years. It isn’t any government’s sole responsibility to keep us and democracy safe, and once we relinquish agency, we have truly lost all hope of safety, and returned to infantile dependence.

This article was first published on No Place for Sheep

 

 

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”

 

 

Will Turnbull turn to jelly when threatened by the sugar plum fairy?

George Christensen has decided he is important and, as such, is making demands accompanied by threats.

Now I am sure George views himself as some sort of crusader but closer examination shows George is really all about George.

This is the man who publicly announced during the election campaign that he would make a “personal donation” to a local charity if he was re-elected”.

He then got very upset when others pointed out this could be perceived as buying votes and, in a huff, withdrew his offer of a donation.

Mr Christensen denied any suggestion of electoral bribery.

“Only the turtles materially benefit from my pledged donation and the last time I checked, turtles can’t vote,” he said.

“The upshot is that, to avoid any confusion over what’s in the guidelines and what’s not, I’ve had to withdraw my offer of funding to the turtle rescue service.”

What George seems oblivious to is that he made the offer contingent on him getting the popular vote.

Moving on …..

George has been extremely vocal on opposing marriage equality, the Safe Schools Program, and every facet of a Muslim’s life.

He says he has done this because of his religious beliefs.

He was elected to a secular parliament to make fair laws for all but he is making decisions coloured by his chosen religion and wanting to impose his beliefs on us all. Muslims have repeatedly assured us that they are not trying to impose Sharia but George is sure as hell trying to impose his very conservative view of Christianity on everyone.

Because of Turnbull’s sellout to the RWNJs to gain the crown, followed by a wafer thin majority, George is realising he can really push this personal benefit thing.

He publicly announces that he has a letter of resignation ready to go unless the government does exactly what he says by day’s end on February 28th or he will blow the joint up, metaphorically of course.

And what crucial thing is George demanding?

An opportunity for some wealthy cane farmers in his electorate to lock in pre-orders to take advantage of record world prices on sugar.

Mr Christensen said if the Turnbull Government failed to act in the interests of cane growers, he would be politically “dead” in his electorate – and “I might not as well bother running at the next election under the LNP banner”.

In his Canberra office and in front of Mr Christensen, The Courier-Mail spoke to the Burdekin District Cane Growers president Laurence Dal Santo.

“George will not be the member for Dawson unless he gets this (code of conduct) deal … if that means he leaves the LNP and joins One Nation, then so be it,” Mr Dal Santo said.

Christensen is also a climate change denier.

It is very important to him that coal be encouraged so he can pretend it is going to provide jobs for people in his electorate.  He has pushed for legislation to stop court challenges and for the government to give a billion dollars to a company that no-one else will lend to.

When he was spruiking the Abbott Point port expansion, I pointed out that the government’s own report said it would create less than 100 jobs during 1 year of construction and then 2 ongoing jobs.  He promptly blocked me from commenting on his facebook page.  George likes the echo chamber of affirmation rather than any factual intrusion.

Apparently George is disgruntled that he was not given a Cabinet position.  How could he be more influential?  He has made our Prime Minister completely backflip on every value he ever pretended to hold.

If we see a Code of Conduct in the sugar industry, but no sugar tax which health professionals have called for but George won’t allow, and then George given any sort of promotion, we will know that Malcolm Turnbull has been completely and utterly compromised and is incapable of leading the country.

The tough man who traded blows with Trump, the man who looks billionaires in the eye (sorry, I know I keep using that line – it makes me chortle every time), is a quivering bowl of full sugar jelly with no labelling just waiting to be devoured by the sugar plum fairy.