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So, who's the boofhead, actually?

While it may be fair for us, the hoi polloi, to address…

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So, who’s the boofhead, actually?

While it may be fair for us, the hoi polloi, to address insults to our politicians because they are unequal to our expectations, it is not so, for those politicians to do the same to each other.

We have heard the insult “boofhead” from the leader of the Opposition, Mr Anthony Albanese. It’s not pretty, it’s not clever, it’s not professional, it’s not parliamentary and it’s certainly not an utterance that should come out of the mouth of a mature man. It is puerile and it is a sign of someone who is neither intellectually nor psychologically ready to be a leader of anything, let alone of a Democratic Parliament that may govern a country. It is ungoverned speech.

It is an utterance more fitting to Trump, am erstwhile leader of another country, geographically if not effectively, far, far away. But no, this utterance has been made here, in Australia by Mr Anthony Albanese, the head of the ALP, one of the major political parties, the Opposition, in fact; and Oppositions, to my way of thinking, are far more important than the prevailing Party or, as it happens here, the Coalition of two parties who presently occupy the throne of Government. The Oppositions is there to prevent the Government from behaving too outrageously anti-democratically, too oppressively, too unwisely or by being too steeped in corruption; and to state alternative, humanitarian and just policies. Shouting childish insults at their opponents is not part of their job description, as it neither is in any workplace of a civilised nation, where the consequences could be severe.

Yet this insulting outburst has been applauded, praised and repeatedly discussed on social, as well as main media as if it is something that enhances the character trait of Mr Albanese, current head of the ALP, the expectant winners of the coming elections. Expectant, at least by the rusted-on devotees of the ALP and of those whose devotion pivoted from an adherence to conservative values to a fierce need to shed themselves of the liars, the sexual predators, the bullies and the misogynists who litter so much the “broad church” of the LNP that it has become nothing less than a moral sewer.

The word “character” is a Greek word, going back to ancient times and its meaning is to “etch into” not cut through the surface, to draw a deep line. A Greek today would recognise the word χαράζω (charazo) the verb for slicing a line into the body of something, in this case, the soul. When Martin Luther King Jr made his “I have a dream” speech, he used the phrase “the contents of the character” with which he meant “by the cut of a man’s soul.”
What we do and what we say are etched into our soul and make up our soul, our character.

And so we now see the cut of Mr Albanese’s soul and we sense that it does not make for an impressive candidate for leadership.

Aristotle, Plato’s young student, said two profound things regarding this matter: Man is by Nature, a political being and Just because a man is good, it doesn’t mean he is a good citizen, both reminding us that by Nature we are social beings, needing each other to grow well and that we have a duty to our country, to the collective a duty which far outweighs that to our singular self. We are all, whether we like or nor, members of a polis, a country.

And, had Plato been alive today, he too would shake his head and point his bony finger at Mr Albanese with great anger. “You are not a philosopher,” I hear him say, “so you can’t be a king of a country!”

Mr Albanese would make these two great men -men who put down the foundations of Western civilisation- very angry. Aristotle was the discoverer of logic (the mathematical way of constructing a syllogism) and Plato was a committed researcher into what makes a Kallipolis, a perfect, an ideal, a just city.

After his kiddy tantrum these two wise men would do everything in their power to stop our Albo (how easily it rhymes with Scomo!) from getting anywhere near a position of influence. They would hound him like Aristophanes hounded the likes of Cleon and Cleophon on his satirical stage.

What Albo has done with his “boofhead” immature ejaculation is to send us the message that the Parliament is nothing more than a kiddies’ sandpit -something which we, the demos had long suspected- and so we should expect that nothing of any value would emerge out of those corridors of corruption, and that Albo is no better than a thoughtless, heartless and bereft of any care for us, Scomo. Further, we should not think that the ALP is any different to -let alone better than- the LNP and its appendages, Pauline’s ON, Craig Kelly’s UAP, Katter’s AP, Palmer’s PUP and the rest of the motley binful of moral detritus.

Henceforth, we should expect more of the same:

Dutton: You’re the boofhead!

Albo: No, you’re the boofhead!

Dutton: You’re the boofhead!

Albo: No, you’re the boofhead!

The rest of the parliamentarians (shouting): Boofhead, boofhead, boofhead!

And, during the campaign, the LNP will doubtless be pointing the finger at photoshopped photos of Albo, shouting accusations of baby tantrums, the most excruciatingly nauseating image of which would be that of Pauline Hanson, shrieking as is her wont, “The Alp is nothing but a group of babies shouting insults from their cot! They are nothing but babies having tantrum after tantrum coz they can’t win! The Alp has lost the plot, if not its brain!”

Excruciatingly nauseating stuff!

And if we know anything about the ALP, we know that they are experts at losing the unlosable elections!

I weep at the profound and phosphorescent exhibition of idiocy, corruption, ineptitude, unwillingness to shed the “donors,” characteristics that mark our politicians now rampant in our parliament. No matter which side of the bench you scan with your eyes, this Parliament is fast sliding into the pits of putrefying sewer particles.

It would be worthwhile for our politicians to ask themselves what Homer had almighty, cloud-gathering Zeus say to the flashing-eyed goddess Athena, “O, my dear child! What a word has escaped the barrier of your teeth?” (Odyssey, 1. 60)

Obviously Mr Albanese’ teeth do not form an adequately strong barrier when it comes to unwise words.

Boofhead?

Can you point at anyone in that place who is not?

 

Scott Morrison has moved on, apparently

By Jim McIntosh

Of course, we always knew that Morrison is a liar. A congenital liar who even lies when it’s of no particular benefit to him. So not just a liar, but a stupid one as well.

But then, when a foreign head of state actually came right out and called Morrison a liar, at that point the cat was truly out of the bag. Morrison, clearly wounded by the words of the French President, over-reacted in a manner that thoroughly weaponised the allegation against him, and made our prime minister appear even more stupid that he usually does. When Scotty’s minders or whoever it is that have to clean up the never-ending puddles of his diplomatic and political ordure finally convinced him that he’d gone a bit too far, his next predictable reaction was to ‘move on’. By that, any mention of the matter was met by a shouty, angry-faced Morrison saying that ‘we’ (note the pronoun) have moved on, because he had already blathered something along those lines “in Dubai” (although why the geography of his defensive, over-reactive damage control efforts should be an issue, is still a mystery).

So now that the tamestream media in Australia have been told that ‘we’ have moved on, we (the real we, the we that gaze in astonishment at what passes for a prime minister these days) now see Scotty happily frolicking in front of cameras dressed in hi-vis and assuring Australians that Labor lied about his 2019 aversion to EVs, and that everything is back to normal – although it’s not – and trying desperately to relive his happy, happy days of the 2019 election campaign where he was on top of everything and set to win the election. At the same time, in Trumpian style he uses ambivalent dog-whistling on the one hand to condemn the recent street violence in Melbourne while calling out to his cohort of violent right-wing ratbags that the government isn’t in the business of telling them what to do and inferring, rather that the Labor state premiers are the ones doing just that, not him, no, no no.

But in the final analysis, things are different now. Scotty is damaged goods, and he’s becoming a liability to his own rag-tag party. The point being that if Morrison feels the need to call out and appeal to violent street thugs and extremists of the far right, then the damage is real. What about all his ‘quiet’ Australians, the ones he always claimed were behind him? So, even though I and many of us already knew the nature of the beast, what matters now is that if it’s good enough for the French President to come out and state the facts about this man, then it’s certainly good enough for me. And Morrison, meanwhile, becomes more and more an object of derision and clownishness.

Et tu, Rupert? We shall see.

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Respect: Let’s show it

Back when Gough Whitlam won the election a few of us guys from the local football club went along to our pub, and on this day we thought we’d drink in the lounge, rather than our regular spot; the front bar.

We talked about Gough’s win when a bloke started chatting to us about how bad it was that Labor won.

He would have been in his mid-fifties, and he was clearly a right-winger.

We gave him hell. Not just on that day, but whenever we saw him again in the lounge bar of the pub.

We were quite nasty, actually. Our language was appalling, splattered with such terms as; “F#ck off, idiot”, Go f#ck yourself”, “What the f#ck would you know”, or “Go and talk to your f#cking friends over there”.

And as we were disgusting people, the “c” word was used liberally.

You get the picture.

And of course we enjoyed it. We were bloody heroes.

After that our lives took us down different paths and 25 years later I was working for ATSIC in Port Augusta.

One evening on ANZAC Day an old WW2 veteran was interviewed by one of the local Adelaide news channels.

This bloke was in the air force and had been shot down over Germany. Parachuting (luckily) to safety, he hid from the German forces for over three weeks, managing to find his way to the Allies.

It was a tormenting, harrowing experience. At any time he might have been only a minute away from capture, or worse, death. This man – probably in his early twenties at the time – was a true Aussie hero who gave up everything to go and fight for his country.

Can you imagine the guilt I felt when I recognised him as the bloke me and some footy mates used to throw the most vile, disgusting abuse to whenever we saw him in the pub all those years ago?

We knew nothing about this bloke when he was the victim of our insults.

It’s a bit like social media. How often do we see abuse hurled at someone that the abuser – in all likelihood – knows nothing about. The abused person may be someone with a mental illness, or someone who is a hero as a community worker, or someone who had just lost their partner. The list goes on.

Sadly, very sadly, I’ve been one such perpetrator. I remember on one occasion suggesting that a very annoying person was drunk. Little did I know that this person was a non-drinker after years of fighting alcoholism.

The little things we say that we think are funny, might just be shattering to our target.

Tempers have been demonstrated this year, not just on The AIMN, but Facebook and Twitter. The looming election gives us the opportunity to focus on the true enemy, and not just each other.

From what I’ve seen elsewhere the government (and their mates in the MSM) are watching social media like a hawk.

Let’s not give them anything to swoop on.

At The AIMN we’re fortunate to have fantastic writers and commenters who lead by example.

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What is it with some people and longer cords?

Here’s a little gem (which I published years ago on another site) from the now defunct Originz podcast about a teacher in Western Queensland some time back.

The said teacher was in a very small community which consisted of a hotel (of course), a police station, a small school and a few houses. He was the school’s only teacher and the school had only a dozen students. Even in Queensland – his region at least – Winters can be cold. Some heating was needed so he wrote to the Education Department requesting that some kerosene heaters be supplied to the school.

They wrote back advising that electric heaters only would be provided, to which he responded that electric heaters would be unsuitable for the school’s generator.

Again he requested kerosene heaters, thinking that his reason for needing them was well spelled out. His argument, unfortunately, was unconvincing even though it was logical. The Education Department continued to insist that only electric heaters would be provided.

Our teacher conceded and agreed to be supplied the electric heaters. And they duly were.

Our teacher then wrote back to the bright folk at the Education Department requesting … a 700 kilometre power cord so he could plug the heaters in somewhere!

So why am I mentioning this now?

Well, because it reminds me of our illustrious prime minister.

 

 

What is it with some people and longer cords?

 

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How much more of this incompetence and stupid arrogance do we have to endure?

By Jim McIntosh

In an earlier missive, last month, I lamented that our PM had managed to leave our Navy short of effective submarine capacity. I think what he’s done deserves to be highlighted further.

Setting aside for the moment the blisteringly stupid behaviour of Morrison over the lying allegation made against him by French PM Macron and the obvious lies Morrison propagated about French ‘sledging’ against Australia and Australians (it wasn’t aimed at anyone other than Morrison), the real seriousness of the matter lies in what he has done to the RAN, and Defence overall.

The French submarines might have been overpriced; they might have been low technology, up against the superior forces of other nations in our region; we might still have had to extend the life of some of the Collins Class subs for a while. But, at least we would have had submarines. Now, the possibility that we’ll have any subs aside from those old Collins units is basically nil. All Scotty’s smirking blather about ‘going nuclear’, the grandstanding in front of the UK and US leaders, the latter of whom seemed to even forget Morrison’s name, well, it was purely for show. It holds virtually no substance at all.

So what Morrison has done in effect is to remove most of the submarine capability from the ADF at a time when tensions are on the increase. That much of the tension has actually been ratcheted up by Morrison himself, as he bangs the drums of war for what surely must be domestic audiences in a dangerous escalation of dog-whistling to the Australian electorate, doesn’t make it any less disconcerting. In essence, what Morrison has done is to put Australia at further military disadvantage for the sake of his perceived electoral survival, and he has left a hole in our defence capability that will not be repaired in this or even the next decade.

Haven’t we suffered enough? How much more of this incompetence and stupid arrogance do we have to endure before we can finally get a government in this country that works for the benefit of the nation, and not just to the advantage of its tin-pot leader?

 

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We need better outcomes. But how?

We receive a lot of mail at The AIMN, but this suggestion from one of our readers struck a chord:

“As we are facing one of the most important and influential challenges both for humanity and the earth itself, perhaps it is time we stopped reacting and started directing our thinking and our philosophies toward new ways: Ways that are supportive, direct and empowered. You have the vision to see the truth yet you express it their way, by attacking, dividing and conquering. Let’s stand united, point out the obvious and change the minds of those masses that also reacting instead of using them as ‘weapons of our own demise’ (Christie Parrish). Now is an opportunity to work around the old systems as they fall. Do we really want to take their divisive ways forward with us? As an advocate for change and a leader in new ways of reporting, the choice is yours.

Methods have a great place but they can also impede independent thinking and progress. Diversity and personal responsibility can only be expressed once we review our reactions and then seek another way forward. Just as the systems of governance, The AIMN is run by people: People sharing their opinions, ideas and philosophical questions eagerly with others. Perhaps more discussion will eventually lead us all to more respectful and tolerant ways of communication.”

This astute reader neatly summed up Australian media: On one side of the coin we have the mainstream media telling us how good the federal government is, and on the other side of the coin we have independent media telling us how bad the government is. The irony is that we’re on the same coin. And we need to get off it.

True, independent media holds the government to account and we need to keep doing this, but let’s also turn our focus to outcomes, instead of actions and behaviours.

For example, we all know that climate change is going to make ours a harsher planet to live on for our children and grandchildren and we regularly condemn the federal government for their lack of action, while adding suggestions on what should be done to address climate change.

However, we need to be elaborating on the outcomes of affirmative action. And not just with climate change.

For example, what would be the positive outcomes if hospitals had more funding? What would be the positive outcomes for Australian businesses and families if we had a better NBN? What would the positive outcomes be if we opened our borders for more refugees? A lot of the answers would sound obvious, but we need to make them more convincing if we want to change the mindset of a country that seems to be at a very stagnant stage.

This reader makes a lot of sense, and her thoughts were appreciated.

Your thoughts, too, would be appreciated.

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On the politics behind the Nobel Peace Prize

By Maria Millers

It is clear that over the years the Nobel Peace prize has become purely a political exercise drawing criticism from many quarters.

This has been happening for quite some time.

To give but a sample of egregious examples: Henry Kissinger was awarded the prize in 1973 for negotiating ceasefire in the Vietnam War while at the same time carpet bombing Cambodia. It should be noted that North Vietnamese diplomat Le Duc Tho, also nominated, refused to accept the Prize, and for the first time in the history of the Peace Prize two members left the Nobel Committee in protest.

The 1991 recipient Ang San Sui Kyi has abandoned her saintliness and has gone on to overlook human rights abuses against the Rohynga Muslims in Myanmar.

But it truly turned into farce when Barak Obama, in power for less than eight months was awarded the prize in 2009. Obama may have slashed the number of U.S. troops in war zones, but he; “vastly expanded the role of elite commando units and the use of new technology, including armed drones and cyber weapons.” And “He launched airstrikes or military raids in at least seven countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.”

And it is ironic that an Age editorial last week welcomed the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Maria Ressa, chief executive of Rappler in the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta in Russia as an “affirmation of the important part that free and vibrant journalism plays in the preservation of democracy” and warned about the threats to free speech and fact based journalism.

Few would argue with this assertion, but the irony is that at the same time this paper and other mainstream media have done little to prosecute the same argument in the case of Julian Assange or to condemn the disgraceful failure of our government to support him. Assange’s exposure of US war crimes has left him still facing extradition and on October 27th the US will once again appeal against the British court’s decision to not extradite Assange on health grounds, and once again he faces life imprisonment or possibly worse. And we must not forget that Assange’s crime was to expose US war crimes for all to see – in other words, “free and vibrant journalism” that The Age so lauded in its editorial.

 

Image from myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com

 

However, the difference between Assange and this year’s recipients is that they did not challenge US power, in fact have connections to US interests. Muratov’s Novaya Gazeta is backed by a section of Russia’s wealthy who seek a more direct relationship with the US. Maria Ressa’s publication Rappler received substantial funding from a US organization for promoting democracy in what seems like an attempt to counteract Duterte’s pivot to China and away from the US.

 

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Why is our government holding us back?

So far as I can see, most of those who claim to be ‘Christian’ are actually adhering to a cult.

I grew up in a Christian (Presbyterian) household, I studied the Old and New Testaments at a C of E school, (as well as Comparative Religion) and am now sufficiently uncertain as to the existence of a loving God as to regard myself as an agnostic.

I am, however, totally certain that no one can truly regard themselves as being Christian unless they clearly follow the teachings of Christ. Selflessness and honesty are two virtues which I fail to detect in many, like our PM, who falsely and misguidedly claim to be guided by a Christian God.

The whole world is finally waking up to the fact that Earth is under threat from climate change – but not yet sufficiently awake to realise how massively – and hastily – we need to act if our descendants – ie the grandchildren of the latest generation of parents – are to be able to enjoy a life which is not being destroyed by fires, floods and famine.

Selfishness seems destined to destroy mankind, and it is certainly accelerating species loss and biodiversity.

Many of us have already installed solar power, and will – when we can afford to – purchase a battery. But these are luxuries for most of the world’s populations. And it is totally wrong – morally and really – for the wealthy to be able to survive in comfort, while the poor are pushed aside and ignored. It is absolutely NOT Christian behaviour!

I am denied access to an electric car because of a government which refuses to accept the desperate need to reduce emissions.

Australia is both one of the wealthiest and – in too many ways – one of the most backward countries in the world.

We have manufacturing facilities which could be revived to build EVs and the knowledge to ensure that re-charging is readily available.

We also have a Coalition government which appears to lack any ability to plan for a viable future.

Today, schoolchildren are demanding that governments take action as a matter of urgency, as their whole future is at stake.

In the very near future the existing government will draw on the selfish instincts of the electorate to seek a further term in office.

I am deeply unenamoured with the alternative government, but would still rather vote them in, than risk seeing the future for my grandchildren and their children destroyed by the selfishness of those currently at the helm.

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What does it take?

By Sue Carrigan

Seriously, my head is about to explode. Never in my living memory have I had to witness the failings of a Prime Minister and his Coalition members as they lead a stunned populace headlong into what amounts to a shitstorm of catastrophic proportions.

Let’s for a moment put aside the country’s current pandemic crisis. We all know how we wound up in the situation; quarantine, vaccine, lockdowns, protests etc. What I think we have missed in the backwash is the bigger picture of how inept the current government is due to the absolute lack of integrity, honesty, foresight, intelligence, leadership or personal responsibility for their actions.

Let’s also put aside the governments complete lack of preparedness or even concern for the global climate crisis. Their complete ignorance with regard to emission targets and fossil fuel reduction can’t be underestimated, as they continue to open up new coal mines and argue the barrier reef is ‘nothing to see here, mate.

Perhaps we should also turn a blind eye to the culture within our government with regard to sexual harassment of women, politicians’ behaviour in a work environment that has no formalised code of conduct. But it is impossible to turn away from appalling calibre of some of the elected representatives that run our country.

The list of current LNP members whose conduct in the office that they represent has been overshadowed by underhanded dealings is through the roof. Insult to injury is that they all manage to resurface as the government merry-go-round of ‘how quickly we forget’ spins on its merry way.

Susan Ley quit the front bench in 2017 under an expenses scandal. 2019 sees her back as Minister for the Environment, for fuck’s sake, she is a coal advocate who demands that ‘The Great Barrier Reef’ be taken of the endangered list, and took a trip overseas to make sure it happened.

Bridget McKenzie quit the cabinet in 2020 because she had breached ‘ministerial standards’ over dodgy fund allocations, but here she is back in 2021 as a Minister for ‘who gives a rats’ arse.’

Michaelia Cash, accused of lying to the Senate Committee and all-round nasty when it came to defending Britanny Higgins, is unbelievably now back in one of the highest political positions as Attorney-General. Seriously, is it just me?

Craig Kelly, a furniture salesman turned scientific expert, removed to the back bench in 2021 for being an absolute moron, jumps ship along with his anti-vax messaging and joins up with that other charmer, who I had hoped choked on his money, to head the United Australia Party.

Christian Porter, well what a saga that has turned out to be. Track record as a compete misogynist and womaniser then accused of historical rape. Stands down as Attorney-General but no shit sticks to Teflon, and he takes the ABC to court. Then won’t say who funded the bill, breaching Ministerial Standards (laughable because it appears this government has no standards). Does the PM sack him or make any decision at all? That would be a no, Porter decides to step down and go and twiddle on the back bench. These people have absolutely no shame or even a sense of public humiliation.

But this is the final straw. Barnaby Joyce (we all remember who he is, the bloke who practically said; what baby, I’m not sure if it’s even mine… nice one, resurrected from the back bench in 2021 as deputy PM, go figure) announced that:

‘Christian Porter has now paid the price. He has gone to the corridor of the nearly dead, where I was for 3 and a bit years, just above the carpark. He has like so many of us, gone to the corridor of the nearly dead (yes, he repeated it) … I bet you his electorate won’t resign from him though. He’s an incredibly astute politician, he’s incredibly capable. I’ll put money that we’ll see him back again.’

What the absolute fuck!! Joyce is an ignorant mouthpiece for what many politicians think but aren’t stupid enough to say. That we voters are dumb bottom feeders who have the memory of a gnat and will forget the shit that goes on behind the locked secretive hallways of the federal government.

We should and must demand a better class of human being than those which we are suffering through and tolerating. Joyce’s corridor of the nearly dead, needs to lead from the hallowed hallways to the servant’s exit where they should be despatched and never be heard of again.

 

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Is Albanese accepting nuclear subs?

By Darrell Egan

In a statement from Australian Shadow Defence Minster Brendan O’Connor’s office authorised from Labor Leader Anthony Albanese and Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong, Australian Labor appears to be accepting the nuclear powered submarine deal, with some house keeping checks as follows:

“While there is much that we welcome, it’s also clear that today’s announcement is the single biggest admission of failure on the part of the Morrison-Joyce Government over its $90 billion Future Submarines program.”

The Morrison-Joyce Government must also urgently explain:

  • The cost of this new plan.
  • The number of submarines to be built.
  • The impact of today’s announcement on local jobs and businesses.
  • The timeline for construction and delivery of the nuclear-powered submarine capability.
  • The impact on the Life of Type Extension (LOTE) of the Collins Class submarines.
  • How local skills and know how will be delivered through the biggest acquisition in Australia’s history.

 

 

With $4 Billion spent on his deal there will be sure to be further costs and a lot of political effort to be put into this project, how much money and political will be left for an Albanese government to follow through of Clean Energy jobs in the future, in now seemingly accepting this nuclear submarine deal with some conditions?

This issue will test principles or in a word of similar part meaning “Mana” in Maori in both sides of the Labor Pacific with Anthony Albanese’s counterpart Jacinda Ardern clearly stating New Zealand will not allow these nuclear submarines near in New Zealand territorial waters.

If a Labor government gets in accepting these nuclear submarines it will be interesting to see how this pans out with their Labor counterparts across the Pacific.

Albanese, along with Opposition Foreign Minister Penny Wong, in this statement seek to enhance greater ties with the AUKUS pact Scott Morrison has signed Australia on to.

New Zealand foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta

The AUKUS pact seeks to have a more militarily aggressive stance in building up forces in the South China Sea and the elephant in the room question is that will an Australian Labor government in accepting these nuclear submarines, have them deployed to the South China Sea in the decades these are deployed, putting Australia on a war footing?

In Foreign Policy terms in regards to AUKUS there is a stance on this issue regarding Australia’s Shadow Foreign Minister Penny Wong and New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta with the New Zealand Foreign Minister not wanting to expand Five Eyes remit let alone going along with AUSUS pact’s hawkish approach.

With New Zealand standing by traditional Labor values in relation to the nuclear issue and a strong stance on Nuclear Proliferation, even if the nuclear product for these submarines is produced off shore, we will see who prevails in this test of Labor Party Mana.

This article was originally published on Dazza Egan Australia & China Watch Journo.

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COVID-19 and mobile phones

What research, if any, has been conducted to determine any possible link between transmission of the virus and the use of a mobile phone?

I am passing on an idea from a family member which appears to me to have significant merit.

Why are you so concerned, Poppa? (part 2)

“Why are you so concerned, Poppa?

“The future,” I replied.

Continued from Part 1.

By the end of our walk and the conversation it aroused in us, I was exhausted. Like most children, my granddaughter’s inquisitiveness was seemingly unending, as was her impatience to learn.

She bowled questions at me, and I played a straight bat to most, answering as best I could. She was certainly well-informed, and the thought occurred to me that she might make an outstanding leader when she completes her education and ventures into a world she is yet to meet.

“The only certainty is uncertainty,” I said. “When we are all vaccinated, and restrictions are over will, normality return, it’s a bit of a guess, really.”

I continued; “If we do have to live with the virus, how will we know what that means?”

She shrugged her shoulders in the way a child indicates unsureness and said:

“There’s a lot to think about, Poppa.”

“And then there’s the effects of climate change,” I ventured.

With that, she left me with my thoughts. Deep and brooding ones at that.

Change sometimes disregards opinion and becomes a phenomenon of its own making. With Its own inevitability

In my last post, I covered jobs and economics.

This time I’m looking at various matters that will be subject to change in the future. To do so, I have enlisted the help of Adil Najam and his colleague at Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University undertook a rather lengthy study into the effects of what a post-COVID-19 world might look like. Beginning in March of this year, over 190 days, 103 videos were released. Each one had a duration of around five minutes and asked one vital question: “How might COVID-19 impact our future?” You can watch the entire video series here.

The leading thinkers on topics such as these were interview and recorded such topics as:

“… from money to debt, supply chains to trade, work to robots, journalism to politics, water to food, climate change to human rights, e-commerce to cybersecurity, despair to mental health, gender to racism, fine arts to literature, and even hope and happiness.”

Imagine, if you will, the abundance of knowledge that immerged from such a process. The more competent, more intelligent governments will cultivate innovation and technology to always be ahead of the game. Outside all the gloom and doom, it will be an excellent opportunity for governments to change how they govern us. That is, if they are willing to. Ask yourself how the Australian government measures up.

If they don’t, they may very well face civil disobedience. The significant doubt is this. Is a philosophy that governs for those that have the right one for the times.

The author said this in summary:

“For me, it was truly a season of learning. Among other things, it helped me understand why COVID-19 is not a storm that we can just wait out. Our pre-pandemic world was anything but normal, and our post-pandemic world will not be like going back to normal at all.”

The danger in looking back too often is that we lose the will to go forward.

Here are some observations (via The Conversation) from the interviews:

Phil Baty from ‘Times Higher Education’ warns that universities will change ‘profoundly [and] forever,’ but mostly because the higher education sector was already screaming for change.”

This certainly applies in Australia, where there is a brain drain because the wealthy private schools receive grants far and above their needs.

“Just as people with pre-existing medical conditions are most susceptible to the virus, the global impact of the crisis will accelerate pre-existing transitions. As Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer highlights, a year of a global pandemic can pack in a decade or more of disruption as usual.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of hospitals and medicine in times of crisis, and many countries are struggling to cope. Vast amounts will need to be spent on upgrading these services.

“At Harvard, trade policy expert Dani Rodrik thinks the pandemic is hastening the ‘retreat from hyper globalization’ that was already in train before COVID-19. And Pardee School economist Perry Mehrling is convinced that ‘society will be transformed permanently … and returning to status quo ante is, I think, not possible’.”

That the world has been woken by the dread of a pandemic in itself is sad, but it has happened, and the world must confront its negativity and embrace the more positive aspects.

“Stanford University’s political theorist Francis Fukuyama confesses he has ‘never seen a period in which the degree of uncertainty as to what the world will look like politically is greater than it is today’.”

Australia has experienced nearly a decade of the worst possible governance with a climate change policy that is the world’s worst practice. Extremism is their constant companion, and the people must vote them out at the next election in the same manner as the Americans outed Trump.

“Nobel Prize-winning economist Sir Angus Deaton is worrying we might be entering a dark phase that takes ’20 to 30 years before we see progress’ – it is political commentators who seem most perplexed.

Stanford University’s political theorist Francis Fukuyama confesses he has ‘never seen a period in which the degree of uncertainty as to what the world will look like politically is greater than it is today’.”

People need to wake up to the fact that government affects every part of their life and should be more interested. But there is a deep-seated political malaise.

Robin Murphy, engineering professor at Texas A&M University, is convinced that ‘we are going to have robots everywhere’ as a result of COVID-19. That’s because they became so pervasive during the pandemic for deliveries, COVID-19 tests, automated services and even home use.”

The future of work is a topic for now, not the future.

“Science journalist Laurie Garrett, who has warned about global epidemics for decades, imagines an opportunity to address the injustices of our economic and societal systems. Because ‘there will not be a single activity that goes on as it once did,’ she says, there is also the possibility of fundamental restructuring in the upheaval.”

We live in a failed system. Capitalism does not allow for an equitable flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level.

Achim Steiner, administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, is awestruck at the extraordinary amount of money that was mobilized to respond to this global crisis. He wonders if the world might become less stingy about the much smaller amounts needed to combat climate change before it is irreversible and catastrophic.”

At the last G7 conference, the Prime Minister described himself as a “conservationist.” In Australia, we know that all the evidence suggests he is an environmental vandal.

“Noam Chomsky, one of the most important public intellectuals of our times, summed it up best when he opined that: ‘We need to ask ourselves what world will come out of this,’ he said. ‘What is the world we want to live in?’ “

Yet, the capacity of thinking human beings to blindly embrace what they are being told without considering evaluation and reason never ceases to amaze me. It is tantamount to the rejection of rational explanation.

Adaptation, resilience, empathy and community will have to merge with science and technology if the world is to survive. Those who seek power to rule for power’s sake must be lawfully dissuaded from doing so. If this is our first step into a new world, the second must be overcoming our negativity.

My thought for the day

I think we can often become so trapped in the longevity of sameness that we never see other ways of doing things.

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Why are you so concerned, Poppa? (part 1)

“Why are you so concerned, Poppa?” my granddaughter said to me as we meandered along the pathway adjacent the Maribyrnong River in inner suburban Melbourne. At 11, she is an intelligent young girl full of life, creativity and vitality.

She likes to talk “mature talk,” as she puts it, so I spoke with words that would satisfy her curiosity. I shared my concerns about climate change, and how not doing something to arrest the damage it will cause worried me enormously.

She confided in me just how much she missed her friends at school because of what we refer to as nothing else but COVID-19. She is also an enthusiastic conversationalist.

Did she really understand just what is going to happen in the future? My thoughts drifted away, wondering what a future world might look like when she was my age.

My sojourn was interrupted when she nudged me in the side, saying,

“Poppa, but why are you so concerned about the planet’s future when you are so old.”

I gave a little chuckle and answered:

“Well, I have been on this planet for a long time, and I have grown rather fond of the old lady, her capacity to feed us, nurture us and many other things.”

We sat down on a grassy knoll at a place where the water quickened with some urgency before cascading over some large rocks.

“Tell me about the future, Poppa. Like after you are gone?” She asked. I replied with:

“Well, why don’t I write it down for you? There is a lot to think about and much of it you won’t understand today, but you must promise to read what I write on your birthday every year. That way, you might better understand what is happening to the world you live in. And you might question my opinions. Even write an essay about them. It might even help you to remember how much you’re Nanna and Poppa loved you.”

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy on not fighting the old, but on building the future” (Socrates).

September 2021

It is somewhat scary writing about the future, and given that I probably don’t have a lot of my allotted time left, I continue with some trepidation. My comments should be taken in the context that what I know is only surpassed by the enormity of what I don’t. Meaning we are all limited by the knowledge we have acquired.

Where to start? Well, there is no good place, so I will start with the hardest on the basis that COVID-19 and climate change will force the world to change in more ways than we can possibly imagine. I do not know what some of these changes might be, but most assuredly, they will come, so I will stick to what I do know.

The changes I speak of in economics, work, health, education and technology and many other matters will, because of climate warming and COVID-19, accelerate even quicker than we are starting to experience. There is no reason to imagine that the changes I have seen in technology might not triple in your lifetime. You need to go with the flow but question the changing ethics that come with them.

Adaptation, resilience and change will be the keywords of tomorrow.

Some observations

In my lifetime, people of my vintage have seen more change than in any other period in history. What is in store will be even more spectacular. Be optimistic and open to change.

Often, I lie in bed at night thinking about what the future might have in store for my children and their children. Like many parents, I worry about their jobs and their security.

It is well that interest rates are so low; otherwise the interest on the more than formidable amount we have borrowed might send us broke on its own.

Our future is inextricably aligned to how we as a society respond to the coronavirus pandemic and others that might follow and, of course, climate change. Both present a crisis for the government of the time and the one that wins the 2022 election.

Hopefully, they can rebuild or invent a new economic system that better reflects the distribution of our country’s wealth that recognises the contribution of the low paid. Something more equitable and fairer, recognising the humane equality of the people’s toil.

Governments worldwide must not just exist in a capitalist bubble where the rich become more prosperous and the poor become serfs.

Economics has to grow a heart and invest in a society that produces for the common good. A modern economy of global supply with fair ages and productivity. It must invest in the challenges of climate change and see the opportunity for a cleaner world with its economic rewards.

We must strive for new economics driven by futuristic ideas that challenge one to the other. Or one value over another. Economists will have to admit that a strong convergence between economics and society results in a marriage not only of convenience but of necessity.

Suppose we approach climate change and the coronavirus logically, instead of saying that they are environmental or social problems. In that case, we have to examine the social reasons we keep emitting greenhouse gases. The same goes for COVID-19. We know the virus’s direct cause, but living with it requires a better knowledge of human behaviour.

Whilst the epidemiology of COVID-19 is rapidly evolving, the core logic of its progression is relatively simple. People who live close (we are herding animals) mix socially, at work, or in households. Vaccines are becoming more readily available but living with the virus will become more the norm. Social practices might also have to change with social distancing and the wearing of masks becoming mandatory.

A simple method to reduce greenhouse gases is to produce less of what cases it. We need to question what we need over what we want. This might be an oversimplification, but I use it to explain the many ways the problem can be approached, from the simple to the complex.

Nevertheless, in 2021 I cannot see beyond a partial solution to both these problems that will lead to huge social and economic issues. Having said that, I don’t discount a cleaner planet with enormous financial possibilities for job creation.

Alas, we are not a proactive race. We are reactionary.

I will come back to jobs later. For the moment, let’s look at education. In Australia, students have been battered by the loss of teaching. During the Ebola crisis, just a few years back, girls in Africa suffered badly from sexual exploitation and, as a result, teen pregnancy and forced marriage followed. As a result, 20 million girls never returned to school. 129 million were already deprived of education. The loss of knowledge was enormous.

Australia is a knowledge-based nation. It is the foundation from which we have built our successes. In fact, we educate a large portion of the world’s student population. Parents and students in the main will have now realised the value of a good education. Teachers will be more appreciated. Still, there will be a residue of pupils who may simply drop out, thus adding to the current knowledge inequality.

Finding a place in society for its misfits will be a challenge and social science needs to think creatively so that these folk lead a worthwhile existence.

60 per cent of the world’s population don’t have access to the Internet.

Worsening inequalities in education urgently need addressing. Societies of the future might not survive without social harmony, participation of the disadvantaged, and equality of opportunity.

Those in government know that future success relies almost entirely on education. Not only now but into the future. The government will now have to turn its attention to educating the have nots and not just the privileged.

For the life of me, I fail to understand how anyone could vote for a party that thinks the existing education system is adequately funded and addresses the needs of the disadvantaged.

The COVID-19 and climate change crises will oblige whichever party wins the 2022 election to face many issues. The importance of which cannot be underestimated.

The most significant change, as I see it, will be personal. If we cannot change from pursuing individual narcissism to something akin to collective socialism, society will be changed irreversibly.

Well, that’s all for my first look into a changing world. My next post will include many other issues.

My thought for the day

We dislike and resist change in the foolish assumption that we can make permanent that which makes us feel secure. Yet change is in fact part of the very fabric of our existence.

 

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Simple, simple words, simple, simple thoughts. My methodology of writing when angry

Before writing my next article, l thought l would share my writing technique with you. The one I use when I’m upset with my government and very angry, which is most of the time, and I want to write an angry piece about it, l write down succinct reminders about how l feel before the emotion leaves me.

After formulating a list of possible inclusions, l remind myself about what I’m trying to achieve. In this case, l am trying to tell the people of Australia that we have a gilt-edged moron as our Prime Minister. It is about a man who lacks the character necessary to be Prime Minister of Australia. (Notice the calmness with which I tell you this.) ln reality, he couldn’t make a decision to save himself. I have, of course, written about my disgust of this power-driven dictator previously, but this time I’m not holding back. The only natural ability he has is to lie better than anyone else.

Once l have settled on the direction or the points I’m trying to convey to the reader, it is my habit to stew over it for a while before letting my fingers loose.

Then I’m into it, checking links and facts as l go. I select any of my quotes that might be applicable. Some articles have a natural flow, and others one has to slave over. This one has a natural flow that comes from a broken political heart.

So, this is an example of how I begin. My list starts, just randomly jotting things down. Then l search for a title.

Humanitarian crisis without a humanitarian response. How can it be?

Just shut up, Scott; your lies betray you.

There is no news anymore, just COVID-19.

I will defend to the end my right to say I’m right all the time.

Time doesn’t diminish the crime.

Morrison has people coming by boat already. I have heard it all before, Scott. Please don’t take us through it all again.

Do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

Fleeing persecution. The weight of it. Returning to it. I have no words.

Women’s rights. The desires of many lives lost.

I try to explain man’s inhumanity to man, to a grandchild with tears in my eyes, not knowing if any understanding takes place.

Perhaps a greater understanding of what I am saying might be obtained by exercising a greater willingness to think more deeply.

Wash out your mouth, Scott. The lies betray your motives.

At 80, l have never been less proud of my nation.

Refugees are incarcerated for seven years without committing a crime. The politics of it shame me.

Shut the fu$k up, Scott. I detest you.

You bastard. You, John Howard and others helped make this incredible mess. You cannot just walk away and leave it so. You have a responsibility.

If Morrison is a Christian, then l have nothing more to add.

Political leaders of any quality have sound judgment, poise, dignity, grace, truth and compassion. Morrison has none.

You are not a leader’s arsehole.

Forgive me, father, for I know not what l do. My lying has become habitual. What should l do?

Niki Savva writes in The Australian (paywall) that:

“Anthony Albanese has to make Scott Morrison unacceptable and hope that by the election, there will be more voters not only happy he is not Shorten, but that he is not Morrison.”

On Facebook Julie Grint offers some inclusions to consider:

People who vote LNP are complicit and responsible for the incarceration of little Australian girls.

Inefficient NBN.

2020 Robodebt deaths.

COVID-19 deaths in federally-run aged care homes.

Cuts to Medicare.

Cashless debit card.

Missing bushfire donations. Check it out first.

JobKeeper sham of some businesses keeping money not used.

John Howard’s defence of himself.

The shortage of vaccines.

Roll-out of available vaccines.

 

Cartoon by Alan Moir (moir.com.au)

 

A decade in which our government decimated us not only economically but socially. Good job, guys.

No new purpose-built quarantine facilities.

Climate change deniers.

Fossil fuel advocates.

Rorts (think sport, carparks).

Cover-ups of alleged sexual abuse.

Inebriated politicians are not being criticized whilst in Parliament.

Elevation of possibly unfit members to positions of authority.

We were sending troops to conflict zones where we have justifiably no right to be.

The delays in the evacuation of support Afghan personnel to safety will sadly result in many unnecessary deaths.

Include more lies and spin to induce the uneducated and stupid to vote LNP.

The most incompetent PM Australia has ever had.

I’m sure there’ll be many more cuts to our services.

Sadly, the list grows daily.

Think about that, LNP voters. We have a racist, corrupt, duplicitous, mean-spirited and self-serving government who care nothing for you or anyone, yet you still vote for them!

As Melbourne and Sydney’s lockdowns continue, don’t forget to add in ALP (54%) increases lead over L-NP (46%).

So that is my methodology, folks. I use simple, simple words and simple, simple thoughts… even when I’m angry.

My thought for the day

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

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Sometimes you wonder if the government gives a damn

I’m in the middle of a dilemma. A very worrying one, actually.

My rural Victorian city has been lucky – full credit to our townsfolk and the tough measures from our state government – in that COVID-19 has not yet pierced our invisible walls. Nonetheless, I am very keen to be vaccinated.

But there was a problem. AstraZeneca, which you have probably read, has been related to clotting deaths. The chances of dying from AZ clotting is infinitely small, but unfortunately, because of a hereditary condition (which I won’t go into), my doctor said that I’m one of that infinitely small number who is definitely at risk.

Naturally she wants me to be vaccinated, so her advice was to stay safe until Pfizer became available (which at that point, was not far away).

When Pfizer was available, I was in that age group – the wrong side of 60 – that could not have access to it.

Concerned, I wrote to Minister Hunt asking for an explanation of why – based on my condition and my doctor’s advice – I could not have access to Pfizer.

A few weeks later I received a polite two-page reply from the Department of Health telling me of the wonderful job the Federal Government was doing in response to the pandemic, and concluded that whilst they could not comment on my own condition, that if I had any concerns then I should consult my GP.

That last bit was rather odd, I thought, as I had consulted my GP… which was the reason I contacted Minister Hunt in the first place.

To satisfy myself about AstraZeneca – ie, whether it was safe for me – I sought a second opinion (same clinic, different doctor). After looking at my medical records, her advice was the same: AstraZeneca was too great a risk and she would be seeking approval for me to have Pfizer, as of course, she wanted me vaccinated.

She was unable to get that approval.

Nobody, it seems, gives a damn.

You can imagine how distressing this is; the constant government appeal to go get vaccinated yet I am not allowed to obtain the only vaccine currently available that has been recommended as suitable for me. Surely a mechanism might be available for those whose GPs do not recommend AstraZeneca in order that I might be vaccinated.

 

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