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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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NO JAB, NO POKE! : From Lysistrata to Albo

Three hundred dollars per jab?

Laughable stuff! Laughable, Albo!

Get with the program mate and do what Aristophanes says you should do for Zeus’ sake and get some results! This pussy-footing around with dollars and cents is meaningless and inconsequential! It bares no fruit!

Try something that has worked and is guaranteed will work again and again and always!

Try sex, for example. Yea, try sex!

Aristophanes (ca446 BC Athens –ca 386, aka “Prince of Comedy and Maestro of Satire,”) was a man who knew all about men and what they wanted most out of life. He also knew a lot -but not all (does any man?) about women. His country was suffering, almost constantly, throughout her history and almost half his life, from the ravages of war, some of which was self-inflicted, some which was caused by various wannaby-colonising barbarians.

The two major ones, the Persian Invasions of 490BCE by Darius and a decade later by his son, Xerxes, (which over two-and-a-half thousand years later were repeated by Bush 1 and Bush 2, of the USA, consecutively, in Iraq,) was handled excellently by Athens and her allies, all working together and using their collective brain and brawn. That glorious synergy turned the two huge invading forces running back home with their tails between their legs.

But this the new one, this Peloponnesian War, the one which opened up deep scars all over the whole of Greece, and which was a war of Greek against Greek was turning into a protracted disaster, distinguished by the ever-increasing and ever-peaking mountains of blood and gore and an unstopable proliferation in Parliament, of war mongers. The Peloponnesian War lasted almost thirty years and it looked like it would last till the ends of time, had Lysistrata not intervene with her special form of Peace Treaty -as we shall shortly see.

Internecine wars diminished and weakened one’s own country and made it ripe for an invasion by your enemy. They weakened your country and diminished them most gravely. Wars are all the fiercer when they are between family members.

After the two losses suffered in the arms of these diminutive Greeks, the Persians were seething and gearing up for a third invasion. Luckily Alexander (The Child) kept them otherwise occupied!

The Persians were watching at the weird and bloody machinations of the two sides, the Athenians and the Spartans. The Delian League and the Spartan (Peloponnesian) League.

Men were thinning out on the ground, at home, in bed and at the festivals especially the Dionysian one where, the sanctum sanctorumexhibit of the ceremony was a giant wooden phallus, gaudily painted red to show the vital role it played in human life.

No phallus, no fertility!

During these six days, humans decapitated themselves with -well, with whatever they fancied or could get their hands on such as wine, ouzo, gin -no, not gin, but wine, cute mushrooms, herbs of a peculiar type and so on, and so on. They did this, this decapitation, so as to remove Apollo’s nagging insistence that we must think, we must work in the light, we must intellectualise things before we acted on anything. Damn Apollo! No, during the Dionysian festival, it was all about praising Dionysius’ gift, that of the phallus, that of the desire, that of the freedom to do as your instincts and your bowels and all that dark stuff hidden in your belly told you to do. To be a husband, a sower, a planter of the seed. Nine months later, of course the maidens around Athens would protest, “no, no, father, this is no child of a mortal but of the god of fertility, of Dionysus himself. I am still a virgin!” And so the maiden was still able to marry as if she were still an undefiled virgin.

Where was I? Oh, yes, forgive me, the phallus!

If any man understood humans, around the 5th century BCE, that man was unequivocally, Aristophanes. Plato was once asked by Dionysius I, a tyrant of Syracuse, what were the Athenians like. Plato smiled a wide yet a bewilderingly philosophical smile and said, words to the effect, “go to Athens, my King and when you’re there, see the comedies of Aristophanes. No man knows those people better than he! Those plays will tell you all about the Athenians.”

Being a depraved, debauched and, of more suchlike characteristics that describe wanton men and a man unwilling to be educated, the tyrant of Syracuse didn’t bother to go to Athens but Plato, who knew Aristophanes very well (they frequented the same symposia) was, of course, correct. Aristophanes described the Athenians to perfection. Pity about his description of Socrates, a description which helped get the philosopher a death sentence -but that’s another story.

Aristophanes understood mortals better than any other mortal and had little time for the immortals; He knew what it was made all men tick and what made them all who they were: Sex!

If you wanted to get anything done, the comedian thought, you invoked their intense and relentless urgings for sex. After all, was not the god of gods, the king and father of all the gods a sex machine, or, rather an incessant rape machine? A machine which was switched on not much after he, himself was born. That was when he took to chasing his wet nurse around the mountains and valleys of Crete, one lovely lady, called Metis. He eventually managed to mate with her, not during his suckling period but a little later, during -of all occasions- his wedding with his sister Hera. (Don’t ask!)

Out of that copulation, Athena, the meticulous one (read circumspect, wise, thoughtful) was born, a fully grown adult and dressed in her full war armour, spear, helmet, sword, shield etc., grey eyes, the works! Inside Zeus’ head which gave Zeus a hell of a screaming headache. Luckily his son, Hephaistus was there and with a crunch of an ex on Zeus’ head, he split it open and Athena hopped out, fully armed as I said before. Headache eased but the sexual appetite did not.

The Athenians loved sex but they also loved war! As did the Spartans.

For every plus, there is a minus as they say, to temper the hubris of too great a plus. So the love for war came to counter the love for sex. We don’t want an overabundance of children crawling all over the planet… In fact! Earth was at one stage groaning with pain from the weight of all these huge numbers of people. She groaned and she complained to Zeus and Zeus brought on the Trojan War. That one managed to get rid of the people on half the planet, a considerable easing of the weight problem but not an altogether one.

What to do?

Back to the Dionysian Festival. What was it about? It was about healing, rebalancing the urges.

During the Dionysian Festival, the Athenians walked over to the newly built theatre to be healed. It wasn’t a mere theatrical stage, where fictional or mythological stories were performed but a medical, surgical theatre and psychological, moral clinic where Athens’ illnesses were diagnosed and healed.

The diagnosis would be given by the tragedy writers and the remedy, the medicine, the script, or the prognosis, if the illness was fatal, from those who wrote comedy. Like Aristophanes, for example.

“The problem with you Athenians, is that you think that War is good. It’s not. Watch my ‘Trojan Women,’ my ‘Iphigeneia in Aulis’ and see just how nasty it is,” Euripides would tell them. And for the duration, the Athenians would watch, would listen and would cry. The crying was vital, as Aristotle pointed out in his “Poetics.”

The tragedies would be shown for, most probably, three days and then the comedies would be staged on the fourth day. That’s when the Athenians would be handed the healing script, the instructions on what steps to take to heal themselves of that war-loving illness.

The healing medicine, Aristophanes would declare was with the women. “Include more of them!” he would shout between the bellowing guffaws of hilarity! “Include more women in your decision-making processes, you bastards!”

In his Lysistrata, the women go on strike. They… abstain from sex! “Give them nothing until they sign a Peace Treaty!” his Lysistrata requested fervently of her sisters, women from all over the Greek world. The women protested. “That would be tragic,” they said, what if we get horny too?”

But, in the end, they obeyed and with much tragic hilarity, the action was successful. Read the exchange between Myrrhini and Cinesias (or “Shaggy” as I’ve called him in my translation), ll. 840-965, to see tragedy and comedy both wrapped up in one. Elsewhere I call it the “comic pain” but I won’t go there for now.

In his Women in Parliament, the women dress up as men and take over the Parliament where they introduce new, socialist, if not communist ideas with the overarching condition that the women are the rulers and organisers of the Athenian politics.

Aristophanes knows all there is to know about mortals and all there is to know about comedy. Both of these plays are truly curative. Not only because of its advice but also because laughter is a damned good medicine. Laughter cures.

The Athenians however, though they loved these plays, they did not take them seriously enough and the war went on interminably until they lost it and the Spartans very nearly burned the city to the ground. What saved Athens was a last minute request by an Athenian, that the victorious Spartans should watch one of these plays before they put the city to the torch. The name of the play is lost but we do know that it was one by Euripides’ plays. After the show, the Spartans, very uncharacteristically, I’m tempted to say, said, words to the effect, “a city that can produce a writer so talented must not be burned.”

The trick and the cure suggested by Lysistrata (her name is hugely pregnant with meaning -multiple babies in there, from “disbander of armies,” to “deranged”) was that the men would get no sex until all the main warring parties signed a peace treaty. In the play, they did so and it ends with great merriment, a true Peace party.

Unfortunately, the reality was not so joyous. In reality the war mongers ran the city and so no peace was signed, no sex strike happened and the war went on. War is much more powerful than Peace.

But sex, or the promise of sex, or the deprivation of sex are powerful forces so what we may wish to forget Labor’s dollars and cents and start thinking about sex.

Man to vax-resisting woman: No jab no poke!

Woman to vax-resisting man: No jab no poke!

Gays and those with other sexual proclivities do same.

No jab, no poke!

I think the resisters will evaporate!

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The saddest thing

My father rarely talked about the war, though when he did it would be no more than a few words.

I’m sure that after spending three years in the steamy jungles of New Guinea he would have much to complain about, but I only ever heard a couple of complaints: It was wet, and it was “bloody” hot (“bloody” being the strongest profanity that would pass his lips). On another occasion he told of going without food for three days, and as an added inconvenience people were trying to shoot him. It was a comment, not a complaint.

After the war ended the first thing he did was to forgive the enemy. Like him, they were guys sent to war by their government. He even respected the enemy, for in his mind as soon as you lost that respect… you were off your guard and you were vulnerable.

No, he didn’t hate the enemy. But he did hate their government for sending them – and ultimately us – to that bloody war in New Guinea.

(But he would have done it again, without complaint. When he was 63 he told me that even at his age he would sign up to fight for his country if he could. My father always had this sense of duty).

It was not until he was 90 that I heard his first complaint. It was one that sickened and angered me.

Happy to have his brand new walking frame, he was out and about in the mall of his regional Victorian city. (I accompanied him once. He would walk as close to the corridor walls as he could, so not to impede other pedestrians). But on this day he was alone, hobbling down the mall with three teenage schoolgirls heading towards him. They stopped, but they didn’t move. They refused to move. My father – by now the subject of an earful of abuse – had to move for them. This poor old bugger who had left behind a wife and young son to fight for his country and his freedom, this old bugger who had watched his mates die, this poor old bugger – barely mobile – had to get out of their way as well as tolerate their abuse. It was too much of an inconvenience for them to take a skip to the right.

(They didn’t know my father, or anything about him. Would it have mattered if they did? Probably not. One thing they certainly would not have known – and perhaps not even bothered about – was that all his life he regarded all Australian equal).

My blood boiled. I so wish I had have been there.

But I am there. I’m there now. We all are.

We see it every day.

Just replace my father with a Baby Boomer, or a rape victim, or a refugee, a homeless person or an Indigenous Australian.

And replace that group of school children with our government, or with sexists or racists, or with our mainstream media.

My point is, in today’s world we are encouraged to turn against those who are different. And we are encouraged to blame someone else for our woes and we are unmoved when they need our help. And we judge them, without even knowing them.

We have a federal government who are masters at creating this divisive society, doing so, of course, to deflect the anger of their failures back onto Australians who are different because … (fill in the blanks).

Do you have any blanks you can fill in for me?

Happy 104th birthday, Dad (4/08/1917 – 19/12, 2008).

And thank you for your service to your country.

 

 

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GG Picking his Spots Oblivious to the Crisis in His Own Backyard – These Common Threads of Office

The GG Buffoon is a do-nothing Liberal backer and military general hand-picked by the Prime Minister, and unlike a predecessor 46 years ago who turned on Gough Whitlam for far, far less – then, there was no crisis in the population, no monoliths of government corruption, no gross government incompetence, and no threat to the people they governed, but a progressive and popular Labor government.

Today we have all these serious constitutional transgressions and existential threats and this GG buffoon sits on his arse installing more corrupt politicians like cowboy beetroot water-rort Barnaby Joyce and sports-rort lying cowgirl Bridget McKenzie.

Meanwhile Delta spreads due to poor and negligent border management, quarantine, vaccine supply, botched rollout and absence of public service infrastructure putting our entire population at risk, all courtesy of the Liberals and Nationals in Federal Office and the one NSW State that has been responsible for both major national outbreaks last year (cruise ships border farce) and this year’s Delta variant (flight crew transfer/hotel quarantine and delayed/ambivalent lockdown).

The two arrogant recalcitrant corrupt LNP governments in Australia (NSW and Federal) are destroying the Australian way of life, our freedoms, our health and our economy and totally clueless, authoritarian and hypocritical when it comes to management of the pandemic, public health, lockdowns, civil freedoms, quarantine, vaccination choice, supply and rollout – blaming anyone that moves other than themselves.

Both these governments should have long since been turned over to the people for early general elections with strict electoral and media information protocols, guidelines, donation caps and public declarations that cannot be manipulated and interfered with by the gutter corporate press monopoly, particularly News Corp, Sky News and extreme right wing bully boy radio shock jocks with their snap liberal bum-licking ministerial interviews.

The Bulletin: Australia’s Defining Moments, Digital Classroom, National Museum Australia – https://digital-classroom.nma.gov.au/defining-moments/bulletin-established

But no, the GG is too busy minding his own business picking his spots oblivious to the crisis in his own backyard, and has anyone even heard of the unbeknown NSW Governor in hiding? And why, because he was hand-picked by the Prime Minister to do as he was told, not by the people and unlike a controversial predecessor 46 years ago, sits at home protecting only his own arse and government during lockdown, while Australia burns and chokes again, this time in its veins and arteries.

Alas what can a common (silent) juror do other than be directed by the judge? It took a rebellion of the troops in 1808 to send the only governor of NSW packing, Captain William Bligh… aye remember him! But now we get our governors, generals, judges and premiers all mixed up in the same palette, fancy that!

And these common threads of office – No heavy national bushfire fighting equipment and infrastructure – still; no national climate change policy – still; no national quarantine infrastructure, no coordinated national pandemic plan – still; no fundamental public service administration and expertise to defend and coordinate a national public crisis response; and effectively no vaccine (failed national supply and rollout) – The true plague behind these life threatening existential crises are the Liberals – still. After all these years so little changes, their spotty nosed bum-picked ideologies, pathologies, entitlements, arrogance, incompetence and corruption; and of course, our appointed judges and generals… Governors, no Freudian slips here.

If you are not for the people, you are against them – But you can man the stills with a ration of rum!

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Smirkulation

By Kerri

Around this time, last year, when Melbourne was heading into our longest lockdown, I posted a comment; “Not the worst, just the first.”

Last week Dr Norman Swan commented that Melbourne people are more compliant and more likely to follow rules and Sydney people are more complacent, and that is why Melbourne has been better at addressing outbreaks effectively than Sydney.

Read an article yesterday where the writer claimed that NSW is not as bad as everyone is saying! It is simply the old Melbourne vs Sydney rivalry. I didn’t read the last few paragraphs as I had picked the writer for a Sydneysider doing the usual “we are beyond reproach because we are Sydney and are so much better than the rest of Australia.”

Am currently watching a presser with Mark Mc Gowan where he was asked about lack of compliance in NSW and replied that he was horrified by the footage he had seen of beaches and outdoor venues in NSW, and that both Morrison and Berejiklian were basically begging people to be compliant. He also commented that it was not acceptable for any state or territory to let the virus rip then send their infected citizens off to infect other states and that we shouldn’t have to apply hard borders when other states were not being as careful. (Keeping in mind WA’s recent lockdown was from a resident who was infected in NSW.)

So it’s not just a “Melbourne/Sydney” thing! It may well be a LNP/ALP thing but Gold Standard Gladys, whilst being criticised less, is being criticised by more than just Melbourne residents.

It is definitely a political thing because the LNP could not resist painting Dan Andrews as the demon (Dictator Dan) in our first serious lockdown, both to bad mouth Andrews, who has an approval rating Morrison can only dream of, and to deflect blame from the federal authorities who were pretty much abdicating responsibility for anything COVID-19.

#Scottyfrommarketing, just as he did with his vaccine preference, put all his political eggs into the vaccination rollout, figuring it would be a good PR exercise and a sweet little vote-getter. He also figured it would be less work than controlling the virus spread and he would have time to watch the Sharkies or do more photo ops or announcements or maybe even slip off to another tropical island like he did with the bushfires!

From all eggs to eggs all over his face the Machiavellian Morrison just keeps digging and distracting and re-writing history.

I have taken to watching a YouTube channel where a group of highly-experienced body language experts discuss and analyse televised interviews. These guys do military interrogation training and tactics for public speaking so they are not simple daytime TV guests. One phrase that crops up regularly, because it happens regularly, is “chaff and re-direct.” This refers to bringing up useless, pointless narratives and information (chaff) to cloud the topic and send it off in a different direction (re-direct).

Morrison considers himself an expert on this tactic. That is one point on which I would like to agree with him, however, I suspect most Australians are now beginning to see through that play.

Smirkmo is renowned for his regular smirk which has sometimes been credited to “duper’s delight.” “Duper’s delight” is when a person feels they are getting away with their lies and getting one over their opponent.

IMHO Smirkmo suffers from “premature smirkulation” in that he smirks when he thinks he has said something that will fool his audience rather than when his audience shows signs of having been fooled by him.

Meanwhile, the conspiracy theorists and Dan Andrews haters continue with their belief that Dan’s stair fall was a case of him being drunk! As my 27 year old said:

“I still don’t understand why it matters if he was drunk.

We are not in prohibition era America.

It is not a crime to get drunk and fall over hahaha!”

And as I keep saying when this is argued: He was on leave. He was not at work. If he did get drunk it is no-one’s business but his own.

Wishing that Andrews accident could be blamed on something scandalous and 1920s and nefarious or something more befitting our newest 2nd time ‘round deputy PM, does not do much to dent Andrews reputation other than with those who are already happy to swallow the “duper’s delight” the federal politician in chief is offering.

PS: Which is worse?

Getting drunk and falling down some stairs?

Or being perpetually drunk, being accused of groping women and having that complaint covered up by a mate with similar accusations?

Just saying? 🤷🏼‍♂️

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FOR OUR SOCIETY TO SURVIVE, THE COALITION MUST GO!

As an agnostic, raised in a (UK) Christian household, in a nominally Christian country, I believe that life is more satisfying all round when we make a reasonable effort to help those who most need help.

After living in Australia for 50 years, I wonder how its government has managed to become what it now is – a cruel, racist, sexist, selfish rabble.

Not every individual conforms to that description, but Julia Banks’ recent book makes it clear that the desire for the elected individuals to retain power and place is greater than their desire to change their leaders.

The thought that Peter Dutton might still become our Prime Minister sends cold shudders down my spine.

The failure of the government to seriously punish the blatant corruption associated with the sports and car park rorts (which are just the tip of the iceberg of malfeasance!) is disgusting.

The fact that 3 Parliamentarians who do not meet the pub test – at least one of whom, Christian Porter, is still a Minister – have not been asked to resign (or better still been thrown out) is more than alarming.

To prosecute Witness K and Bernard Collaery for trying to protect us from government mischief is appalling.

And our refusal to help Julian Assange is unforgivable.

The whole developed world – except Australia – is convinced that climate change is real and action must be taken.

What are we doing?

Promoting gas – a seriously harmful fossil fuel! Plus throwing money at Carbon Capture and Storage – which has been proved, over and over, to be both expensive and ineffective.

Labor instigated the NDIS and Medicare – both of which are under serious attack from Coalition policy changes.

We still call genuine refugees ‘illegal arrivals’ – despite being signatories to the refugee UN Convention.

We have no Human Rights legislation yet are still discussing protection for the religious – ignoring the fact that all necessary protection is provided quite adequately in the Constitution. And we ignore the fact that many of the so-called religious organisations – like Hillsong – are actually really sects which worship at the altar of wealth and power!

Having had a mild stroke in January, I have written little since for the AIMN as my drive seems to have been muted.

But we are due for an election in the next 12 months or so and I am desperate to do what I can to ensure that the Coalition is not re-elected.

Sadly, Labor does not present a good alternative and their inability to develop a reasonable liaison with the Greens is both selfish and childish.

Well – the Coalition has the Nationals under its wing, despite the willingness of Barnaby Joyce to undermine their policies!

We need all the people who care about the needs of the poor, sick, helpless and hopeless to unite to force policy change.

If you, like me, have enough for yourself and your family, please stop and think about those who have little or nothing.

We can donate to charity, but we need a government who is in there, working to help them – not telling them that they are useless!

Remember Robodebt?

Who gets more pressure from government to contribute to the country’s finances – the out of work poor or the tax-avoiding wealthy?

Please take a real interest in the effects of the politicians on those who cannot help themselves.

We need another, more disciplined, Whitlam because it really is time to stand up to fight corruption, self-interest and cruelty!

COVID-19 will be with us for a long time and our plans for dealing with it have, so far, been puerile!

Do you care about all this?

Please help change it!

The Forgotten Australian in Lockdown

By Maria Millers

While millions of Australians have been straining at the leash at the restrictions imposed by lockdowns across much of Australia there has been little thought (or for that matter media coverage) for one forgotten Australian still incarcerated in the notoriously harsh conditions of high security Bellmarsh prison, held for 22 hours a day in a 7 by 11-foot cell.

Julian Assange turns 50 today (3rd July) and his future – despite the January ruling against his extradition to the US – is still very uncertain.

The US under Joe Biden is no less inclined than previous administrations to punish Assange for the release of confidential information which exposed the wrongdoings of our closest ally.

Even though the US case against Assange has been discredited when Icelandic hacker, Ingi Thordarson who previously had claimed he had been recruited by Wikileaks to hack classified material from both public and private Icelandic entities for Wikileaks has now admitted that he had fabricated the evidence that was central to the US case against Assange.

It is distressing to see the indifference of Australians generally and our Government in particular towards Assange. PM Morrison had earlier bluntly dismissed intervening by making it clear that Assange could expect no special treatment. What Assange should expect is the support that is his right as an Australian Citizen.

Maybe the silence from fellow Australians around Assange’s fate is also because deep down we feel uncomfortable about facing the fact that we accept unquestionably the lies told to us by our leaders.

There is also the undeniable fact that Assange does not fit our image of an Australian hero with his paleness, blond hair and pale complexion all suggestive of someone whose youthful pastimes were not football, cricket or surfing but spent secluded before a screen acquiring the skills to carry out the journalism he is now suffering for.

While we all dream of unrestricted travel, parties, dinners in our favourite restaurants and all the other luxuries we have come to accept as our inalienable rights to enjoy, I hope we can spare some thoughts to a brave Australian who has been held in harsh lockdown for more than two years.

See also: Australian MPs call on US President Biden to drop charges against Assange, The Sydney Morning Herald, June 30, 2021.

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Being woeful gets the thumbs up!

By Kathryn

If Australians are stupid enough to buy a stinking, Z-rated Murdoch rag that will permanently pollute their minds, muddy the waters with misinformation and blatantly support the worst, most corrupt, inept, non-achieving and dangerously undemocratic government in living memory, then they will – most definitely – deserve the appalling, rigidly conservative, Neanderthal miscreants that they vote into power! Anyone with an IQ >10 has already realised that this is an unspeakably depraved regime overflowing with skirt-lifting misogynists (even alleged rapists), stone cold, callously inhumane sociopaths, war mongering megalomaniacs and totally corrupt, self-serving capitalists who don’t give a rat’s behind about anyone or anything but themselves! The LNP is currently led by a useless, publicity-seeking bible-thumping hypocrite who, in reality, is nothing more than a morally bankrupt, callously inhumane, inept member of a lunatic religious cult who will only be remembered for scuttling away to Hawaii during the worst fires in Australian history!

Wake up, Australia!

There are three types of LNP voters:

(1) Obscenely rich, self-serving, billionaires (like Gina Rinehart, Gerry Harvey, Twiggy Forrest, et al) who know that their obscene wealth (combined with an unfairly low level of tax-paying contribution) will be doubled and protected by an elitist government who despises anyone who is on a pension, struggling, or on any type of welfare. It is these type of multi-billionaires who protect their wealth by becoming huge donors to the LNP neoliberal “cause”. It is these multi-billionaires in the Top 1% who are the only priority with the LNP – besides the LNP themselves, of course – everyone else (that is you and I) are dirt under the LNP’s feet!

(2) Working- or middle-class Australians who, somehow, falsely believe that the LNP will protect their best interests which is akin to haemophiliacs putting all their trust into Dracula! Really? These misguided people, sadly, believe everything they inhale from the Daily Terrorgraph or some other repugnant, totally biased Murdoch rag, are deluded beyond reason and keep voting for an elitist, dangerously undemocratic regime that works against them in so many ways: tearing down Medicare, destroying our environment, defunding our children’s education and selling off and privatising just about everything Australians value!

(3) Uneducated, politically-disconnected fools who are about as dumb as a box of bricks! These people don’t know a thing about politics; they don’t bother to do the slightest research on the type of right-wing-extremist sociopaths they keep putting into power and inflicting on the rest of us! Not only do they not know about politics, they don’t care! It doesn’t matter how bad, how corrupt, how inept, how callously inhumane, how self-serving, how depraved and/or how deviant the LNP become – and, let’s face it, the LNP cannot get much worse – it is people like this who just keep voting for them over and over again! Willingly dumbed down to oblivion by Murdoch, their lives – and the lives of their children – are being destroyed by the very government they blindly support!

Hey, LNP supporters, which category do you fit in? Rich and self-serving? Working- or middle-class, pretentious and totally misinformed or just incredibly dumb, politically disconnected and gullible?

Either or, an appalling government and an equally appalling prime minister gets the thumbs up from you guys. Sad.

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So Now We Can All Join in The Fray

Now even SBS has joined the populist throng of mainstream media journalism, reflux and regurgitation on COVID vaccination.

How to talk to someone who is hesitant about the coronavirus vaccine’ by Jennifer Scherer, SBS News, 13 June 2021.

It seems all of us have a duty to perform in how we approach the COVID vaccination topic with others, suggesting we should be talking to those who are ‘vaccine hesitant’, de facto counsellors. Ask not what you need from your nation but what it needs from you, roll up your sleeves boys and girls and open your mouths, pass it on!

But here’s how to do it humanely, gently, kindly, what would a bleating journalist or politician know of that? Table for two in the news room when you don’t even get to hear the question, even if it is the wrong one repeated over and over again.

Well, some of this may make sense if you read and follow some of the latest advice from SBS News, although it’s not news is it, it’s an opinion piece, a soft call to arms from Jennifer Scherer, her editors and the SBS. Not news but advice to steer us all in Morrison’s prickly beastly call and rollout, be a do-gooder article backed by a little bit of psychology.

There are four critical errors of judgement and overriding presumption here (in my view) – ‘An unwanted bullet’ versus ‘vaccine hesitancy’, I too shall not mince my words. I’ve read ‘yours’ and I am saturated every day on news hour, the incessant ministerial briefings and silly little breakfast fests and gossip on the other channels, the opinions of celebrities and constant trickle of invited real and pseudo-academics – now hear me out.

1) See the title of this latest SBS article is a problem in itself – How to talk to someone who is ‘hesitant’.

Despite the fact that the article states that it is not about who is right and wrong, this label conflicts with that advice by calling both people who are ‘hesitant’, and assuming the issue is ‘hesitancy’ which carries a stereotyped meaning. At the very least it conveys someone needs to talk to such a person and that assumption carries the weight they are wrong, irrational and a problem in society. It does not distinguish between vaccination and a specific vaccine issue with AstraZeneca. There are many reasons why some have declined AstraZeneca and completely different reasons why some decline vaccination in general and some of these reasons are entirely valid, particularly with the former.

It should not be assumed therefore it is ‘hesitancy’, for that is a stereotype and you start off on the wrong foot if you are motivated by this narrative and approach. For example, some people over 50 have diagnosed systemic autoimmune (genetic) clotting disorders which are equally rare in the population and they should not be given an adenovirus vaccine such as AstraZeneca or Johnson. They should be offered advice and given access to Pfizer, but the government refuses to recognise this dangerous situation, provide this information or health warning for people with these conditions and provide appropriate access. Secondly, it gives people under 50 a choice and people over 50 no choice and this is simply not acceptable – There is no valid excuse for such a misguided policy and it goes against basic social ethics whatever the reason given. It is not even based on scientific evidence, it is based on a warped or single interpretation and statistical analysis, which has scientific flaws and error of reasoning, at the very least challengeable just on scientific grounds not just moral and ethical grounds; but still this excuse, this formula is rammed down our throats.

It excludes other solutions which could better target the real problem we face and resolve putting potentially anyone at risk. The Australian government current policy puts 20-40 older people at calculated and almost certain risk of death as a collateral damage of its current policy and up to 10 more for every death in harm’s way, facing serious illness and hospitalisation. This can be avoided without compromising the needs of the whole population but neither the government nor the TGA and our chief medical officers are willing to look at it. These are just a couple of examples of this kind of error, there are a few more we could discuss here if we had the space and time, but let’s move on.

2) It is a serious error of judgement and misleading to state, ‘authorities say you have a greater chance of winning the lottery than developing the rare clotting disorder, and the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine far outweigh the risks’.

Firstly, this is a quote from Professor John Skerritt who should never have put out this myth. It is one person’s misguided opinion which has been repeated a hundred times and that neither makes it correct nor attributable to ‘authorities’ plural, a gross generalisation to lend force to the assumption, or lie. Your chance of winning the lottery and the lead question here is – which one? The probability of winning Oz Lotto is 1 in 45 million, Powerball is 1 in 75 million each time and every time you enter, depending on the number of tickets bought. Your chance of getting a clot out of those who receive AstraZeneca vaccine (direct causative relationship) are 1 in 80,000 allegedly on Australia’s reported occurrences (48 in less than 4 million vaccines), and we are told 2 women on or over 50 have died (1 in 2 million) to date. However, there were reports of a number of men who have died and that appears to have been quashed. Since we are not getting reliable information even of people in Aged Care who have been vaccinated or not, we don’t even know who is falling under the radar when it comes to what the TGA are not reporting.

Most European countries which have more reliable data are recording the clotting syndrome to be 1/40,000 and Norway has from the start recorded 1/30,000, when Australia was touting 1-2 in a million! However, that is just the calculated risk for the general population. We should be asking what is the calculated risk of serious harm, hospitalisation and death for someone who has a diagnosed or even undiagnosed systemic autoimmune (genetic) clotting disorder leading to or underpinning Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) such as Anti-Phospholipid Syndrome (APS) to mention one; and there are a number of these rare clotting disorders in the population?

Prevalence and incidence of APS is 1-5% of healthy individuals who have aPL antibodies. It is estimated that the incidence of APS is approximately 5 cases per 100,000 persons per year, and the prevalence is approximately 40-50 cases per 100, 000 persons, arguably all of whom who may have a higher risk of serious clotting than the general population, even if it doesn’t manifest. Somewhere in this small but significant cohort lies an understanding of why people may be dying both from COVID and AstraZeneca. And the age discrimination measure is not the critical issue by a long shot, just a very blunt and dangerous instrument for some.

But what about people with Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis (CVST), Idiopathic Splanchnic Venous Thrombosis, (Heparin Induced Thrombocytopenia) HIT, Lupus or Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) or other TTS, thrombocytopenia or blood clotting and circulatory disorder, what is the risk of these clotting disorders in the face of AstraZeneca and the risk from exposure to COVID (which is far higher) if left unprotected? And why would we even consider leaving vulnerable people who may be over 50 with these high-risk conditions unprotected, refusing them Pfizer because ‘they are vaccine hesitant’?

Remember, if you end up with TTS as a result of AstraZeneca the mortality rate is 25%. Still, you can rest your mind on the fact they are ‘getting better’ at treating it, ‘removing the unwanted bullet’. These are all questions we should be asking ourselves instead of assuming people are vaccine ‘hesitant’ or that ‘your chance of winning the lottery is greater than developing the rare clotting disorder’, when clearly it isn’t – Not even close, but 500 to 1000 times more likely. No-one dies from playing lotto unless you run in front of a bus without looking to claim your winnings and no-one has to die if the right people are given, not refused Pfizer. This narrative of extremely rare is a red herring to those who face the consequences. It is not an all or nothing game, but that is how it has been presented, SBS included, what a shame!

Professor John Skerritt of the TGA should be seriously ashamed, which I have previously echoed, over statements like this. Clearly, he is not a mathematician and has no understanding of the laws and probability, risk analysis, risk management or mediation. It would appear acceptable to him instead to propagate a myth, gross errors of misjudgement, a populist statement on which to justify the TGA and government’s decision to restrict Pfizer to people under 50, ignoring the scientific evidence and likelihood this has little to do with age (but a non-causative statistical correlation, a methodological flaw in data interpretation or unrepresentative sampling, incidental) and more to do with underlying medical conditions, which can be identified and managed in the vaccine rollout. SBS should not be spreading this myth and it should not be included in the advice or conversations we have with ‘people who are hesitant’.

3) So Sydney psychologist, Sahra Behardien O’Doherty says, ‘often… those fears can be exacerbated by a lack of accurate information’.

Indeed, I would agree with her, but I don’t think that is the direction in which her argument is leaning. It is true to say, and we can challenge ambivalence, resistance, fear and any irrational thinking or cognitive errors. Misinformation, poor information, omissions, over-complication/thinking and obfuscation do not help people to arrive at an informed state of mind or decision, for sure.

But take a look at the evidence we have been given, the misleading information, the propaganda, coercion, the politicisation of vaccine rollout and COVID itself. Ask yourself have Morrison, Hunt, Skerritt, Kelly and Murphy all be been genuine, honest, informative and up front with us? What about the issues mentioned above and I have spared you much of the detail you already know? Why do none of them mention the true risks faced by some, the few or even get the figures and information right in the first place? Could it be they have under thought this or have a secondary agenda, to cover the tracks of incompetent government? We have plenty of evidence for this with vaccine procurement, supply, cruise ships, hotel quarantine and vaccine rollout. We are not getting the correct medical and scientific data from the government sources who control the public health messaging and rollout. The mainstream media including SBS are resorting to coercion, albeit unwittingly despite some effort to be gentle, thoughtful and considerate – Yes, I am being kind too. ‘Lack of accurate information’ – Who started this political war and now wants the rest of us to finish it? Is it little wonder many of us don’t trust our government’s bloated voices?

4) Jennifer Scherer, SBS journalist here I presume, says in her conclusion, ‘People in Australia with concerns about coronavirus vaccines are encouraged to speak with their GP’.

I absolutely agree with this. In fact I would suggest that is their first port of call, not a friend, acquaintance, member of the public, not even some family members who don’t have all the best available information or attitude at hand, but pushing or projecting their own fears and anxieties on to those around them (and yes it may be because they care and don’t want to lose their loved ones).

For that is what people do in times like these, separating sheep from wolves, people who step up from those who step down to the ‘flight and fight’ anxiety driven behaviours, prejudice, stereotypical and defensive attitudes – self-preservation.

But I’ll leave you with this consideration – Apart from being better medically informed, professionally and ethically advised commensurate with your own medical, health status and family history, what is the point of going to your GP, if your GP can do nothing except advise you to go and get the AstraZeneca vaccine? Either that or wait in fear of redemption that some time until the end of the year (6 months from now) you can wait for the choice of Pfizer being available to people over 50 who are genuinely worried, and quite clearly some should be.

Your GP can arrange for you to have some blood tests where indicated or necessary, and if you are not showing any markers, family history or past and present symptoms of clotting disorder and come back with negative results, you will likely be fine and can more confidently proceed with an informed decision to have the AstraZeneca vaccine with a very good risk analysis profile as some of the experts tell us.

But what is the point of going to your GP when you already know about your medical condition or you come back with positive blood test results for one of these systemic autoimmune (genetic) clotting disorders leading to or underpinning Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) or a related condition that is contraindicated from having the AstraZeneca vaccine? And these conditions I have mentioned are contraindicated both for the AstraZeneca vaccine and COVID itself – Catch 22 for some.

Currently your GP cannot give you Pfizer, they cannot recommend you for Pfizer vaccine because the government has set up its rollout program to exclude you. They cannot even provide a referral letter to a privately funded Pfizer vaccine hub or a major public hospital to receive Pfizer vaccine because you are not welcome; at the age of 50 and above you are not eligible according to the government and TGA to receive it. Instead, you will have to face the increased risk and your chances with AstraZeneca or the inevitable consequence of exposure to COVID, while you wait another 6 months on the off chance that this government will change its mind and the virus contained. And remember, if you have the positive gene or vulnerabilities for any of these disorders, you are at far higher risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and death than the general population. Now I don’t think that is a good outcome for anyone. Do you? So why allow yourself to be coerced and scapegoated by those around you. Go see your GP, listen, then push for action because…

… thoughtful pause for reflection.

There is a far simpler solution. The government needs to open up a pathway for people with specific and indicated medical conditions and vulnerabilities for access to Pfizer though their GPs or simply allow people referral and access through the government’s privately contracted Pfizer hubs, clinics and public hospitals instead of this ridiculous dogma of under or over 50 totalitarian shite. I think the worried well should have access too, once they have been through appropriate channels or processes.

There is more we can do to help, not add to the problem, if we want to get this vaccine rollout right. Asking people to become de facto counsellors is not the answer no matter how well intentioned.

It is simply not appropriate, democratic or moral, not informed or scientific to resort to fear, coercion and restriction of choice for some vulnerable and worried Australians (through no fault of their own). There is no legitimate reason for this attitude and nonsense; it is ignorant, reckless, selfish, political and pointless, you’ll make it worse. Don’t do it, especially from the presumption of your own privileged ignorance, vaccine eligibility, medical status or absence of potential serious contraindicated clotting disorder no matter how rare you think it is. Just because you are safe doesn’t mean you or your advice to someone else is. Manage your own fear and anxiety and talk to someone else about it if you have to. Share don’t tell.

Mainstream media and journalists including SBS and ABC (and I mention these because we expect better from our public broadcasters) need to get off this government led bandwagon and start addressing the real issues instead of empowering the rest of the population to blindly and vicariously coerce those who, for whatever reason are troubled by all of this, and now it seems even psychologists have joined the fray.

Go tell SBS the news. Go tell everyone!

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Scott Morrison: Who’s he trying to impress?

By Kathryn

There are a lot of totally gormless, Murdoch-manipulated, ill-informed intellectual midgets out there who keep voting for the worst, most callously inhumane, ineffective and corrupt regime – the LNP – over and over again! Tragically, it is these unspeakably stupid fools who believe everything they inhale from the twisted, totally biased, lying Murdoch press who keep propping up cruel, totally inept, misogynistic, self-serving, smug and elitist politicians – like Abbott and the current totally inept, smirking dullard, Morrison, who has a long, notorious history of taking credit for the hard work, blood, sweat, toil and good ideas and achievements of other people! Sadly, it is likely to happen again until gormless LNP voters attempt to learn more and research the backgrounds of the notorious types of ruthless psychopaths they put into power. In my experience there are three sorts of people who vote for the LNP:

1) The Top 1% – totally corrupt, self-serving billionaires like the obscene Gina Rinehart, Gerry Harvey, Twiggy Forrest, Clive Palmer and other truly vile billionaires who don’t appear to give a shit about anyone or anything except themselves and the bottom line! Wealthy, selfish, slave-driving employers (like the despicably cruel Gerry Harvey) fit into this category!

2) Sad little people who (falsely) think they are upper-middle-class (eg tradesmen, working-class conservatives) who believe they are better than other people and who (tragically) believe the LNP cater to their needs when, in fact, the LNP only cater to the top 1%. These people are often misogynistic, racist and callously inhumane who target migrants, asylum seekers, women, anyone on welfare or anyone whom, they believe, is a “drain” on taxpayer funds when, in fact, the biggest parasites in the country are the corrupt, self-serving politicians that line the cabinet of the LNP!

3) Totally gormless, uneducated, Murdoch-manipulated fools who know nothing about politics! These serial-conservatives believe everything they foolishly inhale from the biased, right-wing-extremist pages of the Z-rated Murdoch rags! They know nothing about the type of sociopaths they put into power, could barely name more than one or two people in the cabinet of the LNP nor be able to name a single thing or any historical fact, act of corruption or increasing level of environmental vandalism perpetrated by the smug, sneering grubs they keep vote for! Worse than that, is that these morons do not even care how corrupt, how deceptive, how callously inhumane or how destructive the lying, conniving parasites in the LNP are anyway – they would still vote for them because it is what their gormless parents did, what their spouse does or what Murdoch tells them to do!

Tragically, I have met quite a few of the rusted-on slaves to cruel, elitist right-wing ideology – they are out there ready to poison our nation over and over again. Already, Australia has sunk back into oblivion with this government internationally condemned and recognises as one of the worst, most regressive, coal-loving climate-change-denying and corrupt governments in history!

When the Rudd/Gillard government were in power, Australia was held in international esteem as one of the few countries who managed to escape the ravages of the GFC. Now? Now we have sunk lower and lower into disgrace with the strutting, inarticulate misogynist, Abbott, embarrassing our nation on the world stage and, now, Morrison being widely and internationally criticised for his mind-numbing adherence to the filthy, polluting coal industry, the way Morrison goes AWOL at the first sign of a disaster (eg the devastating fires), his totally inept mismanagement of the vaccine roll-out, his unspeakably callous inhumanity (with the very likely chance that he may have blood on his hands if this poor little refugee, from Biloela, ends up dying an excruciatingly painful death from saeptecemia which, if this useless, totally depraved federal government did the right thing weeks ago, would have been absolutely preventable! There is no such thing as an illegal asylum seeker and the despicable, unspeakably inhumane LNP have gone out of their way to cruelly lock up this family (who were living in the Queensland town of Biloela) in terrible conditions in what amounts to an off-shore concentration camp, for more than three years! This is a callous act Morrison regime and can never ever be tolerated by any humane society!

Instead, we have Morrison once again, desperately seeking publicity and totally ignoring the plight of this little girl whose family should have been returned to the town of Biloela where they were welcomed and much-loved!

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