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Day to Day Politics: There’s a sucker born every minute.

Wednesday 15 March 2016

Author’s note.

1 I decided to take a few days off from the pressure of writing a daily blog. I’m back now much refreshed and ready to catch up with matters political.

“There’s a sucker born every minute” is a phrase attributed to P. T. Barnum, an American showman of the mid-19th century, although there is no evidence that he actually said it. It does however, describe the gullible in society. In the world of politics it relates to those who fall for the simplest lies or accept dishonest words without question. Those who follow extremist leaders while most normal people see through their deceit.

An observation.

”It is the misinformed who shout the loudest. The rest of us are content with the truth we enquired about.”

We observe this in both American and Australian Politics. Yesterday we had White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer pulling back from the Trump accusation that Obama was spying on him. I’m sure that 90% of Americans would have concluded that he was tweeting lies but equally 10% would believe he was telling the truth.

Republican senator John McCain upped the ante and demanded that the President put up or shut up on his claim that Barack Obama had ordered wire taps on Trump Tower.

But Spicer had the answer. He reckons that when Trump uses the term “wiretap,” he means any sort of surveillance.

”There’s a whole host of things that fall into the category [of wire-tapping,”he said, and ”a wide range of ways in which somebody can be monitored or followed up on.”

Told you so. Just tell more lies to water down the first. ”There’s a sucker born every minute.”

Who said this during the US election campaign?

”Don’t believe those phony numbers when you hear 4.9 and 5 percent unemployment. The number’s probably 28, 29, as high as 35. In fact, I even heard recently 42 per cent.”

”The terrible jobs report that just came out shows the number of people not in the workforce increased by another 425,000 people last month.”

On Friday morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released jobs numbers from Trump’s first full month in office. The addition of 235,000 people to the employment rolls was good news. He claimed it was because he was now in office.

“They may have been phony in the past, but they’re real now,” @PressSec laughs, asked to explain Trump suddenly accepting unemployment figures.

What a perverted liar he is. All the reporters in the room laughed in unison.

An observation.

”The rise of the right has brought with it a new political language. One that has not yet been classified because it defies any normal understanding of what the word truth means.”

In Australia Pauline Hansen followers would believe her when she speaks against inoculating children against diseases. People get sucked in and truth becomes irrelevant.

2 Tuesday’s Essential Poll has Labor still ahead of the Coalition. 53/47. One Nation has moved ahead of the Greens on 11%.

On the survey questions.

A. Who do you think would make the better Prime Minister out of Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten?

38% (down 1% in last 4 weeks) of respondents think Malcolm Turnbull would make the better Prime Minister and 26% (up 1%) think Bill Shorten would make the better Prime Minister.

41% of men prefer Malcolm Turnbull and 31% prefer Bill Shorten.

34% of women prefer Malcolm Turnbull and 22% prefer Bill Shorten.

B. Do you approve or disapprove of the $50 billion in tax cuts for medium and large businesses announced in the Federal budget?

24% approve of the tax cuts for medium and large business announced in the Federal budget and 46% disapprove. This represents a 4% drop in approval since this question was previously asked in June last year.

Those most likely to disapprove were Greens voters (63%), Labor voters (59%) and aged 65+ (61%).

3 The WA election in my view was entirely predictable. Longevity is the enemy of any sitting government. Add to it a tired looking leader who has not led well together with a deplorable Federal Government of the same ideology and you have a recipe for disaster. The Liberals could potentially lose 10 seats federally if the same swing occurs. One Nation got 5.7%. of the vote. Given all their infighting it’s a wonder they got that.

4 Nothing amplifies the need for a Royal Commission more that the news yesterday that Westpac had conned its customers into moving $646.7 million of their money into its superannuation accounts BT subsidiary. The allegation is that they were giving personal financial advice when advisors are only permitted  to give ”general advice”. ASIC is taking them to court but a RC would be more desirable.

5 It seems we have a very unhappy Public Service at the moment who are disillusioned about being used as bullies against presumed welfare cheats.

The bullied however, have their own way of retaliating. They stop warning you about the political hazards you face. Very clever I should think. “There’s a sucker born every minute”.

6 Senator Brandis is still refusing to hand over his Diary despite a court ruling him to do so. It makes it all a bit shifty. If he has nothing to hide why not just release it. I do hope he wasn’t chaving a bit on the side.

7 This from Anne Hurley the executive chair of Internet Australia:

”The industry-standard Akamai State of the Internet quarterly report on average Internet connection speeds has Australia falling in its global rankings from 50 to 51, at a time when we need to be heading up the chart. Interestingly, the report noted that for broadband adoption, quarterly changes were positive in the Asia Pacific region ”except for Australia, which posted a 1.9 per cent decline in adoption”.

8 A study by the Climate and Energy College at Melbourne University tells us that the price of electricity has doubled since the axing of the Carbon Tax. I have not had time to fully digest the announcements regarding Energy Policy by the SA government but a first blush appraisal suggests they are on the right track. Now if only the PM had the balls to confront his party and implement some form of emissions trading scheme. He won’t of course, the gutless fool. My memory goes back to the times when Gough was confronted with similar situations.

On this day in 2015 I wrote:

For most of my working life I worked in marketing and advertising so I know how people are influenced, persuaded or swayed by such things as branding and repetitive advertising. Companies spend millions of dollars to subtly brainwash you. To align you with a certain brand or product. They will use all manner of persuasive techniques including sex and deceptive packaging to solicit your good will and loyalty. They even measure the eye blink rate of women from hidden cameras in supermarkets to test colour reaction. Yes it’s that sophisticated. And brand loyalty is what they want. There are more psychologists employed in advertising in America than in the health industry. It is all calculated to take power over your decision-making. And it works.

The same can be said for Australian mainstream media. It also wants your brand loyalty and the power to coerce you into its way of thinking. It uses similar techniques to the advertising industry and the main ingredients are untruth and the creation of perceptions with subliminal messages. In the media it is easy to apply. It can be a headline, a one liner (stop the boats) or a photoshopped photograph and on television the way you lead a story or conduct an interview. We are almost manipulated beyond our free will. But of course the often repeated blatant lie takes precedence and is the best tool to use for an audience that is uninformed and in a malaise and thus susceptible to this sort of propaganda. Now of course they have another tool, “Opinion Journalism” (Andrew said). Now let me add that there is nothing wrong with opinions so long as there is a diversity of them. But the fact is we don’t have a diversity and we would be a much better society if we took the risk of thinking for ourselves unhindered by the unadulterated crap served up by the media and self-interest groups’

The less informed voters unfortunately greatly outnumber the more politically aware and therefore are the obvious victims of mainstream media deception where everything is reduced to simplistic slogans. Where the opinion makers use all manner of tantalising, seductive and provocative words and imagery to win you to what they want you to believe. Media is no longer about reporting news. It is about persuasion by opinion.

My last thought.

Wages of politicians have increased 75 percent since 1994. Newstart not been increased in real terms in that time. Enough said.

”There’s a sucker born every minute”

My thought for the day.

“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”.

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28 comments

  1. Peter F

    “on television the way you lead a story or conduct an interview.”

    John, last night Leigh Sales presented a promo before the news, in which she stated words effectively asking the question ‘Will the SA action on power supply increase electricity prices?” The question was worded in such a way that left the viewer with the impression that the possibility of power prices being reduced did not even rate a mention.
    The idea of adding ‘or will the SA government succeed in it’s attempt to lower costs’ was apparently not considered appropriate.
    I considered this to be manipulation at the time I heard it, and I agree with your statement above.

  2. Terry2

    It is apparent that Jay Weatherill Premier of SA had no choice but to take matters of electricity security for South Australia back within state control.

    It has suited the federal government to pass bits of coal around the parliament and to mock Weatherill every time the national power regulator fails to keep the power on and to blame a massive storm disruption on the SA government as an opportunity for a slogan, “Labor can’t keep the lights on”.

    It was only when Weatherill started to get serious and Elon Musk of TESLA came on the scene that Turnbull finally realized that his lack of a cogent national energy policy may actually lose him office rather than give him opportunities to mock Shorten by constantly calling him “Electricity Bill”. So Turnbull quickly jumps on the phone and becomes mates with Elon Musk and hastily calls gas producers for a round table to find out why, with our abundant gas reserves, there is no policy of actually reserving some of that gas for domestic use : the reason Malcolm is because your government has been more concerned with political point scoring than governing.

    This is a government hobbled by its own ideology and the headlock imposed by the IPA and right-wing zealots.

    Welcome back, John !

  3. helvityni

    Yes, Peter F, Ms Sales felt it was necessary to put the idea into our heads that electricity prices will go up whatever Weatherill is going to do…
    They are all well versed in the Cormann speak; she/he is a “Laiborite”, be very scared…Whatever happened in the West, is nothing to do with us in Canberra….Kids in the sandpit fight their little battles more fairly than this motley collection of no-hopers…

  4. Kaye Lee

    Peter F,

    Sales called it South Australia’s “desperate attempt.”

    What do you expect when they bypass the independent panel’s recommendations and appoint the head of a uranium company who is also head of the Minerals Council to the board of the ABC. Vanessa Guthrie has said that coal “is severely under attack from social activism. It needs all the help it can get.” She’s planning to fight back against the keyboard warriors hell-bent on stopping mining and using social media for their cause.

    http://www.afr.com/leadership/lunch-with-vanessa-guthrie-coal-tweeting-and-posttruth-activism-20161115-gsq3an

  5. Peter F

    Thank you Kaye, I was so incensed by the statement’s underlying message that the actual words escaped me this morning.

    With the Government so keen on denigrating those who might choose to ‘go it alone’, will they be asking those private individuals who have taken such a selfish step to remove their solar/battery installations? ( Starting , of course with the harbourside mansion, to set an example to those other selfish indiviuals).

    I think not.

  6. Roswell

    I’m sure that 90% of Americans would have concluded that he was tweeting lies but equally 10% would believe he was telling the truth.

    I wish I could agree with those percentages, John. It would be more like 45% that believed him.

    Trump could say that he’s been to the moon and almost half of America would think he was telling the truth.

    Personally, I believe he’s still on it.

  7. Freethinker

    For what I have been reading it is not the case that they believe or not, statements by supporters said that they know that he has not said the truth but still like him and prefer him laying than Clinton.
    There are two problems IMHO, one ignorance and the other that for many the other option was worse.

  8. Don A Kelly

    The Chinese Government pay an estimated $3.80 per gigajoule for gas from the North West Shelf in W.A. This Australian contract with China….to supply China’s first natural gas power station…commenced in 2002 when the Prime Minister, John Howard called it a “gold medal performance”. But the Chinese, who negotiated this “fantastic deal” overseen by the Federal Coalition Government in 2002, will pay the same low price for our gas until at least 2027.
    Aurora Energy gas rates for private residential households gas rates, effective Jan.2017 equals 3.5377 cents per megajoule. This equates to $35.377 per gigajoule or 931% greater than China.
    By way of comparison, one gigajoule of natural gas is approximately equal to 26 litres of gasoline @ &1.36 per litre, or 277 kilowatt hours @ $0.1277 per kilowatt hour.

  9. Divad Biard

    To add to the insulting way Turnbull, Frydenberg, Canavan and the rest make accusations about South Australia “going it alone” and paying the price, we have this mob of incompetents saying, essentially, there is no other way to make up for the gas ‘shortage’ but with more licences for gas-well drilling and fracking. And far-king coal. Naturally, we simply must not prevent Chevron et al from shipping our gas reserves offshore tax-free. (Interestingly, Japan gets more tax from their importing of our gas than we do in flogging it and we supposedly own the bloody stuff!) And we must not set aside a domestic reserve because that would ‘distort the market’ and, let’s face it, the market has worked oh, so well. But we live in a kleptocratic plutocracy where corporate interests decide on the policy directions of the parliamentary puppets. And we as a nation dutifully vote for the bastards. I’m feeling quite vexed.

  10. Matters Not

    Don A Kelly, your figures are spot on. Yet I hear constantly on the ABC that the problem is that our gas fetches a better price overseas and therefore that’s why we have the shortages. Here’s West on that topic:

    It is bizarre that gas customers in Japan buy Australian gas more cheaply than Australians. Some of this gas is drilled in the Bass Strait, piped to Queensland, turned into liquid and shipped 6,700 kilometres to Japan … but the Japanese still pay less than Victorians.

    But wait there’s more:

    BHP Petroleum chief Mike Yeager told journalists:

    We want to make sure that the market knows that the Bass Strait field still has a large amount of gas that’s undeveloped … We have a lot of gas in eastern Australia that’s available. It’s more important to let the citizens of Victoria and New South Wales, and to some degree, you know, even Queensland … there’s plenty of gas to supply those provinces for – you know, indefinitely.

    As West concludes: The cartel has manufactured a fake gas crisis. Australia is soaked in gas. The answer is a domestic reservation policy starting now. Gee I wish there were some journalists out and about who would do their homework. Will someone direct the news writers at the ABC to have a read.

    http://johnmenadue.com/?p=9748

  11. Zathras

    When the infamous (fake news) Pizzagate scandal broke in the USA, the vast majority of Trump-voting Republican voters believed it, up to the point where a gun-wielding supporter travelled across the country to “save” the imprisoned children
    .
    Even when it was later proven beyond doubt to be a total fabrication, 17% of those supporters continue to believe it as a fact.

    Meanwhile they are probably glad the expected Obama “prison camps for whites”, great gun seizure and banning of Christianity didn’t eventuate after all but must now be scared of the secret spy cameras watching them through their microwave ovens.

    Now they have a leader elected on the basis of a personality cult who can say whatever he likes and his acolytes swallow it without question like Kool-Aid.

    What else can you expect from a country where many still think that the Moon landing was a hoax but that wrestling is real?

  12. Alan Baird

    I’ll bet there would be any number of Oz morons who would trot out the “genius” of Howard in flogging off gas for bargain prices. Only this morning the SMH said that the Japanese selling Oz-gas to Japanese make a bigger profit than Oz. Now that’s clever.

  13. Matters Not

    And while we are in the business of exposing the stupidity of ‘our’, democratically elected governments, try this one:

    Qatar, now the world’s biggest exporter with 32 per cent of the market, raises three times the amount in royalities (sic) as Australia for selling the same amount of gas.

    Got that: raises three times the amount in royalties as we do in Australia for the same gas volume. Then again, the Arabs have a long history when it comes to all things mathematical. No wonder they pinched to rights to stage the World Cup. Shit we are dumb. The poor white trash of Asia.

  14. wam

    Dear lord,
    You are certainly refreshed and incisive!!!

    Surely, any one of your points could be used to needle the lib/nat boys through the MSM. Especially when even fox news, this morning, commented on trumble being unable to control backbench so he has no chance with gas companies.

    – ou est vous guillaume ou tanya en vacances??

    love 8 notice the storm blackouts in SE Qld – image if that was SA? – notice the pm’s new crisis GAS shamefully the states are locking up reserves –

    where is the truth/lie or the truths/lies in “Senator Brandis is still refusing to hand over his Diary despite a court ruling him to do so”?

    ps great of the diludbransims to suggest the rest of us could benefit from the poliie idea of a working week. Monday travelling to work and friday travelling home with the majority(like ms ellis??) getting home on thursday night to enjoy an easter holiday 22 weeks a year)

    Poor old sales is haunted by her ‘have you read the report’ leaving the ABC as merely a shadow of the DOB (Days of the Bloodnut)

  15. Gavin

    I remember in 2002 when Howard agreed to a fixed price (3.5c) for 25 years.
    I questioned his sanity as the MSM applauded the ‘genius’ of the decision.
    That deal tells us all we need to know about the agenda of the corporate elite & their puppets.
    MSM is the enemy of the people (except for the 1%ers).
    The LNP is a protection racket for big oil/gas, the banks and the real estate industry.
    We deserve better.

  16. Matters Not

    Gavin, we don’t deserve better. We deserve everything we get. This is our democracy. So many non-voters, particularly among our youth. So many donkey voters. So many uninformed voters. So many uninterested voters.

    Yes we deserve everything we get.

  17. Freethinker

    I agree with Matters Not, they are there because people voted for them and like more of the same.
    Pain and suffering it is the only way for people lo learn.
    Unfortunately we will be victims of the collateral damage.
    I went trough that one and I am not kin to do it again just for the ignorant and greedy to learn.

  18. Michael

    Based on Don’s numbers – 1 gigajoule (is a derived unit of energy in the International System of Units) = $35.377 gas = $35.36 petrol = $35.3729 electricity – funny that – wonder how solar compares?

    Subject to correction, I understand that CSG has NSW govt royalty free first 5 years tapering to full payment (whatever that means and is probably non-transparently/corruptly “commercial in confidence”) by year 10.

    The risk profile, both of catastrophic consequences (for which WE, fellow humans, pay the consequential price, personal, medical, property, etc) and a mining dud (cost is in the mining and startup process) is so high that it pays to do whatever it takes to maximise extraction in shortest period of time under protection of “property impeding/destruction laws and shifting profit to tax havens, then when remediation is required, quietly go into liquidation – shucks.

    If this is the way the process/current system works, then whose interest are the far-king members of political parties WE citizens voted for and whose salary and benefits WE are paying through OUR taxes do they represent, what is their motivation?

    Thanks John, GULLIBLE is now my word for 2017 – now for a T-shirt version.

  19. michael lacey

    1. Of course, the booming labour stats do not account for the millions of people who have left the workforce altogether after failing to find a job in Obama’s less-than-stellar economic recovery. The data also fails to point out that 95 percent of all the new jobs have been crappy, low-paying, part time service sector jobs that barely keep food on the table let alone put a roof over one’s head.

    2. The corporate press in the West is not devoting 24/7 coverage with all the bells and whistles of an intentional push to promote the story. Instead, it is largely the alternative and independent press that is giving attention to the recent Wikileaks announcement. Interestingly enough, the mainstream press reports are largely focusing on accusations that Wikileaks has “joined the Trump administration” or that the leaker of the information is a traitor.

    As part of a series of leaks regarding the CIA, Wikileaks has released “Vault 7,” containing over 8,000 documents coming from the CIA’s Center For Cyber Intelligence located in Langley.

    So far, the 8,000 documents are only part of the first release, “Year Zero,” which reveals the CIA’s “global covert hacking program” and its “weaponized exploits” as well as the fact that it has used these tools against products produced by “Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.”

    Wikileaks claims it has received the information from a source inside the CIA’s CCI.
    Trump’s not the only problem in the United States!

  20. helvityni

    “Prime minister tells companies to produce more gas for the domestic market as Australians should not be ‘left short’ while ‘billions of dollars are being exported’….”

    Wetherill’s talk about enough gas for Australia’s own use must have awakened Mal from his sleep…Other gas producing countries have been busy looking after their own peoples’ needs, as they are meant to, why are we always so slow….?

  21. helvityni

    …anyhow on a more positive note: those gas-bags in Canberra should provide us with enough of the stuff to keep our lights burning brightly for years to come.

  22. Peter F

    So, HV, we may well see light on the hill?

  23. jim

    An incentive to spend $45Billion on our poles and wires (gold plating) was supercharged in 2006 by state governments: they wrote the rules for the regulator to enforce, thanks to a deal with former prime minister Johnny Howard, who gave them rulemaking authority in exchange for their blessing to replace state-based regulators with one new LNP federal body.
    So does his $45Billion have to be paid back? you bet your brown raw onion sunshine plus 10%.
    “our” ABC was very biased in that they hardly ever mentioned battery storage but mentioned gas ten fold.

  24. Colin Martin Fulton

    Leigh Sales is as big a part of the problem as Murdoch, she has ZERO credibility and should be sacked as her behaviour does not suit the ABC. I remember before the last election she gushed all girly over Turncoat letting him say anything he wanted to but when it was Bills turn she kept interrupting him before he had even answered the questions she had supposedly asked though to be honest they seemed to have been written by Fizza himself.

  25. Pete Petrass

    I am absolutely gobsmacked that so many people think Fizza is a better PM than Shorten. We can all see how bad Fizza is, worst PM in history, worse even than Abbott. Why would anyone think Shorten could be that bad???

  26. Freethinker

    Pete Petrass because Malcom is a very successful business person and he know and understand economy for the good of the nation.
    The same applies to Trump in USA and the current president in Argentina.
    Yes suckers are in every country of the world.

  27. totaram

    Freethinker: You are right, but you need to add the reason why business people are NOT good at macro-economics: a nation is not like a business! No business issues its own sovereign fiat currency. This simple fact might get people to think a little (I hope).

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