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Day to Day Politics: Fairdinkum, what a bloody mess we’re in

Friday 1 June 2018

I wanted to connect with you on a few things and see if you agree. Some people on the other side of the political spectrum have accused me of being overly negative toward the conservatives. As hard as I try I find it difficult to find anything positive to write about them.

In fact, I have always been of the view that as we approach the ballot box it is time to reflect on just how the incumbent government has improved the lot of its constituents. And I don’t mean by the addition of a swimming pool in the electorate in which you live.

Let’s take a worldview for the sake of this exercise because what happens elsewhere seems to affect us in one-way or another.

On June 1 in the year 2018 just where are we? What are we facing and what are governments of all persuasions doing to improve the lot of the world and its people?

The world economy by all accounts is improving but most of the world is still struggling to overcome the dramatic effects of the 2008 global financial crisis.

There is no doubt that inequality will be a problem for both those who have and those who have not into the future as we face an ever-increasing gap between rich and poor.

We are educating our young for jobs that won’t exist in 10-20 years time. Entire industries are disappearing; jobs are gone and will not be coming back. Robots and 3D printing will replace much of our existing employment.

Full-time work is becoming a thing of the past with underemployment escalating.

Retirement is soon to rise to 70 and pensions are shrinking.

Wages are at an all-time low and don’t look like moving upwards at any time soon, yet executive wages seem to have no ceiling.

People from all around the world seek to escape the persecution they experience in their homelands but face a similar persecution when they knock on the door of their neighbour.

Our children will be poorer than us. They won’t be able to live in our prohibitively expensive cities.

In spite of a move to increase educational standards our standard of education will not guarantee our kids a job. The wealthy and privileged will probably remain so and get even wealthier.

Equality of opportunity favours those with the ability to pay for an education.

The world around us is retreating from the toxicity of declining standards of leadership resulting in deteriorating democracies leading to a form of populism that exploits our worst instincts and feeds on fear. Living standards are beginning to fall.

Corruption has invaded every country not least our own and one of our major parties, the Liberal Party, reckons we don’t have a problem. You would have to be blind Freddy to reach that conclusion.

Our media and its position as the fourth estate has so declined that they are now reduced to opinion pieces that lack truth and investigative objective reporting has become a thing of the past.

Trust in our political system and politicians themselves are at an all-time low of just 13%.

A crazy man holds the future of the world’s environment in his hands. In fact, the passing of time has proven beyond doubt that the white house is a house for a psychopathic monster and the acolytes that follow him.

As the planet gets hotter, the seas rise, the same crazy man, the president of the world’s most powerful nation disavows climate science and says that climate change is a fake Chinese plot to steal American jobs.

Countries are stockpiling or developing nuclear weapons. The US, in the name of making America great again, is increasing spending on its military and China is flexing its military muscles.

And why is it so? It is because men have never really grown up. It seems that no matter where you look war games are being played. Morons of the highest order are acting out the hair-trigger game of war. Doom and gloom seem to be the order of the day. Wars and famine abound.

Whilst all this is happening our politicians seem intent on playing the game of power and self-interest.

It’s a question I keep asking myself. What has this Government been doing for the past five years? Indeed, what are their plans to address many of the things I have mentioned in the future?

Will they announce in an election campaign the plans they should have enacted when they were elected?

Am I overly concerned about the state of our democracy and those who govern?  Am I right to be anxious about the future of our grandchildren? I think so but you are at liberty to tell me otherwise.

My thought for the day.

”The state of the world raises the question. When did God die?”


46 comments

  1. James Ellis

    Right Wing Creep, must be recognised as a political disease which if not defended against will gradually overpower everything good people strive for in our societies. In the USA we now see white supremecists running for congress……….Where does it all end?

  2. townsvilleblog

    On this first day of winter we see the impending implosion of conservative ultra-right wing politics in Australia. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party Senator Brian Burston is in the throws of leaving the party the latest in a long line of former One Nation Senators. Added to this is the continuing internal factional squabble within the Liberal Party with the moderates against the ultra-right faction and thrown in for good measure we now have the boy’s club harking back to the 1950s trying to eliminate women from the parliaments of this country.

    Division is death in politics and the current rabble in these two parties along with the side show of Barnaby Joyce and Vicky Campion and their $150,000 story is the icing on the mud cake. The disgusting treatment of everyday Australians who are doing it tough in order to give huge multi-billion dollar multinational corporations an $80 Billion tax cut is just another step too far that the L’NP/LNP/CLP federal government will pay dearly for at the next election.

  3. Terence Mills

    First we have the man rumuoured to be our Health Minister throwing an abusive tantrum and taking six months to reluctantly apologize.

    Then we have Pauline Hanson throwing a tanty because she can’t get her own way, again, and because she can’t formulate a sensible policy on anything. When you consider how much capital the coalition have invested in One Nation even to the extent of scrapping the Family Court to satisfy Pauline’s demands isn’t it time that we consigned this whole ship of fools to the dustbin of history ?

    We need an election, soon !

  4. Miriam English

    On the other hand, many cities in USA are moving in the opposite direction, basically telling Trump and his hyper-religious morons to go screw themselves. They are opting for low energy programs and granting immigrants safety. There is a change around the world, where the mayors of cities meet to discuss how they can benefit their citizens and improve life in their cities.

    People all over the planet are getting fed up with political and religious extremists. The extremists seem to be unaware that they’re generating a strong movement against themselves.

    Yes, inequality is rising unchecked, but anger against those who are obscenely wealthy is mounting, and there will be a reckoning. I hope it will be non-violent, in the form of crushingly strong progressive taxes against them. That will be needed to pay for the universal basic income (UBI), which I think will be necessary in the near future.

    Extreme poverty and starvation are being eliminated at a rate never before seen in all history. The well-being of the world’s poorest is improving like never before and this is seeing population growth rates decline. The spread of the internet on cheap mobile phones and tablets ($50 from China) means education is spreading like never before too. The increasingly expensive educational institutions are becoming irrelevant as their qualifications are no longer much use anyway. We are starting to move to a kind of education where people learn simply because they are curious, instead of wanting mere certificates.

    While politicians in Australia, USA, and a handful of countries lie about climate change and try to cripple the renewable energy revolution, it has nevertheless become an unstoppable tsunami. Coal has already lost; its advocates just don’t know it yet. Wind and solar power are already the cheapest forms of power and the market is driving it despite our wrongheaded politicians’ attempts to thwart it.

    Cheap 3D printers are coming of age. Even though I live below the poverty level here in Australia, I bought one a while back, and have a much better one on order which includes a 3D laser scanner that lets me put an object on its platter and scan its shape into the computer, where I can modify the shape before printing it out if I wish.

    I can publish my novels and artwork and computer programs on the internet for free and download thousands of other ebooks, audiobooks, music, videos, and computer programs for free or almost free. I already have 6 novels, 26 short stories, and 4 plays online and am working to finish 2 more novels right now. We’ve never been able to do this before. How will creativity flower when we have billions of people doing this? It will be a new Renaissance.

    Artificial intelligence (AI) is getting better at an astonishing rate. When it surpasses us in intelligence, as it is certain to do, we will be able to find solutions to our most pressing problems that currently defy us: How do we prevent corruption in politics? How do we fix the broken thinking that causes religion and other magical thinking? How do we build a space elevator? How do we have a net-zero-energy society while living luxurious lives? How do we stop, and reverse, the destruction of the other live we share the planet with? How do we fix the climate change problem? How do we prevent people identifying with ideas (the main cause of polarisation and conflict), and instead help them simply be themselves?

    There are terrible things happening at the moment, but also wonderful things.

  5. townsvilleblog

    The God delusion is false John. We can only rely upon ourselves and our fellow man, with lunatics like trump in power and his fellow ultra-right-wing-conservatives in charge in Australia, the UK, Germany and soon to be Italy, unless we the people revolt it seems to me that we will suffer in increasing numbers abject poverty as well in excess of three million Aussies are already subject to.

    The pension has had a situation where the rules have been changed by this tory government and the net result is that the value of the pension has fallen dramatically with people who have worked and helped to build this nation now living in poverty with not enough to eat and shivering through winter, not having enough money to turn a heater on. Our only ray of sunshine is Sally McManus the ACTI Sectreary who is campaigning hard to seek social justice for the population in general.

  6. Paul

    Yes Miriam, agree with you.

    Suggested reading is the two books by Dr Yuval Harari which very clearly in layman’s terms explain our past history – “Sapiens” (written 2011) – and predicts our future – “Homo Deus” (written 2016). In my view best read in order. Available to read for free in your local library.

    Also suggest that we are wasting our time trying to effect political change at federal and state level as both these are now totally corrupted and there are virtually no “enlightened” persons in public office of any political persuasion. The best we can hope for after next election is that Labor grudgingly gives the poor and desperate a few crumbs. We can forget about anything fair dinkum about energy, climate change, domestic violence, indigenous reconciliation, immigration and gulags, unemployment and corruption. Anyone keen to make the world a better place might try to do something at local council level.

  7. Phil

    Thanks for sharing John. I’m going to think about it. Back later, if anything constructive emerges.

  8. helvityni

    …overly negative…? I’m desperately trying to find something positive to say about this Government, no luck so far…

  9. helvityni

    Let’s start by cutting down on sugar, and what about a spot of walking…daily…?

    We might even clear the fog, be more clear-headed…and elect better governments…maybe.

  10. Bob Yates

    Another great first-up morning’s read John! And as usual, some of the informed and well-articulated comments here provide an even deeper understanding of the subject – including some positivity to leave the house and face the day with. Bravo!

  11. Keitha Granville

    Whilst those with a brain yearn for an election to rid ourselves of the corrupt, how can we explain the 45+% who still think this govt is worth voting for ? And the nagging thought that in a campaign they will come up with some treats to persuade the swingers to back them again ? There is no depth to which they will not sink I fear. If their leader can divorce himself so totally from his original ethics and morality, anything horrendous is possible.

    Vive la revolution !

  12. Ross

    You don’t have to look too deeply to realise that Australia is now a third world country run by 3rd rate people.
    The Banking Royal Commission has lifted the lid a little and given everyone a glimpse of the quality of our so called business elite. Highly paid but mostly little value for the money.
    Politically it’s about 5th rate, and they are the good ones. We all knew that anyway, most people stopped listening long ago. Voting is a chore we do these days with little enthusiasm or confidence in governments.
    I really do despair for the future. Maybe an incoming Labor government will actually do something to change Australia for the better but you wouldn’t hold your breath would you.

  13. stephentardrew

    You are a man of my heart John. Not more needs to be said as these points alone are enough to condemn us for our greed, selfishness and ignorance.

    Our scientist and academic philosophers are treated like so much dross on the back of religious ideological irrationality and corruption embraced by politicians right and left. The voice of reason, logic and critical thinking has little hope under the weight of such unmitigated ignorance born of victim blame, judgement, blame and retribution endemic in all magical/mythical primitive religions.

    Yet science clearly demonstrates we do not create our reality and that it is, by and large, deterministic however choice within the bounds of probability provides us the opportunity to make non-biased informed decisions born of empirical facts free from the need to lie to ourselves and consequently, with malice and aforethought, unnecessarily harm others.

    A truly rational mind is a compassionate mind willing to trace the causal facts to their source and find just and equitable solution and yet society is driven by primal habituated autonomic visceral fear responses lacking thought or reason. When a thinking sentient race refuses to think yet reacts to primal fear this is what you get a self-destructive species with little or no regard for the facts.

    We either chose to overcome our magical mythical primal fears or they will, and are going to, cause untold suffering hardship and death on a massive scale. Evolution cares not one wit and will keep going regardless of our masochistic tendencies. Point is can we sever our attachment to retributive justice and find the means to tolerance and forgiveness for those who suffer through no fault of their own or are we going to continue to make them suffer intolerably in the name of a mythical God turned punitive Devil.

    Maybe it is time to give up fanciful Gods and live through our personal love, compassion and insight mapped onto a vast and infinite domain of possibility in which even our greatest minds know nothing of the great beyond built into deep time. Unfortunately for theocrats, atheist and agnostics humility is not high on the agenda. It cost nothing to keep our sense of mystery, awe and wonder alive without the binding constraints of dogma and authority. Scientific consensus does not mean rigid conformity however science provides the essential foundation for enduring epoch relative knowledge.

    Paradox, infinity and love are profound task masters that ask us to always leave to door open to vast potentialities mapped onto the meta-matrix of existence while we mere beginners are overwrought by our perceived self-importance. Having worked with youth, homeless families, drug and alcohol, domestic violence and service veterans the one thing most need is a sense of mystery awe and wonder not dogmatic absolutes.

    While science can, and should, reshape our factual world we must recognise the demand for subjective feelings of worth that cannot be directly derived from the constraining laws of physics that apply to external reality for the degrees of freedom in subjective space are vast and unknown. Art in all its aspects, creativity and the flow of effortless doing provides an inner domain of possibility beyond the constraints of external material reality.

    Whether religious, atheist, agnostic we all must agree to meet somewhere in love and kindness based upon empirical facts respecting the inner workings of our creative subjective minds while sharing a scientific consensus reality that can be rationally and ethically molded to support us all in comfort and peace.

  14. totaram

    “Whether religious, atheist, agnostic we all must agree to meet somewhere in love and kindness based upon empirical facts respecting the inner workings of our creative subjective minds while sharing a scientific consensus reality that can be rationally and ethically molded to support us all in comfort and peace.”

    We must indeed agree to meet, as written above, but the chances of that happening are so remote that I would call them negligible.

    As for the future of our grandchildren: I don’t have any and my children see such a bleak future that they are reluctant to bring any children into the world. I don’t blame them at all. They are smart and rational.

  15. DavidBruce

    It took me a while to realize that conservatives in power regard other humans as “capital”, required to become cogs in the machine.

    More enlightened humans, many of the Asian persuasion, have regarded other humans as resources to be developed to solve problems, analyze, diagnose and fix things, as well as use their innate creativity to inspire with great works of art, music, theatre and other accomplishments.

    God didn’t die, she transformed into the male money god…

  16. Harry

    GetUp has launched a campaign to head off calls by the IPA to privatise the ABC. I have just donated to the fighting fund and urge all who value the national broadcaster to consider doing the same. The ABC must be kept in public hands, restore its funding.

  17. diannaart

    Thank you Miriam, I too live below the poverty line, I too sort of manage (although won’t be investing in a 3D printer any time soon).

    I acknowledge that it appears the conservatives are winning right now.

    BUT

    Greedy and corrupt ideas are unsustainable at a time when more people are better educated and informed in any other time in history.

    Whether the pendulum swings back before I leave this mortal coil is unknown, but we can always rely on one thing – something conservatives hate more than being asked for a helping hand – CHANGE.

    Things always change.

  18. helvityni

    DavidBruce
    June 1, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    “God didn’t die, she transformed into the male money god…”

    And this money god is called Materialism, and just as many women as men, worship him….

  19. guest

    In the light of what John Lord has said about the Coalition’s “bloody mess”, let us look at what Mark Latham at Murdochland says what “highlights everything that’s gone wrong with the Left”. It is all about a couple of words and “settlement patterns”.

    The couple of words is “white flight”. A Labor person used it in an interview in the Daily Telegraph. The DT peope knew what it meant, but the Labor Party had banned the use of the phrase. Of course, the Labor Party is so “Medieval”.

    But for Latham, white flight is seen everywhere in Sydney. What he means by that is the suburbs in Sydney have changed in the nature of their composition, lower now in white people, now enclaves of indigenous people and “Middle Eastern crime gangs and drive-by shootings”. That white folk are selling up and moving to the outer suburbs with their children is really “responsible parenting”.

    We see where that is heading. It is not about cheaper housing in the outer suburbs of Sydney and the more expensive inner suburbs being taken up by people able to live as extended families or as more than one family – and the western suburbs have become “welfare reliant enclaves”. Faith in multiculturalism has become eroded, according to Latham.

    Of course the Coalition and the Murdoch media would have had nothing to do with that “erosion”, would it? And it is all Labor’s fault, according to Latham.

    Latham claims Whitlam thought of multiculturalism as being lots of people of different ethnic groups, including white Ozzie types, living in integrated communities together, speaking English. But that dream which Latham sees, too, has not come about. Is it an achievable dream? Did not Ozzie travellers going to the UK in the 1960s all live in the enclave of Earls Court, speaking Barry McKenzie Strine and sucking on a Fosters?

    Latham says: “This is what Labor has become: an anti-intellectual, truth-denying, politically correct hovel that finds it easier to ignore social problems than solve them.” And he goes on to say how he “spoke honestly about social problems and left the Labor Party and its Medieval culture behind”. So has he LNP solved the problem?

    So where did Mr ‘Solving Problems’ Latham go? Was it to the Coalition? Was it to Murdochland? The man is deluded.

    He has not solved any problems. He speaks in Murdoch-speak about “politically correct”, about “white flight”, about “identity politics”, in terms of “virtue signalling” and “victim flagging” and “race”. How “anti-intellectual’ can he get (it is a trait wide-spread on the Right)? How “truth-denying”? Writing ideological bilge?

    And does he think Sydney through his myopic view is the same as all of Oz? It is the kind of trash opinion-scribbling which is destroying journalism and at the same time adding to the “bloody mess” which is the Coalition achievement.

  20. Kronomex

    This is a case of Amazon doing a, “How dare someone stand up to us! Now we’ll punish them.” I’m guessing that the LNP is going feel the backlash from this as well.

    “Some have raised fears about whether the Amazon-owned store The Book Depository will also be restricted for Australian customers.” Won’t be surprised in the least if they block us from using the overseas site in an escalation of punishing the Feds for their stupidity. Hardly Normal must so proud that a fair bit of blame can be laid at his greedy doorstep. Continual whining and big donations work wonders with Trembles.

    https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/penalised-for-our-location-amazon-shoppers-vent-fury-over-blockade-20180601-p4ziui.html

    As usual the losers are us little people.

    If the ABC is privatised (lets all hope it doesn’t happen) any bets on which greed driven soggy aged liver faced US citizen will swoop in and attempt to buy it up with the blessing of his minions in gubmint?

  21. helvityni

    guest,

    For me Latham is just another tedious has-been, just like Pauline; please disappear, once was too often…

    Let’s get some good, capable and compassionate people into politics,and get rid of all these silly narcissists…

  22. guest

    Just picking up on the reference to climate change and the muddle perpetrated by the deniers.

    There is a letter to the editor in the WE Australian asking about carbon emissions from volcanoes in comparison to emissions in Oz. The writer points out that Graham Lloyd (The Australian, 1/6) tells us that Oz emits 550m tonnes of CO2 per year, whereas volcanoes emit 600m tonnes of CO2 per year, but the US Geological Survey tells us that “volcano eruptions has never caused detectable global warming”.

    The writer then clams that therefore “logic would say that man-made CO2 emissions also never cause global warming”.

    So, what can be said about this “logic”? Tony Eggleton in his book (2013) tells us: “The current annual increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is about 10bn tonnes a Year. For volcanoes to be responsible [at 300m tonnes a year] they would have had to have been erupting at about 30 times their normal rate.” (p 155).

    Note the discrepancy in figures for volcano eruptions.

    Eggleton goes on to refer to figures of worldwide emissions: “In 2010 (the most recent year for which the figures are available), worldwide we burnt enough fuel to add almost 32bn tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere”. (p 156)

    As for Oz doing something about CO2 emissions we rank 57/60 countries in the world, only 3 countries worse, which is an embarrassing fact (News.com, Nov 17, 2017)

    The letter writer wonders why Oz needs to do more. But when we look at the matter of climate change world wide and when we look at facts about CO2 emissions and the effects they have on heating of the Earth, we need to be more careful about what we say.

    Eggleton explains that there have been CO2 emitted into the atmosphere naturally over millions of years, but in balance. What humans have done is to increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere over the past 200 years by 40% so that in the last 60 years we have increased the average temperature by one degree C, 20 times faster than at any previous sustained rate of temperature change.” (p 133)

    Clearly people want to know the truth, but the truth is not always told.

  23. diannaart

    Well said Guest,

    The joy with which climate change deniers bring up what they believe is their ‘gotcha’ moment, reveals how little thought these people do.

    Volcanoes have been around since earth was a hissing fiery clump of rock and lava, every change, every event, has occurred with volcanoes as an ever present background. Animals have evolved with this natural background and now, we humans are adding massive amounts of carbon dioxide and other gases which were previously locked under Earth’s crust into the mix of gases in the atmosphere.

    The Earth being a self contained system does not ‘magic’ away pollution – most human released gases remain in the atmosphere for a very long time – and react together.

    Of particular interest are three greenhouse agents: ozone that occurs in the lower atmosphere as a result of human pollution, methane that also primarily comes from human activities, and black carbon, tiny black particles that come from fires that absorb heat and interact with clouds. These three make up the number two, three, and four most important human-emitted greenhouse agents after carbon dioxide, which is also being measured.

    “Together they account for almost as much warming of the surface as carbon dioxide,” Wofsy explained to me.

    What sets them apart is how long they stay in the atmosphere. Unlike carbon dioxide which persists for over a century before being removed from the atmosphere, ozone in the lower atmosphere reacts with other gases within a year and methane sticks around for more than a decade. This means that reducing human emissions of these two gases could make a difference in the greenhouse effect in our lifetimes. But because they’re both reactive, their concentration in the atmosphere can vary a lot from place to place. Hence the importance of the up-close, around-the-world measurements made by the instruments on the ATom mission to get a handle on how much is there now and how it may change in the future.

    Instead of hunting for particular gases in particular pollution-prone regions, Wofsy and the science team want to measure everything they can, not just the greenhouse gases — from soot and remnant gases of fires burned on land, sulfur dioxide from volcanoes and coal-burning power plants, and industrial air pollutants. They are flying near some major land masses, but more importantly, they’re flying high over the ocean, the remotest and supposedly cleanest parts of the atmosphere to see how far humanity’s fingerprints on the air have traveled.

    The answer: pretty far. This February, above the Arctic, they saw traces of Asian pollution. Above both the Pacific and Atlantic, they saw traces of African fires.

    https://climate.nasa.gov/blog/2566/journey-through-the-atmosphere/

    https://climate.nasa.gov/system/content_pages/main_images/203_co2-graph-021116.jpeg

  24. Miriam English

    Guest, here is a bit on volcanoes and climate change from NASA’s Earth Observatory website:

    “On average, volcanoes emit between 130 and 230 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. By burning fossil fuels, people release in excess of 100 times more, about 26 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere every year (as of 2005). As a result, human activity overshadows any contribution volcanoes may have made to recent global warming.”
    https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GlobalWarming/page4.php

    Also on that site is a series of graphs that show the effect of various contributors to climate, including human burning of fossil fuels. The graph Dianna linked to says it all.

    NASA spends a lot of time measuring changes on Earth, from tracking water, to measuring ocean height and ocean temperature, to keeping an eye on fires, volcanoes, and floods, and watching the movement of pollution from human actions. Their work greatly embarrasses the climate change deniers in the Trump administration and is why Trump has been trying to kill off all NASA’s work observing our own planet. They want NASA to concentrate on other planets only.

    I wonder if climate change deniers just make up their figures. I never understood why people become so attached to their delusions that they will try to destroy the truth. Don’t they understand that by doing so, they don’t actually alter the truth, they just ensure that they stay wrong?

  25. johno

    Guest,
    Another DER FREDDY moment from camp denial.

  26. guest

    Thank you, Miriam and Diannart, for your information. It is not hard to find if one searches honestly. I find Eggleton’s book to be quite adequate to rebut the misinformation put out via the Murdoch propaganda machine and by Graham Lloyd. To be generous, we might say that Lloyd is mistaken, but we could also ‘suspect” that Lloyd is being deliberately devious. This is especially ironical when Murdoch media accuses the ABC of being biased or of lying.

    It is also devious for Murdoch to publish a letter from a reader which is clearly fallacious, so that they shanghai readers into supporting their fake news. The Murdoch machine would claim they are merely “balancing” the argument, whereas in fact there is no debate except on small details. Given the seriousness of the climate change reality, the Murdoch propagandists have a great deal to answer for.

  27. diannaart

    Guest

    The Murdoch machine or any other entity built upon an edifice of lies, will claim anyone with a different POV, let alone telling the truth, as liars – bait and switch, dog-whistles, projection, gas-lighting and more.

    We see it right here, when people will say anything rather than back down. Petty skirmishes on AIMN are one thing but when subterfuge is global and has global impact …

  28. guest

    diannaart,

    global denial lies in the hands of people with vested interests. So we have people associated with the fossil fuels industry – even people well educated and quite possibly aware of the truth, but they play tunes for the ones who pay the piper.

    We can see fossil fuel people who are unwilling to give up on resources which could become stranded assets and are keen to cash in as soon as possible, no matter what the environmental costs.

    Some of the deniers are affiliated with religious beliefs, such as in the bible belt of the USA.

    But denial is also a weapon employed by the conservatives in order to wedge the Left. It accompanies the issue of refugees and immigration. It does not matter whether what they say is false, it is a matter of political difference. It is based on the National Socialist Goebels doctrine, but applied by neo-con conservatives. The IPA is such a think tank.

    And there is big money behind the tactic of befuddling any discussion opposed to them. The US citizen interfering with Oz politics is happy to lose $20m per year in order to befuddle. They even quite happily befuddle people who support them. Their greatest asset is the ignorance of ordinary citizens who think finding out the truth is too hard..

  29. helvityni

    …where do those rocks fall from? Angry gods dropping them from heaven…?

  30. Miriam English

    Matters Not, yeah. Amazing, isn’t it.
    How can a senator in charge of technology (!!!!) spout such idiocy?

  31. Miriam English

    helvityni, Mo Brooks thinks the rocks from cliffs and the silt from rivers is sufficient to raise the height of the oceans. The guy must be a total moron.

  32. Matters Not

    While Mo may be a ‘total moron’, he is not alone. Indeed, in the United States (to use but one example) he has many who share that view, including esteemed computer scientists, medical doctors as well as legislators and so on. To describe them pejoratively as ‘total morons’ is both unhelpful and misleading. They are not! In so many other areas of human endeavor they can be outstanding.

    Neither are the millions who believe that there’s a single Supreme Being (or the many millions who believe in many such beings). Because the vast majority construct the world differently from me – whether it be in terms of metaphysics, epistemology or axiology or whatever – is something I accept. (Not like – just accept.)

    That they construct a different reality for all intents and purposes, seems evident. That many will be mugged by their misconstruction should also be apparent.

    Whether there is a physical reality, devoid of human description, is problematic. While I may think there is, I always entertain doubt. As for the social (non physical) reality, it seems to me it’s there for the constructing and reconstructing. Indeed I do it every other day.

  33. Miriam English

    Matters Not, you’re right. I shouldn’t call him a total moron. He’s a partial moron, as are those who agree with his delusions. The thing that makes his shortcomings worse than my friend’s spelling problems and my difficulties with numbers is that we try to be better, we ask for help, and open ourselves to improving. Stupid old Mo is deliberately deceiving himself and has no intention of finding out how right or wrong he really is.

    And you’re wrong. There are no constructed realities. As I said before, the fact that there is just the one reality is obvious — science and technology wouldn’t work otherwise, and magic would. Clearly there are no constructed realities.

  34. Matters Not

    ME, the whole religious world proceeds on a constructed reality. Has done so for many centuries and shows signs of persisting for many years to come. In short – there are constructed realities. People make them and people live by them. Even the sane ones.

    As for Mo – deliberating deceiving himself and – no intention of finding out how right or wrong – your choice of language continues to reveal much. But I will leave the analysis to …

  35. Miriam English

    The whole religious world proceeds on various delusions.

    Don’t try to redefine people’s beliefs as reality. It’s like calling a dolphin a fish. It might look like a fish to some people, but they’re simply wrong. A dolphin is a mammal. People’s beliefs are not any kind of reality. They may approach the real world, or they may be completely blind to it.

    Words matter. By calling someone’s belief a reality you pervert meaning. When someone believes something out of step with the real world, legitimising it by calling it “a reality” is not just stupid, it deforms language, makes communication more difficult, and helps to normalise delusion.

    I’m sorry your ability to adjust to reality causes you such frustration that you feel compelled to subtly insult me. Perhaps you’d be happier if you simply used words properly.

  36. diannaart

    Matters Not

    Miriam is correct – you use words to pervert meaning – something many people do; very intelligent ones who have vested interests in retaining their own perception of the world around them.

    What is your vested interest? To play Devil’s Advocate? Why? You enjoy getting away with a form of trolling?

    Religious and many of us construct our own perceptions of reality. Sometimes our perceptions are closer to encompassing all evidence, sometimes not so much.

    This includes deliberately not seeking further information/evidence of human impact upon environment – which, as Guest pointed out, is not difficult to do.

  37. guest

    Yes, we construct our world according to our experience. Remember the story about the blind committee sent to find out what an elephant looked like.

    There are scientists who speak of parallel universes. There are people who think the world was created 6000 years ago, a fact for them proven by tracing back generations in the Bible. Others looked at the layers of rocks and earth and the presence of fossils and decided the Earth is much older.

    Stories are told about the sun god travelling across the sky. Some talk of gods visiting the Earth and intermingling with humans. There are those who believe they will see God in Heaven after death. Others say only the chosen 144,000 will achieve that sure and certain “promise”.

    A couple of the four Gospel writers tell us Jesus was seen when he came out of the tomb and rose up bodily into Heaven. So where is Jesus now? Where is heaven? Where is the hell where unrepentant gays are supposed to go?

    Some christian ministers do not believe Jesus was divine. There are parishioners who are not interested in the theology, but attend church as a social occasion, and they like the music and the comforting words.

    What is annoying is when religion, which has been proven to be not always as good as it claims, dictates to others and seeks special concessions.

    There is a squabble going on about the establishing a of Bachelor of Western Civilisation in one of our universities. Associated with that push is John Howard who pushed for more History in schools, but not that Black Armband version – which tells us what kind of Western Civilisation course he supports.

    But my reading of European History is of a horror story in the dealings between European countries and in their dealings with other countries in the European quest for empires.

    Even the Great Books the Western Wold program (one possible model for Howard) from Chicago in its later years in the 1990s began to pay more attention to the reality of other civilisations. The blinkers were coming off.

    One only has to see what happens when fanatics, political and religious and economic, set out to rule the world in order to make them and their adherents “Great”! Alexander the Great spawned Napoleon and Hitler. Great Britain ruled the seas. Trump making America great again.

    Remember Ozymandias!

  38. Miriam English

    Guest, I agree with much of what you say, but one point of disagreement: we don’t actually construct our world, we construct beliefs — mental representations that merely stand for the real world. The point about the story of the blind men and the elephant is that they were all mistaken due to their limited perception; as a result their beliefs fell far short of the true reality.

    As for those tyrants and other politicians too big for their britches, yes, remember Ozymandias.
    They don’t understand the advice given to an ancient Persian king by his wise men: “This too, will pass.”

    I posted an item this morning of an asteroid that fell to Earth last Saturday 2nd of June. As it was only about the size of a small car, it disintegrated in the atmosphere over Botswana, Africa, in a bright fireball. Because it was so small it was first detected at almost the distance of the Moon’s orbit, when it was about 6 hours away. When it entered Earth’s atmosphere it was travelling about 17km per second. It lit up the evening and was witnessed by many people, and at least one video camera:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnBvSNYy-EY
    This was a small asteroid, but much bigger ones are out there. Trump and the Republicans keep trying to cut the funding for NASA. We could easily go the way of the dinosaurs. We’ll get much more than 6 hour’s warning on a larger, kilometer-sized asteroid, but there’s seriously little we could do about it anyway, as things stand currently.

  39. Paul

    I heard that the Trumpeters want to cut NASA funding not because of asteroid tracking or other outward looking science but because of NASA’s earth-focussed observations and research which shows in extraordinary detail what we are doing down here re environmental degradation and climate change impact….

  40. Miriam English

    Paul, you’re right. That is the reason the Conservatives are trying to strip NASA of funding. Unfortunately that will also impact many other NASA functions too, including the watch for dangerous asteroids.

    It is bizarre that deniers become so attached to a lie that they will go to great lengths to stop others learning the truth. That’s something I never understood. Surely they would prefer to be correct. But no. Instead they cling more tightly to their error. What possesses them to ensure that they remain wrong? Weird.

  41. johno

    I’m thinking the Trumpster will still spend shitloads on space, just not climate change research.

  42. Miriam English

    johno, Trump says he will, but considering his passion for slashing budgets, I doubt it.

    Trump was bankrolled by Robert Mercer (Cambridge Analytics), who hates all government expenditure. Bannon, who was previously Trump’s right-hand man was adamant that all government spending be reduced to a vanishingly small amount. Trump hasn’t appointed anybody to the position of head of Science and Technology, so a 31 year old politics graduate, Michael Kratsios, is the default head. He previously was chief of staff to Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley billionaire and Trump ally and critic of government spending.

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