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How has fake news become such a problem

By I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, as have many people, I expect. The usual reaction is to blame the Russians for spreading it. And while the Russians are clearly culpable, there is much more to it. It should be easy to ignore fake news because it should be obvious that it’s wrong, but that isn’t the case anymore. Why not?

Unfortunately there are now so many sources of fake news that people have great difficulty sorting the reality from the bullshit. The right-wing media have a lot to answer for here. By tapping into and propagating conspiracy theories and outright lies they’ve created a fertile ground for fake news to spread. Less polarised media are not entirely blame-free either. Their unwillingness to take on and expose the lies for what they are has helped those lies to spread unchecked.

The fossil fuel companies, spearheaded by that nadir of morality, ExxonMobil, have also worked to spread disinformation. They’ve created an incredibly dangerous distrust of science which I expect will blow up in their faces soon, as they themselves are founded upon technology and require science in order to operate.

Most of the wealthiest companies and individuals routinely construct elaborate lies about their income so as to evade paying their fair share of tax, or any tax at all — tax that would help support the country that lets them make all that money. They have become the ultimate parasites.

The Western Intelligence community has also undermined truth and trust by repeatedly lying about many, many things. For decades they’ve denied that they have been spying upon everybody, but were exposed by Edward Snowden who is running for his life as reward for his heroism. They’ve been routinely lying about wars, such the entirely faked up reasons for the Iraq invasion, and now Syria in which we’re led to believe that we are the good guys fighting evilly brutal ISIS, when it turns out we are the bad guys who have set up ISIS as a tool to overthrow the democratically elected government of Syria. There are many others, such as lying about the Gulf of Tonkin so USA, and then we, could get into the Vietnam War, lying about bombing raids on our ally Cambodia (which triggered Pol Pot’s murderous spree), USA lying about successive democratically elected governments in South America so that they could be brutally destroyed. No wonder people distrust our spooks and military.

Our politicians deserve special mention as perhaps the most untrustworthy pack of liars in Australia’s history. Tony Abbott really brought this home with his ability to constantly lie, apparently without shame. Although, to be fair, he was to some degree emulating his hero John Howard, also an unmitigated liar, who is perhaps the only Australian politician to have been called a “lying little rodent” by his own party. Greg Hunt also ushered in a new era of lies, straightfacedly lying day after day when he was Minister for the Environment. Malcolm Turnbull constantly uses spin and lies for everything from promising not to throw money away on Adani’s Carmichael mine, to the Centrelink debacle, to the fake “debt crisis” (which paradoxically seems to be less important as it gets bigger), to blaming renewable energy for the blackouts in South Australia. Both the main parties collaborated in the lies about refugees, calling them “illegal” and compounding lies with more lies to rationalise torturing innocent men, women, and children. And then there are the constant, continuing problems of so many politicians inappropriately blowing vast amounts of taxpayer money on themselves and their pathetic lies in covering up. Their lies are so numerous and so common that it is difficult to keep track of them all. In the USA Trump is their Tony Abbott, lying with an ease that must make Abbott positively green with envy. In Britain the shallow, lying politicians who tried to manipulate the public saw it all unexpectedly come undone with BREXIT.

Politicians and other powerful people are fond of giving Orwellian names to things, so that they sound like they are the opposite of what they really are. USA is infamous for this kind of thing, for instance “Citizens United” actually crushed citizen-based politics. (I’m sure people in the comments will remind me of similarly disguised names of Australian projects. I know they exist, but can’t think of them just now.) Money spent supposedly to save the reef went instead to cane farmers, who are one of its worst enemies (ostensibly the money was to reduce their pollution of the waterways, but as far as I know, it was completely unregulated and could have been spent on Chrissy pressies for their kids).

So, with all these lies from so many directions, is it any surprise that the new wave of fake news has found such fertile soil in which to grow? A large part of the population doesn’t believe any of the standard sources of information anymore. People can’t be blamed for that. The normal sources genuinely aren’t trustworthy. It’s like the story of the little boy who cried wolf, but now played out on a world stage.

How can it be fixed? Simple. They have to stop lying. Of course that’s not so easy — many of those mentioned above are completely addicted to their lies. They have no intention of stopping. So I ask again, how can it be fixed? I guess we have to stop their lies. We have to show them that their lies have real consequences.

 

91 comments

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  1. Phil

    Fair comment Miriam. The consequences of the unmitigated lying by politicians are well and truly here for all to see – loss of trust in the institutions that underpin our democracy, widespread contempt for politicians of all persuasions, widespread anger at the power of corporate lobbies to corrupt puppet politicians. But there just might be some upsides to this as well. For example, schools, astute parents and others just might start to teach and promote critical and reflective thought as a way to help people see that they need not be victims of the lies and propaganda (advertising inc) all around them.

    People who have lost faith in the pillars that support their culture might start to develop their own institutions from the bottom up. The two party system of our politics might give way to multi-party system. People are more likely to become emboldened and join activist groups involving civil disobedience and more as is beginning now with resistance to the Adani Galilee basin mine and all who are associated with it.

    I share the view of the majority that a commonwealth ICAC body would help stem the rising tide of corruption that is eating out our corporate and political system from the inside – but that would be at best a temporary top down measure. We need the sort of change that system collapse triggers and I think that is on the near horizon as war threatens to engulf us all, unmitigated climate change bites, resource depletion bites, and a new wave of forced migrations floods the west.

  2. Miriam English

    Phil, good points. I hope your last sentence doesn’t come about though.

    I especially like what you said all the lies lies bringing about about a movement to teach critical thinking. I remember when I was a kid (half a century ago) teachers alerted us to the lies in advertisements. It was part of our standard English lessons. Maybe the kids of the future will become immune to the big liars the way I became immune to advertisements. Let’s hope so.

  3. Matters Not

    Perhaps a useful essay:

    Ernest Hemingway who when asked if there were one quality needed, above all others, to be a good writer, replied, “Yes, a built-in, shock-proof, crap detector.”

    As I see it, the best things schools can do for kids is to help them learn how to distinguish useful talk from bullshit. I will ask only that you agree that every day in almost every way people are exposed to more bullshit than it is healthy for them to endure, and that if we can help them to recognize this fact, they might turn away from it and toward language that might do them some earthly good.

    … The invention of new and various kinds of communication has given a voice and an audience to many people whose opinions would otherwise not be solicited, and who, in fact, have little else but verbal excrement to contribute to public issues. Many of these people are entertainers. The press and air waves are filled with the featured and prime-time statements from people who are in no position to render informed judgments on what they are talking about and yet render them with elan and, above all, sincerity. Inanity, then, is ignorance presented in the cloak of sincerity.

    … Each person’s crap-detector is embedded in their value system; if you want to teach the art of crap-detecting, you must help students become aware of their values

    https://criticalsnips.wordpress.com/2007/07/22/neil-postman-bullshit-and-the-art-of-crap-detection/

  4. Roswell

    A wonderful read, Miriam. As soon as I saw who the author was I just knew it’d be something special.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but is this your first article?

  5. Kaye Lee

    I rather like “Taskforce Integrity” which “identifies people who deliberately withhold or provide false information to claim welfare payments.”

    Sadly investigating politicians who provide false information to claim entitlements is outside their purview.

  6. Chris Ogilvie

    Regulate Print and Broadcasting licences – Bullshit and political ties must result in licence suspension.
    Remember people trust their favorite news presenter (their crap detector shields are down) Networks know and take advantage
    of this they omit important information and sell the political party they’re aligned with propaganda.

  7. Jexpat

    “They have to stop lying. Of course that’s not so easy — many of those mentioned above are completely addicted to their lies. They have no intention of stopping.”

    Especially. when it’s become so profitable to do so (this in addition to ideological agendas).

    The Washington Post is (and has for years been) one of the more egregious offenders, and a representative ecample of what’s driving this dyfunctional phenomonen:

    WashPost Is Richly Rewarded for False News About Russia Threat While Public Is Deceived

    “…while these debacles are embarrassing for the paper, they are also richly rewarding. That’s because journalists — including those at the Post — aggressively hype and promote the original, sensationalistic false stories, ensuring that they go viral, generating massive traffic for the Post (the paper’s executive editor, Marty Baron, recently boasted about how profitable the paper has become).

    After spreading the falsehoods far and wide, raising fear levels and manipulating U.S. political discourse in the process, journalists who spread the false claims subsequently note the retraction or corrections only in the most muted way possible, and often not at all. As a result, only a tiny fraction of people who were exposed to the original false story end up learning of the retractions.

    Baron himself, editorial leader of the Post, is a perfect case study in this irresponsible tactic. It was Baron who went to Twitter on the evening of November 24 to announce the Post’s exposé of the enormous reach of Russia’s fake news operation (a blacklist that included many independent progressive organisations in the US) – based on what he heralded as the findings of “independent researchers.” Baron’s tweet went all over the place; to date, it has been re-tweeted more than 3,000 times, including by many journalists with their own large followings.

    Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting also notes how media sycophants try to insulate outright liars from criticism, due to their 'status' as so called "tradtional" media "they can't by definition be 'fake news.": WaPo Spreading Own Falsehoods Shows Real Power of Fake News. Lewis Carroll (or Franz Kafka) would certainly appreciate the argument.

    So, while objective regulatory methods (similar to the old Fairness Doctrine in the US) are should certainly be called for- by all sides, the real trick to curtailing fake news would be to take the profit out of it.

  8. Miriam English

    Sorry I was away for a bit. Phone call followed by an attempt at a web-conference. I’ll continue that later.

    Matters Not, thanks for the link to the Neil Postman essay.

    Roswell, thanks. It’s kinda my second. The first was a short story, actually a chapter out of my book “Prescription”. The chapter was pretty-much a standalone piece about refugees. I’m not sure where it is on AIMN, but it is here on my site:
    http://miriam-english.org/stories/books/prescription/16-nations.html

    Kaye, that’s a nice one. “Taskforce Integrity” which itself has no integrity.

    Chris, I’ve noticed the ABC has shifted its language subtly, altering the way people hear the news. It saddens me. I don’t think regulating print and broadcasting licenses would do much to help with that, though it might get rid of the most egregious examples of bias.

    Chapters 13 and 14 of my free ebook Prescription offered two possible technological solutions to the constant flood of lies. Both unfortunately are still just out of reach. The first is an AI that annotates all media with notes alerting the audience to false statements, appeals to emotion, false equivalences, and so on (I like this and have used this idea in some of my other stories). The second uses a sophisticated robotic bug to get the drop on powerful people. I expect both will be available in the next several years.

    Best would be a concerted effort by teachers and parents to get kids to recognise the ways lies can slip under the radar. They could change the world.

  9. Miriam English

    Jexpat, good point regarding the profitability of fake news ensuring it continues. As you say, it needs to be made unprofitable.

  10. king1394

    The demand for ‘balance’ also encourages fake news. When any issue arises there now must be at least two commentators, one of whom disputes whatever the other has said, or at least interprets the matter in a substantially different fashion. They cannot all be telling the truth

  11. king1394

    The concept of balanced reporting has also opened the door to fakery. When an opposing view is sought for every issue, and given equal weight, one of those views must be false or in some way flawed. For the average person watching a news broadcast it is typical to have expert A with one view, alternative expert (sometimes not expert in the same subject) putting an alternative view, followed by someone else quite irrelevant to the issue who casts aspersions on one or the other previous views. Then some advertisements, then a new story and we start again.
    While photographs and film may seem factual, it is quite easy to mislabel or misinterpret the film being shown. We are dependent on the media to tell us who are the people in the film and what it is they are doing.
    Phillip Knightley’s book ‘The First Casualty’ studies the problem of what we now call fake news in various conflicts since the Boer War.
    And Mark Twain told us some hundred years ago that the truth does not often stand in the way of a good story

  12. Steve Laing

    I’d like journalists who work for credited media organisations to be licensed, in the same way other professionals such as doctors, lawyers or pharmacists are. If they are caught lying, or spreading untruths, they are barred and cannot be published on those credited organisations, who would also be fined and potentially suspended. Currently the only thing that keeps Murdoch in check is when advertisers threaten to suspend their business – given this is their main source of revenue – but they are often equally duplicitous, hence an external accreditation is required. If it doesn’t hit their hip pocket, they won’t change.

  13. Davdi Bruce

    I am surprised we don’t use the term “propaganda” any more?
    Propaganda if it is issued by “the government” and fake news if it is issued against “the government”?

  14. Jexpat

    Mirriam:

    Part of the key to taking the profitability out of it will be restoring an ethic of honesty, responsibility and integrity to the population at large. That would entail promotion similar to a public health campaign. Which, in a way, it is.

    One of the uglier problems that underlies the fake news epidemic is an increased willingness- even an eagerness to be lied to, provided that such information fed into people’s own confirmation biases.

    The biggest tragedy of 2016 is how far this has bled into the many of those (who at east purport to be) on the left of the spectrum. For example, there was a meme endlessly repeated by legions of Clintonites- some paid, others just piling on, that Dr. Jill Stein was “an anti-vaxxer.”

    This was and is wholly false, and derived from a public statement wherein Stein noted that the root causes of most cases of vaccine avoidance stemmed from a distrust of the pharmaceutical industry and lack of faith in captured government regulatory systems.

    This was nigh impossible to discuss rationally with most individuals in the Clinton camp. They were determined to believe what they’d been told- and told to propagate. Showing them the actual statement, and going through it line by line, made no difference. Nor did showing them peer reviewed studies of responses compiled from vaccine avoiding parents.

    Once upon a time, and not so long ago, most of these folks (including several I know personally) took pride in being “part of the reality based community.” They found dishonesty deplorable. That ethic, and that pride needs to be restored before we can adequately curtail the profits and thereby hold offending ‘journalists.’ editors and publications accountable for their behavior.

  15. Kyran

    This may sound kind of abstract, but “a movement to teach critical thinking” is sort of like saying “we need better BS Meters”.

    “Roswell, thanks. It’s kinda my second. The first was a short story, actually a chapter out of my book “Prescription”. The chapter was pretty-much a standalone piece about refugees.”
    When that first article was posted, my younger lad was trying to understand three books, through comprehension. Ishiguro’s ‘Never let me go’, Jackson’s ‘Elli’ and Amsterdam’s ‘Things we didn’t see coming’. Having read all of the books, in the belief he had, it was your first article, Ms English, that he actually read. The whole way through. His comment that “artificial intelligence is brilliant” was qualified by “when it is empathetic”. I doubt he has ever read any of the book’s, the whole way through. I know he is capable of critical thinking, as he criticizes me all the time.
    Fake news is not a new phenomenon, it’s merely a reinvention of propaganda. Teaching our kid’s to think critically, rather than cynically, may be our last hope.
    Thank you Ms English. Take care

  16. Greg Edwards

    I have to agree with Phil’s comment here. What we are seeing in Fake News is social media being used on a global scale to Gaslight society; to have us believe whatever pack of lies will best suit our ‘ruling class’.

    It is natural, unfortunately, that people who suffer from the mental disability of narcissism will ‘succeed’ in society to become the ones who rule us politically and via corporate dominance; They feel no remorse or compunction about lying, swindling, cheating or stealing from others in order to gain the power and wealth that enables them to continue doing so ever more effectively.

    If it profits Putin & Trump and the Chinese leaders to take us to war again they will happily do so – after all, they are unlikely to participate or suffer; its we whom they send in to man the trenches. (I know, probably no trenches this time). The onset of climate change, sea level rise and resources depletion, and the resultant mass population relocations to an ever decreasing habitable and arable land area will immensely compound the problems that we have brought upon our civilisation by allowing the mentally disabled narcissists to run the joint.

  17. Miriam English

    king1394, quite right, that “balanced” reporting is a godsend to those who would spread fake news. It’s worked really well for those spreading climate change denial.

    Nowadays the ability to “photoshop” photographs or even digitally create them from scratch is extraordinary. I use Blender (a free 3D modeling and video editing program) which lets me matchmove a 3D model with some actual video footage, so I could make a video of a section of my garden, walking around it, then using a 3D model of a dragon in Blender I could match it to the video so that the dragon would appear to be sitting in the garden. If it had metallic scales I can even have it reflect the environment. This software is free, so the only barrier to this is time, skill, and intelligence. Not long ago I saw an amazing video starring brilliant young dancer David Elsewhere. His face was digitally replaced with Gene Kelly’s doing “Singing in the Rain”, but Elsewhere’s dancing kicked it up a notch.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HT8ZIfPAI4A

    So seeing is no longer believing.

  18. Miriam English

    Steve Laing, you may have put your finger on one of the most practical solutions: get the journalists themselves to form an accreditation organisation. This would protect the entire industry from the danger falsehoods present to their livelihood.

  19. Miriam English

    Davdi Bruce, I use the term “propaganda” a lot. I think it is a very appropriate term. I comes from the Catholic Church and was originally their own respectable term for their teachings. That makes me smile every time I think of it.

  20. Miriam English

    Jexpat, excellent point, that truth should be akin to public health. Lies can truly hurt people’s health. Anti-vaxxers are a great example.

    I have a friend and neighbor who believes the craziest things, including all kinds of nutty conspiracy theories including that vaccines are evil, that chemtrails are a real thing, that raw milk can prevent cancer — way out there stuff. He isn’t stupid or crazy. He’s a successful architect and a lovely person. But gee whiz, he is well and truly suckered by every flim-flam man that comes along.

  21. Deanna Jones

    Bravo, Miriam. This came up on my Facebook feed and when I saw the name of the author I came straight over.

    The current social order is based on ‘rule by consensus’ which necessarily relies on the smoke and mirrors routine.

  22. Miriam English

    Kyran, thanks for the feedback. A number of my stories emphasise that point that Artificial Intelligence (AI) must love us if it is to be much use to us. Without that the military and spooks can use it to wage a much more dangerous war upon us. If they have selfless devotion to us AIs could lift us to heights we could never reach on our own.

    Actually, I don’t believe empathy is entirely necessary, just great intelligence. I think any being with great intelligence will see the logic of enhancing life and other intelligence. In my story Selena City I made that point through an AI that had been deliberately built without empathy so that it could kill people, however a person in the story carefully explains to it the logic of something I call natural morality (not quite the same as that which Wikipedia defines) and the AI then prefers to help people. Empathy isn’t necessarily the protection we might think — the slaveowners who whipped black people half to death had plenty of empathy, but were able to limit it.

    Sam Harris made the point recently that empathy is rather spotty protection; that compassion is much better. I half agree. I’d like AIs to have the adoration for humans that domestic dogs do.

    I’ve had a deep fascination with AI since I was a child, long before the era of personal computers.

    True AI is surprisingly close. Numenta have produced astonishing AI designs which they have open-sourced so anybody can download and improve upon. The only expectation is that any improvements be contributed back. Currently their AI doesn’t have emotion or attention in the normal sense, so isn’t conscious, but they’re only a few small breakthroughs away from those things.

    My feeling is that consciousness is not the special thing most people think it is. I have good reasons for thinking that almost all animals with a centralised brain have consciousness. I think it’s an efficiency trick that lets a brain do more with less and that this is why you can only think one thing at a time.

  23. Miriam English

    Deanna Jones, thanks. 🙂

    The idea of consensus can work really well, but it requires diversity of input. When people conform to any particular view it tends to go nuts. This is why democracy, for all its failings is the only system that can work well. It’s also why our law forcing people to vote is much better than the USA’s optional voting. It’s also why both systems fail miserably when we have scum like Murdoch reducing most of our diversity to a single wrong view.

    James Surowiecki explains it really well in his wonderful book The Wisdom of Crowds. I’ve uploaded to my site the best talk he’s given on the topic because it’s no longer on the net.

  24. Robert G. Shaw

    Miriam, I’m coming at your essay from here; I’m reading it from here –

    The Buzzfeed release the other day sought to gain political and ideological purchase via the release of an unverified, and by its own admission, a fundamentally flawed, story.

    The consequences of that release are manifold, and to my mind, profound.
    First, in seeking a scoop patently beyond its investigative capabilities it sought to subsequently rationalise with the ludicrous “so that Americans can make up their own minds…..”.

    Which to me means, translated: “Hey guys, you wanna work this f*cker out?”
    Can anyone here, any serious and committed reader of news, politics, world affairs, ideology, history, philosophy, morality, ethics, and society, tell me if they’ve read anything more preposterous?
    I think that this episode and this rationale will be written about for years to come. I certainly hope so.
    (More on that should anyone be interested).

    Second, it provided Trump a space in which he relishes and quite clearly commands (have we really forgotten his pre-election strategy, so quickly?) – media controversy. Rather than watching him self-immolate at his first press conference; all stutter, and bad sentence construction, incompetent, buffoonish and boorish, nervous, and faltering, cowered by the occasion, we saw him puff at the podium and to the horror of everyone, watch him draw a new line in the sand.
    For the first time in my memory I witnessed a (presidential) press conference where the speaker abandoned all conformity and propriety and constructed before my very eyes a kind of new and raw rule.

    “I’ll answer what I want, thank you very much”
    ‘F*ck you’
    ‘Next’
    ‘You’re scum’
    ‘You’re fake news’

    Imagine that for one moment. Ponder on that one simple and incredible development: Trump, the self-crowned Caesar of ‘fake news’, now branding others with the slur!
    And getting away with it!
    Openly, crudely, unashamedly.
    His chutzpah stunned the press gallery into light nervous tittering, even soft applause, as they let one of their own, CNN’s Acosta, be hung out to dry lest they too suffer the same fate. What could possibly be worse for a media outlet than to be excluded and publicly shamed, by the president-elect no less?
    It was a slow playing nightmare and it took them (the press gallery) till the end of the conference to realised what had just happened.
    He’d turned on them all, drawing this new line and declaring it, as president-elect, the new boundary of conversation, the new frontier of possible and future engagement. They’d all imagined, erroneously it turned out, that Trump would stand before them as type: inarticulate and imprudent.
    But he did not. He took control.
    Imagine that, Trump who should have be skewered and slow roasted on the ‘post truth’ flames he’d furiously stoked, was now the one turning the crank!
    Who needs CNN, ABC, CBS et al, when you’ve got twitter and your own personal Pravda, Breitbart, to interpret and disseminate?
    Even before he’s inaugurated Trump has pulled off something I had imagined near impossible – he’s marginalized the media. He beat them with the instruments they’d constructed and wielded for so long, on so many occasions, and so ferociously, and unethically, and deceitfully.
    It was the strangest thing I’d seen in quite some time. Utterly beguiling.

    Finally, and most importantly – the direst political consequence of Buzzfeed’s lunacy – confusion.
    To my mind, and aside from the ethical idiocy of Smith’s rationale, the single most substantial effect of the dossier release was the conflation of the very real and legitimate questions as to Trumps relationship with the Russians (whatever they may be, and still unproofed) with the prurient aspects of “bed wetting”. Buzzfeed coalesced the possible and important with the unverified and lewd. It blurred the line between news and gossip, and planted the robust and vigourous seed of distraction, of interference, interruption, amusement, disorder, prank, annoyance, frivolity, and merriment.

    Trump, lucky bastard that he is, thanks them for that conflation. Thanks them over, and over, and over again.
    And that’s that.

    An aside, of sorts.
    This morning i noticed one consequence of his new post press conference mood: he’s reignited his attacks on Clinton. Over the past few weeks he’d backpedalled his anger towards her. A spirit of consolation to the loser, his (out)rage soothed by a propitious graciousness.
    Not anymore.
    Initially I had the image of his presidency as taking the form of an angry riderless steed.
    Now I’m not so sure about the ‘riderless’ bit.
    Anyway, I’m kinda looking forward to it all. This saddle we’re sitting in is getting more comfortable by the day.

    To Miriam, and to her article: to me that’s the real danger of fake news. Not the fictitious nature of the story; we can all source multiple outlets and glean some kind of credible scenario. No, the real danger is that it gives those, like Trump in this case, a way out and a weapon.
    Buzzfeed, by releasing an unverified story, gave Trump that.
    It had decided in a moment of pure tenage intoxication to sidle next to his “Obama was born on the moon”. And now no one can tell the difference.
    That’s the damage of the dossier leak: that no one can tell the difference between the real and the fake.

    There is of course only one way out of this quagmire, though it may take some time: source, reference, proof, support, confirm in triplicate everything about the man.
    Everything.
    Do not utter a syllable without having a witness standing next to 2 judges and 3 affadavits . Without that you’re a goner – we saw that the other day.

    But we’ll see how that turns out.
    I’m not holding my breath.

    Miriam, people lie. There’s nothing remarkable about that. Those on the Left who cite the principles of fairness, equality, and charity, also lie in the service of their ideology (Jexpat mentioned WP. CNN and the others are not far behind). There are no surprises about that either.
    Buzzfeed, a pitiful clickbait player of such monumentally important stories such as “Build A Burger And We’ll Tell You Where You’ll Meet The Love Of Your Life, Your burger preferences say a lot more than you think” and “This Lesbian YouTuber Silenced Haters Who Said She Was “Too Masculine” To Be Pregnant” (I haven’t made those up) just f*cked it all it up for any serious investigative journalism because it handed Trump/the Conservatives an immensely powerful political cudgel.
    If anyone thinks that he’s going to put that down anytime soon then they best go and entertain themselves with the latest Buzzfeed scoop – “Ryan Gosling Watching His Young Self Dance Is The Most Adorably Awkward Thing You’ll See Today”
    and ponder the consequences of their own suicidal bias.

    The first test of Trump and the Left, and the media, failed.
    A disgraceful turn of events. A juvenile play by Buzzfeed and its cohorts, rightfully and brutally punished.
    I have little sympathy for such political naivety. No one on the Left should have sympathy.

    Finally, a digression: to the Hanson article of last week here on the AIM.
    Anyone thinking that the mood of disenfranchisement, of neglect and disappointment, of anger and self-righteousness, of bitterness and recrimination, coming our way from both Europe and the US, won’t spread here like contagion, just isn’t thinking.

  25. silkworm

    “… tax that would help support the country that lets them make all that money…”

    Again, another AIMN writer falls into the trap of promoting the myth that taxes pay for government spending. Taxes do not pay for anything. Taxes follow spending, not vice versa.

    Read up on Fraud #1 here:

    http://moslereconomics.com/wp-content/powerpoints/7DIF.pdf

  26. Kyran

    “Good judgement is the result of experience and experience the result of bad judgement.”
    Mark Twain, I think.
    Imagine transposing ‘intelligence’ for ‘judgement’. If either one was artificial, intelligence or judgement, would it lessen the lesson of experience? Without empathy, intelligence and judgement are without qualification. Most importantly, they are without standard, without justification.
    This was going to be a much longer post. Then Mr Shaw posted.
    “Teaching our kid’s to think critically, rather than cynically, may be our last hope.”
    Take care

  27. Roswell

    silkworm, a question for you if I may. If the government stopped collecting taxes, how will they have money to spend?

    (Please don’t ask me to read the link as I am pressed for time. Just a simple answer will suffice).

  28. silkworm

    Government creates money in two ways – issuing bonds (borrowing), or spending, which creates money ex nihilo. Taxation does not create money; it removes money from the private sphere, basically removing that which the government has put into the private sphere by spending. However, the government still needs to tax the private sphere – progressively and fairly, in my opinion. If money is not removed at a high enough rate, inflation will occur.

    Even if the government stopped collecting taxes, they could never run out of money, as they are the sovereign currency issuer. They simply spend it into existence.

    Please read the link – at a later time.

  29. Roswell

    Thanks silky. I’ll read it later, for sure.

  30. Miriam English

    Robert, there is only so much anybody can do to verify information gained by spies from sources who don’t want to suffer repercussions. That’s just part of the territory. Much has to depend upon the reputation of the author of such a report and how the general background information holds together.

    Christopher Steele, the former MI6 intelligence officer and Russia expert has an extremely good reputation among those who know him. Absolutely nobody describes him as a flake or someone with an axe to grind.

    Reading the report itself is interesting as it hangs together very well, and mentions people, places, dates, and techniques that are sufficiently substantial that it alarmed the FBI and CIA. The fact that it worried the FBI is especially noteworthy as they’re extremely conservative and rather protective of Trump (hence the release of the non-investigation non-news by Director of the FBI, James Comey, just before the election, putting the final boot into Hillary Clinton’s chances).

    I think Trump taking control of the press gallery is just him playing his reality TV game. I think you’re overreacting exactly the way Trump would hope. Nobody has any respect for him. Let him ban all the real news outlets from attending or asking questions. He’ll regret it more than they will in the long run.

  31. Miriam English

    silkworm, if companies get away without paying taxes and the government compensates by printing more money then money builds up in the system and you end up with inflation.

  32. Miriam English

    Kyran, Without empathy, intelligence and judgement are without qualification. Most importantly, they are without standard, without justification.

    What about cats? They lack empathy, but they function just fine. Psychopaths function well enough too. Perhaps you’re elevating empathy to a higher level than it deserves.

    I love empathy (except when it hurts me if I see a person or animal suffering), but I consider it a useful social tool rather than something that confers meaning. I can imagine living without it. I would have certain blindspots in having difficulty understanding others’ emotions, but life would be fine. It might even be freeing. I wouldn’t have to squirm remembering stupid things I’ve said or done or regretting when I’ve accidentally hurt someone. I don’t think it would make life meaningless.

    Beyond everything else I value and enjoy learning. I don’t imagine that would change. I’m a bit of a hermit and don’t particularly enjoy socialising with people because I always feel so awkward. Being psychopathic would be a real boon there as I wouldn’t feel uneasy around people anymore.

    I strongly agee with your final sentence, “Teaching our kids to think critically, rather than cynically, may be our last hope.” Although I see it more as very important rather than our last hope.

    Thanks for the thoughts. And thanks to your son. 🙂

  33. Florence nee Fedup

    It is simple. We will learn to question all that we read aand what is said. One quickly learns not to trust liars of any type.

    Thankfully that we now have the web wherte it is easy to do so,

  34. Ricardo29

    Should AI, in its developmrntal phases be subjected to the first law of robotics which, i think, prevented robots from doing any harm to a human? I worry about the potential for AI to reach a point where it not only matches but becomes superior to the best human intelligence. Why? In cant answer that its just a gut feeling of fear.

    And on fake news, does the latest fesr campaign about Australia facing a gas shortage, promoted by the industry which sells it all overseas, unless we stop our opposition to fracking etc., constitute fake news?

  35. economicreform

    Party politics is organised lying.

  36. michael lacey

    Intelligence agencies are not immune from fake news injection into the general community! They have done it in the past and I am sure will continue spreading convenient information or omitting it at their discretion! Journalists were embedded in Iraq, it does not take that long to understand why, as the narrative had to be controlled! Fake news was spewed out of Syria and no western journalists were actually at ground zero! We get blow-back from all this in that people stop assessing the mainstream banter and look elsewhere!

  37. Miriam English

    Ricardo29, I think it’s no coincidence that as we become smarter we are also becoming more moral and less violent. I can’t prove it, though there are some tantalising indications that this is so. During the 60s, 70s, and 80s there was an anomalous uptick in violence. This puzzled researchers who have seen that violence has been gradually declining for hundreds of years. It turns out that it was lead in petrol. It reduced the intelligence of kids who grew up to have less control over their impulses and showed more violence.

    I think that an AI that exceeds us in intelligence is more than likely to exceed us in compassion and morality. However I don’t think we should tempt fate we should do everything we can to ban the use of AIs by the military and by spooks. They are too dangerous.

    Personally I look forward to having a mental partner in an AI who can help me explore ideas in the same way a car or bicycle or aeroplane can help my body explore new physical spaces.

    Yes, I think the gas shortage story is propaganda. I’m actually hoping for a gas shortage to encourage people to move on to renewable solutions.

  38. Miriam English

    economicreform, not always. Political parties can operate on truthful principles, and they sometimes do.

  39. Miriam English

    michael lacey, of course, yes. Intelligence agencies are some of the worst offenders (as I said in the article), but if you’re referring to the Trump Intelligence Report, that was by an ex-Intelligence officer with an excellent reputation who quit MI6 to start up his own private company. He was commissioned to investigate Trump, first by Republicans, I believe, then by Democrats. After he delivered the result, completing his contract, he was so disturbed by what he’d found about Trump that he kept investigating and handed the result to the FBI who were freaked out because it looks like Trump had been cultivated by Russia for the past 5 years.
    https://www.ft.com/content/47244462-d8e1-11e6-944b-e7eb37a6aa8e

  40. kerri

    Australians For Honest Politics?
    Miriam, I remember the good old days of Clear Thinking as a part of HSC English!
    I loved it!! Topped my school in HSC English probably through pretty good CT scores.
    A set of news articles with a set of questions to draw your attention to the slanted writing and false truths.
    Why on earth was it ever abandoned?
    Far more a life skill than Anything by Shakespeare!
    Also Miriam have you watched Black Mirror on Netflix? It explores futuristic societies where life is much the same but for electronic human enhancing devices. Each episode explores a different aspect of future cybernetics and the effect of this on human relationships.
    Also each episode is a stand alone so watch in any order.
    Also in keeping with current scientific thinking regarding brain plasticity it is my opinion the brain has plenty of spare parts! Many people who have lost substantial portions of the brain relearn and perform normally using grey matter from the rest of the brain.

  41. Matters Not

    Robert G. Shaw re:

    the mood of disenfranchisement … coming our way … won’t spread here like contagion, just isn’t thinking

    Can only agree. Indeed the ‘rot’ is already evident big time – in Queensland at least. The defection of Steve Dickson, the LNP Member for Buderim, is ringing alarm bells across the political spectrum. That Buderim, a rusted on LNP ‘heartland’ could host a PHON convert is almost beyond belief. Take the time to look at the demographics, voting trends and the like. Labor couldn’t win if it was a Lottery. And they had the only ticket.

    And yet, Dickson is no dill. He regularly polls his electorate and knows how to sniff the winds of change. He ‘knows’ that change is afoot.

    More importantly – in terms of political analysis – his defection blazes a trail for others to follow – at both the State and National levels. Not too hard to imagine George Christensen as the Leader of PHON in the Federal House of Representatives.

  42. LOVO

    Mayhap Pauline will defect to the Australian Conservatives after the PHON implosion ..mk2 or is that 2.0
    Ah, Queensland perfect one day…bending bananas the next?

  43. silkworm

    Matter Not, you need to check out the reason for Steve Dickson’s defection. It’s about medial cannabis for the terminally ill. In other words, his defection was for reasons of compassion. That is something progressives should think about.

  44. Miriam English

    kerri, yes, I loved the clear thinking aspect of English lessons too. I should ask my nieces if they had anything like that in their recent high school years. If it has been abandoned it should definitely be reinstated. It is more important than ever.

    Yes, I’ve watched the first two seasons of Black Mirror. I especially enjoyed the first episode of season 2, “Be Right Back”. I’ve only watched the first two episodes of season 3, but the second one, “Playtest” scared the pants off me and has put me off it for a while. I love science fiction — I grew up reading it from Primary School onward and it’s pretty-much all I write, but don’t like being scared.

    On brain plasticity, a member of my family suffered a severe brain injury when he was young. It destroyed about a third of his brain. Recently he had a brain scan because he was having lots of headaches (I think they were probably caffeine headaches). He and the doctor were astounded to find that his brain had grown back. He’d always been told that he was stuck with the injury for the rest of his life, but he’s not the kind of person who settles for anything, so he’d put himself through hell always pushing himself to learn more and more and improve his coordination.

    Thanks for the pointer to Barbara Arrowsmith-Young. I hadn’t heard of her before. A quick search turned up this fascinating TED talk by her:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0td5aw1KXA

  45. Miriam English

    Matters Not, I had a bit of a laugh when I read that Steve Dickson “was subsequently exposed as having downloaded 52 confidential Liberal National Party documents from the party’s secure site only hours before his resignation from the party.”

    Methinks there will be revelations in the future.

  46. Robert G. Shaw

    Miriam,
    To your second paragraph:
    I think you’ve perhaps over glamourised the man and his present vocation. Yes, he was once a MI6 agent, certainly no grounds for integrity or probity, despite the glowing references by his fellow MI6 friends. That one made me laugh, ‘references from friends’.
    Now, he heads a company, an MI6 contractor I would wager, whose primary brief is to find/construct/create/source compromising material for clients intent on using that material for political, monetary, or personal gain. That’s kind of like the posh Abercrombie and Fitch version of a Lowes Menswear suburban private eye, on $50 an hour, peeking through the broken venetians of a $75 a night road side motel, complete with a blinking neon sign and broken vending machine, just so as to snap that pic of a bored housewife having sex with someone’s bored husband.
    Sorry Miriam, Mr. Steele, or better yet, his dossier, has no credibility that would be worth the while of any major news outlet on this planet citing his dossier as proof of anything.
    Which is exactly why they haven’t. .
    Oh, except for that conduit of gravitas Buzzfeed. How is Ryan Gosling, by the way, was he really in tears?

    To your third paragraph.
    “well put together”? Seriously, have you seen the ‘dossier’? It’s a caricature that would embarrass a boy playing at spooks. Look at it: the paper, the header, the notations, the content and claims. I can find no source that doesn’t cite the document itself as one reason to suspect its authenticity. Not one.
    I think the less said about it the better.

    I also don’t believe the FBI/CIA are ‘alarmed’ by the report at all. I think one could argue that they had a hand in its dissemination. They were certainly aware of it for quite some time; aware and obviously unflustered. Can you have a guess to why they were unflustered? Yep, that’s right – even with every investigative tool at their disposal they could find no evidence. None.
    I also get the distinct impression that they’re preparing for the mother of battles with their soon to be boss. Perhaps you missed it but they’re the ones who took him, and the world, the news that he didn’t want to hear, warned against release, and has done everything in his power to suppress – the possibility that Russian hacking did in fact help him win the election. Utter nonsense in my view, but not to the millions of weeping Liberals more content in self-pity than in a sober and/or ruthless self-analysis.
    – One of the better articles I’ve read on the subject. Compulsory reading for the Left.
    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/01/trump-election-democrats-gop-clinton-whites-workers-rust-belt/

    I believe the operative words here (for the FBI & CIA) to be fear and failsafe.

    Finally, to your fourth paragraph.
    Perhaps you also missed this little gem of a revelation –
    CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, on the Trump candidacy: “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.”
    Sorry Miriam, the media won’t tire of Trump. You may as well ask them to sever their own jugular.

    To my central point, again: your faith in a document that is unverified, that has been the subject of the most intense and one can only imagine, exhaustive attempts to find verification, a document that not one of Trumps enemies, political and personal, has the conviction to stand behind, a document acknowledged by those who released it as flawed, a document whose claims the FBI, CIA, NSA won’t vouch for, I find quite staggering. Actually your faith amounts to an act of ‘post truth’ itself.
    And this is the horrible and dangerous power of the term – that the stories themselves only constitute one half of the problem, those that believe it, and argue for it, the other half.

    I don’t doubt your heart or your intentions Miriam. It’s your analysis I find faulty.
    Here’s an interesting piece.
    https://theintercept.com/2017/01/11/the-deep-state-goes-to-war-with-president-elect-using-unverified-claims-as-dems-cheer/

    A hypothetical: If Putin was in possession of incriminating evidence what would he stand to gain by releasing it, via leaks, now?
    Would he not guard it with his life as his greatest political asset over the course of Trump’s presidency?
    Would he not wait for a world affairs moment worthy of his secret, worthy of its release?
    Conversely, giving it up now, before even Trump’s inauguration, would mean squandering that ultimate prize. Putin does not strike me a casual man given to such wasteful political practice.
    No one would do that.
    Ask any poker player, or 15 year old boy in possession of a slug gun spying a sparrow.
    If there’s anything at all on Trump, then Putin has it under his pillow.
    Anything we hear now is just smoke coming from enemies of Trump – CIA, FBI, NATO, Democrats, Republicans. It’s a long list.

    Meanwhile, his Cabinet choices have passed with little incident or even notice.
    Perhaps we were all looking elsewhere.
    Who woulda thunk it?

  47. Keitha Granville

    As long as there are no personal consequences for the liars, they will continue to do so.

  48. paulwalter

    I think, the first sentence. The public are either village idiots or more likelý, embarked on a course of quite and quiet wilful complicity on many, many issues, from neg gearing to refugees.

    The msm’s task is to lubricate this complicity with smarmy presentation of issues engineered to facilitate a desired result, eg refugees presented as swarthy opportunists with hidden agendas, to get the electorate, via its gut fears, to reject a more outward looking politics and the Tony Abbott/Rupert Murdoch example in sinking Rudd and Gillard over topics like this remains the most obvious example.

    It is to do with helping people deceive themselves over certain less pleasant aspects of their own natures, or having them blame others for their own flaws.

  49. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    Robert – I was listening yesterday to an independent security expert regarding the matter of the dossier, and its importance. And he was strongly of the opinion that it was important, regardless of whether its contents were true or otherwise, because it was about the President elect, and as such it demands our attention. If it is true, it is fairly damning. If it is not true, what are the motives for the people who are behind it? You see either way, something has to happen.

    Trump, and his supporters, seem far too keen to brush it off. Why? Surely you’d want to get to the bottom of it? The FBI could hardly be regarded as friends of the Democrats given their behaviour prior to the election, yet you now suggest they are enemies of Trump? Really? Why the sudden change of heart? Guilt? I think not. What the head of the FBI did prior to the election was unprecedented. The affect on democrat polling was clear and instantaneous. Yet you think they are trying to undermine Trump. And you expect us to believe that?

    And the fact that if the dossier is apparently so amateur. Don’t you think the agencies would be aware of that? Don’t you think they would dress it up a bit to make it look more authentic if it were their fake? Or do you truly think they are that stupid?

    The Russians plan is to destabilise. Trump provides such instability, which is why they want him, not just because he is pro-Putin. And they will be as happy to undermine him when he is president, as they were to get him elected. They will also be trying to destabilise Europe. I’m sure that they have been encouraging the flow of Syrian refugees into Europe for that purpose – they aren’t trying to beat ISIS in Syria, they are trying to create refugees by bombing the Syrian rebels. Do you really think Russia are in Syria to help their mate Assad? No doubt they are telling the refugees that the borders are open and that they are welcome too using social media – create pull and push factors. Its genius. And no doubt at the same time, they are saturating social media with “unreported incidents of refugees raping locals” to stir up racist sentiment, and create major issues that their european neighbours then have to focus their attention on. Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me the they were complicit in the creation of the dossier too. Trump is not the prize – he’s too big a fool to be working for the Russians and they know it. Instability is their goal – their enemies at war with themselves. And they appear to be achieving that very nicely thank you.

    You suggest Miriam is drawing a long bow, but I’d suggest your arguments has as many issues, if not more. There is a lot more to this than any of us here are being informed about, so you are really just arguing with Miriam that your guesswork is better.

  50. Miriam English

    Keitha Granville, I agree completely.

    paulwalter, I don’t agree with your view of the public, but I do agree with your view of the mainstream media. Most people are too busy with their lives, keeping the kids fed, getting their work done, paying the mortgage to spend much time looking behind the news at the pitiful politicians in government. It is worsened by most people having disgust for politicians in general because it makes them even more reluctant to spend time learning about them — they figure it’s an endless well of lies.

  51. Miriam English

    Robert Shaw, you are overreaching badly. Try to get a handle on your perspective. I tend to think the report is genuine for the reasons I gave (though I still wouldn’t be amazed to find out it’s a fake). In your reply you used extreme speculations and emotional sneers instead of careful analysis. What is the point of such an illogical reply? You’re embarrassing yourself.

    As for Trump’s appointees being ignored, what I’ve been reading from USA is a constant stream of outrage about them.

  52. Michael Taylor

    Miriam, and from what I’ve been hearing a lot of that outrage is coming from people who voted for Trump. They like Trump. They just don’t like his picks.

  53. Miriam English

    Steve Laing, spot on.

  54. Miriam English

    Michael, I tend to read a lot of progressive stuff from USA (for example http://dailykos.com and mailouts from DemandProgress.org RootsAction.org ColorOfChange.org and more). They’re positively apoplectic about his intended appointments. 🙂

    However I’ve noticed what may be a gradual awakening in some of the poor people who voted for Trump, that he’s going to screw them over far, far worse than Hillary, with her maintenance of the status quo but with slow changes for the better.

    The comment I keep hearing is that Trump isn’t going to “drain the swamp”. He’s going to fill it with alligators.

  55. stephengb2014

    Well I for one will admit to great confusion over which is and which isn’t BS. I have taken to assuming everything is a lie untill I can varify it in some way.

    Clinton started it with that rather pathetic claim that he “did not have sex with that woman”, since then politicians and the media (in fact anyone in a priviledged position) have seen that as a signal to misinform, exaggerate, spin or just plain lie!

  56. Miriam English

    LOVO, I sincerely hope Trump doesn’t get assassinated. I want to see him make a thorough mess while he’s there. He will be the best advertisement for progressive politics the world could hope for.

  57. Miriam English

    stephengb2014, it is confusing, but that’s the purpose of fake news.

    Lying politicians didn’t start with Bill Clinton. They’ve been a fixture of life since Ancient Greece and Roman times, and undoubtedly before. Remember how Caesar was stabbed to death by people previously his friends because of his lies and naked grab for power? Caligula was so damn crazy and unreliable he was murdered by his own Praetorian Guards, I believe. I vaguely remember stories of Ancient Greek politicians who lied their heads off too. In fact the Ancient Greeks invented the term demagogue for those unscrupulous leaders who lie their way into power by inciting hatred. And don’t forget that ultimate work of political sleaze ‘The Prince’ by Niccolo Machiavelli in the early 1500s.

  58. Sam

    I always go by what could be peoples motivations be; if I suspect they are lying or not? Modern politics constantly uses subterfugel manipulation to tell it’s story. I prefer a hard truth than a thousand lies. At least you can do something with it .

  59. Florence nee Fedup

    I know this is far out but coud Putin be enjoying playing games with Trump? One thing for sure Putin no matter his agenda is making the US look like fools. Mr Trump there is no way you will make America great, let alone again.

  60. Robert G. Shaw

    @Steve,
    “And he was strongly of the opinion that it was important, regardless of whether its contents were true or otherwise, because it was about the President elect, and as such it demands our attention.”
    my emphasis.
    That way madness lies Steve.
    Look and sit for a moment to ponder the implications of that statement. At its core is the anti-liberal, and profoundly authoritarian subliminal: “regardless of whether its contents were true or otherwise”.
    Regardless?!?!
    Regardless of its “truth”?!?
    If we give any legitimacy, even at atom’s worth, to such relativist notions and that an idea can claim “importance” outside the bounds of bedrock values truth or fiction then we already operating not just with but within a post truth language. We become; our thoughts, our morality, our language, our values, submerged under the bog of every and any cerebral fart issued from any source..
    Every slur, every innuendo, every accusation thus becomes legitimised and the unwary victim fallen to nothing more substantial than the words “J’accuse”.
    Personally I find that scenario not just repugnant but ethically intolerable.

    Post-truth can have no greater definition than the one you’ve just given it (that is, your “independent security expert”).

    I read the rest of your post but could find nothing of value beyond questions which were intended, I’m sure, to do my argument harm.
    Unfortunately for you they did not. Equally unfortunate for you, and for those like Miriam, your argument isn’t with me. Your argument is with the law.
    I shall dispense with the error of your final sentence by demonstrating why my “guesswork is better”.
    I repeat for you the (my) central position: as of right now 4.33pm 15 Jan 2017, there is no evidence, no proof, no suggestion of proof, from any worldwide agency, any government, any security firm, any individual, that gives the dossier or the claims within any credence worthy of a libel suit.

    None. Nada. Keine. Ingen. Nikto. Niets. Wala.

    If that elusive evidence arrives in 1 minutes time then I shall be at the forefront of the call to investigate. Rest assured.
    Till then, we eschew the post truth of non-proofed slur and move on to battles we can win.
    I see you, and the millions of “Miriam’s” out there as obstacles.
    We must move on to the battles we can win.
    This is not one of them, yet.

    @Miriam,
    “To my central point, again: your faith in a document that is unverified, that has been the subject of the most intense and one can only imagine, exhaustive attempts to find verification, a document that not one of Trumps enemies, political and personal, has the conviction to stand behind, a document acknowledged by those who released it as flawed, a document whose claims the FBI, CIA, NSA won’t vouch for, I find quite staggering. Actually your faith amounts to an act of ‘post truth’ itself.
    And this is the horrible and dangerous power of the term – that the stories themselves only constitute one half of the problem, those that believe it, and argue for it, the other half.

    I don’t doubt your heart or your intentions Miriam. It’s your analysis I find faulty.”

    No one in the world will verify this story. No one except Miriam from AIM.
    Well, I’m convinced!

    You really are a silly woman Miriam. Each emotive red herring (“overreaching badly”, “get a handle on your perspective”, “extreme speculations and emotional sneers”, “such an illogical reply”, “you’re embarrassing yourself”) tells me you have nothing by way of actual considered argument.

    Unsurprising really.

  61. Miriam English

    Florence, I’m sure Putin is having a great time laughing at USA and Trump.

  62. Roswell

    Robert Shaw, I recently told you I considered you to be self-righteous. You responded with the allegation I had slurred you.

    You expect that respect be shown to commenters, yet your comment at 4:39 is filled with insults.

    To quote you, “unsurprising really”.

  63. Miriam English

    Robert Shaw, geez, a bug really must have crawled up you.

    You’re still going on about the Trump Intelligence report despite the fact that the article above didn’t even mention it.

    You keep saying that I verify it, that I have faith in it, that I alone stand for the document, when I’ve said numerous times that it could be true, it could be not, that on balance I am favoring the former, but I’d not be terribly surprised if it was fake. If you’re going to attack me you could at least be honest about it.

    On and on you go, fighting against a strawman of your own illusions with all the anger of a man on a vendetta. Get a grip Robert. Take a walk outside. Watch a romantic comedy. Pat a dog. Geez!

  64. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    Robert – yes, that way does lie madness. But this is the world in which we now live, in part because people like Trump were more than happy to spread mistruths (which are apparently Ok when he does it, but not Ok when someone does it about him) – they are very much the propagators of this new “reality”, along with Rupert Murdoch, Dubya and Cheney, and Howard and pretty much all Liberal MPs since. The US has been happily living in an age of unreality for years – ask your average where Australia is on a map, and they are a likely to point to somewhere in Africa or Europe as south-east of Asia. People actually buy the National Enquirer and believe it, and the number of people there who think the world has only existed for 6000 years… well, they’ll happily believe anything they damn well want, and certain politicians are happy to feed that. Unfortunately it would appear that their global opponents are happy to get in on the game, and social media, the US’s latest money-making global land-grab has unfortunately also made them very susceptible to being influenced by those outsiders.

    But I see you didn’t answer the point I made about this apparent contradiction in your response. If the FBI are so desperate to denounce Trump as you stated, why did the head publicly release a statement saying that the FBI were re-opening the investigation into the private email server that Hillary used? Are the FBI pro or anti Trump? If they are anti-Trump as you suggest, they sure as shit have a very weird way of displaying it. I’d be interested in you explaining that contradiction, if you wouldn’t mind please.

  65. Matters Not

    silkworm January 15, 2017 at 1:23 am re your comment:

    It’s about medial cannabis for the terminally ill. In other words, his defection was for reasons of compassion.

    Silkworm, pray tell how a defection to PHON will help advance the use of ‘medicinal cannabis’ in the State of Queensland. He will, for the moment at least, be the one and only PHON MLA. Now he can ‘bark at the moon’ as loud as he likes but that’s about it.

    I suspect that as the singular PHON member he will become the ‘dear State Leader’ and have the privilege of launching the PHON campaign at the next State Election. Then, I suspect he won’t make too much ado about ‘medicinal cannabis’ (worthwhile as it is but not a core issue with PHON members. Science after all is not usually for them.)

    Seems to me he’s a political ‘chancer’ and the compassion badge – is just a means to another end.

  66. Miriam English

    Sam, yes, people’s motivation is an important part of the puzzle in figuring out truth.

    You’re right that a hard truth is infinitely preferable to lies. I greatly miss my previous partner who used to tell me if I had bad breath or if my clothes didn’t look right. It was great to get genuine information. I think a lot of the problems in government may come from “yes-men” who tell ministers what they want to hear instead of the truth. It means the people in government lose touch with the real world.

  67. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    Even worse than that Miriam – if someone disagrees with our current ministers, they are likely to get sacked. So nobody disagrees and the quality is exactly what one might expect.

  68. Miriam English

    Good point, Steve.

  69. LOVO

    “….Pat a dog. Geez”
    Miriam..now I have to get another drink….. and something to clean my screen ? Geez.
    😆

  70. Roswell

    LOVO, use your hand. That’ll work. ?

  71. LOVO

    WTF…..now I have to go get another drink……..and some more tissues ???
    Thanks a whole bunch, Roswell 😛
    *clink*

  72. Miriam English

    LOVO, glad to put a smile in your day. Sorry about your monitor. 😀

  73. Robert G. Shaw

    Steve,
    I agree with much in your first paragraph and would only add that the Trump contagion has spread to the Left. We too are guilty because millions of our Americans political friends, and those around the world, collectively lost their minds and followed him down that post truth rabbit hole.

    To your question regarding the FBI: i don’t see the contradictions that you clearly do. I see politics.

    I think he wanted, with some justification, for Comey and the FBI to pursue Clinton more vigorously over the email server issue. He thought, again rightly i believe, that Clinton was being disingenuous regarding her actions. I saw some of the Committee footage of Comey’s hearing. It was not pretty. I noted obfuscation and qualified answers. I saw my frustrations mirrored on the faces of the Committee.

    Remember Trump’s tweet?

    “What are Hillary Clinton’s people complaining about with respect to the FBI. Based on the information they had she should never have been allowed to run – guilty as hell.”

    ‘Based on information they had’, but failed to use for prosecution.

    When he then called upon the FBI to find those 30 odd thousand missing emails (you may recall he said at a press conference something along the lines of, ‘hey Russia, if you’re hacking us then could you please find the missing 30,000 emails and give them to the FBI) they fobbed him off with a standard f*ck off letter that basically said, ‘we can neither confirm nor deny the existence….lest we compromise our operational blah, blah, blah’.

    I think that’s one major issue. He saw the FBI as supporting Clinton.

    Now that he’s President, now that he’s their boss, the case will reopen and the FBI, you can wager, will be proceeding along more rigorous lines, shall we say.

    Another reason is that he did not want the FBI (or the CIA for that matter) to come forward publicly and grant legitimacy, however tenuous, to the ‘The Russians stole the election for Trump, rumour. It was most damaging and lent some official weight to the Left’s temper tantrum narrative, still unfolding, and still without direct evidence. He viewed it, again correctly, as fanning the ‘illegitimacy’ flame that blew across his Presidency.
    (We saw the effects of that slur on Gillard’s stewardship. It was a highly detrimental factor, and one from which she never recovered).

    (The subplot here is that the FBI didn’t want to go ahead but were pushed forward by Brennan and the CIA. If that’s true, then expect the FBI and Trump to cost up, let bygones be bygones, and oust Brennan).

    Another factor, the FBI spent the entire summer months leading up to the election looking for evidence of Russian Trump collusion, looking under every rock, every credit slip, every friend, acquaintance and enemy, every business deal, every contact and contract, every rumour. It was a highly risky time for Trump. Any one single fact could have undone his candidacy. I seem to recall a new drama every week.
    Even in victory, and against every possible adversary, Trump doesn’t strike me as a particularly gracious man. The fact that they didn’t find anything doesn’t necessarily soothe the enormous sense of violation a man with his narcissistic personality would feel.
    Hell, I don’t like it when my accountant asks me questions come tax time!

    The FBI in particular were forced into an extremely difficult position come election time between such forceful and deeply polarized candidates. It found itself in a lose-lose situation – one of them would be their next boss. But which one? The one insisting on prosecution of the email scandal, and pissed of because he didn’t get it, or the one insisting on the nefarious links between Trump and Putin and pissed off because she didn’t get it?

    It was never going to end well for the FBI. But they do have the opportunity to rectify – pursue Clinton, and support Trump. At the time of writing i notice that they’re doing just that.

    That’s not a contradiction Steve, that’s politics.

    As I mentioned in my earlier post the questions here are complex and far reaching. i think the best course of action for the Left is to refrain absolutely from any post truth of its own. It must forget its distaste for Trump and focus on ensuring that its own narrative and commentary is as exacting and sourced as possible. We won’t win, we can’t win, by sinking into the gutter with these guys.

    No one will be able to tell us apart.

    The post-truth works so well in this particular case because so many elements are already in place.
    So many elements except the cardinal one – evidence.
    But in today’s world evidence isn’t a first order principle. It seems to fall just below,

    “Which French Fry Must Go?
    It’s tougher than you think.”

    Last night’s Buzzfeed.
    3rd click down.
    Front page.
    Yep, front page.
    That’s right, 3rd story.

    Now will you return the courtesy and answer a question of mine?
    Do you agree with my rebuttal of your ‘security expert’ that any accusation or rationale that comes without evidence, despite one’s opinions, emotions, desperate wishes, is a piece of rank sewer stink specifically designed to corrupt our political/social discourse, and that the primary duty of the Left in such circumstances is to disdain and refuse engagement with the very substance and vocabulary of post-truth?

  74. Miriam English

    Robert, doesn’t it strike you as dissonant that you end your post with “any accusation or rationale that comes without evidence, despite one’s opinions, emotions, desperate wishes, is a piece of rank sewer stink” when it is filled with example after example of pure speculation and flights of fancy?

    And after all those words you still didn’t manage to address the contradiction between the FBI presenting the Trump Intelligence Report as genuine while, according to you, still supporting him.

  75. silkworm

    Matters Not, you put ‘medicinal cannabis’ in quote marks. That to me expresses doubt that there is such a thing, and that is truly sad.

    Pauline may be a political chancer, but Steve Dickson is not. He has petitioned Turnbull, unsuccessfully, to grant amnesty for medicinal cannabis users.

  76. Miriam English

    silkworm, I don’t see it as sad. It just makes sense to reserve opinion. Personally I think it most likely that it can be used medicinally. There is evidence that it can reduce the discomfort of pain, and at the very least there seems to be use for it in boosting the appetite of people who’ve lost their desire to eat, either because of the disease itself or their other treatments.

    At the same time there is an unsightly gleeful embrace of cannabis as a cure for every-goddamn-thing by its fanatics, which is definitely unwarranted.

  77. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    Robert – there is nothing that people behind the scenes like more than leverage. Why do you think the Bullingdon Club boys get their members to stick their cocks in the mouth of a dead pig’s head? Its an insurance policy. And like all good insurance, you hope you never have to use it.

    Surely the intelligence services would love dirt on Trump to use against him when it best suited them? Where is the value in trying to denigrate him now? Sorry, but whatever you state, it just doesn’t add up. Why did the FBI open up the email issue again after they had closed it down? Nobody cared about Weiner’s laptop, and indeed the FBI could have done the necessary checks without announcing to the world they were going to, and then reported the findings. But they didn’t. They purposefully decided to break with all historic conventions and announce an investigation which I am sure they knew would amount to nothing, at a time when Trump was on the wane, and Clinton was becoming unassailable.

    The email server was never the huge security issue that the Republicans have blown it into. Pure hyperbole, but a wonderful distraction from the lack of policies from Trump other than the utter bollocks that stupid people love to hear.

    So to your question, “Do you agree with my rebuttal of your ‘security expert’ that any accusation or rationale that comes without evidence, despite one’s opinions, emotions, desperate wishes, is a piece of rank sewer stink specifically designed to corrupt our political/social discourse, and that the primary duty of the Left in such circumstances is to disdain and refuse engagement with the very substance and vocabulary of post-truth?”

    No, I do not. The “rank sewer stink” that I suspect you refer to reveals more about your sensibilities than anything else. Odd sexual proclivities is exactly what I would expect of someone like Donald. It completely fits a person who hasn’t grown up yet. It is he that has corrupted the political/social discourse, so to suggest that the Left are now doing it (out of spite?) is a bit of a stretch. But the intelligence agencies putting it out into the open cleverly removes any blackmail power that it might have had. They have effectively removed that card from Putin’s pack, and let Putin know that they are happy to do the same with any other salacious material they might have. They have also let Trump know that they are quite prepared to sully the name of the president if needs must, because the role is far more important than the incumbent.

    The Left realise that nothing will dissuade your average Trump supporter from changing their allegiance, because it is as much about hating Obama and Clinton – and Trump has undertaken that corruption with aplomb. So what does releasing it achieve for them? Nothing. But if you are still trying to suggest that the US intelligence services are lefties, or that they have somehow been hoodwinked by the lefties to release some highly dubious “intelligence” to try and undermine a person that it is impossible to undermine, you have clearly moved into a different reality. You are stuck in local politics, when you really need to look at this from a geo-political perspective.

  78. Robert G. Shaw

    Steve,
    So many questions.

    “Sorry, but whatever you state, it just doesn’t add up”

    Which bit(s) exactly Steve?
    Highlight them for me so that I can address them specifically, otherwise we’re just playing shotgun hit n miss. There’s enough of that here already.

    1. Comey gave his reason why he reopened the case against Clinton. Believe it as legit, or don’t. The fact is he gave a reason. I for one think it was, and despite all appearances to the contrary, one he had to give. The recriminations had he not come forward and if Clinton had won would have been as nasty as what we’re seeing now.
    Our ideological proclivities are, naturally and unfairly, determining the ‘rightness’ of his decision – Democrats are screaming blue murder, whilst Republicans applaud. If it had been a Republican in Clinton’s situation we would have cheered like a lynch mob.

    2. “The email server was never the huge security issue”.
    I think it was very important. It spoke directly to the integrity of Clinton. The fact that it served, as you seem to believe, as a distraction from Trump’s policy vacuum is neither here nor there. You’re simply playing into a fallacy (ignoratio elenchi).

    3. So then, your response to my question was a definitive ‘no, I do not’.
    Look at my question again – ‘that any accusation or rationale that comes without evidence, despite one’s opinions, emotions, desperate wishes, is a piece of rank sewer stink’.
    And you answered ‘no’ to that?
    Look again.
    You must therefore believe that any accusation or rationale that comes without evidence is OK?

    That’s exactly the kind of post truth; the kind of corrosive, fetid, and extremely dangerous rhetoric/language I would fight against at every turn, the kind of corruption of our political and social discourse that has us where we are today, the kind of steaming shite that we’re still trying to clean off of our boots.

    It does not matter what you ‘would expect of Donald’. Your amateur psychologising is utterly irrelevant and unfortunately for you locks you into a vice grip of post truth – remember post truth, where emotions, feelings, and bias are the prime construction materials for one’s truth?
    Sorry Steve, I’m not interested in your ‘expectations’. I’m interested in proofs, in evidence, in verifiable facts.
    I’m glad we differ in that respect.

    4. It is true, and you are absolutely correct to state, that Trump is the king of post truth. He is now fighting demons of his own making. For those that like circularities or karma, I’m sure that makes them smile, and that’s a good thing.
    You are absolutely wrong to think or suggest that my likening the antics of the Left to a range of disgraceful practices a ‘stretch’. Not only do I critique them for their behaviour pre and post-election, I charge them with employing the same tactics as those they decry. I expect more from the Left therefore my disappointment is deeper when their hypocrisy is so rudely exposed.
    But that’s just me. Others may be indifferent to such details.

    5. “But if you are still trying to suggest that the US intelligence services are lefties”.
    No I’m not. I never made the suggestion in the first place.
    That’s about the 5th straw man I counted in your post. I’m really not interested in arguing for or against positions concocted by other commentators.
    Please read more carefully. The dangers of stumbling are common. I turned an ankle myself this morning on another thread – half hole, half roll.
    Which is why I favour the specific question approach.

    6. ‘You are stuck in local politics, when you really need to look at this from a geo-political perspective”

    I’m glad you finished with a joke.

  79. Jexpat

    Robert wrote: “…the Trump contagion has spread to the Left. We too are guilty because millions of our Americans political friends, and those around the world, collectively lost their minds and followed him down that post truth rabbit hole.”

    Unfortunately, this shows no sign of abating in the US, with a score of formerly reliable progressive sites (and scores of noted authors and commentators) having been rendered untrustworthy… and in many cases, unreadable. As this was occurring, I began, like Madame Defarge, to compile list of such individuals, first as a reminder to myself… and then as it grew widespread and more egregious, with an eye toward doing a rhetorical and cultural anthropological analysis on the commonalities in their behaviours.

    Suffice to say (as I’ve opined many times before) the degradation in ethics and the resultant loss of the “reality based community” on the left of the spectrum was the single biggest tragedy of 2016.

  80. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    Robert

    1) Comey was right to reopen the case. Fair enough. But did he have to announce to the world that he had, given the timing so close to the election?

    2) The email issue actually says as much about how bad the email system employed by the US Government is. Here in Australia, we have a Prime Minister who uses non-standard messaging systems to communicate, but nobody seems to bat an eyelid. So is the use of a private email system really such a big issue? Or is it just an issue that the very many people who want to have a go at Hillary can have a go on. There are plenty bigger issues about Hillary’s integrity than her email, but that was the one focused on. Why?

    3) Accusations without evidence are part and parcel of political life. But we still have to decide on what we believe to be correct, often based on the other information available. Did Sussan Ley truly believe that she had not claimed expenses she may not have been due? Possibly. But when she stated that she bought the apartment on a whim, then her previous statements appeared hollow. I have no evidence about what she believed prior, but I can make a fairly safe conclusion without prima facie evidence that she was probably well aware that her claims were dodgy. However I was able to come to a similar conclusion even before she made that statement because she comes from the party who believe they are entitled to abuse their entitlements. I’m guessing you are still waiting for the evidence from Dr Parkinson’s report that will never be released and as such won’t make a call on her guilt?

    You see I’m scientifically trained, and understand how logical deduction works, plus the use of probability and statistics, and I apply these in how I rationalise situations. So yes, I do make plenty of mistakes, but overall, I suspect I make fewer mistakes than many people. If you rely always on evidence, how on earth do you ever get anything done? And if you didn’t know, in science there is no such thing as undeniable proof. It simply does not exist. A bit like your argument.

    4) I wouldn’t call the Democrats left. Left of the Republicans perhaps, but left? But I don’t disagree that post-truth is solely the domain of the right, just that having fewer scruples (and their supporters often less brain cells) they are most able to utilise it effectively.

    Knowing a number of Americans, and having lived there, I have a fair idea about how it “works”. And I know that there has been nothing like this before. The hard-right created Trump after moderate Americans elected a black man into the White House. This whole debacle is a reflection of their ire, their stupidity, and their ignorance. And I don’t need to wait for the evidence to understand that.

  81. Jexpat

    Steve wrote: “The hard-right created Trump after moderate Americans elected a black man into the White House.

    Of course, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Most of the hard right in the Republican party tried desperately -and quite openly to derail Trump, much as the right wing of the Democratic party -along with the Clinton political machine and its media surrogates tried covertly to derail Sanders- and got caught out.

    Also, interestingly enough, when you look at the crosstabs from voting analyses in key states, more than a few Trump voters had previously cast their lots for Obama. So while race was a factor, the election turned on other issues (and the lack thereof) Obama’s stubborn refusal to take the unpopular TPP off the table- and worse, keep on pushing it as late as October, along with Clinton’s pick of an ardent FTA, financial deregulation and anti-union legislation supporter as VP likely had a more substantial effect on the outcome.

    To get back on topic: you’re correct about Comey. His two announcements were clear breaches of department protocol, and it’s not a huge inferential leap to conclude that he (another of the Bush era Republicans appointed by Obama) had a motivation to influence the election.

    Having said that, Comey’s predelictions were known prior to her nomination, and it was also known that there was a chance of a federal indictment or other departmental mischief occurring during the general election. Democrats were willing to take that risk, and we’ve all gotten burned by it.

  82. Matters Not

    silkworm January 16, 2017 at 7:52 am

    but Steve Dickson is not. He has petitioned Turnbull, unsuccessfully, to grant amnesty for medicinal cannabis users.

    silkworm, why would he petition Turnbull when Mal has no jurisdiction in what essentially a State matter. Indeed why would he do that when he was a Member of the Queensland Parliament which legislated the Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill 2016. The Bill was passed unanimously with Opposition and crossbench support. It happened well before his defection.

    Queensland is leading Australia in providing a pathway to access medicinal cannabis treatment for those who need it most, in a safe, controlled way,” he said.

    Mr Dick said other patients could also access the drugs under the regulations in the interim until the laws are enacted in March 2017.

    He said the Queensland laws were now the most flexible in the country.

    I again state Steve Dickson is a ‘chancer’. A PHON for reasons of personal advancement.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-13/medicinal-cannabis-new-laws-allow-access-qld-patients-any-age/7927944

  83. Robert G. Shaw

    Jexpat, @3.34
    Not a word out of place. My congrats.
    My list, already abbreviated, continues to be whittled at near weekly rate.
    Frightening are the consequences of such an easy surrender of principle.
    Those looking could see it coming from a distance – Hughes’ “Culture of Complaint” the first sparkle.
    Till I arrived, via a thousand instances of shame and corruption, confusion and dismay, at my particular bête noir – The Yale/Christakis affair of 2015.
    There were more cardinal and pressing issues, some of far greater political import – Syria, Obama, Russia, others of world affairs – Corbyn, Syriza’s betrayal, to name but two. It was however this seemingly tiny event in academia, that tipped my scales, just so.
    There were many letters – to Yale, to Fire, to the Christakises, Jonathan Holloway, and anyone else connected to the incident.
    My revulsion palpable, my course correction without foreseeable return.

    I travel it still.
    And wave goodbye to yet another…..

    Steve,
    1. Yes, for the reason I gave; for the reason he gave. That he hurt our candidate was no less, no more, ethical than if he had hurt theirs. Ideology has two dogs in this hunt, not just ours, and not just theirs. But two.

    2. Why? Because it piqued the suspicions and growing disquiet about her integrity and political nouse. Reason enough, I’d think, to ask the question – what the f*ck did she think she was doing sending classified material on an open server? And the bleach? And Lynch’s conversation? To my way of thinking all legitimate questions.

    3. pt1. That “part and parcel’ is no justification. No justification whatsoever.
    What you’re doing is rationalising; it’s tantamount to a green light. It is a gross fallacy and it is a logic I cannot accept. It becomes the perverse excuse for every foul deed now and every one yet to come and if you set upon that path then there is no difference between you and Trump.
    If you disagree with that assessment, call me out on it.

    3. pt2. Judging by your example and application I’m not entirely convinced you’re as familiar with scientific methodology as you claim. The point you’re trying to make sounds fine, I mean the logic you employ seems satisfactory. It’s a fairly straightforward exercise in deduction; it rolls off the tongue smoothly, it sounds convincing, it’s logic appears to be OK, therefore it’s an easy and uncomplicated process to assume one thing from another; Trump is a sexist pig of foul habits therefore it’s safe to assume and believe he did those things mentioned in the dossier. That, my friend, is fallacy writ large: that Steve is methodology in the service of logical mischief.
    Assumption is not evidence. Assumption can lead to hypothesis, test and control, experiment and repeat experiment. What it can not do, what it can not provide, is proof.
    I may suspect Trump of hotel room buffoonery, but to mistake that suspicion for evidence, as most on the Left have done, is a fools game of ever diminishing returns (as the Left are finding out to both their peril and shame).
    There is however one ‘test’ out there that I’m willing to wager on – the greed and self preservation of the media companies. Ask yourself Steve, why do you think it is that not one, let me say that again, NOT ONE, other outlet, major or minor, has taken this story?
    Ask yourself.
    Why?
    Forget scientific method, forget Ley, forget Trump, forget your assumptions, your bias, forget your attempts at psychology 101, and just ask yourself why.

    Why?

    (The very fact that we’ve arrived at this point in the discussion, the very fact that I’m asking you such a question, is a terrible indictment on our current situation where many, so many, on the Left have simply abandoned their faculties and their principles).

    4. Yes, Left in the broad sense of this discussion. Arguing over nuances would simply sabotage this conversation.

    See this Steve? See what you wrote here about the Right?
    “just that having fewer scruples (and their supporters often less brain cells) they are most able to utilise it [post truth] effectively.”

    Well, in that one simple sentence you’ve offered the reason for Clinton’s election loss. Forget the Russians, forget Comey, forget email scandal, forget everything. Except that.
    It was just that kind of patronising and profoundly tiresome and deleterious elitist nonsense that sunk her and gave us Trump.
    The ‘hard right’ didn’t create Trump, he arrived from the bosom of Democrat indolence and self righteousness, and once arrived sat on the throne dutifully warmed by an ignorant, smug, and docile party machine, like a languid alley cat on a hot summers day, and that thought it could neglect those voters who up until last November were their grassroots, their very lifeblood.

    You could have lived in the US for a thousand years Steve, I doubt it would make a shred of difference to your understanding.
    You’ve certainly provided plenty of ‘evidence’ for that.

  84. Roswell

    Steve Laing @ 5:10. Not a word out of place. My congrats.

  85. Jexpat

    Robert wrote “My list, already abbreviated, continues to be whittled at near weekly rate.”

    Unfortunately, even venerable publications like The Nation are not immune, and had a prominent bit by one of the more laughable and dishonesty peddling neo-McCathyites (who has a show on MSNBC) on their site today.

    I shoud probably also clarify, so there’s no confusion or misinterpretation, that my records and subject of study in this regard are limited to US sources. Obviously, I’ll have to find some objective criteria and timeline by which they can be delinieated and distinguished from “those on the other end of the spectrum” who’ve been collectively engaged in these behaviours, via mass media, for several decades.

  86. silkworm

    “Queensland is leading Australia in providing a pathway to access medicinal cannabis treatment for those who need it most, in a safe, controlled way.”

    That’s what the Qld government wants us to think, but actually they are making it harder for patients to get access, with all kinds of red tape, hoops, loops and delays. On November 1, Sussan Ley made discretionary changes to the Therapeutic Goods Regulations that take away the legal rights of seriously ill and dying patients to be able to access any form of cannabis through Category A (simple doctor’s notification to the TGA). That was an evil act, and that was before we learnt of her rorting of entitlements.

    Steve Dickson is no chancer. He has been petitioning Turnbull, Ley and others for an amnesty on medical cannabis for months.

    http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/fathers-desperate-plea-to-treat-8yo-daughter-with-/3103244/

    Then in early January, Suli Peek’s supplier in SA, Jenny Hallam, was arrested, and Suli’s supply dried up, with no prospect for Suli to obtain cannabis under the new Qld bill for at least 2 months, during which time Suli could die. This for Steve Dickson was the final straw. He got no support for the amnesty from Qld Labor or the Qld LNP. The only person who would support Steve in his drive for amnesty was Pauline Hanson. She may be a racist, but at least she thinks of the children.

    Cynicism is dangerous when it takes the place of compassion.

  87. Pingback: Tell me lies: sweet little lies or dangerous? – Charlotte Walker

  88. Jay

    Hate is the objective, they want you to hate everything, the government, the news, our elected officials, the traffic, the education system, wars, tv, celebrities our jobs, our siblings, they even want you to hate love! The amount of divorce these days it speaks for itself. Being a good person at work gets you hated, being a safe driver is hated, going to church is hated, having an opinion gets you hated, leaving a honest comment is hated, minding your own business is often hated. You get the point, what I’m trying to say is, John Lennon was murdered for singing about peace and bringing the awareness about war, it’s not hard to see why. Hate!!! People actually hate their own hate lol the rage hate brings is very unhealthy. We sugar coat this emotion and use the word dislike a lot, but how many things do you actually dislike compared to how many things you hate?

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