Saturday salon 12/11

1. Naomi Klein wins Sydney Peace Prize

From Green Left Weekly

    Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein accepted the 2016 Sydney Peace Prize on November 11, delivering a searing speech that reflected on Donald Trump’s presidential victory in the United States and the factors that allowed it to happen.

    “If there is a single overarching lesson in the Trump victory, perhaps it is this: Never, ever underestimate the power of hate, of direct appeals to power over the ‘other’ … especially during times of economic hardship,” said Klein, whose books include The Shock Doctrine and This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate.

    Calling Trump the “demagogue of the moment,” Klein went on to identify other lessons to “take from our barely three-day-old reality”.

    One, she said, is that “economic pain is real and not going anywhere — four decades of corporate, neoliberal policies and privatisation, deregulation, free trade and austerity have made sure of that.”

    Another, she continued, is that “only a bold and genuinely redistributive agenda has a hope of speaking to that pain and directing it where it belongs — the politician-purchasing elites who benefited so extravagantly from the auctioning off of public wealth, the looting of our land, water and air, and the deregulation of our financial system.”

2. Plebiscite dies, killed by the Senate

Just for the record, One Nation, David Leyonhjelm and Jacquie Lambie voted with the LNP in favour of the plebiscite. NXT and Derryn Hinch voted against along with WA Liberal Dean Smith, Labor and the Greens. Leyonhjelm tweeted that the LGBTI community should “harden up”.

    Penny Wong spoke passionately about the long and personal route she’d taken to cementing her opposition to the plebiscite.

    “We do not want our families and our children publicly denigrated,” she told parliament.

    “This hate speech is not abstract, it is real, it is part of our daily life.”

    “Speaking personally, I do not think the God of my faith would be affronted by who I am, my relationship, or my family.

    “Australians overwhelmingly support marriage equality yet now Malcolm Turnbull is asking them to do as opponents of that equality demand, to take a path he did not support.”

3. Newspoll has Labor ahead 53-47

This is how it’s shaping:


If an election was held last weekend, Labor would have 82 seats, the LNP 63, and five ‘other’.

Labor is up one on the primary vote to 38%, with the Coalition and Greens steady on 39% and 10%.

Newspoll didn’t track One Nation directly, but this news item from 17 October says:

    A Newspoll taken between 6 and 9 October and released on Monday shows One Nation would win 6% of the national vote in the House of Representatives. That compares with 2% in a Newspoll in late August and 1.3% at the 2 July election.

I did see an item in the CM saying that ON is at 16% for a Qld state election.

Essential Report also has Labor up 53-47. In primary votes it’s the LNP on 38%, Labor on 37%, the Greens on 10%, One Nation on 6%, and the Nick Xenophon Team up a point to 3%.

Of course everyone here is saying they’ve learnt the lessons of the Trump victory.

4. Asylum seeker news

As far as I can make out, the only real source is Twitter, but there are reports of a deal with the US:

    THE Turnbull government will make an announcement on an asylum seeker deal with the US tomorrow, according to Sky News.

    Canberra and Washington are expected to announce an immigration arrangement that could clear up to 1800 refugees from Nauru and Manus Island.

    It comes after the PM announced in September Australia will take refugees from Central America as part of its annual intake.

It’s hard to see how this deal could be contingent on legislation to ban asylum seekers coming by boat from ever setting foot on Australia, even for a visit, without ministerial approval. Shorten is right, it’s being done to appease the hard right in the LNP.

If you want to know what a hell holes we are holding these people in listen to Richard Fidler’s conversation with psychologist Paul Stevenson.

The conditions are meant to mimic those in a camp in Jordan, Pakistan or wherever. So the live under canvas, with a dirt floor, and eat food similar to what they would have got in the first camps they lobbed into.

There is one difference – they are to be totally bereft of hope.

Stevenson says the treatment breaks down the functioning adult personality, so relationships break down and parents can’t care for themselves, let alone their kids. It’s worse than a prison by far. They had 600 ‘police’ for 1200 asylum seekers, mainly to deal with self-harm.

Stevenson was meant to provide support to employees of the contractors, but if an employee was seen going to his office they would be terminated as obviously weak and unsuitable.

5. Plenty other stuff going on apart from Trump

It includes:

  • Attorney-General George Brandis has preempted his opponents in the Senate by rescinding his controversial direction that all requests to the Solicitor-General for advice must go through him. The Senate will probably cancel the direction formally, to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
  • Gillian Triggs has been scrapping with Malcolm Turnbull over his misleading statement on the HRC.
  • Gillian Triggs is facing possible defamation action from two Queensland University of Technology students who had been accused of racial vilification. Triggs herself says that the HRC should have greater discretion on dropping fairly trivial complaints and is up for a change in wording of Section 18C.

Yes, and Paul Keating says Australia is a better and fairer place than the US, and should pursue an independent foreign policy. His approach contrasts with John Howard’s who positioned himself as a barnacle on George Dubya’s bum at the time of the Iraq invasion.

Good to see Bill Shorten not backing down on calling Trump “barking mad”.

Introduction to Saturday salon

Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.


An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

    The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

38 thoughts on “Saturday salon 12/11”

  1. I’m back – after heaps of problems with third-world internet in The Bush and with Windows10 (definitely user-hostile and not as useful as Windows95).

    So Berlesconi, Mark II, is now the President-in-waiting of the former United States. Not surprised. Expected a bit wider victory margin though. Democrats have only themselves to blame: even the drover’s dog could see that the regular American citizens wanted radical change – any change! – and Bernie Sanders was ready to give them change …. so the Democrats and their puppeteers ditched him in the primaries. That has to be the decade’s worst “It seemed like a good idea at the time” blunder.

    Trump is as cunning as a latrine rodent and he has more twists and turns than a packet of uncooked spirolini so the anti-abortionists, the climate-change deniers, the American Taliban a.k.a. “Christians(??)” , the gunslinging N.R.A. fanatics and those who hate Mexicans had better start feeling very afraid.

    Unpredictability is the word that will define the next four years (that’s if he doesn’t become President-for-Life). Enjoy!

  2. Oops. Sorry. My No Trumpery! comment should have gone to the Trump page.

    Same-sex plebiscite? Doesn’t worry me what consenting adults do that does not harm anyone else but why, for Pete’s sake, didn’t the activists pick far less provocative terms than “same sex marriage” and “marriage equality”. Their movement has crippled itself by not taking advantage of the richness of the English language to find a really suitable term that would not frighten half the married women in the country. The whole issue would have settled and working by now if it hadn’t been for that self-inflicted obstacle.

  3. After the US election I think it is safe to say that polls have credibility only where there is compulsory voting.

    Shorten should go the whole distance and call Tony Abbott “barking mad” along with Trump in my opinion. Let’s face it, (Bush aside) we had a ‘lected loonie way ahead of the US.

  4. Does anyone remember after Obamas election such a juvenile dummy spit on the streets of America ( or in the media)?

    A lot of hate on display by the left.

  5. One, she said, is that “economic pain is real and not going anywhere — four decades of corporate, neoliberal policies and privatisation, deregulation, free trade and austerity have made sure of that.”

    My read of the issues from States that got Trump into the White House were Obamacare ( not privatisation ), the explosion of regulations ( not deregulation ), the explosion of Government Debt( not austerity ) and Government constantly eroding their constitutional Liberties ( The opposite of Governments sworn job ?).

    But Im sure thats not what the Sydney Peace Prize wants to hear.

  6. Jumpy, Klein was awarded the prize well before we knew Trump would be the jury citation:

    Naomi Klein: For exposing the structural causes and responsibility for the climate crisis, for inspiring us to stand up locally, nationally and internationally to demand a new agenda for sharing the planet that respects human rights and equality, and for reminding us of the power of authentic democracy to achieve transformative change and justice.


    The Jury commended Klein for proposing solutions that not only reduce emissions and end fossil fuel extraction, but also aim for social justice, economic fairness:

    “She challenges feelings of powerlessness, apathy and confusion, and inspires people to demand a leap towards a society based on caring for each other and for the earth,” said David Hirsch, Chair of the Foundation. “We think that Klein’s message is one that Australians really want – and need to hear.”

  7. One of the reasons people are upset is, in addition to fear, that they were conned and lied to. Apparently his transition team is crawling with corporate lobbyists, and it’s strange that he appears to be resurrecting dinosaurs like Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich.

  8. An American friend had this to say about the protests:

    Well, setting aside that Hilary won the popular vote fairly handily (and that’s the second time a democrat has won the popular vote but lost the electoral college and hence the election in the last 20 years – the first time was Gore v Bush in 2000 and that worked out *so well*)..
    No, they’re not protesting the outcome itself. They’re protesting out of grief and outrage at what their fellow Americans have just inflicted on them: they’re protesting because Trump says he’ll deport the ~ 12 million illegal immigrants and in the southern border states like California we all know multiple people who are ‘illegal’ and this is not an abstract issue; they’re protesting because his likely supreme court picks may well reverse Roe v Wade; they’re protesting not just at Trump himself but at all the bigots who seem to now feel comfortable crawling out of the woodwork (this morning someone ‘added’ every incoming black student at University of Philadelphia to a facebook group called ‘to be lynched group’ with lots of photos of blacks being hung; a white high school student handed out mocked-up ‘deportation notices’ to brown
    skinned classmates in a northern Californian high school on Friday; there’s been an uptick in gay bashing, etc etc); they’re protesting Trumps pre- and post-election insistence he’ll force all Muslims to ‘register’ (whatever that means); they’re protesting because the heads of several police organizations have expressed glee that ‘in this recent anti-police environment we now have a president who will back us up’,
    signaling an expectation that efforts to demilitarize and hold police accountable for instances of terrible behavior are about to be reversed.. In short, they’re protesting in advance against a large chunk of Trump’s stated agenda and those who feel emboldened by his election.

    Losing because of the peculiarities of the college voting system is one thing but losing because of the FBI intervention when the polls were going up for Clinton is fuel for bitter and twist.

  9. and it’s strange that he appears to be resurrecting dinosaurs like Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich.

    Which are only 3 and 4 years older than Hillary, about the same as Bill.

    Perhaps I should wait till stage 5 ( acceptance ) comes along to discuss policy, we’re only at stage 2 ( anger ).

  10. and it’s strange that he appears to be resurrecting dinosaurs like Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich.

    I like Stephen Colbert’s observation that they’re the sort of thing you’d expect to find at the bottom of a drained swamp.

  11. Wow, Rape Malania signs now?

    I’m clutching my pearls in horror!
    Who could do that as a response to the reasoned, rational, inoffensive behaviour of Trump’s supporters?
    Please pass me the smelling salts.

  12. John, if you go to this site and move the cursor to 28 October, the graph is based on the polls and they were narrowing slightly. Hillary is right though, the FBI stole the election.

    Your comment comes from the lived reality and is downright scary. It’s the kind of hate released by Pauline Hanson here but on a larger scale and far more toxic.

  13. Yeah sure zoot, defend promoting rape as equal to saying Hillary is a fat bitch, coz its your side.
    Yet a wink or looking at a watch is misogynist in the extreme.
    Ive tried to take your stuff seriously but I can’t any more.

  14. Hillary is right though, the FBI stole the election.

    I say she lost it before the last week started.
    Neither of us can prove it one way or the other.
    And Hillary has a record of blaming others for her shortcomings.

  15. John D at 1.08pm.

    Sorry to hear your friends are so worried. The day after the election, a senior Republican (National Chairman?) was quoted on ABC news here, to the effect that a Deportation Squad was NOT going to be formed. I’m not in a position to know.

    But many commentators are now saying The Donald routinely makes wild claims as mere opening gambits in a negotiation that may finish up with quite a different result*.
    If so,
    1) makes it hard for any of us to predict what he’ll do
    2) makes many of us hope like anything that his crazier more unusual statements were simply entertaining ‘campaign rhetoric’
    3) therefore many of us hope he was fibbing most of the time during the campaign

    Contrast with Australia, where mostly we think politicians should be held to their promises.

    If U.S. campaigns are in future to be more Barnum & Bailey than ever, what will be the point of us schmuck outsiders ever trying to weigh up rationally the contending statements???

    By contrast, it’ll be dead easy for American voters: gut instincts and lolz.

    Another old book (1960s) that might be relevant: The Image by the American writer Daniel Boorstein. He was foolish enough to think that truth and reality were fundamental. Utterly old-fashioned.

    * perhaps reminiscent of “ambit claims” by Aussie unions in the 70s, 80s?

  16. The Electoral College isn’t really a ‘peculiarity’. It’s how they do it over there.

    Sometimes Australian politicians “win the popular vote and lose the election”: ask Kim Beazley. It’s how we do it over here. Political parties here take enormous care not to waste campaigning cash in electorates thought unwinnable.

    An ALP voter in a safe Liberal HoR seats says, “I feel my vote is wasted”. Maybe, but your Senate vote is less likely to be ‘wasted’.

    I imagine American party campaigners think and plan locally and regionally too.

    Are our electorates, within States, a peculiarity? Should our Federal electorates be drawn up by ignoring State boundaries?

    OK, Electoral College is “winner take all”, State by State. (Perhaps fairer to allocate delegates from each State proportionally?)
    That makes our proportional rep Senate voting look fairer.
    And preferential voting appears better than “first past the post” for many Aussie voters.

    In my view, there are many criteria for judging an election system to be “democratic”. I happen to think compulsory voting is one of them.

    But it’s not how they do it over there.

    We can’t choose our own facts. He has been elected. He will be, quite soon, their President. Each of them will need to find a way to live with that, or emigrate.

  17. Ambigulous, just to add to that, the American federal system was designed as a federation of states, with the states perhaps as the supreme political entity. So the college system was to prevent the decision being made by unfiltered mob rule, even though the only people who could vote were male property owners. It was designed to save the federation from democracy, if the voters made the ‘wrong’ decision.

    In a democratic system all votes should have equal value, and in most presidential systems they need more than 50% of the vote.

    The American system is arcane and comes up short of the usual requirements of a democracy.

  18. Brian: Like the US, many of the faults in our system have their origins in states that wanted to limit their loss of power to the commonwealth. However, unlike the US, our constitution was written after the invention of things like the telegraph, steam ships and railways. Both systems could do with some modernizing.

  19. Agree with that, John. Mark, who knows more about this stuff than I do thinks the modern nation states didn’t take shape until after WW1. Many work on constitutions designed or reformed since WW2.

    Jumpy, you are right, we can’t with certainty know what might have been. I always thought someone would dump something big on Hillary just before the election and she seemed particularly vulnerable to that.

    I think the US has plumbed new lows in their political behaviour, and I can’t imagine them getting worse in the future.

  20. Yeah sure zoot, defend promoting rape as equal to saying Hillary is a fat bitch, coz its your side.

    Just for the record: wrong again Sir Jumpy Crackers the Green.
    Hillary is not “my side” – far too right wing neoliberal for me. And I don’t have a vote in the USA.
    And in case you missed it your new hero, the Donald was promoting rape when he said

    Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.

    I don’t expect you to understand that at all, living as you do in a universe where men are men and the women are grateful.
    Like I said. Just for the record.

  21. Ross Gittins summary has merit.

    Trump’s amazing defeat of the political establishment isn’t so much the revolt of the put-upon punters, as just another political con job.


    So nothing to fear for, just more of the same ol’ ‘great’ America … US Inc … Military Industrial Complex … Wall Street and Free Market shysterdom as well as according to Ross: “army of worthies – academics, think-tankers, bureaucrats, retired generals, former lobbyists, business people and Wall Street bankers – who spend their careers moving in and out of taxpayer-funded jobs in Republican administrations.”

  22. Jumpy: Paul Burns is right – the protesters are driven by Fear.

    I suggest that a great many of those same protesters are from the Right. It is not just the latte-slurping Lefties who are dead-scared of Trumpery.

    Anyway, have a re-read of what John Davidson posted at 1;08PM and Ambigulous at 7:57PM.

  23. Clinton ran a political campaign. Trump ran a TV reality show. Who watches reality shows? Young people do. How do people vote on reality shows? Guys vote for chicks and chicks vote for guys. Reality shows are more about exploring prejudices and edgy behaviour, and that is what was voted on. Well that is my take on it. Gittins is right,…conned.

    The really neat part about this, they’ve all now got to live with their stupidity,……. with Captain Stupid at the helm. I’ll be there in 30 hours to witness the mood first hand, for a whole week.

  24. Travel safely, BilB. Look forward to reading your impressions …. to which I already give a higher reliability rating than I do to the “news(??)” media stories.

    Heartily agree with you about TV bully shows – and add they have been deliberately designed to dumb-down, desensitize and manipulate the populace.

    Wonder how the non-witch-burning, non-Taliban Christians feel about all this sTrumpery? We never hear about them here.

  25. How about Shorten missing the entire point, jumping on the Trump bandwagon, blaming 457( temporary and verified ) legal migrant workers ? When Trump is on about ILLEGAL migrants.
    Yet as Minister responsible he signed off of the record amount of 457s. Even the CMFEU had some he let in !
    Very embarrassing week for Shorten, even if his media won’t show it.

  26. Congratulations to Paris Aristotle, named as Victorian winner in Australian of the Year.

    Tireless advocate for refugees and victims of torture. Wise counsel. Influential humanitarian.

  27. Godd one, Ambigulous.

    Jumpy, Bill Shorten is just rebadging and relaunching exactly what he took to the electorate. Except he could not get anyone to listen, because the media was swamped with Turnbull’s lies about Labor and the Greens going into coalition to start the boats and bring back the carbon tax, plus residential property prices being smashed if we touch negative gearing etc, etc.

    Bill is talking to the people who feel left behind, at a time when perhaps people are listening. Shouldn’t he?

  28. Ootz: Perhaps you should be asking if EMPTY is a Lifter or a Leaner – ha-ha-ha. (Sorry Jumpy, couldn’t resist that. 🙂 )

    Brian: You mentioned Paul Keating earlier. In a perfect world that can never be – I wonder how we would go with Paul Keating at PM, John Hewson as Treasurer, Kevin Rudd as Foreign Minister, Eva Cox as Social Security Minister, Mick Dodson as Reconciliation and Advancement Minister, Jacqui Lambie as Veterans’ Affairs Minister, Julia Gillard as Affordable Housing Minister, Ray Gaeta as Policy Development And National Vision Minister and …. Well, would we be any worse off than we are now?

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