Saturday salon 12/8

1. Made in Australia by the Turnbull government

The Liberal Party Has Overwhelmingly Decided To Keep Its Plebiscite Policy, so because the Senate again failed to pass the necessary legislation, we are off to a $122 million postal vote, which is really a voluntary survey to be conducted by the ABS, if the High Court lets them.

Except, we already know what the people think, because they’ve already been surveyed, and people who know about these things say that the proposed survey is incompetent as a survey, lacking proper sampling. Of course, the opponents of same sex-marriage see this as their best chance of getting a “no” vote and kicking the can down the road.

Peter FitzSimons asks, How did the Liberal Party get into such a mess? Government action has ensured that the issue will continue front-of-mind until Parliament actually has a free vote.

Meanwhile Turnbull looks weak. Sean Kelly at The Monthly says Turnbull looks weak because he is weak:

    When Richard Nixon had to tell the nation he wasn’t a crook, it was a sure sign he was, and that Americans knew it. “I’m a strong leader,” Malcolm Turnbull said today. If that were true, it wouldn’t have to be said.

Peter Brent at Inside Story reckons Abbott is in effect the secret weapon for the “Yes” case.

Philip Coorey’s AFR article Unite and fight, or lose, same-sex marriage advocates warned brings us this wonderful David Rowe cartoon:

Turnbull finds himself, in effect, in the marriage from hell.

Plus Abbott’s opening salvo and his sister Christine Forster’s response:

Turnbull is too busy governing Australia to campaign.

Only in Australia!

2. Have the terrorists won?

The headline going around the world is that the Waverley Council in Sydney has knocked back a proposal to build a synagogue near Bondi Beach because of the risk that terrorists might blow it up. This would apparently be a first.

Seems, however, that the Council did not make a decision within the required time of 40 days, so the proposal was deemed refused and referred to the Land and Environment Court, where Commissioner Graham Brown said the risk assessment was inadequate and upheld the council’s decision:

    “It would seem that a more sophisticated risk assessment process could be required for matters such as a potential terrorist threat,” he found.

However, the Council say that if the design were changed to make it safer, it would be too unsightly. Already three reasons were found for it being inadequate:

  • The proposal does not respond to the context, character and streetscape of the area or provide sufficient residential amenity
  • Unacceptable amenity impacts such as adequate solar access, noise and loss of privacy; and
  • The site is unsuitable for a synagogue because of the potential risk to users and other members of the general public.

Waverley Council are saying that it was “a technical planning decision”, that they’d consider a new proposal which took into account the court’s findings on its merits and that and reassured local residents that Waverley was a “safe place”.

Sounds a mess. The Jewish community are shocked and furious.

3. Another refugee dies on Manus Island

From the SMH:

    Hamed Shamshiripour, a 31-year-old Iranian with a history of mental illness, was found dead on Monday near the Refugee Transit Centre in East Lorengau. He was the fifth man to die under Australia’s supervision on Manus Island.

Apparently authorities are turning of the water and power at the Manus Island camp, forcing refugees to go to East Lorengau, where the man was found hanging.

I heard a fellow refugee interviewed on the ABC, who said there were marks on the man indicating he may have been murdered. Local PNG police have investigated and debunked this story.

The Guardian says:

    Photos are in circulation purportedly showing Shamshiripour’s body when it was found. The Guardian has chosen not to publish these, and they are not conclusive about the circumstances of his death.

    The photos show injuries that may have occurred before death. The position in which Shamshiripour’s body was found has also raised questions about the circumstances of his death.

The family in Iran want his body brought to Australia for an autopsy. Seems Malcolm Turnbull told Trump that the refugees are under our care, so let’s do it.

The Saturday Paper also has an article Driven to death on Manus Island.

4. Meanwhile elsewhere

Within a short two months the popularity of Emmanuel Macron has sunk to Trump-like levels of 36 per cent, a level it took his predecessor, François Hollande, six months to reach. The French a wondering whether it was such a good idea to elect a “radical centrist”, and whether he is in fact a neoliberal tool with untrammelled power.

American military power has no limits, according to The Donald. Tim Ferguson’s Fake News Report:

    US Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson has attacked the fake media.

    “Journalists are dishonestly repeating the President’s words and taking them literally,’ he said.

Ferguson says he says:

    “By delivering ‘fire and fury’, POTUS clearly meant ‘friendship and fun’,” he said.

    “By threatening the nuclear obliteration of millions of innocent North Koreans, he clearly meant ‘My wristwatch is better than yours’. And it is.”

That would be funny if it was funny, but it’s not.

Anna Fifield at The Washington Post – Are we on the brink of nuclear war with North Korea? Probably not. However:

    “There’s an enormous difference between speaking North Korea’s language and firing verbal bombs, and frankly, engaging in a dangerously childish shouting match…”

Turnbull says we are “joined at the hip” with the Donald in defence, a place you’d never want to be, remembering our ANZUS obligation is only to consult.

Paul Keating says North Korea will inevitably become a full nuclear power, and containment is the only possible policy. An expensive missile defence system is a waste of money.

Trump’s ranting came two days after the UN Security Council, with Russia and China on board, approved further sanctions.

Now an explosive law suit alleges Trump reviewed and approved a concocted news story

    A defamation lawsuit filed by longtime Fox News contributor Rod Wheeler against the network alleges that President Trump was directly involved in concocting a fake story intended to undercut the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russian hackers waged cyberattacks against Democratic targets to help him get elected.

Never a dull moment.

69 thoughts on “Saturday salon 12/8”

  1. The ABC’s religion and ethics bloke Scott Stevens is always good value, and did not disappoint in his regular Sunday morning chat on local radio this morning.

    He said he was impressed with the Aristotelian view on what we call marriage and family. He said that Aristotle saw the male/female partnership as in the friendship frame, that is as an enduring and tenacious form of friendship based on mutual concern and the idea that we would put another’s needs ahead of our own. This possibly survives in parents’ attitudes to kids. (He did not talk about the wealthy, who employ maids and send their kids off to boarding school.)

    ‘Marriage’ as such did not exist.

    And guess what, he says that the early Christians had a Aristotelian view of marriage.

    Funny, that. Another case where Christians have perhaps not understood the Bible.

    I’m just saying what he said.

  2. In breaking news, Barnaby Joyce is a Kiwi, or so the Kiwis say.

    Always thought there was something strange about him!

    Seriously, his dad was born there so that makes him one. He didn’t have a clue.

    That at least, for Barnaby, was normal.

    Any way, off to the high court and hope for the best.

  3. The Greens are going to take a bath tonight on Four Corners as their dirty linen is aired in public.

    I wanted to give some empathy and solidarity for Richard Di Natale, who continues to be principled, rational and calm. Tonight on RN Drive, he was saying that all politicians should have their nationality checked, and he wants 16 and 17-year olds to be included in the same-sex marriage ‘survey’ because legally they are old enough to marry.

    Onya Richard for setting a standard of rationality and principle.

  4. Good one, Ambi. It’s open season for Kiwi jokes.

    Turnbull has said that the high court will definitely find in Barnaby’s favour, no question or room for doubt.

    Some constitutional lawyers have pointed out that there is of course doubt and at least one has suggested that the court may not be impressed with Turnbull holding forth.

    Remember when the Greens first got into trouble and Turnbull regaled them for their sloppiness?

    Those who live in glass houses…

  5. It is a bit hard to understand why the gay marriage postal vote should be paid for by taxpayers. It is hard to see because all a YES outcome will do is allow Coalition MP’s who support gay marriage have a conscience vote if the issue is brought to parliament.
    The result makes no difference to how MPs from other parties vote or, heaven forbid, take away the the God given right of Coalition opponents of gay marriage to continue to be able to vote according to their conscience.
    The postal vote is all about resolving an internal coalition problem. For this reason it should be paid for by the coalition, not the taxpayer

  6. Can’t argue with that logic, John, nor would I want to.

    It’s a part of the legacy of Tony Abbott, Barnaby Joyce and Turnbull for agreeing to a plebiscite as part of the deal to get him the job.

    I guessTurnbull justifies it in terms of ends and means, but that usually results in people being hurt along the way.

  7. From Philip Coorey in the AFR on Barnaby:

    Professor George Williams questioned whether the citizenship had to be acknowledged in any fashion and says he is “quite surprised” by the government’s confidence.

    “If he survives, he needs a generous interpretation of the Constitution,” he said. “I think they’re putting a brave face on it. On the face of it, he will be disqualified.”

  8. Laura Tingle on the plebiscite:

    we now have an actual dollar figure for the failures of the Liberal National Coalition to manage its deep and bitter divisions, and for the Prime Minister to be able to overcome them.

  9. The LNP (and the PM) had an opportunity, which would have strengthened democracy, by referring the matter to their branch members,

  10. Intriguing wmmb…..

    Refer to branch members, then those votes to bind the LNP Reps? And State totals to bind Senators?

    Certainly quite a different approach.
    Do you dislike “conscience votes” in the House and Senate?

  11. Brian: Governments often spend public money doing things to satisfy the desires of various factions so party peace is maintained. However spending $122m of public money on a postal vote to decide whether coalition MPs who support gay marriage will be allowed a conscience vote is a mind boggling scandal.

  12. I’m not across all the details (too disgusted to immerse myself in the cesspool) but isn’t it the case that even if Australians overwhelmingly endorse marriage equality our betters in government will not be bound by our decision?

    Definitely a mind boggling scandal.

  13. Great link Ootz; thank you. I wonder what the Constitutional scholars will make of the first amendment being squelched by the second amendment in situations like Charlotteville.

  14. I’ve been following this conflict with interest, since Portland (i) I think.
    In this instance no 1st Amendment was squelched but the 2nd Amendment ( unless a car is considered Arms now ).
    The only time a firearm was used at a rally in recent times was in Dallas where 5 Police Officers were killed at a Black Lives Matter event.

    Very sad on both occasions.

    Not surpassing though is the media who generally refrain from blaming an entire group for the actions of a medicated nutbag but did that immediately this time.

  15. Why am I not surprised to see Jumpy empathising with the Nazis and the KKK?
    BTW Jumpy, the Slate article (which covers the whole story, not just the knob end with a driver’s licence) makes the point that the mere carrying of weapons tends to silence the free speech of those the carriers oppose. No need for bullets to fly.

  16. Why am I not surprised to see Jumpy empathising with the Nazis and the KKK?

    Whoa, back the truck up Dude, you jumped a school of sharks there.

  17. i’ve had day surgery today to get a spot taken off my cheek. so i’ve got a very fat face, and one hand holding an ice-pack, so forgive the lower case.

    jumpy, you might not sympathise with those nutters, but as i understand it you defend their right to bear arms. how do you work your way around that one?

  18. Both sides were bearing arms, no-one was shot.
    Everyone was free to voice their opinion, and did, no-one died from that.
    One allegedly rasist loonbag illegally ran over some white people, guns had nothing to do with it.

  19. So everything is OK then, is it Jumpy, if no-one fired their guns.

    Bruce Shapiro told Phillip Adams that a critical failure was that the police did not keep the factions apart.

    The article Ootz linked to indicated that the police couldn’t deal because the fascists were better armed than they were.

    A minimum condition of a modern state is that the state has a monopoly on force. It not the state is pretty much f*cked.

  20. The article Ootz linked to indicated that the police couldn’t deal because the fascists were better armed than they were.

    I agree with the first bit, the Police were told to stand down [ again] by the Democrats Mayor [ again ], same as Portland and Berkeley. They were prevented from upholding the Law.
    On the second bit, Antifa are just as violent and intolerant on the extreme left as the KKK are on the extreme right.

    It’s almost as if the Mayor wanted things to get out of control.

    A minimum condition of a modern state is that the state has a monopoly on force. It not the state is pretty much f*cked.

    Every Fascist Dictator that has ever been would agree with you on that whole heartedly, I do not.

  21. Jumpy, I was talking in the context of the modern democratic state.

    So you are seriously suggesting it’s OK if there are groups and militias within a society that can’t be controlled by the police or even the military?

  22. Heil Jumpy 🙂

    Looking very much forward to the reintroduction of Zyklon B on industrial scale.

    Someone mentioned that Pauline has or has tried to establish a similar militia outfit here in Australia, but can’t really find any reliable source to confirm. There is an interesting history of militias in Australia and Pauline would fit the bill, kind of ‘Vanilla ISIS’.

    How to you rate her performance in the senate today … not quite yet like “the apprentice” in the WH I think.

  23. Antifa are just as violent and intolerant on the extreme left as the KKK are on the extreme right.

    Your grasp on KKK history is as shite as your reasoning, or you sold out libertarianism to mob rule.

  24. Hint for Jumpy – being anti-fascist (“Antifa”) does not put you on the extreme left (just ask Orrin Hatch, R-Utah).

  25. Imagine the imbroglio if Gillard would have had 4 Ministers within a whiff of a 44s breach?

    Any chance for a block of supply, I mean even Barnabi is asking why Joyce has not removed himself?

    What about a cleverly orchestrated dismissal by Labor, very suspicious that non of them are really under threat by 44s yet. It would explain the blind panic by the government and the uttering of treason.

  26. Ootz

    Did you mean Bernardi? Italiano?

    Barnabi, think Bambi, caught in the headlights; or think James Joyce, gibbering joycefully larking agriculturally with neocultural tendencies and tender mercies – oh the Mercies! – to pubic servants shiftily to Armadale and merrily thereto, Joyce, Joyce, Joyce: joyce to the world, a son is borne up, up and away thee to the High Court, hat tip to the Maragret Court. It’s a joke, Joyce.

  27. Now it’s Nick X.

    I must say I always thought “Xenophon” sounded British.

    Pericles of Athens he is not.

    Xenophon the Athenian faces the Persian Dastyari.
    The Ancients never really went away…..

  28. Hint for Jumpy – being anti-fascist (“Antifa”) does not put you on the extreme left (just ask Orrin Hatch, R-Utah).

    Really ?

  29. Re the equivalence of left and right extremism in the USA:

    Over the past 10 years (2007-2016), domestic extremists of all kinds have killed at least 372 people in the United States. Of those deaths, approximately 74% were at the hands of right-wing extremists, about 24% of the victims were killed by domestic Islamic extremists, and the remainder were killed by left-wing extremists.

    From here.
    2% does not equal 74% (unless you want to argue that Islamic extremists are left wing, in which case 26% does not equal 74%).

  30. Most commentators I trust regard Islamic extremist, jihadi killings as a phenomenon quite unique; not ‘left wing’ in any of its usual senses.

    Christopher Hitchens (vale) labelled jihadi terrorists “Islamofascists”. But I feel that reflected his continuing (Trotskyite?) leftism: all brutish, violent, ignorant, organised extremists were probably “Fascist” of one stripe or another, in his eyes.

    Mr Hitchens called himself a soixante-huitard, a man of ’68; the year of radical left upheavals in Paris, and resistance to Soviet tanks in Prague.

    Seeing I have never heard jihadi spokesmen call for invoke any of the standard Marxist or Communist or Social Democratic or Democratic Socialist, Anarchist, Proudhonist, Labor, IWW, Labour, etc tenets or ideals, safe to say they don’t identify as Left Wing.

    But I stand to be corrected, zoot.

    (BTW, are you being deliberately provocative by citing a Jewish source?)

  31. The claim was Antifa wasn’t left wing, it is, no doubt.

    I would view extreme islamists nowadays as Conservative Right too.

    What we saw in Charlottesville were extreme, intolerant, violent bigots from both the left and right clashing violently.
    I defend neither and condemn both, just as Trump has rightly done in his own ham fisted way.

  32. But you still defend their right to bear arms – real military style arms, not pea shooters.

  33. Yes Brian.
    And my defence is validated by the fact both sides were armed in an open carry jurisdiction without a single round being fired.

    Mass vehicular homicide is on the rise though, the right to drive cars is not being questioned.

  34. A rationalisation rather than a valid defence. And with Trump you are easily fooled, when you believe what you want to believe.

  35. I try to be rational Brian and how am I not being valid or being fooled ?

    [ note, I don’t just rely on left media ]

  36. After watching it again [ not an easy thing to do ] I notice the vehicle used by the lunatic was not a military assault car.

  37. Mr J

    I am confused. A rifle is designed to kill or maim.

    A car is not primarily designed to kill or injure. Isn’t that a silent distinction?

  38. I reckon it would be a criminal offence in most jurisdictions, to drive a vehicle into a crowd, intending to kill.

    Unintentional death or injury is another case, but drunkenness, carelessness, negligence, speeding etc are not usually accepted as excuses.

    Carrying a loaded weapon in a public place strikes me as a bloody bad idea. Threatening to kill is an offence in Australia; so it should be.

  39. Well, does One have more or less empathy for a person dying from diarrhoea than from getting shot or ran over?
    Getting stabbed or shot ?
    HIV or burned to death ?
    Death from heat or cold ?

    What do the media prioritise to their flock of sheeple ?

  40. One appears to have empathy for the racists considering the way one is determined to share equal blame with the counter protesters.

    Some perspective:
    Anti-fascists requested help dealing with the hundreds of white supremacists expected in Charlottesville.
    About twenty of the responders carried rifles.

    And I guess you have now changed your opinion of the huge threat Islamic terrorism poses to Australians since we are far more likely to be hurt or killed by falling out of bed. That’s perspective too.

  41. Diarrhoea needs attention. Gates Foundation working on this?
    Or some of the diseases causing it…..

  42. The Tolerance Paradox – the reason no free society can afford to tolerate Neo-nazis, the KKK or any ethnic supremacists:

    Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.

    Voltaire did not say “I don’t agree with ethnic cleansing, but I will defend to the death your right to recruit and organise it.”

  43. Thanks, zoot. I heard it on the radio, but the full statement in the link shows that Trump’s shortcomings go well beyond his recent rhetoric. It is well worth a read.

  44. Der Spiegel has an editorial by Klaus Brinkbäumer – The True Face of Donald Trump:

    U.S. President Donald Trump is a racist and a hate preacher. It’s time to stop trivializing the immense damage he is causing.

    Apparently his dad was arrested with KKK members 90 years ago, but not charged. In 1973, Donald Trump was sued because he preferred renting his 14,000 New York apartments to white tenants rather than blacks.

    Tolerance, empathy, kindness and diversity of opinion are all disparaged as political correctness. It becomes OK to say anything else, and if you can say it, it becomes easier to justify violence. The wheel of civilization has made a turn in reverse.

  45. Yep, there is more tolerance for left violence than right violence by some, in fact some totally deny the left are capable of violence.
    All violence is instigated by the right, right ?

    [PS, as a Libertarian I’m fine with consensual violence ]

  46. All violence is instigated by the right, right ?

    Umm, NO.
    Did you really think that was the gist of my comment (which made no mention of violence)?

  47. Well,in answer to your question, Ive condemned the violence, extremism and idiocy of both parties that clashed in Charlottesville, you have not.

    I’m a little confused as to which stance is being taken here as well.
    Is it ” the law can be an ass ” and ” It’s OK to violate laws that you feel are unfair ” or ” we have laws for order for fairness to get a better society “, what are we choosing to frame this one in ?
    { as an aside, do you get instant alerts when I comment or have you memorised my comment time patterns ? ]

  48. I’m a little confused as to which stance is being taken here as well.

    Try reading my comments without assuming they’re all about you.

  49. Zoot

    [ me ] All violence is instigated by the right, right ?

    [zoot ] Umm, NO.

    A couple of recent examples of left violence, in your mind, please ?
    Just to ease my concerns, if you can be so kind, that’d be great.

  50. Jumpy, back on the other thread, you linked to Antifa (United States), suggesting it was a far left group. The entry says:

    These groups are usually anti-government and anti-capitalist, and furthermore their methodologies and tactics are more anarchistic than those of associated groups in the far left.

    The article places them on the left because of what they are against, rather than what they are for. I’d suggest that the left-write thing doesn’t really apply to them. Anarchism on the left is rare. It doesn’t sit well with my concept of the left.

    I’m not a pacifist, but I am generally anti-violence. Consensual violence does not sit well with me.

    Any way the main point is that Trump should be trying to heal the country. Most commentators say he is dividing it.

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