Weekly salon 3/2

1. Invasion Day

We spent Australia Day as we would any other day, minding our own business. I was curious as to whether ‘Invasion Day’ protests has continued.

The have according to the ABC and Al Jazeera.

According to the latter:

    Since 2015, protests have been growing every year, supported by many non-Indigenous Australians.

The ABC article says:

    Invasion Day or Survival Day demonstrations have gained momentum in recent years and coincided with a push to move Australia Day to a date considered more inclusive.

Key points:

  • Australia Day is considered a day of mourning by many Indigenous and non-Indigenous people
  • Demonstrators are calling for a rethink on how the day is celebrated
  • Protesters have gathered at a statue of Captain Cook in London

2. It’s all happening!

Richard di Natale has resigned and will leave the Senate, Bridget McKenzie has resigned conveniently on a technical conflict of interest issue, while the Australian Electoral Office has revealed the torrent of money that has flowed into the political system before the election.

The ABC is back in full swing, with new hosts for Insiders, Four Corners (Black Summer) and Q&A (Bushfires Special | Live from Queanbeyan). They were going to do Q&A from Bega, but the venue was taken over by bushfire refugees.

Climate scientist Michael Mann will be on Q&A along with Victor Steffensen in an Indigenous fire practitioner of the Tagalaka people of North Queensland.

Then there is Brexit and bad-tempered people winning tennis trophies. Our Ash Barty did us proud and showed what mattered when she brought her baby niece Olivia into the press conference after being beaten.

I’m sympathetic to di Natale wanting to spend more time with his sons, now nine and 11, while they are still interested in spending time with him. Adam Bandt and Larissa Waters are co-deputy leaders, so one would expect one of them to take over, but I wouldn’t know.

3. Politicians and public servants

John Hewson is completely scathing about Morrison’s handling of the sports rort affair. He saw it as a blatant attempt to obfuscate and termed it “duplicitous behaviour beyond belief.”

In Katharine Murphy’s report:

    While the Australian National Audit Office said grants were skewed to marginal seats, and the process was not informed by an appropriate assessment process or sound advice, Morrison said Gaetjens found no evidence that the process was “unduly influenced by reference to marginal or targeted electorates”.

    Morrison said his departmental head found “no basis for this suggestion that political considerations were the primary determining factor” in awarding the grants. He also said the advice from the secretary was the minister had used her discretion to make funding decisions appropriately.

I was cranky with Michelle Grattan for asking Morrison at the National Press Club whether bureaucrats or politicians should be making decisions. ‘Bureaucrats’ is a derogatory term in most settings, definitely not a neutral descriptor.

Sports Australia were not garden variety bunch of public servants, they were a specialist group assembled to make the kind of decisions they were asked, through legislation, to make.

For an informed view, go to Andrew Podger, Honorary Professor of Public Policy at Australian National University in The ‘sports rorts’ affair shows the government misunderstands the role of the public service.

We need, as Podger says at the end:

    a parliamentary integrity officer or organisation, either an anti-corruption authority or a conflict of interest and ethics commissioner of the kind that exists in Canada.

At present we have a seriously corrupted political system.

I’m a bit tired of people who say “both sides do it” and point to what Ros Kelly did in the mid-1990s. Kelly did what she did, not Labor, and Labor accepted it was wrong. What we have with this mob is industrial scale rorting, fully sanctioned.

121 thoughts on “Weekly salon 3/2”

  1. FYI: The current Greens Senators: https://greens.org.au/mps. If you click on the pictures you will find that most of them have done more in life than being a senator and the Greens have a very healthy supply of potential leaders. For example, it had this to say about our NSW Senator: https://greens.org.au/nsw/person/dr-mehreen-faruqi:
    Dr Mehreen Faruqi is the Greens’ senator for New South Wales. She is a civil and environmental engineer and life-long activist for social and environmental justice. In 2013, she joined NSW State Parliament, becoming the first Muslim woman to sit in an Australian parliament. In 2018, Mehreen became Australia’s first Muslim senator. She has been a passionate advocate against racism and misogyny.
    Since emigrating from Pakistan in 1992 and completing her doctorate at the University of New South Wales, Mehreen has worked in leadership positions for local government, consulting firms and as an academic in Australia and internationally. This includes her roles as Manager of Environment and Services for Mosman Council, Manager of Natural Resources and Catchments for Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, Director of the Institute of Environmental Studies (UNSW) and an Associate Professor in Business and Sustainability (AGSM, UNSW).
    Mehreen has delivered major projects including stormwater reuse and recycling infrastructure, integrated water cycle management, hydropower generation, cycleways and rainforest rehabilitation, as well as working for action on climate change and waste reduction. She has chaired a number of panels and committees on sustainability, water and waste management for industry, local, state and federal government.
    Mehreen is a member of the National Tertiary Education Union.
    She has been named one of the 100 most influential engineers in Australia and received the UNSW Faculty of Engineering Award for Leadership, and remains a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia and a member of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand. Throughout her career, Mehreen’s work has focused on developing solutions to social and environmental challenges.
    Mehreen has been involved in feminist and anti-racist activism throughout her life. She introduced the first ever bill to decriminalise abortion in New South Wales and won the closure of pregnancy discrimination loopholes. Mehreen’s work for reproductive rights was recognised with the feminist Edna Ryan Grand Stirrer award in 2017 “for inciting others to challenge the status quo”. Her “Love Letters to Mehreen” series has highlighted the online harassment, bullying and toxicity experienced by women of colour in public life.
    While in NSW parliament, she also forced the Liberal-National government to disclose evidence of mass outsourcing of public sector work, won a container deposit scheme and driver’s license suspension reform. Mehreen has been a leading voice in opposition to the greyhound racing industry, privatisation of public transport, and removal of laws that protect native vegetation.
    Since joining the federal senate in August 2018, Mehreen has been an outspoken advocate for public education, social housing and animal welfare. She continued her work calling out discrimination in her first speech, condemning the “legitimisation, normalisation and encouragement” of hate in politics and the media. She is the Australian Greens’ spokesperson for education and lifelong learning, housing, animal welfare, local government, gun control and industry.”
    Just saying.

  2. If it’s a c*l*noscopy they’ve got you lined up for, Dr recommends being entirely absent of beans or any other solids, BB. I’m sure you were told. Nearest/dearest had that done recently.

    “This too will pass” isn’t much consolation, although true.

    Being a Victorian Pedant, I’m rather fond of colons, but mostly these ones
    :
    and making the semis is good too
    ;

    All the best, BB.

  3. It’s been reported that Senator & Minister Matt Canavan has resigned from Cabinet in order to support Mr Joyce’s run for the Nationals leadership.

    Senator Canavan says he will not seek the deputy leadership.

    (All sorts of genies popping out of all sorts of bottles.)

    Does Barnaby have a bandwagon, or has he fallen off a wagon??

  4. “Does Barnaby have a bandwagon, or has he fallen off a wagon??”
    Perhaps a farmers party will split away from the National party? A farmer’s party that backs small farmers against the big fossil fuel industry, big irrigators and big doners? (Or has this task been given to the Greens ? Like it has in NE NSW that used to be a safe country party area)

  5. Learned counsel zoot, would you mind giving us a quick summary of
    The Theory and Practice of Agrarian Socialism
    which I understand was written (and practised) by Comrade “Black” Jack McEwen, of the Country Party.

  6. John,

    Is it time to say, “Bye bye Barnaby!”
    again?

    &&&&&

    Heard the PM addressing Parlt on ABC News Radio around lunchtime. Amongst many points he mentioned, he said

    “(because of climate change) our Summers are getting longer, the continent is getting drier, …..”

    and as far as I could tell, he said he the forthcoming Royal Commission to consider the effects of climate change on preparations for future bushfires.

    @@@@

    Is it possible that an Australian’s Road to Damascus can pass through Hawaii??

  7. I see the Dem Primaries are off to an hilariously bad start.
    I wonder if Pelosi had anything to do with the system and strategy.

  8. Ambi, thanks for the encouragement.

    It has passed. There were times when drinking 250ml of something that tastes worse than I imagine horse piss would every 20 mins for over four hours that I nearly aborted the venture. It was worse than the last time, which was 2014, and the time before.

    Their advice includes not to sign any legal documents for 24 hours after because you may suffer from temporary cognitive deficits.

    I think I’m OK, but my chronic lower back issue cut up a bit rough to distract me. I’ve now done comprehensive exercises and stretches, and can sit in a chair.

  9. and as far as I could tell, he said he the forthcoming Royal Commission to consider the effects of climate change on preparations for future bushfires.

    @@@@

    Is it possible that an Australian’s Road to Damascus can pass through Hawaii??

    The Lib’s core vote now has a large contingent of people who could vote for the Nats or ON, or KP or….

    I think they are saying that climate change mitigation must be undertaken because there is a risk that the scientists are right, and they also want people who accept the science to think they are making a responsible effort.

    But anything they do, they will want maximum credit for, as well as take credit for what others do.

  10. Brian

    Good to hear it has passed, sorry that it was a bad one.

    Yes, the PM will want to claim credit for any advances; all pollies tend to do that.

    “My Govt has created 200,000 new full-time jobs”, when attentive readers here will know that in fact, Mr J and other bold and courageo uhs persons of that ilk created most of them.

    As I heard him, I thought tge PM was attributing to recent cli ate change: a long drought, hotter summers (“longer summers”), and consequent longer “fire seasons”; furthermore arguing that these trends are likely to continue.

    So, pray for good rain, but don’t bet your house on it.

    Prepare for more difficult conditions.

    In my view this is the merest common sense. The CFA (the Queen’s Fire Brigade for Distant Counties and General Rurality) as been learning and adapting for many decades. Emergency services develop contingency plans, it’s routine practice. Farmers have been adapting to changing local conditions since farming began. Families and businesses have been installing rooftop solar and improving insulation of buildings, buying more energy-efficient appliances and vehicles.

    The States run the fire services.

    What can you add, Mr PM? Yes, you. Your Govt.

    Bushfire science? Mitigation engineering? Fuel reduction science? New firebreaks near towns? Er, …..perhaps a tiny touch of carbon emissions reduction, or a rethought national electricity grid?

    The voters are waiting, Mr PM.

  11. This detailed survey of people’s attitudes to climate change and various forms of climate action has a lot of interesting data on what people think and how the supporters of various parties think: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-05/australia-attitudes-climate-change-action-morrison-government/11878510.
    Basically, you have to get down to minors like One Nation to find a majority not supporting climate change and action.
    Interestingly quite a lot of conservatives were keen about having nuclear as part of the mix.

  12. John, I’m very cautious as to the scientifically representative results of ABCs online poll.
    It’s essentially worthless if you look into the methodology.

  13. Care to share your misgivings about the methodology?
    I reckon I’m as qualified as you to judge and it looks fine to me.

  14. I’m glad someone asked, obviously I’d rather it wasn’t a racist troll, but there you have it.

    A balanced mind would ask “ is this survey representative of the an average Australian voter “

    I hope I haven’t lost you yet.

    Who was polled?

    Well, of the Australian voting population, those that have access and own an internet connected device.
    Of those remaining, visit the ABC website.
    Of those remaining, are motivated to participate.
    Of those remaining, tell the truth.
    Of those remaining, don’t respond on multiple occasions.

    It looked liked it was designed for Getup.
    What would Dr Kevin Bonham say.

    Now, your own rebuttal of my thinking please zoot ?
    ( not someone else’s )

  15. Well, of the Australian voting population, those that have access and own an internet connected device.

    Which includes everyone who owns a smart phone.

    Of those remaining, visit the ABC website.

    Or listen to ABC Radio or watch ABC television – I believe that includes a majority of the population. I heard about it via Radio National and chose to participate. But you’re right, as in every survey, people had to choose to participate.

    Of those remaining, tell the truth.

    You really believe a significant number of the participants lied? We’re not all like you.

    Of those remaining, don’t respond on multiple occasions.

    Safeguards were in place to stop multiple logons. Since I didn’t try to beat them I can’t vouch for how robust they were. Can you provide evidence that they were easy to defeat?

    It looked liked it was designed for Getup.

    Your bias is showing. If you didn’t take the survey you really can’t comment on the wording of the questions. In my memory they were very straight forward.

    What would Dr Kevin Bonham say.

    I have no idea. Why don’t you ask him?

  16. zoot, I’m not all the way with Jumpy, but I would actually like to see what someone with competence has to say about the methodology.

    They say they took the views of 54,790 people who chose to fill in a quite long survey on an ABC site and:

      The results of that survey have been weighted by sex, age, education, language, geography and vote choice in the 2019 election to create a nationally representative sample of the Australian population.

    That’s interesting and I don’t know how they do that, but it is still restricted to the population who would have access and would be bothered filling it in.

    I didn’t BTW.

    So I think it kinda maybe tells us something, especially when the differences are big, but I’ll look for confirmation from other polls.

    Speaking of which, do scroll down and see the white section where they report on more recent polls, which show growing concern about climate change.

  17. Brian, virtually anyone with a phone was able to participate and virtually everybody in Australia accesses the ABC in some form at least once a week, so the potential participants make up a large portion of the population. But yes, people had to choose to take part, much the same as they choose to participate when approached by one of the polling companies.
    Which means it comes down to how the responses were weighted and I would appreciate the comments of a qualified psephologist on the accuracy of this survey.
    I don’t believe Jumpy is that psephologist.

    Speaking of which, do scroll down and see the white section where they report on more recent polls, which show growing concern about climate change.

    I did Brian. Unlike Jumpy I don’t believe the ABC has an agenda.

  18. Vale Kirk Douglas, son of Jewish immigrants to the USA, which welcomed many of the poor, downtrodden, desperate exiles of those days.

    Thank you Mr Douglas, especially for
    Paths of Glory,

    Spartacus

    Mr A.

  19. Luke Henriques-Gomes has a nasty story in the nasty Guardian Australia online, about that nasty “robodebt” scam run by a succession of Federal Govts.

    Readers of this blog had several of the flaws of “robodebt” clarified (long, long ago) by Brian B and a son of Brian B. Well done, Bahnisches.

    Apparently DSS tried to get the ATO involved as a kind of debt-collector.

  20. Brian – a follow up.
    As I understand it pollsters are aware of the factors affecting people’s participation and compensate for any skewed results via weighting.
    Nobody here has the expertise to judge the survey “essentially worthless”.
    Here’s a better explanation of the process. There’s still no explanation of the nuts and bolts of the weighting procedure but the exercise seems to be quite kosher. I note that it is intended to start conversations.

  21. We have got to the point where insisting that Australia Day be celebrated on Invasion Day seems more and more like a grubby, nationalistic celebration championed by victorious bullies wrapped in Australian flags than something that celebrates what is good about Australia. Some more practical people have pointed out that it would be better if it was not so close to the summer holiday season and was always held on a Monday or Friday so people get a long weekend.
    Other practical people might want to suggest that it be held outside the bushfire and cyclone season. Suggests first Friday after the winter solstice might a good starting point?
    Or is there some date in our past that was good for all the strands that make up modern Australia?

  22. zoot, if the survey is intended to start conversations, it is certainly capable of that, and is certainly extensive in its probing, so that’s all good.

    John, I really like the idea of a long weekend and short week, so would have favoured the last Monday in January. However, that is becoming increasingly impossible. It is going to have to be sorted at some stage.

  23. Some wags in Old Melbourne Town are very keen on the Tuesday “Melbourne Cup Holiday” because they enjoy a four day weekend

    John, I think most Aussies prefer a Spring, Summer or Autumn public holiday: the field is wide open.

    Some of the humane amongst us think the AO tennis in January can be akin to torture for the players; move it, please.

    Bushfire season now runs from October to April (formerly December to March, down here).

  24. Brian
    May I offer you a tonic to the sickness you feel every time somebody says “ They both do it “

    Pop onto YouTube and search for ‘ House Question Time 6 February 2020 ‘ ( good source, subscribe, tap the bell and thumb up )

    Listen to the whole thing or just see bits related to the blatant rorts @ 21:12 and 45:36.
    Both Dorothy Dixers but as yet suspiciously ignored by the ABC and MSM.

  25. I should add the standard ‘ I call for the suspension of standing orders…….’ is where I usually tune out but to each their own.

  26. Jumpy, I did as you suggested, I think this link would get you there.

    My usual practice is not to believe, or take seriously, anything Josh Frydenberg says since he stood next to Jay Weatherall and told bare-faced lies which he knew were bare-faced lies.

    It doesn’t follow logically that everything he says is a lie. So assuming he was quoting accurately, we still need more detail and a right of reply from the accused before we can come to any definite conclusion.

    However, it appears clear that Mr Frydenberg thinks that it is OK for his mob to rort public money, but not so for anyone else.

    His crowing was vomit-worthy.

  27. Brian

    “”So assuming he was quoting accurately, we still need more detail and a right of reply from the accused before we can come to any definite conclusion.””

    Then why would the media have not done this ?
    This happened well before McKenzie and far larger sums of taxpayer money.
    Albo won’t exercise his right of reply unless quizzed by the Press, which was what happened relentlessly and wide spread with McKenzie.

    Perhaps politically motivated bias could possibly be a logical conclusion to make.

    I’m sure many of the loudest and most experienced journalists have read all the Auditor Generals reports as closely as this last one. Or at least should have.

  28. Thanks, zoot.

    Quite a few of us have been critical at times of Canberra political
    journalists.

    My beefs include: superficiality, gotcha-hunting, laziness, and deficient expertise in topics covered. But Katharine broadens that out, and she should know. She urinates from within the tent.

    Not from outside where most of us are.

    She’s correct to point out that an enquiring and active Press is a cornerstone of any healthy democracy. “Shine light where there is darkness”, and how often do the pollies or shady business people or shady union leaders, prefer the darkness to stay as it is?

    All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    Essay question: “what are the checks and balances in the Australian polity; how do they compare with checks and balances in the US polity; and how are they functioning at present?”

  29. Katharine has some good points about political advertising and Clive’s $80 million during the campaign.
    What she leave out is the dollar value of the Guardians ALP/green advocacy political advertising 365 days a year which trumps Clive by several orders of magnitude.

  30. Katharine’s book “On Disruption” is an interesting analysis of the changing pressures journalists have had to cope with.
    As to the question of checks and balances, as has been demonstrated very clearly in the USA they only work if they are controlled by people who believe there should be checks and balances. I’m sure the founding fathers never imagined a political animal as pure as Moscow Mitch.

  31. the dollar value of the Guardians ALP/green advocacy political advertising 365 days a year which trumps Clive by several orders of magnitude.

    You do realise you are claiming the Guardian’s advertising in Australia is worth around $80 billion a year don’t you? (Several orders of magnitude is roughly a multiplier of 1000)
    And you do realise the Guardian’s global revenue for 2019 was £223 million, don’t you?

  32. Jumpy: ” Katharine has some good points about political advertising and Clive’s $80 million during the campaign.
    What she leave out is the dollar value of the Guardians ALP/green advocacy political advertising 365 days a year”
    And the Murdoch press LNP advocacy is worth???? Bloody big mobs when compared to the Guardian.

  33. John, Murdoch’s reach and influence is tiny compared to just left ABC in Australia. Name another admittedly right wing news organisation that’s “ free “
    And News LTD is opt in.

    Murdoch is a minority outlet, have you no empathy for that minority?

  34. Zoot News corps entire global revenue is $2.7bill spread all over the planet.
    ABC is $1.2 bill concentrated domestically.

    Add to the left column 9/Fairfax/SMH , 7, 10 , you.

    The proposition that right wing media in Australia has more reach and influence is preposterous.
    Yet the voters choose conservatives from time to time.

    My contention is that human are smart enough to save themselves despite overwhelming propaganda from the Marxists types.

  35. “and we have always been at war with Oceania.”
    Perhaps you have. It’s sad you live your life via a book. But hey, many do.

  36. I bet Zoot that you’ve got some great ideas for INGSOC to prevent Winston having that first free thought.
    Please tell us, we all. know you’d do Communism properly this time.

    ( Gawf….)

  37. Updated figures, thanks, I accidentally used 2018 quarterly.
    My bad, apologies all round.
    No they’re not liars.

    Now, how much ( ohh great googlista ) was Australia specific?

    You conflate global with National at will evidently.

  38. Just on “orders of magnitude”.

    20 is one order of magnitude larger than 2.

    Yes, to change the order of magnitude by ONE you multiply by ten if it’s to increase, or divide by ten if it’s to decrease.

    200 is two orders of magnitude larger than 2.

    2000 is three orders of magnitude larger than 2.

    2,000,000 is six orders of magnitude larger than 2.

    A kilometre is three orders of magnitude larger than a metre.

    Next lessons:
    I. How journalists and other misuse the term “growing exponentially”

    II. The Richter scale for earthquake energy output is logarithmic (see “orders of magnitude”)

    III. The apparently silly idea of “negative growth”.

    IV. ” Stratified sampling ” – a method of making a population sample as representative as possible (hence lowering the sample size, for the same uncertainty level; or improving the uncertainty level with a similar sample size.)

    V. Why journalists write about “stolen wages” even though the money in question was never wages, never became the property of the employee, so how could it have been stolen from them for goodness sake??!!

    VI. Amiright or amiright?

    Just to repeat my earlier warning to all pupils….. I have noticed that some of you try to avoid homework, or copy other pupils’ homework. This must cease.

  39. Now, how much ( ohh great googlista ) was Australia specific?

    I don’t know.
    You’re the one who put the Guardian’s revenue in Australia at $80 billion and confused News Corp’s quarterly figure with an annual figure, and you’re the one making the argument that News Corp Australia’s revenue has some sort of equivalence to the ABC’s budget.
    Perhaps you can tell us?

  40. Zoot ya peanut, it’s not about revenue, as you well know, ABCs revenue is a compulsory taxpayer gift, newscorp is voluntary contributions.
    It’s about reach and influence as I said at the start Mr Fog.

    Mr A, there’s a neat YouTube compilation on “ unprecedented “ with regard to the bushfires this season.
    Got a large giggle up over that.
    All the regular suspects featured.

  41. Nobody here wants “to do Communism properly this time”, Mr J.

    I believe that most people who’ve either lived through a Communist era (quite a few emigrated here) or have sifted news reports, or have read accounts of the regimes of Bolshevism, Eastern Europe after the late 1940s, Democratic Kampuchea, People’s China, North Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, Vietnam, etc etc ad nauseam; are thoroughly inoculated against that disease…..

    I had assumed that after the Nuremberg Trials both Nazism and murderous antisemitism would also be thoroughly discredited. That was quite naive, in retrospect.

    IMO the old saying,
    “The price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance” seems well justified by experience.

    Mr J,
    On Ingsoc and the book…… “1984” was written as a warning to British, and other Western Europeans, of the dangers of Soviet Totalitarianism which Orwell hated. (There’s even a rumour that he may have been on their death list when fighting with the POUM in Spain.) He was worried Britain might drift into Stalinism; you may scoff, but the USSR had been an important ally, along with the US in WW2. And Eastern European nations occupied by Stalin’s Red Army were having Communist govts installed in the late 40s.

    Many nations had fought strenuously against the Nazi state and its allies; many had been occupied by Axis forces. That was clear and tragically so. But Orwell and others warned of another danger. His description of totalitarian rule echoed the Nazi, and Soviet, and Mussolini and other Fascist regimes.

    “1984” is one of the great political books of the 20th century, worth pondering and reconsidering. It is truly horrible, as you know.

    Two further points.
    The late Christopher Hitchens was an articulate and knowledgeable defender of Orwell.
    When someone (Hitchens?) spoke to a Burmese critic of military rule in Burma, they said, “Oh yes, Mr Orwell wrote three books about Burma.”

    The Burmese meant
    Burmese Days,
    1984,
    Animal Farm

    That’s a wonderful tribute for a deceased Englishman writing many decades earlier, from a well-read person in distant Burma.

  42. May I just add the rejoinder that Eric was warning against all totalitarianism, not just of the political left (hence Burma).

  43. Well there’s a rant on an aside comment and we’ll done Mr a.
    Truth is the left media is overwhelmingly more powerful but the props see through it.

    Regardless, on a totally revived subject, I thought that a Buttigieg/Hariss ticket was what the US Dems would go with.
    I said that a while ago here ( and zoot that trawls the archives to quote out of context comments made in 2015 can easily find ) that that was the most woke intersectional combination.

    That’s still a good probability.

  44. I thought that a Buttigieg/Hariss ticket was what the US Dems would go with.

    Was that before or after your advocacy of Tulsi Gabbard?
    It was definitely before the fondness you expressed for Bernie last week.

  45. I thought Gabbard was the most sane, look it up.
    Bernie is your kind of communist only somewhat honest about it.

    Now, your predictions about the DemNom regardless of monkey or circus.

    Both hopeful and likely.

    ( here’s you chance to actually think and go on record )

    Go!

  46. On second thoughts, better still – what are your thoughts on Miles Davis? Was his best work done with the seventies quartet or do you think his fusion work was more impressive. Of course you always have to take into account his seminal work in the fifties.

    ( here’s you chance to actually think and go on record )

    Go!

  47. Yes, Eric opposed all totalitarianism, but when 1984 was published Nazism and Italian Fascism lay in smoking ruins, while Sovietism was rising from a very bad war, ascendant in Eastern Europe, and a threat to democracy. ( At least I think that was his view of the world at that time. He’d also written about James Burnham’s warning that “managerialism” was going to rise and rule.)

    It’s good that his jeremiad against Stalinism was fine enough that it transcends left/right. I think that in the 1960s many thought his predictions of intimate (household by household) mass surveillance was far-fetched. Now we have NSA, Facebook, Google, PRC using facial recognition technology, FSB, secret police in all kinds of nations, and the emergence of commercial organisations keeping track of person’s movements, purchases etc.

    Makes the old pen-and-paper records of the Stasi, the Rumanian goons, the Cuban goons, General Pinochet’s boys, etc ad nauseam look pretty d*mn inefficient, eh??

    Makes the

  48. Ambi I was referring mainly to the knee jerk reactions of some who classify 1984 as a critique of Communism. (No-one in particular of course.)

  49. You’re quite correct, zoot, to note that the techniques and practice of totalitarian rule have been applied by outfits who rose from “far right, demagogic, hyper nationalist” sources, others claiming the mantle of socialism/workers’ rights/Marxism; others in copycat Leninist, or Maoist, or Castroist guises; others like Franco mimicking Mussolino and AH; others of an eclectic and perhaps innovative strain, though the execrable Pot in Kampuchea seems straight out of the Lenin/Mao/Cultural Revolution songbook.

    It’s a complete bl**dy b*gger this totalitarian garbage, is it not? Liberty dies then people: in some nations, millions of them.

    Sorry to harp on about this, but it really annoys me, that humans can do these things, sanctioned by a state apparatus.

    It can put a bloke off his lemonade, fair dinkum!!

  50. And now in answer to our Mackay correspondent.
    I have already graced these pages with my thoughts on what a Bernie win would mean for the USA. Kamala was also impressive and I was disappointed when she dropped out but her as VP to Mayor Pete would be interesting. I saw Mayor Pete interviewed by Colbert and he’s very impressive, particularly as a vet compared to Cadet Bonespurs. Warren appears to be the one with the plans that would work.
    But all of it becomes a moot point when we accept the reality that Trump will win a second term. Even as we speak the Russian troll farms are gearing up to support Putin’s man in the White House. The best I can hope for is the Democrats taking the Senate. That would make the news interesting.

    Now, about Miles Davis (or Laura Tingle if you wish)??

  51. Sometimes I wonder what the marketing man unleashed would look like. Or Dutton unleashed, Or…….. The commitment to democracy is a bit shaky at times and some of the voters seem less committed to democracy at times.

  52. John, years ago I heard Norman Mailer’s address to the Commonwealth Club (lost the transcript in a hard drive crash unfortunately) where he argued quite persuasively that fascism is humanity’s default position.
    (It was broadcast on that hotbed of communist disinformation, Radio National)

  53. Zoot: “he argued quite persuasively that fascism is humanity’s default position.”
    Definition: “Fascism (/ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, strong regimentation of society and of the economy, and the promotion of violence and imperialism to achieve its goals which came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe …” https://www.google.com.au/search?sxsrf=ACYBGNTRk1kQ2KLBHju-42qmzaXnpA6_5Q:1581157235025&q=What+is+the+true+definition+of+fascism%3F&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjHnc_a3cHnAhU94jgGHcPuCN4Qzmd6BAgKEBc&biw=1093&bih=500.
    There a degrees of this in most of us. For example, the level of moral consideration we hold for people who are “more like us” and live “close to us” tends to be a lot higher than it is for “the others” who are more distant and less like us.
    We can also be more supportive of “firm action” against others than we are about those we identify with.
    You might like to think in the fascism scale about a government who wants to shut down Getup and those pesky unions and couldn’t give a stuff about actions that make it harder for the Xmas Island tourist industry.
    One could rabbit on on this subject…………

  54. Other things that really annoys me, while we’re on actions of humans towards other humans, permitted by a state, and have caused deaths in the thousands or millions:

    Tobacco industry
    Asbestos fibres
    Unsafe vehicles

    none of which can be blamed on Lenin, though AH did sponsor widespread autobahns I’ve been told.

    PS on the Pres election, I’d not be surprised if the Donald wins again.

    But it would be most entertaining if Mayor Pete were nominated and defeated Pres Trump. Imagine the annoyance for Hillary16: the voters electing a gay male in 2020, having refused to elect a woman four years ago.

  55. They were predicting heavy rain this afternoon, so I didn’t go to any of the three jobs that were beckoning. Stayed at home and worked on our yard, and the rain didn’t come until after dark.

    I’ve much enjoyed this discussion thread.

    Ambi, I agree with your sentiment about Clinton/Buttigieg, whose name I’ve just discovered is Maltese, derived from Sicilian Arabic أبو الدجاج Abu-l-dajāj(i), meaning chicken owner or poulterer (literally, “father of chickens”). Nevertheless, born in Indiana, and his mum was a Montgomery.

    What I meant to say is that the people didn’t refuse to elect a woman, a majority of them wanted to, but failed for reasons we’ve gone over many times.

    On fascism and human nature, for my best recent insight I’ll go back to the ABC RN program Evolution made humans less aggressive and the ideas of Richard Wrangham – Ruth B. Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology of Harvard University. From memory he was saying that at the tribal level a group of 6-8 well-organised males tended to pretty much determine how everyone lived.

    Yes, I know there were tribes where the women ran the show.

    Most of us since WW1 live in a nation state, where some form of democracy seems desired by many. It may be the human species was not particularly designed to live in a nation state. I’d argue against that, but in doing so I’d have to get into considerations of language and culture.

    However, I think we should be considering what we want to be. A democratic nation state offers much opportunity.

  56. Zoot, I believe according to the script the next POTUS will be Lisa Simpson, who is destined to come in and clean up Trump’s mess.

  57. But, but, but…… Lisa is a creation of television, whereas…. oh, yep, OK. Fair point. Yep. Right.
    🙁

    Some old guy a few years back said, “People want peace, and the politicians should get out of their way and let them have it.”

    In parallel, most people want democracy, and the politicians should get out of our way…..

    In Tiananmen Square some very senior politicians gave a different interpretation to “let them have it”. The folk in the Square were loudly and proudly telling the pollies they wanted freedom. Silly sausages!

  58. Learned counsel zoot,

    Pray tell, who are these “Kardashians”? They sound a bit, well….. foreign….. not that I don’t welcome our lovely New Australians with their funny accents and browner skin tones and painting their front verandas in gaudy colours they work very hard which is good….

    But anyway, it sounds as if these “Kardashians” are ladies and Americans. Do they have sound domestic policies? And what of their Foreign Affairs?

    Are they widely known, or somewhat dark horses like Mr Father Of Chickens? Thanks for the Sicilian Arabic, Mr B; I’m sure the blog would get along very nicely without scrawling silly Ayrab words on it. {sniff}

    God Save Queen Victoria!!
    I think the ayes have it.
    Ring the bells.

  59. Brian: “What I meant to say is that the people didn’t refuse to elect a woman, a majority of them wanted to, but failed for reasons we’ve gone over many times.” Clinton’s constant going on about the importance of electing a woman President probably didn’t help in some quarters. Elite women don’t seem to realize that giving preference to women will disadvantage women whose welfare is influenced by what is happening their husbands. Ditto that most women don’t get anywhere near a glass ceiling.

  60. Yes,yes and media Princess Ardern didn’t win the popular vote.
    Blackface Trudeau didn’t win the popular vote.
    Hawke was still PM after ALP lost the popular vote to the Coalition in 1990 ( lovely year, unemployment rate of 10.8 in a “ recession we had to have “)

    Is zoot arguing they are illegitimate leaders in non-democratic elections ?

  61. Oh, Gillards ALP lost the popular vote to Abbott’s Coalition in 2010 too.

    Outrageously unjust says zoot !!

  62. There’s a new post up. Now I have get a ladder and get up on the roof before it starts raining again!

  63. Jumpy, you really need to work on your comprehension if you think I was barracking for Ms Clinton. Try including context and not the machinations of your febrile imagination.

  64. Apologies in advance for going over old ground, like a forgetful plough.

    Secretary Clinton argued that her femaleness was a sufficient condition for women and persons of goodwill to back her.

    Many voters disagreed.

    The possible reasons they may have had at that time have been rehearsed and dissected ever since.

    My hope is that many US voters consider other factors (in place of gender, or in addition to gender) to be important.*

    Doubtless US social scientists have investigated that. You might suppose that journalists, psephologists and Party campaigners might have, also.

    The US Pres election system, with heavier weighting for smaller States seems (partly) to include some “protection” for the interests of smaller States. Similar to our Senate set-up. That’s a feature. If voters consider it a defect, they are welcome to campaign for a different proportion of Aust Senate seats; or in the US for a different Pres election procedure.

    In my view there’s not much value in complaining about the Electoral College; all Parties (Dem, Green, Republicans) were fully aware of the system they were campaigning under.

    If the US Founding Fathers had wanted the Pres. election to be decided by totalling the national vote for each candidate, they had the wit to design it that way. And did NOT.

    A consequence, for me, is that discussing the National (“popular”) Vote is an exercise in futility, unless you are a US citizen forming a ginger group aiming to overhaul (and in your group’s view) improve it.

    Good luck. I admire the persistence and reasoning skills of ginger groups.

    Buderim is a lovely place.

    * and hence agree with my own most excellent opinion on voting.

    Cheerio
    Mr A

  65. Zoot, then why do you ( and John ) bring up the popular vote when it suits you ?

    Could it be an H word that rhymes with theocracy?

  66. Jumpy, we (well not me, but you know what I mean) were discussing voters rejecting Clinton. I merely pointed out that they in fact didn’t.
    If that’s your definition of hypocrisy it’s your problem not mine.

  67. Again, not the question asked by Geoff.
    I think you could show Geoff the respect of not totally ignoring his participation.

    I find GH to be an honourable Chap unlike your racist bigoted self.

  68. On the matter of Hitlery Clinton , she was rejected where it mattered.
    If the popular vote is desirable to you then abolish the Senate like Queensland and New Zealand.

  69. Ambi: “If the US Founding Fathers had wanted the Pres. election to be decided by totalling the national vote for each candidate, they had the wit to design it that way. And did NOT.” That was a different time and place when pony express was the fastest way to get information across the US, illiteracy was common and neither Indians or slaves had the vote.
    In this more modern world the president of the US should be something like the winner of the US wide 2PP vote. (I tend to favour a more complex round robin 2PP system but, given that the US is just starting to use a “instant run-off” system that achieves the same end as preference voting it is desirable to take small steps forward.

  70. From Roland B. Hedley Jr’s Twitter feed.

    If POTUS had been in Clinton’s shoes at Prayer Breakfast, he would have just said, “It was a perfect blow job.” All the groveling Clinton did VERY undignified!

  71. Ambi, I think it is well documented that the founding fathers in the US were afraid of democracy. Which is why the voters for POTUS don’t vote for POTUS, they vote for the college electors, strictly. It is only by convention that the college electors now vote according to how the people vote.

    A residual problem is that it is winner takes all within each state.

    John is right about the indigenous people and slaves not having the vote. It was male property owners, not sure whether there was an eligibility criterion within that.

  72. Yes,

    By all means the US population can press for changes, and take steps to make the system more democratic and representative. That’s up to them.

    And by what mechanism(s) would the changes be achieved?

    At least here in Oz we have a clear cut Referendum process which everyone understands, and sets a high bar, so chopping and changing often is less likely.

    I believe the founding fathers were sincere in their wish for rule by the people. Certainly times change. Crikey, apparently female humans vote now, in many countries. Extraordinary!

    In ancient Athens the cradle of democracy……. a very limited franchise.

  73. Apologies

    I meant Llew (a bit of Welsh in the fellow?)

    CM headline tells me that he
    1. Is a former police person, and
    2. Engaged in a most unseemly shouting match with his Dear Leader over the matter of failing to heal the divisions in their once indivisible and invincible Party.

    So how did he himself work to heal the divisions he so incorrectly ascribed to his Party? By tearing it asunder and storming out, to the deep regret of the Healer-in-Chief, Mr Barnaby.

    Or was that Heeler in Chief?
    As in Blue Heeler?
    Looked a bit blue the other afternoon, up there on the Back Bench.
    Apparently there’d been a bit of a blue.
    Didn’t see that coming: it was the blue that came right out of the blue.
    But most likely it will just blue over.
    “Don’t you worry about that.”

  74. In the matter of lawyer Nicola Gobbo:

    some silly duffer has provided a 208 page sworn statement from the Victorian DPP to “The Age“, re Ms Gobbo and Victoria Police.

    It’s there in full on their website courtesy of Scribd .

    The newspaper is suggesting that perhaps a current Police Commissioner (and other seniors) might consider his(their) position(s).

    The sworn statement runs to 208 pages because it is full of documentary ev-id-ence.

    Of course Nine Newspapers are leftist organs; we may ignore the emissions of leftist organs.

  75. On the Llew O’Brien matter, this from “The Age” down south, well south:

    The Coalition government will keep its two-seat majority but Mr O’Brien has flagged his intention to cross the floor on a number of bills, including the government’s national anti-corruption commission.

    The former policeman has been an outspoken critic of the proposed laws and wants the commission to have more teeth to fight corruption.

    I like it when a bloke who used to be an actual cop on the beat, tries to strengthen the arm of a body that Canberrans might call, so quaintly and metaphorically, “our Federal anti-corruption ‘cop on the beat’ “.

  76. OK you Qld jokers, now you’re forcing us southerners to pay attention to Llew, by getting him elected Deputy Speaker, for crying out loud.

    • Who is Lew O’Brien???

    Never heard of him. He’s got two arms, two legs, one head and looks like a regular human being. But he’s provincial Qld, so you never know!!!

    Ambi, we in Quinceland did not nominate him. The report is that it was done by Labor.

    To clarify, he is and remains LNP, which is one party in Qld. In Canberra he does not sit in the Liberal Party Room, nor in the Nationals, but will be present in the Joint Party Room.

    He was the one who brought on the Nats spill, and as a Joyce supporter will not be there to support Joyce when he has another crack at the leadership.

  77. Some fellow called Bill Shorten says that most of the $1.5 billion collected by the illegal “robodebt scheme” should be returned to those who paid the money after receiving a Govt demand.

  78. Ambi: “Some fellow called Bill Shorten says that most of the $1.5 billion collected by the illegal “robodebt scheme” should be returned to those who paid the money after receiving a Govt demand.”
    That Bill Shorten bloke must know that returning money obtained by thuggish threats might put the budget surplus at threat. Can’t have that!!
    Next thing he will want is truth in advertising!!!
    Or a federal corruption commission!!!!
    Wash his mouth out!!!

  79. Indeed, how dare he!

    I can’t understand why the “robodebt” scandal is still rolling along.
    The Govt (reluctantly) set up a Royal Commission to examine financial institutions…. to general consternation, it found banks had been charging some deceased and over-charging many of the living.

    Crikey, now it seems that a Govt Dept has been marauding just like an Australian bank !!!

    (Is it those ‘convict genes’ showing through?)

  80. Ambi: “(Is it those ‘convict genes’ showing through?)”
    Morrison comes from the convict state where things are done differently and governments holding on to money they got by false pretenses seems to be at the lower end of Convict State misdemeanors.
    NOTE: I grew up in NSW but all my great grandparents paid for their passage and I didn’t grow up in Sydney, the convict heartland.

  81. Didn’t mean it personally, any NSWelshmen or NSWelshladies hereabouts.

    Yes, probably at the lower end.
    Rum Rebels, etc.
    Land grabbers.
    Bipartisan cash in brown paper bags (I’m thinking Liberal Premiers, odd police chiefs, Kings Cross identities, racing identities, hit men, policepersons….)

    We’re much more debonair and discreet in Victoria: land grabbers, indigenous murderers, 1890s property speculation with MPs and Mayors in on the take, Home of the Painters and Dockers, venue for the Gangland War; silly old Norm Gallagher getting his beach house refurbished; all under the watchful gaze of the Melbourne Club {no ladies, no Jews}, the squattocracy, and sundry Old Boys.

    &&&&&
    Good to see Mr Biden depart, so he can bide his time on the sidelines. Perhaps retire to the Ukr**ne?
    And pretty much a three-way tie for Amy, Pete and Bernie….
    The Democrats have a helluva decision to be getting on with.

    Will “Pocahontas” reflate, or is it off to the Reservation with her too?

  82. Ambi: My take on the New Hampshire results is that Sanders and Warren (progressive) got 35% of the vote between them and Butterigieg + Klobucher + Biden got 53% (center), New Hampshire is very European so Butterigieg wouldn’t have suffered too much from his claimed low support from Afro Americans. Amy Klobucher looks like the one to be watched at this stage as someone who might beat Sanders and Trump.
    But yes, looks like by by Biden but the polling is volatile.

  83. Pete mini Sanders did ok.
    If I were an American socialist I’d be worried about the dismal turnout in the whitest of white States.
    I can’t see it improving on Super Tuesday in the more grey states.
    Biden’s polling the best with blacks using his Obama coattails schtick but Obama not even endorsing his VP won’t enthuse too many.

    My But Edge Edge/ Harris guess could still be in play.
    I’m a little bit proud I was the only one that did hazard a guess when everyone else refused to when asked.

  84. A friend of mine who is interested in such things had this to say on the impact of coranavirus on the Chinese economy and flowons to Aus from the impacts in China: “More PRC stats: “Apparent” steel demand fell 40%. In that number, flat steel (cars) fell “only” 12% (“Great Wall” etc are having to force their workers to return to work.) In that number, again, Construction Steel fell 88%! Real estate has stopped. (4,000 dwellings sold per week prior to LNY), now 500 dwellings sold per week.) Okay, if Chinese construction steel demand is down 88%, then who’s keeping iron ore prices up? They’re gyrating around the 1.5% number. Incredible!
    Road congestion 1.8X trips per week, average. Post LNY, 1.15X trips. Ditto for rail, airline flights & ships.
    Coal consumption at power plants 180X tonnes per week, average. Post LNY, 80X tonnes per week (Down 44% of normal).
    Most ominously, as internal supply chains fall to pieces, food prices are soaring.
    Goldman Sachs says the PRC GDP will come in at -1% this year. This is looking optimistic.
    CDC Director says that America (& by implication, Australia) will be in the grip of a full-on CV epidemic by 2021.
    Chinese construction steel demand is down 88%, coal imports down (100%?), LNG demand down 70%. That accounts for the Big 3 of exports. (Throw in tourism & international students). There’s no foreign exchange coming in!
    And even the 5 Eyes are fighting each other!
    I’m reading a book on the 17th Century & the miseries it witnessed. My advice: be nice to each other, look after each other. It will end.”
    Be of good cheer and start planting vegetables.

  85. Zoot, I posted that story around the time when Trump started to campaign last time around, it may even be here. If you are that way inclined, few days ago on RN LNL, there Washington Post journalist Philip Rucker details the history, the scandals, the chaos, the sackings, the ignorance and the arrogance of the Trump administration over the last three years.

    Having said that, to me Trump is the symptom of the malaise the US goes through. Much more scary are the cultural gate keepers and influencers like Rupert Murdoch. The Monthly published a lengthy essay with a bio of Murdoch, which explains a lot about the unsavory character of that man and the might of his media empire. His oldest son James distanced him self from taking over and recently publicly voiced his despair about the approach Newsltd has taken wrt climate change and the managed transition that ought to happen. His youngest son Lachlan however, is a chip of the old block and likely to take over the dynasty.

    Just recently commercial finance manager at News Corp resigned on principle, and with a blistering email lashed climate ‘misinformation’ in bushfire coverage of limited News.

    ““I find it unconscionable to continue working for this company, knowing I am contributing to the spread of climate change denial and lies. The reporting I have witnessed in the Australian, the Daily Telegraph and the Herald Sun is not only irresponsible, but dangerous and damaging to our communities and beautiful planet that needs us more than ever now to acknowledge the destruction we have caused and start doing something about it.””

  86. Ootz, I heard that Late Night Live and resolved to buy the book (A Very Stable Genius) – Rucker impressed me as a journalist intent on approaching #45’s presidency as a historian rather than as a muckraker.
    I agree with your assessment of Murdoch; the sooner he drops off the twig the better. Unfortunately his mother lived forever and he is likely to be succeeded by Lachlan who appears to be even more crazy than his dad.

  87. “”I agree with your assessment of Murdoch; the sooner he drops off the twig the better.””
    Typical attitude of a Communist, wishing those that disagree are dead.

    Disgusting mindset.

  88. wishing those that disagree are dead.

    Not actually what I was saying, but you keep clutching your pearls if it makes you feel better.

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