Weekly salon 26/5

1. Three first nations people in Queensland parliament

Lance McCallum, newly elected Labor MP for Bundamba now joins Cynthia Lui, Labor Member for Cook and Leeanne Enoch, Member for Algester and Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts in the Queensland parliament:

Tuesday 26 May was National Sorry Day, commemorating the Bringing Them Home report. National Sorry Day is on the eve of National Reconciliation Week (27 May to 3 June). The Qld Government marked the week with:

    “The $250,000 Celebrating Reconciliation Small Grants Program is our biggest round yet and will support up to 48 Queensland events by councils, community groups and non-profit organisations to be held during or around National Reconciliation Week 2021,” he said.

    The Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships-funded program has supported more than 100 reconciliation events since launching in 2018.

“He” was the Minister for Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Craig Crawford.

Rio Tinto blasted a 46,000-year-old Aboriginal site to expand iron ore mine.

Professor Megan Davis, Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous and Professor of Law at UNSW Sydney, has been named the Balnaves Chair in Constitutional Law. Prof Davis had much to do with the formulation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and continues working on promoting its acceptance. Now funded by the Balnaves Foundation she doesn’t have to worry about university cuts.

2. Remembering and honouring Jack Mundey

As Wendy Bacon says, communists don’t usually get to become Australian heroes.

Mundey was said to be the first to weaponise the word green in politics. Those who enjoy the heritage buildings and green spaces of Sydney can thank him, but he did more than that. As Wikipedia says:

    During the 1960s, Mundey was a crusading unionist and an advocate on a wide range of issues from safety reforms on building sites to wider issues such as feminism, gay rights and international politics. Mundey considered all these matters appropriate targets for union activism.

Mundey was born and raised in Malanda in the Atherton Tableland as the son of a poor Irish Catholic dairy farmer. He ran away from St Augustine’s in Cairns, because of its “authoritarian methods” of discipline. At 19 he became a metal worker, later a builder’s labourer in Sydney.

In 2003 he joined the Greens, at the time of the Iraq War, and remained a member until he died.

Vale Jack Mundey. His life made a difference.

3. Target shrinks its footprint

We’ve known for ages that the department store chain Target has been struggling, so it was no surprise that Wesfarmers has announced that some stores will close and some will convert to K-Mart, which is a stronger brand.

I’m surprised at how many are being kept open. Here’s the Full list of Target stores that will close or be converted to Kmarts.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud blasted Wesfarmers, suggesting a boycott of their stores including Bunnings and Officeworks. How that would help employment or the public is not at all clear. He says that the closure was immoral and showed the company “don’t give a rat’s about us”.

Not sure how that would help, but it shows what a buffoon we have as an agriculture minister. Companies trading in the bush are not charities or public services. They need to make profits and modernise to respond to changes in the industry and buying habits of customers.

A broking firm whose advice I have access to says the change is going to cost Wesfarmers over half a billion. Their revenue runs at about $30 billion and EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) about $3 billion. Littleproud is suggesting we kill a company that pays about a billion in tax, unlike companies such as Amazon. Or are we just meant to regard what he says as blather?

The broking firm says K-Mart is probably best in class, and is building its online business, which trades as Catch. I’m surprised that K-Mart will still have a presence in places as small as Chinchilla and Goondiwindi, both in Littleproud’s electorate of Maranoa.

The broking house is forecasting that Wesfarmers shareholders will take a hit of 51% in dividends from last year. Yes, I’m one of them and without us there would be no Australian-owned companies. Littleproud doesn’t give a rats about us.

4. Happy birthday to Scott Morrison

Is he worth feeding? He thinks 1.1 million visa holders are not worth feeding. Settlement Services International found:

    In the survey of nearly 500 people on temporary visas carried out by SSI over the past eight weeks, 62% indicated they have gone without meals, 76% could not pay the rent or a mortgage on time, and 52% could not buy the medicines they required.

To be fair, I think the 500 was made up of people who contacted SSI for help.

Katharine Murphy in A year after his ‘miracle’ win, this is what we’ve learned about Scott Morrison says with Covid 19 we’ve learned that Morrison can learn.

Did you notice the link in the margin to The sports rorts questions that Scott Morrison still hasn’t answered?

Peter Brent in Happy anniversary? says:

    Last year Morrison enjoyed seven months of sunshine before an unwise holiday in the Pacific followed by several blundered attempts to reset his public persona.

    But that’s all forgotten now. He’s riding high, as are the state and territory leaders. It’s a respite from a long, steady depletion of trust in political parties and governments, assisted by sluggish economies. But while the coronavirus will linger, our leaders’ heightened stature can’t.

By rights Labor should win in 2022, he says, but Morrison’s mob are seen as the better economic managers.

He says that with Covid 19 Morrison’s biggest problem is within. A substantial number of members are grumpy

    partly because they have internalised the propaganda about the Rudd government’s response to the global financial crisis: you can’t spend your way out of trouble. Now this centre-right government is doing the same, but on steroids. There’s also the related backlash against the health restrictions, which often veers into voodoo analysis, mixing up cause and effect (namely, “all these restrictions and for what, just a few deaths?”)

72 thoughts on “Weekly salon 26/5”

  1. Brian: I thought Rio Tinto would do better than blast a site like the cave the article talks about. You wonder who made the decision and why the media didn’t hear about the problem before explosives were loaded into the drill holes.

  2. John, from the link in the post:

      The cave in Juukan Gorge in the Hammersley Ranges, about 60km from Mt Tom Price, is one of the oldest in the western Pilbara region and the only inland site in Australia to show signs of continual human occupation through the last Ice Age. It was blasted along with another sacred site on Sunday.

      Mining company Rio Tinto received ministerial consent to destroy or damage the site in 2013 under WA’s outdated Aboriginal heritage laws, which were drafted in 1972 to favour mining proponents.

      One year after consent was granted, an archeological dig intended to salvage whatever could be saved discovered the site was more than twice as old as previously thought and rich in artefacts, including sacred objects.

      Most precious was a 4,000-year-old length of plaited human hair, woven together from strands from the heads of several different people, which DNA testing revealed were the direct ancestors of Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura traditional owners living today.

      But the outdated Aboriginal Heritage Act does not allow for a consent to be renegotiated on the basis of new information. So despite regular meetings with Rio Tinto, the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) Aboriginal Corporation was unable to stop the blast from going ahead.

    Rio claim to have been working closely with the local people for the last 17 years. Surely they could do better than that.

    The WA Labor govt had promised to revise the governing legislation when elected in 2017, but so far haven’t produced.

  3. Hello, zoot.

    What was that you were saying just the other day about the President, free speech, and Frank Zappa?

    I just saw this on an Australian news website:

    US President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on social media companies on Thursday, White House officials said after Trump threatened to shut down the platform he accused of stifling conservative voices.

    The officials, who spoke to reporters travelling with Trump to Washington from Florida aboard Air Force One on Wednesday, gave no further details.

    Are you a prophet, Wise and Great Seer zoot?
    Or just an observer of humans?

  4. I don’t think POTUS has thought this through.
    He’s addicted to Twitter. If he shuts it down how will he cope?
    A bit like a junkie strangling his connection.

  5. Someone should tell The Don that Twitter is already destroying itself, similarly YouTube.

    Just do a Joe Rogan and move to a less authoritarian competitor Don.
    Take ya business elsewhere, simple.

  6. Could just be that The Donald is following that pattern of exaggeration, whim and deceit which is so refreshingly different and transgressive, challenging outmoded bourgeois praxis.


    Some of his recent soliloquies suggest he fears the dull, old loser Mr Biden as an opponent. Loser Joe, can you believe it?The President’s slandering of postal voting would be one way of preparing some groundwork for declaring his electoral defeat to be entirely fraudulent.

    Someone, please take The President aside and persuade him that the American People simply don’t merit his spending any further time on them.

    Donald, they’re a lost cause. Completely hopeless, very very weak. Don’t deserve you at all; a very big disappointment for the Biggest Intellect ever to grace the Oval Office.

    Walk away, Donald. You don’t need this kinda trouble.

  7. John: that is utterly unfair.

    Taliban bad.
    Aussie miners good.

    Please attend Re-Education Camp as soon as practicable.

  8. Ambi: Hate to say it but Rio is an English company that knows how to treat colonials and the indigenous people who get in the way of Pommy companies trying to make a profit.

  9. It’s working in Australia getting its machinery into our “wealth for toil” which (as you well know) abounds.

    So it’s a dinky-di Aussie miner and commercial hero.

    Anyone who comes here (we will decide who mines on our territories) and puts in the hard yards and digs it up is a dead set hero.

    Deep down you know that, John.

    From Cornish tin miners to Chinese gold diggers to Slovakian opal hunters to the Rio Tinto Grand. All good chaps and heroes.

  10. Yes John,

    As a non-miner, ignorant southerner, I had listened to all the “feel good” stories about careful, mutually beneficial negotiations between companies and holders of land rights….. jobs for indigenous people, payments, etc.

    Eventually assumed that all the mining outfits were similarly attentive and prepared to compromise.

    Fool that I am!!


    C/- Home for the Easily Led Astray
    Ward 3

  11. Turns out the Pres cannot (legally) abolish TwitFeed and has been so advised.

    A-G Barr sitting.
    All rise!

  12. The High Court majority has ruled tgat the “Palace Letters” betwen GG John Kerr and the Queen, are public records.

    Case brought by Prof Jenny Hocking, who suspects dirty deeds, a conspiracy by the House of Windsor to eject Gough, forsooth.

    Prof Hocking is the authorised biographer of Gough.

    Look, I’ll go out on a limb.
    Judging by her previous work, my guess is that the Professor’s suspicions are unfounded.

    I once heard Dr Cairns say to a fellow who was claiming that the CIA had Whitlam dismissed, “There were plenty of Australians who wanted us out.”

    Mildly put, in his characteristically polite and measured tone.

    An instance of Dr Cairns using the Razor of William of Ockham (Occam’s razor).

  13. Ambi: Gough was dismissed by Kerr because the Libs were blocking supply. They could block supply because because state governments in Qld and NSW had filled senate vacancies with people who did not reflect the wishes of the people who had voted for the member being replaced. For example Joh installed a pathetic “Labor Party member” who was willing to block supply.
    Kerr was caught in the middle by the outrageous behaviour of the conservatives. People can argue about the timing of Kerr’s position but my take was that Kerr had to take the decision he made at some point if blocking supply continued. Kerr’s mistake was to stay on after the election. He should have said that he believed he had made the right decision and then resigned on the grounds that he, like Frazer, Joh and Askin had become a divisive figure. Frazer’s prime ministership was also damaged by the way he got into power even though he beat Whitlam in the election after the dismissal.
    It will be a good thing to have the letters published after all this time. Light needs to be shone on a very divisive act that has continued to niggle from time to time.

  14. Yes John

    Two Premiers defied conventions about appointing replacement Senators.

    I agree strongly that John Kerr would have been wuse to resign after swearing in the Fraser Ministry. He was a lonely public figure.

    I also agree that some means was required to break the deadlock. It was unlikely that the half-Senate election PM Whitlam wanted the GG to agree to, would have broken it. For that reason, and because it’s possible some other future deadlock is possible, I think someone needs to hold the so-called “reserve powers”.

    Not the High Court, because the deadlock itself (in some aspect or form) might be brought to the HC for judgement.

    Anyway, we shall see what we shall see.

  15. What a sad little Friday it’s been.
    Federal Govt Minister Stuart Robert has announced that around 470,000 debts attributable to his Govt’s magnificent “robo-debt” programme will be refunded.

    These refunds will total $721 million (AUD) and will include fees and interest.

    The flaws (nay, fraud) involved in robo-debt were fully ventilated on this blog, YEARS AGO.

    In a parallel Universe, Minister Rue It Sob It, was found doing the weekly Apology from Mr Murgidson’s Govt.
    “This one isn’t so bad, really”, said Mr Sob It.
    “Only $721 million. You could think of it as part of our very wonderful Stimulus Package.”

    “Putting money in the hands of the Undeserving Poor!!
    Look, Josh had $60 Billion last week!! What’s $721 million in comparison, eh?? ”

    “Someone should be put in a chaff bag and dropped in the nearest ocean”, he explained.

    Mr Rue It is very pleased with his job as Minister for Copping It, and is enrolled in a TAFE Certificate diploma (online) learning to make Sh*t Sandwiches.

    (He will be maintaining social distancing with other Ministers, as they don’t wish to be photographed or videoed with him. None of them, of course, had ever opposed the nifty Bozo-debt programme.)

    Minister Sob It cheered up and began offering his tips on forthcoming NRL and AFL matches, but the journalists had all gone home.

  16. Mr A, the claw back of non eligible Jobkeeper and Jobseeker payments will be interesting if it happens.

    My best guess is they won’t even bother due to the inevitable negative press for doing the correct thing.

    I mean, who cares right? It’s only taxpayer money that can be used to stimulate the productivity side of the economy, we can just print more.

  17. The concept of getting back overpayments is a just one.

    The ineptitude of the system lays with dole officials and ATO bureaucrats, plus fraudulent or mistaken claimants.

    The $60,000,000,000 stimulus accounting fuck up was Treasury and ATO’s bureaucrats plus fraudulent or mistaken claimants.

  18. Mr J
    First, you’re correct to say the “$60 billion blunder” wasn’t made by Treasurer Frydenberg.

    (I was parroting what the media have foolishly said.)

    If individuals or businesses have been claiming Jobkeeper fraudulently I would support those payments being recovered.

    Also support fining any fraudsters.

    When Jobkeeper came out, I thought the $750 flat rate was fair. (Probably its simplicity appealed to a Govt in a hurry.)

    Now I’m not so sure.
    Many instances exist of an employer who has some part-timers (for instance a few 17 year olds doing Saturday mornings only) who earn *way less* than $750 per week. Yet that employer has to stump up the $750 to each of them every week. “Manna from heaven”.

    Yet it may be weeks (or longer) before the employer is reimbursed by Treasury. That seems unfair.

    I’m guessing that thousands of businesses decided not to take part in Jobkeeper because they couldn’t afford to do so .

    If so, that could be a factor in Treasury/ATO overestimating the numbers likely to take up Jobkeeper.

    Time will tell.

  19. Ambi: “I’m guessing that thousands of businesses decided not to take part in Jobkeeper because they couldn’t afford to do so .” Yep, a system where an employer can decide how much unemployment support the employees get absolutely fails the fairness test. As does the jobseeker/job keeper system that pays some unemployed people more than others for not very convincing reasons.
    The other problem is that some jobseekers haven’t got their payment yet.
    Should have used an UBI to all taxfile number holders to do something fair in a hurry that requires minimum admin to set it up.

    • I’m guessing that thousands of businesses decided not to take part in Jobkeeper because they couldn’t afford to do so.

    They were told to borrow money from the banks, and the banks were told by APRA to shovel it out.

    That is the banks had to process in all over 700,000 loans, but no banker can just shovel it out without assessing each loan.

    The banks had to put on extra staff to handler the whole thing, while giving interest relief to over $200 billion worth of loans.

    Banks also had to increase their capital and provide extra reserves for anticipated non-performing loans.

    NAB cut its final dividend by 65%, ANZ and Westpac “deferred” the dividend, which in plain English means they cancelled it. CBA is on a different timeline, not due until December, but will probably cancel the dividend also.

    Reserve Bank guv said people depend on banks for income, super funds also, but no-one took any notice.

    Then about two days ago Reserve Bank guv said we can’t tell yet how bad things will be in September. I thought he meant, ‘pretty bad’. People buying shares thought he meant ‘not so bad’ and bid up the price of bank shares.

  20. Now about JobKeeper, I basically disagreed with keeping employees attached to companies who may well never re-open. It was based on ‘snapback’ and all the imagery about a bridge back to ‘normal’.

    Clearly the world had changed, but Scotty from marketing either couldn’t see it, or thought the truth would scare the bejesus out of us.

    John, UBI is a noble idea, but I can’t see it as ever being viable. Also the rich don’t need it. On ABC RN’s The Economists the other day we were told that the bottom 20% in Australia earn $400 pw on average. The top 20% earn $2200 pw.

    In terms of wealth the top 20% have $3.5 million an average, the bottom 20% have $350.

    I think almost everyone on average or less is now getting some from the government, so it’s a redistribution exercise, and the well-off just have to wear it.

    I think everyone who had a job and lost it should have been given a similar percentage of their income from their last pay level, with a maximum and a minimum, somewhat like the German unemployment scheme.

    Unlike the German scheme where you buy into it from salary sacrifice, everyone should have got it, including part-time, casual, no matter how long they’d worked, workers of international companies (like Virgin) temporary visa holders, local government workers, university employees etc, etc.

  21. BTW I got here last night, but didn’t have time to do anything. Started with taking half an hour to start the computer, and had further stuff-ups from there.

    Had some extra work this week, and may have to work tomorrow.

  22. Brian: “John, UBI is a noble idea, but I can’t see it as ever being viable. Also the rich don’t need it. ” The big problem with the unemployment and part pension system is the complexity, nastiness and clawback have turned this system into a disincentive to work. (Clawback can be as high as 60% of money earned at time and it would be very easy for an unemployed person to end up out of pocket if she went fruitpicking.)
    UBI gets around these problems. The better off would be a bit worse off becuase the UBI would be paid for by tax increases. (I havent done the sums but a combination of flat tax and UBI would dramatically reduce admin costs while still having a progressive tax+welfare system.)
    AND “I think everyone who had a job and lost it should have been given a similar percentage of their income from their last pay level, with a maximum and a minimum, somewhat like the German unemployment scheme.” Sounds obscene to me with the better paid being better off than those who were struggling. Why should someone like I was get a lot more unemployment benefit that someone struggling on a part time cleaners job?

  23. John, UBI means universal, so about half the money laid out is going to go to people who don’t need it, which is not only a crippling burden to the scheme, it almost inevitably means that a large proportion of the people who do need it won’t get enough to live.

      “I think everyone who had a job and lost it should have been given a similar percentage of their income from their last pay level, with a maximum and a minimum, somewhat like the German unemployment scheme.”

    The maximums and minimums are pitched to eliminate the obscenity. The main purpose of making it related to last income is so that people can maintain their lifestyle while they look for another job. Give everyone the same, and you will find people immediately in trouble paying rent or a mortgage they are committed to.

    The German scheme works on the assumption that you will look for work. As the link says:

      If you are unemployed, you must take all opportunities to rejoin the workforce. You will sign a written work integration agreement with the labour office on this subject.

    I’m saying that JobKeeper was a lousy scheme, based on a false reading of the situation we are in. The only alternative isn’t the UBI. I’m not suggesting the German system as such, just that it has features that may be able to be appropriately adapted to the situation we find ourselves in.

  24. Brian: “John, UBI means universal, so about half the money laid out is going to go to people who don’t need it, which is not only a crippling burden to the scheme, it almost inevitably means that a large proportion of the people who do need it won’t get enough to live.”
    My view is that the key features of an UBI include:
    1. It may vary with age but should not vary with income, location, marital status or assets.
    2. Would replace at least unemployment benefits, pensions and child allowances. (Special invalid payments and similar would remain separate.)
    3. The UBI would be paid for by tax increases. This means that higher income earners would be out of pocket.
    The big attractions of a UBI are:
    1. Admin costs would be reduced.
    2. The disincentives to work are removed.
    3. The nastiness of the current system disappear.

  25. John, agree about removing the nastiness. Current govt attitude are punitive and are based on the notion that the poor are authors of their own fate. Started with 18th century English poorhouses.

    I still have an issue with not varying income, because you are just sending money around in a circle. The rich get and ‘give’.

    And as I said, it doesn’t recognise continuity of lifestyle.

    If you are in a middle class area with middle class income with, say three kids at school, if you are suddenly bereft of income you might have to move to a more affordable suburb, or go bush, where you disrupt your family, and have to look for work at the same time, which may be less available.

    The Germans have a limit of 6,000 euros per month and a maximum benefit period of two years. Presumably they have a social security system underneath that, rather than see people hungry and homeless.

    I’m talking about a different kind of emergency payment to get us through the crisis rather than a replacement of the whole social security system. That may be an argument for ScoMo’s new National Cabinet.

  26. It’s incredible to me that some are blaming Trump and Republicans for George Floyd’s death and these riots.

    Minneapolis has had Democrat Mayors for the last 45 years. Of the 13 Ward councillors, 12 are Democrat plus 1 green. Their Congress Woman is Ilhan Omar.
    The Minnesota Governor is a Democrat, the 2 Senators are Democrat ( Amy Klobuchar anyone ?).

    Minnesota hasn’t voted for a Republican President since 1972.

    It’s a long time, sopping wet Democrat environment.

  27. Jumpy, I’m not sure who is blaming Trump as the immediate cause. However, people look to Trump for leadership, and that is not what they are getting.

  28. John:
    “UBI would replace at least…… child allowances”.

    OK, there you have immediately some manouevering to do to keep it fair.

    How many kids in the household?
    How old are they?
    Are they truants?

    Do a couple of them have small, part-time jobs paying small incomes?

    Those complicated, sliding scale, slow phasing out of benefits are done for fairness. And they save taxpayers a bit of money by reducing the amount of benefits going to reasonably well-off households.

    Hawke/Keating re-designed the family benefits, aiming to
    *Reduce “middle class welfare” by better targetting benefits to low income households
    * Increase the support
    * Assist single parent households
    etc. etc.

    And Govts since then have grappled with the same difficulties.

    Any proposal for a UBI would need detailed costing. Also, could there be negative (dimly foreseen) consequences??

  29. Brian, Maxine Waters for a start.
    CNNs Don lemon and Joy Behar too.
    It’s ridiculous lies that will be believed.

    Trump and Republicans are leading in the jurisdictions they Constitutionally able to quite well I think.

    Pew Research ( gold standard) seems to show that.


    Am I missing something or just not biased enough to ignore the truth?

  30. On a UBI, I’d like to see a model that’s been tried and worked first.
    Finland experimented and abandoned, Ontario experimented and abandoned , in 1968 under LBJ the US federal government ran a “negative income tax” experiment meaning that a minimum income is guaranteed, but phased out as earnings increase, also a fail.

    It’s a silly pipe dream unless proven otherwise.

  31. Ambi: “Hawke/Keating re-designed the family benefits, aiming to
    *Reduce “middle class welfare” by better targetting benefits to low income households
    * Increase the support
    * Assist single parent households
    etc. etc.”
    Old saying: “A health care system for the poor is a poor health system.” Applies to a whole range of things. In addition, once you target the poor the issues you raise become important and complicated. My take is that systems that include the middle class in the target benefit from middle class criticism and activism. Then there is the admin cost of complicated systems.
    I prefer the service and paying more tax for it. The country was better off when I was paying a marginal tax rate of 60%.

  32. Jumpy: “https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/05/26/coronavirus-death-toll-is-heavily-concentrated-in-democratic-congressional-districts/
    Am I missing something or just not biased enough to ignore the truth?”
    Afro-Americans are concentrated in Democrat districts and are most vulnerable to the virus because of poverty and a health system that does not look after poor people of any colour very well.

  33. The link John clearly shows poverty rates are irrelevant with covid 19.

    And why black folk in America continue to live in and vote for the Jim Crow and KKK party is beyond me.

  34. Jumpy, this is what your link says:

      The places hit hardest by the coronavirus outbreak – which have relatively large shares of ethnic and racial minorities and residents living in densely populated urban and suburban areas – are almost all represented by congressional Democrats.

    You’ve got your causation wrong. The ethnic and racial minorities and residents living in densely populated urban and suburban areas are (1) more subject to the coronavirus, (2) to police violence, (3) vote Democrat.

    I think the protests show that American democracy and system of government is failing.

  35. Deaths per 100,000 from Covid:
    Black Americans – 54.6
    Latin Americans – 24.9
    Asian Americans – 24.3
    White Americans – 22.7
    Obviously the only factor in play is who they voted for.


  36. Thanks, zoot, and then there was this:

      The latest overall COVID-19 mortality rate for Black Americans is 2.4 times as high as the rate for Whites and 2.2 times as high as the rate for Asians and Latinos.

  37. Oh Heavens to Betsy, zoot!! Are you suggesting that

    Correlation Is Not Causation

    Wash your mouth out.

    (Or the equivalent with a keyboard: Sinner, cleanse thy keyboard! Yea unto the next model of keyboard and its progeny….)

  38. These riots take (some of us older persons) back to the widespread mayhem which followed the murder of Dr King in the 1960s.

    Much more importantly, they echo for Americans those tragic times. Republic, heal thyself.

  39. Jumpy: Democrat President Lyndon B. Johnson made major changes to improve the rights of Afro Americans. All the more notable given that he was a southern democrat. (The southern democrats had traditionally opposed advances in the civil liberties of Afro Americans. (Keep in mind that it was Republican President Abraham Lincoln who ended slavery.)

  40. Of course Jumpy’s insight has enormous importance for our own indigenous population. To close the gap all they have to do is vote for the LNP.

  41. Zoot: Both sides of politics have done good things for Aborigines in Aus. Harold Holt was Australian prime minister when the 1967 referendum was held and it was Malcolm Frazer who introduced land rights for Arnhem Land Aborigines.

  42. I agree John.
    And the disadvantage that dogs our first people remains no matter which side is in power.
    It goes beyond simple political labels – the point I was making.

  43. Fraser.

    Victorian Pedants’ Association.
    {Motto: spelling wasn’t meant to be easy.}

  44. I remember a few year ago one of Phillip Adams guests telling him that during three years around the time of the Kent State shootings in 1970 there were over 500 violent attacks on US government buildings.

    Today I heard that the violence had spread to 30 cities, and in some of them there was evidence of planning when a building was torched and cars set alight on the approach roads the fire brigades would use.

    There has also been a drive-by shooting of one of the protestors.

    I’ll leave it to others to theorise about what is going on.

  45. Here’s the latest on Man fatally shot during protests in Detroit:

      A 21-year-old man was killed after being shot during protests in Detroit late Friday, the city’s police department said.
      A previous press release from the police said that the man was shot when an unknown suspect fired shots into a crowd from a vehicle.

      Further investigation has revealed that the unknown suspect fired shots into a vehicle around 11:30 p.m. (12:30 a.m. ET) and the occupants, including the victim, fled from the vehicle.

      The victim was shot at some point during the altercation and later died at a hospital, the updated release said.

    They are also saying that some of the people arrested in Detroit are not from Detroit.

  46. What’s going on in the US has nothing to do with George Floyd anymore. It’s not remotely a protest against racism, not a protest at all.

    As for the gap, I treat every individual by the content of their character alone, that’s the only gaps that matters.
    This is the essence of equality of opportunity, the outcomes will vary.

    Not a concept that admitted racists like zoot can fathom.

  47. What’s going on in the US has nothing to do with George Floyd anymore. It’s not remotely a protest against racism, not a protest at all.

    So what is it? (or hasn’t 8kun let you know yet?)

  48. Google it.
    I used it as a placeholder for whichever alt.right cesspit you were quoting.

    What’s going on in the US has nothing to do with George Floyd anymore. It’s not remotely a protest against racism, not a protest at all.

    So what is it?

  49. Interesting – the Minnesota governor, Tim Walz echoes Jumpy:

    The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd, it is about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cities.”

    80% of the protesters arrested in Minneapolis were from out of state and Walz is saying it’s white supremacists and drug cartels taking advantage of the situation.
    Does Jumpy agree?

  50. Nope, your antifart idiot are more deeply involved than some skinhead idiots.

    In any event, it’s too nice an evening to spend feeding racist trolls like you.
    The fire’s burning and dinner is about ready.
    Life is good.

  51. Jumpy, that was an inelegant way of avoiding the question.

    I must say I’m alarmed by these allegations that most of the trouble makers are from out of town. In the early 2000s anti-globalist protests, which were huge and mostly peaceful, the Italian ‘black blockers’ would show up and the fighting would be mostly between them and the police, who sometimes themselves attacked the crowd.

  52. Brian, it wasn’t a genuine question.

    In just 3 consecutive comments zoot suggests both a Democrat Governor and I are led by an “ alt.right cesspit “

    He’s proven unfit for adult conversation, on any level, over a long period of time.
    Noone should feel obligated to reply.

    However, if you ask, I’ll try.

  53. Brian, it wasn’t a genuine question.

    Au contraire, it was a very genuine question.
    If the rage now being expressed across the USA is not the result of centuries of persecution what is it? The alternative I hear from people like POTUS is “uppity blacks”.
    Where does our Mackay Malthus stand?

  54. Brian, zoot and Jumpy

    It seems likely that opportunists are using protests that began over Mr Floyd’s death.

    That’s alarming.

    Years ago (in the context of rioting in Jakarta ? just before Pres Suharto resigned) there was an article claiming that those disturbances weren’t random in the sense of crowds running amok ….. Not at all. Every building attacked was owned by a rich chum of Pres Suharto.

    I think the descriptor for Indonesia then was “crony capitalism”. The extended Suharto family and the President’s cronies held rich income-producing monopolies.

    Whatever level of premeditation in the riots there may have been, only the cronies were targetted.

    (That rock classic Only The Crony springs to mind.)

    The evidence was, that nearby buildings owned by non-cronies emerged untouched.

  55. My daughter has many friends in the US. She linked to a couple of their twitter feeds and it’s mind boggling.
    In some areas the police are rioting and out of control. Meanwhile, in New Jersey the police are marching with the protesters.
    I fear that for lack of a president we are witnessing the death of the great dream which was the USA.

  56. Zoot: “The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd”
    Yep. It is also about all sorts of things that are wrong in America. It is about cops shooting people who don’t deserve to be shot. (An Australian woman who was silly enough to call the cops as well as….(And about a country where my white son advised his white father to keep his hands visible and empty when a traffic cop pulled him up.)
    About a country where slavery might have ended but discrimination against Afro-Americans is still alive and well.
    About poor whites being convinced that they lost their jobs because the …… took them. Not because rich business owners moved their jobs overseas.
    About a crooked electoral system that often makes it harder for Afro-Americans to vote and Trump and George Bush to beat candidates who got more votes than they did.
    God bless America!!

  57. Jumpy, you said:

      What’s going on in the US has nothing to do with George Floyd anymore. It’s not remotely a protest against racism, not a protest at all.

    So you have asserted what is not happening. To make that at all plausible you could tell us what is happening. Otherwise we have every right to regard it as an uninformed opinion.

    I’m just an outsider looking in, and don’t feel the need to have a settled view.

    I find what zoot and John D have said is informative.

    As a contribution of my own I think Americans tend to maintain the right and the need to express strong feelings. They are perhaps more governed by their feelings than many other people.

    Also history matters if old wrongs are not dealt with and live on.

  58. Very convincing article, zoot. Problem is, he still occupies the chair and doesn’t do nothing. For example, I blame him for setting up the context for us to say stuff that led to our exports to China being affected. Similarly, what he says and does about Hong Kong will have an affect.

  59. There was a chilling article by David Kilcullen in the Weekend Australian, about the prospects of serious armed conflict within the USA.

    Land of the fearful, home of the heavily armed and hateful

    {My guess is the folk he writes about – not sll Americans – are both hateful and hating. }

  60. That’s a strong article zoot.

    I think State Governors are already bypassing DT – out of necessity. I hope other organs of administration will be able to do so, for the safety of the Republic, if DT becomes even more erratic, reckless or irresponsible.

  61. There are lots of good people in the US. I listened to the whole session of PBS All things considered today on NewsRadio. An excellent current affairs program.

    People of colour see nothing has changed since Rodney King in the early 1990s. People have seen a white supremacist knee on the neck of a coloured person who died before their eyes.

    The perpetrator had been charged with third degree murder (unintentional killing) and the other three, who under Minnesota law I understand were obliged to intervene, have been dismissed but not charged.

    They say the perpetrator had had previous less serious incidents, and a police chief explained how difficult it was to deal with personnel in those circumstances. It’s easy to be wise after the event.

    Apparently there are 18,000 police academies in the US. Cultural change on the scale required is no easy matter.

    One suggestion was to create an ombudsman position where lesser misdemeanors in policing can be taken.

    I was somewhat heartened by the program. people with goodwill, imagination and compassion are taking the matter seriously and realise they can’t start with a clean sheet of paper, but have to move from where they find themselves.

    Leadership from the top would of course help.

    Apparently there is a national day of some kind tomorrow, which has multi-faith support, but no buy-in from the evangelicals.

  62. To continue Brian’s theme re lots of good people in the US, in Flint Michigan (“the most violent city in America”) a sheriff joined the protesters for a peaceful march, and the police chief in Camden, New Jersey (a city plagued by poverty, crime and corruption for decades) did the same.
    That’s leadership.

  63. The artist formerly known as Vera Lynn has passed on to the Choir Eternal.

    I missed out on WW2,

    but will never forget her singing We’ll Meet Again on the soundtrack at the End of “Dr Strangelove”, as one by one, the largest cities in the world were vapourised in a thermonuclear sort of way.

    Even this cold, dark heart was moved to tears.

    Well may we say, “such is life”.
    The other creatures we share the planet with might beg to differ should we display Stoic calm.

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