Weekly salon 6/6

1. Please don’t go!

That was PM Scott Morrison’s advice to people wanting to attend the Black Lives Matter rallies being organised all around Australia.

Marcia Langton’s advice was “Go!” but with hand sanitiser, masks and observing 1.5 metres distancing.

Morrison was following medical advice from CMO Prof Brendan Murphy, who said the virus loves big gatherings, and it is possible for a single infected person to infect 30 or 40 or 50 other people at such an event. Murphy’s advice was taken up by the premiers of Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

In NSW the Police Commissioner applied for and was granted a Supreme Court injunction to stop the rallies.

The Police Commissioner indicated there could be arrests. One would presume that the organisers could face heavy fines.

In Queensland as far as I can make out the Premier left it to the Police Commissioner.

Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd:

    “We don’t believe that this is necessarily in its own right, an event that requires a massive overt police presence, we’re there to walk with, support and protect those people,” he said.


    Mr Codd said police would prefer the protest did not occur tomorrow but realising that was unlikely had worked with the rally organisers on how best to facilitate it.

    “It just isn’t practical … to suggest that we’re going to go through and start issuing offence notices to thousands of people,” he said.

In Queensland strictly speaking outdoor events are to be limited to 20 people.

In South Australia and WA official approval was given for the rally to take place.

Tim Costello said that if Morrison didn’t want people to march he should undertake to implement all of the recommendations of The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) (1987–1991).

There has been commentary on the previous Salon. Here’s Ambigulous on Victoria:

    Organisers in Melb say they will ignore pleas to call theirs off: from Premier, Chief Medical officer, police.

    Vic COVID regulations say groups of less than 20 can gather.

    Organisers advise that their marchers will gather in grouplets of 20 (keeping 1.5m apart within each grouplet), and grouplets should keep apart from other grouplets. Doesn’t sound like any protest march I’ve ever seen.

    Police warn that “deliberate” flouting of the COVID regs can attract a $1600 fine.

With crowds of 20,000 that would yield a cool $32 million.

2. What really happened in Tiananmen Square

Yueran Zhang in Jacobin Magazine has the story on The Forgotten Socialists of Tiananmen Square:

    What the world remembers about the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests were the students. But above all, it was a mass workers’ uprising for socialist democracy.

He says the default story remembered by the world is seriously wrong. It is a long piece but worth the read as we again pass the anniversary. Yueran Zhang says the workers were a more important factor in the unrest than the students and intellectuals, and had quite different aims:

    Many commentators have romanticized China’s 1980s as a decade of freedom, hope, pluralism, and idealism. However, a balanced assessment of the decade requires one to consider not only what was present during the decade, but also what was absent. Much of what those commentators love about the decade — the burgeoning influence of Western liberalism, the increased freedom of speech and expression, and the vitality of intellectual groups — was accompanied by the retreat of the working class from politics and the vanishing of socialist democratic ideals, which resulted from repression in the wake of the 1979 Democracy Wall Movement. In a sense, the “liberty” of 1980s China was born in the shadow of repression.

That repression lies in how the workers were treated within enterprises and generally.

    As workers’ congresses were deactivated, workers lost their limited power over decision-making in factories and directly experienced “bureaucratic dictatorship” at the point of production. With workers feeling oppressed, mistreated, stripped of their dignity, and faced with increasing power inequalities, managers had no choice but to resort to material incentives and bonuses to achieve labor discipline. The rise of workers’ living standards in the mid-1980s was thus a result of the systematic weakening of their power in the workplace. And in the late 1980s, as workers’ material gains were eaten away by inflation, their discontent grew.

So apart from a few leaders, the students and intellectuals were basically co-opted by the PRC. The workers, who wanted worker control at the enterprise level were severely punished and repressed. He says students neither understood nor cared about workers’ socialist democratic ideals.


    I have talked to dozens of people who studied at Beijing’s top universities in the late 1980s, almost all of whom participated in the movement. Today, as middle-class residents of Beijing, they believe that “political stability trumps everything.” They look back on their participation in 1989 as naïve and manipulated.

He believes this ‘divide and rule’ strategy sustains the PRC to this day.

3. Morrison as visionary and saviour

Essential report shows Scott Morrison improving his handy lead as Preferred Prime Minister, while his performance rating continues to soar, now 65/26 up from 40/52 in January.

The bungle over the JobKeeper surplus has not really dented the government’s credibility. Some 55% of people want to use the $60 billion saved to extend or broaden the existing Covid support programs, but 45% overall and 57% of Coalition voters want to spend the money on paying down debt (ignoring the fact that borrowing money to pay down debt makes no sese at all).

On Leader attributes Morrison cleans up. An amazing 73% think he’s intelligent, 72% think he’s hard working and 70% a capable leader. Fully 66% think he’s good in a crisis, 65% think he understands the problems facing Australia, 56% think he’s trustworthy, and 51% think he’s more honest than most politicians. Indeed, 48% actually think he’s visionary.

If you look at Albanese’s numbers, there’s Morrison, daylight and then Albo, plugging away as an ‘also ran’.

It seems not to matter that The Australian government has officially given up on climate action, that it is going for gas in a big way facilitated by the ABC, on the mistaken belief that it is cheaper than renewables, significantly cleaner than new coal, and the only way of providing dispatchable power when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

Anyone who appoints dishonest climate denier like Angus Taylor to the energy portfolio, climate denier Keith Pitt as Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, and Michaelia Cash as minister for anything, let alone Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, is ignorant, has attributes and values quite contrary to what Essential Report found, and should be arraigned for crimes against the planet and humanity.

See also:

There’s more, much more, but that will do for now.

4. Murray-Darling Basin in trouble

Matthew Campbell takes a look at what’s happening for Bloomberg Green in Australia’s Water Is Vanishing:

    Scorched by climate change and drained by industrial farms, the country’s most important river system is nearing collapse.

People making money include big industrial farmers, foreign investors and hedge funds that drive up the price of water. The Nationals in the Government can’t seem to represent the interests of their own constituency, while climate change is rapidly reducing stream flows.

Leaving aside the fish, we are looking at a system where three million people drink the water every day (apart from those now buying bottled water) and at a food bowl supplying a third of the country’s food production.

223 thoughts on “Weekly salon 6/6”

  1. Very good article on Tiananmen 1989, Brian.
    Only recently saw that other article referred to, about the Workers Autonomous organisation.

    It would appear that the Cultural Revolution under Mao was top-down, then went beyond Mao’s factional aims. And the workers in Beijing 1989 weren’t big fans of Zhao Zhiyang, whom some students supported. Again, factional disputants at the top of the CCP “using” student protestors?

    It seems to happen in many different nations….

  2. Ambi I haven’t been a student of Chinese history, but the article more or less explains why I saw what I saw on the Chinese dating show. China is very much a capitalist country, which is why it’s accepted in the WTO and American multi-nationals invest there.

    Mark on Facebook has linked to another one, Tobita Chow The Forgotten Workers of Tiananmen Square, which is perhaps more accessible, but tells very much the same story about the workers and the students.

    He (?) says:

      But China’s authoritarianism has hardly been incompatible with the US-led liberal democratic world. That world depends not on liberal democracy but on the global neoliberal economy—and authoritarian China has become an essential partner.

    It’s an international class analysis, wherein the US and the West are complicit in the exploitation of Chinese workers, in the first instance by not insisting on labour standards.

    He thinks the neoliberal order is coming unstuck.

    I don’t see capitalism as under any real threat. You can start with a clean sheet of paper and dream if you like, but we have to start from where we are. Our only hope, I think, is to civilise capitalism, but that’s too big to address in a blog comment.

  3. Too big, yes.
    But well worth doing. (Not the blog post. The civilising.)

    And among others, that project would assist the workers in China.

  4. Brian: “I don’t see capitalism as under any real threat. You can start with a clean sheet of paper and dream if you like, but we have to start from where we are. Our only hope, I think, is to civilise capitalism, but that’s too big to address in a blog comment.”
    We tend to see things in terms of “As is and always shall be.” For example, the post war period I grew up in was one of growing egalitarianism and prosperity bolstered by growing protectionism. Also by a growing belief that all this was robust and wouldn’t change. But in the end, reporters and economists whose jobs were secure convinced us that we would be better off sacrificing the jobs of some so that the purchasing power was boosted for the lucky ones whose jobs were not at risk.
    When I started working in the Pilbara the unions seemed invincible. Yet in the end, the workers at Hamersley threw out the unions in response to the arrogant way the unions treated their members.
    The decline of union power has seen more and more abuse of the workers.
    Perhaps it is time to start thinking of the alternatives.

    • Perhaps it is time to start thinking of the alternatives.

    John, I don’t know about you, but I’ve been thinking about them for most of my adult life. At full-time university in QU and then in a university job in Adelaide, social norms and structures were being challenged more dramatically than perhaps ever since.

    This is not the space to review what Woodstock, Nimbin, Che Gueverra, the Red Brigade, Ivan Illich , Paulo Friere and others had to do with things, but social and political change, and the way the economy was run seemed possible back then. The basic orientation was optimistic.

    I remember ideas about industrial democracy were in the air, and achieved some reality in Germany, for example, where the model of corporate governance includes a supervisory board with a third to as half worker representatives. This board then appointed a management board to run the company. I remember these ideas being spoken about as real possibilities in the 1970s.

    Whitlam achieved a lot, but not that.

    I remember being excited about meeting a Good Samaritan nun who was running the Catholic primary school in Nambour. The curriculum taught was decided by a committee of children. Guess what, it was much the same as elsewhere, but the children felt they had a stake in the teaching-learning process.

    My mission was not to install libraries, it was to break down the structural authoritarianism inherent in the egg-crate classroom.

    Skip to 1999, when I’m retired from government service and 50,000 protestors in Seattle prevented the WTO from actually happening. The delegates could not get from their digs to the meeting place.

    There was real yeast in the system for a few years back then. Every important ruling class meeting was hijacked for a few years, with blood on the streets. (Check out Genoa G8 in 2001). In the Doha Round they learnt the trick of holding the meeting where the protesters couldn’t go. Now they mostly use resorts where a physical security barrier can be established, keeping protest out of reach.

    In the WTO the developing countries were sick of being manipulated and revolted inside the meeting in Cancun in 2003. Since then rather than global agreements, we’ve had bilateral and regional agreements, where the poor nations are picked off by the rich and powerful. The agenda of corporate privilege has not changed.

    Meanwhile the World Social Forum had started in Porto Alegre, Brazil, to counterpoint Davos, under the theme ‘another world is possible’.

    Two things happened. First, the organisational talent went off to work with the new socialist President of Brazil, a bloke called Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (“Lula”) who later got banged up for corruption (probably a stitch up).

    Second, the WSF went hyper-democratic, which means they didn’t end up doing anything.

    They are still going, meant to meet in Barcelona where, they say, the meeting:

      “will be useful to make visible that there are many practices that work all over the world and show that it is possible to organize ways of consuming and producing based on cooperation, on economic democracy and that place in the center the people and the planet, away from an economic model based on speculation and on obtaining benefits at any price and in the short term”.

    So you can follow that up if you think it worth while, but it’s no doubt virus-interrupted.

    The problem has been, as Paul Kingnorth said, there is One No, Many Yeses (see also review at Blather).

    There is no alternative model on which people agree. Kingnorth was optimistic about the individual contestations by such different cases as the Zapatistas of Mexico, the landless peasants of Brazil and the indigenous peoples of West Papua. None of that went well.

    John, I thought and wrote a lot about this stuff, including George Monbiot’s The Age of Consent: A manifesto for a new world order (2003) and Immanuel Wallerstein’s World System Theory at Margot Kingston’s Webdiary in the early part of this century, but then got distracted by the existential threat of climate change.

    If I went back there, I’d start with personality theory I did during my second degree back in the late 1970s – who we are as humans, and how we need to change through a change of value orientations, child nurturing, personal development and education.

    I’m not sure I can do it, but I set down a few markers on emotional style, empathy/compassion and paternalism in earlier posts.

    Need to get back to climate change soon where in a sense the dilemma is same. We need to think globally and act locally while being carried along by events out of our control.

  5. Yes, Brian.

    I too remember the proposals/slogans of “workers’ control” (Andre Gorz and others) from the early 70s (?).

    Optimism, but also utopianism…… of a style unlikely to make headway….. ?? who knows? I certainly don’t.

    [By the way, the author Tobita Chow you linked to, is male, if I may guess on the basis of his moustache and beard – photo on a website ‘In These Times’.]

  6. Brian/Ambi: I remember the German system where workers reps were elected to the board. Seem to recall that one problem is the elected reps stared behaving more like directors and less like members of the working task. Also have this point of view that the “dictation of the proletariat” ended up yet again with dictation by the few and the oppression of the masses. Animal Farm understood this.
    My own take is that what workers want is more direct control over their individual working lives. As a manager I tried to do something like this. Flattened the management structure when key people left, took up some of the things myself that the disappeared supervisors did, pushed most of it downwards and encouraged foremen to delegate more decisions and responsibility downwards. Most of the workers liked this.
    My powers were limited at the time by the toxic industrial relations situation. What I found was that pushing more decisions down the structure gave me more power when I needed because the workers were not pissed off about lack of power. Most of them enjoyed having more responsibility and were looking for suggestions re what they could do to get better results.
    Also took some controversial things to meetings where a vote was held. Won some lost some but it gave me a chance to talk about where I was coming from instead of depending on the unions as the communicating link. (Yep, my union delegate actually liked it.)
    Was interested in philosophy as a student to the point where many of my arts friends thought I should be studying the subject instead of engineering. Not all that interested in things like WSF. Suffer from an over sensitive bullshit detector and understand how people get carried away by what is said at exciting meetings.

  7. Thanks for recounting your experiences John.
    It sounded like the disgruntled Chinese workers in 1989 wanted that too: to gave more say in their daily work, not to be bossed around by a manager (the first article talks about “bureaucratic managers” – remote from workers? lacking understanding of the actual work? imposing unrealistic rules or schedules?…. a far cry from your approach, John).

    Here’s a cynical former union shop steward singing after securing promotion:

    The working class
    Can kiss my a*se.
    I’ve got the foreman’s
    Job at last!

    To the tune of “The Red Flag” / “Oh Christmas Tree” / “Tannenbaum”

  8. John, I too escaped just as they were bringing in KPIs and an obsession with measurement.

    It sounds as though you had the opportunity and freedom to work things out as you went.

    My position started out as a section, with me and a typist in a room on the way to the women’s toilet on the floor. Later I guess I was a branch head then an assistant director with three branches, so I was part of the directorate.

    However, we were a service directorate, not responsible for running schools. However, in setting maintaining standards and policies of certain things that happened in schools, not everything was so straightforward.

    My main insight was that children were the true workers in schooling. They created knowledge and skills within themselves. However, universities, TAFEs etc were the keepers of standards in the professions and crafts, so children in the end would need to meet those requirements. Up to Year 10 was a broadening process. From there on you had to make choices and conform to standards set outside the system.

    There was a consideration also of the informal curriculum, which I think economists now reckon to be about half the ballgame in achieving life goals.

    Here what happens up to about age 8 is absolutely crucial in setting people up with personal autonomy, drive and purpose.

    At this point people usually start to yawn and look somewhere else, so I’ll leave it.

  9. Oh Gawd!!
    Tony Abbott has been made a Companion of the Order of Australia “for eminent service to the people and Parliament of Australia, particularly as prime minister, and through significant contributions to trade, border control, and to the Indigenous community”.
    Considering his performance as PM that really devalues the “honour”.

  10. Back again, what Animal Farm showed is that revolutions usually move things 180 degrees with a different mob on top. It’s still the same hierarchical autocratic structure.

    Marx had this idea of a classless society. Before I got to read much about him, I read a book that pointed out that Marx’s view of the world understood only adults. It took no account of the fact that a 30 year old was what they became principally because of the experience of the 30 years that went before. Changing the ownership of the means of production didn’t change people’s values and how they related to other people.

    I know there is more to Marxism than that, but I looked elsewhere. Funny thing is that John Dewey, the philosopher of experience took on a whole new meaning. When studying philosophy I thought him as exciting as watching grass grow.

  11. Zoot, it’s true, Abbott gets the big gong.

    Bronwyn Bishop and Philip Ruddock become Officers of the Order of Australia (AO).

    You couldn’t do that with a straight face. Come to think of it ScoMo doesn’t have a straight face.

  12. On the Black Lives Matter protests, this is a photo of the crown in King George Square in Brisbane, which is not all that big:

    Reports put the crowd variously at at 10,000 and 20,000. Even the lower number is large for Brisbane.

    Here it seemed a matter of pragmatic policing, and there were no problems I heard.

    There were a few in Sydney but it seemed a small minority making trouble at the railway station after the protest.

    I heard that there were two other cases where police were struck by objects thrown, like a drink bottle, which were being investigated.

    In Melbourne I gather the organisers were going to be fined $1600 and further action was being considered.

    Norman Swan commenting today said he thought the main danger of infection from the protest was in Victoria. The infection rate in other states has been low or non-existent, so the risk was actually reasonably low.

  13. Further to the above, Matthias Cormann distinguished himself by lecturing the protesters, labelling them as reckless and self-indulgent.

    Linda Burney said he should listen and learn.

      The deputy leader of the opposition, Richard Marles, acknowledged that protests in the middle of a pandemic were a “vexed issue” but he said Cormann’s rebuke on Sunday was “tone deaf”. Marles said if people were born Indigenous in Australia, life outcomes in education, employment, mortality and incarceration were materially worse than non-Indigenous Australians.

      “I don’t feel like I’m in a position to say to Indigenous Australians who are protesting against that, that this is a selfish and indulgent act,” the deputy Labor leader told the ABC. “I felt uncomfortable about the mass gathering, but I’m not about to engage in that kind of judgment of those who did it.”

    The Courier Mail is not a quality newspaper, but don’t usually publish wrong stuff. David Speers had said on Insiders that Indigenous Australians represent 3.3% of the population, but 28% of the prison population.

    The CM article said that statistically Indigenous people are actually less likely to die in prison than the rest, but they are 10 times more likely to be in prison. Their incarceration rate was actually four times higher than that of blacks in the USA.

    Scott Morrison after recognising that the protesters had an point, effectively brushed it off, saying that action was being taken. From The Guardian link above:

      The prime minister insisted problems of Indigenous disadvantage were being dealt with and “we don’t need to draw equivalence here”.


      The research shows that over the past three decades, the share of Indigenous adults in prison has more than doubled, from 1,124 per 100,000 adults in 1990 to 2,481 per 100,000 adults in 2018.

  14. Brian: The above is in line with what H found:
    Aboriginal deaths in custody were lower than non-Aboriginal deaths when their representation in the prison population was taken into account.
    This would be in line with our experience. Groote Eylandt (Ab population only about 2300) Groote Eylandt prisoners accounted for about 1/3 of the NT prison population. During the years we were there we heard of no deaths in custody for Groote Eylandt prisoners.
    H’s theory was that going to prison was considered an important rite of passage for young men and these men knew what crimes were necessary to get sent to prison.
    Groote Eylandt had a spectacular murder rate. If the rest of Aus was the same per 1000 there would be 82 murders per day.

  15. This article recounts Abbott’s ‘contributions to Indigenous Australians. Thry’ve found 10.

    Apart from cutting $500m from the Indigenous affairs budget here’s a couple of quotes:

      As we look around this glorious city, as we see the extraordinary development, it’s hard to think that back in 1788 it was nothing but bush.’

    He addressing a breakfast in Sydney to mark a visit by then British prime minister, David Cameron, in 2014.

      ‘I guess our country owes its existence to a form of foreign investment by the British government in the then-unsettled or scarcely settled great south land.’

    That was at a Melbourne Institute economic conference in 2014.

  16. Colonisation is a form of foreign investment, if seen mainly from a financial perspective.

    Building forts is a stimulus to extractive and forest industries.
    Manufacturing bullets is a welcome boost for metallurgy.
    Taking prisoners is good for the gaoling industry.
    War tends to boost the hospital population and provides employment for nurses.
    Bombing of cities leads, eventually, to urban renewal.

    Road smashes stimulate both the funeral trade and the vehicle repair sector (win win).

    You simply need to adopt the correct (narrow) perspective.

    All good.

    “How good is Straya?”

  17. In the case of Australia the Brits were taking out the trash as they saw it at the time. They did this mainly to north America, but also I think to South Africa. Not so much India, which was a project of the East India Company.

    When the US flew the coup they needed new places to send people who were a burden to society.

  18. Brian: “John, I think that shows that you need the story as well as the statistics.”
    Yep. However, the situation is complex, particularly when there is a conflict between Australian laws and traditional Aboriginal laws. (For example one of our friends was sent to jail in Alice Springs because he took his wife out of the mission girls dormitory. Not OK according the laws set up to protect young heiresses from opportunistic money, less men. OK under Aboriginal law where a woman’s husband had been decided before she was conceived and she was expected to move in with her husband round about puberty. On the other hand we blatantly ignored traditional laws such as the very strict mother in law avoidance laws and blatantly married with no reference at all to moiety rules.)
    However, it is a long time since the Davidson’s had much to do with Aborigines and the two groups we had much to do with were very very different.
    It would help if fines were proportional to income and people were not jailed for not being able to pay fines.

  19. I’ve been thinking about some of the contradictory thinking that on display at the moment. And I’m trying to put it to collectivists way to make it easier.

    Firstly, If you take any group of 1000 and 1 individual is a bad egg then you wouldn’t sanely call the entire group systematically rotten in need of radical self change or disbanding.

    If you do think this is the case for police, you must also think it’s the case for every collective including the black community.

  20. For a self described “libertarian” you display a surprising commitment to defending the agents of government oppression.

  21. There’s a good example.
    There is a group that is oppressing black folk in Democrat cities that is more lethal than the police and just stating that fact is somehow defending the police.

    ( again, I’m talking collectivist because I’m speaking in Rome )

  22. Useful Notes, zoot.

    And noteworthy for their unravelling parts of the complex skeins of policing and race relations.

    Lurking in there is a side critique of Police Unions. Jumpy accused the Minneapolis police union of strongly supporting the perpetrator after previous misdemeanours. Bad apples need to be removed from positions such as “armed police officer”.

    I would suggest that Jumpy may have been on the ball about that factor.

    Yet there’s a wider and deeper problem the US faces. And without fear of provoking dispute, in my opinion the race relations disaster overlaps with the widespread-gun-ownership fiasco, which feeds in a vicious circle the crime-gang and drug-harm cycles. Then there’s poverty.

    And as a crowning swamp there’s racial disdain.

    A footnote from history: it was said in 1967 in Victoria, when the imminent hanging of Ronald Ryan was stirring controversy
    (he having been convicted of shooting a gaol guard dead during his prison escape), that the Vic Police informed the Premier that they would go on strike if Ryan wasn’t hanged.

    Police pressure can take many forms.

  23. I would suggest that Jumpy may have been on the ball about that factor.

    I agree. I also agree with Jumpy that qualified immunity for cops should be reconsidered.

  24. Yes,

    Immunity for soldiers accused of war crimes has been abolished, as has immunity of national leaders accused of crimes against humanity; witness the International Criminal Court, prosecuting individuals who haven’t been tried in their own nations.

    Earlier special courts dealt with Cambodia, Former Yugoslavia, etc.

    The principles go back much earlier to the World Court in The Hague, and to the Nuremberg Tribunals after WW2; the trial in Israel of Herr Eichmann; the case against Senor Pinochet in London…..

    And currently an Australian investigation, which seems to be thorough, is combing through allegations of misbehaviour by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.

  25. A fellow by the name Chip Le Grand*
    writes in Nine Newspapers “The Age” occasionally.

    Headline on his latest piece:
    Statues are being toppled, but is it a solution to the problem of racism?

    – yep, that’s about the level of ‘debate’ you get these days… and “The Age” still retains pretensions of seriousness.

    * big chip off the old block? (attempted translation)

  26. Have they written about the hilarious communist “ autonomous zone of Chaz “ in Seattle ?

    The ABC is completely Mum about it.

    But please do look into it, there are plenty of independent online journalists in tears laughing about it.

  27. My bad, I put “ CHAZ “ into there search and got nuthin.
    I should have used the official Antifart term.

    Personally I recon let em have it. Erect large camera towers around them and put on free to air. Humorous, entertaining and educational.

    They’re already starving so it should be a short run.

  28. As for the Constitutionality of sending in the Armed Forces, there is an argument that they, having seceded and renounced citizenships, don’t get the protections that the US Constitution provides.

    But I’m not lawyer.

  29. I would urge everyone to read Jennifer Selin, Kinder Institute Assistant Professor of Constitutional Democracy, University of Missouri-Columbia in
    Can the president really order the military to occupy US cities and states?

    Theoretically it seems he kind of can, but the state governors have made it clear they don’t want him there, and if they don’t then there will be problems in co-ordinating with the local and state authorities. It seems clear that in general that the people over a long period of time don’t want the military in civilian affairs, and Mark Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, has made it clear that he won’t be involved again in political stunts:

      He said: “I should not have been there. My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics.

      “As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from, and I sincerely hope we all can learn from it.”

      Gen Milley added: “We must hold dear the principle of an apolitical military that is so deeply rooted in the very essence of our republic.”

      He also said he was outraged at the “senseless, brutal killing” of George Floyd.

      Gen Milley said: “The protests that have ensued not only speak to his killing but also to centuries of injustice toward African Americans.”

    It’s clear the military has drawn a line. Defence Secretary has also distanced himself.

    Jumpy, you keep referring to Antifa as though it is a unitary organisation.

    When will you ever learn?

  30. Please note above that general Milley has broadened the matter from policing to the treatment of African Americans in general.

  31. The US situation has echoes of the War of Independence with Donald J Trump assuming the role of mad King George III.

  32. Brian antifart are organised to some degree but I use the term just you do when referring to “ far right groups “

    They exist and are most certainly not against all authoritarianism, they just prefer Marxist authoritarianism.

    As for the groups that the media deem “ far right “, most are against any authoritarianism.

    When will you ever learn that ?

  33. Jumpy, I can’t remember when I last talked about “far right” groups. Could you be mistaking me for someone else?

  34. In a temporary setback for the surging storms of protest, an episode from the deeply racist and imperialist “Fawlty Towers ” written by scum running dogs John Cleese and Connie Booth, has been reinstated on a streaming service.

    Stay steadfast, comrades. Victory shall be ours!! Scum shall not prosper.

  35. Can’t figure why Fawlty Towers episode was ever withdrawn.

    I remember taking my old Mum to Gone with the Wind. Could have done with a whole box of tissues.

    Before you dismiss all that as PC and arty-farty, have a listen to Pat McGorry talking to Patricia Karvelas.

    He says he’s had to put up with Irish jokes ever since he came to Australia.

    He says they hurt and it matters.

  36. BTW, I believe Gone with the Wind is not gone, just withdrawn while they put it in an explanatory historical framework.

  37. In my few years in Australia I’ve heard jokes told where the “butt” was
    Rich Poms
    Snobby Poms
    Irish men
    Arrogant French men
    Aussie men
    New Zealanders
    Fat people
    Lazy people
    Stupid people
    Uni students
    Militant unionists
    Islamist terrorists
    Royal family members

    and Politicians

    ….. and that’s without venturing near the cesspit which is film, TV and stand-up comedy.

    My conclusion is that
    Comedy Must Prevail over any hurt feelings.

    (Just as a footnote:
    1. Canadians not from Newfoundland apparently mock “Newfies”
    2. I hear that some Germans mock Silesians
    3. “Black Comedy” on ABC TV seems to be Aboriginals making fun of Aboriginals and do-gooders)

  38. I listened, it’s shill a PC arty-farty book burning equivalent.

    Too much ABC rots the brain.

  39. Mr A, totally agree.
    Dave Chappelle, Jimeoin, Norm MacDonald, Billy Connelly, Dave Allen, KBW, Two Ronnies….

  40. Can’t figure why Fawlty Towers episode was ever withdrawn.

    Apparently the Major’s references to the West Indian Cricket Team were deemed a bridge too far by the cardigan wearers (who apparently don’t understand satire) but it’s coming back, I assume with the offensive bit excised.

  41. Spellcock is really active today, it changed “ Che Guevara shirt “ into “ cardigan “.

  42. Accept comedy, and satire, but there is no licence to say whatever you like. You need to be mindful that words can do harm.

  43. I’ve just watched the ‘offensive’ part of Fawlty Towers and I agree with Cleese that the target is racism rather than brown people. It’s certainly not as insulting as the blackface of Chris Lilley or Little Britain. But it’s also a touch gratuitous; if that 20 seconds or so is cut the episode won’t suffer.

  44. Ambi, your comments always expand our perception and understanding of things, so I thank you for that.

    Jumpy, sometimes you are just rude and disrespectful. I’ll post again the link to Patricia Karvelas talking to Amy Coopes and Pat McGorry in The Wrap: Black Lives Matter and cancel culture on ABC RN. The discussion of the cancel culture starts at about 10:20 on the counter, and with Pat McGorry at about 12:45.

    It’s a nuanced, intelligent and insightful discussion. To react with:

      I listened, it’s still a PC arty-farty book burning equivalent.

      Too much ABC rots the brain.

    is quite gross and inaccurate.

    McGorry is an Australian psychiatrist who came from Ireland as a 15 year-old. You can check him out here:

      Professor Patrick McGorry is the Executive Director of Orygen, Professor of Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne, and a Founding Director of the National Youth Mental Health Foundation (headspace). He is a world-leading researcher in the area of early psychosis and youth mental health, and has been directly involved in research and clinical care for homeless people, refugees and asylum seekers.

      His work has played a critical role in the development of safe, effective treatments for and innovative research into the needs of young people with emerging mental disorders, notably psychotic and severe mood disorders. He has also played a major part in the transformational reform of mental health services to better serve the needs of young people with mental ill-health.

      Professor McGorry was a key architect of the headspace model and has been successful in advocating with colleagues for its national expansion. He has successfully advocated for the establishment of a national early psychosis programme based on the Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre model. He is frequently asked to advise on early intervention and youth mental health policy both nationally and internationally.

    He’s worth listening to.

    My own preference is not to edit or hide away things like Gone with the Wind, Fawlty Towers, and Chris Lilley’s stuff. We need to be able to see where we’ve come from.

  45. Here’s Elizabeth Warren’s analysis of why some US military bases should be renamed.
    She would make an excellent VP for Biden.

    Jumpy’s “gross and inaccurate” ad hominem response in 3… 2…

  46. So we’re here now, having an opinion that isn’t inline with today’s leftist ideology is rude, disrespectful, gross and inaccurate.

    I’ll wear the first 3 because they’re subjective.
    The last one shouldn’t be subjective.

    Oh, and please Joe, pick Warren as your running mate.
    I totally and completely endorse that message.

    But it’s not going to happen.

  47. Well done Jumpy! I applaud your achievement of avoiding ad hominem argument …

    … this time.

  48. Jumpy, I’m saying that someone like Prof McGorry comments it is not “PC arty-farty book burning equivalent” or even a “leftist opinion”.

    The Irish jokes bit is about the least of what he says. You claim to have listened to the whole conversation and have charactarised the whole conversation in a crude, simplistic way – essentially a put-down.

    I know we are now talking about you (again) rather than the subject, but when you perform the way you do, that’s what happens.

    zoot has found merit, so mark that one up. He’s possibly got other things to do.

  49. Brian: “Biden needs a plain-speaking VP like EW.” Someone Biden’s age needs a VP who would be a credible President. Right now a uniter with a good track record as state governor or Mayor of a large city would be my preference.

  50. Could someone, in plain speaking, tell Warren that the Forts she singles out ( Bragg, Hood and Benning) were named after Democrats.

    Also, at the time of each naming both the Presidents and the Governors of the States were Democrats.

    That is not inaccurate.
    May be rude, disrespectful and gross but the truth sometimes is.

  51. Could someone, in plain speaking, tell Warren that the Forts she singles out ( Bragg, Hood and Benning) were named after Democrats.


  52. It would appear that Jumpy is stuck somewhere in the eighteenth century when the Republican Party was formed to abolish slavery and the Democratic Party was the party of slave owners.
    Somehow the fact that things have changed since then seems to have escaped him.
    Yes, in the nineteenth century it was a Republican President who abolished slavery and it was the Democratic Party which opposed the constitutional amendments which brought this about. (The fact that that the Republican Party supported the amendments does not mean it contained no racists.)
    But in the twentieth century it was a Democratic President who signed the Civil Rights Bill and drove all of the racists who had previously voted Democrat into the arms of the Republicans.
    This history alone means Jumpy’s oft repeated claim that the Democratic Party is still the party of racism has no basis in reality. He also seems to think we barrack for the Democratic Party the way he barracks for the Republicans, leading to fatuous comments like that at 9:22 pm. (And no Jumpy, that is not ad hom, it is simple criticism.)

  53. Thanks, zoot. I’m not big on American history, but as I recall it LBJ knew he was giving away the South politically when he passed desegregation laws, but went ahead any way.

    That doesn’t happen too often in politics.

  54. LBJ
    Bl**dy legend, mate.
    Huge power as a “fixer ” in the Senate.
    VP candidate to “balance ” the ticket with JFK (northerner, Catholic, wealthy).

    As Pres., got legislation through Congress that (many people think) JFK couldn’t have.

    Apropos earlier comments from John, Brian, zoot…. sometimes a politician is able to get away with a policy because it seems out of character.

    John also cited the anticommunist Nixon making the breakthrough with China. Who knows? Did American anticommunists go along with that mainly because it was being done by Pres Nixon??

    Nowt queer as politicians.

  55. Thanks for that history, zoot.

    What’s that you say?
    Parties can change their spots over the course of 150 years???


    And adapt, as social conditions and mores slowly change?


    (This is just dumbfounding. What ever will His Grace have to say about this when we whisper it to him after Evensong?)

  56. Jumpy: The ALP was the party that championed the White Australia Policy and, post WWII had an immigration minister who proclaimed two “Wongs don’t make a White.” It used to be a workers party but the educated children of those workers have become very influential in the Labor party and sometimes even support things that will lose coal mining jobs.
    The US Northern Democrats tended to be a workers party who fought for workers rights vs the Southern Democrats who spent time keeping those goddam Niggers in their place.
    My American son says Howard would be considered loony right in the US. (Supported medicare!!!!!)
    The Saturday paper says that the Aus Liberals have been successful at capturing the trady vote. (One of the reasons why they are making changes that will create work for tradies like yourself.
    Things change and political parties have to scrabble around looking for groups of new supporters.

  57. So zoot would have us believe that a Democrat President finally got rid of the Democrat Jim Crow laws, with overwhelming republican support but far less Democrat enthusiasm, caused al the racists to flee the most racist Party to the open arms of the least racists Party.

    Nonsense. This mythical “ Big Flip “ certainly didn’t occur in 1964 if logic and history are any guide.

    I’ll need a shred of evidence to prove it ever happened.

    ( not a request for a huge bullshit far left academics article from a far left media outlet like the guardian )

  58. Young Jumpy: You may have missed it but most political parties are factionalized and home to bitter personal and factional feuds. Both Brian and I were young adults when the big gains were being made by Johnson, Martin Luther assassinated etc. The events were too important to us for us to easily forget.

  59. So zoot would have us believe that a Democrat President finally got rid of the Democrat Jim Crow laws,

    No zoot wouldn’t. That’s not what he wrote. You have an enormous problem with comprehension.
    And FYI Jim Crow lingers on even now, particularly in the Republican efforts to suppress the vote.

  60. Both Brian and I were young adults when the big gains were being made by Johnson, Martin Luther assassinated etc.

    As was I. I don’t know about you two but I had skin in the game because our government wanted to send me to assist the US in its war against Vietnam. My attention was firmly focused on events in the “land of the free”.

  61. Zoot: Brian and I were both lucky to be old enough to avoid being conscripted as part of our government’s effort to get a bigger part of the US meat market.

  62. Jumpy

    A youngish person in far off Australia, as I too was in the 1960s, would be unlikely to miss Freedom Marches, Dr King, Pres Kennedy in Dallas, LBJ responding to the race issues, Governor Wallace, etc.

    We weren’t all focused on drugs, Johnny O’Keefe and Haight-Ashbury.

    You might also be aware of military conscription, reintroduced around 1964 so that Australia could offer some young troops after our Liberal Country Party government pretended that our armed forces had been invited to South Vietnam by its Govt.

    But the 1960s, equally well, were not a decade in which the war in Vietnam was every young Australian’s main preoccupation.

    Hell no!!

    (Hope you weren’t sent, zoot.)

    By the way, Mr J: the prospect of undertaking army training followed by posting to fight from Vung Thau (sp?) is one liable to seriously concentrate the mind of any young bloke.

  63. (Hope you weren’t sent, zoot.)

    My number came up in the second lottery of a lifetime.
    Little did they know they had selected probably the least likely soldier ever. Luckily for me they discovered their mistake when I fronted up at the drill hall for testing.
    Still made a bloody big dent in my life.

  64. All this reminiscing and nothing about when the racist Democrats and slave freeing Republicans magically swapped as zoot said.

    Lots of other entertaining fluff though, thanks Boomers.

  65. Just a reminder for those that can’t scroll up, what zoot said, and I quote,

    “””But in the twentieth century it was a Democratic President who signed the Civil Rights Bill and drove all of the racists who had previously voted Democrat into the arms of the Republicans.“””

    My comprehension is just fine.

  66. Mr J

    I think Mr z was referring to the Democrat President LB Johnson, and the southern “racists” were voters rather than politicians or signed-up Party members.

    Does that help?

    The point of the reminiscing is that particular facts were seared into our minds.

    Facts matter.
    The truth matters.

    (By the way, “miracles” are the stuff of Holy Books. Very rare in politics.) But not so rare, luckily, are office holders who show courage, or follow principle, or put forward and attempt to enact useful policy ideas.

    One of our roles as voters is to encourage such positive aspects of the nation’s politics. Si?

    Clearing out the weak or corrupt or stupid is all to the good, but finding and supporting positive politicians … have you ever tried that tactic?

    Or have you never found one who lived up to your standards??

  67. Mr J

    If you find soldiering interesting, may I recommend an old book “The Good Soldier Schweik”?

    Shweik does his level best but ….

  68. Mr A,

    “”I think Mr z was referring to the Democrat President LB Johnson, and the southern “racists” were voters rather than politicians or signed-up Party members.“”

    Yes Mate, I’m aware that zoot was speaking of LBJ as the particular President. And that he was also referring to Democrat voters, after all, there was no mass migration of Democrat politicians to the Republicans.

    Some how he wants us to believe that great multitudes of racist Democrat voters changed from the most racist party to the least.

    I disagree with that old myth because it’s unsupported by anything other than wishing it were true by some.

    After all, zoot obviously heavily favours Democrats and he admits he’s a racist so why make stuff up ?

  69. On reminiscing, there was compulsory ‘national service’ (three months army training) in the mid 1950s. My elder brother was eligible, but had bad skin eczema and was ruled out on health grounds. I was too young, and too young to go to Korea, but too old to be caught in the net for Vietnam.

    John, I too remember our entry in 1962 as a deal Menzies did with the US over beef exports.

    Jumpy, you say:

      I’ll need a shred of evidence to prove it ever happened.

      ( not a request for a huge bullshit far left academics article from a far left media outlet like the guardian )

    I think you’ll call any evidence you don’t like as ‘far left bullshit’, so why would anyone waste their time?

    BTW zoot, that was a cracker article on slavery. It had a link to a cracker article Republicans’ white supremacist problem is a threat to America written last August by Carol Anderson, who is the Charles Howard Candler professor of African American studies at Emory University.

    However, it’s published in The Guardian and ipso facto bullshit.

    What a shame. If only she had published it somewhere else!

  70. Satirical books are a bit iffy at the best of times Mr A.
    May I suggest a nonfiction book by Danesh D’Souza called Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party.

    ( zoot probably won’t like him as he’s brown )

  71. Look, it can’t be argued that the US most influential Institutions are controlled by the left Democrats. Hollywood, academia, mainstream media, administrative government, big tech social media….
    And where the vast majority of police killing black peoples and the riots, protests and looting are in total Democrat governance areas.

    If there’s Institutional racism going on then it’s clearly of the Democrats doing.

    How the f**k can it be Republicans fault ?

  72. May I suggest a nonfiction book by Danesh D’Souza

    He has never written a non-fiction book.

  73. Dude, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 put an end to the Jim Crow law finally after the Courts kept find them Unconstitutional.

    Now, tell the group about the lie on how exactly all the racist Changed political parties all of a sudden.

    ( obviously he won’t because he can’t because it’s bullshit )

  74. Jim Crow Law? Singular? Now you’re just pretending you know what you’re talking about.

    Now, tell the group about the lie on how exactly all the racist Changed political parties all of a sudden.

    You really, really, truly believe there were racists only in the Democratic Party? There were no racists at all in the Republican Party? I’ve got a bridge I can sell you, real cheap.

  75. Ok, this is ridiculous now, believe whatever lies you want.
    Hopefully some lurkers that come here for the good Climate stuff see how silly the political arguments are.

  76. One final observation. I’m certain that amongst registered Democratic voters there is more than a handful of racists. However, the Boogaloo Bois and their ilk are far more likely to vote Republican, particularly with Bunker Boy dog whistling with all his might.

  77. BTW you still haven’t enlightened us as to why Elizabeth Warren should be told the Confederate Generals were Democrats.

  78. This is a meditation on violence which I recommend. It shines some light on the US situation.

    [Trigger warning: It’s not for you Jumpy.]

  79. Another good link, zoot.

    Jumpy, this might be over-simplistic, but what we now call the United States was based on taking the land from the indigenous peoples, and slavery to do the work on the southern plantations.

    In 1776 when the Declaration of Independence said “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights”, they didn’t literally mean all men, they meant male, white property owners, plus I expect the professions, like lawyers, doctors, ministers of religion and officer-class military.

    Up until 1964 the southern states, where the former slave-owners mostly were, mostly voted Democrat. LBJ knew that by what he did in desegregation they would mostly change party allegiance. And they did.

    You will probably tell us that Wikipedia is leftist tripe, but have a look at the article History of the United States Republican Party. The GOP was founded in the 1850s as an anti-slavery party. Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president. Later when Theodore Rooseveldt spun off the Progressive Party the GOP shifted to the right. Then after a period of Democrat dominance:

      After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the party’s core base shifted, with the Southern states becoming more reliably Republican in presidential politics and the Northeastern states becoming more reliably Democratic. White voters increasingly identified with the Republican Party after the 1960s.[2] Following the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, the Republican Party opposed abortion in its party platform and grew its support among evangelicals.[3] The Republican Party won five of the six presidential elections from 1968 to 1988. Two-term President Ronald Reagan, who held office from 1981 to 1989, was a transformative party leader whose conservative policies called for reduced government spending and regulation, lower taxes and a strong anti-Soviet Union foreign policy. Reagan’s influence upon the party persisted into the next century.

      Since the 1990s, the Party’s support has chiefly come from the South, the Great Plains, the Mountain States and rural areas in the North.[4][5] The 21st century Republican Party ideology is American conservatism. The GOP today supports lower taxes, free market capitalism, a strong national defense, gun rights, deregulation, capital punishment, and restrictions on labor unions; it opposes abortion. In contrast to its support for conservative economic policies and liberal view of government, the Republican Party is socially conservative.

    Now do you see?

  80. That’s a useful outline, Brian.

    (Just a quibble: George Washington, having passed away in 1799, was in no position to lead any Party by the mid-19th century.)

    The Gettysburg Address by that gangly, awkward fellow still stands as a masterpiece of prose.

  81. Unlike Australia, the US has a primary voting system to elect candidates. All voters can register as a supporter of a particular party and vote in the primaries of that party. Candidates in the primaries get no financial support from the party so success depends on personal wealth or supporters who are willing to help finance that campaign.
    The rise of the Tea Party has had a dramatic effect on the Republican party. The Tea Party does not run candidates but encourages its supporters to register as Republicans. The result was the election of a crazy like Trump as Republican candidate instead of conservative Republican establishment figures like the George Bushes.
    Our preference voting system encourages groups like One Nation to run in their own right. But this doesn’t stop major parties changing over time. Very few Australians are active members of a political party.

  82. * The Masked Pedant Strikes Again! *

    Evidently, attendance at weekly meetings of Pedants Anon has not yet cured him.

    They seek him here, they chase him there, that d*mned elusive
    Pimple on the Rear Side of Writing!!

  83. Don’t sweat getting the wrong President, Brian.
    It’s not as though you didn’t put the letter “s” on a word.

    Regardless, the extract you lifted from Wiki doesn’t give credence to zoots myth about all the racists going to the less racist Republican Party post 64/65.

    Unless of course you use the term “ White voter “ and “ racist “ as interchangeable.
    I certainly don’t.

  84. What astounds me is that black folk voted overwhelmingly Democrats during the Jim Crow period !!

  85. Wikapedia on Jim Crow laws: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Jim_Crow_law_examples_by_state There were a whole lot of laws that discriminated against people with some African ancestry. They included bans on interracial marriage as well as laws that made it harder for Afro-Americans to vote.
    Australia was similar. In the 1960’s BHP took the radical step of agreeing to pay equal wages. Charley Perkins “Freedom ride” around about 1964 uncovered things like rules that prohibited Aboriginal people using the Swimming pool at Kempsey.

  86. Thank you for the education on Jim Crow laws, gentlemen.

    When I were a lad, we called it “segregation” or “ apartheid , but ‘Jim Crow ‘ is much more colourful.

    Jumpy, to puncture the “myth” you think is being repeated here, you’ll need to stump up some figures or quotes.

  87. Mr A
    I don’t feel obligated to disprove an assertion that has no support for it.
    But logically it doesn’t make sense that the most vervet racists went to the overwhelmingly anti-slavery party just because the pro-slavery party realised the slave game was over in 1964.

    I’m not defending the Republican Party here, I’m as assuming innocence until proven guilty.

    As yet, no proof.

  88. What astounds me is that black folk voted overwhelmingly Democrats during the Jim Crow period !!

    Did they? I’m bored with your vervet (??) attachment to the Republican Party and I can’t be arsed finding the data to prove you wrong yet again, but I have always been under the impression that relatively few people of colour voted before LBJ enacted the Civil Rights Act. You may have the numbers at your finger tips to prove me wrong (which I will happily do).
    Surely the bigger question is for today, in the era of BLM, why do people of colour overwhelmingly vote for the Democratic Party if, as you vervetly claim, it is racist?
    And supplementary question: why do unashamed white supremacists such as the Boogaloo Boys vervetly support the current Republican POTUS?

  89. Jumpy and zoot,
    Could one of you please define


    Does it mean

  90. But logically it doesn’t make sense that the most vervet racists went to the overwhelmingly anti-slavery party just because the pro-slavery party realised the slave game was over in 1964.

    So much stupidity, so little time.
    The slave game ended in in 1865 with the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. 99 years later slavery was not the issue. Only a fool would think it was.
    I will repeat – systemic racism in the USA in the 21st century is bi-partisan. Trying to argue it is somehow a function of the Democratic Party is a waste of time (yours and ours).

  91. Ambi, please note the word is vervet.
    I have deduced its meaning from Jumpy’s illustration of its use. (I’ve never heard of it before either).

  92. Zoot said,

    “”So much stupidity, so little time.
    The slave game ended in in 1865 with the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. 99 years later slavery was not the issue. Only a fool would think it was.“”

    He literally linked to 400 years of slavery starting with the Mayflower in 1620.
    It was excellent he said.

    You admit now to being a fool as well as a racist, we’ll done dickhead.

    And typos are all he has to hang credibility on.

    ( “fervent “ was obviously what an honest person would assume in that sentence )

  93. If LBJ signed into law provisions on basic human rights which had the effect of making segregation practices ilegal then it makes perfect sense to me, Jumpy, that pro-segregationists would seek to punish his Party by shifting their votes to the opposing major Party.

    This accords with what several Australian old timers remember. To shake our memories – and if those recollections are incorrect, why wouldn’t we have read material correcting them in the meantime? – you will have to cite some evidence.

    Bald assertion won’t cut it.

    Ex Cathedra ??

    Not that, either.


  94. Jumpy: In Aus it is unusual that a MP who is not an independent will vote against a parliamentary party position. This is partly tradition but it makes sense given that it is party that selects and finances candidates and the vast majority of voters usually votes for a party rather than an individual.
    By contrast US MP’s used to normally vote more like independents because they had to finance their the primary campaigns that got them to be party candidates in the official election. In the primary campaigns people are voting for individuals and may take more notice of individuals because the MP will feel less bound to the party line than an Australian MP.
    The Republicans started to behave more like a united party when Obama became president. Made it harder for Obama to wheel and deal to get critical stuff through the Senate.
    The US is a foreign country mate even though, like us, they speak a English dialect.

  95. John, I have a similar but slightly different take. I agree that party discipline is significantly less a factor.

    In recent time the American voters have had a habit of electing a president, and then to a large extent disabling them by voting a hostile HoR in the next mid-term. They did this to Bill Clinton in 1992. On this occasion Newt Gingrich as leader of the House made it clear that he was going to oppose legislation initiated by the Democrat administration.

    He did however pass legislation that ended up advantaging his side, as he saw it, by weakening the social safety net.

    When Obama was elected in 2008 he had a 2-year window, then the Republicans gained control of the HoR in 2012, and it was clear that they would oppose everything he initiated because he was Obama.

    Because of this he had to use other means of addressing climate change. How he got the scaled down version of Obamacare through, I don’t know.

    For African Americans Obama largely disappointed.

    There are two giant problems. I think.

    Firstly, by design, the American political system is not democratic. (1) First past the post doesn’t cut the mustard, I think. That rules out the US, Canada and the UK as proper democracies.

    (2) The winner-takes-all state by state election for president is undemocratric, as is the electoral college system, which was installed to make sure the voters didn’t so something stupid. When the convention became such that the electoral college would honour the popular vote it became almost inevitable that the voters would eventually do something stupid.

    (3) Any system that allows the state governments to administer the electoral rolls and run the elections is a joke. Gerrymandering and voter suppression have become scandalous.

    Any UN team monitoring a US election would find it undemocratic. Problem is you can’t start with a clean sheet as the Allies did with W Germany after WW2.

    Secondly, racism is cultural, deeply embedded in the fabric of American society, which became what it is by using indentured and slave labour to do the hard work on the land after germs wiped out 90% of the indigenous population.

    In that regard, the First Americans soon found out how violent and untrustworthy these early post-Middle Ages Europeans were. I just pulled Ronald Wright’s What is America? a Short History of the New World Order down from the shelf.

    There was a Powhatan War in 1622. At the peace celebrations the invaders poisoned over 200 of the locals. Wright says later that 370 treaties were made with First Nations peoples in the following centuries. All of them were broken.

    In 1830 Congress passed the Indian Removal Act.

    In 1838 the US Army was used to round up Indians and put them in concentration camps. Later in 1887 the Dawes Act attacked and broke up the notion of collective ownership.

    Indians were openly considered unsuitable for civilisation because they lacked selfishness.

    This is a quote from de Tocqueville. He saw:

      “a cold selfishness and complete insensitivity…This world here belongs to us. [Americans] tell themselves every day: the Indian race is destined for final destruction… it is necessary that they die…I will have their lands and will be innocent of their death.”

    Of course it is not everyone, but racism runs deep.

    Combine that with American exceptionalism – The United States’ history is inherently different from other nations, that the US has a unique mission to transform the world, and that the United States’ history and mission give it a superiority over other nations – and we all have a problem.

  96. Brian: Things in Aus have been bad in the past. Think of Joh and the Bjelkimander and similar in places like SA and WA. Think about the wide variation re whether Aborigines could vote, whether they were paid equal wages and whether governments could control their movements, whether that could marry white people and the stolen generation. Think about lower pay for women doing exactly the same job. Think about my old Qld girlfriend who got sacked by the education dept as soon as she got married. I could ramble on about the world of our youth, the corruption of election systems and…. without having to think too hard.

  97. And a minor point: Aussie voters also make a habit of voting for opposite Parties in the House of Reps and the Senate. Which makes it very common for a Govt to have to deal with a Senate that:
    is uncooperative
    practices undue scrutiny
    is hostile, or
    very difficult
    has enough nutty independents to make it tricky (see Motoring Enthusiasts)
    is stacked by State Govts (see 1974, 1975)
    has a wily old fox like Harradine or Lambie cutting special deals


    Such is life.

    Some Govts seem to be more adept than others at talking to Senators.

  98. Ambi: “Aussie voters also make a habit of voting for opposite Parties in the House of Reps and the Senate. Which makes it very common for a Govt to have to deal.” Howard ended up being voted out because he finally won control of the Senate when Barnaby Joyce won a Senate seat. Allowed him to get away with introducing “Work Choices” which ended up losing him the next election.
    I think it is a good thing if the Senate is not controlled by either of the major parties/coalitions.
    “has enough nutty independents to make it tricky (see Motoring Enthusiasts)” The system that brought in the Motoring enthusiasts was a very corruptible above the line system that allowed political parties to allocate the preferences of people that voted for them above the line. Led to all sorts of questionable agreements on things like allocation of preferences in local government elections. Fortunately changes were made to stop this practice.

  99. Some Govts seem to be more adept than others at talking to Senators.

    A fine example being that led by Ms Gillard.

  100. I agree with both your points. But has manipulation of ‘above the line’ Senate voting has been eliminated? Or its likelihood reduced?

    Is there now a minimum-first-preference vote a candidate must obtain, to be eligible for election as a Senator (for example)?

    By the way, Ricky of Motoring Enthusiasms wasn’t bad…. he was a Gippslander, for starters. And I heard him give a good speech in the Senate one day. More impressive than some of the dills in the Victorian Parlt, for instance. (Not that we set the bar very high there, of course.)

    Yes, John Howard’s over reach on “W C” was enabled by his temporary Senate majority. Good old Barnaby, eh? The Gift the Keeps on Giving.

    By the way, Victorian Labor now has some very particular difficulties:
    * Adem is still in Parlt and can leak as much as he likes
    * until he’s before the Beak, I suppose
    * and a court conviction might have him removed from Parlt
    * but meanwhile there are many, many State MPs whose preselection may have been heavily influenced by Adem’s efforts
    * Mr Bracks and Ms Macklin can clear out dodgy “magic Party members”, but they can hardly deslect candidates retrospectively – I mean those candidates who were then properly and democratically elected to that august and revered Parlt of Victoria
    * and that’s merely the immediate imbroglio…. what if factional warfare should increase (let’s not say “break out”; the warfare is long standing, endemic, traditional and widely accepted.

    Mr Rudd stood against it.
    And the ‘warlords’ didn’t mind at all.
    They copped it sweet and behaved like gentlemen, for The Sake of Unity.

    Oh what a tangled web we weave
    When we first essay to
    Stack Branches

    – The bard of Spring Street

    *Sung to the Tunes of Massed Paper-Shredders

  101. Speaking of the Senate:
    “The Greens, One Nation and independent senator Jacqui Lambie will stonewall progress in the Senate until the major parties reconsider their new plan to limit the number of motions per day.
    Labor and the Coalition say the bipartisan plan, which would see the number of motions limited to 12 per day – four for each major party and four for the crossbench – would stop the crossbench from putting up divisive motions designed to score political points.
    But the crossbench warns the plan would limit oversight of both major parties by reducing chances to procure documents via the Senate’s strong review powers and muzzle the crossbench’s contribution to debate.
    “It amounts to an attack on democracy, debate and free speech,” Greens senator Larissa Waters said. “It undermines the work of the Senate in advancing policy, constituent and transparency matters.” https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/just-plain-stupid-senate-stand-off-over-move-to-undermine-crossbench-20200618-p553vs.html
    Smacks of a control freak prime minister who wants to minimize attacks on his squeaky clean government’s proposals.

  102. For once, and it’s not all that often, I agree with Larissa Waters. Unfortunately Labor regards the crossbench as a nuisance, so must have been party to this move.

    Ambi, I agree Ricky the motoring enthusiast showed uncommon common sense. I’m afraid I’m over Ms Lambie after she started doing deals outside the matter being voted on. I think that is a scourge on democracy. She’s saying she can be bought and has her price.

  103. Well, that was Brian Harradine’s method too, I think. He was re-elected Senator so a proportion of Taswegian voters endorsed then re-endorsed him.

  104. Ambi, I do have memories of the later part of WW2. Not sure when I became aware of Vera Lynn, but it would have been well before “Dr Strangelove” and for more than that song.

    Amazing to think she was born on 1917.

  105. Ambi, yes, Brian Harradine, plus he bent our foreign policy for years, to make sure no aid went to family planning assistance.

    Basically a disgrace.

  106. John, re your comment

    Brian: Things in Aus have been bad in the past…etc

    TBH I don’t need reminding about all that. My point is that the US has racism baked in off the scale.

    Because of their assumption of exceptionalism, their mission, their cultural and economic influence in a globalised world, we all have an interest.

    It seems that there are more than residues in the current culture. I think I’d need to do a post, but I was warming up to the question of, what is to be done to fix the racism, the police violence, and the disrepair of their democracy?

    As it happens, today I heard one of the best from Waleed Aly, Scott Stephens and David Runciman in Democratic politics is being challenged, but is it changing?

    They ended up saying that the US needs to fix its democracy before there can be real healing and trust and understanding built again.

    However, Biden is at best on the way. He won’t fix things, and the people who put him there won’t want him to do what should be done.

    So it’s a long project extending beyond Biden, but to make a real beginning, Trump has to go.

    Meanwhile I wouldn’t underestimate local action, for example in each of the 18,000 police districts.

  107. The British people, the common people, had several positive influences – home-grown – during their darkest hours.

    Vera Lynn, with her warm wishes to the troops and their families.

    Winston Churchill, with his finely honed, dark yet strong broadcasts

    Dig For Victory – as grassy ‘verges’ and commons were converted to food production

    Home Army women sent out to labour and assist on farms

    Women doing heavy work as machinists, drivers; some very dangerous in munitions factories


    And the BBC broadcasting into occupied Western Europe with its opening music: first bars of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

    What a time to be sheltering from bombs and watching Spitfires head out over the Channel….

    (I heard once, that local, rural signposts were removed in preparation for a possible land invasion. At the start, even some enlisted troops were parading with broom handles – lacking, as they did for a while, actual rifles.)

  108. Brian: “the political leaders and opposition candidates in the US, UK and Australia are all old or middle-aged white men.”
    Things are changing. Where I live:
    Both our federal and state MP’s are women.
    The state premier and leader of the opposition are women. (Ditto for Qld.)
    Our only Green senator is a woman.
    (However, women are a minority in our local council. Nearby Tweed council has a female Green as Lord Mayor.)
    The Greens, Labor party and One Nation Senate leaders are all women.
    Some local women are still calling for affirmative action.
    Time for affirmative action that works both ways? For example, quotas expressed as: “At least X% candidates who consider themselves women and at least X% who consider themselves men. X should be small enough to give space for those who consider themselves asexual and enough space to allow most decisions to be made on merit rather than quotas.”

  109. John

    In a newspaper story about an ALP shadow minister stepping aside today over a report on branch stacking, every MP mentioned is female.
    Opposition Leader
    Shadow Minister standing aside
    MP replacing het in one of her shadow areas
    Another MP for the other area.

    And rightly, the story is about the alleged bad conduct of Party members that was investigated by the Labor Party; no special attention is given to these women MPs vis a vis their gender.

    (The Anglosphere has come a long way, Mrs Pankhurst!)

  110. Ambi: Ideally, neither women or men should be behaving badly. So is it a good thing that more women are falling into the “behaving badly basket”.
    BTW my wife discovered unequal treatment when she started primary school and discovered to her annoyance that “girls had to wear shoes to school but boys were allowed not to!!” I became conscious of sexual inequality when, as a young teenager my widowed mother talked to me about how much easier it would be for us if she could get the male basic wage.
    On the subject of shoe Nazis the University council passed a motion that prohibited one John D from going into the students union without footwear. No wonder my wife found me irresistible.

  111. Ambi: In the meantime “Greens announce Lidia Thorpe as Richard Di Natale’s replacement in Senate” https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-20/lidia-thorpe-to-replace-richard-di-natale-in-greens-senate-seat/12376564
    The Greens have announced that former Victorian state MP Lidia Thorpe will take the Federal Senate seat being vacated by Richard Di Natale.

    Lidia Thorpe is an Indigenous leader and activist who served as Member for Northcote in Victoria’s Parliament.
    The Gunnai-Kurnai and Gunditjmara woman was elected in a state-wide ballot conducted by Greens party members.
    Ms Thorpe said it was “an incredible honour and a huge responsibility” to join the Senate.
    “I’m ready to fight for the issues we all believe in — climate, injustice, inequality,” she said.
    “Now more than ever, we need to not accept the old ways — this is our chance to build back better and I’m ready to bring us together to get it done.”
    Ms Thorpe in 2017 was the first Aboriginal woman elected to the Victorian Parliament.
    After leaving school at age 14 and surviving family violence, said she hoped her story would inspire others.
    “This is a message to all those battlers out there and all those women who experienced family violence that we have a voice,” she said.
    “It’s so important for kids growing up today in places I grew up to know they can do what I’ve done.
    “Kids in the Commission flats, or out in country towns, or single mums, or survivors of domestic violence. This isn’t out of your reach.”

  112. Thanks John.

    And congratulations also to 22 year old Malala Yousufzai who has just graduated from Oxford University.

    At 17 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

  113. H*lls B*lls John,
    I too went through a few months of shoeless living at Uni. Perhaps trying to extend the carefree shoeless summer (which is feasible on Victorian beaches. No blisters when it’s cool and cloudy.)

    I was prohibited from going shoeless in a lunch venue. Some mention of hygiene, an unfamiliar concept.

    The fight for equal wages for women took FAR too long to make headway.

    I think that many wise young women forego their inclination to be very choosey. And the fortunate young men who benefit, often don’t appreciate how much leeway they were given.

  114. Ambi: “I think that many wise young women forego their inclination to be very choosey. And the fortunate young men who benefit, often don’t appreciate how much leeway they were given.” Tragedy can be the outcome when people think that they can sort out their dearly beloved after they get married. Ain’t necessarily so.
    My mother diplomatically pointed out to my wife to be that she had “tried to train me for the previous X years and didn’t expect my wife to be to have any more success.” X years later my diplomatic wife wrote to my mother to tell her she was right about my training potential.

  115. Just on shoes, when I grew up on the farm we habitually went barefoot, even when working. You soon learnt where not to put your feet when you where clearing land, stoking fires to burn tree stumps and carrying coals in a shovel.

    One morning when it was my turn to get the cows in and there was frost on the grass I sallied forth minus the sandshoes I could have worn. I only did that once.

  116. Big spike in Covid cases in Victoria since the BLM “ protests “, set them back 2 months apparently.
    A big Climate “ protest “ this weekend in Melbourne going on too.
    If one were to create a Venn Diagram of the two “ protests “ I suspect massive overlap.

    Why do these folk want to kill Grandma and keep deepen the economic catastrophe?

  117. Big spike in Covid cases in Victoria since the BLM “ protests “,

    You’ll have to do better than that.
    Correlation is not causation and there have been no spikes in other states which had similar demos.

  118. What zoot said.

    The risk at such gatherings is not nothing, but by and large the protesters are wearing masks, and most infections happen indoors, indeed within the family home.

    Let me be clear; I’d rather people didn’t protest in groups right now. At the same time, climate is a bigger threat than COVID.

  119. Not as an immediate lethal threat Brian.
    Especially to your vintage, as you’ve previously stated.

    At some point the left have to consolidate their law hungry ways and their law ignoring ways.
    The compliant and rebellious.
    Do what the medical experts say and fuck the experts.

    We can’t go on with subjective enforcement too much longer before the right start getting leftist type radical “ protesting”, and heaven help us then.

    The leftist are quick reactionaries, the right are more the placid redhead that gets pushed too far.

    Be careful.

  120. Not as an immediate lethal threat Brian.
    Especially to your vintage, as you’ve previously stated.

    Which reminds me, Jumpy have you told your parents yet that they are expendable for the good of the economy? It seems a long time since I first asked you and there hasn’t been a response that I’m aware of.

  121. You can control your consistency Brian.

    ATM the emissions are plummeting because of Government responses to covid, also the global economy trashed and suicidal misery, food supply lines disrupted to third word countries, on top of declining ability to donate to charity.

    Weigh up just forgo 1 climate “ protest “ with the potential harm at this time or let her rip.
    Precautionary Principle and all that.

  122. These placid redheads who get pushed too far, do they include the Boogaloo Boys who shot a cop and planned to lob molotov cocktails around Las Vegas? Or the Proud Boys who beat up lefty demonstrators?
    Are the Charlottesville guys who staged the Tiki Torch March chanting “Jews will not replace us” among their number?
    Are they the Australian white supremacists who hope Covid will bring about the demise of the current social order?

  123. Thanks for the link, zoot. I was going to link to ABC RN’s recent Backgound Briefing episode, Why Australia’s spies think the far right could find a foothold during coronavirus

      Since Australia’s coronavirus shutdown began, there’s been a spike in reports of racist attacks, where people are targeted because they just happen to look Asian.

      Intelligence agencies are now warning that far right groups are exploiting the pandemic to further their own radical agendas.

      For some, that involves fomenting unrest to bring about a “race war”.

    The short story is that there is a significant increase of rightwing nutters’ activity. And they are incredibly nuts.

  124. I caught up with and old workmate when he rang today. There’s been another one ‘passed away’ as they say. That makes four I’ve known personally in the last couple of days.

    I’m OK.

    During the week I was working on a post looking at Morrison’s COVID recovery plans, then thought I’d better turn to Weekly salon, then diverted to sundry COVID stuff I didn’t just want to put into a comments thread.

    Need a break now, but there will be a new post before I go to bed.

    Phone has just rung.

  125. This is an interesting analysis of Trump’s Tulsa waiver. Yes, it’s a left leaning site but to my untutored eye the legal argument looks sound.

  126. The question is, and we all recognise when the far right are going Too Far, when are the far left going Too Far ?

    We can identify the far right, who is the far left ?

    Both are dangerous.

  127. I’m ignoring your prompts zoot, you have nothing of value to contribute from my experience.
    That comment being the last of a long line.

  128. OK. So you can’t provide an answer.
    It follows that this “far left” may exist only in your imagination.

  129. Jumpy: “Big spike in Covid cases in Victoria since the BLM “ protests “, set them back 2 months apparently.” However:
    “Victorian Health authorities believe large family gatherings that included people infected with coronavirus are to blame for an alarming rise in cases in the state.
    In response, the State Government is tightening up some rules designed to slow the spread of the virus, including how many visitors households can have at any one time. “https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-20/victoria-coronavirus-restriction-changes-explained/12376978

  130. Here’s my 2 cents worth or, if you prefer, my nothing of value.
    In the sixties there was definitely a “far left” – the Weather Underground, the Red Brigade and Bader Meinhoff spring to mind. But as the Overton Window moved inexorably to the right under Thatcher/Reagan and neo-liberalism the “far left” became less and less of a presence until today I would suggest that if it exists at all it is in such a weakened state that it poses no threat to public order at all.

  131. We do have a Communist Party of Australia and a Australian Fabians.

    Neither of them wants to destroy capitalism, as far as I can see, just to civilise it. Nothing more radical than Modern Monetary Theory, public ownership of banks and utilities.

    All pursued through ideas rather than direct revolution.

    So zoot asks a fair question IMO.

  132. All pursued through ideas rather than direct revolution.

    As opposed to Australians on the far right, who eschew ideas and instead embrace violence. Jumpy’s right, we know who they are.

  133. Victoria held me up, so I’ll need a read through tomorrow morning.

    Yes zoot, I wonder whether anyone can identify violent lefties in OECD countries after the early 1970s.

  134. Mr J

    I like the list under Turkey.

    More than half a dozen grouplets claiming to be the true Marxist revolutionary Party.

    These splitters make the notorious People’s Front of Judea look like a vanguard of unity and broad appeal.

    Are you aware that some of these grouplets may consist of a PO Box number, or as few as eight paid up members?

    The joke about the CP in USA (1950s, 1960s) was that some branches were viable only because of their undercover FBI “members”; apparently sometimes those agents forming a majority in the branch.


  135. I’m a bit disappointed with Jumpy’s link. No left wing militant group in Australia and only one in the USA? Why is he wetting the bed?
    Try this for a more detailed picture of our Yankee cousins (with the bonus that it’s not limited to the false binary of left-right).
    BTW, the US armed forces are antifa; it’s a label not an organised group.

  136. Sometimes, jumpy, I just don’t know what you are talking about.

    Eg, SPLC means St Peters Lutheran College to me, my alma mater.

  137. Ah, I’ve googled SPLC, but strictly I don’t know what “resorting to the SPLC” means, except that it is meant as an insult.

    On Antifa, it’s hard to pin it down. When I asked Mark, he said it was a ‘slogan’. Don’t think that’s right, nor does ‘label’ quite cover it. The best I can do is to say it’s a kind of insignia under which certain antifascist groups wish to ply their trade.

    Jumpy’s consistent use of ‘Antifart’ is misleading in that it indicates an entity, which is wrong, and is highly pejorative, and tells us that he is not open to knowing the truth about them.

    To turn to pedantry, zoot, Bader Meinhoff above is properly Baader-Meinhof, also known as Red Army Faction, which is meant to be English for ‘Rote Armee Fraktion’.

    There was certainly a lot of violence associated with them, not all by them.

  138. Little hint to alleviate your supposed confusion Brian, click zoots link.

    I’m trying to assume that you are genuine in not knowing who and what the Southern Poverty Law Center are and do.

    And zoot, ad hominem, I don’t adhere to your textbook definition, I follow the dictionary definition. And it wasn’t that, blog troll.

    ( end of discourse involving zoot for the rest of today )

  139. Mr A, very many of these entities operational structures are online nowadays.
    No need for physical meetings to organise.
    Nothing is “ official “, that’s the point.

  140. Yes, Brian.

    RAF took high profile murders (ambush in the street) – and kidnappings (?) to a distinctive level. I recall in 1985 at an autobahn rest stop, a large colour “Wanted” poster in the Gents. Political terrorists, not decent, honest crims.

    Similar to the American “Weather Underground” but with a wider and stronger support group, I think. Opportunistically supported by Palestinian and Eastern European actors.

    “Propaganda of the Deed”, the excuse of assassins down the ages. “Anarchists” on Europe of the late 19th century and for the next few decades.

    Then there were various armed groups in Italy, the most notorious being the “Red Brigades”. RIP Aldo Moro.

    I’ve read that political commentators call that era in Italy “the years of lead” because bullets became more prominent in “civic discourse”.

    These were some savage endpoints of tendencies adopted by relatively small and young groups after the 1960s “youth rebellion”.

    Personally, I blame Ernesto Guevara, Patty Hearst and Ho Chi Minh for setting bad examples.

    /here endeth today’s sermon.
    Please pass around the plates for offerings/

  141. Mr J

    Yes indeed, online.
    Which means that State agencies (NSA, ASD, MI5, ASIO, etc.) may more easily monitor what’s afoot.

    Apologies for not being up-to-date on acronyms for the services of China, Russia, Germany, Israel, France, N Korea, Iran etc.

    In Canada is it still the RCMP…. the Royal Canadian Mounted Police? See? They’re still in the horse era.

    Victoria Police : to your horses, men!! Highway patrols: harness up the High Drays!
    Point Nepean: prepare to fire your cannon in the first shot of the war.

    Oh, I hear that the big chiefs in Al Qaeda stopped using satellite phones when they realised that calls helped their opponents to rain Cruise missiles on their bases. That was only 20 years or so ago. Hand delivered messages by courier; no eavesdropping. Or have you not seen “Zero Dark Thirty”? ?

    Nasty film.
    Sticky end.
    Burial at sea.

  142. I don’t adhere to your textbook definition, I follow the dictionary definition

    Which dictionary would that be (and when did dictionaries cease to be textbooks)?

  143. Jumpy, I’ve always warned people that I am not an expert on American history or current affairs.

    I had never heard of Southern Poverty Law Center. I can see that naming and calling out hate groups in the US can be hazardous and controversial.

    Now I’ve read the ‘controversy’ section of the Wikipedia, plus one very negative article by a former worker there in the New Yorker.

    So now I don’t have a settled view on them. You obviously do.

    This computer is playing up, as are my eyes, so I’ll turn it off for a bit and go for a walk.

  144. To turn to pedantry, zoot

    Thank you Brian, I was working from memory which in my case is not the most precise 🙂

  145. No problems, zoot. I”m constantly slowed down by having to check things these days.

    I just checked the comments policy. All I’m asking for is respect and evidence.

  146. Before, we move on (the computer was getting ‘hung’ the other day, plus the screen was going blurry for me as my eyes get tired) here’s the Wikipedia link to Southern Poverty Law Center, which seems a thorough and balanced account. Seems they do real work in the world:

      The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is an American nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation. Based in Montgomery, Alabama, it is known for its legal cases against white supremacist groups, its classification of hate groups and other extremist organizations, and for promoting tolerance education programs.

    Their classifications and assessments “have often been described as authoritative and are widely accepted and cited in academic and media coverage of such groups and related issues” but “have also been the subject of criticism from others”, whoever they may be.

    Obviously there were some internal ructions last year when founder Morris Dees was fired, which was followed by the resignation of president Richard Cohen, then an outside consultant was brought in to review workplace practices, particularly relating to accusations of racial and sexual harassment.

    There is quite an extensive section on Controversies regarding hate group and extremist designations. It’s ‘only in America’, but under legal challenge they seem to have defended themselves pretty well.

    I’d need to know a lot more to make any judgement, but I do actually respect zoot’s assessment on such matters.

    Bottom line is that there is plenty of hate in the US. For example, see Noose found in garage of black NASCAR driver.

    It’s astonishing that people would think it appropriate to fly the Confederate flag in a NASCAR race in Alabama, then threaten the driver who had it stopped with a noose.

  147. The SPLC was a prominent, effective group working to advance black rights (still referred to as negro or coloured in those days), way back when the modern Civil Rights Movement was growing and beginning to win its small, local victories.

    1960s: Dr King, Malcolm X; Black Panthers and Nation of Islam a bit later. … (?)

    At that stage, black children and churchgoers were murdered now and then. Quite apart from police actions. Likely the general murder rate was lower then, so the torching of a church attracted more attention. And mass shootings from tall buildings were not so much in vogue.

    Interesting to see that SPLC is still operating.
    (IMO the Black Panthers were more like a media sensation, an advertising performance? Jail and murders finished them.)

    And Dr King was gone too soon.

    (His March on Poverty is being commemorated about now.)

  148. Brian,
    I second the zoot motion.
    The zootperson finds and passes on some remarkable information.

    (“I think the ayes have it.”)

  149. Leaving aside the activities of organised groups, we can get some idea of what the ‘normal’ experience of being black in the US, even for the black middle class from Phillip Adams interview with Emily Bernard, Professor of English at the University of Vermont and author of Black is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time and Mine in
    On Blackness.

    Bernard’s father was a black doctor, working in a practice that served a black district, but wanted somewhere ‘nice’ to raise his kids, so bought a house in a white middle class suburb.

    Bernard relates how she felt black and basically treated as an inferior outsider every minute of the day. She now lives and works in Vermont, which they described as the second most white state in the US. Nothing much has changed.

  150. Look, this is in the nature of fluff (for Mr J) but the last time we visited USA in 2002 we noticed in NY and Mass and Cal and Nevada that all of the menial – presumably low paid jobs were done by black or Hispanic persons.

    It was like a colour bar but applied to employment rather than residential suburb/restaurant/school/toilet/bus/train.

    And this was – what? – about 150 years after the Civil War; 34 years after LBJ’s Presidency.

  151. Mr Turnbull opines that China wants a compliant Australia.

    Nine newspaper has an interview; the reprints relevant sections of his memoir.

    {In an interesting footnote, Mr T quotes from The Pelopponnesian War (sp??) vol 5 of course, where Athens confronts the tiny city-state of Melos.}

    Thucydides rules!!

    And please: let us not get bogged down in a dispute over which translation of Thucydides is preferred.

  152. Meanwhile

    Queensland And Northern Territory Air Services will “let go” about 20% of its employees, or about 6 thousand.

    So why is the Irish Leprechaun King so cheerful, as he marks the centenary of the Air Services?

    According to a headline, international flights might not resume for another 12 months.

    ?? International?? Do they fly out to Bribie Island? Heyman?? Palm Island? Fraser?

    “Please explain”, she said.

  153. Ambi, Turnbull said much the same on radio National, forget which program. He said on the cyber security, they didn’t much care if everyone knows it’s them.

    Turnbull is right about China’s actions being counterproductive of their own interests and probably right in suggesting they are doing it for internal consumption – as was Morrison.

  154. On the Irish Leprechaun, there is much to dislike about him and what he does, but the airline business is tough when you are competing with state-owned carriers who see their airlines as loss-making, but a worthwhile expense to promote their country and their tourist industries.

    Sans Joyce, Qantas would have been a basket case long ago I fear.

    I believe Germany has taken a government stake in Lufthansa to make sure it stays in the air.

  155. Remember the downfall of Sam Dastyari??

    It seems that another NSW pollie wasn’t paying attention, and fell under the sway of

    Xi Who Must Be Obeyed

  156. Not sure what he did, Ambi. I’ve heard he employed someone with links to the PRC and praised Xi for his steadfast handling of the Coronavirus.

    Mortal sins worth putting him in jail?

  157. I heard today that Trump got 6,200 people to show up at his rally in Tulsa.

    Trump was said to be very grumpy about that.

    Now it seems that some folks ran a social media campaign to crowd book seats that they never intended to fill. Apparently it took off which produced the million plus he was so pleased about.

    Thing is, that if you pull a stunt like that you really should then keep stumm about it. Otherwise you are just giving Trump someone new to hate.

  158. Otherwise you are just giving Trump someone new to hate.

    I don’t agree. Showing Trump up as a complete loser was very powerful. He has been remarkably reluctant to admit he was pranked by teenagers, preferring instead to blame the poor attendance on the “violent left demonstrators” (both of them) who scared off the other 993,800 true patriots, and he’s been hating on them from the start.

  159. Well, Brian

    I had a look at some public statements if the MP, as reported in two different newspapers .

    One was along these lines: “China’s growth is held back by international rules; the only way to remedy this is for China to tear up the rulebook and set out a new world order.”

    It seems to me
    1. That is most likely contrary to Labor policy*
    2. It is consistent with BilBs darkest fears
    3. He may have thought it up all by himself, or pissibly ut came from the MP’s close contacts in China who have leading roles in the United Front Blah Blah Blah of the CCP …
    4. Which has paid for his regular trips to China

    The MP has made other, similar public statements.

    * Mr Dastyari had to go because he publicly supported China’s claims in the South China Sea, against the ruling in The Hague, and against Federal Labor policy. Sam also had private bills paid.

    Of course I have no idea what the AFP was looking for in yesterday’s “raids”, or what they may have found.

    As with the Presidential Twits, or Me Morrison’s press conferences; I’m prepared to assess what elected persons communicate in public. Let the chips fall where they may.

    If I may relate a quip from Mr Turnbull’s memoir, Canberra is full of spies, not all if them working for us.

  160. zoot, however the Tulsa thing played out, it was meant to be the start of a public re-election campaign, but started with a flop.

    Andrew Romano from Yahoo news last night was saying that the gap opened up by Biden in the polls is now substantial and reaching double figures in some places, including the states that finally won Trump the presidency.

    My worry is that Biden seems to do better when he’s nowhere to be seen or heard. I heard yesterday that even the neocons were turning to the democrats because Biden wasn’t Trump. This may change when Trump sand Biden go head to head in a debate, as I presume they will. Not sure Biden can handle Trump’s scattergun approach.

  161. Brian, we shall see. I’m not going to make any predictions. I shall continue to watch with horrified fascination eternally grateful that it’s not my circus.

  162. With regard to my note at 7.03am, here are the first two paragraphs of the lead story in Nine Newspapers online:

      Former Labor senator Sam Dastyari has called for a full judicial inquiry into foreign influence in Australian politics following a raid on suspended NSW MP Shaoquett Moselmane’s home and office by federal agents looking for links to a Chinese government interference plot.

      Mr Dastyari told Channel Nine’s Today on Saturday morning he was “absolutely flabbergasted” by the developments, and attempts by foreign governments to interfere with Australian politics was a problem that needed a formal public investigation.

    I have to admit, you just cannot make this stuff up

    Pass the popcorn.

  163. zoot, amazing story. I hadn’t thought about how the black progeny of white rape would feel.

    Jumpy, the WP story wanted US1$ for me to see, but I think I get the drift from the headline.

    Ambi, Sam Dastyari should shut the f**k up. To me what we know so far does not warrant the action taken, and Dastyari didn’t actually even claim to know anything.

    So we need to wait and see, methinks.

  164. BTW Ambi, I edited your comment to show the quote. What you had done was to insert the / in the opening em italics instruction.

  165. Brian,

    I agree that we need to wait to see what transpires, and the NSW Labor MP is entitled to the presumption of innocence.

    * * ** *** *****

    Sam D is an embarrassment: it’s not by any means a “pantheon” but he’s welcome to go over to stand in the corner with Mr Latham and various ex-MPs languishing in prison or on parole.

    Personally, I’m tired of hearing about Julie Bishop’s exquisite fashion taste, too.

    The “Sunday Age” is flim flam.

  166. Dastyari wasn’t elected, he was anointed by the ALP powerbrokers.
    Just like Somyürek.

    The Senate should be formed via Sortition, that’d be far more democratic and representative than the current system.

  167. Jumpy: The figures on party of lord mayor vs crime are interesting and may reflect competence of mayors in some cases. However, I suspect that the figures are more related to the percentage of poor people and, perhaps more to the point, poor Afro American people.
    Interesting also to know the extent to which convictions of Afro Americans reflect crimes actually committed and the bias of the US legal system against poor people and people of colour.
    Lies, damn lies and statistics mate.

  168. Zoot, go try hitting you thumb with a hammer 20 times.
    You may miss once or twice but that doesn’t negate the causation of the pain.

  169. Brian, I assume you’d be surprised.
    Those a not demographically the most populist Cities.

    There is a far higher correlation factor that Demorat governances is causal to crime and violence than population density.

    Goes against what you said previously is all.
    Just thought I’d bring it to your attention.

  170. Senator Dastyari must have been elected; that’s the only path to becoming an Australian Senator.

    How he was pre-selected as a candidate, well, I don’t know.

    Mr Somurek has been expelled by the Labor Party, but since he was elected to Parliament by Victorian voters he may hold his seat until deciding whether to stand for election next time. In this regard, the voters have more rights than his (former) Party.

    And he is threatening to dish out some dirt, presumably under Parliamentary privilege.

    Former Victorian Labor minister Adem Somyurek is not going down without a fight after his explosive sacking from Daniel Andrews’ front bench and the Labor Party.

    In an interview with the Sunday Herald Sun, Mr Somyurek said he would not take the punishment for his alleged branch stacking lying down.

    “I won’t let that stand. We will be going down the legal path, I can guarantee you of that. This is not going to stand,” Mr Somyurek said.

    Mr Somyurek hinted he thinks a lot of people in Labor had a hand in the destruction of his political career, and he plans to expose them.

    “I have my views but let’s just wait until the court processes are under way — let’s just see how far it went up the chain,” he told the Sunday Herald Sun. “Believe me, the message to those out there is: I’m not stopping, right? We will be going all the way, going through the discovery stage. They can run but they can’t hide.”

    Mr Somyurek said he accepted the way he spoke about fellow minister Gabrielle Williams was unacceptable, but denies he is an “industrial-scale branch stacker”.
    – from AAP, in “The Australian”

    (BTW Jumpy, you’ve spelt Somyurek in a very technical manner. Do you speak Turkish or a language of that ilk?)

  171. John
    I’ve not seen any evidence that average incomes are lower in cities than rural. There are plenty of poor non-city folk in non Democrat areas without the massive crime and violence

    But hey, if going rural increases wealth then great, tell that to poor city folk.

  172. Zoot, go try hitting you thumb with a hammer 20 times.
    You may miss once or twice but that doesn’t negate the causation of the pain.

    Honestly Jumpy, your analogies are crap. What you have demonstrated here is that you have no idea of what is meant by “correlation”.
    (BTW I wouldn’t miss and even if I did it wouldn’t save your metaphor.)

  173. So we are beginning to see glimmers of truth, Holmes.

    Since spellchook inserted accents used in only a small number of languages, either spellchook reads Turkish, or its users have a familiarity of that ilk.

    Are we in fact confronting your old foe Spelcuk of Istanbul? Dastardly ruler of the Spael Gang from the Stamboul Train? And is that Mata Hari of dark arts, Miss Spelt now lurking in sinister shadows?

    • Brian, I assume you’d be surprised.
      Those a not demographically the most populist Cities.

      Goes against what you said previously is all.
      Just thought I’d bring it to your attention.

    I’m not aware of having any views about the relationship of voting patterns to crime, or to demography for that matter. I may have summarised or referred to the view of others.

    The graph is what it is. Don’t really know what it means other than the stats. I’m not surprised, that’s all.

  174. Jumpy: The Brisbane City council covers a large area and has a budget that is bigger than Tasmania. However, if you took the effort to compare the crime rates for the different council wards you would find that the number and nature of crime rates varies from ward to ward despite sharing the same Lord Mayor.

  175. Jumpy will be pleased that Victoria has demonstrated the truth of the Trump Axiom – increased testing causes more cases of covid-19.

  176. Nearly a month since my last Weekly salon! I’ve been spending some time prepping for cataract surgery, due on 14 and 21 July. Tests and more tests, and reams of paperwork.

    Doc reckons the drops I’ve had to take in the past 5 years or more to arrest glaucoma are simply dreadful in terms of what they do to your eyes. It’s a trade-off against going blind. No-one has told me that before in explicit terms.

    However, he’s going to put in a stent which is meant to drain pressure off the eyes, so there is an 85% chance of working, and if it does, I can dump the drops and the general health of my vision should improve.

    Prof Ravi at the Qld Eye Institute tells me my basic vision is good. Mostly I can see fine, the main issue has been blurring screens if I’m at the computer for any length of time.

    I have to work today, so Salon will be delayed.

    The big (somewhat) event will be the Eden-Monaro bi-election.

    Morrison has promised heaps of funding to repair damage from bushfires, COVID etc, but the funding appears to be contingent on the voters voting the right way. This reminds us of Joh Bjelke, who was quite explicit about this sort of thing. (“If you fly with the crows, you will be shot with the crows…”)

    Morrison has also given the lie direct about funding cuts to the ABC (“Cuts, what cuts, there are no cuts.”) Karen Middleton in the Saturday Paper reports, as have multiple others, that ABC funding has been cut by 10% since 2013, when they promised there would be no cuts.

    Meanwhile the Auditor General has said that nothing has changed his mind that the sports minister did not have the authority to approve the grants that were made around the time of the last election.

    It would be nice if leaders expressing Christian beliefs would also operate ethically.

    The timing of the announcement of an upgrade to our popgun defense capacity just before the bi-election is not, I think, coincidental. Morrison has said the current times have a 1930s feel about them. I think he is trying to scare people, suggesting that he’s the one to look after them.

    BTW, it appears that the Liberal candidate is a climate sceptic if not denier, but equivocates when asked. See SBS article.

    Her bio indicates she has a science degree, a doctorate in education, and has done some research in marine biology.

    Have to go now. Will be back tonight.

  177. Brian: “Morrison has said the current times have a 1930s feel about them. I think he is trying to scare people, suggesting that he’s the one to look after them.”
    Agree about the 1930’s feel. Economies not working well, growing job uncertainty and growing unfairness. Treatment of the Uyghur minority in China, Gypsy minority in parts of Europe, Arabs minority in Israel. Treatment of Aborigines in parts of Australia and……. Rise of autocratic leaders around the world.
    Might be worth asking to what extent Morrison is part of the solution vs part of the problem?

  178. John,

    I heard a bit of the PM’s speech on ABC News Radio. I think the PM cited: the serious economic downturn, increasing national armaments, and confrontation between U** and C***a.

    He may have tossed in ‘authoritarian governments’ also.

    I disagree with Mr Morrison, who said his feeling that this is like the 1930s “keeps him awake at night”.

    Differences: USSR gone, Mr H****r gone; refugee welfare better organised than in the 1930s; pump-priming of economies better understood; real median living standards much improved in Europe, the Americas, India, China etc. (a smaller proportion of people living with starvation and dire poverty?) international communication improved, and cooperation marginally better.

    Then again we face some huge problems.

    We have the example to ponder: of the 1930s Depression, and the European slide to Fascism, global war with devastation, refugees and Nagasaki/Hiroshima as an exclamation mark.

    Lucky us.

    Good luck with your operations, Brian.

  179. What an impressive monument that Mount Rushmore is. If I ever visit the US then that will be on my “ must see “ list, for sure.

  180. Mr J, prospective traveller,

    By the time you are able to visit, there’ll probably be a fifth face up there; or a huge shroud to hide the unpopular dead white persons.


  181. That comment is as stupid as it is inaccurate.
    But hey, you made a hate point, mission accomplished.

  182. Turning the clock back in Sudan…. after about 40 years of politics swayed by hard line ‘Islamism’….

    Jason Burke reports from Africa in “The Guardian”:

    Sudan is to ban female genital mutilation (FGM), cancel prohibitions against religious conversion from Islam and permit non-Muslims to consume alcohol in a decisive break with almost four decades of hardline Islamist policies, its justice minister has said.

  183. Ambi: Had a lot to do with South Sudanese when my wife was developing picture dictionaries for South Sudanese ESL students.
    Good to see some progress being made in Nth Sudan. Hope it is real.

  184. Yes, let’s hope it is real change, John.

    The UN still believes there are “universal human rights”.
    (Supposedly these transcend misogynistic, antiquated, and race-based prejudicial actions. Etc. Etc. Etc.)

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