Political giant dies, pygmies survive.

I can hardly believe what a weird and woeful week it’s been in Australian politics. Last Thursday Australians, or at least most of us, were mourning the death of Bob Hawke, the much-loved Labor Party Prime Minister of the the nation from 1983 to 1991.

Though a frail 89 years of age when he died, those of us who were privileged to be around when he was at the height of his powers will remember him for not only for the virtually countless contributions he made to Australia’s advancement, but also if not more so for the rare combination of vision, intelligence, industry, determination, charisma, charm and larger-than-life larrikinism that enabled him to achieve these herculean tasks.

But far too many Australians apparently don’t recall or never realised in the first place what enormous progress this nation made under his leadership of three successive Labor governments, as just days after the death of this political giant a majority have rejected a Labor party as potentially progressive as Hawke’s and instead re-elected a shamelessly regressive conservative regime composed of comparative political pygmies.

Or, if you prefer, of pigs and me, me, meees; the former group composed of such nasty swine as Peter Dutton, Barnaby Joyce, Michaelia Cash, Melissa Price and their ilk, or rather oink; and the latter their tirelessly lying leader Scott Morrison, who’s sole mini-message to the electorate was to ‘vote for me, me, me the dependable money-manager, not the untrustworthy, high-taxing Bill Shorten.

And enough blithering idiots fell for Morrison’s con in favour of the static status quo as to deprive themselves and all their fellow Australians of the golden opportunity to make as many advances under Shorten and his clearly immensely superior Labor team as our nation did back in Hawke’s time.

It was Bob Hawke, remember, who changed our nation’s national anthem from the sycophantic neo-colonial dirge “God save the Queen” to to that at least somewhat more rousing and mercifully less religious call for action, “Advance Australia Fair”.

And it was Bob Hawke and his Labor team that then proceeded to advance Australia by radically reforming the nation’s economy, terms of trade and tax system; introducing our first-ever fair, affordable and universal health-insurance scheme, Medicare; fundamentally changing and improving relations between workers and employers; protecting the environment from indiscriminate damming of rivers, logging of forests and mining; and outlawing gender discrimination in workplaces.

Since then a series of conservative governments have done nothing to further any of these or the  many other advances achieved by Bob Hawke, and in fact have made strenuous attempts to reverse most of them, and to to rig the tax system increasingly unfairly in favour of the prosperous and outright rich at the expense of the rest.

All of which rot the contemporary Labour party led by Bill Shorten was determined to stop, and instead to build further on Hawke-era  achievements in advancing Australia more fairly for all.

Plus, of course, to take meaningful, indeed massive steps in the struggle against global warming/climate change, that ever-increasingly potentially catastrophic threat that a series of conservative Australian governments have either deliberately neglected to take seriously or outright dismissed as a myth.

There were also promising signs that a Shorten Labor government would be more open to immigration and more caring of refugees and asylum-seekers in the the tradition of Bob Hawke-led Labor.

A thought that evokes the memory of what was to me the finest moment of Bob Hawke’s prime ministership – his tearful public response to news of the tragic June 4, 1989 massacre of pro-democratic protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, and his generous and compassionate granting of permanent visas to all of the 42,000 Chinese students who happened to be in Australia at the time.

Despite this and so many other shining examples of Bob Hawke’s advancing Australia in fairness and virtually every other possible sense, however, and Bill Shorten’s clear determination to follow Hawke’s lead and build on his record, a majority of Australians have elected to settle for far less, or in fact next to nothing.

And, to judge by how gigantically disappointed the rest of us have been by the dearth of genuine progress or true fairness we can expect from the political pygmies in ‘con’ as in ‘conservative’ governments like that of Morrison/Morriscon, next to nothing or even worse, less than nothing, is what they’ll deservedly get for at least the next three miserable years.

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Alabama aka Allahbama?

Having been foolish enough to imagine that the ‘Deep South’ of the US had been dragged at least somewhat out of the dark ages by dint of a civil war, the civil rights movement, the socially-enlightened presidencies of Lyndon Johnson of Texas and Bill Clinton of Arkansas and even the passage of time, I’m more deeply confused about it than ever.

Because, like Australia’s so-called ‘Deep North’, the state of Queensland, which has a similar if admittedly somewhat milder history of slavery, racism, religionism, sexism and chauvinism, it keeps fighting a rearguard action against the forces of social and political enlightenment.

Or, more specifically, just as Queensland keeps spawning such far-right as to be virtually fascist political entities as Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party, Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party and Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party, state legislatures of the US Deep South persist in trying to enact ridiculously repressive and regressive laws.

The latest example of this being the Alabama state legislature’s recent passing of a statute outlawing the procurement and/or performance of abortions illegal, even in the cases of women who conceive through rape or incest, and proposing a penalty of up to 99 years in prison for those convicted of breaking this deeply offensive law.

This banning of women’s rights to reproductive freedom is nothing short of fake ‘Christian’ fundamentalism run riot, and eerily reminiscent of the Talibanning of female liberties by hard-line Muslims in Saudi Arabia and every other country infested with extremist ‘Islamic’ governments and guerilla groups.

Doubtless the Deep-South errorists see themselves as polar opposites and bitter opponents of Muslim terrorists. But it’s not so long since they themselves were openly terrorising African-Americans, or what they doubtless still more or less secretly call “nigras”, not to mention other groups that they deemed beyond the pale, like Jews, Catholics and homosexuals.

And just as Muslim terrorists claim the Quran as their inspiration and Allah as their Almighty,the lynch mobs of the Deep South babbled-on about the Bible, in which the very same Almighty is called not Allah but God, and followed the lead of the Ku Klux Klan.

A group of white, male, ‘Christian’ terrorists who, oddly enough, conducted their criminal activities under the concealment of robes much like those that Islam requires to be publicly worn by women.

And, in a further paradoxical parallel, the KKK burned crosses to threaten their intended targets in some pervertedly ‘Christian’ fashion, just as extremist Islamists burn and/or ban crosses to signify their unholy hatred of Christian infidels, and, I assume, especially terrorist Christian infidels like the KKK.

In short, religious or other ideological fundamentalism sure as hell is a funny phenomenon. Though of course ‘funny’ as in ‘peculiar’ rather than ‘humourous’.

Though admittedly it does strike me as a bit of a laugh, albeit a bitter and twisted one, that Alabama, in its ignorant, idiotic insistence on the supremacy of white, Christian males, bears so many fundamental resemblances to states based on the alleged supremacy of Muslim males, be they white, off-white or even entirely non-white, that it could justly be called Allahbama, or even, if you prefer, Talibama.

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Fear and loathing in (un)real estate.

Where’s the late, great Hunter S. Thompson when we need him and his talent for vicious  and virulent invective more than ever?

Sadly, the self-styled ‘Doctor’ of ‘gonzo’ journalism silenced himself and his untruth-trashing typewriter 16 long years ago.

But at least his spirit lives on in those of us he inspired, his first name survives as that of my grand-son, and “fear and loathing”, the killer phrase he made famous in such immortal works as  “Fear and loathing in Las Vegas” and “Fear and loathing on the campaign trail ‘72”, is arguably even more pertinent to today’s Trump era than it was back when he employed it against such “Republican Party reptiles” as Nixon, Reagan and sundry other suspects.

And, though as far as I know Hunter S, never even mentioned Australia, “fear and loathing” seems to me to aptly apply to some key aspects of the campaign for our nation’s federal election this Saturday.

To deal with the latter word first, I hope I’ve amply conveyed the depth of my loathing for the persistent lies and pathological liars of the ‘con’ as in ‘conservative’ side of Australian politics, and especially of its malignantly mendacious supportive media like those of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corpse/Noose Corp.

And then there’s the fear that these loathsome scum have been spreading to try and convince the voters of Australia of such Josef Goebbels-style big lies that the Labor Party is hell-bent on raising taxes and in any case can’t be trusted to manage the nation’s economy.

When the truth, as anybody with half a brain can see, is that Labor is intent on reforming our unfairly-deformed tax system by closing the gaping loopholes that constitute justly-termed ‘wealthfare’ for the already prosperous and outright filthy rich; and that it was a Labor government led by Kevin Rudd and his treasurer Wayne Swann that managed Australia’s economy so efficiently and promptly as to save the nation from the disaster known as the global financial crisis (GFC).

The fear-mongers never let the truth get in the way of what they see as a good scare story, however. And now the latest of them to get in on the act are some of Australia’s biggest and richest real-estate agents, who have taken to spreading the false message that people’s rents will rise if Labor goes ahead with its plans to gradually reduce and ultimately entirely abolish two kinds of property-related wealthfare, so-called ‘negative gearing’, which is too convoluted to explain here, and and tax breaks on capital gains for investors.

One of the primary spreaders of this fake false alarm is reportedly the firm of Raine & Horne, whose principal, Graham Cockerill recently sent a letter to tenants declaring that Labor’s proposed changes to negative gearing and capital-gains tax would be “devasting”, and including a leaflet from the Real Estate Institute of Australia claiming that property values would fall and rents would rise.

This seems to me a clear case of real estate agents, always more or less parasites on the the property market, and with clearly vested interests in ever-increasing sale prices and rents, transforming themselves into political predators.

And, never to be outdone in the deception/predation on people’s gullibility department, the Liberal Party or some scaremongers operating on its behalf have disseminated what a Guardian story described as “official-looking material apparently sent by the Liberal Party reading ‘Final Notice: Rent Increase’.”

As a mere acolyte of the late, lamented Hunter S, Thompson, I can only guess what torrents of terrible loathing the master himself would be capable of dumping on such a transparently false and self-interested if not outright corrupt political fear campaign.

But at least I’ve given it my best shot, and in the process I hope done at least some justice to his memory, and to the lashings of verbal abuse he left for us to use against the practitioners of vile politics and venomous politricks.

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More merde from the Murdoch media.

With just three days to go before Australia’s federal election, Rupert Murdoch’s feral media, or, more accurately, misleadia, are still doing their worst to try and save the ‘con’ as in ‘conservative’, ‘coal’ as in ‘coalition’ government from almost certain defeat.

This morning’s dire last-ditch effort by the Sydney Daily Telegraph/Tellemcrap is a front-page picture of Labor leader Bill Shorten bearing the banner headline “The great divider”, while the Tellemcrap’s national if not outright nazional partner, The Australian/Australiar,  splashes that “Shorten ignites unholy war”, and follows this up on subsequent pages with ‘stories’ headlined “Labor sinks to new low”, “Shorten’s desperate hypocrisy” and “Labor ramps up ‘grubby’ attack on PM’s faith”.

No sign of shame, then, on the part of these alleged newspapers, let alone of any intention to go straight, following their ill-fated attack on Bill Shorten’s memories of his late mother, as featured in my recent post headed “Murdoch motherfuckers’ major mistake”.

But, despite Rupert Murdoch’s mealy-mouthed claim of mock humility during the UK phone-hacking inquiry some years ago, his apologies for respectable news media know no modesty, let alone shame, when their proprietor’s interests are at stake.

As they are very much so in the current Australian political situation, in light of the fact that Bill Shorten and his Labor colleagues, have signaled their intention, if elected, to not only finally force Murdoch’s News Corp/Corpse to pay the company tax that it’s been avoiding/evading for years, but also to closely inquire into its dire degree of media dominance.

For these and perhaps even other financial reasons I’m unaware of, Murdoch’s ‘news’ media in Australia are and have long been doing their utmost to maintain the current government in office and keep Labor in opposition.

Thus, in view of all this pandering to political parties protecting their own interests along with those of fellow prosperous if not filthy-rich corporations and individuals, at the expense of the rest of the people of Australia, not to mention at shocking cost to the nation’s increasingly-endangered environment, they, not Bill Shorten, are actually the great dividers.

And as for their whingeing about Bill Shorten’s unholy warring against the hypocrisy of PM Scott Morrison’s self-styled Christianity, what could be more unholy than the shameless whoring on behalf of Morrison and his politricky accomplices by these presstitutes of the Murdoch media?

But, I console myself, only three days remain for the harlots of Holt Street to engage in their obscene antics before the majority of us can do our damndest to vote against not only the current woefully-wrong right-wing government, but also its blight/fright/shite-wing and above all mendacious media partners in grime.

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Democracy’s many snags.

After we Australians vote in our nation’s federal election this Saturday, I and a great many of my fellow citizens will celebrate the occasion by treating ourselves to a so-called ‘democracy sausage’, a snack that has become a virtually sacramental symbol of the political freedoms and rights we so fortunately enjoy.

Prepared fresh at stalls run by volunteers raising funds for various worthy causes outside most polling places, this democradelicacy consists of a sizzling sausage cooked on a barbecue, then wrapped in a slice of white bread and served with optional fried onions and/or tomato sauce.

Semioticians might be tempted to see these ingredients as signs of the main elements of democracy, Australia-style. With the white bread, for example, representing the conservative parties, as overwhelmingly caucasian in their membership and single-mindedly focused on ‘bread’ as in ‘money’ as they are; the red tomato sauce  standing for Labor; the onions obviously for its Labor’s allies, the unions; and of course the sausage signifying the perennial meat in this political sandwich, us voters.

Linguists, on the other hand, might concentrate on the fact that the two most common Australian slang expressions for ‘sausage’ happen to be ‘snag’ and ‘banger’, and thus interpret the message of the democracy sausage as something like, “despite all its inevitable snags, the Australian version of democracy is bang-on by comparison with most others.”

A statement that would apparently be all-too-accurate, as, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index 2018, a mere 20 of the 165 states and territories surveyed are ‘full democracies’, while the allegedly ‘democratic’ systems in all the rest are plagued by so many snags as to rate from ‘flawed’ to ‘authoritarian’.

For example Norway, at Number 1, New Zealand (4th), Australia (9th)are rated as fully democratic, the USA (25th) as flawed, and then all the way down to North Korea, which at 147th place has not the slightest shred or trace of democracy. Zero, none, nada, or, to employ another example of Australian slang, not a sausage.

But, to leave it to you to access and read the full index and to bring this discussion back home, it has to be admitted that the Down-Under democracy, or rather its celebratory sausage, has several undemocratic snags too.

For a start, it’s not equally desirable to Muslim or Jewish voters on the grounds that it might contain pork, or to Hindus who draw the line at eating beef or even any meat at all.

Just it’s a no-no for vegetarians and vegans of any or no religions, or anybody of whatever religious or  dietary persuasion who become queasy at the thought of a snack this greasy, and for people who are allergic to the gluten in bread baked with wheat flour.

In short, Australia’s democracy sausage has quite a way to go before it can be considered palatable, let alone delicious and/or nutritious, for all citizens absolutely equally alike.

But not nearly so far to go as democracy itself, which in the vast majority of countries around the globe, especially, paradoxically, those ‘democracies’ so flagrantly fake and so far from being devoted to the rule of the people, by the people, for the people as to feel they need words like ‘people’s’ or ‘democratic’ in their names to try and hide the disgraceful reality that they’re nothing but demockracies, or outright doomocracies.

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Murdoch motherfuckers’ major mistake.

In a move reminiscent of the hacking of murdered girl Millie Dowler’s phone that so disgusted the people and parliamentarians of the UK as to eventually help spell the death of the deplorable News of the World several years ago, some of Rupert Murdoch’s minions in Australia have disgraced themselves by attacking Labor leader Bill Shorten’s  memories of his mother.

Long known as ‘the Harlot of Holt Street’, in a reference to both its sleazy reputation and the address of its Sydney headquarters, Murdoch’s pathetic apology for a newspaper, The Daily Telegraph several days ago featured the banner headline “Mother of invention” to flag a story and editorial attacking Shorten for publicly praising his late mother for sacrificing her ambition to be a lawyer and instead working for years as a teacher to support her young sons, but neglecting to mention that eventually, when her sons were grown-up, she finally did become a lawyer.

This cheap shot was just the latest in a long-running and rabid campaign by The Daily Telegraph, or as those of us who loathe gutter tabloidism think of it, The Daily Tellemcrap and its partners in grime produced by Murdoch’s News Corp, or more accurately News Corpse, The Australian, the Herald-Sun, Sky News and many others, against Labor and in favour of the con-servative coal-ition in the nearing federal election.

A campaign of attacks that a great many of us strongly suspect is motivated not so much by Murdoch’s ideological political concerns as by his fears that if Labor wins office it will force News Corpse to pay tax.

Countless millions of dollars worth of which it has cleverly avoided, not to say evaded, under the current government, by mechanisms including the liberal use of tax havens, to the point at which it’s for years reportedly been on the Australian Tax Office’s ‘highest-risk’ hit-list.

And besides being required to go straight, at least taxwise, under a new Labor government, another probable concern for Murdoch and his local henchpersons could well be that Labor might also do something about the shocking fact that the dead hand of News Corpse holds a whopping seventy or so per cent of Australia’s press circulation in its death-grip.

And even worse, as far as I and many fellow Australian lovers of quality media are concerned, Murdoch and his mouthpieces have been fighting as viciously against the publicly-funded, editorially independent and highly-trusted ABC in this country as they’ve been beating-up on the UK’s BBC.

In fact, as both The New York Times newspaper and The New Yorker magazine have both reported in great depth and detail during the past month or so, the Murdoch News empire, from its Trump-allied pox on the American people, Fox News through its UK rag that anyone with half a brain couldn’t help but shun, The Sun, to the load of self-interestedly-biased trash it prints and broadcasts in Australia, is a noose around the neck of not just respectable journalism, but of democracy itself.

But now that it’s taken to messing with if not outright insulting that most sacred of institutions, motherhood, and just a week out from Mother’s Day to boot, let’s hope for all our sakes that it’s finally gone too far.

As it may very well have. Because, to judge by the the degree of outrage The Daily Tellemcrap has inspired in the daughters and sons of Australia, including even Scott Morrison, the embattled incumbent prime minister whose election campaign it was intended to assist with its “Mother of invention” atrocity, a majority of my fellow citizens feel like smothering it and all the motherfuckers involved in producing the bloody thing.

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An Australian leader from Malaysia.

As I proposed in my recent post ‘More malignant liedeologies’, the self-styled ‘leaders’ of most countries in the world tell so many porkies, are so personally greedy, and so determined to live high on the hog at the expense of their citizens, as to be justly termed pigstydeologues.

In other words, they’re not leaders, but greeders, and a great many, of them, like al-assad of Syria and Duterte of the Philippines, are also mass murderers, and thus both greeders and bleeders.

But admittedly by no means all fake leaders are this bad. Some, like current Prime Minister of Australia and his accomplices in the con-servative coal-ition are, like US President Trump but on a less global scale, simply habitual if not pathological liars, and thus not so much greeders as standard-issue misleaders.

Whereas former UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, will be remembered as not so much a greeder or even a misleader as what I suppose could justly be called a fleeder, in light of his having so fleet-footedly fled the scene of his defeat by the Brexshitteers in his party by means of the referendum with which he rashly attempted to appease these bleeders.

And Cameron’s replacement, Theresa May, has been so long and so fruitlessly begging UK citizens, EU leaders and the UK parliament to somehow help her arrive at a solution – any solution – to the shocking mess that Cameron left her with, that she’s sure to go down in history as one of the world’s leading pleaders.

So, all in all, as I wrote in ‘More malignant ideologies’, we’re left with pitifully few honest, enlightened, effective and all-round truly genuine leaders, and most of the ones I’m aware of give the lie to the myth of male supremacy or guydeology still afflicting much of the world by being female.

Angela Merckel, Jacinda Ardern, Malala Yousafzi and Greta Thunberg were the exemplars of excellent leadership that I cited in the previous post I’ve been referring to here.

But, as my old e-mate Kaytee Moc reminded me when he read it, I’d neglected to include in my list one of the female political leaders that we both most admire, Pennelope Ying-Yen Wong.

Born in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia to Francis Wong and his Australian wife, Jane Chapman, and brought to Australia at the age of eight, Penny Wong is now leader of the opposition in the Senate, and shadow minister for foreign affairs.

And, as international editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, Peter Hartcher, wrote in an article published today under the heading ‘Wong is poised for grandeur’, she ranks as Australia’s fourth most-recognised major-party politician, and, according to a recent Ogilvy PR survey, the ‘most believable’ politician in the nation.

A rating that’s hardly surprising in light of the politricky antics of the vast majority of politicians of all parties in Australia, as indeed almost everywhere, and the highly-evident fact that, as Peter Hartcher observed in his article, Penny Wong both tells it like it is and has “consistently put the greater good over her own self-interest.”

Typical of her lack of self-interest is that she shows no ambition to parlay her high profile as Australia’s only Malaysian-Chinese, openly lesbian and supremely believable politician into higher office than the position of Minister for Foreign Affairs, as she will be if Labor wins office in the nearing federal election.

As the Party deserves to, she says, in view of the fact that it shares her dedication to “that fundamental Australian value that every one of us is equal. No matter who your parents were, no matter where you were born, or who you love.”

A statement that seems to me to amply support the proposition that Malaysia’s loss of the young Penny Wong has proven to be Australia’s gain. And to once again illustrate the tragic waste of the many potential Penny Wongs that Malaysia tragically suffers, and will continue to do so as long as its misleaders, greeders and bleeders continue to insist that citizens of Chinese and other non-Muslim foreign-parentage, particularly those who identify as female or, heaven forbid, LGBTQ or I, barely qualify as second-class citizens, let alone sorely-needed leaders.

 

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