Category Archives: Politics

I’m hung like the Australian Parliament

Well, we had a Federal Election in Australia this weekend and the voice of the Australian people has sounded a resounding “meh”. We have a hung parliament, meaning neither major party won enough seats to claim an outright majority – the usual way a government is formed. However this ends up (and it could take quite a while to resolve) who ever forms government will be a minority dependent on independents and Green or two to continue in government.

Besides making politics in this country a bit more interesting, the resolution might make a few people a bit more aware of the some facts about the constitution. Because it seems like a significant chunk of this country is completely oblivious to how things actually work in this country.

I got so sick of people saying during this campaign that they didn’t vote for Julia Gillard as Prime Minister. First, because the fucking morons saying they were concerned about Kevin Rudd getting knocked off by his own party were Liberal voters anyway and they hated Rudd. I am not a huge fan of lying hypocritical scumbags who refuse to admit to their true motivations.

Second, the public NEVER votes for the Prime Minister. The public votes for their local member of parliament. The leader of the party that forms government is automatically the PM and they are voted leader by their own party, not the public. And even more important, the PM is NOT the head of state in Australia. They run the government of the day but they are not the head of state.

We are a constitutional monarchy and our head of state is the Monarch of England, currently Queen Elizabeth II. On a day to day basis she is represented by the Governor General who is appointed by the Australian government (i.e our head of state is elected by nobody).   Look up November 11th 1975 if you can’t see any problems with that. So the Governor General has to agree with whoever declares they should head up the forthcoming minority government.

Here’s what’s likely to happen:

* Prime Minister Julia Gillard constitutionally has the first opportunity to form a new government, regardless of whether her Labor party has won more seats than the conservative opposition.

* Gillard would meet Governor-General Quentin Bryce and advise her of Labor’s intention to form a new government.

* Once a new government is sworn in, a parliamentary sitting would be held as soon as possible to determine whether Gillard’s new administration had a workable majority in the lower house.

* The opposition would then call a no-confidence motion to test her minority government’s support in parliament.

* In order to survive that censure motion, Gillard would have needed to reach an agreement with enough independent MPs and/or Greens to form a government, including guarantees from them on the passage of annual budgets.

* Legal experts say this process could take several weeks to play out, with Labor and the Liberal-National opposition likely to engage the independents and Greens in behind-the-scenes negotiations to see which major party can win them over.

* There is another, more unlikely scenario in the event that the opposition forges a quick alliance with independents before Gillard has a chance to consult the governor-general.

* In this case, Gillard could in theory advise the governor-general to initially swear in a Liberal-National minority government. But this is unlikely because there’s nothing in the constitution that would force her to do so – which will drive Liberal supporters crazy.

So, in short, nobody knows exactly what’s going to happen. And whatever happens, it’s almost certain that the side that finds themselves in opposition won’t stop complaining until after the next federal election. Whenever that is.

And here’s my video explanation:

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Australia bans small breasts

A story getting quite a bit of mileage in Australia this week is the idea that the government has banned small breasts. What’s actually happening is we have a law that states anything that describes or depicts a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 (whether the person is engaged in sexual activity or not) in a way that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult is Refused Classification (i.e. banned).

It seems that enforcement has been stepped up recently with a lot of “barely legal” type of publications being banned. One of the measures being used to determine if a model appears to be underage is small breast size, hence the tagline being thrown around – Australia is banning small breasts. While I agree with everyone who says this law is stupid (prosecuting someone because someone thinks it looks like they’re breaking the law, even though they’re not? Really??) I wish people protesting would be a bit more honest.

The porn in question is designed to appeal to creepy types who fetishise young girls. If you can’t admit that you’re simply avoiding the truth because you think it undermines your position. And I don’t have any time for that sort of cowardice and double talk.  Having said that, the law is fucking stupid. I have no time for people who want to legislate morality – it never works.

Sadly, it doesn’t seem to stop governments trying.

Still, on the bright side, it allows me to make a blog post using such search engine bait as breasts, underage girls, porn, hentai and barely legal. Not that I’m cynical or anything like that.

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Seeing the other point of view

I think one of the most difficult psychological tasks to achieve is to recognise, and I mean truly recognise, that someone whose views differ fundamentally from yours is entitled to maintain those views. I don’t mean in the abstract “I disagree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it” sense. I mean seriously accepting that this other person is a product of a different environment, different experiences, a different life and these views are right for them.

This is a difficult concept to get across to a lot of people because people have a tendency to argue and fight. Acceptance, which logically seems easier than fighting, is much harder to achieve in practice. I’m not suggesting any kind of post modern “there is no universal truth” abstract reasoning. I’m not suggesting a weak, wishy-washy failure to commit to your own beliefs. I mean understanding that even though you are fully committed to your own beliefs and you are sure this person wrong, they have a right to their views and trying to force them to change is ridiculous.

There are a range of obvious exceptions to this, like serious criminal activity. But there are a lot of unjust laws and views over what is acceptable change over time so even this isn’t as cut and dried as authoritarian minded people would have you believe.

One thing that gets lost in a lot of political argument is the simple fact people are different. People give this lip service all the time but it is bizarrely rare for people to fully acknowledge what this reality means. Whatever your views are, however logical or moral you think they are, there will always be people who disagree with you. If you are a decision maker, you can never make everyone happy. No matter what decision you make it will always be wrong in every real sense for someone. Your decisions will always hurt someone. This isn’t a plea for politicians to water down everything they do in an attempt to please everybody. Personally, I hate it when politicians are afraid to commit. Plus, it’s pointless because nothing appeals to everybody.

Let’s get the disclosure out of the way. By most people’s measurement I’m a loony lefty although I’ve never been a formal member of any political party or group. This is simply because I recognised long ago that no matter what political party you join, the leadership of that party will make at least some decisions you strongly disagree with and you will be subject to massive pressure to toe the party line and go along with the orthodoxy. Fuck that shit. I am not inclined to subsume my individuality to keep some political party happy. And no, I’m not a libertarian. No matter how many libertarian principles I agree with there are way too many bugfuck crazy freaks who call themselves libertarian. I’m pro-environment, pro-choice regarding abortion, pro gay rights, anti-racist, anti-bigot, anti-censorship and I have disagreed with the policies and actions of right wing political parties around the world for as long as I can remember.

So that’s a very brief overview of “me” politically. Back to the bigger picture.

The problem I have observed from the Left is a sometimes obsessive need to do things “for other people’s good” whether they want it or not. This is as opposed to the problem I see on the Right of aggressively acting out a “this is right dammit” ideology and attempting to force diverse groups to conform to their views no matter what. I think it’s fair to say people on the Left are more likely to want to change an existing situation to the way they feel things “should be” without having any actual evidence and people on the Right are more likely to say they don’t want to change things without seeing an objective (usually economic) measurement of how it will improve things.

I’ve made it very clear where I sit ideologically but I think it’s still important to recognise that there are people on both sides of the political fence who are completely honest in their intentions. They pursue their ideology because they wholeheartedly believe it will benefit the most people and their opponent’s policies will hurt people. Having said that, I am far more likely to believe in the integrity of a left wing politician and support their policies. And that’s gotten me burned more than once.

I frequently attack conservatives because so often they make it staggeringly easy. I truly believe the things I say when I launch these attacks plus it’s a lot of fun baiting your opponents. However, doing only this would be lazy and I’d run a very big risk of getting complacent about the stupidity on the left. And people I essentially agree with are perfectly capable of being ignorant, obnoxious, narrow minded and straight out wrong. I guess I am too. Although I can’t think of any examples where I’ve been wrong right now.

One case of people on the left being obnoxiously arrogant and wrong is a book published a few years ago called “What’s the matter with Kansas?”. The basic theme in this book is echoed by left wing people around the world – why do working class and poor people vote for conservative politicians when the policies of conservative parties reward big business and hurt individual workers? It’s interesting to me that people looking at this situation seems to be saying “I represent this person’s best interests and yet this person votes against me. The problem is obviously with the voter.”

Does it not occur to them that this person they claim to be able to help is voting against them because they have fundamentally failed this voter? Why are people so quick to see a failing in someone else and not themselves? How dare they say this person’s moral judgements are wrong or have no value?

Even on a purely logical level this makes no sense. George Soros is a billionaire who actively supports left wing causes. By the logic employed in “What’s the matter with Kansas?” Soros is acting against his own interests. Do people on the left call him stupid for doing this? No. Because he’s on their side. So obviously he’s enlightened.  

One premise from the book I do agree with is that Republican party is lying to these poorer voters. They don’t deliver on the “moral” issues they woo them with and, more often than not, they screw them over economically. I also think there is overwhelming evidence that these are deliberate lies, not a simple failure to deliver. I’m sure many people could point to what they consider deliberate lies from the other side of politics around the world – that’s the way politicians are. I will stress that I’m talking her about deliberate lies like Republicans saying Saddam Hussein was linked to 9/11, not simple disagreements over whether or not a given policy is good.

This is a really complex issue. I’m writing this because I plan to explore the idea over a few videos for YouTube. Because I don’t see things as being black and white there are a million little qualifiers about almost every point I’ve made in this post. It isn’t possible to cover all the nuances in one blog post or one video. And it definitely isn’t possible to sort them out in comments. Not here and definitely not in the insane morass of fuckwittery that is a YouTube comment thread. I have far too much experience with ignorant morons who think they know it all sniping away in comments. They never shut up and there is no value at all in “engaging” with them because they aren’t engaged with you in any meaningful way, they are simply attacking you.

So don’t waste time with stupid comments in response to this, I won’t waste any time with you. Fuck off and get a life.  Better yet, if you’re so convinced you’re right and I’m wrong go off on your own forum and explain yourself in at least as much depth as I have here. Otherwise I have nothing but contempt for you.

For those of you who have a brain and are actually interested in thinking, I will be exploring this topic further.

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I love America!

There’s an old saying in film making (useful in story telling generally) that goes “Show, don’t tell”.  In short, this means show what’s happening in your story rather than explaining it.  Having a character actually perform an action is much more powerful than having a narrator describe an action.  And this, in short, has been the most frustrating aspect of watching America during the Bush Presidency.

To see Bush over an over again saying one thing and then doing the opposite.  To talk about finding those “responsible” for the 9/11 attacks and instead fabricating enemies that suited pre-determined political goals.  To talk about making the economy strong when pretty much every action he took fucked things up (and by some miracle the chickens came home to roost BEFORE the election – for the last year or so I though he was going to manage to stave of the economic collapse he had engineered until he was out of office).  To hear him talk mindless drivel about “freedoms” while turning America into a police state.  A pathetically inefficient, overly-bureaucratic police state at that.

As an outsider it seemed like every fucking lie he peddled was being eagerly swallowed up by a wilfully ignorant populace.  It was easy to think Americans had developed a taste for shit sandwiches and couldn’t wait to wolf down the next serving.  I joked about a year ago when the front running Democrats were a woman and a black man that the Democrats must want to lose.  Apparently not :)

That whole American mythology of “anything is possible, anybody can become President” is suddenly a lot harder to disregard.  It isn’t as if the country (and the rest of the world who are so heavily affected by what happens in the U.S.) are about enter a magical fairyland but this is stunning on so many levels.  Seriously Americans, how crazy are you?  You can turn 180 degrees from the soul-crushing negativity of the Bush years to one of the most hopeful and inspiring politicians in the world just like that?

And the dude is BLACK!  His dad was Muslim!  Part of his schooling was in the world’s most populous Muslim nation!  Holy fuck, whatever pill you people are taking I’ll have two!

I have been addressing this campaign quite regularly on YouTube and topic of race has always been part of it.  More than one person has had a bit of a dig at me by asking if a black person would be elected leader in Australia.  Short answer: no.  Slightly longer answer: no fucking way!  It’s a slightly unfair comparison as we don’t have a Presidential system and a Parliamentary system doesn’t really allow for a breakout star to rise to Prime Minister in a short space of time.  It’s possible but far less likely.

But it isn’t just that – Australia’s indigenous population are by and large treated like shit.  Pointing this out is a good way to make lots of non-indigenous Australians very defensive and angry, even people who are largely very reasonable and even progressive.  They’ll rush to point out welfare and lazy abos burning down their government provided houses and I have learned it’s largely impossible to talk to people on the issue if they’ve made up their mind like that.  Seriously, if you’re going to go on about how the most downtrodden indigenous race in the world have it so good I see no value in engaging in any conversation.

So you showed the world America.  Anything’s possible.  Hopefully the redemption of the Republican party (and maybe even the rise of third party candidates as a viable option) is also possible.  I wonder how long it will take some powerbrokers in the GOP to see the sort of passion Ron Paul (for example) inspired and go “Hey, maybe this hateful shit we’ve been peddling has run its course – why don’t we actually trying standing for something apart from hating people different to us?”  With the majorities the Democrats look like having some strong, principled opposition will be vital.  Like most political groups, the Democrats have an appalling track record for corruption and ineffectiveness when there’s nobody to keep them honest.

Anyway, I’m visiting The US in two weeks (only the dirty, immoral socialist land of California) so I hope y’all are still partying when I get there!

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Barack Hussein Obama – white women aren’t safe!

OK, I should have pulled my finger out and posted this on Friday while it was still kinda relevant.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen an outrageous story debunked so quickly.  Mind you, you won’t have to go far to find some right wing nutjob or overly-impressionable simpleton who will still wear blind it’s true.

I’m talking of course about the mildly wacky McCain supporter who invented an absurd story about being attacked by some black dude who supposedly carved a “B” into her face because he was a “B”arack Obama supporter and she was a John McCain supporter.  Not that it’s inconceivable in general terms for an attack of that type to occur.  White Republicans hardly have a monopoly on being cowardly bullies.  It was the specifics that were so absurd.

The story was, in fact, so absurd that for a while I could have been easily convinced that it was a prank and/or satire staged by an Obama supporter.  But it appears she really was a McCain campaign worker.  By the way, I don’t think the McCain campaign had anything to do with this.  Their stoking of racist fears is hardly subtle but even they are slightly less insane than this.  My personal favourite touch was that the “B” was reversed… kind of what you might do if you were really stupid and looking in a mirror while carving a “B” into your own face.

I believe in mental health circles this is known as “a cry for help”. 

I found this story on Friday night and couldn’t believe the absurdity of it.  There was too much material there for me to *not* run with it so I decided to go for a totally overblown satire.  Knowing full well some morons would take it at face value.  Even though I led the description of the video with “Stupid people don’t get satire.”

And I was also amused by the number of people who rushed to comment in the ensuing hours that the story was untrue.  Really?  Lucky I had those internet commenters to save me from thinking for myself.

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Australian government plan to kill the internet

It’s for the children of course.

Last year when an American friend was visiting, he was appalled at how expensive and limited internet access in Australia is.  That’s OK, I’m appalled too.  Because of my YouTube obsession I’ve gone for basically the fastest service available.  It’s cable access but the broadband speeds are capped at 25GB.  When you’re on YouTube and other video sites as much as I am (all right, fine – when you download as much porn as I do) it’s dead easy to go over that limit.  So much so that I’m constantly monitoring usage so that my connection doesn’t get strangled down to dialup speeds.

Oh, and it costs $99 per month.

In other words it sucks.  But the new(ish) federal government had promised to go ahead with some much overdue investment in infrastructure so the future was looking brighter.  So I was delighted to learn of the government’s first major internet initiative.  No, wait a minute.  Not delighted.  What’s that other thing I always feel?  Oh yeah.  Really fucking angry.

Outraged in fact.  It seem the government has decided that nobody in Australia is enough of a grownup to deal with all the naughtiness on the internet and so plans to force a mandatory filtering/censorship program on the entire internet.

This is bad on so many level it simply boggles the mind.  It’s a disturbing level of censorship.  It won’t work.  It will cripple internet speeds that are already shit.  And it will be absurdly expensive.  And they can talk all the shit they want about “protecting children” and “illegal” content.  Any filter they put in place will be trivially easy to get around.  But at least they’ll have fucked up the internet for law-abiding citizens.  Not one iota of difference to criminals but we can’t have everything, can we?

This has been my venting topic of the week on YouTube.  Here’s the ranty version of my thoughts:

And here’s my more rational take on the topic:

I’ve been recommending concerned Australians support the EFA and make some noise themselves.  It might be an horrific Big Brother/nanny state/police state nightmare we facing but at least we can have a laugh about it as well.

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Barack Hussein Obama – who is he really?

Thanks to despair.com here’s the answer loud and clear:

Barack Hussein Obama

Barack Hussein Obama

 I am totally over the idiocy, paranoia and hatred being spewed by the anti-Obama camp.  And not that I feel like giving any ground to the fucwits who have been drooling this shit but I will clarify the “racist” remark.  Of course not everyone who isn’t voting for Obama is a racist.  But everyone pushing the “terrorist” innuendo and outright smears is either an ignorant, racist fuck or is an evil, soulless, lying sack of shit who is pandering to ignorant, racist fucks.

And speaking of pandering, I don’t think people are cutting John McCain enough slack for the way he’s tried to calm down the rhetoric at his rallies recently.  I saw the video and he seemed to be suffering actual physical pain at the way he had to repeatedly tell people Obama was trustworthy and decent and not some baby eating demon or, worse, an arab.  He knows he fucked up and he’s decided to take some responsibility for it.  Maybe a little late but not near as late as he could have left it.

The big question for me is why did he do it?  He’s clearly done a 180 degree flip from what he was doing only a week earlier.  My theory is that he’s looked at the numbers and realised he’s going to lose the election.  He followed the advice of the evil, ruthless bastards in the GOP machine and gave up all of his standards and sank into the gutter.  He followed the advice of the same people who fucked him over with their lies in the 2000 primary race.  And it didn’t work.

I think he’s changed course just so he can live with himself.  He spent months abandoning any principles he had in his lust to win.  He gave up his soul and got nothing in return.  And who knows, this last ditch decency strategy might win him back a few moderates.  But given that is really is nothing but the barest standards of decency after months of lies, smears and hate mongering it’s almost certainly too little, too late.

At least it shows he hasn’t totally passed over into the dark side.  He has at least vestigal remnants of human decency.  He never deserved to be fucked over by his own party – his time was in 2000.  It’s too late now.  He’s too old, too unwell, his judgement is clearly shot and the choice of Sarah Palin as VP is a disgusting insult to the American people.  Given the chances of him dying in office are about 110% (with a 10% margin of error in that figure) Palin has to be seen as a Presidential nomination.  And neither America nor the world would survive that.

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Obama should have punked McCain

Well, it looks another presidential debate passed by without changing much.  From what I’ve read, these debates rarely have an influence on election outcomes but these ones seem even less likely to as nothing decisive seems to be happening in them.

Interestingly, I’ve seen a few commentators being fascinated by CNN’s use of real time reaction measurement by giving “undecided” voters a box with a dial to twiddle and translating the results into a moving line.  It’s isn’t that I want to deride CNN’s cutting edge widgets but we’ve had that crap for ages in Australia – over a decade, I think.  We call it the worm.

The most interesting thing I read about the debate was that McCain apparently deigned to look at Obama this time.  I personally think Obama should have punked him as they went to shake hands.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who would have laugh if, at the critical point, instead of shaking hands Obama suddenly lunged at McCain as if he was going to hit him just to see McCain flinch.

White guys ALWAYS jump when black guys do that – even if the black guy is a lifelong friend.  I’m not saying I find it inherently funny when obnoxious old men shriek like a little girl, fall over and shit their pants.  OK, I am saying that’s funny.  Comedy gold.

C’mon Obama, there’s on more debate.  Don’t let me down!

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Fuck Sarah Palin supporters!

I don’t know where I got the idea that being reasonable was a good idea.  About a month ago, I posted here and on YouTube that I was done with commenting on the GOP campaign in the US presidential race, largely because it depressed me too much (I also noticed upon re-reading that piece that I was talking about if the US economy implodes – I certainly take no pleasure in seeing that part come true).  I was even conciliatory to Republicans generally, noting that they have every right to have different opinions and values to me and that doesn’t, in and of itself, make them evil or stupid.

Well fuck that.  I call bullshit on myself.  At this point, the only people still actively supporting Palin fall into one of two camps:

  1. Evil, soulless win-at-any-costs party hacks who couldn’t give a flying fuck how much their reckless actions fuck up the world
  2. Slack jawed zombies who lack the basic fucking mental capacity to process the simple fact that Palin is horrifically incapable of fulfilling the requirements of senior executive office

In either case, fuck being reasonable to these people.  The sort of stupid responses I have received (particularly on YouTube – big surprise) from the mouth-breathing fuckwits that are still supporting her have clearly shown me that being reasonable is a waste of my time.  If these whining little bitches are going to fling insults when I’m being conciliatory then I’ll give them something to be worked up over.

I’m still not going to waste my intellectual or emotional energy on them.  But I’m going to have a fuck of a good time taunting them.  These people are pond scum.  They either know they are lying and continue to do so in a completely shameless way or they are too fucking stupid to realise they are regurgitating blatant lies that anyone with an IQ over 75 can see right through.  Either way, I’m not wasting my time with logic or debate with these fucking animals.  You need at least some basic intelligence or basic integrity for there to be any value in that approach and these slavering hellspawn are utterly devoid of either.

What’s fun is that no matter how clear I make it that I’m not interested in their fucked up opinions they’ll still bleat.  They are too fucking stupid to see the idiocy of their own position and they are too fucking stupid to realise that people are sick of putting up with them.  Their aggrieved whining at being told to shut the fuck up is music to my ears.  They are so horrifically self-absorbed they are utterly incapable of conceiving of a universe that doesn’t place them at its centre.  Not even a shovel smacked square in their face would get through to them.  Although I’m willing to try.

With an increasing parade of actual conservatives deserting the sham conservatism of the McCain/Palin ticket (often because of Palin) it’s obvious what the result of the impending elections needs to be.  For the Republicans to lose is not enough – they need to be crushed.  At every level of the elections: Presidential, senate and congressional.  For the good of the world, America and even the Republican party itself they need to be utterly crushed.  The hateful and destructive behaviour pushed by the neocons needs to be relegated to history so the Republican party can actually regain its integrity.

Ron Paul has shown there are still Republicans with integrity.  I think he’s too old (and possibly too crazy) to run in a future election but hopefully his example will inspire the future direction of the GOP.  I’ll still disagree with them on most issues but at least I’ll be able to respect them.

So yeah, I won’t be wasting any of my time or energy on subtle, nuanced political discourse.  But I’ll sure as hell enjoy yanking the chain of anyone who stupid and/or fucked enough to continue to insist Sarah Palin is anything but the most cynical joke ever inflicted on the American populace.  It’s time for Sarah Palin supporters to shut the fuck up.

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Campaign advice for John McCain

I’ve decided I need to be more even-handed when looking at the US Presidential Election.  With that in mind, John McCain needs some help.  And I’m just the man to give him the advice he so desperately needs.

Never let it be said that I don’t help people out when I get the chance.

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