Angry Bird Swoops Angry Aussie

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No, not that sort of Angry Bird. There’s an Indian Mynah Bird that has decided it doesn’t like me so I decided to catch it on video.

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A New Year

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As we enter 2017 I figure, why not use this arbitrary moment to set some new goals? This is not a new year’s resolution as such but I want to reinvent/reinvigorate my online content this year and setting arbitrary tasks often helps me complete things.

The title of this blog, Angry 365 Days a Year, reflects the task I set myself in the first year of the blog’s creation: post something (hopefully angry) every day for a year. I actually achieved that goal so why not set myself the goal of repeating that feat this year?

Actually I can think of several reasons not to do that but we won’t listen to those negative voices.

This should be much easier than the first time. With the advances in technology I can post from my mobile so I don’t have to find a computer with an internet connection if I’m on the road. Plus, I have more practice in creating content (this was my first attempt at serious online content) so it isn’t an unknown to me.

I can’t promise you 365 days of brilliance but I think there will be some gems in there. I hope you come along for the ride.

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The Medium is the Message

Marshall McLuhan coined the term “the medium is the message” in 1964. It essentially means the medium through which a message is transmitted affects the message itself. He goes much deeper than this in his book Understanding Media but that’s the essence of what the term means.

If that doesn’t make sense to you, consider this: the exact same words transmitted through a book, a newspaper and via TV will reach different people and how they interpret the information will be different.

I use this as a lead in to how I feel about people sharing links online. Links don’t exist in a vacuum – the site that is linked to is important. Essentially, the link is the site.

This post is motivated by an incident earlier this week when I seriously lost my shit at someone on Facebook and now I have a bunch of people being all Judgey McJudgerson on me. The first part of this story  was a young woman sharing a post on Facebook detailing how a guy harassed her and several other women on a tram in Melbourne. Then someone I had considered a friend posting a link from a hate site dedicated solely to abusing feminists saying the post he was sharing proved the young woman who posted the story was in the wrong.

The big reason? The harasser was “autistic”. This apparently means his threatening behavior to women (and he ONLY behaved this way to women) was excusable and the evil feminists are in the wrong.

Side note: I think the sharing of social media posts where someone accuses someone else of something with no more evidence than a photo is questionable at best. Sometimes the accusation is sexist harassment, sometimes it’s racist, sometimes it’s as simple as “here’s a photo of the person who stole my laptop”. My feeling is unless you know the original poster personally and can verify facts with them, if you don’t see evidence more convincing than a photograph you should think long and hard before sharing it. Use video of nasty public incidents, people!

And as I said, I seriously lost my shit at the person who posted the misogynist link responding to the original post as they seemed to think that such a disgusting post from such a disgusting site should be taken as evidence that the evil feminist was in the wrong and was actually discriminating against people with autism.

If you’re at all familiar with my reactions to people I consider to be arseholes, in this case I ended up at the extreme end of my reaction spectrum. There were a couple of reasons for this:

  • First – the choice of site to link from is inexcusable.
  • Second – he kept asserting he was reasonable and pro feminist. Just because he’s sharing a hate filled post from a hate filled site, how could I possibly think he was endorsing their hate?
  • Finally – When I made it clear his attitude was making me sick and I didn’t want to hear from him any more he kept responding along the lines of why wouldn’t I engage with him because he’s so reasonable. Which is just fucking rude in my book. Feel free to consider me a drama queen for getting angry when someone refuses to respect my desire to be left alone.

The big thing right at the centre of this is can you divorce yourself from the central message of a website when you promote a link from that site as being the truth? He thinks yes, I think most definitely no. If you share a link from a hate site saying it is the truth you are at least tacitly endorsing the web site as a whole. When the link is consistent with the central message of the hate site (as it was in this case) I believe it’s reasonable for people to consider you are explicitly endorsing the site.

If you share a link from a site like infowars you come across as a paranoid bigoted idiot. If you share a link from an anti-vaxxer site it seems like you’re ok with spreading the dangerous lie that vaccines are bad. If you share links from a hate site you have to expect people to think you’re ok with their message of hate.

As I kept getting told he didn’t understand how I could think he was endorsing the hate site just because he was spreading their message as the truth I resorted to hyperbole to illustrate the issue.

Imagine instead of a guy harassing women on a tram, it’s a guy dressed up in a nazi uniform (swastikas and all) shouting “sieg heil” at Jewish people entering and leaving a synagogue. One of the worshipers posts his photo on Facebook to shame him and raise awareness of the problem. You share a link from an overt neo-nazi site that claims the man in question was autistic and therefore it’s the evil Jews who were in the wrong.

How the fuck could you say with a straight face that you’re not endorsing anti-semitism when you say the anti-semitic article from the neo-nazi site is the truth?

This still didn’t get through so I said “fuck it, you’re a cunt, I’m out.”

If you think me being aggressive to what I see an unconscionable behaviour is worse than someone promoting misogynist hate and being too fucking self absorbed to even see it then I have a problem with your priorities. If you want to call yourself a supporter of a marginalised group but switch from championing their cause to criticising them (and promoting blatant hate sites) the instant their actions push you out of your comfort zone then I think you can go fuck yourself.

I might have been overly aggressive for some people’s tastes. I might have even been obnoxious.

But I wasn’t fucking wrong.

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Hurting the delicate feelings of nazis and racists

A lot of people are upset that notorious racist Pauline Hanson has won a senate seat in the recent Australian election (and some additional members of her “team” might win seats too). For those who haven’t heard of her, she’s an ignorant fool who has tried to push her vile bigotry in Australian politics with varying degrees of success for the last 20 or so years.

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She’s also one of those cute bigots who have an obsession with saying they aren’t racist (but famously too stupid to know what “xenophobic” means) even though their actual words explicitly target minorities all the time. Originally it was Asians, now it’s Muslims. So she’s not just a vile racist, she’s a gutless equivocating coward who thinks “I’m not racist” is a magic incantation. Like every one of her worthless garbage supporters.

While the existence and periodic success of people like Hanson does make me angry, I’ll tell you want makes me really angry: the ridiculous idea being floated repeatedly in the media that we should be “nice” to these people. That we should “understand” them instead of ridiculing them.

How about FUCK NO!

To be clear, I will happily talk to individuals who have been taken in by this hateful rhetoric in the hope that when some objective facts are presented to them, they can be brought around. But the leaders of these movements who promote outright fascism need to be hit hard and repeatedly. And to anyone who wants to write of “fascism” as hyperbole, Hanson explicitly wants to use the power of the government to enforce her belief that only religions she approves of should be allowed and only clothing she approves can be worn. Pretty much the dictionary definition of fascism.

I’m sure these bleating voices in the media will bring out historical examples of when being nice to fascists have worked in the past because that sure isn’t any history I’m aware of. Unless I’m wrong and World War 2 was a mistake and all everyone had to do was “understand” Hitler and everything would have been OK.

It’s also grating that Hanson blends her disgusting racism with incredible stupidity. She thinks that vaccines not only cause autism (completely disproved) but that they also cause cancer (utterly stupid). She’s also a climate change denier and one of her key advisors thinks schoolkids should be taught to reject the science that proves climate change. She is an utter menace and the idea of treating her with any dignity is fucking offensive.

Beyond Hanson, we’ve had an increasing number of rallies from overtly racist group run by people with explicit Nazi sympathies. These rallies are almost always met by counter rallies of larger groups standing up to their fuckery. To me it seems a no-brainer to counter-protest these scumbags but there is a growing chorus (and not only from conservative voices) that if you come into conflict with self-professed Nazis you’re somehow as bad as them.

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To be honest, I think a lot of guys in antifa are there just because they like hitting people and it’s nice to have an ideological shield to justify your predilection for going the biff. But really, when did hitting Nazis become a negative thing? And spare me tripe like “you’re playing into their narrative where they’re the victim”. These pieces of shit get all the validation they need from people like Hanson being given a public platform.

I’ve seen repeated references to “anti-nazi thugs” in media reports and I think it’s worth letting that sink in for a while. That’s the modern media landscape – people engaged in fighting Nazis are thugs. The idea that you’re at the same level as a nazi because you’re aggressively responding to bigots who are actively advocating for the violent suppression and/or expulsion of anyone they don’t like is staggering. History does not have any examples of fascists quietly going home after being allowed to have their rallies unchallenged because they were satisfied their voices had been heard.

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Every time hate is allowed to go unchallenged it moves further into the mainstream. How do you think Donald Trump has done so well? He isn’t some inexplicable mutation of the Republican Party, he’s the natural progression of the hate and fear filled rhetoric they’ve been pushing for years. The rise of demagogues around the world has a clear message – when extremism goes unopposed it grows.

So to those tut-tutting from a comfortable distance and saying Hanson and her ilk should be listened to and not mocked, I say hell to the fuck no!

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Vote the bastards out!

The Australian Federal Election is coming up and I wanted to provide some information for people who may not be sure of who to vote for – mainly about why you shouldn’t vote for the LNP coalition. This is not a neutral presentation, this is a shamelessly partisan call to oppose political policies that I think are nasty and hurt the most vulnerable people first. Here are the key things that rule out the LNP for me:

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Protecting workers

LNP policies are a non-stop assault on ordinary workers. Painting unions as evil bad guys and trying to get people to forget that it was unions who fought for and protect every basic condition workers enjoy today. Here’s what you can look forward to if they get their way on industrial relations:

  • No penalty rates at all for anyone. If you think nurses working midnight to 8am on a Sunday don’t deserve penalty rates then you are quite frankly an awful person. If you can’t open your café on weekends because of penalty rates either learn how to run a successful business without exploiting people in an already lousy job then close it.
  • No protection of any type from unreasonable behaviour from bosses. Look forward to travelling in to work for a two hour shift because you’ll get sacked if you don’t. Look forward to being sacked if you protest against sexual harassment from your boss. Look forward to not even being paid – a serious LNP proposal is to make payment “in kind” legal. Thanks for coming in to work – this pizza should cover your pay for the shift.
  • Rampant exploitation of workers, particularly of young people. There’s a very strong push in the LNP to abolish any sort of minimum wage but their latest brain child is “internships” for young people that pay anywhere from $0-$4 per hour. Unpaid internships make sense in industries that are very hard to break into which makes any experience valuable. But the travesty proposed by the LNP would extend as far as “internships” stacking shelves in supermarkets.
  • Continued abuse and expansion of temporary work visas. Various forms of temporary work visas were meant to allow employers to import workers when an appropriate workforce couldn’t be found locally. They’ve been little more than a rort for years used to drive down wages in areas like construction, engineering and IT where local workers could easily be found. Isn’t it amazing how they consistently find “skilled” workers from countries with much lower pay rates? When Gina Rinehart describes Africans who will work for $2 an hour as something to aspire to, you know which way the LNP intends to push this policy.

The environment

LNP policy goes beyond not caring about the environment and climate change to aggressively pursuing policies that will accelerate the destruction of our environment and the worsening of climate change. They not only continue to push coal as an energy source despite the poor economic return and catastrophic environment al damage, they launch unhinged attacks on renewable energy and aggressively cut investment and research into renewables.

Education

The LNP continue to cut funding to state schools while increasing funding to private schools. They keep cutting funding to universities and making it more expensive to attain a university education. They clearly intend to deregulate university fees as much as possible making education even more expensive. And as far as borrowing for uni fees and only paying back when you reach a certain level of income – the LNP’s latest brainwave is to count the entire “household” income when calculating when repayment is due. So young people forced to live at home because of other government policies that stop them from earning a living wage will see their parents hit with the education bill. Purely and simply, LNP education policies take away opportunities from those who need the help the most and reward the richest in society.

Medicare

Make no mistake, Turnbull’s promise to not privatise Medicare is nothing short of a lie. They may go to the trouble of gutting the system and slowly bleeding it to death rather than straight out killing it so they can preserve the illusion that they didn’t lie but their policy goal is to destroy Medicare as we know it. Once again, the hardest hit will be the people least able to afford it.

Marriage equality

If you want to be part of the 21st century and acknowledge that two adults who love each other should be able to marry no matter what their gender or sexuality then the LNP is going to screw you and not in a consensual way. Malcolm Turnbull may or may not support marriage equality but he’s utterly beholden to the bigoted extreme right of his own party and he doesn’t have the guts to go up against them.

It’s obvious that Tony Abbott used the idea of a plebiscite after the election as a stalling tactic to put off any vote and never intended to go through with it. This became clear because when he was replaced with Malcolm Turnbull who definitely was going to go ahead with a plebiscite, the religious right panicked and went into high gear trying to derail the process. The simple fact that several members of the government have made it clear they won’t vote in favour of marriage no matter what the result of a plebiscite makes the whole thing an expensive farce.

If the LNP are in charge of the wording of a marriage equality they could easily corrupt it to increase the chance of rejection and if they get to set the public discourse, get ready for a lot of hate and increased attacks on LGBTI people. Just look at the wave of racism sweeping across the UK after the Brexit vote if you want an example of what can happen when bigots have their hate filled views validated.

Welfare

The LNP are typical Tories in that they oppose welfare if it goes to needy people but all in favour of welfare when it goes to corporate interests. You can’t get a clearer picture of the LNP priorities than the news that they intend to give $50 billion dollars worth of tax breaks to big companies (most of which will end up being funneled out of the country) while cutting $2 billion from welfare and pensions.


I’m not saying people who vote for the LNP are evil but I am saying the things we regard as important are very, very different. Top it off with Turnbull basically admitting you can’t trust anything he says and there’s no way they deserve your vote. At a press conference in Banyo, Queensland on Tuesday he said “What political parties say they will support and oppose at one time is not necessarily ultimately what they will do.” A rare moment of honesty.

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#ScoMoPhobia is out of control!

Today in Australia we were treated to the ridiculous spectacle of Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison playing the victim card, saying he’d been subjected to hate speech and bigotry. In general terms I’m opposed to hate and bigotry but it doesn’t count when they’re made up.

Morrison’s ridiculous bleating was in response to Labor Senator Penny Wong saying the government’s proposed plebiscite on marriage equality is a bad idea because opponents will use it as an excuse to inflame hatred and homophobia. I don’t know why she’s so worried, just because of the hateful comments already made by members of the government and other opponents of the safe schools initiative and the so called Australian Christian Lobby saying “pretty please can we be exempted from anti-vilification laws for this plebiscite so we can say what we really think?”

I’m sure there’s lots of reasons you would want to be exempted from laws designed to protect people from undue vilification and it’s pure conjecture that the ACL’s is to push hateful rhetoric any chance they get no matter who it hurts.

Anyway, Scott Morrison has piped up and said he understands Penny Wong’s concerns because he’s “been exposed to that hatred and bigotry for the views I’ve taken“. Yes, when will someone stand up against the oppression suffered by rich straight white men who are actually part of the government actually running the country? What power do you have when you’re only the second most powerful position in the government?

So Morrison has equated being somewhat answerable for things he actually says and does with being vilified and attacked for who you are. Because that’s what bigotry is – being called out for being an arsehole isn’t bigotry, being told who you are makes you a lesser person is bigotry.

So far as people saying hateful things about Morrison, well I guess when you push policies that deny people basic equality based solely on who they love you might get some blowback. Not that it adds to the debate to call Morrison a shit gargling fuckwomble but I can see how some people might be angry enough to say that.

It’s impossible to overstate the fragility of these conservative white christian men. You can almost see the tears in Cory Bernardi’s eyes when someone calls him a homophobe just because he directly associated being gay with bestiality and launches hateful lies against a school programme aimed at protecting LGBTI kids from harassment and bullying.

Calling him a rancid pustule infesting the rectum of Australian politics might seem accurate but can’t you see how oppressed he is? When he spreads his despicable slander with no concern for whose life he’s ruining, he never expected to be held accountable for it!

Social media has taken Scott Morrison’s side with #ScoMoPhobia. You might think it’s ridiculous to say people being angry at Morrison, Bernardi and the rest pushing their bigotry is a form of bigotry in itself. But that’s just because you don’t understand the oppression of rich white christian men. Who literally run the country. WHEN WILL SOMETHING GO THEIR WAY?!?!?!

 

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St Patrick’s Day green Poitin cocktail

I celebrated St Patrick’s Day this year with some traditional Irish potato spirit – poitin/poteen. I even coloured it green with the help of some limes.

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