Monthly Archives: June 2012

Something Wonky

As Pure Poison ends, and most importantly as the Pure Poison Podcast ends, I’d like to introduce you to something EVEN BETTER.

Yes, it’s SOMETHING WONKY! A podcast about Australian politics and media hosted by a pair of shameless lefties, Dave Gaukroger and me.

And the very first episode, “Crocodile Tears and Carbon Fears”, is now available for your downloading and listening pleasure.

A night with the Association of Cynical Liars (ACL)

As I was walking home from work last night, about 8 o’clock, I passed a church hall near our house that seemed more occupied than on a usual Tuesday night. So I popped my head in the hall, and saw a both heartbreaking and heartwarming sight – a tiny gathering of older people sitting to watch a bunch of lying bigots organised by the ACL (Association of Cynical Liars) lying to them about marriage equality. (Heartwarming because there were hardly any of them, and fewer than five percent of that number would’ve been under 60.)

Yes – the ACL had organised a laughably-named “defining marriage” webcast to participating churches, far away from the eyes of anyone who could call them on their deceptions and outright lies. It was a time for introducing and reinforcing untruths before anyone could point out the reality (such as the lie about Denmark forcing churches to marry gay people), a time for presenting slick, vaguely plausible-sounding retorts to standard equality arguments (like the response to “but what about all the childless marriages” being some very fast talking indeed) but without anyone present to puncture the misleading edifice.

I sat in for a little while, until my grumbling stomach made postponing dinner any longer inconceivable, and observed the following, captured on the #aclpropaganda hashtag on twitter:

  • General rambling about how great sex (titter) and marriage are, with the implication being that gays having either would somehow take them away from Christians.
  • See, they can’t be homophobic because some of their friends are gays. This one woman knew a girl at school who was gay and she didn’t stone her. Another has some gay people come to her church, and sometimes she trusts them more than her heterosexual friends, so it’s okay that she’s advocating for them to be treated as second-class citizens by the law.
  • John Anderson (a former Coalition deputy PM) told the ACL’s targets that they can feel okay about discriminating against gay people because in their charity work they don’t expressly exclude gay people from assistance.
  • Another bloke announced that he’d been tempted to cheat on his wife, and resisted the urge, so gay people should be fine living celibate lives unable to marry the person they love.
  • One of the speakers told the gag about it not being that marriage leads to men living longer, it just “makes it seem longer”. Whole church laughed uproariously, as did the audience on the webcast. Because this precious marriage thing is apparently a shared suffering for them.
  • An audience member asked if gay people went to Hell. Answer given: Jesus came to enforce the Old Testament. So the ACL will be demanding a ban on cotton and the reintroduction of stoning of gays, I guess.
  • Don’t worry about being called “politically incorrect” (although it’s not much of a risk because nobody on the equality side of an argument has ever used that term in the history of the universe) when you say horrible things about gays – because Jesus was “politically incorrect” too! Maybe he said horrible things about gays in his club where the gospel writers weren’t taking notes.
  • Gay people are probably struggling with their sexuality and how wrong it is, so we should encourage them in that belief and help them make their lives miserable by fighting their natural sexuality.
  • Apparently the polls indicating that an increasing majority of Australians believe that marriage law should no longer discriminate against gays are actually warped by “celebrities”. “Celebrities” use their mind-control mojo to trick Australians into answering “yes” to questions from pollsters about marriage equality, even though a majority of Australians really think the answer is “no” when they’re not being overrun by “celebrity” mind-rays.
  • John Anderson doesn’t think “marriage equality” is inevitable because when he was at university some progressives were opposed to marriage as an institution. Therefore their long-standing opposition to discrimination will eventually crumble under the weight of their hatred for marriage that they’ve only temporarily forgotten about.
  • John Anderson declared that children have the “human right” to live with their biological mother and father even though the ACL admits that 30% in Australia don’t actually live with their biological mother and father. Also the state mustn’t separate children from their parents, so John will be proposing amendments to the criminal law for states to adopt such that no parents can ever be sent to prison because their children have a “human right” to be raised by them.
  • And then John Anderson completely lied to the attendant audience by claiming that we “know” that after gays are permitted to marry they’ll be forcing churches to do it because THAT’S JUST WHAT HAPPENED IN DENMARK. Even though that’s an outright lie and that’s not just what happened in Denmark at all. Gullible audience appears to buy the lie. I cannot resist gasping, out loud, “LIAR!”
  • Patrick Parkinson fears that people are losing interest in marriage. Accordingly, people who are interested in marriage and qualify under every aspect of the definition except their gender must be prevented from marrying. We must encourage marriage by discouraging it. Patrick looks a little like Giles from Buffy, only mad.
  • Patrick claims that marriage has “always” meant one man and one woman. He apparently hasn’t read the Old Testament all that closely.
  • Patrick also claims that gay people have equality already. He apparently hasn’t noticed that the ACL is fighting pretty hard to make sure the law does not treat them equally to heterosexuals.
  • John Anderson tells the audience of the importance of making that declaration, of making a formal marriage commitment to another person, instantly undermining Patrick’s claim that gays and lesbians have equality in all the important respects.
  • Anderson promises his willing dupes that the state is going to stop them telling their kids that being gay is horribly wrong. That the state might stop them traumatising their gay kids early in life. The fact that there is no such plan to protect such children from their parents’ religiously-motivated abuse doesn’t alter Anderson’s conviction that he KNOWS IT’S COMING.
  • One of them suggests that gay marriage will lead to polygamy. Interestingly, she appears to have completely blocked out all the polygamy in the Old Testament. Nobody with an ounce of sense is on the panel to point out that the “slippery slope” is a logical fallacy and polygamy raises issues of consent and oppression that are simply not present in gay marriage.
  • The panel eventually went back to talking about the benefits of stability and marriage for children, apparently forgetting that the whole reason they were there was to stop the children being raised by gay parents enjoying those benefits.
  • Another speaker declared that only heterosexual relationships could be selfless and giving, on the basis of nothing whatsoever.

You can see why they had to keep all the non-fundamentalists away.

And then today they launched a disturbing little video called “what is marriage”? The video asserts that marriage is when a “boy” and a “girl” want to have “boys and girls of their own”, thereby insulting every childless married couple (they’re not marriages, apparently) and every non-married couple with kids. And then, at 0:56, there was even a charming little endorsement of domestic violence:

These people are weird.

UPDATE (10/7): The ACL have now decided to put the video of the panel broadcast on their website.

ELSEWHERE: Traditional marriage, from the New York Daily Mirror some time between 1924 and 1963:

Marriage must never change! It’s been exactly the same since God designed it 5000 years ago!

How do I know this isn’t some kind of trick?

And this is why Crikey‘s First Dog On The Moon is a national treasure:

POINT MADE. So clearly that you’d think no-one could miss it.

(Posted without permission but hoping that First Dog will be fine with it because I told everyone he’s ace and that Crikey will be fine with it because they’d like the message to get out there – to the countless hordes reading An Onymous Lefty – and also they have some residual guilt from getting rid of us this week.)

Indefinite detention without charge equals a country that does not deserve to have prisoners extradited to it

Yesterday’s Crikey, on Julian Assange’s recent move:

To seek asylum, rather than to seek to address the allegations against him in Sweden (although Assange has repeatedly offered to be interviewed by Swedish authorities in the UK over the past 18 months), will undoubtedly further damage Assange’s reputation. The stain of “alleged r-pist” will always follow him, until the claims are resolved.

But Assange knows that the Vice-President of the United States has called him a terrorist. He knows that the Obama administration readily kills those it labels terrorists, even if they are US citizens, and even if they aren’t terrorists, without due process. He knows that a grand jury has been empanelled and has, according to those with connections inside the US security establishment, produced a sealed indictment against him. Being extradited to Sweden increases the risk that he will be surrendered to the United States where an uncertain fate awaits.

And Guy Rundle points out two critical points about Assange going to Sweden:

  • There is no such thing as bail; you’re either accused of a non-coercive crime and let out on licence, or you’re on remand until trial.
  • Sweden has a distinctive system of extradition — especially to the US — in which someone accused of a crime in Sweden (and hence on remand) can be “loaned” to the US for prosecution there. This process does not exist in many other countries.

And while the US is a country that will imprison people indefinitely without charge, and murder Afghans with drones simply for being in their own country, and will execute people even when there’s very strong evidence they’re innocent – nobody should be forcibly sent there to face that kind of prosecution. And while Sweden will hand people over to such a country, it should be treated as being part of the same profoundly flawed system.

If it were your life on the line, I suspect you would do something very similar to what Assange has done.

What next for the anti-marriage Australian Christian Lobby?

The Australian Christian Lobby regularly expresses their fear at what might happen next if marriage equality advocates succeed in removing gender discrimination from the Marriage Act.

If we remove gender discrimination just because nobody’s been able to present a good reason for it to remain, what else might we remove? The aspects that have good reasons behind them? The number of participants, even though there’s been no proposal put forward to address the problems of consent, oppression, and how to practically regulate polygamous unions? The species of participants, even though there’s no way known for anyone but a human being to express consent? As you can see, the floodgates definitely could open, if we removed indefensible discrimination and then lost our minds and started removing every single aspect of the Marriage Act that actually does have reason behind it.

Imagine the slippery slope if making one change meant we had to make ALL THE CHANGES IMAGINABLE even the ones with serious problems because we suddenly became dribbling idiots.

Anyway, that brings me to my concerns about the Australian Christian Lobby’s new hypothetical allies in their fight against people getting married, the Anti-Marriage Lobby.

Because just like the Polygamy Lobby the ACL keeps imagining, who knows if out there there really is a group of profoundly anti-marriage campaigners determined to stop not just gay people marrying, but everyone. People determined to have the Parliament not just reform the Marriage Act to stop discriminating on the grounds of gender, but repeal it altogether. And this AML is entirely in agreement with the ACL’s opposition to marriage for gay people.

So according to the Slippery Slope logical fallacy to which they’re so firmly attached, what’s next for the ACL?

Well, since they declare marriage a religious institution, the next step would clearly be to ban all secular marriage. Get your own word, atheists! And Since the ACL declares children an essential aspect of marriage, then they must be planning to demand all people intending to marry must prove they are fertile by submitting to tests and be prevented from accessing any sort of contraception, even the ones women take for other medical reasons. Get your own word, childless people! And Since they declare Biblical Marriage the line that must not be crossed, then surely the ACL will next demand the banning of divorce, and any marriage not solemnised by a priest of some ACL-approved Christian sect. Get your own word, other religions!

And then, when the ACL has succeeded in pulling marriage back to Biblical principles (other than polygamy, for some reason), then their allies in the Anti-Marriage Lobby will be there to demand the parliament go further. No marriage at all! The Marriage Act must be repealed entirely! All marriages will be annulled! Including yours!

After we’ve got rid of childless marriage, and atheist marriage, and every other religion’s marriages – then why stop there, the ACL’s AML allies will ask? Why not ban all marriages altogether?

If we’re talking hypothetical imaginary threats to our marriages, then what somebody who believes in the “slippery slope” might guess the Australian Christian Lobby is planning to call for next should terrify us all.

UPDATE: The 76 things banned in Leviticus that the slippery slope tells us the ACL will definitely get to ban if they win against marriage.

ELSEWHERE: This “Christian” wants gay people denied equality before the law. But she doesn’t want you to think she’s not nice.

Fred Clark retorts, “You can’t deny people their rights and be nice about it”:

She says she opposes the civil right of same-sex marriage because her religious beliefs teach that “Homosexuality is not God’s intent for human sexuality.”

OK. But Scott doesn’t believe that, for example, Mormonism is “God’s intent for human spirituality,” and yet she’s not arguing that Mormonism should be illegal. So why is homosexuality different?

Scott can’t say. She seems not to have thought about it. But you mustn’t assume it’s because she’s some kind of hater. That sort of assumption — lumping her in with people like Charles Worley just because she wants the same legal outcome as they do — is hurtful. It wounds her feelings. Being compared to people like that is not nice.

And people should be nice to her, just as she’s being so nice to all the LGBT citizens whose legal equality she wants to nicely deny.

“I’m not asking for anyone to approve or accept my views,” Scott writes, magnanimously.

And it’s true. She doesn’t want anyone else to approve or accept her religious perspective. All she asks is that they allow her to write it into law.

Really, is that so much to ask?

There is no discriminatory but nice. Nor is there different but equal. There is equality, and there is discrimination, and the latter is very far from “nice”.

Hockey’s Excuses

You’ve got to admire Joe Hockey’s fortitude in going out there and announcing flimsy, humiliating excuses for the fact that despite his prophecies of doom, the Australian economy is actually booming:

“This does demonstrate the resilience of the Australian people in the face of a flawed government,” Mr Hockey said. “Imagine how well our country could do if we had a good government?”

Heads you’re hopeless, tails we’re better.

Our rhetoric is completely independent of reality! Events in the real world affect it not at all! If things go badly, it’s evidence that this government is hopeless! If things go well, it’s still evidence that this government is hopeless! By “evidence that this government is hopeless” we mean every single thing that happens regardless of what it is.

We have defined reality as “this government is hopeless”.

Any other reality – like “facts” or “figures” incompatible with our reality presented by institutions we occasionally cite ourselves – is just a figment of your deranged imagination.

Pure Poison to close… but exciting new project to follow

Dave and I have announced today that Pure Poison will be closing at the end of the month.

And moving to a site up the road.

Sure, we’re excited about what comes next (and we have an awesome project in the wings that we’ll announce shortly), but let’s pretend for a moment that our expressions of utter joy at no longer having to read Bolt or spend hours moderating comments are actually a cover for DEEP MISERY at Pure Poison’s HUMILIATING FAILURE and, like the hateful leftists we are, get stuck into the real people to blame.

  • Juliar’s carbon tax. We hope she’s happy – now she’ll only have 499 other top polluters to oppress.
  • The Racial Discrimination Act, which has finally silenced us after we said one too many things about Norwegians.
  • Our transmitter, which was too weak and couldn’t reach the northern suburbs.
  • Ray Finklestein and his totalitarian thought police.

What else killed Pure Poison (other than choosing a name that makes us seem like a much more significant risk to a publisher than perhaps we might be worth in terms of revenue, and writing critically about some of the most litigious and threatening people in the Australian media)? Any ideas? We’re angry and need someone to blame.