Monthly Archives: December 2012

Rise Up Australian Stomachs

Danny “abortion causes bushfires” Nalliah’s new wacky “Rise Up Australia” party, to be launched by internationally-renowned crazy person Christopher Monckton (who’s finally found some people even less creditable than he is) at the, no seriously, National what the hell are they thinking Press Club in February, raises a number of questions. Will Labor and the Liberals try to cosy up to Nalliah’s band of muslim-fearing (I mean really fearing, they think they’re about to impose Sharia law on the country on behalf of SATAN HIMSELF), hysterical (seriously, at their services they encourage vulnerable older people to have fits and think it’s being “filled with the Holy Spirit”) fundamentalists – or will they demonstrate that they don’t prefer crazies to lefties by putting them last? Will the ALP pull another Family First, cunningly giving us a Senator even more unbalanced than Steven Fielding instead of a Green? Will the Australian political media attempt to portray Nalliah’s lot as equivalent to the Greens, just on the right? (Yes.)

Meanwhile, check out their “policy principles“. I think my favourite is the one that says:

To protect religious freedoms; this means that no religion or religious practices are to be forced on another person, and that faith-based schools have the right to employ persons with values consistent with their faith-basis…

Yup, they completely contradict themselves in the very same sentence. Religion not to be forced on anyone – except children. Religious freedom protected – unless your employer doesn’t like yours, in which case convert or be sacked.

Also, apparently they think Centrelink “funds same-sex marriage, bigamy, polygamy and similar practices”. Perhaps they mean that Centrelink now cuts off payments for gay partners just like straight partners, although “stopping funding” is not exactly the same as “funding”.

But what am I doing? This isn’t a serious party worthy of genuine debate. These are the people who are presently demanding that a council refuse building permission to another religion because it doesn’t agree with them about Jesus. These are the people who think Australia is full of “demons” that need “driving out”. (Not metaphorical demons, either – literal demons. Seriously, any journalist talking to these people, just ask them if they think supernatural demons are real and threatening Australia.)

I think what annoys me the most about Nalliah (apart from the preying on vulnerable people at Catch The Fire) is the sheer dishonesty of this new effort. Like “Family First”, “Rise Up Australia” does its best – from its name* to its entire “policy” statement – to deny that it’s a christian fundamentalist party, pretending that they stand for religious freedom whilst their founders campaign to block other religions from even having buildings.

If we have even vaguely competent political media in this country, though, the “Rise Up Australia” candidates will expose themselves pretty quickly. I suspect the actual candidates will be just aching to say the sorts of things the party organisers are trying so hard to avoid mentioning.

* Of course, other parties’ names don’t describe the full extent of what they represent, either – the “Liberal” party is only “liberal” in regards to low taxes and regulations for big business; the “Greens” are a progressive party as well as an environmental one; and the “Labor” party has even sold out on industrial relations. But at least these names describe something about the parties’ political philosophies. “Rise Up Australia”? “Family First”? Those names mean nothing. They are deliberately opaque.

UPDATE: The call for “even vaguely competent political media” is heard and declined.

One of the two parties prepared to devastate economy for ludicrous “surplus” promise, reneges

Shame, Labor, shame. So after years of following the Liberals’ asinine lead, against the advice of pretty much every economist, and sacrificing jobs and growth at the altar of the hallowed budget “surplus” – you’ve now realised that it’s so bad an idea, and the consequences of maintaining this obsession so obviously serious, that you are finally pulling back from it.

Well, better late than never, I suppose.

And at least you’ve finally realised how stupid the attempt was, unlike your opponents in the Liberal party who still like to pretend there was no Global Financial Crisis but who want to be taken seriously (yes, such brilliant economic managers that apparently they didn’t notice the most significant phenomenon to hit the world’s economy in the last thirty years – imagine where we’d be if they’d been in charge).

At least you’ve recognised that it’s idiotic to consider yourself bound to an economic goal several years later when changed circumstances clearly require revision, and make destroying the country in order to “keep your promise” about the least responsible thing you could do.

But now you’ve given up the stupid attempt, could you please also wind back the devastating attacks on the poor and vulnerable that you attempted to justify on the basis of it? The PM concedes that Newstart is below subsistence. You’ve slashed funding of chemotherapy. Taking money from aid to fund paying prison guards to lock up refugees on hot, remote islands is adding insult to injury.

I look forward to the media calling you out on this. I look forward to the editorials slamming you for making the irresponsible promise in the first place, and calling on the Opposition to abandon their reckless obsession and contribute rationally to economic debate in this country. I look forward to their re-examining your most destructive cuts and asking each Labor minister how on Earth they can justify them now that the fig leaf of “protecting the surplus” has disappeared.

Yeah, I know. That’s not not what we’re going to get at all. What we’re going to get is nothing more than the repetition of the Liberals’ ridiculous “a broken promise is a lie” primary-school level political “debate”. No analysis of whether it was actually in the interests of any of us to keep it. No persistence in questioning just exactly what the Liberals would be slashing to keep a surplus if they were in government, as they keep telling us they should be.

There will be no analysis of the merits of a surplus at this time. Just endless back and forth on the “political implications”, by which they mean whether it will enable them to pretend the Liberals have actually won something, and just how important that “victory” will be to voters.

No wonder you made the idiotic pledge in the first place. No wonder you held onto it for so long, long after reason would have suggested abandoning it.

But the incompetent national political media aren’t going to change. At least, for a brief moment, you have. A little. Back towards the realm of sanity and responsible government. Here’s hoping you take the next step.

Of course you can’t make Lord of the Rings movies without decimating citizens’ rights!

I was considering purchasing the blu-rays of the Lord of the Rings movies. But seeing the nasty anti-worker, anti-consumer, anti-citizen laws Warner Brothers managed to bully out of New Zealand to make the new ones there… not so keen any more.

How much taxpayer money can Warner Bros. demand from the government of New Zealand to keep production there (rather than, say, in Australia or the Czech Republic)? That answer turns out to be about $120 million, plus the revision of New Zealand’s labor laws to forbid collective bargaining among film-production contractors, plus the passage of three-strikes Internet-disconnection laws for online copyright infringement, plus enthusiastic and, it turns out, illegal cooperation in the shutdown of the pirate-friendly digital storage site Megaupload and the arrest of its owner, Kim Dotcom.

For keeping Warner Bros. happy, Prime Minister John Key, a former Merrill Lynch currency trader, got a replica magic Hobbit sword from U.S. President Barack Obama and a chance to hang New Zealand’s fortunes on becoming the tourist destination for Middle Earth enthusiasts. What could go wrong?

Would Peter Jackson really have abandoned NZ to make the films elsewhere if the NZ government hadn’t agreed to screw over their own citizens? I want to see him being asked that as he flies around the world being gently massaged by entertainment “journalists”.

“True Love”

Here’s a philosophical question for you. Which of the following would you rather hear your partner say about you:

  • if you changed your views completely, stood for the opposite of what you do now, or your personality changed significantly, I’d still love you above all others.
  • if you changed your views completely, stood for the opposite of what you do now, or your personality changed significantly, I might not still love you above all others.

On first glance, the former sounds more romantic, more indicative of “true love”. But I reckon actually the second is deeper and more touching. Because the first is that the person basically loves, what, your name? What you look like? If they still love you above all others even if you become, essentially, a completely different person, does that not mean that their love now isn’t really for who you actually are?

Option 1: you can rely on this partner to be there for you regardless, because there’s nothing you could do that would cause her to stop “loving” you.

Option 2: you know that your partner actually loves you, not other stuff about you.

I think I’d prefer to hear the second one. I’d prefer my partner loved me for who I am, and if I abandoned that, if I became someone else, it would cause her to reassess.