There’s a strawman…

….waiting in the sky, he’d like to come and meet you but he thinks he’ll blow your mind.

With apologies to Saint Bowie.

This cartoon appeared in a national newspaper. It presumably got past the editor without too much difficulty.

The sycophantic responses to the cartoonist Cathy Wilcox’s soshal mejia post with this are instructive. Not a single reply pointing out what’s depicted is not “speech”.

What does that tell us? One possible explanation is that her little corner of Twitter is an echo chamber. Or, following the recent purges, perhaps that describes all of Twitter. I don’t know, I steer well clear of the modern Bedlam, only dipping in when people send me links.

Bill’s Opinion

To suggest the cartoon is guilty of falling for the strawman fallacy doesn’t seem anywhere near adequate a description of what’s going on here.

We have to assume one of two things are happening; either the cartoonist and editor have a wildly immature grasp of the concept of free speech, or they deliberately changed the definition.

If the latter, why?

I’m not a mind reader, I’m not going to speculate.

It saddens me though that the left seem to be currently taking great joy in encroaching or at least cheering the idea of encroaching on actual freedom of speech whilst hardly any of their team is suggesting moderation.

Remember when freedom of speech was the left’s cause while the religious right were the ones trying to shut it down?

If you don’t, let’s remind you of the true story behind the quote in the film, The Blues Brothers, “I hate Illinois Nazis“.

Can you imagine the ACLU defending that case today?

How about we all try a bit harder to define and agree a principle and then apply it objectively? The alternative doesn’t bear thinking about.

Jenna hates….. the free speech of

….MP Craig Kelly.

Jenna Hates has been given the keys to the Sydney Morning Herald Grievance Vehicle again this week.

Today’s subject of her trademark bitterness and hatred is an MP whose views she can’t stand.

Jenna and I have much in common in that regard, she’s just more discriminatory than me as I can’t stand the views of all MPs.

One of Mr. Kelly’s constituents has decided to undertake a personal project of offence archeology and, helpfully, our resident academic, Jenna Hates, has convinced a national newspaper it’s interesting enough to publish. No, really.

Tom Kristensen is a landscaper, artist and just owner-built a house in Hughes. But sometime in 2019, he turned his mind to local politics. Not to stand for election, no way, he’s never been a member of any political party, too sceptical.

But his local member had started to use Facebook to spread messages which the ecology graduate knew were not based on any kind of scientific evidence. Kristensen got busy. He decided to note and analyse every single Facebook post on Craig Kelly’s page, its topic, its style of writing and its image.

…. as any reasonable person would do….. if they were OCD.

Also, “not based on any kind of scientific evidence” just slipped in there without a supporting description of the method used to come to that conclusion. We mention this because the word “any” is doing a lot of heavy lifting.

Jenna Hates helpfully reminds us of the peer review process or lack there of:

This isn’t for academic research. It is to save the nation from his dangerous conspiratorial and anti-science influence. His job is to represent his community. What he is actually doing is misleading his constituents, misrepresenting science, endangering lives.

We do love a good blood on their hands accusation.

What conspiracy theories is he peddling?

The worst seems to be the false flag theory about last week’s attack on The Capitol. Yeah, that’s pretty daft, particularly from someone who is an elected official. I’m not sure how it risks the lives of Australians though.

The other two themes Jenna Hates, erm, hates, are his suggestion that two existing approved drugs might be used as pharmaceutical treatment for the Kung Flu ‘rona.

Again, unless he’s able to influence the medical profession into prescribing these, it’s just words.

Of course, we could have predicted Jenna’s preference on how to deal with Kelly, it’s a shame the bookies aren’t taking bets. Spoiler alerts, it doesn’t involve presenting counter evidence and debating him or getting up off her arse and actively campaigning for an alternative candidate:

It is such a shame we don’t have a code of conduct for parliamentarians, or an Australian Federal Integrity Commission, which perhaps could punish behaviour like this and send those responsible to Siberia (looking forward to the debate in parliament this year).

Hands up who thinks she’s only partially joking about Siberia?

Bill’s Opinion

For the record, I have no opinion on Craig Kelly as I avoid reading about Australian politicians as much as I possibly can, mainly due to the obvious fact they are stupid at best but usually with the added bonus quality of venality.

I also don’t know whether the two drugs listed reduce the impact of the virus or not. I’m willing to bet neither do you or Jenna Hates. I’m certain Kelly hasn’t a Scooby Doo.

Why don’t we know? Because they’ve been politicised. If you mention them, you will be labelled a conspiracy theorist and dangerously right wing.

In a world other than the Clownworld we’re currently inhabiting, existing approved pharmaceutical therapies for conditions adjacent to the virus would be taken through objective scientific enquiry and the results published for the medical profession to assess. If they prove effective, we’d all be happy. If not, we’d shrug and move on.

In 2021, however, we talk about shutting down the speech of those who suggest such a thing.

2021 already looks like its theme will be authoritarianism.

Mostly peaceful

The online world is a bit of a dumpster fire this week, with everyone with an opinion feeling uninhibited enough to let us know their hot take on the situation, with the added not insignificant bonus of publicly demonstrating their virtue.

Careful observers with memories longer than a few months might spot some slight inconsistencies in these public opinions, however.

For example, those who are loudly proclaiming on their soshal mejia accounts the Trump supporters breaking into The Capitol was an attempted coup yet didn’t speak up against any of the following:

  • The four year campaign to impeach the President on the basis of an election “hacked” by Russia which, after an expensive taxpayer funded investigation, turned out to be a big nothingburger,
  • The nightly Antifa riots in Portland, the destruction of the city centre and the implementation of a lawless “autonomous zone”,
  • The nightly attacks on the Portland courthouse,
  • The invasion of the Senate by anti-Brett Kavanaugh protesters,
  • The riots across the USA and looting of department stores in the name of BLM,
  • BLM and Antifa threatening diners in restaurants and suburban residents in their homes.

Given time and motivation, we could continue to list multiple examples of illegal and violent protest over the last four years, and undertake the offence archeology on the accounts of those who were silent then, vocal now. People are doing this for high profile names such as Alexandria Occasionally Correct with amusing results.

But for the average person, you, for example, what’s the standard you’ve demonstrated? Have you applied the same principles when your team screwed up as when the other side did?

If you didn’t, what does that make you?

Bill’s Opinion

In the few jurisdictions where it still exists, your freedom of speech should be unaffected by your record of subjective and partisan commentary.

That statement notwithstanding, your inability to apply objective standards and principles and your lack of courage to do so in public massively reduces your credibility.

You may exercise your freedom of speech to attempt to persuade us that, despite the long history of coup attempts and successful coups around the world, an unarmed raggle taggle bunch of cosplay Davy Crockets entering a building is a clear and present danger to the world’s most powerful military force. We, however, will judge those twitterings in the context of your previously demonstrated commitment to consistency.

My view on the events in The Capitol are that it was illegal and the rule of law must be maintained. That was also my view on the looting during the summer of BLM, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, and all of the other illegal acts we witnessed last year but were given a free pass by many for reasons of political expediency.

I suggest this is a time for a long look in the mirror in case the Nietzsche quote applies to you:

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

Jenna hates… fireworks

It has become obvious to me we need a new category here; Jenna hates…

Unfortunately, the Sydney Morning Herald’s readership has declined in recent years so the original opinion pieces by Jenna Price don’t receive the widespread acknowledgment they deserve. We hope to rectify this by providing a summary here to give her the audience she so richly deserves.

This week’s insight into the mind of a visiting fellow at the Australian National University and a regular columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald won’t disappoint:

There is no justification for having New Year’s Eve fireworks, none. Not this year, not any year.

I agree, utter waste of taxpayers’ money.

Years ago, I felt differently. I would take my children down to the nearest view of soaring Catherine wheels, of sparkling flowers and hearts. One year, we even ventured down to the Rocks. It was awful. Drunken brawling, men catcalling my not-yet-teenage daughters, all for the best possible view of six million bucks going up in smoke.

Why on earth would you take kids younger than 13 to a location where people do pub crawls on stag nights… at midnight? Talk me through the thought process resulting in that parental decision.

Not that we mere mortals ever get the best possible view. That’s reserved, this year more than others, for those with real estate privilege: Green Zoners, those who live or have a reservation in the CBD or the lower north shore of Sydney (that bit’s not too far from plague central also known as Avalon) will have access to city venues with “valid passes”; Yellow Zoners, those who live a little further out, can go hell-for-leather, untethered, unmasked, unsurveilled and a danger to all. Pyrmont Park and Potts Point will each have to be renamed Peril Park.

Envy is the ugliest of emotions.

This is what real estate privilege does for you; Gaia knows who has those reservations to swanky harbourview restaurants and berths in CBD boltholes but my money is on some of Daryl’s mates or similar, developers of one kind or another, various tollroad builders, airport establishers, G8way to heaven, United World Enterprises, icare or some other bit of dodgery.

Real estate privilege.

165 million Bangladeshis would like to have a word with you about your real estate privilege, Jenna.

Good move to cancel the acknowledgment of frontline workers with a front-row seat at the fireworks. Let’s acknowledge them the best way possible. Give them a bloody pay rise, all of them.

Beautiful virtue signal there; pay other people more of other people’s money.

The recent behaviour of those in Sydney during COVID-19 times has confirmed for me that the government should cancel the fireworks this year. It’s Christmas Day at Bronte Beach and idiots are cavorting in board shorts and Santa caps, chanting at the top of their lungs as if we don’t potentially have the plague on every breath. The Sydney Fish markets attempted to pull itself together on Christmas Eve by taking temperatures and enforcing QR check-ins, but it didn’t insist on masks. Attending police tried to persuade but weren’t wearing masks themselves. My favourite fishmonger didn’t even have staff wearing masks. Not too many masks at the Hillsong light display in Bella Vista, even fewer at Westfield Parramatta.

There were seven cases in NSW yesterday after over 300,000 have been tested this week.

7/300,000 x 100 = 0.0023% of the people who thought they might have the virus. As a percentage of the population of the state, that’s 0.00009% with a virus that 99.97% of people fully recover from.

Perhaps people see those odds and feel it’s an acceptable risk, Jenna?

But while it is true that we have many excellent citizens who had had their swabs, that’s more of an “ohmigod, I might be sick and I should really get that checked out” action as opposed to the more purely selfless behaviour of those who wear masks at the shops and on public transport. Of which there is not enough.

Not enough? I was one of only three in the local supermarket not wearing a mask yesterday. I don’t wear a mask because I understand probabilities; the car journey to the supermarket is more dangerous than the virus.

Not enough? What’s your proposal to solve that, Jenna?

Which brings me back to the fireworks. Yes, they are lovely and exhilarating. Soaring, popping, being in large groups of people all aahing and oohing at once, as if they’ve rehearsed for months. But last year was a warning. As Australia burned, fireworks snipped and snizzled across our land. We had a few reflective thoughts about whether we should add more to our already poisoned air, whether we should heap particulate on particulate, but mostly went ahead anyhow, even as people were losing their families, both human and animal, and their homes. The spectacle mattered much more than our consideration of others.

Got a climate change reference in there. That’ll please your colleague Peter weather is climate Hannan.

This year, just broadcast the fireworks on various platforms. And next year, ditch them altogether.

Actually, this is a perfectly reasonable position to take if you’re being asked to pay for the fireworks.

Remember how we celebrated Earth Hour?

Yes! We have an annual tradition; we run a competition to see how quickly we can make the little dial on the electricity meter spin, by getting the kids to rush around the house switching on every electrical device they can find.

We give off so much heat and light for that hour, astronauts on the ISS can probably see Chez Ockham from space.

Switching off all the lights, watching the stars and contemplating how lucky we are, how lucky to be alive.

Oh, that’s not what we do. Are we misunderstanding Earth Hour?

Bill’s Opinion

As with the previous target for Jenna’s hatred, golf, I agree somewhat with Jenna about the fireworks.

My view is they are overrated but, if people want to use their money to fund them, fill yer boots. A subscription service or GoFundMe campaign would work. Just don’t use my taxes to fire 6 million bucks of gunpowder up in the air.

As with most of Jenna’s opinion pieces though, this one tells us more about her emotional state than the specific subject itself.

Jenna has more issues than Vogue. It’s nice of the Sydney Morning Herald to allow her to share the details of her ongoing therapy with us.

We sleep soundly at night….

……because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.

Winston Churchill

Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith was photographed cheering on an American soldier drinking from the prosthetic leg of a suspected Afghan militant whose death is now the subject of a war crimes investigation into the war hero.

The world is divided in to exactly three types of people;

  1. Those who see the photo above and think, “so what?”,
  2. Those who see the photo above and think, “that’s disgusting, get the lawyers in The Hague on the blower”, and
  3. Those who see the photo above and think, “the infidel dogs in the west must die”.

The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald have obtained two photographs that show Mr Roberts-Smith, the country’s most decorated living soldier, posing with the prosthetic leg which was used as a novelty drinking vessel.

Obtained” or, in English; “paid top dollar for“.

The photographs appear at odds with claims made by Mr Roberts-Smith’s lawyer in the Federal Court last year that the war hero was utterly disgusted by the use of the leg as a drinking vessel. Lawyer Bruce McClintock stressed Mr Roberts-Smith “never drank from that thing … Because he thought it was disgusting to souvenir a body part, albeit an artificial one from someone who had been killed in action.”

He’s not drinking from it. He’s next to a person drinking from it, neither of whom probably realised that, years after risking their lives on our behalf, investigative journalists would be frothing up a story where front line soldiers in Afghanistan are judged by standards applicable to wine bars in Glebe.

The fake limb gained further notoriety earlier this month when photos of soldiers and non-commissioned officers drinking from it were leaked to The Guardian. The photos supplied to The Guardian did not include any images of Mr Roberts-Smith posing with the leg.

In other news, I visited Dallas once but the authorities are still struggling with collecting the evidence necessary to convict me of assassinating JFK.

The Guardian story, written by freelance journalist Rory Callinan, included photos of two soldiers with faces blurred posing with the boot. The story claimed “rank-and-file” soldiers believe they have been unfairly criticised by the Brereton report and suggest that drinking from the boot could be classified as the war crime of pillaging because the leg was property taken without the consent of its owner.

Rory Callinan’s Twitter feed is to be found here. It is fair to say he posts little else other than allegations of Australian war crimes and the reporting of the investigations. That’s fair enough, he can be a single issue journalist if he wants. Readers may wish to bear this obsession in mind when reading his output, however.

“…drinking from the boot could be classified as the war crime of pillaging“. Perhaps this is technically correct, but when detailing the backlog of various breaches of the Geneva Convention to be prosecuted and in what order, this may be close on the list to the whole of class detention your child got last week because two other kids were misbehaving. Collective punishment is a war crime under the 4th Geneva Convention, after all.

Perhaps it’s time for a comment from an adult:

Australian Defence Association chief executive Neil James wrote on Friday that, “to our national detriment, much of the public discussion on war crimes alleged to have been committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan is focusing on secondary, peripheral or irrelevant issues.”

Quite.

Bill’s Opinion

Unfortunately, I’ve no doubt war crimes have been committed in my name. I am certain, at times, armed forces acting for my country have shot first, asked questions later. After the fog of war has lifted, it’s correct to investigate these incidents and take appropriate action against the individual and to examine whether it indicates a culture that should be addressed.

However….I don’t give a flying fuck about our “rough men” drinking out of a dead Taliban’s false leg. In fact, send me the GoFundMe page link and I’ll chuck a few quid in to buy a round of beers for them.

My suspicion is this is the view of most people outside of the ABC, Sydney Morning Herald and Grauniad’s news rooms.

I’ve been playing a round with my Secretary….

….she’s hoping I might get her in the club.

Poking fun at at the lunacy that passes for journalism and academia is one of the few remaining opportunities for fun during these days of no travel, no concerts, limited seating sports and all the other restrictions imposed on us for our own good.

So, ladies, gentlemen and binary non-conformists, please enjoy the Sydney Morning Herald’s resident and tenured Bedlamite, “Jenna Price is a columnist and academic“:

Shut them down. Shut them all down. Golf courses sit in the middle of our cities, using up valuable space in places that need more genuinely public land. Hectare after hectare devoted to a few people wandering around attempting to whack a ball into a hole in the ground. While kids across the city queue for swings and the handful of remaining naughty roundabouts, the golfers do not queue except for expensive memberships in elite clubs.

Using up valuable space“, which would otherwise be used how? A newly built Chesterton’s Fence?

While kids across the city queue for swings and the handful of remaining naughty roundabouts…“, please post any photographic evidence of these queues for swings.

“….the golfers do not queue except for expensive memberships in elite clubs.“. Jenna then proceeds to use her entire column to tell us public, not private golf courses, should be shut down.

Sydney’s lord mayor Clover Moore is in the spotlight again because she wants to decrease the number of holes in the Moore Park golf links from 18 to nine. Here is why. Moore Park is just over 113 hectares, according to City of Sydney staffers. Less than one-tenth is for general recreation. One-tenth. That’s compared with 45 hectares for the golf course (a sport that so few people play) and 46 hectares for all the other sports fields and courts used by the vast majority of us. Moore Park Golf Club is what’s called a public club although those fees don’t seem particularly public to me.

“Less than one-tenth is for general recreation. One tenth.” Moore Park has a cricket stadium, a rugby/other sports stadium, multiple flat spaces for seasonal participation sports, several lakes and a lot of trees. What is the correct ratio for this parkland? We aren’t told.

Also, “links” doesn’t mean what Jenna thinks it does. But I’m sure she knows all about golf as they wouldn’t let someone who doesn’t know what the bloody hell they are talking about write a column. Cough, Peter Fitzsimons, cough.

Moore’s proposal to turn it into nine holes is such a good idea – but it doesn’t go far enough. Boot all the golf clubs out of cities where there is just not enough open space. Already the sport is being abandoned. Participation has plunged from 8.2 per cent in 2001 to 5.2 per cent in 2020, a decline of over 36 per cent in 19 years.

Participation has plunged from 8.2 per cent in 2001 to 5.2 per cent in 2020, a decline of over 36 per cent in 19 years.“. Erm, there were 18,769,249 people in Australia in 2001, there are 25,649,985 here today. So, about 205,279 fewer people play golf. I make that a 12% decline in real numbers, not 36%.

You may wish to get someone from the Mathematics Faculty to do your sub-editing in future, Jenna.

Compare that with the sports that don’t rely on big footprints, fancy clobber, expensive gear, such as recreational walking, which has increased by 70 per cent to just under half the population.

No source for that claim in a column otherwise littered with hyperlinks, I note.

Why are we giving up massive amounts of space to a pursuit that offers so little to so few? Build a few outback golf links and send the 18-hole obsessives on a long drive.

Are you sure your objection is not an emotional reaction? This seems to delight in the prospect of punishing someone.

The cost and the way the sport is offered is just so off-putting for the majority.

So’s cricket, dinghy racing, Thai kick-boxing, cycling, high stakes poker and sky-diving. It’s still not an argument, Jenna.

Professor of sport at Federation University and also at Victoria University Rochelle Eime loves golf so much she even signed up her twin 14-year-old sons to the game when they couldn’t play footy because of COVID.

Some similarly aged children quite close to me have played nearly a full season of rugby union and rugby league this year and only missed a few weeks of training. Didn’t Rochelle get the memo?

That cost a total of $100 at the social club rate. When she wanted to join her local club, she was told it would cost $1000. Then told she could only play on certain days of the week.

Different clubs and membership types cost different amounts and have different restrictions. Who knew?

She works full-time. She can’t be popping off for a quick 18-holes on a workday.

Describing 18 holes of golf as “quick” suggests quite a lack of basic knowledge of what is involved.

Eime says golf is a traditional sport, rooted in the male competitive model and that’s hard to break down to something that works for modern lives, including those of women.

Sport can be competitive? Again, who knew?

Is competitive sport an exclusively male thing? The Williams sisters are on the phone and want to have a chat, Jenna.

Also, if your “modern life” doesn’t have time for golf, consider the possibility golf might not be for you. As an alternative, I believe there’s a clue in the name of F45 which might better help your diary planning.

“We need female voices in the decision-making.”

Ok. Hopefully that’ll be inclusive enough to include women who play golf or are at least vaguely aware of it. No, not you, Jenna, sit down.

Malcolm Gladwell, in A Good Walk Spoiled, possibly my favourite ever episode of his long-running series Revisionist History, spends the entire podcast exploring the social, political and environmental wrongdoings of golf.

And there we have the admission; Jenna heard a podcast once and the Sydney Morning Herald let her write a column about it.

…social, political and environmental wrongdoings of golf.” Oh come on, you can tick a few more boxes than that, Jenna. What about race, trans, gender and sexuality? Also, what about that chapter of Mein Kampf extolling the virtues of the sport?

Golf itself knows there is a problem and does its best to paper over them. A drive for membership here, a recognition that the game has to change there. By July this year, membership of Australian golf clubs had risen by 0.05 per cent, the first increase since 1998

Hands up who can spot a contradiction with an earlier claimed statistic? Bonus point if you can explain why, prima facie, the two numbers can exist together and still both be correct.

Golf Australia said in a statement that it would argue to retain any public golf course in Australia. Fine. But now it has to build a sport that fits with contemporary values and the lives of working women.

Because? Reasons.

Ready for the big finish?

Let’s see if it has the drive for that.

Boom tish. Try the veal.

Bill’s Opinion

Full disclosure; I have only ever played golf twice and consider those several hours as a an even worse waste of my life than the 3 English Premier League wendyball matches I was tricked into attending (spoiler alert; four and a half hours of no score…. and the fans still applauded as they left!).

The only practical use for golf is to separate out the sporting population from those of us who have realised team sports, particularly those involving physical contact, are the only ones worth playing. It serves a similar purpose as the ability to purchase personal car number plates, it’s a shibboleth.

However, unlike Jenna, I’m not filled with an irrational jealousy and resentment of those who find joy in participating in golf.

In fact, I’d be curious to know precisely what Jenna Price finds joy in, as her back catalogue suggests the answer is, well, not much, not much at all.

Give us a smile, Jenna!

Actually, on second thought, please don’t.

Independent. Always. (Part 3,256)

The Sydney Morning Herald’s political correspondent in London filed a “proof of life” article this weekend, in a futile attempt to convince her editor she wasn’t spending all her time lounging around in Shoreditch bars and Brick Lane curry houses:

She probably could have stopped at the headline. Maybe she could have made it a little clearer, perhaps; “Opposition Party Opposes Government Position”.

Somehow though, she manages to fry up a couple of hundred words of absolute nothing burger on the theme:

London: Britain’s opposition is demanding Prime Minister Boris Johnson boycott Australia’s campaign to have Mathias Cormann installed as the next head of the OECD saying the former cabinet minister’s denialist climate change record makes him unfit for the job.

“Denialist”?

That’s a thoroughly modern adjective with really one main usage; to discredit an individual who expresses any level of scepticism with the climate change narrative.

How modern is this word? Here’s how many times it’s appeared in published books in the last couple of hundred years:

Labour’s spokeswoman for trade, Emily Thornberry has written to the British Prime Minister, demanding he guarantee that Britain will not back Cormann, who was instrumental in twice removing Malcolm Turnbull has Liberal party leader, over his record on climate policy. Australia’s Labor Party has backed Cormann’s OECD bid.

I’m confused, is UK Labour saying Cormann is a bad person for rolling a Prime Minister from the other side of the political spectrum? Or is the journalist making that assertion?

Also, Emily Thornbury, (also known as Lady Nugee); oh dear…. go to YouTube and look at her greatest hits. Fortunately for Emily, Dianne Abbott and Richard Burgon are still MPs so the Westminster Village Idiot position has an incumbent and succession plan.

Former Labor premier Mike Rann, who was replaced by the Abbott government just one year into his term as Australia’s high commissioner to Britain in 2014, added to the criticism.

Man who got the sack has an axe to grind.

Shocking.

But Cristina Talacko who chairs of the Coalition for Conservation said Cormann was not a climate change sceptic.

“Mathias is certainly not a climate denialist and that he will be very well placed to help the OECD member countries to achieve net zero given his experience on negotiations, his knowledge on how to apply the best methodologies and his fiscally responsible mind.

Woman from the same side of politics likes her side of politics.

Shocking.

British Labour’s opposition to Cormann’s candidacy is significant in the context of the UK-Australia bilateral relationship, particularly given the Australian Labor Party has endorsed Cormann’s candidacy.

So what? Do the UK Labour and Australian Labor (sic) Parties need to be in lock step about every issue? Who is Bourke trying to lobby here?

Number 10 declined to comment.

Number 10 might have a little more on their plate to deal with in 2020 than responding to Latika Bourke’s latest stating the bleedinobvious article.

Bill’s Opinion

The content of Bourke’s column is only relevant if you have the prior assumption Cormann’s stated position on climate change is incorrect at best, possibly mendacious.

It would have been written completely differently if the author was seeking to maintain a perception of journalistic objectivity.

There’s no law requiring the Sydney Morning Herald to be non-partisan, but their tagline is “Independent. Always“, after all.

Finally, the amusing, “Number 10 declined to comment” reminded me of this classic:

They used to hate us for our Freedom

Thousands of NSW businesses have less than two weeks to implement digital registration systems to record customers’ contact details before authorities will start issuing fines.
Businesses required to comply include hospitality venues, entertainment venues, public swimming pools, beauty salons, zoos and strip clubs.

We can perhaps have a chuckle at the consternation this announcement will have induced in the NSW Union of Stripclub Owners when considering the impact on their businesses when punters have to sign in digitally and be logged on a database every time they attend their premises.

Today is November 12th. Australia has had almost a week of no locally-acquired cases of Kung Flu. The peak of known cases of the virus in Australia was in April.

Curious minds might ask why, seven months later, we now need intrusive data collection mandated by law (and its inferred monopoly on violence)?

More curious minds might also wonder why the commentariat and public voices in the media are not asking the same question?

Bill’s Opinion

As I wrote in April, the rush to further legislate into the day to day minutiae of regular people going about their everyday lives is disproportionate and very certainly not temporary, as our “war on terror” lessons have shown.

Almost all of this legislation will never be wound back. Freedoms are rarely expanded, particularly when they were initially removed “for the public good“.

I, for one, am not OK with this, at all.

Are you?

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.
H. L. Mencken.

What we have here is a failure of imagination

If the bookies are a good indicator, it’s President Kamala Harris Joe Biden for the next term.

There will be much celebration and gnashing of teeth depending on people’s preferences and biases, obviously.

Despite the probable win, the fact the election was so close will not be a comfort to the Democrats. After all, if nearly half the vote went to this “literally Hitler” orange man, what does that say about the Democrats’ persuasiveness that theirs was the morally-correct path?

Commentators have spotted this, for example this Daily Mirror opinion piece wondering why 17% of black voters couldn’t spot Trump’s racism.

This one is amusing too;

Until about five minutes ago, Emma was a high profile journalist. That she is unable to understand the possible motivation of almost half the voting population, probably goes quite some way to explaining the reason behind her recent sudden change of career.

Bill’s Opinion

One of the key requirements for a journalist must surely be an ability to empathise, or at least know of the major reasons behind other people’s opinions. Not to agree with, but at least to form a good understanding of their key grievances and motivations.

That so many professional commentators are clearly and publicly incapable of this basic human characteristic, suggests a life lived exclusively in one hermetically sealed opinion echo chamber.

Check whether this applies to you; if you’re of the left, try to list the five best arguments in favour of free markets and, if you’re a free market kinda person, do the same for the left.

See? Easy isn’t it? You don’t have to agree with the other opinion to understand it. In fact, it’s necessary to make every effort in order for us to live peacefully together.

Being incapable of that simple act of empathy indicates a total failure of imagination.

Let’s hope that’s not a skill one needs in the role of “Chief Strategy Government Relations & Communications” for an insurance aggregator website company, otherwise Emma will be making a custard of that job too, despite it being a bit of a bullshit job reliant almost entirely on who you know, not what you know.

Grubby fingers on the scales

For those not normally exercised by the parochial freak show that is Australian politics, “the Morrison government” is a coalition of two parties that pitch themselves as being on the side of free markets and smaller government.

Obviously, as they say in Tasmania, “it’s all relative”.

The Greens are, well, what Greens are the world over; water melons.

The Greens are willing to help the Morrison government pass contentious new laws to make global digital tech giants pay local news media companies for content, but its Senate support will be contingent on the inclusion of both public broadcasters in the mandatory industry code.
Under the proposed laws foreign technology platforms such as Google and Facebook would be forced to pay news companies for use of their articles, share key data and warn them of any changes to their algorithms or face fines of up to 10 per cent of local revenue.

Prima facie, these are curious bedfellows.

Some understanding of the nature of Australian politics is required to make sense of this.

First though, read this sentence and see whether it makes any sense to you:

“There is no reason for the ABC and SBS to be excluded … public broadcasters deserve a fair return for what they produce and what the tech platforms benefit from. If the aim of this code is to ensure the viability of Australia’s media, then the government should ensure ABC is included, that AAP doesn’t fail and that small and independent publishers don’t miss out.”

For the benefit of our overseas readers, the ABC and SBS are government broadcasters. The concept that a government department “deserves” revenue from its competitors in the private sector tells you everything you need to know about Senator Hanson-Young’s understanding of commerce, economics or, indeed, the correct limitations of government.

Obviously, that we’re even talking about taxing one company to pay a competing government department is ridiculous, but the conversation started without anyone challenging the idea of taxing a company to pay for the failings of another.

Why are Facebook, Google, et al going to be clobbered with this potential tax? Because the local Australian media haven’t managed to get a viable subscription service in place to replace their century old paper-based revenue stream.

Did the Pony Express receive tax subsidies from the telegraph once the lines were laid?

Bill’s Opinion

Three things can be correct at the same time; the Australian political landscape can be populated by bedwetting collectivists and crony capitalists, the Australia legacy media can be incompetent and venal AND the big tech companies can be run by utter cunts.

Witness today’s auto-fill suggestions:

And yet: