#AUSPOL save the dole!

Don’t think getting kicked off the dole for six months at a time is just some character-building kick in the arse for lazy stoner punks – it will apply to all adult jobseekers under 30 who receive Newstart, the vast majority of whom want to work. Some of those people will have children to feed, clothe and educate while they themselves seek employment, but even those that only have themselves to look after will essentially be consigned to half-lives of desperation and poverty if the Newstart demolition is passed.

Removing the base of the social safety net might save some dollars, but the pressure on society and the state of a new underclass of disenfranchised, impoverished and increasingly desperate people will outweigh it significantly. Most unemployed are that way not through choice but through a combination of factors including economic climate, location, legislation, market forces and plain bad luck. Take away the one thing they can count on to fill their fridges, their prescriptions and their petrol tanks (yes, Joe, in their cars) while they look for work and you run the very real risk of turning good people who need a break out onto the street, placing pressure on already overworked public hospitals, welfare agencies and NGOs and perhaps turning them into desperate criminals, placing undue pressure on their victims, their families, the police and legal system and everyone else who has to deal with them.

People without work should be afforded a basic allowance to enable them to live while they look for work, not punished as part of some unjustified austerity drive. If paying unemployed people a basic wage is too expensive or frivolous for this government, perhaps they’d like to reconsider their baffling, dogmatic contempt for the rapidly-growing renewable energy market as embodied by their fear and loathing of the RET and the carbon tax, their propping up of the dinosaur that is coal as exemplified by their teaming up with a nakedly self-serving coal-miner to scrap the mining tax, or their general coddling of billionaires.

Whether we like it or not, welfare for the unemployed needs to be a non-negotiable fact of life in a wealthy nation, for the simple reason that there are never enough jobs available for all eligible workers to have one at the same time. It needs to be that way too: if capitalism is to function at all and as growth is a desired facet of capitalism, there must always be a pool of available labour to enable that growth. That means that there must always be a small percentage of the population unemployed, ready to pick up the jobs that arise in a growing economy. It is the duty of a capitalist state to ensure its labour pool can sustain themselves while they’re between jobs (of course a minority will just toke up and slack off, but I’d like to see how their malfeasance stacks up next to the rorts of our esteemed elect), not use them as pawns at the behest of a small and unduly noisome cabal of self-interested arch-consevatives.

So sign the petition, go and march, hassle your MP, get loud.

Welfare isn’t a handout, it’s just a hand. And taking it away is pretty much a fisting.

Scott Morrison has just made the boogeyman redundant #auspol

Several children are missing in South Australia after two others were removed from school and placed in immigration detention centres.

Quotes from Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul:

“They’re at the whim of the department.”

“The fact they were snatched out of school is an indication of how (the Department) operates with no concern for the kids involved.

“It’s a general phenomenon at the moment. The department is cancelling visas, bringing people in, sending people back. There is general fear in the community.”

Parents: you may now start terrorising your children into eating their steamed vegetables with the prospect of indefinite detention in a shipping container on a small, hot island where the locals want to kill you and the prison guards can’t stop them.

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Expelled Redux!

Duped over at Dangerous Intersection.

They’ve started advertising the DVD version of that infernal, mendacious, highly offensive, wilfully ignorant and misleading waste of megabytes known as Expelled. Bay of Fundie has scratched the surface of their advertising and revealed some new information.Now, given that this is the DVD release of Expelled, it makes me wonder what kind of special features they’ll include. Of course noone can know for sure, but I have something of a wish list:

– a complete timeline of all the steps taken & communication entered into to secure the participation of such people as Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers, including a full explanation for the stark deviation from the premise of the original film: it was originally presented to Myers & Dawkins as a documentary named “Crossroads”, detailing the intersection of religion & science, which it clearly did not turn out to be, either by name or nature

– full, uncut, unedited interviews with the abovenamed

– a full explanation from the film’s producers of PZ Myer’s own expulsion from a screening of Expelled by security staff before he’d entered the theatre, despite the fact that he’d registered to attend under his own name and hadn’t attempted any kind of subterfuge, as was alleged early on by the producers (as well as an explanation of how Richard Dawkins, arguably more recognisable than PZ Myers, was allowed to enter unmolested)

– behind-the-scenes segments showing such things as exactly who comprised the audience in Ben Stein’s opening, paranoid address to college “students”and a clear explanation of Adolf Hitler’s alleged use Darwin’s theory of evolution to justify his horrific experiments

– a demonstration that the producers of this film – and Ben Stein himself – actually understand what the theory of evolution says and, importantly, what it doesn’t say: Stein is on record stating that evolution can’t explain certain astronomical phenomena & processes, apparently ignorant of the fact that evolution only applies to terrestrial biological diversity

– an explanation of how “micro-evolution” differs from “macro-evolution”, followed by an explanation of how a lit match can’t start a bushfire

– an actual clear-cut, definitive definition of the theory of Intelligent Design, the predictions made by this theory and why this theory requires equal time in science classes (see below)

– results of any actual research into & testing of ID’s predictions, including such information as the identity or even intent of the “designer” and the reason for the many, glaring inefficiencies, inconsistencies and illogicalities in biological “designs” from all branches of life. This should be presented by one or a combination of (but not limited to) the following high-profile design proponents: Michael Behe, William Dembski, Casey Luskin, Phillip Johnston & we mustn’t (nor will we ever) forget Ben Stein.

– a full explanation of the “controversy” that Stein & co wish to be taught to children, as it appears that the only controversy regarding the veracity of evolutionary theory is the one Stein & his partners in this endeavour have manufactured

– actual, scientific rebuttals of (or even credible challenges to) any aspect or aspects of the theory of evolution – without resorting to paranoid conspiracy theories or sweeping, unsupportable statements about “Big Science”

– an explanation of Stein’s infamous remark from an interview on a Christian TV programme: “Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place, and science leads you to killing people.”

– an explanation of how Intelligent Design is not based on (or simply is) Biblical creationism & an explanation of the actions of the obviously religiously motivated members of the Dover, PA school board (and their supporters from the Discovery Institute, authors of the infamous and clearly religiously-based “Wedge Document”) which led to the famous trial of 2004

– a justification for singling out Darwinian evolution for special attention, while other fields such as Newtonian physics and Copernican astronomy each contradict Scripture in various ways but are (for the most part) left unmolested and uncontested by religionists

– one good reason why teaching children their parents’ religion shouldn’t just stay in Scripture classes, Sunday schools, churches and the family home and one good reason why it should be taught as fact alongside evidence-based science when, as is repeated often, religion & belief is a matter of faith, which by definition means “accepting a proposition without evidence”

Of course, it’s all wishful thinking on my part. But no more so than Stein & Co’s insistence that “Big Science” persecutes & expels religious professors for dissenting views, that “Darwinism” is a one-way street to concentration camps or, indeed, the insistence of many ID supporters that Big Religion played no part in attempting to usher Bible stories into science classes through the back door in violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution of the United States.

I eagerly await my hopes to be dashed.