#OneTermTony is only the beginning | .@independentaus #auspol

Of course Tony doesn’t care that he and his dream-team of much-loathed vandals almost certainly won’t be re-elected. He’s here to do a job – fulfill a wish-list given him by conservative radicals, making it easier for them to do business by relaxing or removing worker protections and any/all regulations that might delay or slightly reduce profit (not to mention make it criminally easy for the government to get into your personal space). Once he’s spent his three years slashing and burning the social safety nets that have been thorns in the sides of his masters since Whitlam (along with every other piece of post-Gough legislation designed to serve and protect normal people from the miscreant behaviour of state and business alike), he’ll co-author a self-serving memoir with some Murdoch fist-puppet and retire to obscurity on a healthy PM’s pension (and perhaps join the Tory speaker’s circuit and make awkward jokes to various assemblages of CEOs and smugly pale IPA list-makers), comfortable with the knowledge that he fulfilled the brief and did what he was damn well told. He wasn’t there to make friends, he was there to make waves for his bosses to surf on.

And then the incoming Labor government, even if it has both Houses in its pocket, will almost certainly not have the vertebrae to repeal, roll back or even renovate the authoritarian, anti-science, user-pays remnant of a nation they’ll inherit, much less undertake the radical redesign that it already needs after a scant 15 months of Tory clear-felling. As a party they’ve shown precious few signs of mounting actual, effective, opposition while in Opposition (they’ve left that job to The Greens & capricious independents, who they’re happy to throw under the bus when it suits them, even as said Greens, no longer a single-issue party [if they ever were] take seat after seat across the state polls at the expense of both old firms). It takes longer to create – or crucially, repair – than it does to destroy, and it’s difficult to see the next Labor government (esp. if it’s led by Shorten, which seems unlikely [#Plib4PM!]) having the guts or the inclination to fix the train wreck they’re going to step onto. Far easier to just take advantage of the new and extensive state powers set up by their predecessors (as did Obama, who expanded the Bush-enacted surveillance state and sent in the drones, among other things) and cosy up to the real power behind the throne in 2016, which will be an emboldened and enriched executive-class, and make all the right noises to keep the party faithful satisfied (i.e.: the opposite of whatever the Coalition says). And then the Coalition will get back in…

So don’t let’s continue to crow about “One Term Tony”, because in all probability that’s just the beginning.


Kevin Andrews suddenly learns that everyone else knows Catch The Fire are batshit #auspol

Minister for Putting Single Mums in Their Bloody Place Kevin Andrews, among other Team Australians, has recently learned that the people of Australia don’t particularly like that the “World Congress of Families” is run by well-known slavering extremist anti-choice homophobic bigots Catch The Fire Ministries and has decided not to open their adorable little Hatesturbate For Jesus for them after all.

Catch The Fire Ministries, whose head douche Danny Nalliah infamously linked Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires to that state’s abortion laws (and will now have to find other high-profile fundamentalist scenery-chewers to mix the green cordial [red is SINFUL!] and run the games of “pin Satan’s pitchfork on the eternally burning lesbortionist,”) have since thrown K-Drews under the bus for being a sad wuss. Because how dare any public official in a secular democracy respond to public outcry over lending explicit government support to a pack of fringe-dwelling cultists whose lunacy is only exceeded by their self-importance.

I suspect that, much like a pair of cling-wrap Y-fronts, this is a transparent arse-covering on the part of Kev and his fellow Tory wingnuts, Eric “I Am The Politican Every Sketch Show Bases Their Politicians On” Abetz and Cory “Looky, I Wrote A Book Just Like God Did” Bernardi, who would surely have gone along had the public not had something of a issue with members of our government explicitly validating the dark-ages lunacy of extremist evangelist hooligans.

Not Catch The Fire but close efuckingnough, amirite?

Uzis are not for children #arizona (derr)

In Arizona, there’s a place called Bullets and Burgers where you can have a hamburger, ride a monster truck and then go and shoot a .50 calibre sniper rifle or a machine gun. 

In Viet Nam there are shooting ranges you can visit where they have available AK-47s, M-60s and other war-era weapons to try out. Pay a little cash, shoot off a handful of rounds, the locals earn some money from the legacy of beating America’s arse out of their country, you get to live out your favourite ‘Nam-movie fantasy (or, perhaps & hopefully, get some perspective and insight on the war), everyone’s happy, noone’s dead.

Yesterday, a 9 year-old girl visited Bullets and Burgers with her family and tried out an Uzi at the range. After a single successful shot, the instructor set the weapon to fully automatic. When the girl pressed the trigger the weapon recoiled, sending a bullet into her instructor’s head and fatally injuring him. The video at this Raw Story article shows the instructor did not have his hands on the weapon at the time.

The difference between those places and this tragic scene out of a Paul Verhoeven movie? Most of those Vietnamese ranges have the guns on short chains or mounted with a very narrow firing arc available, both to prevent theft and to prevent precisely the kind of recoil accident that happened when this small child was given an Uzi and told to let rip on full-auto. An Uzi isn’t large but (contrary to what every movie hero of the 1980s taught me) it’s still a two-handed weapon, even for an adult – spitting out 9mm bullets at a rate of 600 per minute produces significant recoil. With the weapon completely unsecured, that kid should’ve been watched like a hawk and the instructor should have had a hand on – not under – that weapon at all times. It’s the least you’d do, even with a kid using an air rifle for the first time.

Of course, aside from the carelessness that cost a man his own life, the existence of a family restaurant with an attached firing range where fully automatic military weapons are as unsecured as laser-tag guns is the base problem, and which needs to be urgently addressed. I am not confident any meaningful action will occur in response to this, however; the American NRA and their fanatical cadre of barrel-polishers routinely show that there are no depths whatever to their depravity when it comes to defending their right to be well-armed, deluded little toy soldiers with invasion fantasies (and, in the specific case of the NRA, their right to be bukkake’d with cash by the craven sociopaths who own gun companies and wish to sell their products as freely as toothpaste and crayons). They’re certainly not above scapegoating a traumatised 9 year-old girl.

School Chaplains: why can’t you lot just stick to the pulpit #auspol

It appears the Abbott government still wants to exclude secular workers from the School Chaplaincy program, despite widespread opposition and two High Court challenges.

Religious people have numerous avenues available if they wish to seek spiritual guidance for themselves or their children; this constant push by some of them to have exclusive access to other peoples’ children while in school is distasteful and extremely presumptuous (and possibly even un-Constitutional – while Section 116 has historically not been applied to state funding of religious schools, implementing exclusively religious programs such as this in state schools might be a different basket of loaves and fishes. While the Abbott regime might be able to use the general term “religious” to escape being accused of favouring of one faith over another, the very term “chaplain” has an exclusively Christian origin and I doubt very strongly that we’ll see a great many imams, rabbis or whatever those used-god salesmen-for-Xenu call themselves counselling state school students).  

Apart from the blatant discrimination involved in barring secular counselors from consideration, kids with serious problems (or even mild ones) don’t need Divinity lessons, they need trained professionals. Religious exceptionalism of this sort is highly likely to expose vulnerable children to inappropriate proselytising and unhelpful advice – when compared to the likelihood of a properly trained secular counselor attempting to proselytise their philosophy, it’s practically a stone-carved certainty.

If a counselor is appropriately qualified and experienced they should be hired; their religious status, just like their age, marital status and orientation, should be irrelevant to their practice. It’s not legal for the Commonwealth to refuse employment in any other area of operation on religious grounds; how such a proscription wouldn’t apply to state school counselors escapes me. This appears to be yet another example of a government operating by ideology and working off a checklist, with pragmatism, fairness and perhaps even legality being secondary concerns.

Evangelising students in school is not only preying on an audience that’s legally compelled to be there, it’s also based on the offensive and arrogant presumption that the evangelists have the right (God-given, of course) to undermine whatever religious traditions those kids’ families may already observe in their own homes or places of worship or whatever non-religious philosophies they may subscribe to.

Not only that, but those churches that evangelise more often than not subscribe to fringe conservative and flat-out fundamentalist interpretations of Scripture which have absolutely no place in our public schools, where there frequently is a plurality of ethnicity and culture.

I’m sure we can all imagine the outcry from decent Christian folk if Islamists or JW’s or Mormons were given privileged access to state school students (even if ostensibly to use their powers for good and explicitly not for the purposes of conversion attempts); it’s much better for all concerned (chiefly the kids who’ll need professional advice and support) if preachers (or preachers-by-other-names) stay in the pulpit.

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.


Obligatory post on gun control

It’s not quantum physics, for crying out loud: military-spec weapons are not appropriate for civilians whether for sport, “home defence” or anything else.

Also inappropriate for civilians is the responsibility to employ deadly force against another citizen in the service of the law (as distinct from self-defence). Those lamenting the fact that the teachers in Vermont didn’t have assault rifles available to them should themselves be barred from ever owning firearms of any kind on the basis of their rank, bone-headed ignorance constituting a public menace.

George, meet Barry. Now fuck off.

Doubled here (sans profanity!): http://dangerousintersection.org/2009/01/21/george-meet-barry-now-sod-off

Don’t let the Whitehouse door hit you in the arse on the way out. On the other hand, I hope someone jams your pinky finger in it. And smacks you in the nuts with an army boot.

But, seriously, now that he’s gone, I guess we can’t rag on Dubya anymore. Sure, he’s given the world enough material (both unintentionally comedic, in a painful, Ricky-Gervais-in-The-Office kind of way as well as just plain tragic) to last the next 8 years, but have pity – he’s unemployed now. He’s likely to stay that way too – given his oratory skills it’s doubtful he’ll be able to make a living on the lucrative public-speaking circuit like his silver-tongued predecessor Bubba Clinton. But hey, there’s always Pop to turn to. Hell, who do you think got him his last job? And the one before that? Oh well, he’s got plenty of time to work on his golf game – and no pesky-ass reporterers asking him about boring shit like wars or deficits or hurricanes or drowned cities.

Anyway, there’s a new kid in town. A handsome chap who can – get this – string a few words together. Words that make grammatical sense as well as express all the stuff the world (and America) has wanted to hear from a US President for a while now. He’s resilient too. On his way to the Oval Office, Barry Hussein Obama managed to stride with class past all kinds of accusations from his desperate opponents: that he’s a Marxist; that he’s pro-abortion for everyone whether you want it or not; that he’s a secret Muslim; that he’s an Arab; that (and this was really stretching it) he’s not even a US citizen and therefore ineligible to be President in the first place. I suppose those people forgot that Hawaii, Bazza’s home state, is actually part of the US, even though it’s not physically attached (Alaska’s separated from the US by several million Canadians, but that didn’t stop people voting for Klondike Barbie, the beehived moose-shootin’ halfwit in Tina Fey glasses who couldn’t even lie & name just one newspaper – then accused the media of entrapment. Did she have a running mate? Some old guy? Meh. Whatever.). I’m also wondering why those desperate Republicans thought the possibility of Barry being an Arab or a Muslim would automatically make him an evil ayatollah-in-waiting, ready at a moment’s notice to impose an Islamic theocracy on the US, burn everyone’s Bibles, make everyone get gay-married and abort their third-trimester babies for the glory of Allah and Karl Marx. Hmmm…I think some people got a little confused there. Hell, I’m a bit confused myself.

In the end it all turned out great for Barry & Mimi O and the First Daughters, despite all the head-explodey brain-vomit from the nutjobs who couldn’t even mount an attack more damaging than “Dear lord, his middle name is ‘Hussein’ – RUN for your LIVES!” The other day (you may have seen it on the news) the O’s had themselves a big party with movie stars & pop stars & two million of their closest friends (& fucking Bono of course – he wasn’t invited, but just try and keep that bloke & his blarney away from a microphone and a captive audience) and then they got to ride in what must be The World’s Most Pimping Bulletproof Cadillac, which musta been just swell.

But now, after a totally sweet speech, the hard work begins. And “hard” barely even scratches the surface – George and his team basically wiped their arses on America for eight years and left Barry holding one worn-out toothbrush with which to clean everything up. Team Bush’s parting shot, the current financial crisis (brought about in part by George and his pals making life easier for themselves at the expense of pretty much everyone on the planet who isn’t a CEO) is the economic equivalent of leaving a massive hangover-turd in Barry’s new Presidential bedroom. With only one box of Kleenex on the dresser! Classy, George. Real nice.

So, anyway: the new guy’s got his work cut out for him. I don’t think anyone with a shred of realistic objectivity thinks the big O is some kind of political messiah, but hey – the guy can talk English proper where George, obviously, had it as a second language (I’ll take submissions on what George’s first language might be). Barry O says the things people want to hear, he represents a lot of what people find great about America and Barry even has daughters who aren’t running around binging on alcopops and flashing their gear all over the place (but give ’em time – they’re not even in high school yet).

But Big O’s definitely going to be pushing shit uphill for the next four years and he’ll need serious intestinal fortitude. I for one hope he doesn’t take any easy, quick-fix options. America needs more than a new lick of paint, it needs the kind of fixin’ that crappy old houses on renovation shows need: re-stumping, new floorboards, bi-fold doors leading to a new deck, a cubby for the kids with beanbags, plasma screen & PS3 in it, the kitchen walls painted in pistachio, a themed water feature and a wee day bed-equipped gazebo thatched with authentic Balinese thatching stuff. Hell, maybe one day the O’s will return home blindfolded from a state visit, that blokey tool-belt bloke off the telly will yell “surprise” and they’ll find their America has been backyard blitzed while they were off begging Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez for some more heating oil. Baz will be agape, the kids will jump up and down & squeal, the First Dog will hump the handyman’s dog to everyone’s amusement, Mrs O will start blubbing and whichever blond pint-size who’s hosting the show that week will give her a big ol’ bear-hug like they’ve been best gal-pals since primary school. And Everything Will Be Fine!

Or maybe Baz will be just another Democrat president in the mold of a Kennedy or Clinton: a little more careful on the cash side of things; a bit more discrete when it comes to razing poor foreign peoples’ villages to the ground; a little more eloquent when justifying his administration’s reflexive support of and sucking up to the usual suspects like those affable, head-removing, woman-hating, oil-filthy scamps, the Saudis.

Can we see that happening? Yes we can.

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