17 Aug 2019

In America fear is a big time driver of gun sales


The mural on the side of the gun store proclaims: “A Savior is Born.” There’s a manger scene below the star of Bethlehem and windows festooned with red, white and blue bunting. And above it all a looming AR-15 assault rifle spewing fire. Yet inside Gun Central on Sunday, barely 24 hours after a terrorist gunman killed 22 people and wounded dozens of others in a local Walmart, the expected white Christian nationalists defending the second amendment were not there. Instead there were terrified El Pasoans, mostly Hispanic, buying firearms for the first time.
The scene on Sunday at Gun Central, located along Interstate 10 and two miles from where bodies are still being recovered, was more reminiscent of Black Friday than the wake of a national tragedy. People crowded shoulder to shoulder to consult with harried employees, pondering over pistols and assault rifles, banana clips and ammo. Others lined up for their turn inside the store’s indoor shooting range. Staccato gunfire thundered behind the thin walls.
“I’m on high alert,” said April Sanchez, a marketing executive who along with her husband was buying her first weapon. “I never thought I’d carry a gun, but now I want something to defend myself, to defend my fellow El Pasoans.” To that end she picked out a 9mm Taurus and her husband a .40 Ruger; their son had purchased his first handgun the previous evening. They sat near a Coke machine with several others awaiting their background checks. Before that day, Sanchez had never even held a gun. Now she’s registering for classes that will allow her to legally carry her firearm in public.
“This isn’t something I’m proud of,” she added. “It makes me sad and angry that I’m even here. I’m heartbroken, but I’m also afraid.”

Gun Central in El Paso.

Truth hurts if your to secretive

Image result for truth and secrecy
Based on an article by Laura Tingle

Recognising this, there is talk within the government of a shift in gear to deal with whistleblowers and journalists, and secrecy generally, in future.
The idea is what might be called a graded regime of leaking sins to better guide the wallopers of the Australian Federal Police who have been left carrying the can for the heavy handed nature of the most recent raids.
That is, much clearer guidance to the police about just how far and hard they go in pursuing leaks(sometimes referred to as truthfulness)  , and also greater emphasis on the idea that it is the leakers, rather than the journalists, who are in the law enforcement agencies’ sights.
The clear hope is that such a regime will reduce the pressure from media organisations. But it shouldn’t.
Journalists and news organisations should have as much, if not more, interest in protecting whistleblowers as they have in protecting their own interests.

27 Jun 2019

Refugees desperation in plain sight after Australian election.


The Newyork Times
A refugee center on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.  Aziz Abdul/Australian Associated Press, via Associated Press

Despair spikes in Australia’s detention centers

Since May 18, when Australians returned to power a conservative government that has taken a hard line on immigration, there have been dozens of suicide attempts at the country’s offshore detention centers. Warning: The following content might be disturbing.
The government maintains that its strict policy, which bars settlement for migrants who reach the country by sea, has worked and fewer boats are showing up than a decade ago. But for those held at the refugee centers on the islands of Manus and Nauru, the recent election represented a loss of hope for change.
Details: The Times worked with human rights groups to create a rough timeline of events since the election. Within the first 48 hours of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s re-election, there were six suicide attempts in Manus. By June 26, the number of suicide attempts approached 100.
Quotable: “It was grim when I visited nearly two years ago to write about the situation,” reports our Australia bureau chief, Damien Cave. “Now, it’s worse. Every few days, it seems, a new instance emerges of people cutting themselves, setting themselves on fire or trying to harm themselves in some other way.”

21 Jun 2019

Australian Treasury 2012 mission statement. Then came Abbott and out went this statement!

Excerpt from the CQNVERSATION

Once were innovators

For decades Australia’s treasury has put these words at the heart of its mission statement:
to improve the well-being of the Australian people


10 Jun 2019

Frightening step towards a police state and we we are blindly letting it happen in the name of security.


The book is by veteran journalist Brian Toohey, and reflects his half century of writing about defence and national security issues.
Toohey says that:
"step by step, a succession of new laws and policies have provided the building blocks for Australia to become a country in which secretive officials and ministers wield unprecedented levels of peacetime power".
No major political party, he argues, is:
"offering to restore the values of an earlier era in which habeas corpus prevailed; the onus of proof was on the prosecution; the accused was allowed to see the evidence relied on by the Crown; and Australian Security Intelligence Organisation officials could not legally kidnap people or raid a lawyer's offices and seize documents in a commercial case directly involving the Government on the other side.
"No major party seems bothered by the use of new surveillance technology that allows governments to detect contact between journalists and their sources, effectively denying whistleblowers the opportunity to reveal abuses of power and criminal behaviour."
This (slightly hysterical) culture built around national security is the really important issue at stake in this week's raids, even more than the raids themselves and the threat they pose to journalism.

30 May 2019

Homelessness and the press.


Image result for homelessness


The roles of the law and the media

Why is the association of homelessness and crime so strong? There are two main factors.

First, many behaviours made necessary by homelessness are criminalised. Simply trying to survive puts people who are experiencing homelessness in direct contact with the criminal justice system.

In Victoria, for example, begging is a criminal offence. Other laws that unfairly target the homeless include indecent exposure laws, which result in homeless people being arrested for going to the toilet or washing themselves in public (because they lack the option to do so in private).

The second factor is the persistent linking of homelessness and crime in the media.

News stories proliferate in the tabloid media about aggressive beggars, foreign backpackers pretending to be homeless to make money and people who exploit their pets as they beg for donations.

Coverage of the homeless camp at Flinders Street Station in Melbourne during the 2017 Australian Open tennis tournament routinely described inhabitants as drug dealers, criminals and professional troublemakers.

Being homeless means being vulnerable it does not mean they are all criminals!

19 May 2019

The election "KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID" wins the day.


Image result for keep it simple stupid

The election "KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID" wins the day.

Summing up: The why of the election results comes down to one reason. If you give the opposing side several large targets you open the door on fear and people will play it safe.

Personalities had little to do with result. The why of the election result comes down to one reason. If you give the opposing side many targets they are bound to hit some of them.

Personalities I believe had little to do with result.

The agenda of the Labor party though based on sound policies was too broad. Once the Labor party has been in the wilderness(opposition) for a few terms, they unfortunately fall in to the same trap as their predecessors, their whole wish list becomes their agenda.

It's not that the electorate is stupid, if you open  many doors to rooms full of complicated equipment, they all require an explanation of how each piece of equipment works.

An election campaign is not the ideal time to be opening a party up to a wide ranging inquisition.

The LNP government was is given a free kick, they didn't have to defend all this complicated machinery, all they had to do, was "KEEP IT SMIPLE STUPID".

 And guess what, they did just that, it wasn't rocket science.

The journalists and pollsters including myself got lost in hullabaloo. Now in the light of day it was bloody obvious once the campaign was underway. 

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In America fear is a big time driver of gun sales

The mural on the side of the gun store proclaims: “A Savior is Born.” There’s a manger scene below the star of Bethlehem and windows fest...