30 Nov 2017

Humour polices taboos and stereotypes, including those of cultural difference. So perhaps it should be banned or at least strictly licensed.

Do we really want joke police, because we are heading that way.
Image result for A smiling face laughingImage result for A smiling face laughing

We live in an age of rising gelotophobia; not, in case you are wondering, a fear of ice-cream, but a fear of laughter. It can, it seems, be terribly destructive to laugh at anyone for a range of reasons, and one of the hottest of those is cultural appropriation. 

The agelasts (“wowsers”) often seem keen to use the wonders of social media to howl down anyone who dares to laugh at other cultures.

The wowsers have a point, at least some of the time. Blackface inscribes unequal and oppressive racial power relations. It does so even if entered into innocently as “just a joke”.
Humour polices taboos and deploys stereotypes, including those of cultural difference. So perhaps it should be banned or at least strictly licensed.

If that doesn’t sound right to you, it is probably because you also sense that laughter can be a source of pleasure, understanding, and human connection.

It was written by a comic playwright, more than 2,000 years ago, near the start of his Heauton Timorumenos (The Self-Tormentor) and it means something like “I am a man: I consider nothing human alien to me.”

Humour is one of the most durable ways of bringing people together, through the intimacy of shared laughter and understanding. Laughter is a distinctive feature of humans and it has evolutionary as well as socialorigins.

It is a human pleasure and a social glue, but it has also, for a very long time, thrived on cultural appropriation and distortion. We laugh with, but in doing so we often also laugh at.

Satire such as the verbal and cultural trappings of Trump (though Alec Baldwin does it with a certain furious intimacy).
Parody, one of the most ubiquitous comic and satirical techniques, functions by imitation with comic distortion.
It appropriates accents, gaits, wardrobes, words, and anything else it can think of, almost always in a judgmental way.

Nine times out of ten, “That is just not funny” does not mean “That is a badly-executed joke” so much as “I don’t agree that you should be laughing at that”. Then the equally lame response comes back: “Can’t you take a joke?” 

A fairly clear way to bring some order to this confusion is to distinguish between laughing up and laughing down. In modern Australia and other Western nations, we are generally OK with laughing up at people or groups who are relatively more powerful. When it comes to politicians, this licence to ridicule the powerful becomes a universal civic duty.

It seems to me that you can and should disagree ethically with some jokes, but it’s a big step further to insist that they simply are not funny, and a very big step beyond that to deny them a right to exist.

Humour without the risk of danger and offence would be a very bland thing. Humour helps build the robustness it requires of its victims, it is often a very good thing.

In our pursuit of a world that is safely and entirely OK, must humour be cleansed of its original sin of cultural appropriation and insensitivity? Are comedians welcome to make us laugh, as long as they don’t make us laugh at anything that doesn’t belong to them? Can an Englishman, an Irishman and a Frenchman never walk into a bar again unless complex multiple-citizenship conditions apply?

Is that fair? Would we like a world like that?

It would  be laughable.

Turnbull jumps when banks say jump, he's always been on the side of the banks'

Now Turnbull says how high should he jump. Now the Banks say have a commission.

"A government's policy remains the same until it is changed," Mr Turnbull said when asked if this was a backflip for the government.

"The political environment has created a sense of inevitability about an inquiry ... We have to act in the national interest, protecting Australia's economic future." 

Will he try and cripple a the commissions guide line's to look like he's doing something when he's not?
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Mr Turnbull had spent 601 days fighting Labor's call for a royal commission into the banking and financial sector.

"It says everything about Turnbull's values and priorities that he only agreed to Labor's royal commission when the banks told him he had to," he said in a statement.

"He ignored the pleas of families and small businesses, he rejected the words of whistle-blowers. "When the big banks wrote him a letter, he folded the same day."

"Turnbull has always been - and always will be - on the side of the banks."

28 Nov 2017

David Davis could be in contempt of parliament over Brexit studies | Politics | The Guardian

David Davis could be in contempt of parliament over Brexit studies | Politics | The Guardian:

'via Blog this'

The ABC: Michelle Guthrie, is she implementing LNP's plan to destroy the ABC by a thousand cuts.

Could this mean?
The first of many
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In her second year of a five-year term, the ABC’s managing director, Michelle Guthrie, has announced a restructure of content divisions that will see Radio National broken up and responsibility for its programs scattered around the corporation.

According to the organisational plan seen by Guardian Australia, RN will be splintered across entertainment and specialist, Audio Studios and news.

A former Radio National manager, Peter Manning, says when he was at the helm in the 1990s RN had a good budget, produced excellent intellectual work and celebrated the crafts of sound production.

“Radio National has taken some hits over the last few years because of budget cuts to the ABC and I think they’ve had to share those structured cuts,” he says. “But this Guthrie restructure is a threat of a different order.

“What makes Radio National as good as it is, is it has a different identity and is not just a kind of exporter of good content.”

Unlike Triple J, Classic FM and News Radio, which remain largely intact, RN staff won’t belong to a single team.

There will be no dedicated RN manager and no dedicated RN budget.
The current manager of RN, Deborah Leavitt, announced her resignation citing personal reasons just weeks before the restructure was unveiled. She will stay to see the new plan implemented but won’t be replaced.

'Not a dumbing down? Really?  Michelle Guthrie announces major ABC restructure
(could she be a News Ltd mole).

When the new structure is finally in place in February 2018 the person responsible for scheduling the RN network will be Cath Dwyer, a highly respected radio executive who loves the craft.

She won’t have a budget and she won’t have any actual power. “Any success will be based on her ability to persuade and get things done,” one RN source says.
Under Guthrie’s blueprint, RN shows will have to compete for budgets with news and TV shows, both of which carry more clout, take more time to produce and have bigger budgets.

It is obvious that RN is being set up to fail.

27 Nov 2017

Banks Royal Commission:- What exactly is there to hide?

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 Excerpt from an article by Ian Verrender
What exactly is there to hide?

Quite a lot it would seem, judging by recent events.

The calls for a full inquiry have been relentless for years, emanating from a broad section of the community — from farmers, small business and households, jaded and disillusioned with the industry's rampant profiteering, fee gouging and blatant disregard for the law.

How many times can a Commonwealth Bank chairman sincerely apologise for a yet another breach of trust? What, pray tell, will be the cause of next year's?

But the overwhelming reason for an inquiry rests on just one principle — accountability.

What has been forgotten in the endless round of scandals in recent years is that the Australian banking sector is a taxpayer subsidised industry.

It's an industry that pays ridiculously bloated salaries to its leaders; that showers itself with massive bonus payments when profits are soaring but instantly demands taxpayer protection and support when the tide turns.

Australia should be cautious about introducing laws on coercive control to stem domestic violence

Police shouldn't be he judge
when it comes to coercive control
unless given specialist training.
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When asked if 'Coercive control' exists in a domestic dispute, they're asking police to become experts in psychology?

More law is not the answer

Recourse to the law remains one of the central planks of policy responses to intimate partner violence. In the case of coercive control, research suggests more law of this kind is not the answer to improving those responses. 

Australian jurisdictions should be cautious about following in the footsteps of our English counterparts.
There may be a place for coercive control in law. But a more effective role for this concept may lie in better-informed expert testimony presented to the court in the case of very serious offences.
Law reforms should be evidence-based and informed by an understanding of the problems the reform seeks to address.

Policymakers must also look beyond the criminal law as a “quick fix” to a long-standing social problem and instead strengthen civil remedies, service access and delivery.

23 Nov 2017

Discipline has left the building and Malcolm Turnbull is in danger of leaving also. Permanently!

 Image result for Cabinet leaks like a sieve cartoon
Is this the Cabinet Minister
           that leaked.
Discipline has left the building and Malcolm Turnbull is in danger of leaving too

Mark Kenny

Suddenly the question is everywhere: can Malcolm Turnbull survive? It's arisen before, of course, but was written off as Labor mischief-making, or as political hypersensitivity syndrome, after the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd-Abbott-Turnbull careen made constant change seem inevitable.

Now, for the first time, the question is real. Again.

Turnbull's cabinet leaks. Ministers position on policy such as a banking royal commission as ciphers in personal power struggles. Back benchers freelance without admonishment on Sky News. Talk of crossing the floor abounds. All of this without the slightest regard for the Prime Minister's prestige.

Discipline has left the building. Turnbull is in danger of leaving too, having never fully been here. The electorate hasn't ever seen the ereal  him since he became the PM.

22 Nov 2017

Outsourcing of Forensic's Science has backfired on UK government. Privatisation is not the answer a market model will never work when it comes to the law and lives,

Disaster when Forensic providers fail to meet competence test, how many more cases are there?

The current government abolished the main forensic provider, the Forensic Science Service, in late 2010, with the intention of creating a market where independent companies competed for business. It ceased to operate in 2012.
Louise Haigh, Labour’s shadow policing minister: “It is clear the chaotic reorganisation of the forensics system, including the closure of the Forensic Science Service, has left providers who were simply not fit for purpose to fill the gap. This has had devastating consequences.”
She said she was concerned that Hurd did not appear to know there had been issues about one of Randox’s predecessor companies from previous years. 
“It is deeply concerning that the Minister would issue a statement that didn’t appear to include the full facts. Those affected and the public at large have a right to know the truth about this scandal.”

21 Nov 2017

Why does the government want to change the rules when these funds leave the others dead in the water.

Why change something when its not broken, because the LNP's buddies, the banks want to destroy not for profit funds.
Not-for-profit superannuation funds have dramatically outperformed for-profit retail funds, taking the first 23 of the top 30 positions over 10 years to September 2017, according to new research from SuperRatings.
Not-for-profit industry funds overall made up 25 of the top 30 performing funds. And details on investment strategies of different fund types provided by SuperRatings helps explain why that is the case.
The top performing fund, REST, returned members 6.1 per cent annually over a decade while the top retail fund, Russell IQ, returned 4.4 per cent.

The tentacles of Global Corporations will become the slave masters whip if the TPP goes through in its present form.

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Based on an article by Pat Ranald, Research Associate, University of Sydney:

The TPP11 retains all provisions on Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) from the previous TPP

Despite claimed “safeguards”, ISDS enables all other foreign investors to bypass national courts and sue governments for compensation in international tribunals if they can argue that changes in domestic laws or policies harm their investment.

The cases are tried by tribunals composed of investment lawyers who can continue to represent clients. There is no independent judiciary, and no precedents or appeals to ensure consistency of decisions.

Many of the 817 known cases involve public interest laws.
Swiss Pharmaceutical company Novartis is suing the Colombian government over the plans to reduce prices on a patented treatment for leukaemia.
The US firm Bilcon won its claim against the Canadian government for US$101 million after a provincial government refused to approve a quarry in an ecologically sensitive area.
The French company Veolia is claiming compensation from the Egyptian government for a rise in the minimum wage.

Even if a government wins a case, defending it can take years and cost millions. The US tobacco firm Philip Morris shifted some assets to Hong Kong and used ISDS in an Australia-Hong Kong investment agreement to claim billions in compensation for Australia’s plain packaging law.
It took more than four years and reportedly cost A$50 million in legal fees for the tribunal to decide that Philip Morris was not a Hong Kong company.

ISDS gives additional legal rights to global corporations to sue governments in unfair international tribunals, undermining democratic regulation in the public interest. Trade agreements should not increase corporate power at the expense of communities.

20 Nov 2017

London ignores Ireland and couldn't care less

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Ireland does not exist in the minds of May's parliament.
Conservative Brexiters have shown that they simply could not care less about Ireland. In the referendum campaign, few gave even a passing thought to the impact of a leave vote on the relationship between Northern Ireland.

The rest of the UK and the republic. When the vote went their way – though they lost in Northern Ireland – the Brexiters then gave bland assurances that the decision would make absolutely no difference to the island’s soft border, the legacy of the peace process, or north-south and east-west cooperation.

This was and is nonsense. The Irish government warned immediately that serious difficulties had been created by the vote and by Theresa May’s wish to leave the single market and customs union.

Dublin cannot be faulted for the reasoned and patient way it insisted these issues would have to be solved. In practice, though, none was taken seriously in London.

The peace agreements had been the fruit of long years of cooperative work. But the neighbourly mentality that made them possible has gone missing in London.

No charges makes John Elferink and Territory's law look stupid.

Lack of criminal charges in NT royal commission a vindication, says John Elferink

By Jane Bardon and Dijana Damjanovic

Former Northern Territory corrections minister John Elferink has responded to the findings of the Northern Territory royal commission, saying the lack of recommendations for criminal prosecution is a vindication.

"What they haven't recommended, is a single criminal charge to be lodged against any human being associated with youth detention in the Northern Territory," he told the ABC.

"That is a million miles away from the comparison of Abu Ghraib barbarism and torture of which the NT Government stood accused."

He said, at the time of the Four Corners report into Don Dale, "allegations of torture and barbarism" were put to the NT Government but they had not been backed up by criminal charges.

While no criminal charges were recommended, the royal commission's findings did state the commission had referred "a number" of matters to the Northern Territory Police.

The findings said the referrals included potential criminal conduct by youth justice offers and the abuse of children in out-of-home residential care.

The referrals also included allegations of harassment or threats to witnesses or potential witnesses.

Mr Elferink repeated his accusation the ABC's Four Corners program omitted important information from the report which prompted Malcolm Turnbull to set up the royal commission.

The Pauline Hanson(Donald Trump) style, which she represents, is an aberration and is going to disappear.

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Senator Pauline Hanson’s influence on Australian politics will be short-term, as it was in 1998.

”The Donald Trump style, which she represents, is an aberration and is going to disappear from Australian politics,” “It is just a matter of time.

“A vote for them is really a vote against the lack of leadership and vision from both the other parties, But it is of no value whatsoever, because they are just spoilers.

"They don’t actually make government work better in any way.”

They only appear to be there to garner votes from electors who want a local pot hole fixed or road widened. However once elected these local issues will be shovelled into the nearest bin.

Why, because it is about gaining power, Pauline Hanson is all about power and money. One Nation is all about Pauline the dictator, she doesn't tolerate anyone's opinion but her own.

17 Nov 2017

The Australian Constitution and citizenship is a joke? The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Image result for hear no evil see no evil speak no evil
All because someone simply wanted to know the truth?
And the truth is not something politicians are renowned for.

An excerpt from Joe Hildebrand's article
Confused? You should be. And that is why the Australian government has been running on bullshit and rum fumes and oily rags ever since the first colonists stumbled ashore. Frankly, it’s the only way to we seem to manage the place.

This is what makes it so laughingly bizarre that suddenly a whole bunch of politicians are now constitutional zealots.

The Greens, no doubt craving a bit of payback, now appear to be threatening to ask the Governor-General to use his reserve powers dissolve parliament — a concept I’m pretty sure their left-wing ancestors weren’t too fond of in 1975. Indeed, according to official Greens policy the Governor-General shouldn’t even exist.

It is also passing strange that the Greens are now so devoted to the constitution when it was two of its senators being so ignorant of it that created this crisis in the first place.

Indeed, it was not a ball tearing media expose, nor a malicious political campaign that sparked the whole government-destroying catastrophe but the abstract curiosity of a layman lawyer from Perth.

Barrister John Cameron told The Weekend Australian in July that he had decided on a whim to check with the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs to see if Scott Ludlam or Derryn Hinch were still Kiwis.

“I did this as a citizen, not as a lawyer, with a keen interest in the constitution,” he said, expecting that he would catch out the Human Headline and Ludlam would be in the clear. In fact the reverse was true.

The rest, as they say, is history — as the government will soon likely be. And all because someone simply wanted to know the truth?

15 Nov 2017

Brake through: 90% of push bike accidents are preventable

Have you ever seen a car do this?Image result for broken push bikes
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 90 percent of bike accidents could be prevented. 

The say there was a simple but effective measure to reduce potentially deadly incidents.

90 percent of bike accidents could be prevented, a study published Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 90 percent of bike accidents could be prevented by buying a car like a normal person. 

“Our data confirms that the vast majority of cyclist injuries can be avoided simply by driving an automobile instead of biking around like some weirdo,” said lead researcher Dr. Laura Gafferty, adding that while bicycle riding was perfectly acceptable for children under 12, it was not recommended for any actual grown-up who wasn’t competing in the Tour de France or similar event where it wasn’t completely ridiculous.

“Regular people drive cars because it’s the normal and not the abnormal thing to do.
If every cyclist purchased and operated a car like you’re supposed to as an adult, bike fatalities would drop an estimated 40 percent within six months alone.” Gafferty went on to say that people who biked for exercise should consider driving to a gym and using a stationary bike facing a wall of televisions like everyone else.

12 Nov 2017

The struggles of being an Aussie bloke in 2017. Are we listening?

Don't press this button.
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    Listen to men

The struggles of being an Aussie bloke in 2017
My thanks to Author Rachael Bolton additions and editing by Stephen W T Read

Australian men are feeling a bit lost and ignored, according to men’s health experts and advocates.

The rise of social media and its impacts on the way families balance work and domestic responsibilities have left a lot of blokes feeling disoriented and unsure of their place in the world.

Speaking to The New Daily at the National Male Suicide Prevention Conference in Parramatta this week, Liberal MP Julian Leeser said the message he was hearing from men in the community was one of frustration and bewilderment.

“Obviously, there are a whole range of different men in different circumstances in our communities,” he said, “but I think people today just generally have a sense of frustration.

“They feel like people aren’t listening to them and they’re not being paid attention to.”

The role of men in society has changed and been challenged so much over the last 30 years and it’s going to change even more.”

Its a great thing that we now have equality of men and women, but the set of values and traditions that had previously underpinned men’s perceived role in society is changing – things that for many men gave them a sense of respect and pride – is now under challenge.

So yes, there is a sense of frustration, bewilderment, and a sense that people aren’t always listening to their concerns.”

This sense of voicelessness is also something that comes up in the work of wellbeing specialist and men’s health advocate Rae Bonney.

“I hear a lot from men that they are feeling sad. Just sad. Overwhelmed. Frustrated and hurt. We talk a lot about anger with men, but I don’t see a lot of that. They feel excluded and overlooked,” she said tearfully.

In Australia, 75 per cent of all suicides are committed by men. In certain high-risk groups like army veterans, police officers and paramedics, that statistic can be over 85 per cent.

Contrary to popular belief, a lot of suicides are also committed by persons with no previous mental health diagnosis.

Many are precipitated by a single or confluence of situation stressors that cause hopelessness in the individual such as (but not limited to) relationship breakdown, adverse family court rulings, loss of a job or family member.

These suicides are referred to as “situational” and account for a large proportion of deaths. Identifying persons at risk and finding practical help to relieve and resolve those stressors can be life-saving.

Contrary to popular belief, conversations with men about how they’re feeling are not hard to have.

“Create an environment of safety and security, that preserves dignity and pride for men and men will then talk.

However when men are judged and criticised and told, ‘you need to/you should,’ that’s when men shut down and feel overwhelmed. They don’t know what to do so they retreat.”

Some of these feelings are confused by their upbringing, their fathers and mothers brought them up believing that men don't cry and that they are the breadwinners and head of the household.

How many people can relate to these simple examples. A boy hurts himself and he's told don't cry, to take it like a man,suck it up, grin and bear it. In other words they have been taught to hide their hurt from an early age.
Whereas if its a girl, its oh dear have a good cry, let me kiss it better.
On top of that we have these same stereotypes shown in the media reinforcing these same examples of manliness all the time.

“If you Google ‘the rights of women in Australia’ or ‘the rights of children in Australia’ the amounts of resources and pathways to help that we have are endless.

If you Google ‘the rights of men in Australia’ all you will see is narrative around domestic violence being perpetrated by men – no rights at all.

“The number of men I speak to who are being violated by women and other men and can’t talk about it and choose suicide as a method of relief – is heartbreaking.”

If you or someone you know is struggling, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.