Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Australia in limbo

Our politics go from bad to worse.

A large part of the problem is Tony Abbott and his extreme right-wing supporters, who hold enough power to depose the Prime Minister and use it to push him either further right or into a do-nothing mode.

Abbott, the Mad Monk as he's known, has always been a problem.

Trainee priest, then into student politics and that's all he's done ever since. Reports of his aggression to female student rivals abound, then he was John Howard's attack dog. Went on to be the most negative leader of the Opposition we've ever had, then the worst Prime Minister. Thankfully he only lasted a short while before being ousted by his own party.

He actually didn't win the election, Labor lost it because of their stupidity during the Rudd/Gillard musical chairs period. Abbott was the most unpopular leader ever to win an election according to the polls.

In government he had no idea. It was all the same negativity as his opposition years, dismantling Labor initiatives, ruining the NBN (a Labor initiative). There were no positive ideas, no policies, just wrecking.

As a former PM he gets far more media attention for his mad ideas than he should - other than the ridicule they deserve. He swans around the world at our expense, embarrassing us time and time again.

The latest is his speech in London. He seems to have moved slightly from his 'climate change is crap' position to now say that if it happens "it might even be beneficial". His logic? "In most countries, far more people die in cold snaps than in heatwaves"

In response, British MP Ed Miliband tweeted:  "I know Donald Trump has lowered the bar for idiocy but..."

His far right mob have also pushed the government into being ready to scrap Australia's clean energy target. We're going to keep on mining coal, fracking, subsidising the crooked Indian company Adani to create the country's biggest coal mine that will destroy Queensland's Galilee Basin and severely damage the Great Barrier Reef. And continue to subsidise big miners but to cut back support for renewables.

It was also Abbott & Co who forced their anti marriage equality agenda on us. Under PM Turnbull the marriage Act was to be changed to allow same sex couples to marry. It had been changed in 2004 by John Howard to specify that marriage could only be legal between a man and a woman. It had never specified gender before that.

Anyway, the far right influenced their party to include a referendum or plebiscite in their election promises, which was simply a delaying tactic to stop legislation going through. In the end we got a hugely wasteful postal survey, non-binding on MPs. Several said they would vote 'no' regardless of the result.

The cost is $122 million and as predicted it's produced a vicious debate, encouraging the nutters to come out from under their rocks.

When Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister there was huge support, after the dark Abbott reign,
for a man who had always been pro-marriage equality, pro renewable energy, accepted that climate change was real, was pro a republic.  But on the threat of losing his job to the right wing he's backtracked on everything he stood for, being a huge disappointment.

It's all about the extremists pushing their agenda, the centre not willing to stand up to them and the country going backwards while they fight childishly with each other.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

It's not the gun culture...

Yet another mass shooting in the US and the media is full of hand wringing over the country's  'gun culture'.

They all miss the point, the underlying problem. It's the violence culture that's the root cause, the gun culture is simply one manifestation of that.

America is and always has been a violent society. From the earliest days of violent colonisation, the Indian Wars, virtual extinction of the buffalo herds, the Wild West, the gangsters with their machine guns. The huge violent street gangs, police routinely attending scenes with weapons drawn. The idolisation of the military, the automatic 'nuke 'em' reaction to adversaries. The violence coming non-stop out of Hollywood.

It's gone on for so long, is so ingrained into the culture, that I don't think there's an answer to it.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Second time around

I think it's the name that's put a jinx on it, the 79 storey tower in Dubai Marina that went up in flames this morning for the second time in two years.
         It's called The Torch.        

Thankfully, on both occasions, everyone evacuated safely.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Spring-like winter

We've had a few cooler days so far this winter, but most have been sunny, perfect blue sky and no rain for weeks.

Today set a new record for July with 26.5C in Sydney, which is amazing warmth for the depths of winter!

It didn't quite reach that here on the NSW Central Coast but it sure didn't seem like winter!

It'll cool down next week, the met bureau says, and we may even have some rain on the way. The garden needs it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Perfect rainbow

Clear sky to the west as the sun sets, clouds to the east but no rain that I can see, but a perfect rainbow has just appeared.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

America and gun deaths

A doctor in New York, an American, goes on a rampage with an assault rifle in his hospital.

One dead, six wounded, five critically, before the killer killed himself.

The mayor of New York thanked God it wasn't a terrorist attack.


A reflection of the American attitude to firearm deaths. Totally acceptable if it's American on American. Perfectly normal, it happens to thousands of them every year.  But totally unacceptable if it's terrorism related.

I wonder if the victims thank God they were shot by a countryman...

Friday, June 16, 2017

True heroism

Over the years of writing my former blog Life in Dubai I often talked about the way the word hero was degraded by its use to describe people who were anything but. Entertainers, sportspeople and so on.

And I often posted about my admiration for true heroes, top of the list being firefighters. My father was a firefighter and I was in awe of some of the stories he used to tell my brother and I when we were kids.

My admiration's been reinforced by the terrible tragedy at Grenfell Tower in London.

Two hundred firefighters putting their lives in danger to repeatedly go into the inferno to try to rescue helpless people inside. Reports are suggesting they brought out over sixty.

On the Twitter pages of one of the firefighters at the blaze there's an entry that sums up their heroism perfectly and succinctly