Friday, April 29, 2011

Carnival Barkers

It really wouldn't matter that our politics had degenerated into a "sideshow with carnival barkers" - if our actual politicians had some friggin balls, some integrity and some courage.

Both President Obama and ex Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner have been talking about these things quite a bit over the past 24 hours. Both complain about the fact that our media is dysfunctional and they say it abuses its position in our society.

Yes it does - So what?

Our mainstream media is an abomination. I watched Leigh Sales interview Lindsay Tanner the other night on 7:30 and I quickly realised that there is a major disconnect. He thinks our media is a crock. But she thinks that she is competent in her job. It's actually more of a generational gap than anything else. With a huge knowledge gap on the media side.

I don't like Leigh Sales - in the same way that I don't like a lot of ABC talking heads - they are doing a job that is very influential but they are simply not properly equipped. Because they just don't know very much. Asking an ABC presenter to interview competently is a bit like asking an electrician to do brain surgery. Or a plumber to do bowel surgery. It simply ain't possible Virginia.

In the same way that our teachers should spend a lifetime in the real world before they are entrusted with looking after the ideas of our children - then our political reporters should spend time in the rough and tumble of the parliament before they make political judgements.

And the press gallery doesn't count.

But these things would matter a lot less if we had politicians with the attributes that I mentioned in my first sentence. We don't because we have ended up with a bunch of time-serving lightweights in the parliament who are simply not suited to the job.

My question is - "So where to from here"?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dumb Bunny

Easter has come and gone and *dumb bunny* is still trying to become relevant - he is on the road and pumping out the odd half-arsed, neo-con and boganist press release. Which the ABC is dutifully reproducing - here.

Today he was in Whyalla. This is a place where the "Carbon tax will create economic wasteland" he said. It will be "wiped off the face of the map" he blathered as he wandered around with his head firmly planted in a dark orifice - while ingesting CO2 ;-)

"Whyalla risks becoming a ghost town, an economic wasteland if this carbon tax goes ahead," he declared after coming up for air.

Now it might be that *dumb bunny* can't work out an alternative plan and thinks that his best bet is to scare the *shit* out of as many people as possible - but really, all he is doing is exposing his "reckless ambition".

When was it ever acceptable for an Opposition Leader to play fast and loose with the truth? Or as fast and as loose as this one?

Because that is what he is doing? He doesn't have a plan to deal with the carbon problem, he clearly wouldn't know a carbon atom from a dog biscuit - but that doesn't stop him from wailing about a *carbon tax* as he rampages through our communities.

Next time *dumb bunny* opens his mouth - lets just fill it with dog biscuits because he really is becoming a little bit tedious.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What has become of the news?

Question: When did "television news" stop being the news and start being "entertainment"?

Answer: When our excuse for a media started chasing ratings - in other words pretty much forever.

It's why many of us won't watch commercial television - because there hasn't been any real news coverage there since about 1970 maybe earlier.

And it's why the ABC is attracting so much criticism today - because they have decided that they want to be *popular*. And apparently being *popular* means that you need to discard things like truth and facts.

Question: Why?

Answer: Because it’s easier being *popular* if you also discard *truth* and *facts* and make stuff up. Apparently, it's what people want to hear. Duh?

And that Virginia is why in 2011 we now have an Australian population that can't seem to get its head around important issues like - Climate Change, Carbon Tax, Immigration, Asylum Seekers, the NBN and so on.

Because since about 1970 they have been force fed oodles of manufactured pap that is designed to *entertain* them as opposed to *inform* them - all under the banner of *News*.

And now we expect them to magically be *informed* and make sensible choices. It simply ain't possible.

Solution: Go watch "Goodnight and Goodluck" and then tell me this debacle wasn't predicted.


Our media appear to be frantic about those "skill shortages". How else to explain the beat-up on 7:30 last night?

It’s pretty obvious where the "skill shortages" actually are - deep inside our mainstream media.

Apparently the "skill shortages" are so dire there that they can't even find one journalist who can follow the logic of Professor Bill Mitchell, understand it and then report on it!

What is that if not evidence of "skill shortages"?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Roma and skills shortages

Just been watching 7:30 - and Leigh Sales reporting on the so called national "skills shortages". She goes for a wander around Roma in Queensland (popn 6,763) and then proceeds to tell us how this place is representative of the jobs situation across the rest of the nation. Beg pardon?

She has been badly misled.

The jobs situation in Roma and a few other little places around the nation is *nothing like* the real national jobs situation. If she really wants to be properly informed then she should travel a bit more and visit all the little towns across all the states - she might even want to visit a few of the big ones and perhaps even a couple of our cities ;-)

And if she did that then she would find that a completely different jobs situation actually exists - not one where the main characteristic is a "skills shortage". And in between these visits she might want to look at and understand the national job numbers as collected, analysed and published by the ABS - because they have a different view. And if she really wants to be informed then she might want to seek out and speak with some of the people who really understand this issue.

Forgive my cynicism but how did she end up in Roma and why did this story get a Guernsey on 7:30? Wouldn't be anything to do with vested interests pushing that nasty little 457 visa scam - would it?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

We deserve our fate

In truth, we probably deserve our fate on budget day because we let them do it to us.

If the Conservatives were in charge then they would be slashing the programmes that matter and reverting to form with budget bribes - all designed to buy enough votes to stay in power for years. Because that is what they do.

With Labor in charge we will see a budget that is mostly fluff and bubble because they are now more concerned with what "The Opposition" will say and do than with their actual impact on the nation. It’s sad but true.

Now I only know this because their leader has been "bad mouthing" the Greens and telling everyone who will listen - that this will be a "tough budget" for those on welfare.

By "tough budget" she means - bash those people on welfare - because "they are weak - we are strong - and they can't fight back". It's a power thing, Virginia.

Never mind the fact that she recently personally renegotiated the mining tax which gave gazillions to the mining companies - and as a result every half arsed industry association is now lining up for their handout. The greedy little bastards.

We no longer have a Democracy - what we have here is an Oligarchy - which morphs into a pseudo democracy every four three years in order to keep the myth alive.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dumbest Thing

Because Kevin did such a good job with his response to the GFC - our Government has been beaten up by our Opposition and its media friends for spending too much money and wasting resources and other faux conservative blah.

Without doubt "Our Opposition" has outsold "Our Government" on how to run the place over this past year. Mostly because "Our Government" and its collection of "Ministers" couldn't sell ice-cream in a heatwave and our Opposition has exploited a bunch of manufactured *fears* in the community.

Monsignori Abbott may be despised by the voters but he can still make this Government look like amateurs.

Julia and Wayne might think they are smart politicians but they appear to be roaming around with their training wheels on by comparison.

Fast forward to late April 2011 in the lead up to the budget and "Our Government" is terrified that Monsignori Abbott and his poodles will wedge them again. All because they stupidly got into a p*ssing contest with him about when the budget would be back in surplus.

So now they are stuffed. They will have to slash and burn the place to find enough recurrent savings to ensure the budget gets back into surplus by 2012/13.

And the weak and the vulnerable and the old and the disabled will become the victims of their monumental stupidity.

It's probably the dumbest thing I have ever seen.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bludgers and Innovation

Joshua Gans got me thinking - with this post.

Instead of beating up on our Newstart and Disability Support welfare recipients and labelling them *bludgers* what about thinking of them as *potential innovators* who are funded by the nation?

And instead of asking them to front up to Centrelink and to be ready for manual effort as part of that discredited "Work For The Dole" scheme - how about asking them (or at least some of them) to use their intellect to develop ideas and capability for the nation?

Because we could really do with some innovation - and who better to mobilise than the army of unemployed, who desperately want to contribute - but can't because there aren't enough jobs.

Instead of trying to dumb them down and use them as political pawns we could utilise their skills? Instead of forcing engineers and other science graduates to work as truck or taxi drivers - how about letting them do what they are trained to do? And ask them to pay the nation back with their ideas.

And then capturing and exploiting those ideas, effort and output for the benefit of the nation?

Sounds pretty good doesn't it?

Only problem is that there isn't even one influential politician left in the Federal Parliament who could recognise the benefit and be prepared to take the risk - that's how bad our polity has become.

And anyway there isn't even one Federal Administrator who could run it - that's how bad our bureaucracy has become.

Good ideas are one thing. Turning them into something worthwhile requires leadership - and we haven't had any of that on the Labor side since Paul Keating left the building.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Propaganda and Spin

And while I am on about it, there are essentially two reasons why our Governments and Oppositions and their leaders' do their damndest to demonise those Australian's who are on welfare.

Firstly, they are pandering to the RWA followers - as discussed here and here. Believe it or not this behaviour actually wins them votes! You will need to read the book to understand how and why.

And secondly, they know that a large subset of our population don't understand the issues because they don't read, they don't analyse and they can't comprehend. Mind you, not understanding doesn't mean that they don't have an opinion - even if it is one that is appropriated from the "talk back" radio hosts. Remember the Dunning-Kruger effect?

And they are this way because of a generation of dumbing down by various governments, advertising campaigns, media moguls and other charlatans - who so disrespect our people that they feed them BS in order to manipulate their minds and their wallets and their votes.

In another place and time this was called *propaganda*. These days it is just called *spin*.

That is why "The Conversation" is so important - here we have a new media enterprise actually producing information based on *facts and truth* - instead of the "Lets just make it up" pap that dominates our mainstream media. Of course the MSM will ignore "The Conversation" for as long as they can - hoping it will just go away.

And it will probably take a decade or more before it will make a real difference and we will probably end up with a lot of shitty, greedy and self interested policy between now and then.

PS: Some related *facts* here.

Party Pooper

Now I don't want to rain on Monsignori Abbott's parade or upset Comrade Julia's day but can either of them please explain why they are both talking about and planning to implement a *Welfare Crackdown* when the unemployment numbers look like this?

According to the ABS, with the possible exceptions of the NT, ACT and WA, there are substantially more unemployed people in the nation than there are jobs available.

In South Australia for example, there are on average 5.2 unemployed people competing for every vacancy. Mr Rann and Co. have been doing an excellent job by the look of this statistic, Virginia ;-)

Of course these *facts* can't be *true* because they are at odds with the clearly superior opinions of our CEO's and their mates who will tell you that they can't find the staff to work in their enterprises.

I suppose in the upside down world of our politicians and media and big business this equates to *serious skill shortages*.

And of course these serious skill shortages mean that those *bludgers* on Newstart and Disability Support will have to be levered off *welfare* and forced back into the workforce.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Worlds Apart

What a difference a mogul makes.

New South Wales has a little bit of media diversity - and arguably one of the nation's better newspapers - in the Sydney Morning Herald. South Australia has a lot less media diversity and IMHO one of the nation's worst newspapers.

Nothing illustrates this better than an article in "The Herald" - here. Peter Martin has done the work to understand where the "job vacancies" are across the nation. And the "unemployed people per vacancy" picture looks like this.

State UPPV
Northern Territory1
Western Australia1.9
New South Wales4.1
South Australia5.2

Peter has written a thought provoking article - one that will help those amongst us who are seeking a job to make informed decisions about where to go looking.

But the other newspaper has none of that - there is nothing similar in the moguls' version of the news. Because when it comes to "reporting the news" versus "looking after the moguls' interests" we all know which one prevails.

Friday, April 8, 2011

2000 Revisited

Some of you - the ones who were paying attention at least - will know how the Republicans *stole* the 2000 Presidential election and installed their retard candidate - George W Bush as POTUS.

And how during his 8 years in the White House - he managed to destroy the US economy, start two disastrous wars, become the poster child for the right wing authoritarians, and capture our very own Liberal Party.

Now he is retired and living out his life as just another dingbat recluse - while watching Fox News, counting his fortune, looking for his daddy's approval and drinking tea attending tea parties.

But his legacy lives on in Wisconsin where the Republicans have "cooked the books" on another election - because they didn't like the outcome.

All I can say is that it's a good thing the USA exports *Freedom and Democracy* all over the world - because they sure as hell don't have it at home.

Why is it so?

Why dear friend, does it require a politician to leave the parliament for them to start sounding like a serious, knowledgeable and capable person? Why indeed?

Today I watched and listened to Robert Manne's interaction with Mark Latham - here. And it was a fantastic show - anyone who is interested in recent Australian political history will gain much from this.

Everyone else should turn the page now.

And if you have a negative view of Latham - possibly formed by listening to and relying on our mainstream media - you will be pleasantly surprised. Mark comes across as a capable thinker and analyst - with a good understanding of our polity - and a particularly comprehensive understanding of the "deep doo-doo" that the Labor Party now finds itself in.

I think his assessment is "spot on". And it looks like there is no way out of the mess for the Labor Party and its leadership. This is an unfortunate situation that previous Labor leaders will probably be "p*ssed off" about. Not so much that Mark has told it like it is - but because the current leader seems intent on trashing the Labor legacy - for no good purpose.

I was going to document my opinion about how the Labor Party has lost its way - basically suggesting that they don't believe in anything and have been lured into chasing the conservatives down a rat hole or three.

Mark got in first with a much better version of events.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Go Gina

I positively absolutely encourage the Channel Ten Board and Executive to go full steam ahead with the Bolter show. I think it is great that Gina and Lachlan and James and the rest of the team move C10 as far as you can to the right. And I recommend that you keep Lachlan in the top job - he is a proven Director/CEO and will be a huge asset for you ;-)

It would be a great thing for you to consolidate all the RWA's and associated crowd in one bogan channel - and you won't even have to change much.

I hope you manage it and expect that it will be super successful for you. I hear that Glenn Beck is looking for a new gig - and he might be available to help you with your new audience. Suggest you grab as many of those one-eyed Fox News hacks as possible. I am sure Lachlan's daddy can help with negotiations.

Of course your existing audience will go somewhere else - because Australia's young are amongst the crowd who most despise AB - but never mind that you will attract all the dimwits, nutjobs, deniers, charlatans, halfwits, conspiracy theorists and other bogans - and give them a channel of their very own.

And that will be a very good thing - for the rest of us.

A Beautiful Thing

The Conversation is a beautiful thing because it seems to have started a trend of telling the "Truth" and exposing the "Facts" - something that Australian's are not used to with their media.

And "Baby, can you drive my car?" clearly demonstrates that we have been led up the garden path by our State Governments. Read it and you will discover how - I have quoted a few sentences below.

"Since 1950, more than 150,000 people have died in motor vehicle crashes in Australia. The worst year was 1970, when 3,798 people lost their lives – more than 10 deaths each day. Annual deaths are now below 1,400, despite the population almost doubling."

"The Enhanced Crash Investigation study conducted by the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) found that in the majority of crashes that resulted in serious injury, the driver was a contributing factor."

"Fatigue, distraction/inattention, inexperience, excessive speed and driver error were most often to blame."

So there you have it. I suppose a reasonable person would expect that our State Governments would focus on these things and use these data to design a modern and effective road safety programme?

Instead we end up with a "Fear and Penalty" based campaign emphasising "Speed Kills" and "Alcohol is evil" - when what we really need is something that is based on "Truth and Facts".

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Mobile Office

I have been using an Android phone for about a year now and I love it. It properly integrates all the Google Apps that are part of my life and it just works. I can't imagine moving to anything else - even an Apple iphone. And I am surprised that Nokia and the other manufacturers haven't jumped on the Android bandwagon. Much of the innovation in this space is happening across Asia - even Motorola have seen the light.

And I have even tried using a small Android tablet as a phone - but that didn't work too well. The tablet part was great - the phone part was poor - mainly because it was too big. I ended up damaging it because it was large and unwieldy and wouldn't store away easily in my pocket.

So these days I carry my Android phone and my Windows 7 laptop everywhere and the Google Apps that I need are mostly able to be used across both - quite seamlessly.

But I am getting sick of that and am on the lookout for an Android tablet that will replace my laptop. There is really only one app that I still need Windows for and I seldom use that on the road anyway.

It says an enormous amount about how good Android is that a grumpy old road warrior like me is able to use it effectively for day to day activities. It has come a long way in a very short time and is getting better with each new release.

Now the bigger problem is finding some robust hardware to run it on - If you Google "Android Tablet" you will be confronted with a plethora of links - most are useless at delivering real product knowledge and information. I just want a versatile tablet at a realistic price - how hard is that?

Too hard obviously - and my quest does demonstrate the extent of the "content farm" problem that Google is trying to tackle. I hope they solve it soon.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Adelaide Advertiser

So here are some real facts about Adelaide's daily newspaper - today's edition.

* There are 23 job vacancies in the classifieds - about a quarter of a page in total.
* Around 3 pages of classifieds - including the job vacancies identified above.
* Two pages of Personal Notices - "Births, Deaths and Marriages".
* Two pages of "Editorial" and "Letters to The Editor".
* One page for a story about "A State of Whingers".
* And when you take the glossy pictures away - about 3 pages of news that happened yesterday or sometime earlier.
* Including half a page on Kevin Foley's most recent religious experience ;-)

All totalling 11 pages of stuff - oh and;

* One full page of ads for "Adult Relaxation Services".

The rest is fluff and bubble - all padding the thing out to a total of 71 pages.

So tell me again why you would pay $1.10 for it and why you would actually bother to read it?

Unless of course you are after some "Adult Relaxation Services"?

PS at 8:30pm - Someone just asked me "What is my point"? Well my point is that they have 4 times as many ads for *sex services* as they do for actual *real jobs*. Doesn't that strike anyone else as being a little strange?

ABC - Good News Week

There has been some good news this week - and it's only Tuesday ;-)

Andrew Bolt has left the building and won't be featuring on Insiders again! Rejoice people - I have promised myself a nice bottle of red in celebration. There is talk of him starting his own talk show on Channel Ten - an Australian version of Fox News. Good on him - I hope it becomes the *go-to* place for all the RWA's and associated deniers, charlatans and fellow travellers. I can just see Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones interviewing a panel comprising Tony Abbott, Nick Minchin, Eric Abetz and Cory Bernardi about Climate Change. Now that would be worth watching.

And if Channel 10 does go down this path then its news and information content will be on a par with the test pattern - so there is no likelihood that any thinkers will watch it.

And the ABC's QandA was a huge success on Monday evening - mainly because it didn't offer up the usual right wing dingbat views that are pushed so hard by the Murdoch press. It took a much more moderate approach and the show was all the better for it. The panel was high quality and their discussion and engagement reflected that.

Monday's QandA demonstrated that Australian's will respond to a quality panel. Robert Manne and Louise Adler and Kevin Rudd were outstanding panel members - able to argue coherently about the things they believe in. I think many Australian's might prefer that Kevin was back in the top job after his performance. Julia is probably rushing about counting numbers today.

If you keep this up Mark Scott you may even win back the trust of thinking Australian's.

Monday, April 4, 2011

City Torpor

I frequently spend a bit of time within our larger cities - catching up with people and projects.

This week I am in Adelaide for a few days and have spent this morning driving around between the Western Suburbs and Glenelg and the City. Oh boy - that's an experience ;-)

The last time I lived in Adelaide was 2007. The reasons I left are;

* There are no jobs of substance.
* Governance in and of the City/State is badly broken.
* Everything revolves around the "old boys" club.
* Traffic management is an unbelievable mess.

But you wouldn't know any of that by observing from afar.

And nothing much has changed. Except traffic management seems to have gotten worse and now the road surfaces are a nightmare - it's not only stressful but it’s become very dangerous.

I wrote about these things previously here and here and here and here and here and here.

I am pretty sure that no-one is on the case because all the local council and the state government and the local newspaper seem interested in is a $500 million redevelopment of the Adelaide oval.

And that royalist windbag Alexander Downer is also spruiking it - so it must be important ;-)

Excuse me but how can you all be concerned with the redevelopment of an oval when important infrastructure is so badly neglected? Does everyone in Adelaide wander around with their eyes permanently closed?

Never mind I will crawl back under my rock in a day or so and all this will just go away.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Imaginary Jobs

One of the things that I suspect Julia is going to try on is the manufactured story that we need to get people off welfare and into jobs. Sounds good doesn't it? It will certainly appeal to the RWA's.

Welfare = bad and Jobs = good. Only question is how and why did they get there - on welfare that is? Do you think there might be a reason? Could it have anything to do with a dysfunctional jobs market or unscrupulous employers and recruiters or a lack of real jobs? No of course not Virginia.

Both the opposition and our media are frantic about "skill shortages" and they are even more frantic about people who are on "welfare". How dare they!

Now these would be the jobs the business community say exist all over the place. You know there might be a shortage of CEO's and other executives with half a blue clue but I haven't yet found a shortage of anyone who actually does real work for a living and I have been looking for over 40 years.

Unless of course we are talking about those imaginary jobs that the slimy end of the business community dog whistle about - you know the ones where they want to pay bugger all for real skills - all to undermine their existing workforce. Yep there are plenty of those at $15 an hour that last for a week and a half. They might want to replace the opinionated, safety orientated, 20 year experienced fitter or mechanic or welder but can't find a compliant coolie who can do it - and that annoys them.

The imaginary and confected story around "skill shortages" is all about putting pressure on wages, keeping workers under the thumb and getting rid of any thoughts that the proles might have about getting above their station.

In other words - it’s BS. Pure and simple.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Tough Love

It looks like Comrade Julia and our Labor Government are going to adopt a "Tough Love" approach to welfare - when she and Swanny publish the "Budget" next month.

I have no doubt that both the Labor and Liberal parties will be in lockstep in their race to the bottom - to see who can come down the harshest on welfare recipients. Particularly newstarters and disability pensioners.

Why you ask? Because as I outlined here - they are both trying to capture the "right wing authoritarians" who cheer on any attempt by governments to beat up the weak and the frail and those who find themselves in difficult circumstances.

These people are why our asylum seeker debate is so broken.

Believe it or not these gutless wonders number around 25% of our population and they still have a vote. So both major parties are obliged to do their best to capture them.

And Monsignori Abbott with his little helper has done the better job of that over the past few months. So Comrade Julia will be obliged to follow in his footsteps - or face electoral oblivion.

It's why she has been beating up on the Greens recently - this is all about doing the groundwork to discard any notion that our Labor Government is in any way "Left Leaning".

She thinks that bad mouthing the "Greens" and trying to capture the "Far Right" will somehow *magically* win the Labor Party back all the support they have lost over the last year.

Think again girl - what it will do is expose you and your party as the hypocrites that you are.

Where is Mark Latham when you need him?