Monday, July 30, 2012

What will they cut?

So the question bothering Australian's is "What will they cut"?  As in what programmes will Abbott and the Liberals cut if or when they get to pull the levers.

It won't be the Nationals doing it - they never cut anything.  They are more into distributing the nations wealth as *pork* to their mates as opposed to leaving it in our social programmes - so it will be the Liberals who do the cutting.

We already know that they are going to slash and burn the budget because Abbott and Hockey and Robb said that they were "going to cut $70 billion from Government services" when they win government.  And during his recent trip to the US, Abbott gave the nod and the wink to his conservative mates who are ready to cash in on his *savings* programme.

The Liberals have a surplus fetish - which is even greater than that of Gillard and Swan.  And much more dangerous.

Now $70 billion is not a small number.  In fact it is a huge number and if taken out of the Federal budget it will leave a big hole - probably quite a number of big holes actually - all through the social programme.  Because they won't be cutting Defence.

Which means that the Australian people who rely on those Government services are going to be seriously *pissed off* when they find out that they have been shafted - by their little mate Tony who doesn't like their *entitlement* mindset.

But we won't know the details until after the next election is decided - because the Libs won't be upfront with Australian's about where the $70 billion will come from.

Of course they will futz about a bit in the lead up to the election and it's quite likely that they will do what Joe Hockey did at the last election - and fool Australian's about their budget intent.

And they will probably revert to form and cut large amounts from "Medicare" and "Education" - those programmes that conservatives detest.  Little Johnny spent his entire political career trying to defund Medicare - and we know that Abbott is working from his playbook.

And the really scary thing is that these cuts will be sold to the proles as a budget *savings* measure.  As if a sovereign state like Australia actually has any constraint on its currency issuing!

That's the real problem - literacy and numeracy.  Which is why conservatives do their utmost to keep us in the dark and feed us BS.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Four Point Plan

I was going to write about why the Labor Party primary vote has slipped to the high 20's from the good old days of the 40's.  And then I realised that no-one gives a rats.  So I am going to write about something else instead.  My four point plan for electoral success follows.

1. The first thing I would do is stop chasing Abbott down every nasty little rat-hole that he can find. Australian's don't want or need two conservative parties.  At election time they have been trained to choose between the Liberal Party and the Labor Party - with the crumbs left over for the Nationals and the Greens.  When Abbott goes down a rat-hole - close it off and focus on something positive.

It's too bad that the Libs have become nasty right wing conservatives - but we can't change that and it won't help you to try to occupy their old space.  Go back to being Labor and looking out for the people and the nation.  And stop the suck up and the dominance of the ugly right wing.  That only works for conservatives.

Identify the things that the conservatives will do after they win government and hammer each and every one of them as hard and as fast as you can between now and the next election.

If you don't know what these things are - then check out what Cameron and the Tories are doing to the UK and what Romney and the Republicans think they will do to the US after November.  Can't be that hard to figure out.

2. The second thing I would do is communicate.  Properly.  Start with the PM.  She needs to have a weekly 20 minute pod-cast about the big and important things that the government is doing - and it needs to be distributed widely.  She also needs to have a series of radio and television sessions each week - where she speaks directly to the people - not the hosts or the shock jocks or the right wing audience.  Bypass our dickhead and biased media and go direct to the people - paid for by the government if necessary.  Work something out with the ABC to host a weekly segment of real conversation with the PM and her senior Ministers.  Train Ministers to communicate properly and introduce them to Twitter and other social media.  Lose the shyness.

Don't allow Abbott to hijack that process and request equal time.  He is already getting more than equal time from Uncle Rupert.

3. The third thing I would do is stop any Federal money going to the Murdoch press - or indeed any media organisation that is partisan and biased in *any* way.

If they want Federal advertising money then they will demonstrate that they are not biased and partisan.  Otherwise they can let their bias sort out their funding.  And I would include the ABC and other public media in this deal.

It's just plain stupid to fund the Murdoch press with Federal government advertising money.  And you should already know that.

4. The fourth thing I would do is "Go after Murdoch and his cronies" - hard.  A simple perusal of the evidence to the Leveson enquiry shows that there are many people in Murdoch Ville who have no regard for the rule of law.  And they seem to think that they are not subject to the same standards and rules that apply to the rest of us.  Slowly pick them apart and demonstrate to the Australian people that they can't determine who our government is.  Or die trying in the process.

So this is my four point plan for electoral success.  You should have started on it two years ago - but you need to get into it now or disappear into oblivion.

Your choice really.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The International Diplomat #auspol

Mr and Ms Australia - I don't want to say or do anything that might distract you from your McMansion redecorating or your sports spectating - but you might want to take 10 minutes to read this little speech by your Opposition Leader.

Because the fascinating thing about it is that he appears to be telling the truth.  What is it about our politicians when they go overseas - they can't be straight with us at home - but apparently they are straight with their international audiences?

So back here in a domestic setting Mr Abbott is all very negative - telling us how the carbon price will decimate the place, how the Government has lost control of our borders and how the sky is about to fall in.

But once he gets to America - he does what all Australian politicians do and he *sucks up*.

"We are more than allies, we’re family".  Which is why they have military bases here - obviously.

"Despite any entitlement mindset, it is possible to get debt and deficits under control".  Ohhh the cut is on then.

"Not since the war with Mexico, has America used force to extend its territory".  He's a history buff then.

"The decision to rotate a marine brigade through Darwin is part of America’s bid to improve security ties with the wider region".  Sorry about that Asia.

There are a few caveats of course.

"The United States shouldn’t take Australia’s support entirely for granted".  No - we might object one day or some time but not now.

"Australia’s national interest might not always be identical with America’s".  No - see above.

And he spins a little bit of his home grown wisdom.

"Real democracies, after all, have never gone to war with each other".  Says the history buff.

"Still, the richer and more sophisticated a people become and the more access they have to information, the less likely they are to be impressed by militarism".  How would he know?

The art of the *suck-up* was perfected by Howard, re-enforced by Gillard and now we can see that Abbott will continue the grand trend.

He asks no questions about their war-mongering, says nothing about their treatment of David Hicks and Julian Assange and has no pearls of wisdom about their perception of their place in the world and their treatment of the poor and disadvantaged.

He also makes no comment about the fact that they are at the bottom of the OECD Quality of Life tables.

Nope - in the grand tradition of Australian politicians he is engaged in the *suck-up*.  Because that my friends is apparently what we here in Australia do.

None of this may interest you Mr and Ms Australia but it does interest me - and if you are so disengaged that you are happy for him to eventually run the place then you will deserve all the outcomes that he delivers.

It won't worry me so much - I will just decamp to Asia for 3 years or so and watch the shenanigans from there.

What will you do when he is on the rampage?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Quality of Life

The OECD Quality of Life tables are rather interesting.  For those of you who are not consumed by things economic - you might be interested to read on.

Psychiatric beds per capita - Japan 2.7, Australia 0.4, US 0.2

Acute care hospital beds per capita - Japan 8.2, Australia 3.6, US 2.7

Practicing physicians per capita - Greece 5.4, Australia 2.8, US 2.4

Obesity as percentage of adult population - South Korea 3.3%, Australia 21.4%, US 35.3%

Infant mortality rate - Sweden 2.75, Australia 4.75, US 6.26

Probability of not reaching age 60 - Iceland 5.8%, Australia 6.3%, US 10.8%

Healthy life expectancy at birth - Japan 76, Australia 74, US 70

In every one of those measures the US is at or near the bottom of the OECD - and yet few of their citizens know it and their media won't mention it.

Just goes to show what a couple of decades of Fox News will do to a country - combined with 20+ years of dumbing down by a completely broken political process.

Which is why we can't let our politicians meekly follow along behind the USA.

If you want Australia to be near the top of the OECD Quality of Life tables then follow Japan and *some* of Europe - definitely not the USA.

Up to you Australia - have a think about it and work out what you want - because your politicians won't do it.

If on the other hand you don't care for Quality of Life then follow the US into their ugly little wars and suck up their culture on TV.

But don't assume that any of our politicians will inform you and give you choices.   All they will do is deceive you to capture your vote.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Not Our Thing

Prime Minister Gillard famously said that "Foreign Policy" is not her thing.  Unfortunately, that is painfully obvious.

Australia has often been led by Prime Ministers with no idea of our place in the world.  Mostly because said Prime Ministers have spent their little lives campaigning in Australia - positioning themselves for domestic political leadership instead of engaging with the world.

It's one of the major failures of our polity.  And that failure is no more obvious than now.

Clearly the US has capitalised on our international inexperience.  Which is how in 2012 we have ended up with their military bases, nuclear submarines, spy bases and probably also drone command posts - located in our homeland.  And why we blindly follow along behind them into their many wars.

Also why we are turning a blind eye to their treatment of Julian Assange.

For years our political leadership has been dangerously naive and compliant - to the extent that we are probably now unable to assert our independence - even if we wanted - or needed to.

Just another example of how our political leaders have let the nation down.

There will be a federal election in 2013 - The question of "Our engagement with the United States" should be top of the agenda.  We should insist on a full and frank dialog with anyone who wants to offer themselves up as our Prime Minister.

Or is that "Not Our Thing" either?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Don't Mention the War

I am surprised that the *secret establishment* even allowed this to be published.  Anything that informs the proles would usually be vetoed.

Because what they are saying is that there *are* deals between nations that rely on those deals never being mentioned.

So Obama can kill people with drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere ONLY if he never acknowledges that he has done so.  Because if he said anything about it then Pakistan and elsewhere would be obliged to *react* to his aggression.

Apparently "this requirement of non-acknowledgement" is baked into international diplomacy.

What complete hogwash and utter bullshit.

The reason why the US military-industrial complex has invented "the requirement of non-acknowledgement" AND it has been so enthusiastically endorsed by the Congress and Administration is because it enables them to "lord it over" the piddling little small and medium powers around the world who mostly "suck-up" to and are in "awe" of big daddy.

In the case of Australia - we have a government that is more than happy with these arrangements as they issue the "nudge" and the "wink" to the US Ambassador.  The Opposition is even more star-struck and compliant.  Too bad about the interests of our people - maybe another handout will compensate them?

Our government and opposition won't mention the war and our media won't raise it - because to do so would show their cards and expose the ugly truth.

They shouldn't worry too much - because our citizens have been distracted by celebrity and sport and probably wouldn't notice anyway.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Great Expectations

Like many one-time ALP voters I had great expectations when Kevin deposed the rodent in late 2007.

And he did some great things and a few dumb things - but then he went wobbly on us when he shelved the CPRS.  I am guessing it was a combination of bad advice and a bit of inexperience.

And then Julia deposed Kevin and promised a return to "Labor Values" and the all important "Cabinet Government".  For the past two years she has been losing ground monthly to the most despised Opposition Leader in the nation's history.  I guess that worked out well didn't it?

Now the Labor Government are trapped.  They can't replace Julia - because that would look like they made a *big* mistake knifing Kevin - so they have to live with her until they all get to walk the plank in 2013.

And the desperados in the party hierarchy are trying anything and everything in the circus playbook to get the primary vote up.  Their latest stunt is to turn on the Greens.

Apparently the *loony* left Greens are responsible for all the major f*ck ups of the *half-arsed* Labor right.

Of course they are Virginia ;-)

For two years Julia has been chasing Tony down every nasty little rat-hole that he could find - and that has worked so well they have now decided to try it on with the Greens.

Good luck with that then.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Too Much Secrecy

Each Tuesday President Obama selects a name from his "Kill List" and passes it to the CIA for them to *process*.  Some time later we hear about the drone strike that killed 8 or 18 or 80 civilians in Pakistan or elsewhere.

Obama's "Kill List" is built from analysis of intelligence - particularly communications intelligence that is undertaken by the CIA and others.

And the day to day communications of American citizens are now being *watched over* by big brother.  Apparently the entire email, messaging, browsing and voice record is captured for later perusal by the CIA - who are on the lookout for terrorists to add to the "Kill List".

It might surprise many Australian's to know that their email and other personal communications are subject to the same watchful eye as their US cousins.  Yahoo, Google, Apple, Microsoft and a raft of other US Corporations are feeding their government with your actual data.

Probably also Telstra, Optus and Vodafone - but they aren't US Corporations so you would have to ask them.

And I am pretty sure that your Pay-Pal, EBay, Visa and MasterCard transaction data is also finding its way into big brother data warehouses in the US.

Did they notify you of any of that when you signed up for the service?

Plus we already know that Bradley Manning and Julian Assange are being pursued via military courts and a secret Grand Jury in the US with the help of compliant governments in Britain and Australia.

And that Julia Gillard and Bob Carr are in on the US activity to extradite Assange - and they are pedalling furiously to avoid being pinged - but as usual they aren't clever enough to avoid total scrutiny.  Ms Gillard had to show the US that she was compliant by calling Assange's action *illegal* - when it wasn't.

And we have the special relationship between Prime Minister Gillard and President Obama - which has resulted in the establishment of a US military base in Darwin and *other* US facilities scattered across the nation.

So forget the sky falling in as a result of the carbon tax - and worry about the next drone strike because it might be in your backyard.

And given that Australians seem determined to elect a Coalition government when next we vote - someone might like to ask Mr Abbott what his view on all this is.