Let Bjorn Lomborg relocate to Cambodia, in the name of humanity!

I hope wild dogs don’t eat Bjorn Lomborg. This terrible impending danger could have been averted by our thrifty federal government building his think-tank in a developed country like Cambodia. Is Lomborg guaranteed opportunity, education, law and order and even a bank account in Perth? I hope so! $4 million is a lot to carry around with you. The wild dogs might sniff it out! That would never happen in Cambodia

The gall of this government, sending that poor Danish Climate Refugee to Perth! Meanwhile, those lazy, no-good asylum seekers are living it up in tropical paradise. What have they ever done for anyone apart from complaining about living conditions and waiting times, and mental illness, and rape, and homicide… Will it ever end!? How un-Australian! But instead of giving these malcontent mendicant loafers the good hard kick up the bum to where they came from they so truly deserve, our bloody government is giving these bastards a free trip to Cambodia, the land of opportunity. 

Meanwhile, poor Bjorn Lomborg doesn’t complain about anything, tries to do the world a big favour by getting everyone to just cool it about the whole climate change fracas and for his troubles gets booted out of Denmark.

Thank God Abbott got him over here. For a measly $4 million, we get to keep this intellectual giant in Perth. If he doesn’t single-handedly turn UWA into the Harvard of Australia, I’ll be shocked.

The good news is that even if he doesn’t, Lomborg’s perpetual ejaculation of hot air will be enough to power the WA economy, freeing up more fossil fuels to dig up and sell and pay unfair amounts of GST on. 

Look there’s no doubting it’s a great investment in Australia’s future. The rest of us don’t want to be doing all this economic lifting for nothing. The elderly, the unemployed, refugees, students, sick people, climate researchers, working Australians, all of us stand ready to sacrifice and to lift for this troubled economy. The only leaners here in this nation of lifters-not-leaners are the federal government themselves, for they are deaf to our cries: Find a bit more than $4 million, please, and send Bjorn Lomborg to safety, to opportunity, to Cambodia!



Federalism and the hazards of Carving up the Pie

The political angle on this WA wa wa GST unfair hissy fit is plain: State government falls behind in the polls, clings to biggest possible toy in the supermarket (in this case the putative ignominy that is the GST pie carve-up), screams ‘Mine’! And ‘Not Fair’, thrashing and kicking so as to cause the most obvious public fray. The permissive Father (Tony Abbott and the Coalition)  wants to avoid a scene, but wants to look like a good and fair parent. After all mum’s (Bill Shorten and the ALP) more popular with some of the kids (Queensland, Victoria, South Australia), though Dad still has pretty solid support from the rest; he can’t risk losing (his eldest daughter) WA’s support, since from there, the ship would sink fast (looking more closely at the figures, that ship is indeed sinking fast). So Dad acts to appease the child, but to do so carefully, trying to look responsible. Meanwhile mum suggests that Dad should let WA have the toy, just this once… What an awkward position to be in- looks like lose-lose for Dad. Poor bugger’s trying his heart out to be good. Perhaps he’ll go down as a tragicomic Al Bundy-esque sort.

The economics of this matter might be more interesting. Is this a case of- in a progressive tax system, only so much progressive feeling can be asked from the highest payers? In this case, progressive feeling is capped at 70c in the dollar, apparently. 
It would be interesting to see the flow of overall revenue distribution by Federal government to the states since Federation. I’m sure a variety of breakdowns of this would prove more enlightening still (eg net vs gross flows per state, per capita vs overall flows, working population flows, etc, etc). It may also be curious to compare this to situations in other countries: Canada, Argentina, the U.S. and Russia, for instance. 
Could another line of inquiry be: Is Federation a public good? If so, what is/ what ought to be people’s willingness-to-pay for this public good? Is it time for a Cost-Benefit-Analysis of Federation? 
What’s left for philosophy to ask? Should we enquire regarding the ethics of the matter? Who are we to judge the conduct of the parents? … Let alone the children…
Could there be another ethical question: What duty to citizens of larger, wealthier States owe to those of smaller, poorer States? The whipping boy, of course, is Tasmania in this case. Only 2% of Australia’s population, an eternally depressed economy, general weirdness, and wine and cheese… 
Political philosophy?
Any parallels with Climate Change economics?
Perhaps intertwining politics, economics and philosophy alike, I’ll leave off with a question: ‘Federal funding of Tasmania has resulted in a case of geo-political welfare dependency’. Discuss.

Self-Satirising Government- Just Add Water

Like a self-saucing pudding, only much funnier.

‘Team Australia’… Need I say more?

Oh yeah, I guess I do, otherwise I could just tweet this.

And actually, the comedy part of this is well covered.

And these guys raise some scary interesting points too. It stops being funny when you hear that Government agencies will be retaining a record of everything you post on the ‘net (do we still call it that?) for 2 years.

Don’t fret, the comedic aspect resumes when you discover that the Gov says that the threat of terror here isn’t real, yet is as large as it has ever been. Champagne comedy.

So now that the obvious hilarity has already been trotted out (“Australia, Struth yeah”) and we wonder whether the Abbott government has actually turned over its PR directly to The Chaser team (do yourself a favour and invest 90 seconds of your life into that last link, for pure shits and giggles), all that’s left is the, ahem, philosophical angle.

So let’s think about this… A government that has backed away from rescinding racial discrimination laws, in favour of tightening terrorism laws. Actually. Makes. Sense.

No, not in the sense that ‘liberal’ means freedom. Nor that we actually might need anti-terrorism laws (I’m sure scores of would-be terrorists just said ‘doh, we can’t carry out our terrorist plans to anthrax Parliament House now, because Team Australia is recording all this’).

It makes LOGICAL sense. Government protects minorities from discrimination. Government protects majority from terror.

The Abbott government- there’s something in it for everyone.

…disclaimer: something=getting screwed

The real wizards of Oz

My two sons have taken a real shining to the Marvel Universe, admittedly so have I. Thus we traipsed off to behold Guardians of the Galaxy. Thrilling and packed with self-deprecating humour and almost Tarantino-esque lines (for mine). But this is not a film review.

Rather it is a dawn of self-realisation. I flash back to all the fantasy- genre authors upon whose literary teets my teen-self suckled: Tolkien, Eddings, Dragonlance sagas, Star Wars, etc… I realised I never stopped loving the fantasy-genre, rather I pretended to be too cool for it. And because I can admit this I can admit that I love the wizards and witches of Oz, those 121 loveable governing scions.

If Oz were a fantasy, it might go a little something like this:

A short time ago, in a galaxy close, close by (so close you live in it!)….

The wizened wizards and witches of The magical realm of Oz, decided, in their great enlightenment, that its people were greedy, subsisting on avarice and rapine. This despite for years having told the people that they were poor, frugal battlers, doing it tough. ‘There is a national emergency’, they declared ‘a Budget crisis’, they hollered and shrieked…

Which turned out to be nothing but a funny ruse!

…only the people did not realise they were being trifled with… How sad.

Next the wizened wizards and witches attended to the hordes of vile aliens threatening to invade on their alien ships. ‘We will stop the boats’ promised the valiant leader, that man of the cloth Anthony Abbott. And ye verily, invoking his superpowers, stop them he did! Or at least stopped any news from reaching the people about the vile aliens, which really is tantamount to the same thing, for all intents and purposes, right….?

But stopping them was not enough. These vile, vicious aliens would have to pay! So the great leader incarcerated and tortured the aliens, until their children tried to kill themselves and took to regularly banging their heads against walls.

The great leader Anthony Abbott, had triumphed again and brought peace, happiness and prosperity to the lands of Oz once more.20140806-070216-25336136.jpg

In the shadows of the Nuclear Winter we Worship the Cockroach People

We all know only cockroaches will survive a full blown nuclear war; the opposite must also be true. If only cockroaches survived, there must have been a full blown nuclear war. Now that the Cockroach-men rule us, here are five thoughts in light of Wednesday night’s ‘game’.

1. As a massive Queensland homer, I’m likely to be biased and bitter. So I’ll start by making an attempt at grace and humility (it doesn’t come easy- apparently redness of the neck prevents it)… The Blues won by out-Queenslanding Queensland. This has nothing to do with playing better or being the better side. Queensland have won countless games by simply staying alive like the canetoad you just smashed to the back fence with your old shitty nine-iron. NSW did that this time. I’d argue that they had an underwhelming team of rejects and knockabouts playing out-of-position… precisely the ingredients Queensland often cooks victory from. A dirty baker’s dozen of useless misfits and rogues who, simply put, Got The Job Done.

2. Credit where credit’s due. John Madden: ‘Big players make big plays in big games’. Jarrod Hayne’s strip of Thaiday and Scott’s save on DCE’s try were as big as they come. Then Hodkinson’s coup-de-grace was a poetic inevitability… you could sense it coming.

3. You’d need special spectacles to view the match as a spectacle. It was an old-fashioned, knock-em, sock-em affair, lacking ball movement and the ooh-aah moments so beloved by Rugby League administrators. But for old-school Rugby League fans, it was a bit of a delight. Indeed, I had a young lady of lifelong Victorian status telling me how much she loved tuning into the first ever Rugby League match of her life by mistake. Like UFC with a ball was how she put it. Should administrators think about this? Or should referees take this as a case study of what happens when you don’t control the game properly?

4. At the wash up at the end of the day (as Roy and HG used to say), I’m left thinking about what a great achievement 8 in a row was. With two sides always so evenly matched, it so often comes down to key pivotal moments. A bounce here, an injury there and it goes the other way. This time, the inches that were needed were taken by NSW. So I’ve realised how lucky Queensland were to win 8 in a row. I feel blessed to have lived through it. Thanks Big Mal, and thanks to the Mighty Maroons.

5. Grubbiness and the changing of the guard. How does Watmough cop four weeks compared to Josh Reynolds’ lifting tackle? How does Thurston play this weekend after his caring facial massage of Reynolds? And is the ‘no punches’ rule actually more ridiculous than it’s worth? The ‘fights’ that broke out left the viewer empty… all rush in and then push and shove…? I’m not a fan of the stink, for PR reasons, but I must admit that perhaps they should just let boys be boys…

I choose to laugh

Because, after all, is there really a choice?
I’ll never forget the late, great Paul Eddington of ‘Yes Minister’ fame noting the choice (‘you can laugh or cry, so you might as well laugh’), in his final, heart-wrenching interview before succumbing to that ubiquitous assassin called cancer.

But this mob in Canberra are not fans of choice. Or rather they are. They want the poor, the sick and the elderly to stop choosing to visit GPs. Young Australians will have more choice between tertiary education options and where they choose to rack up an increasingly huge debt just to try and get themselves a job worth waking up for (by the way, Abbott and Pyne’s claims regarding this are rubbish, as Grog points out). Mothers will be better placed to choose to go back to work sooner rather than caring for their children, unless they’ve chosen to be earning stupendous amounts of cash (wise choice), in which case, we, Joe Public, have chosen to pay them that same stupendous amount to stay home (look, it’s not cheap raising babies in Toorak and Manly, or so I hear).

Of course, we have chosen against taxing people like Gina and Twiggy, making gazillions by diggin up Straya’s rocks, because, well that would be UN-Australian. And we choose not to tax polluters in order to help price signals work to cut emissions, because, hmmmmm… markets don’t work (except apparently in education, healthcare and, following NSW, crime and punishment).

I suppose the Nationals chose to get effed over by the Libs too.

Tony Abbott’s Australia… You know it makes sense.

Big Clive keeps it real

Top of my list of things I never thought I’d say even in a drunken stupor, let alone commit to print: Clive Palmer- I’m a fan!
Why? Being a big old obstructionist diffident and telling it how it is; sarcasm dripping like honey from a basted pork reducing me to hysterical laughter; seemingly believing in stuff that matters… It all here. If you’ve a spare ten minutes and enjoy political satire, check it out (or the shorter 90s clip also embedded in the article).
Swinging through the Australian political scene like a chubby, huggable, flippant, caramelised wrecking ball.
Quoth the big fella (re Abbott’s ‘plan’): ‘and then what’!? Families fighting each other for the last crumb….
Has it come to this!? Really?
Dogs and cats in these street! Apocalypse! End of days.
Don’t. Other reading between the lines. No such hanky panky parlour games with Clive. A spade is a friggin spade, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck and, well, other cliches about keeping s##t real! they all apply.
He’s as mysterious as that massive pimple on the tip of your nose. He’s as refreshing as sculling a bottle of 98 Grange. He’s as subtle as most modern pornography (so I hear). And he ain’t voting with the Libs.
No more budget, no more taxes, no more cuts to be done…
Hang on to your Peking Duck and banana splits folks- it’s about to keep getting more real! Thank God for Big Clive. Lenin was right: The enemy of my enemy is my friend.