Quick Quips: First Month


It may just be something that happens as you get older, but even at 20 the time seems to fly by with little regard for what one would like to do with said time. Already we are at the end of January, with the scene set for 2019. Yes, it looks like it’s going to just be another regular year.

Before I go into the “quick quip” style, I just want to take a moment to mention something that happened earlier today. I ended up in a short comment thread started by a guy who claimed that the ‘socialist’ news page should know that Maduro was bad and the state was not a good thing. He said this, seemingly without realising the contradiction, in support of the US coup. That he had an issue with a ‘socialist’ state but was entirely fine with the US government interfering in said state doesn’t bode well for his knowledge on the issue.

I simply mentioned to him that the US had toppled numerous governments and initiated many invasions or interferences in at least 30 countries I could think of, agreeing that indeed, the state as a force was ‘bad’. His only retort was to say how stupid I was and how it was ‘just human nature’ and the ‘real world is ugly’, with the real threat being China. It’s the middle point about human nature I want to focus on, but as a quick aside to the China comment it should be noted that none of the global superpowers – the US, Russia, and China – are ‘good’. It is, however, inconvenient for some to point out that China and Russia are actually much more peaceful on the global stage. With the exception of Syria, Ukraine, and perhaps soon Venezuela, Russia at the moment has very little power elsewhere in the world and is increasingly being closed in by NATO at its own borders. China is similarly less militant, with Taiwan, Tibet, and Hong Kong claiming independence but with the Chinese government denying it to them.

That is not to defend those two regimes, whose respective leaders Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are dictators without a doubt, or to say that I would prefer Chinese or Russian dominance over US dominance – I’d prefer none of it. But last I heard, China has been heavily investing in regions like Latin America and Africa, even Australia if you consider them buying up our land as ‘investment’. It’s not something I agree with at all, but when compared to the US method of invasion, occupation, and puppet leaders, it is at least contestable by the people.

As for the other bit, I entirely reject the notion that it is human nature to lust for wealth and destruction at the cost of human lives. If you consider such abhorrent actions as merely ‘how the world works’ then the world you live in is beyond saving. Perhaps the world is beyond saving – the latest climate change reports suggest so – but I refuse to believe that humanity is driven by selfish gain over the wellbeing of others and the planet. Certainly, there are some corrupt people out there that support despicable abuses, but one would hope they are the minority. When given the choice to save a life or to end one, there should only be one answer. When debating whether the murder of innocents is ‘human nature’, there should only be one correct side.

But, enough about that – I just thought it was worth mentioning.

  • As we crawl to the next election in Australia – that, despite my saying time is going swiftly, can’t come soon enough – they have stooped to new lows in the art of lying. Frydenburg came out saying that they were listening to the people and were committed to acting against climate change. This from a party that slammed Labor under Gillard for the carbon tax, and then repealed it when they got into power. From the party whose current leader laughed as he carried coal through the halls of Parliament. From the party that has continuously talked down the environmental and economic benefits of renewable energy while pushing for the extraction of more fossil fuels. No, they have had 6 years to be on the side of the people, and they have proved themselves everything but.
  • Expecting some furore from the Minerals Council of Australia over this as well, as their ad campaigns step up. They have been trying to promote the idea of ‘clean coal’, saying that countries like Japan have done it and so can we. Clean coal has and will always be an oxymoron.
  • A US congresswoman was attacked recently for saying the word ‘motherfucker’, and today the ABC (our one) reported that feminist writer Clementine Ford has quit her newspaper column after almost being fired for calling Scott Morrison a “fucking disgrace”. I know pretty much nothing about Ford other than the fact one side loves her and the other side hates her (you can guess which is which), but I would have to agree with her statement. While I understand that there should be a sense of ‘decorum’, I suppose, if you are a public figure, who really (to make the point) gives a fuck? Those who howl for blood over the use of profanity are usually no stranger to it themselves, and latch onto it because they cannot refute the points being made by whoever said it.
  • Also, how any self-respecting journalist, or feminist, could stay with Fairfax after merging with Nine is beyond me. Commercial news is trash, and online are only beaten by the Murdoch press in dishonesty.
  • Today is the last day to opt out of My Health Record. While having the data accessible online across GPs would be great, the government’s record with data security is abysmal and it is not worth the risk. Not only from the security side, but this information is available to other third parties as well. While the police, with a warrant, may be an arguable case for some, handing our health information to insurance companies and potential employers is not.
  • The government’s welfare policy is also again revealed as a quick savings scheme at the expense of the poor. The continued privatisation and dodgy automation of Centrelink continues to provide evidence that it does not work, this time to the detriment of those that are homeless or at risk of being homeless.
  • My local Federal MP (Laming) posted about how Labor policies would bring the boats back – normal fearmongering tactics obviously. But he claimed that it was something we couldn’t afford to have happen. This surprised me (not really) because when you look at the cost of holding a refugee at either the Manus or Nauru detention centres – where they are put to keep them off Australian soil – it’s around $400,000 per person each year. They could bring all of them here and, for the same price, pay them an annual wage higher than the national average for 5 years. Any Coalition flog that tries to tell you ‘we can’t afford Labor’ is simply saying that they can’t get rich and rip people off (as much) when Labor is in.
  • As incompetent and corrupt as our government is from welfare to healthcare, education to foreign policy, at least we aren’t in a Brexit style situation. “Let them eat hake!” was a sarcastic comment I saw in response to a British MP (or some such, can’t recall) saying to just go to a fish and chip shop if a food shortage occurs (my emphasis). Seeing how businesses and rich individuals (notably, individuals that actually pushed for Brexit to happen) have been scrambling to dump Britain and keep within the EU, you can’t blame the UK citizens for demanding another referendum or for the cancellation of Brexit proceedings. So many of the legitimate concerns with how the EU operates can and should be dealt with from the inside. The whole thing, like the UN, could use a shakedown of reform, but such things need to take place with the backing of member states, not by stamping your feet and fumbling negotiations.
  • The US government reopened, for the moment I think – their methods are so farcical that not paying attention for a single day leaves you too stumped for words. Looks like Mexico still isn’t paying for that wall, and neither is America, sort of. This is the progression as I recall it:
    • The wall will be built by the US and Mexico will be forced to pay for it
    • The wall will be built and Mexico will pay the US back over time
    • Mexico was never going to be paying for the wall, but the US needed it built now
    • The building materials for said wall were uncertain – concrete was one suggestion, also the idea of ‘see-through steel’ stronger than concrete. He either got high before that speech or inadvertently revealed some big military secret
    • It apparently never had to be a full physical wall, but the ‘smart wall’ was always possible. The idea of drones, sensors, etc. along the border instead of a solid wall.
    • Trump doing a victory lap saying he got everything he wanted while… not getting a single thing and conceding to the Democrats. What a wild trip. His supporters still believe he won though, so I guess that makes him feel ok for achieving nothing but the suffering the shutdown caused.
  • I just remembered as I write this, Scott Morrison visited my electorate, I’m sure he made absolutely no meaningful contribution to anything while he was here. I honestly don’t understand why he is campaigning – they are not going to win again.
  • Had another person try and convince me that the ABC was nothing but left-wing ideologues writing opinion pieces – ironically in response to me linking an article with the headline literally saying “Fact Check”. One can easily assume they did not even read the article.
  • Said article was about the whole dividend imputation stuff, with franking credits and excess refunds – all these financial terms that take a bit of mind bending to get a hold of. Basically, the Coalition’s claim is that under Labor the planned changes would hurt pensioners and low income earners – because, you know, the Coalition is about helping the poor. The article exposed these claims as misleading, showing that it was mostly wealthier and self-managed retirees that would be affected. How? Well, under Labor, the Howard provision that allows people who pay no tax to claim cash refunds won’t be there anymore. Those ‘hardworking grandfathers and grandmothers’ are not suffering, the ones they intend to target are exploiting taxpayer money. Readers of The Australian will instead be barraged with propaganda to the contrary, sadly.
  • I came across this earlier today – a library in Gaza that is attempting to expand the small region culturally and engage with children’s learning. With all the negative news that generally seeps out of the Occupied Territories, it’s nice to see some encouraging updates as well.

At the time of writing (so excluding this post) this site has had over 230 views from almost 130 visitors (visitors meaning people accessing the site, so includes people visiting multiple times) this month. Not exactly a ‘high’ number, but the most traffic in a month yet! Including this post, I will have posted 40 pieces for January 2019 – the same number I posted in total from September to December last year.

This is just a small slice of the internet that I get to shape, and never expected much from it. Excessively celebratory for sure, but as a personal achievement I think it’s going well. And hey, I got linked on Reddit, that’s got to count for something, right? Can only hope that the numbers continue to grow, and we’ll see how far it can get.

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