I have been slack and haven’t posted in a couple of days – I am still ahead on my goal to reach 365 posts this year, but I’ll admit I was having a bit much fun testing out my new laptop’s capabilities and didn’t get around to writing much. But while I’ve been quiet, the world sure has not been. Neither has our government here in Australia, despite the fact they are so inept they can’t even do their job.
- In news that makes you feel queasy, Pauline Hanson and Brian Burston have both produced rival claims that the other had inappropriately harassed them. The likelihood that they’re both lying is comically high, especially when you consider the resulting confrontation between Burston and Hanson’s chief of staff, Ashby. This led to Ashby’s second ban from Parliament House, and to blood being smeared on Pauline Hanson’s office door, left by an innocently forgetful Burston.
- As if that wasn’t enough to make you question why these people are not only elected to lead the country, but paid stupidly to do so, Parliament is only sitting for about a week from now until the election in May – they are literally doing nothing but campaign and argue.
- The scare campaign being led by the Coalition over this border issue is so transparent that it’s unlikely to work this time around. The media is in full swing behind them, despite the fact that most news outlets have admitted that the bill only applied to those current residing in the detention centres on Manus and Nauru. Plans to reopen the Christmas Island detention centre have been introduced, and endless criticisms of Labor have flooded the news. Even Fairfax ran with a piece headlined “People smugglers plot to find chinks in a Shorten government’s armour”. The comments beneath it (more popular than the article itself) voiced my thoughts upon reading it – so long Fairfax, you had an ok run before you were bought out by Nine.
- In my electorate, massive road upgrades have been introduced in an attempt to stop congestion. Considering similar projects in the area have done nothing but make traffic worse, one has to wonder how much over the years the LNP have paid to developers for their endless work. Fixing the trainline and (as I mentioned in a previous piece) investing in free, reliable, and increased bus routes would solve the congestion problem quite easily in the short term, with well planned road upgrades being a long-term solution.
- Clive Palmer has gone on another advertising blitz – as if his Tim Tam collecting, major party stomping mobile game wasn’t enough to win him the election. This time, instead of pilfering voter data, he hypocritically slams the major parties for allowing Chinese influence to grow by selling mines and ports to them. His argument was that said ports – used primarily for trade relations – could also be used to stage a military invasion in Western Australia. Sure, but Palmer was one of the people who profited extensively from bringing the Chinese investors here in the first place, so his concern seems a little shallow. Not to mention the US has literally hundreds of actual military bases around the world, including a secretive NSA base in Central Australia. Being bought out by China is not on my bucket list, but if anyone is going to stage an invasion it’d be the US.
- Trump has declared the construction of the wall between the US and Mexico as a national emergency, while also simultaneously saying he’ll take as long as he needs to get it going because it doesn’t have to happen now. This contradiction will no doubt fly over the heads of his base, who only a couple of years ago were certain Mexico was paying for everything. The almost $3 billion bipartisan deal passed to avert a second shutdown puts the plan wildly at odds with the original promises, and also proves the Democrats are weak willed.
- If it is a national emergency one is looking for in the US, California is still facing severe fires, Puerto Rico (that poor territory in the US’ grasp) is still recovering from their storms and hurricanes, and Flint’s water is still literally poisoned. But no, funding for those regions must be cut for the glorious wall to stop even poorer asylum seekers entering the country with their damn human right to do so.
- While, if I were American, I would absolutely vote Democrat over Republican, the number of arguments I have ended up in with Americans online who try to defend the Democrats is absurd. People like Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, and Omar are the first US politicians I’ve looked to as decent human beings, and yet the number of ‘progressives’ I have seen belittle them is concerning. The ‘progressive’ label is simply for show in the US, I fear.
- If what Omar said regarding AIPAC’s influence on US foreign policy was anti-Semitic, then why did Trump call for her resignation and not congratulate her?
- In the UK, an increase in knife crime has been blamed on a style of music called ‘drill’. When I looked up what it was, certainly a knife to the ears was my first thought, but music is not entirely to blame even if it is controversial. Cuts to police numbers, education, family and child services, etc. would probably have a much higher impact on the growing street crime stats.
- There has been increased calls for platforms like Facebook to be considered ‘news sources’ as a large number of people get their news from these sites, whether via legitimate pages like The Guardian, NYT, etc. or ‘fake news’ and conspiracy pages. While political support can be gained or lost with social media, I would refuse to call it a source of news. No matter what side of politics you are on, if you use Facebook as your daily hit of life in the outside world then you’re an idiot.
- Venezuela continues to struggle with two competing leaders. Most of the world appears to support Guaido’s coup attempt, with the US trying to bring in humanitarian ‘aid’. Maduro, who still has the support of the military and (when given the choice of Maduro or Guaido) the general public, has refused this aid, citing similar US interventions where humanitarian aid was used as a cover for military aid. The UN has, surprisingly, taken a stance against the US and has stressed that any aid that comes in needs to be given permission by the Venezuelan government, meaning Maduro and not Guaido.
- Other than the fact that he immediately got US backing and that his declaration of leadership is not (despite mainstream media claims) valid under the Venezuelan Constitution, Guaido’s automatic insistence that the country improve relations with Israel is another give away that he is a US puppet. Venezuela, under Chavez and Maduro, instead formed ties with the Palestinians. Guaido is following Columbia and Brazil in shifting their support in line with US interests, including the movement of their embassy to Jerusalem (already established as illegal).
- The continued use of Venezuela as a scapegoat for socialism’s downfall has increased since the coup was started. Venezuela’s economic mismanagement is not their shift to socialism – which, under Chavez, was working quite well – but more to do with their rather dumb reliance on the price of oil. With their economy based solely on that one resource, the artificial market flooding by Saudi Arabia and sanctions introduced by the US unravelled it easily.
- A spike in measles across the world has been (quite rightly) blamed on a massive rise in disinformation regarding vaccines. The anti-vax movement has grown, using relatively rare vaccine injury cases, (disproven) links to autism, and government conspiracies to push against vaccinating their children. One can only hope that once the children reach 18, they do what some have done already – get themselves vaccinated and consider suing their parents.
- In Europe, students are carrying out strike protests for climate action similar to those carried out by Australian students last year. To see the youth movements taking place in multiple countries gives one hope for the future.
- Going to end this one by saying this for the people at the back again: helping out struggling Australian people and contributing to foreign aid are not mutually exclusive – we can do both.