Category Archives: Australia

We Still Live in a Humane World


Going through some old computer files I came across this and I thought to myself, ‘This is what I am living through at the moment.’

Then I realised I had found it somewhere in 2006. Which is interesting because 2006 to 2018 is a shorter length of time as from 1933 to 1943.

Think about that for a minute, then read what is was I found. I wish I could remember where I found it back in 2006.

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It was the formula Hitler used, and it still works today. It is, in fact, the most consistently reliable way for demagogues to gain power. It works because it’s gradual but relentless, and progressively absorbs – and then intimidates or co-opts – both government and the media.

For example, Milton Mayer, an American Jew and writer who extensively interviewed German Jews who survived Hitler’s era in his book They Thought They Were Free, noted that:

What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if he people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security….

As a friend of Mayer’s noted, and Mayer recorded in his book:

This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter. …

To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it – please try to believe me – unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, “regretted,” that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these “little measures” that no “patriotic German” could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.

In this conversation, Mayer’s friend suggests that he wasn’t making an excuse for not resisting the rise of the fascists, but simply pointing out an indisputable reality. This, he suggests, is how fascism will always take over a nation.

“Pastor Niemoller spoke for the thousands and thousands of men like me when he spoke (too modestly of himself) and said that, when the Nazis attacked the Communists, he was a little uneasy, but, after all, he was not a Communist, and so he did nothing: and then they attacked the Socialists, and he was a little uneasier, but, still, he was not a Socialist, and he did nothing; and then the schools, the press, the Jews, and so on, and he was always uneasier, but still he did nothing. And then they attacked the Church, and he was a Churchman, and he did something – but then it was too late.”

“Yes,” I said.

“You see,” my colleague went on, “one doesn’t see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for the one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don’t want to act, or even to talk, alone; you don’t want to ‘go out of your way to make trouble.’ Why not? – Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.

“Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general community, everyone is happy. One hears no protest, and certainly sees none. You know, in France or Italy there will be slogans against the government painted on walls and fences; in Germany, outside the great cities, perhaps, there is not even this. In the university community, in your own community, you speak privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, ‘It’s not so bad’ or ‘You’re seeing things’ or ‘You’re an alarmist.’

“And you are an alarmist. You are saying that this must lead to this, and you can’t prove it. These are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you don’t know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic. …

“But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That’s the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and the smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked – if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in ’43 had come immediately after the ‘German Firm’ stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in ’33. But of course this isn’t the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.

“And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self-deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident, in my case my little boy, hardly more than a baby, saying ‘Jew swine,’ collapses it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose. The world you live in – your nation, your people – is not the world you were in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God.” …

Aspiring


‘A 60 year old Health Care Worker should aspire to a better job.’

Malcolm Turnbull’s cover-up for his greedy tax-cuts to the rich.

Just what does all this ‘Aspiring’ mean?

It means that if you are one of the million unemployed, you can aspire to any one of the one hundred thousand jobs which are available.

If an aspiree is lucky enough to jump through the Human Resources hoops and gain one of those jobs then he, or she, can aspire to be promoted. Into a higher paid position, with higher duties.

A child-care worker, an excellent and highly talented child-care worker should, no, according to Malcolm, MUST aspire to a higher position. One in which the major part of the job is paper-work or man-management, NOT the child care to which the worker is best suited. Of course, Malcolm sees the fact that there are ten child-care workers and only one middle management position as no bar to aspirants gaining that higher position. Malcolm may not be very good at maths.

In other news, Malcolm, and his gold-plated predecessors, have set up a system where most middle level jobs have been cut out of most organisations. So there are even less of these positions available for the aspiring 20 something. Or even for the aspiring 60yo!

Of course, none of this is relevant because if you do not aspire hard enough you do not deserve that higher paid position anyway. Yet according to Malcolm, everyone has the right to aspire and that makes cutting taxes for the already successful the right thing thing, the fair thing to do.

As a young man I was, OK, I still am, besotted by cricket. My greatest desire was to play for Australia. I did all the correct things. I trained hard, I played hard, I bent the rules on occasion to gain an advantage. Yet somehow the call to higher duties never came. I did everything Malcolm suggests. I aspired with all my heart and soul, I worked at it so hard. Now, in my 70’s, in accordance with Malcolm’s advice, I still aspire and still wait for that call.

I aspired and failed. After all, there are several million cricketers in Australia and only 11 of them can be in that Australian team.

After all, what would happen if Malcolm’s day-dream actually came to pass? All aspiring workers got the higher paid jobs they aspire to.

Chaos! And Malcolm knows that. Everyone would be a Chief and no one would be an Indian. There would be millions of middle level and higher workers in Australia and just a single 60 year old Aged Care worker to do the work. OH! And that excellent twenty-something Child-care worker.

And me. Wanting to play for Australia.

Malcolm’s shouted strictures to ‘Be aspirational’ had their origins in John Howard’s fake dreams. They have inherent contradictions. He hopes that by shouting these words, these half-baked ideas, that the average person will leap into line and believe him. That they will feel a guilt for not being sufficiently aspirational.

I have an aspiration. And that is to see this deluded autocratic loud-mouth removed from his position.

The Funeral.


A Coalition Parliamentarian died and his friends realised that it would be against the deceased member’s ethics for him to pay for anything out of his own pocket.

So one of those friends went around collecting for a fund for his funeral.

A woman was asked to donate ten dollars.

“Ten dollars?” she said. “It only takes ten dollars to bury a Coalition Member? Here’s a hundred – go bury ten of them!”

The Secret Message


A One Nation Senator sent a letter to the Government Minister for Science, Greg Hunt, asking for information about UFO sightings and if it might fund UFO research.

After several weeks, Greg Hunt wrote back, “jang vIDa je due luq … ach ghotvam’e’ QI’yaH devolve qaS.”

The Senator was totally confused and asked around his office for anyone who may know what it meant. No one did.

So he went to his Leader’s office and no one on Senator Hanson’s staff had a clue, either.

Eventually the Senator decided that there was one person who may know about foreign languages. So he went to the Minister for Immigration and Border Security.

Mr Dutton was able to translate it because it was in his native tongue. The message read, “The minister will reply in due course. However, this is a non-devolved matter,” in Klingon.

Contracting


Three contractors were bidding to fix a broken fence at Kirrabilli House. One is from Brisbane, another is from Adelaide, and the third is from Hobart. All three go with a Coalition appointed bureaucrat to examine the fence.

The contractor from Hobart takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil. “Well,” he says, “I figure the job will run about $900. $400 for materials, $400 for my crew, and $100 profit for me.”

The Adelaide contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says, “I can do this job for $700. $300 for materials, $300 for my crew, and $100 profit for me.”

The Brisbane contractor doesn’t measure or figure, but leans over to the Government bureaucrat and whispers, “$2,700.”

The official, incredulous, says, “You didn’t even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?” The Brisbane contractor whispers back, “$1000 for me, $1000 for you, and we hire the guy from Adelaide to fix the fence.” “Done!” replies the Coalition appointed bureaucrat.

And that, my friends, is how Australia’s new Jobson Growth plan will work.

Cyclone Marcus and Perth


One advantage of being unnecessarily ancient is that one (yes, third person reference) can remember odd events and facts.

For instance, back 4th April 1974 a very big (as in wide) cyclone named Alby strode purposefully southwards in the Indian Ocean. Its centre was some 400Km off the coast as it passed Perth’s latitude yet I remember that day for its extreme winds (maximum gust of 130Kmh in Perth City and 143Kmh in Fremantle) as I was out on the road doing delivery work. Five people in the State’s south-west did not survive the day.

Cyclone Alby has been recorded by the Weather Bureau as one of the notable cyclones on its website.

http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/history/wa/alby.shtml

I have been watching Cyclone Marcus for the past couple of days, (ht to eldest son and family in Darwin) and found the Meteye map on the BOM site to be eerily reminiscent of Alby.

Be aware that we could be in for a late season cyclone affecting the South West. Do the necessary preparations and clean-ups just in case!

And hope that it doesn’t happen!

 

Addendum – overlay of Marcus-estimated on the Alby-actual track

alby-marcus

Australian Elections of a Lesser Kind.


We have had two highly publicised elections this weekend. There was a much less noticeable one in WA for Colin Barnett’s seat of Cottesloe, won, as expected by the Liberals.

There was the South Australian election. Lost by the ALP after 16 years in office. Now that could be seen as a HUGE win for the Coalition and a HUGE slap in the face for Bill Shorten. Possibly some may see it as a slap down of long term Premier Jay Weatherill. In reality, the exact result was predicted after the compulsory post-election redistribution. Four ALP seats would be won by the Coalition.

Forget the hype and froth and bubble of the past couple of years, the Libs were going to win four seats and they did. Not because of anything the ALP did or didn’t do but because the State has a compulsory redistribution after every election. This includes a ‘Fairness Clause’. Those doing this gerrymander must take into account the result of the previous election and vary seats and seat sizes so as to even up the number of seats won. Last election the Libs lost on number of seats but won 53% of the vote. The redistribution had to balance that out. It did, the pundits saw what it had done and called this election three and a half years ago!

That was why the ALP increased its vote but lost the election.

It had nothing to do with Bill Shorten’s announcement about Franking Credits.

Had that announcement had a political impact we would have seen it in what was supposed to be the much closer election in Batman.

Instead, the Federal seat was won with an increased majority and really wasn’t that close at all. It seems the Kill Bill plan of the IPA/Liberal backrooms is not quite going to plan. Every time they think they have a winning strategy, Bill sails though it unscathed.

Allegedly, the great Chinese General, Sun Tzu, wrote something to the effect of not interrupting your enemy while he is making a mistake. Shorten is constantly criticised for not doing anything to drag the Coalition down. Yet why would he want to? With one Liberal PM deposed for losing 30 Newspolls in a row, and another about to reach the same landmark, it seems the Liberals are doing Bill’s work for him.

Instead, Bill is presenting policies. New policies. Not always apparently popular policies because the media, plaything of the big end of town, are going to be hurt. The fact that the average man in the street will benefit is never going to be publicised. Just the standard ‘Kill Bill’ tripe we have all become used to. Sadly, some members of the ALP have been taken in by this twaddle.

The success in Batman shows that the Shorten strategy is working!