Being a LNP Supporter does not make a Person Inherently Bad.

I have never been a person to believe that a division based on herd membership defines a person. Being a Labour or LNP voter is no indication of goodness or badness. There is no validity in the idea that justice, empathy and compassion is the exclusive province of one political party over the other. How then do we account for the existence of Abbott, Morrison, Dutton, Bernardi and others existing as a mutant cluster within the LNP? How does a small group hijack a whole political party? That is like asking how a fit and healthy person develops cancer. It happens. When it does happen the cancer needs to be removed before it spreads to the whole body.

Democracy is not an efficient form of government. It is slow, tedious and frustrating, but for now it is the best we have. Democracy also has it limits it must operate within if it is to remain democratic. Too far to the left and it becomes Communism. If it lurches to far to the right if morphs into Nazis. Neither position is within the boundaries of democracy. When these boundaries are breached it is up to all of us to bring democracy back within operating limits.

It is to all our benefits to have a healthy exchange of ideas within our society. This is the slow and tedious part of democracy. But the extreme right of the LNP does not work with an exchange of ideas. It works in s secret. It denies the public access to information and hides behind phrases like ‘operational matters’. It runs concentration camps we are excluded from investigating and shows a complete lack of compassion to anyone who gets in the way of its agenda.

It is time for all who believe in democracy and compassion, no matter what their political leanings, to join together to rid Australian politics of the extreme right cancer so democracy can resume.

Universities, LNP Style.

Mr Turnbull is seldom economic with words but when it comes to education he has reduced the old style Abbottesque three-word slogan to a two-word slogan. The old ‘Stop the boats’ has become ‘Innovation Nation.’ This may sound like a step forward but it is the same old LNP following the same old policy of repeating simple slogans often. If the ‘fine print’ words of Malcolm Turnbull are listened to it is the same old LNP policy of screwing the general population for the sole purpose of giving to big business.

Malcolm Turnbull wants Universities to produce graduates that conform only to the demands of big business. He talks of producing graduates that are ‘relevant’ to ‘today’s world.’ If the sole criteria for a balanced healthy society were the performance of a particular narrowly defined task in exchange for money Turnbull would make sense. But is this all there is to life? Does a well-rounded education built around the ability to think and create mean nothing?

Good universities have been places where students are encouraged to push the limits with the understanding that as much can be learned for failure as from success even if it appears to lead nowhere. It does lead somewhere of course. It leads to a population that can think and create, that can accept that failure is not failure but a step towards future progress. It would be impossible to list all the failures of university research that have lead to accidental discoveries that have changed the world. It is not generally understood that the world we know today with all of its technological progress has come about largely from recognizing the accidental success inherent in failure.

Big business is not about exploring. It is about finding new ways of becoming more efficient at doing the same old thing based solely on the accountant’s bottom line. This is a recipe for stagnation. Over the years Australia has become extremely efficient at digging holes in the ground. Economically his has been a delight to accountants but now that there is an over supply of holes in the ground there is a problem. Turnbull’s Innovation Nation is not about filling in the holes of the past but digging new holes for Australia to fall into. The problem is that when big business is allowed to focus all of a country’s educational resources in one direction the rich diversity that guarantees the future health of the nation is lost. Malcolm Turnbull must not be allowed to focus all of their educational resources to fulfilling the dictates of big business. There may appear to be short-term benefits to the bottom line but would only be another disaster delayed for a few years.

Malcolm Turnbull talks of a nimble economy able to respond to change. The reality is that Turnbull style education policy destroys the ability to respond to change. They are focused only on the short-term interests of bug business that has never understood that tomorrow things will change.

Much of what universities teach and research may appear to be useless to the general public but nobody knows what is going to happen tomorrow. Somewhere in our universities there are students and researchers working on totally useless projects that are going to lead to the happy accident that will cure cancer, MS and a multitude of other medical aberrations. Somewhere a happy accident is waiting to happen that will lead to a clean sustainable world with unlimited clean energy. What are our universities discovering with their useless research? We don’t know because it has happened yet. But when it does happen it will surprise everyone, even the researchers.

Big business is not interested in happy accidents because they are not conducive to higher share prices and returns to shareholders. Finding a cure for cancer and MS will be majorly detrimental to pharmaceutical companies bottom line. What will Clive Palmer, BP and Santos do when somewhere a university announces it has made an accidentally discovered how to produce unlimited clean power from a common renewable non-polluting source? The University won’t say it was an accident of course. They will say they have been working on it behind closed doors for years. These accidents won’t happen unless universities are allowed to carry out research and play just because they can.

Business relies on scarcity. They must have more of what others don’t have. This is crunch for our universities when they must decide if they are going to be educational providers that advance knowledge for all or are they gong to be instruments by which big business increases scarcity in the name of ever increasing profit.

Which way our universities go will depend on if the public allows Malcolm Turnbull to destroy our university system and replace it with a system of training human robots to be exploited by big business for profit, and to the detriment of society in general.

Australia. The land of Educational Minimalism

I came to Australia as part of the Ten Pound Pom scheme. I would like to say that the migration selection process involved some sort of test of intelligence or education levels but it did not. It was purely a physical selection process. Being physically capable of hard work for the foreseeable future and the ability to breed more physically capable specimens was the sole criteria. Not having a criminal record helped the process.

Australia has been built on physical labour. Generation after generation has earned a living based on physical labour and an educational level best suited to adding up a time sheet and signing it. This model has served Australia well in many ways with its abundance of sheep, coal and iron ore but these assets have fostered an attitude for many that education was low down the list of priorities. Who needs an education to be paid ridiculous amounts of money for digging holes in the ground and shipping the contents of the hole to China? It may take some time for Australia to understand that those days are gone and are unlikely to return, but that is that way it is.

Education has been downgraded to job training. Job training is basically monkey see, monkey do. With a few outstanding examples the Australian education system has been about producing clever monkeys. The latest pretence of an education revolution is the ‘Innovation Nation.’ A better description would be educational minimalism.

We have Malcolm Turnbull talking about Innovation and coding in the same sentence as if coding was is the answer to everything. Either Mr Turnbull knows nothing about coding or he is knowingly feeding Australia rubbish. Coding is a simple process that is quick and easy to learn. It requires the training of clever monkeys. There is nothing in coding that could require anything resembling innovation or any superior intellectual endeavour. Coding on its own means nothing.

If Australia is to have an education revolution it has to be more than training more clever monkeys. It has to be an intelligent and creative education system. Coding is not creative and requires very little thinking. It is a process of production, but who is going to think creatively about what to produce?

Thinking and creativity require a different type of education than has been the norm for Australia in the past. Creativity requires a very wide education and to be interested in everything. Clever monkeys are trained to do what they are required to do and no more. Creative people have to see the relationships between the seeming unrelated and this will often appear to be totally useless to clever monkeys. The current Australian education system is geared to the attitudes that if you cannot eat it, drink it, buy it or screw it then it is of no value.

The difference between the two models of education is that training teaches specific skills to perform a function and is its own end while creativity may posses certain skills but those skills are there to create a far larger goal. Creating a far larger goal requires a far greater range in education levels. The only way to create an education system that produces truly innovative and creative population is to have a very wide curriculum.

Rather than just teach science we need to teach what science is. The quantum physicist Richard Feynman said in one of his lectures that if something is not scientific it does not mean it is not true, only that it is not scientific. When we talk of science there is often a god-like aspect to our arguments. Science is very powerful but has multiple limitations. Malcolm Turnbull’s narrative that science is the alpha and omega of all progress belongs in the dark ages.

We need to teach how recognise fallacious argument. I used to wonder how politicians could get away with the arguments they put forward. Tony Abbott got away for years with totally meaningless three word slogans as a replacement any discernable argument of any substance. Does this make Australians stupid? I think not. I see it as an indictment of the Australian education systems that produces so many graduates that do not understand basic forms of argument and how to recognise a fallacious argument when they hear it. Mr Turnbull’s performance since his rise to power has not improved matters. Mr Turnbull just uses many more words and his delivery is much smoother in achieving the same intellectual amnesia.

We need to teach about the culture our first peoples and of peoples of other nations. Creative builds, it does not destroy. Building bridges to others peoples so we can create ways of living together for the benefit of all is creative. Clever monkeys build bombs. Clever monkeys lead race riots and call themselves patriots.

We need to teach what is required to protect our planet so that the human race can continue in balance with our environment. Creative people understand that finite resources will one day run out. The energy we need must be from a sustainable source. It is going to take an army of creative people to bring that about. Coding isn’t going to do it. In the mean time the clever monkeys continue to dig holes in the ground and burn the contents in the delusion that this can continue ad infinitum.

We need to first have a nation of well-educated creative and knowledgeable people, and then we can train them code if that is a skill they need to create whatever they are in the process of creating.

Scientists are useless unless they are creative scientists. Engineers are useless unless they are creative engineers. First must come the learning of how to think and create and then the specific training for roles they chose to fulfil.

But it does not stop there. A creative society is a wide and diverse complete society. We cannot ignore our cultural health or spiritual well being. Support for the arts and culture during the past few years has been decimated. More than that the Abbott government actively suppressed the arts and sought to bring our cultural lives under the control of the government. When an education is geared to training it has only one purpose and that is to train students to earn a living. The cultural health of a nation is the cohesion that keeps a culture intact. We cannot put a monetary value on cultural health so it is not a priority to many Australians, but if we destroy it our society disintegrates. Our education needs to maintain cultural well-being as a priority if we are not to lose cohesion as a society. Reducing universities to producing fodder for commerce and industry only adds to the decline in societal cohesion.

If Australia aims for well-educated creative population capable of thinking creatively how they use that creativity will be a matter of choice. If they need to learn how to code they will make that choice.

The current proposed paradigm being proposed by Malcolm Turnbull, teach kids how to code and the future will be perfect is simplistic in the extreme, and is based on the old model of producing clever monkeys. We need to have a real conversation about education. Do we want to create a cohesive society of people who can think creatively and make meaningful decisions, or do we only want job orientated students who can only act according to their training and allocated position in life? The later is another step towards Aldus Huxley’s Brave New World.

Men are subject to domestic violence in the same proportion as women. It is not a gender issue.

Men are subjected to domestic violence in the same proportions as women. Since I wrote that I have been asked to provide references for my position. Here are some reliable academic references as a starting point for those who are interested.

Also, to almost everybody’s surprise, men and women perpetrate IPV at near-equal rates (Archer, 2000; Ehrensaft, Moffitt, & Caspi, 2004).2

Cited Eli J. Finkel, Northwestern University and Christopher I. Eckhardt Purdue University file://localhost/(2011) http/::bit.ly:15CPeBq

 

In spite of this well-accepted belief, studies have supported that conceptualizing family violence in this way is inaccurate. Hamel (2009) found the patriarchal model most commonly used to frame domestic violence incorrectly assumes that men perpetrate the vast majority of abuse that is considered severe. Results of a study conducted by Robertson and Murachver (2007) support that there are few differences between men and women who abuse in regard to frequency, severity, and injury. Straus and Gelles (1990) found that mothers, not fathers, were more often the perpetrators of physical abuse within the family. Recently, research has been conducted that contends when all available data are evaluated, abuse is perpetuated at a relatively equal rate between men and women with women slightly more likely to engage in severe violent acts than men (Gilfus et al., 2010; Hamel, 2009). Accounting

for the fact that men are not the only perpetrators of family violence is a crucial step forward in family violence research.

Reference

Mandy Morrill and Curt Bachman (2012) Confronting the Gender Myth : An Exploration of Variance in Male Versus Female Experience With Sibling Abuse.

Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 2013 28: p1695. DOI: 10.1177/0886260512468324

 

While I was on placement on a medical ward for older people, it was reported during handover that a man with  dementia who had been admitted the previous evening was being abused at home. When a healthcare assistant asked who was perpetrating the abuse, the nurse handing over told us it was theman’s wife. I felt shocked by this, as did some of the other staff, yet a few of them sniggered. I did not feel that this was an appropriate response to the situation, and wondered about the underlyingattitudes of these staff members and how this might affect patient care. I worried that if I asked people directly what they thought, I might come across as challenging or confrontational.  So I decided to read about domestic violence, and attitudes towards it, to inform myself and my future practice.

A study on aggression in heterosexual relationships found that women were more likely than men to use one or more act of physical aggression, and to use these acts more frequently, although men were more likely to inflict injury (Archer 2000).

Amy Wilkins (2011) Nursing Standard. p26-27w3_Reflections 4 copy 19/09/2011 16:05 Page 26

Referencing  Archer J (2000) Sex Differences in Aggression Between Heterosexual Partners: A Meta-Analytic Review. PsychologicalBulletin. 126, 5, 651-680

Does the Budget really matter?

Forget the budget because it will never happen. Nearly all of measures won’t take effect until after the next election, and if Abbott wins the next budget will revert to Hockey’s first budget and we will be living in the Fourth Reich. If Labour wins the budget will change to suit Labour Party philosophy. The budget is a total non-event dressed up to con the electorate into believing that the Abbott government has become warm and cuddly.

No-matter what economists and pollies may say all economics is ideology driven. If Australians want a caring compassionate country that does it’s best to look after all it’s citizens then we would follow one set of economic guidelines. If the desired outcome is to screw the poor to give to Murdoch and Rinehart then Joe Hockey is your man.

The moral and humanitarian attitudes of the party in power mean more than any short-term vote getting arse saving measures like the second Hockey budget. The Abbott government is still an extreme right government with an extreme right agenda. It is a government that runs concentration camps and treats Australian citizens as beasts of burden who’s only function is to serve the rich and powerful.

Concentration camps is the only way to describe overseas prison camps where refugees are stripped of their names and are known only as numbers, kept caged in appalling conditions with no hope, and who’s only crime was to seek our help in escaping repression. The Abbott government is a government that only changed its plan to withhold unemployment payments for under thirties for six months only when the Australian public comprehensively rejected it. It is a government who wanted to cut aged pensions whilst pretending that aged pensioners would be better off. It is a government that blackmails senators in to passing odious legislation. It is a government that refuses to understand that if we do not start looking after our planet in a short while we will not have an economy. The list of the evils of the Abbott government could go on forever but back to the budget.

Gross national product is not a good measure of our countries prosperity. What matters is how the gross national product is distributed. Does it matter how wealthy Australia is if one percent own everything and the rest of us scrabble for the few morsels falling from the snorts of the few with their heads in the trough. Joe Hockey will call it ‘trickle down’ but is it more like a very slowly dripping tap.

There are no universal economic rules. Economics is about who gets what from what is available. Economics is a about distribution. How do we want our wealth distributed? Is the distribution to be for the maximum good of all Australians or is our wealth solely for the benefit of the one percent?

Instead of discussing the Hockey non-budget the discussion needs to be about what sort of country we want to live in? Do we really want to live in the Fourth Reich? For those who do not like the idea of living in the Fourth Reich Abbott and his complete extreme right front bench must be buried under the same rock as Azazel, never to be seen again until the day of judgement.

Abbott’s security laws a giant leap towards the Forth Reich.

Australia is in the same position as Germany was in the early 1930’s. We have a government creating fear and hate as an excuse for exchanging ‘Liberty” for ‘Personal Safety.’ This ignores that Liberty is the way to ensure personal safety. A free, educated compassionate society is the best way of combating radicalization.

What about the deliberate use of fear and hate by the Abbott government to radicalize the Australian people? Is one form of radicalization any less evil than another? We have an extreme right wing government using all the same tricks used by Hitler, Pinochet, Papa Doc and the other right wing dictators who high jacked democracy. We even have our own Ministry for Public Education and Propaganda run by Rupert Murdock copying the methodology and structure set up for Hitler by Joseph Goebbels.

Hitler started by blaming the socialists for everything and grabbed power by having the socialists banned from the German parliament. Abbot of course had Julia Gillard as the source of all that is evil and set out to destroy the Labour government. When blaming the socialist was no longer enough Hitler moved on to engendering hared and fear of the Jews to justify his strangulation of German democracy. Abbott has moved on to hatred and fear of Islam, which is no more justified than the hatred of Jews by Hitler. The rise of Hitler was considerably more dramatic than the antics of Abbott but the pattern is the same: a build up of hatred and fear to justify taking democracy away from the people.

The old story of learning from history or repeat it is terrifyingly true in Australia today. There are so many examples of how right wing politics highjack democracy that follow exactly the same pattern that is repeating itself in Australia, but still we go blindly down the path into the Fourth Reich. Do we learn nothing?

A Dangerous time for Labour

Bill Shorten has had a dream run. He and Labour have done an excellent job at doing nothing and letting Abbott self-destruct. In this role Shorten has proved himself to be an expert, but whether this is by design to take maximum advantage of Abbott’s death wish or natural talent coming to the fore is, at this stage, unknown.

After Tuesday, no matter what the outcome of the LNP (maybe) leadership spill Bill Shorten and the Labour party will have to start doing things. Things like developing policies that work and the people of Australia want. After a year and a bit of semi-silence from Labour the Australian people will want to know what the alternative to extreme right politics is.

Abbott needs to be Labour’s example of what not to do. I hope and expect that the Australian people have gone past voting for the junkyard dog because of it’s ability to destroy a government. Abbott may have shown that he can smash and destroy, and gain power through lies and half-truths but the junkyard dog was never going to convert to a warm fuzzy family friendly pet.

Labour needs to learn the lesson from this and understand that there is politics, and there is good government, but the two do not mix. Rudd and Abbott were both politically vicious and ruthless but never had what it took to govern for the people. The time is here for Labour to stop the politics and construct future policies for this country in unison with the people and for the people.

Good governance is not coming up with smart ideas and telling the people that is what must be done. Good governance is about listening to the people who elected them, (and those that didn’t), and finding the path that leads to fulfilling the peoples wants and needs in a sustainable manner. These wants and needs are not confined to self interest and personal gain but also who we want to be as a nation. Gross National Product is a very poor indicator of the health of a nation.

There are many people in Australia who deplore the Australian concentration camps at Manus Island and other places. No healthy country incarcerates a minority people without any charges being laid and leave them with no legal or human rights, or any hope of freedom. Presenting the slow murder of the soul as being the only alternative to dying at sea is a political expediency of the most vicious and cynical kind. There may be those who object to the term Concentration Camp but that is what Manus Island and the other ‘Offshore Processing Facilities’ are. Bill Shorten, please have the backbone to say out loud that Rudd led Labour along a path to hell when he reintroduced Howard’s inhumane policies. Bill Shorten, Rudd made a mistake and you need to fix it.

Rudd also totally messed up over climate change. Abbott’s ‘colourless odourless gas’ is destroying our habitat. One lesson that the human race is that when a species habitat is destroyed the species dies. We have caused the extinction of many species by destroying their habitat and the least we should have learned is that not combating global warming could have dire consequences for our future existence. There are those that seem to think that the human race, and Australians in particular have a divine presence that is not subject to nature, but they are mistaken. Australia as a land mass that is extremely vulnerable to climate change and we as a people may have to make radical changes to our life style and expectation for our future if we do not start making massive changes now to our attitude about climate change. It is probably too late to avoid the results of climate change but whether this means a bit of fender bending or being dead on arrival depends entirely on our nation being willing and able to act now to avoid the worst of outcomes.

If Labour does not address the real issues of past decisions and change the direction of many of its past policies someone like Malcolm Turnball or Julie Bishop will tear them apart at the next election. They might get lucky and have Scott Morrison continue the downward spiral of the far right into oblivion started but Abbott but it would be a mistake to rely on dumb luck to get Labour through the next eighteen months.

It is time for Labour to stop playing politics, admit past errors and develop clear and inclusive policies for the future well being of both the individual and the country. The big question is ‘are Bill Shorten and the Labour Party up to it?’

My new responsive website is now active

After several redesigns my new eBook website, http://www.yosefalbric.com is now active. The website will now display properly on tablets and smart phones as well as desktop computers. If anyone finds any bugs in my new site please use the contact form at the bottom of the page and let me know what happens to cause the problem.

Thank you

Soulless Economics 101

Van Dormael (1978: 32) quotes the British Economist John Maynard Keynes in 1941 as saying

‘the secular international problem‘ of maintaining equilibrium in the balance of payments – a problem that ‘had that had never been solved since methods of barter had given way gave way to money and bills of exchange.’

(and)

‘To suppose that there is some smoothly functioning automatic mechanism of adjustment which preserves equilibrium if only we trust to methods of Laissez-faire is a doctrinaire delusion which disregards the lessons of historical experience without the support of sound theory.’

Basically the problem with economics is that there is no way of establishing a rate of exchange. What is fair and what is unjust? Who knows? The only alternative seems to be no rules and that as been a disaster. This leaves a situation where human attributes (or lack of them) determine economic policies and outcomes. If the object is create a society that has a soul and acts humanly towards all its peoples then human qualities such as empathy and compassion have to be the guiding principle of economic decision making. If screwing the poor to give to Rupert Murdoch is the aim then Joe Hockey is the man for the job, but don’t suggest for one moment that there is any empathy, compassion or soul involved in Hockey’s policies.

Presenting spending years of mental and physical suffering in a squalid concentration camp with no charges laid and no prospect of release as being the only alternative of crossing the seas in a leaky boat is the act of a totally soulless country. How can a country that rushes to war in a foreign country at the slightest excuse, and without being asked but refuses to give significant aid to help stop Ebola until being forced to by universal condemnation from the rest off the world say it has a soul.

I used to like Australia when it had a soul, the days before Abbott became leader of what used to be the Liberal Party. The days before Kevin Rudd sent refugees of to concentration camps. But those days are gone. Can those days be revived?

The simple answer would be to bury Abbott and his whole front bench down the same hole as Azazel never to be seen again until judgement day, but that would be too simplistic. The problem is that if a despot is deposed what happens then? Is there any alternative? Sadly in Australia at this time I don’t see any viable alternative. Bill shorten seems a reasonable sort of fellow but he is no match for Abbott and he leads a party that has lost it’s soul. A beginning for labour would be to accept that Rudd’s refugee policy was a political move that failed and that it was also inhuman. If Labour reversed its refugee stance and supported speedy onshore process and humane treatment of all peoples it would be a beginning. A little bit of soul is better than no soul. Bill Shorten moving aside for Tanya Plibersek would be a major step forward. Tanya is a lady who seems to have empathy and compassion as well as the ability to stand up to Abbott.

With only about eighteen months to the next election we need to begin rebuilding Australia’s soul now because if the extreme right of the Murdoch/Abbott government becomes entrenched Australia’s soul could pass beyond revival.

Reference

Van Dormael, Armand. 1978. Bretton Woods: Birth of a Monetary System. United Kingdom: Holmes &; Meier Publishers.