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1. Just when I think I have a handle on how much sexism outweighs every other rational consideration in some parts, I am shown to have underestimated the situation yet again.

2. The people who are massive twunts are already being massive twunts. The rest of us need to not become massive twunts in response, but to look out for each other and just keep believing that decency will one day be a political value again. It remains the one thing that will keep us all going.

3. If necessary, I have a spare room, and we could fit tents on both the back deck and the front lawn. Hot in summer, but at least the winter is mild!
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And here we all are again. For the purposes of completion, and in the same sense of 'How bad can this get?' that saw me sit through the first Sex and the City movie (on video, with friends who could mock it with me, but still ...), I have once again readied the iPad, prepared beverages and cleared my early afternoon schedule to take in the horror that is the US Presidential election.

While we wait, I want to mention how much I love Michelle Obama. She is so wonderful that I have actually had to stop talking to people who badmouth her as I cannot find a rational way of talking with them. It's not just that they are talking abject nonsense, it's that all I can think of to say is 'ARE YOU INSANE? THE WOMAN IS A GODDESS AND BRILLIANT AND KIND AND WHAT THE EVER-LOVING FUCK IS YOUR PROBLEM???!' which is not conducive to good conversation.

I also love Kate McKinnon. She had me in tears of laughter in Ghostbusters, and her SNL Hillary almost makes me wish I watched more TV. But happily there are people on the internet who cut and post snippets. Bless you all.

OK. Another debate. I doubt the moderator will have the steely eyed FFS that Martha Raddatz and, to a lesser extent, Anderson Cooper brought. I will never call you Megan again, Martha. Now that I know you. I will probably grow to love you, too. Yes, I am bringing the Lady Love, I feel we both deserve and need it.

For my part, having spent the first debate mostly reporting and the second almost wholly reporting, I plan to mostly commentate here because in terms of policy, we have already had nearly three hours of Hillary outlining real and practical policy and Donald blathering about God knows what because would it kill you to get to the verb, man?? So there's clearly no point trying to compare them on that ground: one side has policies, one has ... I just don't know anymore. Are you drunk, America? I wouldn't blame you.

I have powered myself up with a banana and mulberry smoothie, there is fizzy water on the table and chocolate in the fridge. It can't go wrong!

BTW, Obama's half-brother, who is apparently there as a guest of Trump, has long said that he thinks the State of Israel should not exist. But hey, since The Donald's thinly veiled Anti-Semitic slurs have been de-veiling of late, maybe he's good with that.

The moderator looks like he is from 1956 and suggests the audience will remain silent. I laugh and laugh.
The short version is, he's a maniac )

Seriously, America, if you do not vote for President Clinton, we are through. It's not even because she's a hugely competent, qualified woman, it's because she's not a blathering rage monster. You would not like to have a beer with Trump. He is not Bush. He is a man who would order the most expensive craft beer on the menu, grope you or your female friend, steal your phone and stiff you with the bill.

I know how this has happened. It's because things are a bit horrible and there's no Jimmy Stewart around to remind you what happens when you let bad times erode fundamental human decency and basic common sense. We've been here before, we know how it goes. But the answer is not Trump. The answer is to grab the first Frank Capra film you can find on Netflix, give it a good old watch, then see what you can do to make things a bit better. And maybe that's join a union and encourage them to be decent upholders of workers' rights. Or maybe it's join a really conservative church and introduce people there to your gay and Muslim friends, so they're a bit less weirded out by gays and Muslims. Maybe it's to donate $20 to Planned Parenthood the next time you have it spare, or maybe it's just to smile more at strangers and let people in from the side street on your commute. Whatever it is, it will be to address the difficulties of our times with hard work and generosity, and to say no to sexism, racism, homophobia, Islamaphobia, and that godawful lie that shouting loudly that you hate change will make the change stop.

As the recent Nobel Laureate tells us, the times are changing. They always will. And all we can do is make sure they change in ways that ultimately benefit all of us, not just the privileged few.

Good luck, America. I'm not going to pretend I will ever understand you, but I have faith that you have our back on this one. And on November 9, let's all be as kind as we can be to the shouty people, and offer them a path back to rationality and reality.
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Roll up, roll up, the circus is back in town!

Not enough time has passed from the frst debate for me to consider voluntarily watching it anything other than deliberate self-harm, but I'm going to give it a go. I have a banana and a bottle of soda water, I am READY.

I watched the VP debate, but couldn't stay awake long enough to blog it. Is Pence the guy who wants women to hold funerals for their miscarried foetuses? That's some perverse woman-hating crap right there.

In terms of this week, and indeed, today's developments, a few brief points. Firstly, those women in that press conference looked as though they were in a hostage situation and I want to rescue them. We need to know they are OK and that their families are OK and I am not kidding about this.

Secondly, there is a thing called psychological projection. In future years, the Republican candidate in this election will be used on the cover of books discussing the phenomenon. I look forward to his future failings as his irredeemably tarnished brand sees investors flee him.

And finally, no lawyer wants to defend a rapist, especially a child rapist. But the entirety of our legal system relies on every lawyer doing the very best job they can for every client, especially when they are court-appointed for random clients who could easily be failed by the system. I can fully see how that would not matter in the slightest to the victim, and have nothing but contempt for anyone who would exploit her like this.

OK, five minutes to kick-off. Time for a few stretches!

The woman introducing the moderators is dressed like a beatnik and I love her stylings. Anderson Coper and a woman whose name I don't catch are the hosts, they outline the town-hall procedures and ask people to abide by them. Shots of the families, who all look poised and well-groomed, despite probably planning death, death and more death. And now, with a bald eagle crest that looks as though it's doing yoga, we stare at the set for a minute or two.

In a perfect world, Trump has just gone Hillary off set and she's shanked him.

Still waiting. Its starting to look a bit awkward.

Who is the blonde host? My local newsreader fluffed her name and I've got a low US journo reognition for people I don't follow on Twitter. And then we cut to the sound feed JUST AFTER she introduces herself. Dammit! Martha someone. She looks clever and firm. I learn later it's Raddatz, but I've left as Martha below. She seems as though she is holding back a massive eye roll.

Here they are. Trump looks as though he would rather be anywhere else and as though his suit doesn't fit him properly. Clinton looks a little bit like a penguin.

The blow by blow )

And there we are. In summation, we have learned the following:

* If you do something awful, point out that it was less bad than ISIS. Unless you're Bill Clinton, in which case, you're the worst.

* When they go low, we go high, but then we pause and get a few subtle kicks in because god forbid we have more than two minutes straight of focussing on the issues.

* Iran is the biggest threat in the world, except when it's the only thing standing between us and ISIS, then thank goodness for Iran, Russia and Syria.

* Trump totally paid taxes. Except for the ones he didn't pay. Also, Hillary earns 8 times more than her tax returns say, honest.

* Clinton would dearly love a time machine to go back and change her email choices, despite her actions being the same as Powell and Rice and her server more secure than a government one to all appearances.

* The questioners at this debate are really sick of the bullshit.

* The audience at this debate have watched MUCH TOO MUCH Hunger Games!

* The moderators of this and every other debate (especially the VP one) deserve a lifetime of free cake and gin.

* One banana and a litre of soda water is not sufficient brunch when you have to type for two hours.

See you for more in a week.

ETA: I FORGOT! Trump repeatedly said that Clinton 'acid washed her emails'. I was bamboozled by this reference to bad 90s fashion until I read that the program the FBI said the Clinton team used to delete some emails was called BleachBit. Donald, they don't actually bleach the internet.
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Because I am not completely immune to self-harm, I thought this would be a good idea. I'm going to lay my cards on the table at the start: I'm With Her. Trump is so divorced from reality that he is a danger to the international economy and I will have to send cards of sympathy to every American diplomat. As for the other candidates, the Libertarian's a bit evil and the Green's a bit mad, so Im ignoring them.

Moderator Lester Holt, you have my sympathy. America, you have more than my sympathy. We had an election debate that lasted about three months in Australia this year and we were OUTRAGED at the tedium. How you manage this circus every four years is a mystery.

And here we go. Lester, you look like a lovely man. May God be merciful towards you. Bwahahaha! Two minutes to respond! Yeah, that's going to work.

Read more... )

I now understand why everyone says 'God Bless America', you have never needed divine help more. My thoughts are with you, and my prayers that you all have access to good gin!
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You may have been wondering what’s been happening in Australian politics lately. Haven’t we all, kids, haven’t we all.

One or two people too lazy to look it up on Wikipedia have been waiting longer for a sequel to this post than I’ve been waiting for Jo Rowling’s Potter Encyclopaedia. The difficulty has been that the recent government has been unsatirisable. Because they are so ridiculous, it's hard enough to convince non-Australians that the reality is real – actual jokes about them are doomed.

However, recent events have left me with no choice but to hit the keyboard. Thus, I bring you:

Vincent Crabbe and the Goblet of Bile
This may not actually make it any clearer for most of you ... )
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I read a great number of articles every month, and have for many years. When I was a young person, I had bulging folders of articles I had been so impressed by that I cut them out for rereading or reference.

At the risk of sounding like a jaded old mag hag, it is very rare that I read anything that has that sort of impression on me these days.

And then, on the weekend, I was taking the time to read a New Yorker I had missed last year and I came across this article. And it was one of those moments, where someone's words were revelatory, taking a story that I thought I knew and showing me that my knowledge was but a veneer, that behind the public story was a deeper, more astonishing one.

It is 'The Color of Law', by Louis Menand, and it tells the story of the fight for voter registration of black Americans in Southern states during the segregation era, in the light of several documentary books and films and against the recent Supreme Court decision to strike down a part of the Voting Rights Act.

Some of it shocked me, violence that I had known of as lists of names and events was told in harrowing detail. And some of it surprised me: I didn't know that a major factor in the US Federal government interfering in what it had previously seen as State issues was the Cold War, nor that the Vietnam War derailed a continued focus on legislative improvements in franchise for black Americans.

But mostly it made me remember that standing up for what you believe to be right is essential. And if you have a free 20 minutes or so, I thoroughly recommend it to you. The New Yorker has free archives, so access is open to all. Bless em.
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Nearly ten years ago, there was an election in Ukraine. It was a ballot for president between Viktor Yushchenko and Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych won, in a ballot riddled with corruption. Yushchenko was ill: poisoned by dioxin. Rumours were spread that the horribly ill and facially disfigured Yushchenko had made up his poisoning as a stunt. Biological samples taken from him were analysed and the results published in The Lancet, showing that the 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin levels in his blood in 2004 were 50,000 times that of the general population.

The people of Ukraine stood up against these outrages in a movement called the Orange Revolution. For two weeks they protested, until a Ukrainian court overturned the election and sent the populace back to the ballot boxes. Yushchenko won this ballot with 52%.

His presidency was not smooth. Yulia Tymoshenko, his Prime Minister (and probably the politician with the best hair ever, which you may know if you know nothing else about her), butted heads with him on a number of issues. Several years passed in which some of the democratic goals of the Orange Revolution were met, and others were lost. He lived up to some of his ideals, and screwed up on others. In the 2010 elections, he lost to Yanukovych, who also defeated the third candidate, Tymoshenko.

While Yushchenko had been pro-European, as was Tymoshenko, Yanukovych was thoroughly rooted in Ukraine's Soviet past and sought stronger union with Russia and other pro-Russia states. He also oversaw the prosecution of Tymoshenko for a natural gas deal she had made as PM, which saw her jailed in 2011.

Like most leaders of most countries, he was popular with some of his constituents, and not with others. For some years the country muddled along. Then, last year, in the middle of discussions for Ukraine to move towards joining the EU, he declared that they would not be joining the EU, they would be instead turning towards a stronger alliance with Russia.

The people took to the streets. While some still felt allied to Russia, a significant majority had wanted to move towards the EU, and in a democracy, majority should rule. It was a calm and ordered revolution, with protesters taking control of the centre of Kiev, the capital, and moving into various government buildings. In December, an Australian journalist interviewed some women shopping in a boutique not far from the protesters. 'So, life is going on as normal for most of Kiev?' he asked. 'Oh yes,' said one of the women. 'But once we finish shopping we'll be heading back down to join the Revolution.' 'We are taking food,' said the other.

Earlier this month, things changed. The president's security forces had been rolled out in January, and they and the remaining police began to be more violent in their reactions. The protesters went from building barricades and burning tyres to smoke out their opposition to throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks. In the last week, bullets started to fly, apparently all from the side of the security forces and possibly police. In return, more rocks, more petrol bombs. A few days ago, twenty-odd people were killed, mostly protesters. On Thursday, in the hours that were meant to have been calmed by a truce, the violence increased. Security forces snipers shot at the protesters: medics and journalists on the scene described the shots as expert, a great many victims were killed outright, unlike the random wounding of most clashes with any general military force. Estimates of the dead range from 60 to the high 70s, again mostly protesters. Sixty-seven police and security forces members were said to have been captured.

In the parliament, a great many politicians protested vigorously against the violence. Senior officials resigned from the government party, many of the president's allies remonstrated with him and begged him to call a halt to the violence. On Friday, the army's second-in-command resigned, stating that the government had asked soldiers to put down the revolution. During the day, Yanukovych made several concessions in a bid to calm the situation down and appease the protesters.

The same journalist was there, among many others. He went down into the square, where the truce now held. He asked protesters if they were satisfied with Yanukovych's offer. There was bitter laughter. He asked what had happened to the captured police and security forces, 'We are releasing them,' the protesters said. 'They are Ukranians, we are Ukranians.'

Yesterday, Yanukovych fled. Suddenly the parliament was open to the people rather than walled off by walls of security forces. Inside the building, politicians began to work for constitutional reform that they hoped would prevent anyone ever doing this to the country again.

Outside the city, a large group of protesters and ordinary Ukranians went to the president's empty compound. Numbers may have been into the thousands. A massive, luxurious mansion set in formal gardens, it spoke of earnings far beyond the presidential salary. They did not riot there. They walked through, in orderly fashion, peering into windows and looking at each other in astonishment. Then, as the journalists who had accompanied them said, they queued in orderly fashion to use the lavatories.

Back in the centre of Kiev, the makeshift hospitals that had patched the wounded and shriven the dead gave up the bodies to their families as citizens began to tally the costs of their fight. A newly released Julia Tymoshenko wept before a crowd of 50,000 revolutionaries. The Speaker of the parliament was elected interim president.

Back at the presidential compound, ordinary citizens wandered through its private zoo, making sure there was food for the ostriches and deer. A young woman sat on the ground, bemused, patting a lamb and shaking her head.

Oh Cory …

Jan. 6th, 2014 11:58 pm
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There is an Australian federal backbencher named Cory Bernardi, who is almost entirely ignorant of history outside of the Famous Five books and for whom the phrase Utter Mup Mup might well have been invented.

He has written a book. In his book, he is generally contemptuous towards everyone who is not exactly like him, and presents the fantasy that In The Past, everyone was exactly like him. To which I laugh uproariously and shout, 'Seriously? I mean, the Royal Commission into child abuse in religious institutions is ACTUALLY ON NOW, you don't need to go back to the Industrial Revolution and gin palaces!'

However, there is one good thing about the book. These reviews on Amazon. Thank you, people of the internet. I love you.
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So, this morning, your PM was Julia Gillard, right?
Correct.

And, this evening, it's Kevin Rudd?
Sort of. He is the new leader of the parliamentary Australian Labor Party and Julia Gillard has resigned the Prime Ministership in his favour, but he is only the Prime Minister designate at the moment.

So might he not be in the morning?
Eh, there are some complicated constitutional thingies that could see that happen, but they're not likely to take place, so I can't be arsed looking them up to make sure I get them right. He probably will be.

And this is the same Prime Minister you Aussies elected in 2007?
I'm only a part-Aussie, don't blame me! But yes.

And deposed in 2010?
Oh, that wasn't us, that was the ALP, his party, who turned on him because he had terrible polling figures and installed Gillard.

And now they've turned on Gillard and re-installed Rudd?
Yes.

Because?
Because Gillard had even worse polling figures than Rudd had in 2010.

Not because parliament and the mainstream media are a pack of sexist twats who couldn't stand being governed by a woman?
Well, a bit … but also because Gillard is a frustrating politician who is actually very very good at driving policy and designing legislation and building the coalitions to get it through a hung parliament full of gibbons, but who then can't seem to manage to communicate any of her plans or successes to the general public. So while she did an amazing job at passing legislation, she did a terrible job at conveying any of her messages to the voting public.

And then she turns around and gives a concession speech that is full of wit, personality, compassion and fortitude. Dammit, Gillard, where was that last week?

So those misogyny wars she started were just bollocks?
Oh, she SO did not start those! The coverage of her leadership in some quarters was staggeringly sexist from day one, and the Opposition's disrespect for her has been astonishing and appalling. There is no question that her misogyny speech was born out of anything other than genuine outrage and exasperation, and is one that most women in the Western world have felt like making at some point.

Never forget that while Julia Gillard was trying to shore up her numbers against Kevin, a woman named Wendy Davis spent 11 hours on her feet trying to prevent the state of Texas from legislating to control women's bodies. If you doubt that sexism is still entrenched in much of Australia, as it is in the UK and US, then you're Julie Bishop lying, or an idiot.

But what about what Tony Abbott says about it being outrageous the way she was rolled?
The way Kevin Rudd was rolled? The way Tony Abbott rolled Malcolm Turnbull? The way Turnbull rolled Brendon Neilsen? The way Kevin rolled Kim Beazley? Need I go on? Rolling leaders is an Australian sport. If only there were Test Matches in leader rolling, the upcoming Ashes wouldn't be such a dire prospect for everyone out here. (Except me, and all the other British expats who are wandering around cackling wildly at the prospect.)

But this is a terrible government, yes?
Not in terms of actual governing, they've actually been bloody amazing and Australia is in strong economic form and with wonderful new legislation regarding schools and disability insurance. In terms of PR, I admit they're a bit shitful.

What about the other leadership team changes, should we care?
No. Garrett is a much better rockstar than politician, Stephen Conroy tried to censor the internet and Wayne Swan is nearly as bad at mathematics as Joe Hockey. Although you can care that Penny Wong is now leader of the Senate, because that's BRILLIANT!

So what will Rudd do now he is back?
Be the dorky Ruddbot we all once loved. Travel all over the countryside shaking hands, saying 'programmatic specificity' and carrying suitcases through floods. Try to defeat Tony Abbott and win the next election then hopefuly get gay marriage legislation through. Sit up in bed at night looking at his business card, stroking the raised typeface where it says "K Rudd, PM", lovingly.

And will there be a Harry Potter version of this for the weekend?
Probably! I am very pleased that Mark Simkin, chief political correspondant for the ABC reported that Gillard and Rudd were like the Deathly Hallows, 'Neither can live while the other survives.' 
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I try not to judge people on their politics.

Oh I disagree with them, I disagree hard and frequently. But usually I can see that there would be a reason, however dodgy I personally find it, why a rational person would vote for a particular candidate.

But, dear American flistees, if you vote for Romney/Ryan tomorrow, don't ever tell me, because I will judge you harder than I judge a smoking parent holding a newborn.

I was doing so well at letting you all make up your own minds (which I am sure you already have) without any input from me, but Romney declaring that Obama has been the most partisan president ever is a lie so egregious and self-evident that I have just been throwing balls of knitting yarn at the news on my TV.

Long before Obama was in the White House he gave the keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic convention, in which bipartisanship was a key theme. In his 2006 book, The Audacity of Hope, it was a major topic. This is not a new thing for him, this is a long-term intellectual position.

In 2009, his party took the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to the Senate and agreed to nearly $150 billion worth of changes from the Republican Party, with most of those changes favouring high income earners over low-paid workers, which was in diametric opposition to Obama's personal belief system, but which he agreed to in the interests of including every representative voice. After all this, THREE Republicans voted for that bill in the Senate and none in the House.

The Republicans have also relentlessly attacked Obama on that package, despite the fact that the less 'valuable' parts of it in terms of job preservation were their own amendments.

The Affordable Healthcare Act, which the Republicans call Obamacare and which has been the central goal of this administration, contains more than 100 Republican amendments, which shifted the bill away from the more European/Australian style of public health that Obama was intellectually committed to and towards a compromise that he thought would gather broader political support. Despite this, not a single Republican voted for the bill.

The DISCLOSE Act of 2010 would have required campaign donations to be disclosed, so that whoever made donations needed to be named, and broadened the definition of election adverts to include attack ads not coming from campaigns, requiring the individual behind the ad to take responsibility for it. It needed a Republican co-sponsor. Despite the fact that Senator John McCain had been a co-sponsor of the 2002 Campaign Reform Act, which was designed to crack down on soft money and broaden the definition of election adverts, and despite the fact that many Republicans, especially McCain had spoken out in disapproval of Obama's massive private fundraising in 2008, not a single Republican would co-sponsor the bill, and it did not proceed.

Also in 2010, the Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action Act of 2009 was exactly what it says on the label and put before the Senate a recommendation to create a bipartisan 18-person commission to study and advise the Senate on the fiscal condition of the federal government and to make recommendations that would be put before the House and Senate. It was co-sponsored by Democrat Kent Conrad and Republican Judd Gregg, and there were six Republican co-sponsors of the bill. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader had been a keen supporter of the bill. Until the Saturday before the vote when Obama spoke out in favour of it. The six republican co-sponsors all withdrew their sponsorship and when the bill was voted on, they voted against it, along with every other Republican including McConnell, and it failed.

There is a partisan bias here, but it's not Obama's. And don't even try to convince me he's a Socialist: my ribs have only just finished healing.

So, even if you're prepared to ignore the fact that Romney and Ryan don't think that gay people have a right to visit their partners in hospitals *, even if you have no problem with making abortion illegal and thus killing women as well as foetuses**, even if you're absolutely fine with a tax plan to extend estate tax cuts for the wealthiest 0.3% while ending tax credits for 13 million working families in the lower and middle classes (that's about 26 million children's worth of families), then could you consider not voting for someone who is completely divorced from reality?***

And if you feel you must, then for goodness' sake, shut up about it around me, because I almost never defriend people, but I'd feel obliged. And of course, if you now want to defriend me, it's probably for the best. I wish you well.


* “Governor Romney supports a federal marriage amendment to the Constitution that defines marriage as an institution between a man and a woman,” Romney advisor Bay Buchanan told Buzzfeed today. “Governor Romney also believes, consistent with the 10th Amendment, that it should be left to states to decide whether to grant same-sex couples certain benefits, such as hospital visitation rights and the ability to adopt children. I referred to the Tenth Amendment only when speaking about these kinds of benefits – not marriage.”

** This what has happened throughout history when access to safe abortion is prohibited. Currently, 68,000 women a year die as a result of unsafe abortion. And yes, even as an atheist who thinks a foetus is just cells, I agree that abortion isn't an ideal option as it's wasteful and invasive. But it's often the best remaining option. And until there is such a thing as perfect contraception and we live in a world without rape, that option needs to remain.

*** Democratic Party supporters who wish to complain that Obama is overly centrist and has made political mistakes through his commitment to bipartisanship in places where Bill Clinton (and, indeed, Hillary Clinton) would have just lead with a right cross can go wild. That's fair.
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Ah Australian politics … It's been too long since my last update, mostly because I am focussing on good health this year and commenting on the situation is rubbish for my blood pressure. However, you may have seen some of the news coverage regarding Prime Minister Julia Gillard's recent speech in parliament where she called out the Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott for his pervasive sexism and misogyny. In case you missed it, here's a link (it's 15 minutes, but there's some fabulous fury):


And here's the transcript for those who dislike video. Now, you might wonder why she's so very cross. To begin with, let's start with a recap of this image from last year:


Yes, kids, that's the Leader of the Opposition standing in front of signs both depicting the female Prime Minister as Bob Brown's Bitch (Brown being the then-leader of the Greens) and demanding we Ditch the Witch. Abbott won an award for sexist behaviour for that one, known as an Ernie (one of nine he's collected over the years).

Those two women standing beside him are senior members of his own party, too. Shame. See the one on the left? That's Bronwyn Bishop, who today said that Gillard was 'pathetic', and had 'demeaned every woman in parliament' by 'playing the gender card', adding that if she couldn't 'stand the heat, she should get out of the kitchen'. Nice.

And no, 'Juliar' isn't from the same stable of ungrammatical commentary as the missed possessive apostrophe in Browns, it's a 'clever nickname' dreamt up by this man (himself an Ernie winner):

This is Alan Jones. Let's talk about him for a minute.


Oh, this goes on. And on. )
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Previously, in the second-most sparsely populated continent on Earth, this happened.

If you can't be bothered reading through all of that, then the short version is: Harry Potter was elected PM, defeating Voldemort. Draco Malfoy was rolled as leader of the Opposition in favour of Vincent Crabbe, and there was much wailing in the land because Draco looks like this: , while Crabbe looks like this: . Worse, Crabbe believes that Climate Change is a cunning trick from all those extremely well-paid scientists trying to oppress the poor, struggling oil companies, and that it would be folly to hope for equality for women in 'a large number of areas', simply because chicks 'lack aptitude'.

Inspired to at least equal the lunacy of the Opposition, the Government decided to boot out Harry in favour of Hermione  for a long and complicated set of reasons that can best be summed up with Harry can be a bit of a twat to his colleagues, plus, drugs and politics do not mix. In the space of one long-knifed night, she took over as Australia's first female Prime Minister, leaving a sizable portion of the country saying, 'Hang on a minute …'

It just gets wackier from here ... )


(And after all that, everything will have changed by 10am tomorrow!)

MUPPETS!

Dec. 22nd, 2011 04:55 pm
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Not quite back in the world, but if you can see this interview, watch it for a good laugh as Kermit and Jason Segal tackle the whole Muppet Communism Question* with Giles, an Australian journalist. Alas, I am not sure if the SMH allows international streaming. In case it doesn't, the unmissable bits include an Australian Customs Officer teasing Jason about being better looking on TV and ...

Jason: I just felt sad for him, because -- what happened in your life? ... Who goes into the most lovely, light-hearted, pleasant movie ever, and comes out thinking about politics and vitriol and all that? Just because we think everyone should have the same amount of money does not make us Communists!

Giles: The film suggests you've been a recluse for some time.
Kermit: Yes. A Communist recluse.
Jason: He has a really beautiful swamp in Cuba.

Giles: There are some amazing cameos in the film, who was the highpoint for you?
Kermit: Oddly enough, Kim Jong il.

Ah … sod the Sex Pistols, the Muppets were the truly anarchic symbols of my childhood. I'm so glad they're back :-)


* I confess that the link that explains the origins of the issue is to an article that mocks the originator. This was unavoidable, as even the Telegraph couldn't report on the story without taking the piss, bless em. I could, of course, have linked to Fox News, but in this world, pigs karate chop, they do not fly.

MUPPETS!

Dec. 22nd, 2011 04:55 pm
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Not quite back in the world, but if you can see this interview, watch it for a good laugh as Kermit and Jason Segal tackle the whole Muppet Communism Question* with Giles, an Australian journalist. Alas, I am not sure if the SMH allows international streaming. In case it doesn't, the unmissable bits include an Australian Customs Officer teasing Jason about being better looking on TV and ...

Jason: I just felt sad for him, because -- what happened in your life? ... Who goes into the most lovely, light-hearted, pleasant movie ever, and comes out thinking about politics and vitriol and all that? Just because we think everyone should have the same amount of money does not make us Communists!

Giles: The film suggests you've been a recluse for some time.
Kermit: Yes. A Communist recluse.
Jason: He has a really beautiful swamp in Cuba.

Giles: There are some amazing cameos in the film, who was the highpoint for you?
Kermit: Oddly enough, Kim Jong il.

Ah … sod the Sex Pistols, the Muppets were the truly anarchic symbols of my childhood. I'm so glad they're back :-)


* I confess that the link that explains the origins of the issue is to an article that mocks the originator. This was unavoidable, as even the Telegraph couldn't report on the story without taking the piss, bless em. I could, of course, have linked to Fox News, but in this world, pigs karate chop, they do not fly.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Some of you may remember that Australia was once led by Harry Potter, aka Kevin Rudd. He was one of the most popular Australian Prime Ministers for a goodly period of his leadership. He won power with a promise for a Carbon Tax as a major part of his platform. Three times he tried to get an Emissions Trading Scheme through parliament, three times it was knocked back by a hostile Senate controlled by the conservative Opposition.

Kevin gave up and declared that his government would not try to institute any sort of Carbon Tax again until 2013.

His popularity plummeted and people expressed extreme disappointment with him as a leader. For all that the mining companies then spent $22 million to get him out of office a few months later, this was the moment that the general populace expressed as a breaking of faith.

As many of you will recall, shortly after, the mining companies mounted a scare campaign and the NSW Labor Party and their Victorian Mates acted like weasels and knifed poor old Kev in the back, replacing him with Julia.

After another short period of time, Julia took her team to an election. The Opposition said 'Don't vote for them! They will impose Great Big New Taxes!' (Note that this was despite both the current Opposition Leader and the previous one both having espoused Carbon Tax as an effective mechanism of reining in Australia's appalling reliance on carbon-heavy technologies.)

In response, Julia promised there would be no new Carbon Tax under her government.

The Greens said: 'YOU PEOPLE ARE INSANE! DID YOU NOT NOTICE THAT VICTORIA BURNED DOWN IN A RECORD HEATWAVE LAST YEAR??!!'

Julia's party lost many votes. The Opposition gained a few.

The Greens gained a record number of votes.

Julia has just declared that her government will be imposing a Carbon Tax after all. The Opposition has declared that this is the most appalling thing ever in the history of Australian politics and that the Australian people will rise up in revolt because they did not vote for this!

Except, quite a lot of us did.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Some of you may remember that Australia was once led by Harry Potter, aka Kevin Rudd. He was one of the most popular Australian Prime Ministers for a goodly period of his leadership. He won power with a promise for a Carbon Tax as a major part of his platform. Three times he tried to get an Emissions Trading Scheme through parliament, three times it was knocked back by a hostile Senate controlled by the conservative Opposition.

Kevin gave up and declared that his government would not try to institute any sort of Carbon Tax again until 2013.

His popularity plummeted and people expressed extreme disappointment with him as a leader. For all that the mining companies then spent $22 million to get him out of office a few months later, this was the moment that the general populace expressed as a breaking of faith.

As many of you will recall, shortly after, the mining companies mounted a scare campaign and the NSW Labor Party and their Victorian Mates acted like weasels and knifed poor old Kev in the back, replacing him with Julia.

After another short period of time, Julia took her team to an election. The Opposition said 'Don't vote for them! They will impose Great Big New Taxes!' (Note that this was despite both the current Opposition Leader and the previous one both having espoused Carbon Tax as an effective mechanism of reining in Australia's appalling reliance on carbon-heavy technologies.)

In response, Julia promised there would be no new Carbon Tax under her government.

The Greens said: 'YOU PEOPLE ARE INSANE! DID YOU NOT NOTICE THAT VICTORIA BURNED DOWN IN A RECORD HEATWAVE LAST YEAR??!!'

Julia's party lost many votes. The Opposition gained a few.

The Greens gained a record number of votes.

Julia has just declared that her government will be imposing a Carbon Tax after all. The Opposition has declared that this is the most appalling thing ever in the history of Australian politics and that the Australian people will rise up in revolt because they did not vote for this!

Except, quite a lot of us did.

Hee!

Jan. 18th, 2011 04:10 pm
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Taking a sick day today, as the 37 different viruses that people have brought into the office over the last two weeks have finally had a bit of an effect, and I decided that sleeping through the morning was the best decision. For this reason I have just been watching the press conference that followed the AUKMIN meeting between Kevin Rudd and William Hague and their defence ministers. Kevin made two jokes, which perhaps only astute Kevin watchers would have picked as jokes (poor old Liam Fox missed the 1788 one entirely), but the funniest thing has been the surtitling.

Across the bottom of the screen during these sorts of events a little box comes up summarising the comments of the speaker. For William Hague, the UK Foreign Minister, the boxes came up very quickly after his first couple of sentences, such as:
Hague: it's important for our governments to work closely together

For Kevin, with his speech patterns that start by outlining the terms of his comment and then providing factual backgrounds for his statements before making the actual statement within clearly stated limits as to how his answer should be interpreted, the boxes usually came up just before he finished speaking and in the case of his last answer, which had many layers of programmatic specificity, they just gave up and cut back to the news.

It's a constant source of joy to hear his High Cardigan Speak -- and actually less annoying than Hague's speaking style, whoever told him to punch one or two key words in a sentence should rethink their advice quickly, because he has been striking knockout blows on each one. Kevin's opening up the floor to questions was the funniest part of all, though: 'I understand the People's Collective of Journalists has agreed on half a dozen questions, so could I ask them to spontaneously raise their hands?'

Hee!

Jan. 18th, 2011 04:10 pm
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Taking a sick day today, as the 37 different viruses that people have brought into the office over the last two weeks have finally had a bit of an effect, and I decided that sleeping through the morning was the best decision. For this reason I have just been watching the press conference that followed the AUKMIN meeting between Kevin Rudd and William Hague and their defence ministers. Kevin made two jokes, which perhaps only astute Kevin watchers would have picked as jokes (poor old Liam Fox missed the 1788 one entirely), but the funniest thing has been the surtitling.

Across the bottom of the screen during these sorts of events a little box comes up summarising the comments of the speaker. For William Hague, the UK Foreign Minister, the boxes came up very quickly after his first couple of sentences, such as:
Hague: it's important for our governments to work closely together

For Kevin, with his speech patterns that start by outlining the terms of his comment and then providing factual backgrounds for his statements before making the actual statement within clearly stated limits as to how his answer should be interpreted, the boxes usually came up just before he finished speaking and in the case of his last answer, which had many layers of programmatic specificity, they just gave up and cut back to the news.

It's a constant source of joy to hear his High Cardigan Speak -- and actually less annoying than Hague's speaking style, whoever told him to punch one or two key words in a sentence should rethink their advice quickly, because he has been striking knockout blows on each one. Kevin's opening up the floor to questions was the funniest part of all, though: 'I understand the People's Collective of Journalists has agreed on half a dozen questions, so could I ask them to spontaneously raise their hands?'
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
For those who are wondering about the outcome of the Australian election, there still isn't one. I have been meaning to provide an update earlier, but to be honest, it's all so appallingly tedious that it has taken me days to raise the energy to be even mildly satiric about it. Some of the following may not make sense if you missed this entry. Though, given the topic and the author, there's no guarantee that will help.

Camping in the Forest of Dean was a drama-filled riot compared to this ... )
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
For those who are wondering about the outcome of the Australian election, there still isn't one. I have been meaning to provide an update earlier, but to be honest, it's all so appallingly tedious that it has taken me days to raise the energy to be even mildly satiric about it. Some of the following may not make sense if you missed this entry. Though, given the topic and the author, there's no guarantee that will help.

Camping in the Forest of Dean was a drama-filled riot compared to this ... )

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