Monday, October 10, 2016

A far-Leftist half-gets it about Pauline

From "New Matilda"

Nelly Thomas (below) recognizes that ordinary people disagree with and resent much of what they are told and commanded by the political elite.  She even recognizes that the pronouncements and ukases of the Green/Left are part of the problem.  And there is no doubt that such resentments do form part of the base of support for Pauline Hanson.

She is wrong,however, in thinking that ONLY the uneducated support Pauline.  I am part of a pro-Pauline family and two of us are highly educated. What she says is largely a regurgitation of what is said about support for Donald Trump, and surveys of Trump supporters in America find he has extensive support at all educational levels.

What she overlooks is that at least half of Australians support Pauline's ideas about Muslims.  That's surely too many to be dismissed as a "Lumpenproletariat".  I suspect that what underlies her thinking and the thinking of other vocal Leftists is the old "all men are equal" myth.  In accord with that, Muslims must be seen as not significantly different from anybody else.  But they ARE different.  Their supremacist religion makes them a breeding ground for terrorism.  How can anybody deny that when we have seen so much mayhem from Jihadis arising out of Muslim communities?

So it is entirely rational and reasonable for anybody to be  rejecting of having Muslims among us. Muslims are a clear public safety concern. 99% of individual Muslims in Western countries have done nobody any harm but the madmen Islamic communities regularly spawn must make them unwelcome immigrants. In legal terms they are accessories before the fact.  Nelly Thomas is completely oblivious of all that.  Her Leftist selectivity towards the facts is running deep and strong

I am always amused at the way Leftists froth at the mouth over any hint of white supremacism but close their eyes to constantly and blatantly preached Muslim supremacism.  Leftism does entail a profound inability to handle reality.  It's a low-level form of schizophrenia

I’ve been wrestling about whether or not to write this piece. So much has been said about Pauline Hanson, so much has been said by her, and so little of it has been productive. But, I’ve decided to weigh in because I come from Hanson country: working class, socially conservative, racist, homophobic, xenophobic Australia.

I went to a public school, I know what it’s like to worry about the electricity bill. The extent of my early cultural experiences were The Sullivans and Albie Mangles. I left my hometown when I was 17, but my roots are there, my family are there and I know this Australia intimately.

For better or worse, unlike most of the people writing, tweeting and talking about Pauline Hanson, she is part of me; part of my story.

A little peek behind the veil.

The last time I went home for Christmas, I went to a family barbecue. I walked in and one of my Uncles turned, saw me, and introduced me to all his friends as, “This is Nelly, she’s my smart-arse radical niece from Prick-toria” (it gets worse), to which – after the laughing had died down – one of the guests said, “I hope she doesn’t protest for those bloody towel-heads,” and everyone cracked up again.

And he’s one of the Uncles who actually likes me. For real.

On the same trip I went to visit a school friend. We were catching up on old times and talking about teachers and who ended up with whom and all that stuff, when her husband joined in and, out of the blue, told me he’d seen a local copper chase a little *&^%$ (a word for “Aboriginal kid” that I refuse to repeat) on a stolen bike in his police car and knock him off it.

The boy was 8. Apparently he was physically uninjured and no charges were laid. We weren’t in Kalgoorlie, but close enough.

On another trip, I rang a cousin to arrange to catch up. His voicemail message was him saying in an Indian accent that he couldn’t answer the phone because he was on the toilet after eating a curry.

Another time, an Aunty – who was sympathetic to my “different” views – tried to find common ground and suggested that “The Aborigines” should be given their land back. I was somewhat heartened until it became clear she meant the “desert” and that she thought they’d “all be happier there”.

I don’t want to think about how she’d get “them” there.

I could go on. I won’t. And this is not meant to be confessional or voyeuristic – my point is that, to be frank, no-one outside the inner-city is surprised by Hansonism. I’m certainly not.

So, what’s up with Hanson? The woman herself – who the hell knows. It kind of doesn’t matter. What is more important, is what’s up with Hansonism. Why is anyone listening to someone so clearly off their rocker, let alone voting for her?

The usual explanation is an undercurrent of persistent racism in Australia. That’s undoubtedly a major factor, but I don’t think it explains her resurrection in full.

The first thing to know about Hanson supporters is that most of them feel stupid. Really. There’s a base insecurity in much of working class Australia about being uneducated which, often times, is conflated with being dumb.

Some of it is paranoia, some of it is real. Educated people do routinely talk down to the uneducated. This is probably true in all cultures, across all time, but I think it is a particular marker of the experience of the English colonisation of Australia: we have a deep-seated suspicion and dislike of The Snob. Being belittled or patronised by The Snob is not a nice feeling.

Fear of the snob takes many forms. I have relatives who panic about filling out even basic paperwork for fear of spelling a word wrong and others who talk differently – literally in a different accent – at the bank, doctors, Centrelink or on the phone with any “officials”.

Many didn’t finish high school, almost none are university educated (certainly none above my generation) and some are functionally illiterate. When they are in the presence of people who sound and look like they’ve been to university, and/or are rich, they’re intimidated.

They will either strike first (their approach with me at the barbecue) or say nothing for fear of being struck (their approach with authoritarian figures).

This is the first clue as to why Hanson resonates: she speaks working class.

Class is complicated in an Australia where a plumber can earn a six figure salary, but suffice to say there is a culture and even an accent and Pauline embodies it, talks it – even when she’s around important people (politicians, journalists, academics)! She’s one of out of the box.

If we had a more diverse political and commentariat class, there’d be others who’d talk working class too, but sadly, we don’t. There’s Jackie Lambie and Chris Bowen, but Australia’s political landscape is dominated by Christopher Pynes and David Marr’s (yes, I love the latter too, but he does sound like a Sydney Grammar Boy on steroids).

In short, Pauline Hanson talks up to the elite. She makes large swathes of working class Australia feel right and powerful. It’s intoxicating.

To complicate matters, every time a commentator, cartoonist, comedian SNOB makes fun of Hanson (and yes, I do it) – especially when she gets a word wrong or mispronounces something – she’s loved even more.

All working class people have at some point experienced that sense of being laughed at. I still wince at the time in first year uni I tried to order an “Alfresco” (thinking it was a coffee) and the time I was asked if I liked Picasso and replied that I didn’t play the piano (I can only assume I thought he was a classical musician). I can joke about these things now, but they sting.

Cultural capital is a powerful thing; and when you don’t have it you know it.

Hanson doesn’t have cultural capital and lampooning her lack of it – please explain – does nothing more than make those of us who already despise Hansonism feel better. And Superior.

Sometimes that’s ok – the choir needs preaching (especially in a comedy club) – but what it does in the media and political sphere is simply reinforce the idea that WE all think we’re better than THEM (The Greens boycotting her second diatribe Parliament thingy did the same. YOU’RE TOO GOOD TO EVEN LISTEN?).

So, first note to self and others: call out bigoted views for sure, but try to leave the easy target bullshit out of it. Her hair, accent, vocabulary and the like are irrelevant. And when you make fun of them, you kind of sound like a dick.

The other thing to understand about Hanson supporters is that, as Kim Carr’s excellent piece on New Matilda recently emphasised, support for Hanson can be tracked geographically and socio-economically.

This is no coincidence.

Most of her supporters are in Western Australia, Queensland and the low socio-economic parts of other states. Yes, there are some entrenched cultural factors of racism and xenophobia at play here, and those should not be underestimated, but there’s also the simple fact that increasing economic inequality in Australia is hitting those areas hardest.

We are a very wealthy country and by-and-large our poorest are better off than the poor world-wide (some Indigenous communities being an exception), but the gap between rich and poor in Australia is growing. This exacerbates feelings of being “left out”.

Just this week the IMF attributed the rise of Trump to this phenomenon, and Hanson is no different. The IMF certainly wouldn’t put it this way, but I would argue the working class know they’ve been royally screwed by deregulation, privatisation, union decimation and globalisation. The rich got richer, the poor paid the price.

I’ll give you a personal example.

My dad left school when he was about 13. He worked a series of shit-kicker jobs (his words) and then landed a low-paid but steady government job in my hometown. When he was in his 50’s, the service he worked for was privatised and he was retrenched with an absolute pittance (no Golden hand-shake, that’s for sure).

He was unemployed for almost two years and eventually got a job at a petrol station earning minimum wage. He was 60 and his boss was 19.

Dad’s story obviously isn’t unique. Hanson and Trump country(ies) are full of stories like his, and none of those workers are consoled by the promises of “trickle down economics” or slogans like “no jobs on a dead planet.” They see the rise, rise and rise again of corporate salaries, white-collar wages, banking scandals and profits and literally they suffer for them.

Economic inequality – including unemployment (which can so easily become entrenched and intergenerational), underemployment and the working poor – are central to understanding Hansonism. When you’re wondering if you can fill your fridge or pay your phone bill, it doesn’t take much for someone to activate your fear centre. Add Border Security and you’ve got a time bomb waiting to happen.

I jest, but seriously: when you’re afraid, you cast around for a reason. Enter Pauline Hanson with The Answer. Sure, The Answer changes from Asian to Aboriginal to Muslim to Refugees to Penny Wong, but fear never required logic.

One of the most galling aspects of all this, is that the targets of Hansonism are, by any rational measurement, suffering the same or more than the working classes (and indeed, the categories aren’t mutually exclusive)! One of my greatest frustrations in life is not understanding why the combined oppressed don’t unite and see the elite is screwing them all. Again, perhaps too busy with Border Security.

Hansonism is about racism.

It’s also about economic insecurity, fear, under-education and historical ignorance. Australia was a powder keg just waiting for Pauline and her box of matches.

One thing I know for sure is that being right about Hanson and Hansonism won’t be enough to defeat her. And making fun of her won’t help either. I have no interest in offering her understanding, but I’m afraid we are going to have to work harder to understand.


An admission from the Left that "Renewable" energy was responsible for SA’s Power Outage

By Geoff Russell, writing in "New Matilda"

South Australia has just had some bad weather. Not bad like hurricane Matthew’s trail of destruction in the Caribbean, but bad enough to destroy livelihoods and put lives at risk.

The impacts of bad weather anywhere extend over years. The flooded market gardens will mean increased food prices in the short term and strengthen calls for more money to be spent on flood prevention and mitigation in the long run.

Underinsured businesses may fail and there will be hardship and perhaps even suicide.

The storms toppled power transmission towers and the entire state was blacked out. Large sections of roads in the Adelaide hills fell away as if hit by an earth quake. Backup generators failed in hospitals and businesses. At Whyalla’s steelworks, slabs of steel cooled prematurely and will have to be removed by welding teams in coming weeks.

Medications and much else needing refrigeration had to be dumped and generator sales soared as tens of thousands of households endured not just the initial hours felt by the entire state, but a day or two without power.

Given our propensity for self-interest, I’d expect sales of big battery banks will also boom over the next year or two. If you are into shares, then I’d suggest lead, zinc, cobalt and lithium. One of my UPS units lasted barely 60 seconds instead of the half hour I’d expected, so I’ll certainly be calling for a Royal Commission into UPS standards!

So what went wrong?

Here’s what didn’t happen… a massive storm knocked over huge transmission towers and a grid collapse was the inevitable outcome; the first bit is true and the second is bollocks.

In 2012 a study by Ben Heard and James Brown into a nuclear power option for SA looked at the failure parameters for the South Australian grid.

Grid operators always know how big a generator can fail without bringing down the grid. As a rule of thumb, they want the system to stay up even if their biggest generator fails.

In 2012, Electranet estimated that the grid could handle a 450 mega watt (MW) loss without crashing.

But it’s not just the amount of power that is important. Traditional generators are large lumps of spinning metal which have considerable inertia. Solar doesn’t work like this, and nor, a little surprisingly, do wind turbines. A heavy vehicle has inertia which keeps it moving when it hits a hill. So it is with traditional baseload turbines: they resist slowing down.

If your electricity network has lots of these then it has considerable inertia in the face of sudden losses… it will fail slowly and give you time to respond, typically by load shedding… meaning selectively cutting power to small areas. But the SA network has been radically transformed in recent years and has lost significant capacity to withstand failure.

So how much power did SA lose when those big towers collapsed? A mere 315 MW. The grid should have stayed up and would have stayed up in times past.

At the time of the blackout, the Heywood interconnector was the main source of high inertia power on our grid, and it was running near capacity; shipping in coal power from Victoria.

When the towers collapsed there wasn’t enough capacity in that connector so it was overloaded and turned itself off to avoid damage.

If you want the full blow-by-blow story of what happened, then read the official AEMO report or head over to Ben Heard’s blog for a readable explanation.

The Greens responded locally by making a video reminding people that the storms should be viewed as a powerful portent of our coming destabilised climate. Quite right. Warning people of impending doom soon loses it’s power in the face of continued unruffled contentment amid an almost infinite supply of football finals and cooking programs.

But because their renewable energy policy is rooted in slogans rather than science, they also mounted a robust defence of their renewable energy champion despite him presently spewing blood and thrashing around like the Monty Python Black Knight.

I had a meeting with a senior Greens figure before the recent Federal Election to talk about nuclear power. I was accused of bombarding them with facts. Silly me, I should have arrived with a guitar and a couple of evocative ballads.

“I’m not a scientist” he kept saying, “but I’ve been told” … he went on. “By whom?” By someone else who wasn’t a scientist and doesn’t seem to know any.


Mayhem at Aboriginal settlement

There is a lot of violence at Aboriginal communities

A MAN has been charged with murder after allegedly ploughing his four wheel drive into a Far North Queensland funeral home packed with mourners.

A 48-year-old woman was killed and more than a dozen others were injured on Friday morning when the car ploughed into the home at Kowanyama, on the west side of Cape York, about 10.30am.

A service was underway when the crash occurred. A family dispute is believed to have been behind the crash

Police charged the man, 55, with murder overnight Friday. He is due to appear in Cairns Magistrates Court on Saturday.

The 48-year-old woman died at the scene, while at least 12 others were flown to hospitals in Cairns and Townsville with varying injuries.  Up to eight others were treated at the scene for minor injuries such as cuts and bruises.

Acting Inspector Michael Gooiker said the driver was related to the mourners who had gathered at the home. “There are indications there may have been some sort of dispute at a funeral and this is a result of that,” he said.

It is unclear whether the council vehicle belonged to the driver. Two doctors and two nurses from the Royal Flying Doctor Service happened to be attending a nearby clinic and were among those first at the scene.

Police organised a co-ordinated response, with investigators and forensic officers flown to the community.

There was a crowd of about 50 mourners and the vehicle is believed to have smashed all the way through the home on Kowanyama St in the Aboriginal community. The home reportedly collapsed.

Cape York Police Inspector Paul James confirmed a 48-year-old local woman had died.

He said those injured in the incident had suffered serious injuries including broken arms, legs, dislocations and lacerations in the alleged vehicular homicide.

Police deployed an extra 13 officers to the 1200-strong community which is described as extremely tense and on the brink of exploding into a riot with fears of further mayhem and bloodshed.

Kowanyama-born activist Tania Major, a former Young Australian of the Year, said her mother was at the scene when the 4WD Toyota Landcruiser crashed through the house.

“She was there for the burial of my eldest cousin,’’ said Ms Major, speaking from Brisbane. “She heard the smash, came out of the toilet and there were bodies of so many injured ... “He ran over the coffin and smashed right on through the house.”

Ms Major said she understood that the woman who was killed in the incident had been standing in front of the vehicle begging with the driver to stop when she was mown down.

“He just took her out, ran her down, and then ploughed into the rest of the crowd in the house who were there paying their respects to the deceased. The entire community was there, 50 inside, the rest outside waiting to go in.


“PICKY” jobseekers are leaving WA restaurants and bars with a shortage of workers, despite the state having the second highest jobless rate in the country

Local venues are resorting to hiring kitchen and wait staff from Asia, Europe and the Americas. The shortage comes despite WA’s unemployment rate hitting 6.3 per cent.

Hospitality industry leaders said some West Australians weren’t prepared to do the “hard work” or evening and weekend hours.

Australian Hotel Association WA chief executive Bradley Woods said the labour shortage was evident throughout Perth, as well as in Bunbury and the Kimberley.

Perth’s unemployment rate was 6 per cent in June, with 68,100 people out of work, while Bunbury was at 6.2 per cent and parts of the Kimberley more than 10 per cent.

A search of jobs website Seek this week returned 570 jobs in “hospitality and tourism” across WA. That included 338 “chef” jobs and 73 for “waiter”.

“Hospitality, it’s hard work and people have to work nights and weekends, some people aren’t prepared to do that,” Mr Woods said. “Internationally we have the highest wage rates in the world for hospitality workers, even with those high wage rates it’s hard to attract those people.”

Mr Woods said the decline in the number of working holiday visas made the shortage worse. The 20 per cent decline of backpackers coming into WA in the past year had affected the availability of labour.

Trattoria Galetto co-owner Vikram Pahwa said it was hard finding local staff for his Subiaco pasta and pizza restaurant. “Most of our staff are from England, Brazil, Colombia and Italy,” he said.

“West Australians can be picky, they know more about the markets, venues and conditions. I’d like to see more locals working in my restaurant, locals bring locals.”

Brika owner Simon Psaros has posted numerous job ads for his Greek restaurant in Northbridge with no success. Mr Psaros said many big restaurants were opening, meaning quality staff were being headhunted from smaller eateries.

“I’m now looking internationally, particularly Greece,” he said. “I’m interviewing guys on Skype, I have one worker from Greece currently over there finding staff for me.

“We have a high turnover of staff, partly because we’re a night venue, it’s hard to retain staff. It’s an industry issue and there’s an attitude problem.”


Tony Abbott tells UK Tories he believes he can be PM again

Tony Abbott has told right-wing allies in Britain that he believes he has a reasonable chance of becoming prime minister again, Fairfax Media has learned.

The revelation confirms the former leader is hoping to emulate Kevin Rudd's 2013 success in returning to the Lodge after being booted out by his own party in 2010 despite his public assurances that his leadership is "dead, buried and cremated" and that "the Abbott era is over."

A senior Liberal source close to Mr Abbott said the former prime minister maintained a "good chance" of returning to the job because he is popular with the party membership compared to Malcolm Turnbull.

Mr Turnbull is widely perceived within the party to have failed to live up to expectations, scraped through the election with just a one-seat majority and continues to perform poorly in the polls.

The source said the outcome of the upcoming NSW State Council of the Liberal Party on October 22 was an important opportunity for Mr Abbott to showcase to the Parliamentary Party his strength with the wider membership. There, his Federal Electorate Conference (FEC) will propose a motion for democratic reform of the party. It is likely to be opposed by the left wing of the party, but has a greater chance of succeeding than ever before.

The change would enable the party membership, which is predominantly right-wing, to have a greater say in pre-selecting candidates.

Other Liberals did not rule out the possibility of an Abbott comeback, saying his prospects had improved as Mr Turnbull had failed to improve. They also said it would be difficult to sell a change to a new leader to the base, meaning if a change were to happen it could only feasibly be a reinstatement of the former prime minister.

If Mr Abbott were to return to the leadership, it would spell bad news for Deputy Leader Julie Bishop. Fairfax Media has also learned Mr Abbott is describing the foreign minister to associates abroad in unflattering terms.

Ms Bishop fended off a right-wing challenge to her position when Mr Abbott was un-seated and denied claims she was disloyal and played a role in his demise. Ms Bishop's chief of staff attended a meeting of the plotters on the eve of the coup, but the minister insists her staffer was there to observe the proceedings and did not participate.

Although Ms Bishop's position is elected by the partyroom – where she remains popular – there would be serious questions about whether she could serve as Mr Abbott's deputy.

Mr Abbott has completed a string of backflips on key totemic issues for conservatives, including his stunning admission that he is "quietly thrilled" with the Brexit result despite opposing it prior to the vote. His original position dismayed his allies in the Leave campaign.

He is currently using an around-the-world tour that has taken him to Prague, New York and now London to spruik his legacy as prime minister, which ended after two years when his own party voted to replace him with former leader Turnbull in September 2015.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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