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Saturday, September 1, 2018

In a world where opinions are valued more than fact, government is occupied by fools & narcissistic morons


In a world where opinions are valued more than fact, government is occupied by fools & narcissistic morons



Back in the day, people would vote for politicians based on policies and values. These days, we've seen people quite proudly declare that they vote for politicians such as Donald Trump or Pauline Hanson, because they 'speak their mind'. This indicates that many voters are more interested in a politician's opinion than in their competence or integrity. It also indicates, that when politicians do speak their mind, it will only reflect the populist opinion of the day in order to get elected.

Similarly, back in the day, people would read newspapers to get the facts on particular events. These days, many of the mainstream news services report opinion as though it was fact. Nek minnit, people are running around citing the rantings of Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones and their ilk as being fact, when they are really just highly-paid, unqualified polemicists looking to stir division and controversy.

As author Toni Aleo once incisively reflected,  'opinions are like assholes, everyone has one, and most of them are just full of shit'.

Harsh, but nailed it.

When real journalists report facts, provide context and question the claims, actions and double-standards of politicians, these pollies and their cortege of unquestioning devotees scream 'fake news' and blame 'post-modern, neo-Marxist relativism' for daring to provide evidence-based reporting.

Even Kelly-Anne Conway, counsellor to the puerile, maladroit and feckless US President Donald Trump, declared that falsehoods spoken within the Trump administration were simply 'alternative facts' ... so yeah ... this is where we're at ... the greatest empire the world has ever seen, is ruled by a feeble-minded fibber who transmogrifies rubbery opinions and blatant bullshit into 'alternative facts' to suit his narcissistic need for acceptance and popularity among small-minded people who can't accept the slightest challenge to their ignorant world view that often manifests in bigoted attacks on people who are not white, not Christian, not heterosexual, and not right-wing.

Way back in 1920, journo and satirist, Henry Louis Mencken made a blistering observation of what the ultimate fulfilment of democracy would be when the people get exactly what they want. In an era of post-truth Trumpism where opinion is more valued than fact, Mencken's words have proven disturbingly prophetic when he predicted that 'on some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron' ... but hey, at least Trump 'speaks his mind'!



Some of Trump's deluded and fanatical followers are Christians who blindly support him, overlooking his lies, indiscretions and infidelities, while claiming he is annointed of God. The only thing Trump is annointed with is golden showers from Russian hookers. As Willz, one of our guest bloggers recently remarked, it is more like Trump is the anti-Christ who banged the whore of Babylon.

In Australia, the Liberal Party which is currently dominated by extremist right-wing Christians, has dramatically slashed funding of the ABC and SBS. These publicly-funded networks have charters that require them to provide balanced reporting of fact rather than opinion. Yet the rabid right-wing attack ABC and SBS for being too left-wing ... apparently when you're so right-wing that reports of other views and facts that don't suit your little circle of ignorance, must be part of a neo-Marxist, left-wing agenda. With their benighted heads buried so deep in the right-wing paranoia of shock-jock vituperation, balanced reporting looks like a left-wing conspiracy to the rabid right.

The rabid right will claim that they stand for freedom, truth, Christian values, while accusing the left-wing of being snowflakes who are easily offended and who stand for political correctness and social justice (apparently this is an insult in the feeble-minded minds of the rabid right). Yet many on the extreme right curl into fetal positions when the cognitive dissonance between their ignorance and truth gets too much. They'll then revert to one of their comfortable positions: stop same-sex marriage, stop abortion, stop Islam, stop socialism ... yada, yada, yada.



Instead of trying to make the world a better place, to understand facts without going fetal when truth doesn't match their ignorance, they'll wrap themselves in their national flag and accuse the more enlightened of being elitists, traitors, do-gooders. Apparently nothing says patriotism like championing fascism, neo-Nazism and vilifying more moderate voices.

In a world dominated by social media, tweets and memes hold more weight than peer-reviewed, evidence-based dissertation. Even the fustian Trump fires off brash tweets that his minions are left having to justify and defend ... after all, truth is not important in the post-truth world of the Trump empire ... truth is whatever you're told and don't dare challenge it.

Here's some advice for those who get their news from tweets, memes and Fox:

Tweets do not necessarily equal truth ... and truth does not always equal fact, because truth can be based on interpretation rather than context. For example, two people looking at a symbol painted on the ground, one claims it is a 6, the other claims it is a 9.


Which person is correct? Are both correct? Are both wrong? What they have both said may be truth. It may be a 6 or a 9. However, the 'fact' will depend on a number of things. Did the artist intend on it being a 6 or 9. If so, then only one of them is correct, although the 'fact' was ambiguous because it looks like both a 6 and a 9. In this case, one of them needs to reorient their position to see the fact. Perhaps, the artist intended for it to be both a 6 and a 9, so in this case, both people are correct. Perhaps the artist had painted the letter 'g', in which case both people are wrong. What this shows, is that we can't just accept someone's opinion no matter how correct it looks. We should always question, we should always put things into context. This example demonstrates the inherent problem in dissing relativism, because the opposite of relativism is absolutism. An absolutist would defend to the death their view of this, whether it was a 6 or 9, yet they could have been incorrectly oriented or it may have been a 'g' and not a number at all.

The problem is that for a lot of people, their narrow world-view needs to be boiled down to its most simplistic. Former Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, realised this and reduced his policy statements to three-word slogans, such as 'stop the boats' and 'axe the tax'. These resonated with his fans, however, it completely ignored the complexity of the issues that underpinned the situations that he was talking about.

Canadian professor and philosopher, Marshall McLuhan (1911 to 1980) summed up the situation well, 'a point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted or insight and understanding'.

Interestingly, McLuhan also astutely observed that 'Politics will eventually be replaced by imagery. The politician will be only too happy to abdicate in favor of his image, because the image will be much more powerful than he could ever be'. Politicians are not interested in fact, truth and what's good for society, but merely in twisting facts and truth for their own self-serving desires.

In a world of alternative facts, opinionated shysters, deceitful politicians and a gullible public, who needs critical thought when it can't fit into a meme or a slogan?






Friday, August 31, 2018

Pentecostal Prime Minister Scott Morrison - transmogrifying love to rancor

Pentecostal Prime Minister Scott Morrison - transmogrifying Christianity from love to rancor


With the succession of Scott Morrison to the nation's highest job, Australia now has its first Pentecostal Prime Minister. Many people of faith are lauding this as fulfilling God's will, that the nation will be blessed, yada, yada, yada.

Those who are singing his praises completely overlook the evil in Morrison's heart. He claims to be a family man with Christian values, yet the families he is only interested in are white, Christian, Australian families. From another country? Forget it. From another religion, particularly, Islam? He will insult you and vilify you. Fleeing persecution, war, torture? He will persecute, abuse and torture you. On minimum wage? He will reduce your income even more. Yeah, Christian values.

Let's face it. No-one is perfect. No-one expects Christians to be perfect, however, this goes beyond imperfections. Morrison has taken deliberate action through the law to persecute people, to torture them, to send unaccompanied children to a remote island where they are imprisoned, raped, abused. He has deliberately destroyed the lives of the most vulnerable.

Some of his supporters argue that Morrison is a tough leader. However, how tough is a man who picks on the most vulnerable people in the world. As an analogy, Morrison's treatment of refugees is comparable to those nations where rape victims are blamed and charged for being raped. Morrison has demonised refugees by blaming them for the persecution and torture they have suffered, and then charged imprisoned them for daring to flee their attackers. Morrison is not a Christian, nor is he tough; he is a bully, a coward who picks on those who can't fight back.

To understand just how much of a lying, deluded hypocrite Morrison is, let's have a listen to him in his own words. In his maiden speech to parliament on 14 February 2008, he waxed lyrical about his values being based on his family and faith. He even had the hide to quote biblical scripture about compassion and love for others ... as he went on to torture adults and children fleeing their persecutors.

Excerpts from Morrison's maiden speech(1):

'I turn now to the most significant influences on my life—my family and my faith. Family is the stuff of life and there is nothing more precious. 

So what values do I derive from my faith? My answer comes from Jeremiah, chapter 9:24: 

... I am the Lord who exercises loving-kindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things, declares the Lord.

From my faith I derive the values of loving-kindness, justice and righteousness, to act with compassion and kindness, acknowledging our common humanity and to consider the welfare of others; to fight for a fair go for everyone to fulfil their human potential and to remove whatever unjust obstacles stand in their way, including diminishing their personal responsibility for their own wellbeing; and to do what is right, to respect the rule of law, the sanctity of human life and the moral integrity of marriage and the family. We must recognise an unchanging and absolute standard of what is good and what is evil. Desmond Tutu put it this way: 


... we expect Christians ... to be those who stand up for the truth, to stand up for justice, to stand on the side of the poor and the hungry, the homeless and the naked, and when that happens, then Christians will be trustworthy believable witnesses.


These are my principles. My vision for Australia is for a nation that is strong, prosperous and generous: strong in our values and our freedoms, strong in our family and community life, strong in our sense of nationhood and in the institutions that protect and preserve our democracy; prosperous in our enterprise and the careful stewardship of our opportunities, our natural environment and our resources; and, above all, generous in spirit, to share our good fortune with others, both at home and overseas, out of compassion and a desire for justice'.

If Morrison is to be compared to the words of Desmond Tutu that he so proudly quoted, then he is not a 'trustworthy, believable witness'.



Morrison displayed how much of this 'christian' compassion he has when he made a smart-arse comment about the suicide of an Indian student during an interview with Barry Cassidy of ABC's Insiders program on 16 February 2014(2):

BARRIE CASSIDY: Three days ago an Indian student took his own life at a detention centre in Melbourne. He was in that centre because he overstayed his visa. Could that have been avoided?
SCOTT MORRISON: Could he have avoided overstaying his visa?





Even going back to 2011, when he was in the Shadow Ministry, he urged the Liberal Party to exploit fears of 'Muslim immigration', 'Muslims in Australia' and 'inability of Muslim's to integrate'(3).  In 2015, as Immigration Minister, Morrison stoked Islamophobia by beating up a story about Muslim children not standing for the National Anthem(4). What he didn't bother acknowledging was that it was the month of Muharram, which commemorates the death of Prophet Muhammad's grandson, Hussein Ibn Ali. As it is a month of mourning, Shia Muslims abstain from joyous activities, such as singing. A number of Shia Muslims later said that it would have been ok to sing the national anthem, however, these children were aged between eight and ten years old and not mature enough to weigh up religious and national priorities.  Morrison, being a bully, used them to stoke hatred of Muslims in the minds of people too immature or unwilling to look at the context.

Funnily enough, Morrison accused the teachers who allowed the children to leave the school assembly, as being 'do-gooders' that should be awarded 'muppet of the year'(5). Accusing someone of being a 'do-gooder' is the old chestnut that the rabid right-wing throws at anyone who has any consideration for others or who simply questions bigoted attitudes. It's funny, because Morrison claims to be a Christian, yet the Bible tells him to be a do-gooder ... Ephesians 2:10 says, 'For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do'.  So there's that! Who's the muppet now, Morrison?

Morrison has further inflamed the Conservative paranoia about 'political correctness gone mad' with his dogwhistling over the non-existent war on Christmas. For instance, in 2017, a couple of Greens senators, Nick McKim and Peter Whish-Wilson, trolled the religious right who keep arguing that Christmas is under attack ... even though it is Australia's most popular holiday(6). Morrison accused McKim and Whish-Wilson of being 'pathetic muppets'. He went on to state:

'Grow up and show some respect to your fellow Australians. You may not share their views or their beliefs, but as elected members the least you could do is not mock them, especially during a time of year that is very important to them'.

Apparently, someone who claims to love Jesus while facilitating the torture of refugee children who have no crib for a bed, should have the right to sing about how Jesus fled persecution as a refugee and who blesses all the children in his tender care. Meanwhile calling out the hypocrisy of political predators such as Morrison and his 'tender care' is disrespectful, offensive ... political correctness gone mad ... all the while, Morrison wants respect for Christian celebrations while he attacks children commemorating a Muslim holy month.

Why do conservatives label criticism of vilification and hate speech as being 'political correctness', when all that is asked of them is to treat other people with respect.

Here's another funny thing ... get this ... Political Correctness is Christian!  It is also what many parents taught their children back in the day. Just some examples of Political Correctness in the Bible:

  • Do to others as you would have them do to you (Luke 6:31) 
  • Turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39) 
  • Take the plank out of your own eye before picking on the speck in someone else's (Matthew 7:5) 
  • Love does no wrong to its neighbour (Romans 13:10) 
  • Love your neighbour as yourself (Galatians 5:14)

The rabid right vehemently rail against political correctness so they can be blatantly rude and disrespectful, but then bang on about lack of respect in today's children ... 'Do unto others  ... ' bitches! What goes around comes around.

Overlooking Morrison's willingness to abuse human rights just because he goes to a pentecostal church, speaks volumes about the values of pentecostals.

However, what difference should his faith make in whether or not someone chooses to support him? What should be important is not his faith (or pretence of it), but whether he truly has the welfare of the country at heart, genuinely values human rights, compassion and kindness, or whether he is just another politician willing to victimise others for his own political gain.

The current Chief of Army, Lieutenant-General David Morrison stated, 'the standard you walk past is the standard you accept'. Far too many conservatives (Christian or not), accept Morrison's standards for abusing and vilifying the world's most vulnerable.

This is how Morrison has voted on key issues(7):
  • Voted very strongly for a same-sex marriage plebiscite
  • Voted very strongly for civil celebrants having the right to refuse to marry same-sex couples
  • Voted very strongly for decreasing funding to ABC and SBS
  • Voted very strongly for decreasing welfare payments
  • Voted very strongly for getting rid of Sunday and public holiday penalty rates
  • Voted very strongly for drug testing welfare recipients
  • Voted very strongly for putting welfare payments onto debit cards
  • Voted very strongly for Temporary Protection Visas (reducing access to permanent residency for refugees)
  • Voted very strongly for turning back asylum seeker boats
  • Voted moderately against refugee and protection conventions
  • Voted very strongly against a Royal Commission into Violence and Abuse against People with Disability
  • Voted very strongly against ending immigration detention on Manus Island and Nauru
  • Voted very strongly against extending government benefits to same-sex couples
  • Voted very strongly against increasing Aboriginal land rights
  • Voted very strongly against increasing scrutiny of asylum seeker management
  • Voted very strongly against increasing trade unions' power in the workplace
  • Voted very strongly against letting environmental groups challenge the legality of certain government decisions
  • Voted very strongly against protecting the Great Barrier Reef
  • Voted very strongly against removing children from immigration detention
  • Voted very strongly against same-sex marriage equality (even though the plebiscite he voted for resulted in most Australians wanting marriage equality)
Morrison's voting behaviour shows that he has little compassion for indigenous people, asylum seekers and refugees, workers, LGBTIQ people or the environment, while trying to shut down the balanced reporting provided by ABC and SBS.

You don't have to be a Christian to be compassionate. Christianity claims to be the religion of love, yet we see the true colours of those who accept Morrison's standards. The bible says that without love, you are just a 'sounding gong', all noise and bluster.

Morrison stated in his maiden speech that his faith gave him his values of  'loving-kindness, justice and righteousness, to act with compassion and kindness, acknowledging our common humanity and to consider the welfare of others' ... his actions speak far greater than his words ...

He also said, 'a fair go for everyone to fulfil their human potential and to remove whatever unjust obstacles stand in their way' ... yet imprisoning innocent people in a remote and harsh prison indefinitely without charge and abusing their human rights and liberties. It should not be forgotten that many of these people had been assessed as being genuine refugees.

Then there was the fair go that he gave to Australia's lowest paid workers by removing penalty rates that dramatically reduced their wages so that the businesses they work for can pocket more money. Morrison is like an antithesis of Robin Hood, taking from the poor to make the rich richer. He also supported the reduction of welfare payments to those without jobs. Talk about kicking people while they're down.

How would Morrison respond to the parable of the sheep and the goats? You know the bit about, 'For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me'.

Pentecostals have nothing to boast about with Morrison being elevated to the nation's highest office ... unless they are happy with transmogrifying Christ's message of love to one of hatred, intolerance and rancor. The only people Jesus didn't tolerate were the religious hypocrites who attacked others and misused the word of God.

Morrison isn't a Christian, he is a self-serving, malevolent coward.


References

1. Parliament of Australia, Governor-General's speech, Address-in-reply, Scott Morrison, 14 February 2008,  http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F2008-02-14%2F0045%22 and http://sievx.com/testimony/2008/20080214Morrison.html. Viewed 26 August 2018.

2. ABC Insiders, Barrie Cassidy, 16 February 2014, Scott Morrison joins Insiders, http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/scott-morrison-joins-insiders/5262888, viewed 25 August 2018.

3. The Sydney Morning Herald, Lenore Taylor, 17 February 2011, Morrison sees votes in anti-Muslim strategy, https://www.smh.com.au/national/morrison-sees-votes-in-anti-muslim-strategy-20110216-1awmo.html. Viewed 25 August 2018.

4. The Conversation, Leticia Anderson, 10 October 2014, Politicians and media let us down in fight to curb rising Islamophobia, http://theconversation.com/politicians-and-media-let-us-down-in-fight-to-curb-rising-islamophobia-32677. Viewed 25 August 2018.

5. The Guardian, Shalailah Medhora, 28 October 2015, Morrison chastises 'do-gooders' who let Muslim children not sing anthem, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/oct/28/morrison-chastises-do-gooders-who-let-muslim-children-not-sing-anthem. Viewed 25 August 2018.

6. Junkee, Rob Stott, 18 December 2017, The Greens Have Expertly Trolled Conservatives With Their Christmas Message, https://junkee.com/nick-mckim-war-christmas/139760. Viewed 25 August 2018.

7. They Vote For You, 'Scott Morrison - Liberal Party Representative for Cook', https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/representatives/cook/scott_morrison. Viewed 31 August 2018.




Friday, July 13, 2018

What will you do when they come for the Socialists?

What will you do when they come for the Socialists?

There has been a global increase in fascist and authoritarian behaviour by main stream right-wing parties, such as the Republicans and Australia's Liberal Party. Considering it is only a few decades ago that the world saw the culmination of evil that arises when people think they are better than others, when they fear others.

My question for those who support these parties is this:

What will you do when the government comes for the Socialists?

What will you do when the government comes for YOU?

If current behaviour is any indication, then you are doing, and will continue to do, nothing!

Those who do speak up for the marginalised, the discriminated against and the persecuted, are often labelled as Do-Gooders, as though this is an insult! Better to be a Do-Gooder than a Do-Nothing.

The Do-Nothings gave us Hitler.

Too much of an exaggeration?

In the US, the Republicans have presented a bill that can jail anti-fascist protesters for 15 years(1). They are seriously considering a Bill that targets people who protest against fascism, authoritarianism and Nazis. Meanwhile, President Trump described the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis as 'very fine people'(2).

Martin Niemöller was a Christian pastor in Hitler's Germany, so he witnessed first-hand the rise of Hitler and well understand what empowered the rise of such evil. Niemöller firmly placed the blame on people, particularly Christians, who failed to speak up, or worse, who supported Hitler because he claimed to be doing the 'work of the Lord'.  Niemöller wrote:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Quotation from Martin Niemöller on display in the Permanent Exhibition of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum(3)
The government has already come for the refugees. We have seen that with Australia's indefinite imprisonment of asylum seekers and refugees, which has been condemned by the United Nations, Amnesty International and other humanitarian groups. Do-Gooders spoke up, Do-Nothings wallowed in the fear-mongering and lies that the government used when they labelled them terrorists and illegals, when they dehumanised them as willing to throw their children over-board (which was found by a Senate inquiry to have been a lie).

The government has already come for the migrants. We've seen this with Trump separating children from families of migrants who have tried to cross into the US. He has continued to deport migrants who have lived in the country for  years. Australia is also deporting migrants to countries that many left when they were babies. Do-Gooders spoke up, Do-Nothings wallowed in the fear-mongering and hate-speech that characterises immigrants as criminals, rapists, pedophiles and a drain on society.

The government has already come for Muslims. Trump has recently banned travel from some Muslim-majority countries. Demonisation of asylum seekers, usually portrays them as being Islamic terrorists, even though these are people fleeing terror. Globally, there has been a push to ban Islam because of the characterisation that all Muslims are terrorists, even though very few are (and of course, Christianity itself has been far more violent, for instance it was Christians who were responsible for most of the wars of the 20th century). Then there are those who are persist with the attacks on Muslims by trying to ban the hijab and ban halal food. It hasn't quite gotten to the point of locking people up simply for being Muslim, but the rise in hate-crimes against them does indicate a frightening future if these attacks and hate-speech against Muslims continue.

The government is attacking socialists, unionists and the left-wing broadly. In Australia, the debate about the anti-bullying program, 'Safe Schools', was labelled by a number of right-wing politicians as being a 'Marxist agenda of cultural relativism'(4). The Liberal Party demanded a royal commission into union corruption, which of course revealed very little, other than the fact that the government is trying to ban unions. Meanwhile, the right-wing cheered this on. Marxism has been used as a scapegoat every time the Liberal Party wages an attack on basic human or civil rights, such as marriage equality, treatment of asylum seekers, and even requests for wage rises and penalty rates.

Many years ago, we fought a war against Nazis. We won. For decades it was a shameful thing to associate with Nazism. Now, it is not only accepted, it is something that some people are proud of. For instance, One Nation leader, Pauline Hanson, has proudly endorsed a neo-Nazi as the One Nation candidate in an upcoming federal by-election(5).

There has been a rise in hate crime across the globe. Yet, calling it out is labelled as 'political correctness gone mad', with the right-wing claiming their freedom of speech is being constrained... simply because other people (often called Do-Gooders or cultural Marxists) ask them to show respect for people who are of a different colour, religion or nation. Hate crime in the United States has risen for four years straight(6), including increases in attacks on Muslims(7). There has been a significant increase in hate crimes against South Asians, Arabs, Muslims and Hindus(8).

Irish columnist, Fintan O'Toole speculates that this shift to the extreme right-wing by formerly moderate parties is a trial run for fascism(9). Governments across the globe are pushing ever more extremist policies and seeing how well they are accepted. With the exception of those 'Do-Gooders', often times the policies are introduced with ne'er a word of protest from the Do-Nothings who justify these policies in the name of 'border security', biblical teaching or other reasons designed to explain away the fear-mongering and racism behind them.

Hitler's final solution did not happen over night. It took many years for Hitler to arrive at the idea of gassing those he had imprisoned. While the world often remembers the six million Jews that were the victims of the Nazi regime, there were also another five million who included people from various groups, such as socialists, unionists, gypsies, the unwell, the gay, and dissidents.

Germany's failure to challenge Hitler's racist and bigoted policies are what empowered him, and are what led to the holocaust.

So, right-wing voter ... you may hate socialism, but when they come for the Socialists, what will you do?

What will you do when they come for those you don't like?

Will you be a Do-Gooder and speak up or a Do-Nothing and shut-up?

The Do-Nothings empowered Hitler.

Will you fight fascism or will you empower it?

Better to speak up now, then to wait until there is no-one to speak up.


References

1. Huffpost, Zach Carter, GOP Anti-Antifa Act Could Send Masked Demonstrators To Prison For 15 Yearshttps://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/house-republicans-unmasking-antifa-act_us_5b4527b1e4b0c523e263c2d5. Accessed 13 July 2018.

2. The Atlantic, Rosie Gray, 15 August 2017,  Trump Defends White-Nationalist Protesters: 'Some Very Fine People on Both Sides'. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/08/trump-defends-white-nationalist-protesters-some-very-fine-people-on-both-sides/537012/. Accesssed 13 July 2018.

3. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, MARTIN NIEMÖLLER: "FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE SOCIALISTS...". https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007392. Accessed 13 July 2018.

4. ABC News, Michael Bradley, The problem with evoking Marxism in the Safe Schools debate. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-24/bradley-marxism-and-safe-schools/7272764. Accessed 13 July 2018.

5. The New Daily, Jackson Stiles, One Nation preferences neo-Nazi over Labor in Longman.
https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2018/07/11/one-nation-preferences-longman/. Accessed 13 July 2018.

6. The Conversation, Brian Leven, James J. Nolan, John David Reitzel, 26 June 2018, New data shows US hate crimes continued to rise in 2017https://theconversation.com/new-data-shows-us-hate-crimes-continued-to-rise-in-2017-97989. Accessed 13 July 2018.

7. DW, Reuters, Anti-Muslim hate crime on the rise in Donald Trump's US - report. https://www.dw.com/en/anti-muslim-hate-crime-on-the-rise-in-donald-trumps-us-report/a-43500942. Accessed 13 July 2018.

8. SBS, Vivek Asri, 16 November 2017, Hate crime against South Asians on a risehttps://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/hindi/en/article/2017/11/16/hate-crime-against-south-asians-rise. Accessed 13 July 2018.

 9. The Irish Times, Fintan O'Toole, 26 June 2018, Trial runs for fascism are in full flow. https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/fintan-o-toole-trial-runs-for-fascism-are-in-full-flow-1.3543375. Accessed 13 July 2018.









Monday, July 9, 2018

Who's a little snowflake then? Right-wing sensitivity and its tolerance of fascism and bigotry.

Who's a little snowflake then? Right-wing sensitivity and its tolerance of fascism and bigotry.


Right-wing pundits generally try to portray themselves as being strong and logical, not prone to the sensitive, emotional and allegedly illogical behaviours of the left-wing. Yet, many on the right-wing are extremely sensitive to criticism about God and country, often invoking emotional accusations of the left-wing not being patriotic or being communist, and then will follow this up by attempting to ban anything that doesn't meet their approval or which contravenes their 'values'.

Often these attempts to ban things are not accompanied by a great deal of logic, but based on logical fallacies and false equivalents. For instance, the right-wing have attempted to ban an entire religion and some of its aspects, namely Islam, halal, hijabs and burqas. Other things that the right has attempted to ban include refugees, abortion, homosexuality, marriage equality ... and even multiculturalism. Many of them completely melt down (pardon the pun) over climate change.

The right-wing get all touchy and upset whenever the left-wing accuses them of racism and bigotry. These accusations are usually based on the right's attacks on Islam, migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds or other things where people's race or religion come into it. Apparently running fear-mongering campaigns that accuse people from particular countries, races or religions as being terrorists, rapists and pedophiles is not racist or bigoted in the eyes of the right-wing. So, they retaliate and call the left-wing 'snowflakes' or 'libtards', and even attack fellow right-wingers as 'cucks' if they appear to have even a modicum of social justice values.

The right-wing got all offended when Michelle Wolf cracked jokes at Trump's expense(1), yet many of these were the same people who wore t-shirts at Trump rallies telling Democrats 'fuck your feelings'. Who's a little snowflake then?

The faux outrage from the right-wing didn't stop here. They were pulling their best lemon-sucking faces when Samantha Bee called Ivanka Trump a 'feckless cunt'(2). Yet they were fine when Sid Miller called Hilary a cunt(3) ... and for that matter when Ted Nugent called Hilary a 'toxic cunt' way back in 1994. Hilary's daughter, Chelsea Clinton, referred to Ted Nugent's comment when she called out the hypocrisy of right-wing outrage over Samantha Bee's comment about Ivanka(4).

The right figure that the left are snowflakes because they argue for political correctness. Keep in mind that PC is about treating people with respect which you'd think the religious right-wing would be in favour of.  The religious right love to quote biblical scripture and nothing says the bible more than the golden rule articulated in Mathew 7:12, 'So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you'. In everything, huh? I wonder if that includes locking others up indefinitely on a remote pacific island when they've committed no crime other than to ask for protection from persecution ... but who knows, perhaps being brutalised on a desert-island has been a long-term fantasy of the right-wing.



The right-wing argue that left-wing snow-flakes take offence at everything, hence the whole PC thing. They accuse the left-wing of shutting down free speech and banning people from entering the country if they disagree with them. An example of this would be the left's attempts to ban speakers such as Milo Yiannopoulos and Geert Wilders, both of whom have been embraced by ultra-right-wing extremists for their extreme attacks on Islam, refugees and migrants ... not bigoted or racist, right?

So on banning people which the right claims they don't do ... there is the thing about banning asylum seekers from entering the country, whether it be Australia or the USA, even though under the UN Refugee Convention they are legally allowed to enter and seek asylum regardless of the irregular method of entry. Banning people fleeing persecution ... think about that. Thousands of people banned, yet the right-wing bang on about the left trying to ban a couple of hate-mongerers from entering the country ... hmm ... Funnily enough, the right-wing falls hook, line and sinker for the demonising of refugees and asylum seekers by the government and hate-mongerers. They are so gullible that they believe the lies about asylum seekers 'illegally' entering the country, so feel that if asylum seekers break the law, they should be locked up. If the right-wing is so concerned about the rule of law, then why aren't they upset about their government breaking numerous international laws and conventions, including conventions on refugees, torture and the rights of the child. It's hard to believe that they aren't motivated by racism and bigotry when they justify these human rights abuses in the name of 'border security' or preserving 'national values' ... it is really in the name of nationalism, which basically equates to keeping people who are different out of the country! Yeah, one can see why the left accuses these nationalists of racism and bigotry ... and fascism.

Former US President, Henry A. Wallace stated, 'a fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends'.



And then there are some examples of specific individuals that the right-wing tried to ban. Cast your minds back to when an Australian woman named Yassmin Abdel-Magied dared to post an Anzac Day tweet that said, 'Lest. We. Forget. (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine…)'(5). This was hardly an insult to Anzacs or the Australian military in general. It was acknowledging the role of the Australian military in these locations as well as the government's attempts to cover-up ongoing abuses of people fleeing war and persecution. Considering the Australian military has fought for our freedoms, then why not call out government actions that remove freedoms of people, particularly when they ordered the military to help out in its 'border security' operations. Right-wingers across Australia showed that they too have their own version of what they consider politically-correct, which often is anything that dares to criticise the military or their political and religious views. In this case, Yassmin was bombarded with death-threats and vile abuse from right-wingers who attacked her politics, her religion and her gender - nothing racist or bigoted about that, yeah? When she finally decided it was too much, Yassmin left Australia and moved to Britain, to great howls of approval and back-slapping from right-wingers who felt they had justifiably run her out of town. A couple of years later, Yassmin hosted a new show on the ABC and the right-wing went from indignant to apoplectic in micro-seconds(6). They called for the show's banning ... but aren't they the self-appointed guardians of free speech, always telling the left-wing snowflakes to suck it up whenever the right-wing offends someone? If the military fought for our freedoms, then it is an insult to their sacrifice to deny freedoms to others seeking our protection.

While this letter refers to America, the points it makes about the Allies fighting against fascism to defend freedom is relevant as the right-wing instead tries to defend fascism and hate-crimes.



In England there was the case of Munroe Bergdorf, a trans-gender model and political activist who dared to criticise the 'racial violence of white people', and stated 'Yes ALL white people. Because most of ya’ll don’t even realise or refuse to acknowledge that your existence, privilege and success as a race is built on the backs, blood and death of people of colour. Your entire existence is drenched in racism'. Bergdorf has made numerous posts about the racist behaviour and history of white people. Apparently, having an actual history lesson about the blood-drenched impacts of colonialism is not PC in the right-wing world. The right-wing did what they do best: they unleashed all manner of vitriolic attacks on her, which eventually forced her to stand down from the Labour Party's LGBT advisory board. Bergdorf  stated, 'This is a decision that I’ve had to make due to endless attacks on my character by the conservative right wing press and relentless online abuse. I refuse to be painted as a villain or used as a pawn in the press’ efforts, especially those at the Daily Mail, to discredit the Labour party and push their transphobic rightist agendas'(7).

For people who claim to stand for freedom of speech, they sure do have issues when people exercise that freedom. This has been particularly evident when the media challenges statements and actions of the right-wing. Donald Trump is consistently accusing the press of fake news and being left-wing. In Australia, the right-wing are constantly attacking the ABC and SBS for unbalanced reporting. This is pretty ironic considering that most of the people attacking the ABC don't actually listen to, read it or watch it with any regularity. They generally tend to read the Murdoch papers which have little balance and are more prone to publish opinion than fact. The ABC can and does challenge politicians from all sides of the fence about the claims they make. Right-wingers criticise the ABC for being too left-wing, yet it is only that the critics are so right-wing, they see any unbiased article as left-wing. The fact is that the ABC is banned by law from providing opinion and is required to be balanced; it can only provide facts, it interviews politicians and commentators from both sides of the fence, and its correspondents and hosts are from both sides of the political divide, e.g. Philip Adams from the left and Amanda Vanstone (former Liberal politician) from the right.

So what does the right-wing do? They de-fund the ABC through forced savings of $324 million in 2014 and funding freezes in 2018 that cut $84 million from the ABC's budget which impacts their service delivery(8). Then they appoint a former Murdoch-stooge to conduct an 'efficiency review' of the ABC(9). Clearly the government doesn't want to pay to protect the free speech that it claims to value.

Attacks on the press are almost de rigueur for the right-wing. In the United States, the Texas Governor laughed about shooting reporters(10). Donald Trump, feckless President of the United States, has incessantly waged war on the media, as have many others in the Republican Party. Trump has accused the media of being the 'enemy of the people' and during his election campaign, t-shirts were available that said, 'Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required'. This war hasn't stopped at words. A Republican candidate was charged with assaulting a reporter(11). Right-wing troll, Milo Yiannopoulos stated that he 'can't wait for vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight'(12). Days later, a gunman walked into a newspaper office in Maryland and shot five people dead(13). The attacks from Trump and others may not have directly inspired the killings, but a number of people from the so-called alt-right rejoiced in the murders(14).

The Australian government doesn't just attack the media, but threatens to prosecute it for reporting government corruption. In 2014, the then Abbott-led government passed legislation that could see journalists and whistle-blowers jailed for up to 10 years for reporting government actions, corruption and bungles by security agencies(15).  The most recent case being of 'Witness K' and, astoundingly, his lawyer(16). Witness K was a former Australian spy who revealed that during tense negotiations over oil and gas revenue between Australia and East Timor, the Australian government illegally bugged the East Timorese cabinet room. The government was not concerned about the illegality of the bugging, but they were concerned about it being exposed so they've taken particularly vindictive action by not just charging Witness K but his lawyer. This is not just an attack on free speech, but an attack on civil liberties. Everyone charged with a crime has the right to legal representation, so how can the lawyer be charged?  In July 2018, saw enactment of the National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Act 2018. Originally introduced to parliament by Prime Minister Turnbull, the new Act criminalises the leaking and reporting of classified information; this includes whistle-blowers. Imagine a government that is less concerned about crime and more concerned about charging those who expose crime.

The UN has condemned the Turnbull government for an 'anti-democratic slide' in which there is 'mounting evidence of regressive measures being pursued by the government', this includes 'frequent vilification by senior public officials of charities, community groups and democratic institutions who hold the government to account'(17).

The left-wing love a good protest. So the conservative New South Wales government banned protests on crown land. The Council for Civil Liberties condemned it as being an 'unacceptable infringement on the civil liberties of people in NSW'(18).

As can be seen, the right-wing has double-standards around offensive language, behaviour, freedom of speech and freedom of movement. Many people have compared their actions to those of Hitler and the Nazis in 1930s Germany. While we haven't yet seen the mass incarceration of unionists socialists, we do see deportations of people who have lived in the country for years, we see the demonisation, vilification and indefinite detention of innocent men, women and children from other nations who have done nothing worse than flee war and persecution. They are often accused of being terrorists even though many are fleeing terrorism. In Australia, refugees are usually characterised as being Muslim, yet they are a mix of Muslim, Christian, Buddhist and other religions, and sometimes of no religion. We may not have arrived at the full-scale brutality of Hitler, but we are on the path to it. The latest method of the Australian government to justify these human rights abuses is to attack compassion itself. The Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, stated that 'It's essential that people realise that the hard-won success of the last few years could be undone overnight by a single act of compassion in bringing 20 people from Manus to Australia'(19). So the indefinite detention of people who have not committed a crime or been charged with a crime will continue. There are thousands locked up by the government in the name of border security and the right-wing condones and encourages it. Recently, the Greens pushed to stop the reciting of the Lord's Prayer in parliament to howls of protest from the religious right who fail to abide by the bible in their treatment of refugees, the poor and in the basic commandment of loving their neighbours and loving their enemies ... Forgive us of our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us ... yep, the right seems to miss this in their outrage.

Such human rights abuses are often lost in the mire of economic debate. The right-wing will claim that conservative governments are the better economic managers than more left-wing governments, as this justifies the abuse and torture of innocent people. Surely human rights atrocities take precedence over balancing the budget. It should be kept in mind that during the 1930s, Hitler turned Germany's economy around as it recovered from the Great Depression, yet his economic successes are eclipsed by his human rights atrocities and the holocaust. Numerous historians have stated that had Hitler died in 1938, he would be remembered as the greatest statesman in German history(20). Had his supporters challenged his human rights and civil liberties abuses instead of crowing about his economic and nationalist successes in 'Making Germany Great Again', then there wouldn't have been the holocaust or the second world war.

The comparison to Hitler is not exaggerated. Holocaust survivor, Stephen B. Jacobs, states, 'America today feels like 1929 or 1930 Berlin. Things that couldn't be said five years ago in public are now normal discourse. It's totally unacceptable. Trump is an enabler. He's a sick, very disturbed individual. Appeasement of fascism is what led to everything'.



The right-wing carry on about political correctness stifling freedom of speech, yet as can be seen, they take offence at all sorts of stuff which they try to shut-down or ban. To accuse the left-wing of this, to accuse the left of being sensitive souls in a state of perpetual outrage is particularly disingenuous and a failure of circumspection by the right-wing.

The left-wing claim to be tolerant in the face of the right's intolerance. Of course, the right-wing then accuses the left of being intolerant to their freedoms of speech because of 'politically correctness gone mad'. However, challenging someone's views and opinions, asking them to explain the evidence, is not attacking their free speech. Having said that, the left, and for that matter the right, should not tolerate intolerant hate speech, racism or bigotry. There is a thing called the paradox of tolerance, which states that to tolerate the intolerant is to destroy tolerance.



Right-wing politicians and correspondents have turned the people against each other. This brain-washing is based on fear-mongering and false-hoods, which are wrapped in the flag of patriotism and pages of a misinterpreted bible to con the gullible. They scapegoat the most vulnerable who are blamed for society's ills, when it is the greed of politicians and businesses that have caused job losses, low wage growth in the name of 'efficiency' and are cultivating hate in the hearts of fearful people who mistake it for patriotism.



Those who blindly defend these abuses of power and people, do not take kindly to their myopic views being challenged; views which are based on opinion rather than fact. When the left presents facts, the right-wing call them elitist. Facts by themselves can be misleading, for instance, we've all heard the adage, 'lies, damned lies, and statistics'. Facts without context can be twisted to suit anyone's viewpoint. How often do we hear bigots quote the Koran without context to justify their bigotry, yet when the bible is quoted without context those same people try to explain it away with, 'yes, but ...'.  Call the left-wing snowflakes, libtards, cucks, elites or whatever else, but this doesn't change facts of history, politics or social issues. This willingness of the right-wing to see strength and patriotism in such ignorance is reminiscent of the Ministry of Truth's slogan in George Orwell's 1984:

War is peace 
Freedom is slavery
Ignorance is strength

Sadly, it goes beyond just facts and context. There is the whole issue of respect and basic decency. Under Trump, disgusting behaviour has become the new norm(21) and right-wingers across the globe (and in many churches) absolutely wallow in this deplorable behaviour as some sort of badge of honour. From making jokes about rape and sexual assault as though women are just being too sensitive, to tearing children away from their families, to his blatant and compulsive lying about pretty much everything. Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic perfectly sums up the situation in relation to Republican leadership relating to their tolerance of Trump and his deplorable behaviour, which also applies to anyone supporting Trump and overlooking his amoral and immoral actions and words: 'They can no longer be trusted to oppose racism or sexism. With a civic arsonist in the White House, they decline to summon the fire department. In short, they have become irresponsible citizens'(22).

As Lieutenant General David Morrison stated: 'The standard you walk past is the standard you accept'. Those on the right-wing who accept racist, sexist, bigoted behaviour cannot be surprised or offended if they they are labelled racist, sexist or bigoted. It is not a badge of honour to defend such deplorable behaviour, particularly when they declare anything that exposes this as being 'fake news'.

Those who feel threatened by facts, context, respect and decency are the real snow-flakes.


References

1. The Telegraph, Our Foreign Staff, 29 April 2018, Michelle Wolf draws laughs - and gasps - with barbs at Trump and Sanders at correspondents' dinner. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/29/michelle-wolf-draws-laughs-gasps-barbs-trump-sanders-correspondents/. Accessed 15 June 2018.

2. Buzzfeed, Krystie Lee Yandoli, 1 June 2018, Samantha Bee And TBS Have Apologized For Calling Ivanka Trump A “Feckless Cunt”. https://www.buzzfeed.com/krystieyandoli/samantha-bee-ivanka-trump-feckless-cunt. Accessed 2 June 2018.

3. San Antonio Current, Alex Zielinski, 1 November 2016, Sid Miller Called Hillary Clinton a "Cunt." Are We Supposed to Be Surprised? https://www.sacurrent.com/the-daily/archives/2016/11/01/sid-miller-called-hillary-clinton-a-cunt-are-we-supposed-to-be-surprised. Accessed 7 July 2018.

4. Huffpost, Sara Boboltz, 2 June 2018, Chelsea Clinton Points To Right-Wing Hypocrisy In Samantha Bee Outragehttps://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/chelsea-clinton-hypocrisy-samantha-bee-outrage_us_5b1059dae4b0d5e89e1e2a71. Accessed 7 July 2018.

5. ABC News, 26 April 2017, Yassmin Abdel-Magied: ABC can't sweep presenter's Anzac Day controversy under the carpet, Joyce says. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-11/yassmin-abdel-magied-says-she-feels-betrayed-by-australia/8699138. Accessed 7 July 2018.

6. Junkee, Tom Clift, 11 April 2018, Yassmin Abdel-Magied Has A New Show At The ABC, And Conservatives Are Throwing A Massive Tantrumhttp://junkee.com/yassmin-abdel-magied-abc-show/153763. Accessed 12 April 2018.

7. The Guardian, Jessica Elgot, 6 March 2018, Model Munroe Bergdorf quits as Labour LGBT adviserhttps://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/mar/06/model-munroe-bergdorf-quits-as-labour-lgbt-adviser. Accessed 8 March 2018.

8. The Guardian, Amanda Meade, 1 June 2018, ABC axes another 37 jobs in wake of $84m budget cut. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/jun/01/abc-axes-another-37-jobs-in-wake-of-84m-budget-cut. Accessed 7 July 2018.

9. The Age, Jennifer Duke, 6 July 2018, Ex-Foxtel boss Peter Tonagh set to head ABC review. https://www.theage.com.au/business/companies/ex-foxtel-boss-peter-tonagh-set-to-head-abc-review-20180706-p4zpyx.html. Accessed 6 July 2018.

10. Newsweek, Alexander Nazaryan, 26 May 2017, Texas Governor Greg Abbott Makes Joke About Shooting Reportershttp://www.newsweek.com/texas-governor-greg-abbott-makes-joke-about-shooting-reporters-616403. Accessed 1 July 2018.

11. Newsweek, Alexander Nazaryan, 25 May 2017, Trump's war on the press reaches dangerous levels as Republican candidate charged with assaulting reporterhttp://www.newsweek.com/trump-war-press-dangerous-615316. Accessed 7 July 2018.

12. Observer, Davis Richardson, 26 June 2018, Milo Yiannopoulos Encourages Vigilantes to Start ‘Gunning Journalists Down’http://observer.com/2018/06/milo-yiannopoulos-encourages-vigilantes-start-gunning-journalists-down/. Accessed 7 July 2018.

13. The Guardian, Naaman Zhou , Kate Lyons, Julia Carrie Wong and Oliver Laughland, 30 June 2018, Maryland shooting: five victims named after 'targeted attack' – as it happenedhttps://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2018/jun/28/capital-gazette-shooting-annapolis-latest-live-news-updates-today-maryland

14. Hope Not Hate, The Right Response Team, 29 June 2018, Five journalists were murdered — and the alt-right celebratedhttps://hopenothate.com/2018/06/29/five-journalists-murdered-alt-right-celebrated/. Accessed 7 July 2018.

15. ABC News, 14 October 2014, Fact check: Journalists face 10 years' jail for exposing security agency bungleshttp://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-14/journalists-face-jail-for-exposing-security-agency-bungles/5776504. Accessed 7 July 2018.

16. Human Rights Law Centre, Michelle Bennett, 29 June 2018, Turnbull Government criticised for prosecution of people who exposed government wrongdoing.
https://www.hrlc.org.au/news/2018/6/29/turnbull-government-criticised-for-prosecution-of-people-who-exposed-government-wrongdoing. Accessed 30 June 2018.

17. Human Rights Law Centre, Michelle Bennett, 1 March 2018, UN expert ‘astonished’ at the Turnbull Government's anti-democratic slidehttps://www.hrlc.org.au/news/2018/3/1/un-astonished-at-the-turnbull-governments-anti-democratic-slide. Accessed 7 July 2018.

18. New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties, Michael Brull, 20 June 2018, Council for Civil Liberties condemns regulations allowing for bans on public gatheringshttp://www.nswccl.org.au/council_for_civil_liberties_condemns_regulations_allowing_for_bans_on_public_gatherings. Accessed 7 July 2018.

19. SBS News, AAP-SBS, 23 June 2018, Compassion can undo efforts against people-smugglers: Duttonhttps://www.sbs.com.au/news/compassion-can-undo-efforts-against-people-smugglers-dutton. Accessed 7 July 2018.

20. Encyclopaedia Brittanica, John Lukacs, Adolf Hitler, Dictator of Germany, Hitler's Place in History. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Adolf-Hitler/Hitlers-place-in-history. Accessed 6 July 2018.

21. The Washington Post, Alexandra Petri, 6 July 2018, The disgusting 'normal' under Trump. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2018/07/06/the-disgusting-normal-under-trump. Accessed 8 July 2018.

22. The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf, 13 February 2018, When Deplorability Is No Longer a Dealbreakerhttps://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/what-donald-trump-supporters-cannot-be-trusted-to-do/551201/. Accessed 8 July 2018.




Saturday, May 19, 2018

Imagine if we built a big wall around Melbourne, shot anyone escaping, bombed schools & hospitals, prevented food and supplies from entering, and said it wasn't a crime because Melbournians don't exist

Imagine if we built a big wall around Melbourne, shot anyone escaping, bombed schools & hospitals, prevented food and supplies from entering, and said it wasn't a crime because Melbournians don't exist



Here's a proposal: The Australian government should build a fence around Melbourne to keep everyone in, no-one can leave. If they try: shoot them dead. Then we'll poison the water supply. Oh, while we're at it, turn the electricity off for 20 hours a day. Set snipers around the fence and shoot anyone who tries to leave. If they throw rocks, shoot them. If they make Molotov cocktails, shoot them. If they make home-made rockets that can barely fly a few hundred metres, have no navigation systems and are carrying nothing more than weak homemade explosives, send in Air Force jets to bomb their hospitals, schools and houses. If they try to escape by sea, we'll have the Navy there ready to blow their little dinghies and fishing boats out of the water. For that matter, if they try to go fishing, we'll restrict them to areas that have no fish. If they try to fish outside of that area ... you guessed it ... the Navy will blow them out of the water.

Here's another proposal. We all know how wonderful the traffic in Sydney is, so let's build giant walls and fences to criss-cross the city, with checkpoints all over them. That should help slow Sydney's traffic even more than it already is.

That should do the trick.

Oh, for good measure, we'll do all this in the name of God, because the bible tells us that 'those' people are not entitled to the land of Australia, so we'll quarantine them in Melbourne and Sydney and gradually exterminate them.

Nearly two million people live in Gaza, a place described as the world's largest open air prison. It is strictly controlled by Israel, from the use of the military to attack civilian targets to the amount of water, electricity and even aid that Gaza receives.


It is estimated that 97% of the water in Gaza is undrinkable(1). Foreign aid could be used to build infrastructure to improve water quality and capacity, yet Israel restricts aid, building materials and basically everything going into and coming out of Gaza. When Gaza asks for more aid, Israel petitions the international community to not be forthcoming with it and then blockades what does come in(2)(3). There are only three land crossings into and out of Gaza. Two of those border with Israel and one with Egypt. These crossings are meant to service a population of two million people, and yet Israel limits what food and materials are allowed into Gaza.

Courtesy: Human Rights Watch (4)


Israel blames Hamas for the failing infrastructure in Gaza, yet as with most things Israel says, this is a lie designed to demonise Palestinians and make Israel look like a munificent overlord. Nothing could be further from the truth. Israel tightly controls air, sea and road channels in and around Gaza, and is responsible for gross human rights violations. To prevent this being reported, it runs a massive propaganda campaign that doesn't just demonise Palestinians, but claims that Palestinians aren't a real people group. In 1969, Golda Meir, fourth Prime Minister of Israel, stated that 'There were no such thing as Palestinians. When was there an independent Palestinian people with an independent Palestinian people? ... They did not exist'. Which completely ignores the history of the area with maps, books and other nations recognising the area as Palestine. Britain issued medals in World Wars 1 and 2 for service in Palestine, prior to 1948 coins and passports were issued for Palestine. Israel isn't just ethnically cleansing the land, it is ethnically cleansing history. Israel wants Palestinians to be non-people because apparently, one can't commit genocide against non-people. To perpetuate this, Israel blocks human rights organisations from entering Gaza, so that the extent of Israel's human rights abuses cannot be adequately documented(4). There are few nations on earth committing such atrocities on a scale that Israel is committing against Palestinians.

Most disturbing is that the Israeli Defence Minister, Moshe Ya'alon has admitted that the attacks on Hamas have been largely motivated by the discovery of 1.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves discovered off the coast of Gaza. Israel wants this for themselves and unbelievably claims that revenue from gas sales would not help the people of Gaza. Ya'alon claims revenue would end up in the hands of Hamas and be used to fund terrorism. However, Hamas is a scapegoat for Israel's real goal which is to prevent the economic development of Gaza, and subsequently Palestine. Israel does not want an economically viable Palestine as it would threaten Israel's ability to control the area. Anais Antreasyan wrote in the University of California's Journal of Palestine Studies that this is a wider strategy of 'separating the Palestinians from their land and natural resources in order to exploit them, and, as a consequence, blocking Palestinian economic development. Despite all formal agreements to the contrary, Israel continues to manage all the natural resources nominally under the jurisdiction of the PA, from land and water to maritime and hydrocarbon resources'(5).

While Israel continues to attack Gaza, blockade supplies and steal its resources, it is responsible for a humanitarian crisis impacting the two million or so residents of Gaza. The United Nations has stated that if Israel continues these actions, Gaza could be uninhabitable by 2020(6).

On 15 May each year, Palestinians commemorate the Nakba (the catastrophe), during which Israel's illegal and violent creation on 14 May 1948 resulted in the deaths of thousands of Palestinians, destruction of some 400 villages and the exodus of around 700,000 refugees fleeing the ethnic cleansing that Israel was undertaking.


Gaza is one of the areas which still has Palestinians. There is also the West Bank; an area that is criss-crossed with walls built by Israel in order to control the movement of Palestinians. One other contested area is East Jerusalem. Palestinians claim this area based on the armistice of 1949. Israel claims it because of the city boundaries. As can be seen in the following image, Israel has stolen most of Palestine. The 1948 Partition Plan by the United Nations, provided for 55% of Palestine to be given to Israel. Contrary to popular opinion though, the UN did not create Israel. It was illegally created on 14 May 1948 by the Jewish Agency, headed by David Ben-Gurion who established himself as Israel's first Prime Minister. United States President Harry Truman recognised Israel the same day(7).




In his infantile 'wisdom', President Donald Trump decided to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as an acknowledgement of Jerusalem being the official capital of Israel. Of course, the Israelis were stoked. The rest of the world not so much, with the United Nations General Assembly ruling the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, as being 'null and void'. 128 countries voted against the US, while only nine voted to recognise it and 35 abstained. Most of those countries that voted with the US or abstained, were threatened with aid cuts by America(8). To rub salt into Palestinian wounds, Trump arranged for the US embassy to be opened by his fashion designer daughter, Ivanka, in Jerusalem on 14 May 2018; during Nakba commemorations when Palestinian feelings would be running the highest. It was a deliberately provocative move by a President who has no respect for Palestine or human rights, while condoning and praising the genocide and ethnic cleansing that Israel has been perpetrating in Palestine since at least 1948.





Israel has murdered thousands of Palestinians. It has used illegal weapons such as white phosphorous (9)(10) and flechette missiles(11) which spray thousands of tiny metal darts when they explode. The use of these weapons constitute war crimes(9). Israel routinely arrests children, illegally detaining them without charge, sometimes torturing them(12)(13). If any other nation was doing this, the holier-than-thou US would have intervened through military action, invasion and economic sanctions(14). But when it comes to Israel, America turns a blind eye to the crimes against humanity committed against Palestinians.

Not surprisingly, thousands of Palestinians protested against Israel and the US embassy move to Jerusalem during Nakba commemorations in 2018. Most of the protesters were unarmed. There was a small group throwing Molotov cocktails, which don't have a very long range as they are reliant on being thrown by someone. Similarly, some protesters threw rocks. The Israeli response? Shoot the protesters. More than 60 protesters were killed and hundreds were injured. When it was raised at the UN Security Council, America's ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley walked out so that she didn't have to listen to the Palestinian delegation(15). This is indicative of the United States cowardly and subservient kowtowing to powerful Israeli lobbyists. The US would rather allow crimes against humanity than bring Israel to task in the International Criminal Court.



Many Israelis meanwhile, celebrated their 2018 Eurovision victory and the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem, while cheering on the simultaneous murder of innocent Palestinians. In fact, some were so jubilant about the mass murders that they laughed and clapped, finding it even funnier that some people were appalled by the killings(16).

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Israel would defend its borders against terrorists. Firstly, those borders are under dispute, having been stolen from Palestinians illegally. Secondly, Israel continues to build illegal settlements in the West Bank, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention(17). Thirdly, Israel is the terrorist, not innocent Palestinians who are defending their land and their lives. Palestine is a land that is illegally occupied by Israel, so Palestinians have a legal right to defend themselves. Israel is the aggressor and the illegal occupant. Israel isn't defending itself, it is protecting it's colonial interests. Palestinians have a right to self-defence and the same entitlement to human rights protections that the rest of the world does(18).

Israel is committing genocide. The treatment of Palestinians by Israelis is tantamount to ethnic cleansing; under UN definitions it amounts to genocide. Below is an extract from Article II of the Convention on the Punishment and Prevention of the Crime of Genocide(19):

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such: 

(a) Killing members of the group; 
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; 
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; 
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; 
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. 

Israel's behaviour is aimed at the destruction of Palestinians and constitutes genocide.



Many Christians blindly support Israel because of the misinterpretation of the bible. Way back in the day, God promised Abraham the land. However, because the ancient Jews kept disobeying God (to the point of crucifying God's only begotten son, Jesus), God passed the blessing of Abraham onto Christians. So for Christians to support Israel as the rightful inheritance for Jewish people is to completely ignore the bible. Additionally, the bible has a lot to say about not maltreating people who reside in your land. This topic is explored in great detail in the Ranting Panda articles:
Killing Palestinians in the name of God, is not what the bible teaches.



People who defend Israel's right to murder innocent people, really should ask themselves what they would do if they were forced to endure the same treatment that Palestinians have been forced to endure. Earlier I proposed a Gaza-like treatment on Melbourne and a West Bank-like treatment of Sydney. Australians would not tolerate this sort of treatment, so why should Palestinians?

To shut down any debate, Israel will label all criticism of its actions as anti-Semitism. Telling a criminal that they are a criminal does not make one a racist. The United Nations has just announced an investigation into allegations of human rights abuses by Israel in Gaza - much to Israel's criticism(20). Israel must be held to account for their crimes and it is high-time that Israel faced the International Criminal Court.


References

1. Haaretz, Zafrir Rinat, 21 January 2018, Ninety-seven Percent of Gaza Drinking Water Contaminated by Sewage, Salt, Expert Warns, https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium-expert-warns-97-of-gaza-drinking-water-contaminated-by-sewage-salt-1.5747876. Accessed 18 May 2018.

2. The Jerusalem Post, 31 January 2009, 'Israel restricting Gaza Aid deliveries', https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Israel-restricting-Gaza-aid-deliveries. Accessed 19 May 2018.

3. Reuters, Magdalena Mis, 9 July 2015, Israeli blockade makes Gaza recovery 'impossible': aid agencyhttps://www.reuters.com/article/us-gaza-recovery-aid-idUSKCN0PI1XJ20150708. Accessed 19 May 2018.

4. Human Rights Watch, 2 April 2017, Unwilling or Unable: Israeli Restrictions on Access to and from Gaza for Human Rights Workers, https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/04/02/unwilling-or-unable/israeli-restrictions-access-and-gaza-human-rights-workers. Accessed 19 May 2018.

5. The Guardian, Nafeez Ahmed, 10 July 2014, IDF's Gaza assault is to control  Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisishttps://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/jul/09/israel-war-gaza-palestine-natural-gas-energy-crisis. Accessed 20 May 2018.

6. Time, Jack Linshi, 6 September 2015, Gaza Could Become 'Uninhabitable' by 2020, U.N. Report Warns, http://time.com/4019509/gaza-uninhabitable-unctad/. Accessed 20 May 2018.

7. United States of America, Office of the Historian, Creation of Israel, 1948https://history.state.gov/milestones/1945-1952/creation-israel. Accessed 19 May 2018.

8. The Independent, Mythili Sampathkumar, 21 December 2017, UN Jerusalem vote: General Assembly rules against US, declaring recognition of Israel capital 'null and void'https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/un-jerusalem-trump-vote-result-decision-general-assembly-null-void-a8123106.html. Accessed 18 May 2018.

9. Human Rights Watch, 25 March 2009, Israel: White Phosphorus Use Evidence of War Crimes - Indiscriminate attacks Caused Needless Civilian Suffering,  https://www.hrw.org/news/2009/03/25/israel-white-phosphorus-use-evidence-war-crimes. Accessed 19 May 2018.

10. Foreign Policy Journal, Jeremy R. Hammond, 3 May 2013, Israel's Illegal use of White Phosphorus During 'Operation Cast Lead', https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2013/05/03/israels-illegal-use-of-white-phosphorus-during-operation-cast-lead/. Accessed 19 May 2018.

11. The Guardian, Harriet Sherwood, 20 July 2014, Israel using flechette shells in Gazahttps://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/20/israel-using-flechette-shells-in-gaza. Accessed 19 May 2018.

12. Al Jazeera, Kiss Your Mother Goodbye, https://webapps.aljazeera.net/aje/custom/2014/prisonerday/palestinian-youth.html. Accessed 19 May 2018.

13. Mondialisation.ca, Jonathan Cook, 26 April 2016, Rise In Palestinian Children Arrested, Tortured and Held in Israeli Jails,  https://www.mondialisation.ca/rise-in-palestinian-children-arrested-tortured-and-held-in-israeli-jails/5521656. Accessed 19 May 2018.

14. The Free Thought Project, Rachel Blevins, 14 May 2018, If Any Other Country Was Shooting Civilians Like Israel, the US Would've Invaded By Nowhttps://thefreethoughtproject.com/country-shooting-civilians-like-israel-us-would-invade/. Accessed 18 May 2018.

15. Think Progress, Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani, 15 Ma 2018, Nikki Haley walks out of U.N. Security Council meeting as Palestinian envoy begins to speakhttps://thefreethoughtproject.com/country-shooting-civilians-like-israel-us-would-invade/. Accessed 18 May 2018.

16. Haaretz, Gideon Levy, 17 May 2018, 60 Dead in Gaza and the End of Israeli Consciencehttps://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-60-dead-in-gaza-and-the-end-of-israeli-conscience-1.6095178. Accessed 18 May 2018.

17. United Nations, 23 December 2016, Israel's Settlements Have No Legal Validity, Constitute Flagrant Violation of international Law, Security Council Reaffirmshttps://www.un.org/press/en/2016/sc12657.doc.htm. Accessed 19 May 2018.

18. Brookings Institute, Ibrahim Fraihat, 11 July 2014, Palestine's Right to Defend Itselfhttps://www.brookings.edu/opinions/palestines-right-to-defend-itself/. Accessed 19 May 2018.

19. United Nations Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner, Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocidehttp://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CrimeOfGenocide.aspx. Accessed 19 May 2018.

20. Reuters, Tom Miles, 18 May 2018, U.N. sets up human rights probe into Gaza killings, to Israel's furyhttps://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-palestinians-un/u-n-sets-up-human-rights-probe-into-gaza-killings-to-israels-fury-idUSKCN1IJ0UU. Accessed 19 May 2018.

Updated: 20 May 2018.