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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.


1. Haaretz, Zafrir Rinat, 21 January 2018, Ninety-seven Percent of Gaza Drinking Water Contaminated by Sewage, Salt, Expert Warns, Accessed 18 May 2018.

2. The Jerusalem Post, 31 January 2009, 'Israel restricting Gaza Aid deliveries', Accessed 19 May 2018.

3. Reuters, Magdalena Mis, 9 July 2015, Israeli blockade makes Gaza recovery 'impossible': aid agency 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, Accessed 19 May 2018.

5. The Guardian, Nafeez Ahmed, 10 July 2014, IDF's Gaza assault is to control  Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisis Accessed 20 May 2018.

6. Time, Jack Linshi, 6 September 2015, Gaza Could Become 'Uninhabitable' by 2020, U.N. Report Warns, Accessed 20 May 2018.

7. United States of America, Office of the Historian, Creation of Israel, 1948 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' 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, 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', Accessed 19 May 2018.

11. The Guardian, Harriet Sherwood, 20 July 2014, Israel using flechette shells in Gaza Accessed 19 May 2018.

12. Al Jazeera, Kiss Your Mother Goodbye, Accessed 19 May 2018.

13., Jonathan Cook, 26 April 2016, Rise In Palestinian Children Arrested, Tortured and Held in Israeli Jails, 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 Now 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 speak Accessed 18 May 2018.

16. Haaretz, Gideon Levy, 17 May 2018, 60 Dead in Gaza and the End of Israeli Conscience 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 Reaffirms Accessed 19 May 2018.

18. Brookings Institute, Ibrahim Fraihat, 11 July 2014, Palestine's 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 Genocide Accessed 19 May 2018.

20. Reuters, Tom Miles, 18 May 2018, U.N. sets up human rights probe into Gaza killings, to Israel's fury Accessed 19 May 2018.

Updated: 20 May 2018.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Budgeting on a wing and a prayer: economically erroneous Budget 2018 built on shifting sands of international economic vagaries

Budgeting on a wing and a prayer: economically erroneous Budget 2018 built on shifting sands of international economic vagaries

There must be an election in the air. The Liberal Party is unleashing their usual policies of fear and blame. Dutton gives a press conference on 8 May 2018, regarding the intercept of a large boat smuggling people to Australia or New Zealand, and guess what? It's all Labor's fault and claims that on a daily basis Border Security is dealing with people smuggling issues. Funnily enough, seconds later, Air Vice Marshall Stephen Osborne, Border Force Commander, states it's been almost four years without incident. Dutton can't even get his story straight. Sigh ...

So with an election to be called later this year, or early 2019 at the latest, the Liberal Party has opened the John Howard textbook on how to run an election campaign: Fear, Blame & Bribery. The bribery is coming in the way of corporate and personal tax cuts that will be rolled out over the next ten years as announced in their Budget speech on 8 May 2018.

This has comparisons to Howard and Costello (who lost government in 2007) unleashing a raft of structural tax changes that provided middle class welfare and committed successive governments to significant expenditure as follows(1):

1. Permanent income tax cuts, costing $37.6 billion in 2011-12

2. Capital Gains Tax discount, costing $5.8 billion in 2014-15

3. Removed Fuel Tax indexation, costing $5.5 billion in 2009-10

4. Superannuation tax cuts, costing $2.5 billion in 2009-10.

5. Converting 'franking credits' into cash refunds for shareholders, costing $4.6 billion in 2012-13. This is calculated based on the shareholder's tax obligation compared to the tax already by the company who they have shares in. Interestingly, Labor proposed removing this benefit for people who pay no tax, such as pensioners. This would have saved the government $8 billion over five years. Yet, Liberal Party waged another fear campaign and accused Labor of attacking pensioners. Labor's proposal made sense. Why should someone who has no tax obligation get a tax benefit. This is not an attack on pensioners, it is actually providing fairness for all pensioners because those who have no shares do not get this benefit. If the Liberal Party is so concerned about this being an attack on pensioners, they would be better to follow Labor's suggestion and then use the $8 billion saving to increase the pension so all pensioners benefit.

Howard is often seen by conservative voters as being economically responsible based on the fact that he left office with net financial assets, i.e. negative debt, after inheriting $96 billion in debt from the previous Labor government when he became prime minister in 1996. Funnily enough, this $96 billion of debt comprised of almost $40 billion that Labor inherited from the previous Liberal Party government in 1983, when John Howard was Treasurer. By 2007, Howard achieved negative debt, not by good fiscal management, but by selling government assets for $72 billion(2) to cover his excessive expenditure. The International Monetary Fund declared the Howard government to be the most profligate government in 50 years. Unfortunately, thanks to right-wing bias and poor economic analysis reported in the media, Howard is hailed as an economic genius. He was an economic moron who blew mining boom and sold off the farm to cover his wasteful spending.

A 2008 Treasury report showed that between 2004 and 2007, $334 billion was added to the economy as a result of the mining boom and economic growth. So Howard and Costello, showing questionable economic judgement, spent 94% of it through tax cuts and other concessions. To help cover this, these two economic illiterates then sold off assets for $72 billion. At the time of Howard being ousted, Australia's surplus was just 7.3% of GDP.(3) Australia is now in deficit, and has been for since 2009, hardly warranting the tax cuts proposed by Turnbull and Morrison's 2018 budget.

And then the mining boom ended at the same time as the Global Financial Crisis hit. By this point, the Labor Party was in power. Thank God, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Treasurer Wayne Swan had the foresight to implement stimulus spending. Why did they do this? Well, the economic illiteracy of the Liberal Party called the stimulus reckless. However, it is basic economics. Because of the disastrous economic outlook with advanced economies across the globe diving into recession, businesses stopped spending and consumers stopped spending. Clearly the two have a bidirectional relationship. Without consumer spending, businesses lose money so stop investing and start axing jobs. With less investment and increased job losses, consumers tighten their belts even more. It would have been disastrous had the government also stopped spending. The economy would have ground to a halt and nose-dived into recession.

Rudd and Swan inherited little savings from Howard and Costello; there was little money left from the mining boom at a time when government spending was required to stimulate the economy. So they spent anyway. This was sound economic behaviour. It saved jobs, businesses and prevented Australia going into recession. One of the only developed nations that survived the GFC without recession. Of course, the Libs made much of Australia operating a deficit, however, deficits indicate economic stimulus because of government spending, which creates jobs and helps the economy grow. Surpluses, which the Libs seem to think is some sort of economic nirvana to be aimed for, indicate austerity, which costs jobs and slows the economy. There is a time for surplus and a time for deficit. The GFC was the time for deficit. Besides, if the Libs were so concerned about the deficit, they should have saved the mining boom revenue rather than blowing it like the prodigal son getting hold of his inheritance.

The Turnbull and Morrison budget for 2018-19 contains massive errors in judgement similar to Howard and Costello. At a time when there is economic growth, the government should be banking savings and paying down debt. Instead they are going to implement long-term structural tax changes based on short-term revenue improvements, which will commit future governments to unnecessary expenditure.

The Liberal Party claims that the budget is on track to deliver a surplus of $2.2 billion by 2019-20, and $11 billion by 2020-21(4). Meanwhile, Australia's current net debt is double what it was under Labor in 2013, when the Liberal Party took over government. The Liberal Party is claiming that the money they are saving is coming from increased revenue. They are making the same mistake that Howard did. Howard based his extravagant expenditure on the revenue from the mining boom. We all know how that ended. The mining boom went bust and Australia was stuck with structural expenditure changes in the way of tax cuts, superannuation benefits and family payments.

Yet where is the outrage over government debt? Where is the outrage that was reported on daily in the media during the Labor years following the GFC. If there was any doubt over right-wing bias in the media it surely is this lack of outrage in the Murdoch papers over doubling of the debt by the Liberal Party and its profligate 2018-19 budget. During Labor's term, the Liberal Party rabbited on about debt and deficit being out of control. Yet here we are: debt double what it was under Labor, and Morrison spruiking that the economy is so good that we can just lock in tax reform and spend like drunken sailors based on temporary revenue increases and at a point in the economic cycle when stimulus is less required than it was during the GFC.

Morrison's idea that the economy is growing is based on temporary gains driven by commodity prices  and job creation caused by a temporary improvement in Australia's Balance of Trade data (i.e. value of imports versus exports). In March 2018, Australia recorded a trade surplus. That is we exported more than we imported. To show how volatile this is, Australia recorded a trade deficit only a few months prior, and a number of previous surpluses a fraction of what it currently is(5).

The recent trade surplus has resulted in a forecasted $7 billion in additional corporate tax revenue for 2017-18 and another $7.2 billion in 2018-19(6). However, the Balance of Trade is driven by external factors that the government does not control, namely international economic behaviour, demand for Australian exports and commodity prices. This means that the government cannot rely on these increased corporate tax revenues to lock in structural tax cuts. International economic conditions can change overnight.

Morrison has stated that tax will be no more than 23.9% of GDP. This does not allow for government expenditure, it merely locks in revenue to this magical number and anything above that is returned to the tax-payer. As GDP can be affected by commodity prices, is Morrison suggesting that tax will bob up and down like a rubber ducky in a bath-tub every time there is a change in GDP? And subsequently, will expenditure also bounce around like a duck in a mud puddle.

Everyone loves to have more money in their pockets and given the stagnation of Australian wages, Morrison admits that the tax cuts are to compensate for flat wages growth(7). Of course, he could have helped thousands of Australian wages by maintaining Sunday penalty rates. The budget does include investment in infrastructure. While there is some criticism of the projects being targeted, infrastructure investment is necessary given Australia's growing population. Morrison believes the tax cuts will help stimulate the economy, however, as this will lock in government commitment to years of expenditure, it would be better for expenditure to be in projects that create jobs. For instance, unemployment in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales is still sitting between four and 6 per cent despite improvements in employment. Meanwhile, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia continue to experience unemployment rates of six per cent and above.

The 2018-19 budget is nothing more than a cash-splash to earn votes, however, while it is pitched at low and middle-income workers, it actually benefits high-income earners the most. The tax benefits are in three stages:

  • Stage 1 - workers earning between $20,200 and $125,000 to receive temporary benefits of between $200 and $530 per annum through the Low Income Tax Offset (LITO). 
  • Stage 2 - In 2018-19, increase the 32.5% tax bracket from $87,500 to $90,000, and then to $120,000. In 2022-23, the LITO payments from Stage 1 will end.
  • Stage 3 - In 2024-25, the 32.5% tax bracket is lifted to $200,000, with the 37% bracket removed altogether. 

The government is marketing this as a benefit for low and middle-income earners, however, by 2027-28, a worker earning $120,000 per annum will have an average tax rate of 29%, which is what they pay today. Meanwhile, a tax-payer on $36,000 will see their average tax rate rise from 10% to 16%(8).

Corporate tax cuts will cost $65 billion and Morrison is relying on the naivete of voters when he claims that this money will trickle down in the form of wages growth. However, even Treasury officials admit corporate tax cuts will add less than one per cent to wages. In other words, only $750 per annum based on the average annual wage(9).

This budget is nothing more than pork-barreling, wishful thinking, subterfuge and crystal ball predictions in which its real tax impacts won't kick in for at least two electoral cycles. It is a budget with promises that extend ten years into the future while being heavily reliant on a cash boost that has occurred only in the last few months and is unlikely to continue into the long-term. It uses the same failed old policies of conservative governments of yore. Trickle-down economics has worked nowhere in the world. Howard's flagrant spending nearly ruined the economy when the GFC hit, and Turnbull and Morrison have made the same mistake again.

Immediately following the release of Budget 2018, ratings agency Standards & Poor released its economic outlook for Australia. While it stated that Australia currently retains its AAA credit rating, it stated that 'risks to the government's plan for an earlier return to budget surpluses are significant. The outlook on the long-term Australian sovereign ratings remains negative for now to reflect these uncertainties'(10).

The following morning, Prime Minister Turnbull was questioned about this by Fran Kelly on ABC Radio National. Turnbull didn't just refuse to discuss the negative outlook, he actively ignored it and carried on like a school-kid as he taunted Kelly with the AAA rating. Rather than acknowledge the risk identified by S&P, he declared the biggest risk was Labor ... showing the complete denial and delusion of the Liberal Party in economic risk mitigation and forecasting, just as Howard did. Furthermore, he refused to provide year on year costings beyond the forward estimates, yet demands that Labor supports the total package of $140 billion on the basis of a few months of revenue from increased international demand for Australian exports.(11)

While the Liberals paint themselves as mature and responsible economic managers, Treasurer Scott Morrison resorted to childish, churlish, puerile insults that made fun of Bill Shorten's name. Yep, good ol' school-yard teasing from the party that portrays itself as the 'grown-ups'. The best that Morrison could come up with was 'unbelieva-Bill'. He even repeated it four times case people didn't notice how clever his play on Bill's name was. It's not a very intelligent insult.

Perhaps Morrison should take some tips off former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating, who really knew how to throw an insult. Who can forget Keating's colourful description of Liberal Treasurer Peter Costello as being 'all tip, no iceberg'. (Costello, by the by, was Howard's Treasurer and architect of the structural tax changes that greatly contributed to the current deficit). Speaking of Howard, another of Keating's witty insults declared of Howard, 'the little desiccated coconut's under pressure'. But my personal favourite was his description of former Liberal leader, John Hewson, who Keating stated, '... is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up'.

Morrison's pathetic little insult was in relation to Bill Shorten's Budget Reply speech. Shorten promised that Labor would double the LITO to $928 per annum for people earning less than $120,000, while increasing expenditure to education and health. Morrison went on the attack saying that Labor was spending double what the Libs were so therefore Labor couldn't afford it. Morrison clearly doesn't comprehend the big picture. Shorten wasn't doubling Liberal expenditure. He mentioned that Labor would cap the reduced corporate tax to businesses earning less than $2 million, unlike Liberal's providing it to all businesses. Additionally, Labor is going to reform Capital Gains Tax, tax minimisation through family trusts, negative gearing and franked credits imputations, all of which would save around $80 billion.

Shorten has offered one of the most progressive tax reforms in decades. It is vastly superior to that of the Liberal government's budget, which favours the rich and is built on the shifting sands of international economic fluctuations. Australians have a choice between Labor's intelligent tax reform based on economic competency with a history of successfully navigating global economic collapses or the Liberal Party's economic fairy dust based on wishful thinking that the global economy will continue improving and demanding Australian products. What happens to the Liberal Party's budget forecasts when international demand decreases?

At least Budget 2018 provides increased funding for school chaplains ... if Morrison's budget gets up, it will need all the wings and prayers it can get!


1. The Guardian, Richard Denniss, 15 April 2015, Peter Costello's five most 'profligate' decisions as treasurer cost the budget $56bn a year, Accessed 8 May 2018.

2. Market Economics, 25 June 2012, More facts Behind the Howard Government's Debt Elimination. Accessed 7 May 2018.

3. The Independent, Alan Austin, 3 September 2013, We really must talk about the Howard and Costello economic disaster,,5686. Accessed 8 May 2018.

4. ABC, Louise Yaxley, 8 May 2018, Budget 2018: Morrison gives tax system a shake-up in pre-election plan aimed at low-income earners Accessed 8 May 2018.

5. Trading Economics, Australia Balance of Trade (March 2018), Accessed 7 May 2018.

6. The Guardian, Gareth Hutchins, 30 April 2018, Federal budget $7bn better than forecast as 'rivers of gold' flow, Deloitte predicts Accessed 7 May 2018.

7. Australian Financial Review, Phillip Coorey & Jacob Greber, 4 May 2018, Tax cuts to compensate for flat wages growth: Scott Morrison Accessed 7 May 2018.

8. ABC News, John Daley and Danielle Wood, 11 May 2018, The Coalition's tax plan favours the rich and doesn't solve bracket creep for middle-income earners Accessed 12 May 2018.

9. The Guardian, Gareth Hutchins, 28 February 2018, Company tax cuts would boost wages by just $750 over time - Treasury secretary Accessed 8 May 2018.

10. Business Insider Australia, David Scutt, 8 May 2018, Standards and Poor's still has a negative outlook on Australia's AAA credit rating', Accessed 12 May 2018.

11. ABC Radio National, Breakfast, Fran Kelly, 9 May 2018, Budget tax cuts a 'long-term' plan, Turnbull says, Accessed 9 May 2018.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

If Trump is nominated for Nobel Peace Prize, so should Kim Jong Un

If Trump is nominated for Nobel Peace Prize, so should Kim Jong Un

The Donald Trump presidency has been one debacle after another. Although, to be fair to the Trumpster, it has been a laugh a minute. First of course, is the mirth one gets from watching the blatant hypocrisy oozing from the pores of his die-hard supporters. You know the ones! They were screeching about 'crooked' Hilary's use of a private email server, they were the ones apoplectic when Bill Clinton dared to get blown by a white-house intern. They are now the ones who don't give a rat's arse that Trump is neck-deep in a scandal that could amount to treason if it's proven he collaborated with Russia to win the election.  They are the ones who don't care that he tried to subvert a Special Counsel investigation into Trump's 2016 election campaign and its possible links to Russia.They are now the ones who don't give a rat's arse that Trump was balls-deep in a porn star AND that he lied about it AND that he paid her to keep it quiet AND that he lied about paying her to keep it quiet. They are ones who quite often claim to be god-fearing 'christians'! Oh ... which reminds me ... Trump finally admits to paying off Stormy Daniels (afore-mentioned porn star) and then heads off to lead National Prayer Day! I know, I know ... stop it or you're guts will burst from laughing. But wait, there's more. Trump promises to nuke North Korea and then the Republicans want to nominate him for a Nobel Peace Prize! I'm not even joking. Trump supporters have taken hypocrisy and completely knocked it out of the park. In his first 466 days in office, Trump has told 3001 lies! That's 6.5 lies per day.(1) Pretty damn good for someone 'christians' claim was sent by god to save them from the godless Barack Obama.

 I'm reminded of the sage words of Jim Jefferies, a comedian who was marveling over what brought America to the point where Donald Trump was running for the highest office in the land. Jefferies, in all his ponderings and criticism of the Donald, offered an alternative view by describing how much fun it could be if America was to elect Trump, 'There's a little bit of me that thinks "fuck it, let's do it ... let's do it and see how fucking crazy shit can get" '.

And crazy it has got. Trump's late night tweets have kept us all amused with their idiotic ramblings and making policy on the fly. One could write a book of all the dumb-ass tweets and lies by Trump. No doubt, there will be quite a few over the coming years. One of Trump's typical exaggerations which highlight his insecurities and inadequacies, was a tweet in which he stated, 'we have signed more legislation than anybody. We broke the record of Harry Truman'. Politifact, a fact-checking service, declared that not only was this false, but Trump 'ranks last, actually'.(2)

Anyhoo ... during the election campaign, Trump and another presidential-wanna-be, Marco Rubio, argued over the size of Trump's hands. Rubio argued that Trump's smaller than average hands meant other parts of him were smaller than normal. Trump responded by saying, 'Look at those hands. Are these small hands? And … if they're small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there's no problem'.(3) Yep, two wanna-be presidents arguing over the size of their doodles.

Was it any wonder then, that Trump got into a dick-measuring contest with Kim Jung Un, ruler of the hermit kingdom, North Korea. While Kim Jung Un and Trump threatened to nuke each other, Trump grandiosely declared that his nuclear button was bigger than Kim Jung Un's nuclear button. Trump is so insecure about his dick that he is willing to start a nuclear war while comparing it to the imaginary size of puny penis. Apparently, unleashing a nuclear holocaust is a joke to the brain-dead Trump. In response, Jim Himes, member of the House Intelligence Committee, stated the blindingly obvious when he said, 'as everybody who’s ever been in a, you know, first grade playground recognizes, it’s usually the person who’s most aggressively pounding their chest that is in fact the weak one on the playground'. Eliot Cohen, a counsellor in the George W. Bush administration, described Trump's behaviour as a 'petulant ten year old ... but one with nuclear weapons'(4)

Trump's contribution to the discussion on nuclear weapons consists of long, rambling and largely incoherent statements. There was this classic:

'You know what uranium is, right? It’s this thing called nuclear weapons. And other things. Like lots of things are done with uranium. Including some bad things'.(5)

And then there was this 90 second long sentence which apparently was meant to discuss nuclear weapons, but your guess is as good as mine as to what the hell he is speaking about(6).

Yes, those are genuine comments by the leader of the free world. And right-wing snowflakes wonder why we criticise Trump's IQ ... an IQ that would appear to be as small as Donald's little vagina miner ... oh, what the hell, let's call it Donald Dick. Is there anything more disturbing than the man in charge of the world's largest nuclear arsenal, using it to cover up his penis-anxiety? By the by, given Trump's penchant for cheating on his wives, boning porn stars and allegedly being pissed on by Russian prostitutes, it seems little Donald Dick rambles around as much as big Dicktator Donald's statements on nuclear weapons.

While Trump was trying to hide his apparently small dong behind a large arsenal of nuclear weapons, Kim Jung Un and South Korea were talking peace. Un had suggested cross-border talks with South Korea in an effort to bring peace to the peninsula and that North Korea might participate in the winter Olympics being held in South Korea.

AND then, Kim Jong Un requested a meeting with Donald Trump! Trump accepted.

So now the Republicans want to nominate Trump for a Nobel Peace Prize!

Kim Jong Un has been the bigger man and sought peace. Trump has merely fired off outrageous, egocentric and ego-stroking tweets. In a visit to South Korea in 2017, Trump told North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons while also deriding South Korea's 'talk of appeasement'. Trump has hardly been forthcoming in the peace process.

Kim Jong Un, the man who most people thought was a deadset nutter ... and who knows, he may well be ... has shown himself to be more sane and more sensible than Donald Trump, by seeking peace with South Korea and the United States. It wasn't Trump who sought the peace talks. Trump perpetuated and expanded the trade embargoes that had been in place for years, while threatening to unleash 'fire and fury' on North Korea.

Perhaps Trump's extreme actions against North Korea influenced Kim Jong Un's willingness to seek peace talks ... or perhaps Kim Jong Un realised he was dealing with someone who was crazier than him. It seems odd to nominate someone for a Nobel Peace Prize when they have been threatening nuclear war, fire and fury, and total destruction of a country.

Either way, if Trump is nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, then so should Kim Jong Un.

It takes two to tango, and Kim Jong Un has shown himself more willing to seek peace through meetings, than Trump threatening nuclear holocaust through tweetings.


1. New York Times, Peter Baker, 3 May 2018, New Revelations Suggest a President Losing Control of His Narrative, Accessed 5 May 2018.

2. Politifact, All False Statements Involving Donald Trump, Accessed 5 May 2018.

3. CBC News, 4 March 2016, Trump assures America his normal-sized hands means he has normal-sized 'something else' Accessed 5 May 2018.

4. New York Times, Peter Baker and Michael Tackett, 2 January 2018, Trump Says His 'Nuclear Button' Is Bigger Than North Korea's Accessed 5 May 2018.

5. Vox, Jeff Stein, 16 February 2017, 9 things it's hard to believe the President of the United States actually just said Accessed 6 May 2018.

6. Snopes, David Mikkelson, updated 12 December 2017, Donald Trump's nuclear speech Accessed 6 May 2018.