Dr Peter White's Blog

Thoughts and comments from Dr Peter White -- political, philosophical, spiritual, musical and more

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Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

I am retired from the Uni. of Queensland, and have numerous interests inside and outside of the uni. I play classical, bluegrass, country and folk guitar (hows that for a mix?) I am a member of the Australian Labor Party and am currently branch secretary of the Mt Coot-tha branch. I'm also involved in developing virtual reality builds and websites. Never bored!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Democracy or Neo-Feudalism?

The current Davos corroboree by moguls and their minions and politicians and their policy wonks got me thinking: whose movie is this? 

On the biz side we have corporate CEOs and on the other, presidents, prime ministers and chancellors.  They are there to set the economic agenda for the planet, or at least to have a mighty whinge about how poorly things are going.  Or -- are they?

Add to this the recent zombie resurrection of the TPP in Oz and surrounding  Pacific states -- touted how marvellously wonderful it will all be when we sign on.  Or -- is it? 

We have the Australian Treasurer, Scott Morrison (aka ScoMo), selling corporate tax cuts hard.  How wonderful it will be if the corporations don't pay as much tax.  Their savings will be poured into investing in new jobs, factories, innovations and higher wages. 

Sorry, ScoMo, but very, very wrong.  We need not follow the US.  Here's a prime example of why: 

Reports from economics writers in the daily press comment on just this issue. 

This leads me back to the  topic at hand:  democracy vs. neo-feudalism.  Consider that corporations are in effect feudal enterprises, but with very different titles.  Not barons, earls, or counts, but CEOs, Presidents of Boards, etc.  This 'nobility'  looks after its shareholders financially, while creaming a goodly percentage off the top for their own nest-feathering. 

Consider democracy, universal suffrage, one person, one vote -- the whole shebang.  The voters are going out backwards financially.  Report after report states this.  Flat wages, economic stagnation for the vast majority, and in some nations actual piracy of public infrastructure for private profit, often euphemistically known as 'privatisation'.  

The corporations in the TPP want to hold nation states to ransom: that is, feudal lords and their vassals (aka shareholders) in battle with  freely elected national governments.  Who's gonna win? 
Your guess is as good as mine. 

If  we look at the Pfizer comments in the illustration above, we may just get an inkling of what is to come. 

It's not pretty. 

I do worry  about our  democracies: how well can they hold out under seige by the new-feudals? 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The New Age of Ugliness

Have you noticed lately that civility appears to have gone out the window? 

Or, have you noticed that being a "Type A" human is seen as carte blanche for being a total a**hole? 

Or, maybe, you have been held captive by shock jocks and/or right wing theologies that says that it's OK to hate your neighbour?

If so, you have entered the new Age of Ugliness. 

Witness the American president, and the Rethuglican Party syncophants whose lips are firmly gripping the presidential butt, excusing and forgiving racists, bigots and "patriots"  wrapped in a flag, so long as no one touches their cash. 

Or witness the trolling via Facebook and Twitter which has caused at least one young woman suiciding. 

Perhaps, you might  also recall the Prime Minister of our vaunted nation:
  • Completely disregarding the Statement of the Heart from our first peoples;
  • Using cheap political rhetoric to monster a minority group;
  • Flatly stating that Australia day is a day when we should be all together celebrating, when in fact a goodly percentage called that particular date Invasion Day. And a recent poll stated that a majority of Australians didn't really mind when Australia day was. 
Then we have our "Reichsmarshall", Peter Dutton, who continues to destroy the lives of bona fide refugees in our concentration camps, to name but one of the atrocities he is foisting on the citizenry.

On top of all of this we have a nasty, misogynist subculture creeping out from under rocks to belittle and revile women, just 'cause they can. 

It all  seems a bit much, really.  I think we can thank the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave (if you can afford it), and their "leadership" for letting the genie out of the lamp.  It's gone viral, unfortunately. 

So, may we all consider civility and respect?  And practice it too. 

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Beating up on people

During the  season of "brotherly love" and good will to all, our illustrious government of reactionaries managed to, inter alia, trash the reputation of the Sudanese community.  This  of course, made headlines across the nation in the daily press, the ABC and other outlets.  Our illustrious minister for all things police and immigration, Herr Dutton, put his big, flat foot in it as well, exacerbating the whole issue. 

If they didn't have a "Sudanese gang" problem  before the excrement struck the rotating machinery, chances are they will soon.  Thanks, guys.  Well done.

Now in other news, the Prime Minister put out a 24 hour thought bubble about  hosting another plebiscite for an Australian republic.  Once the media got wind of this, it was immediately put on the back burner -- again.  That unfortunate burner must be suffering considerable overload...

I was reflecting on the conservative government, and make no mistake, this IS a conservative (read reactionary) government.  However, they are blessed with a front man who is good looking, and is an outstanding orator.  Sadly, neither he, nor his side of Parliament, seem to have a policy or an idea to bless themselves with.

Ah, but wait!  I hear you cry.  They  do have a serious, underlying philosophy of government.  It works something like this.

1.  In order to keep the heat off us, let's beat up on:

    * The poor.  After all, they are poor bacause they can't get off their backsides and work, or study, or look after their numerous children.  They want the  government to do something.  And we are:  we're  cutting benefits, health services, education and community infrastructure -- 'cause we gotta balance that old budget.  And in the meantime, spending more on doing less.  (Can't figure out how they can do that...)

    *The refugees.  Five years Nauru and Manus Island have been prisons for refugees with apparently no hope of release.  Herr Dutton will not send them to New  Zealand, although Ms Adern said they were happy to take a fair few.  They are waiting for Der Trump in the USA for  their prisoner swap.  This, candidly, is an  indelible stain on  Australia's international reputation, and I cringe every time I hear the cantrip of "We don't want any drownings at sea."  It is nothing more than excuse to continue the torture.

    *The Labor Party.  Whenever things get a bit sticky for the government,  invariably they pull out some sort of idiocy and then blame the Labor  Party.  It's like a kid being hauled before the Principal:  "Not my fault, they did it first!" Or, "Quick, hide, you don't want Mr Shorten to be Prime Minister!"  Or, inventing some sort of "commission" to look into the nasty unions and their underhanded dealings with business.  The latter, of course, is completely excused.  And on it  goes.  Aha!  Now I know why this government is spending more while doing less.  It's all the commissions, royal or otherwise.  The lawyers are happily paying their yachts and Rollers. 

2.   Now we have a non-policy called NEG (how apt!) which is supposed to address the ever- increasing climate change issue, while doing less.  Remember how, earlier in the year, when South Australia was being beat up by the Coalition?  Now, Mr Musk has installed his giant battery, and things seem to be working along just fine. 

We also have the Australian public voting with their wallets and getting more and more into solar, and even home batteries for their residences.  Sales of electric cars are slowly starting to grow more rapidly.  Some state governments (notably Labor governments) are putting their money where their mouths are and funding large infrastrucure projects for energy. 

And the federal goverment still is  pushing  coal. 

That's it for this rant.  Welcome to 2018.  May we all survive it. 

Monday, January 01, 2018

Happy 2018 -- I think