152 thoughts on “Weekend reflections

  1. The DEA have been known to arrest and render (alleged) drug dealers to the US for prosecution and sentencing, even when the suspects have never been a US citizen, have never set foot in US jurisdictions anywhere in the world, and are not even directly smuggling drugs into the USA. If the DEA can openly do all that, it isn’t much of a stretch to think that Mr Assange’s fears of extradition to the US are reasonable fears to have. Once on US soil, the USA will not consider any claims from Assange’s country of birth, if other extradited suspects (under DEA) are to go by. Given that neither the ALP or the LNP care a rat’s arse about Assange, I think he is wise to be very cautious.

    As to whether Sweden’s reasons for wanting to interview him are valid or not, it wouldn’t have been onerous for Sweden’s representative to meet Assange at the Eucador Embassy, and to interview him there. Should they believe there are grounds for charging him at that point, then they could cross that bridge when they got to it, rather than waiting until the statute of limitations is nearly at an end. All I know is that once Assange sets foot outside that embassy, anything is possible with respect to the USA.

  2. @Donald Oats
    The refusal of the Swedish authorities to interview Assange in the UK was never a good look, even more so now that they have relented in the face of the statute of limitations. It always tended to lend support to the theory that something more nefarious was going on. Not that a Sweden-US conspiracy is actually necessary to explain it, mind you. Bureacratic intransigence is also a plausible explanation.

  3. But JD, earlier you (incorrectly) described the evidence given and then stated your position as:

    So, considering the question ‘Could the extradition of Julian Assange to Sweden lead to his extradition to the USA?’, I’ve got two responses: one, from a Swedish legal commentator and former senior prosecutor testifying for Assange in court, which is ‘No’, and one from a commenter on a blog, which is ‘Yes’.

    When in fact you have two responses, both of which amount to “Yes”.

  4. Is being mega-rich a lifestyle choice? Seems that we shouldn’t be shielding the tax dealings of the top 700 lifestyle choicers. It’s not like we can’t work out who the mega-rich are, so that reason for shielding their tax information is recognisable as the ridiculous, risible, furphy that it is.

    Given the ATO is about the only source of revenue left under this government, it seems a bit rich to conceal the taxation of the richest of the rich at a time of budget emergency. [I tried saying that with a straight face…]

  5. @Donald Oats

    I did not write that the US has no plans to get hold of Julian Assange, whether by extradition or otherwise. I wrote that it would be no harder for the US to get hold of Julian Assange (whether by extradition or otherwise) in the UK than in Sweden, and that the Swedish request to the UK for his extradition makes no sense as part of any plan for the US to get hold of him, because it would make any such plan more complicated and more difficult.

  6. @Megan

    Sven-Eric Alhem did not testify that the Swedish request to extradite Assange from the UK was part of a plan for the US to get hold of him. He did not testify that extraditing Assange from the UK to Sweden would make it easier for him to be extradited to US. Nothing in his testimony contradicts the point I am making, that the Swedish request to the UK for Assange’s extradition makes no sense as part of any plan for the US to get hold of him.

  7. that the Swedish request to the UK for Assange’s extradition makes no sense as part of any plan for the US to get hold of him.

    But your statement is only a valid conclusion from the knowledge you have to hand if the knowledge you have to hand is essentially complete. If there’s some factor you don’t know about all your “don’t make sense based on what I know” conclusions become irrelevant.

    [this is a good way of spotting unknown unknowns, btw. Someone who is in possession of important knowledge you don’t have will shape their actions in a way that doesn’t make sense to you [because you lack the knowledge trhat shapes them]. You can see where people know/”know” things you don’t by looking for people whose actions don’t make sense, and work out what the things are by thinking about the circumstances under which their actions would make sense.]

  8. People in Victoria might be interested in attending these upcoming fundraisers in Melbourne for the campaign against a broiler farm to be built on the Moolort Plains near here. If it is approved by VCAT and built it would have a capacity of 1.2 million birds at a time, and will have negative environmental and amenity impacts that the community don’t want. Tickets are available through TryBooking

    Humans, Animals and the Ethical Life
    26 March 2015 06:30 PM
    Venue: The University of Melbourne
    Rai Gaita and Peter Singer in Conversation

    Nature: Shaped by and Shaping Humanity
    8 April 2015 06:15 PM (GMT+11:00)
    Venue: The University of Melbourne
    Robyn Davidson, Don Watson, John Wolseley & Raimond Gaita

    (Hopefully it is okay to mention this since they are fundraisers not commercial)

  9. @Collin Street

    I wrote before that I would be prepared to revise my view if any evidence were produced that gave direct support to the conclusion that Sweden’s extradition request to the UK was part of a US plan to get hold of Assange (but none has been). If people only drew conclusions that could not possibly be overthrown by any new evidence whatever, they’d draw no conclusions at all; which would be folly. The fact that we don’t (and can’t) know everything is no reason to behave as if we can’t know anything.

  10. @Tim Macknay

    I would like to know why Swedish prosecutors refused to question Assange in London, and I’d also like to know why they have now changed their position; but neither decision has made it any easier for the US to get hold of Assange, and neither makes sense as part of a US plan to get hold of Assange.

  11. The fact that we don’t (and can’t) know everything is no reason to behave as if we can’t know anything.

    No, it’s a bayesian analysis thing.

    If the US were trying to kidnap Assange through Sweden, you’d expect certain actions, certain choices. If you saw those actions, you’d have to start thinking “maybe the US is trying to do this”, even if you couldn’t yourself think of a mechanism for same. Because the US might see — or think they see — a way they could do it that you haven’t.

    It’s not your knowledge of what’s possible that controls, here.

    Now. For example. If the swedish authorities had been OK with Assange being interviewed in london, that’d actually be pretty strong evidence against “the swedish authorities were doing the US’s bidding to try to get Assange to sweden”. Not conclusive, but pretty strong. Again, if the swedish authorities had stated, “requests from the US authorities on this matter will not be entertained”, that’d be [rather weaker] evidence against “it’s all a US plot with willing swedish connivance”… but they haven’t.

    And so forth. There’s been a fair number of points where swedish actions have been consistent with the “conspiracy” explanation. Might be all by chance, by coincidence: It’s not like there’s anything — well, not a lot, and given that it’s a high-profile sex case you’d expect stuffups anyway — has been inconsistent with the “it’s a legit judicial process” explanation, but… when you’ve got a lot of coincidences you have to start thinking “maybe it isn’t”.

    “Maybe”, mind. I don’t think it’s all a US conspiracy, but it’s not a possibility that’s been ruled out and normally — normally isn’t always — you’d expect that it would have been by now.

    [you also have to recognise, secret plots don’t leave a lot of directly-visible evidence by their nature, so the absence of evidence of the sort you’re after isn’t surprising and has limited bayesian import.]

  12. @Collin Street
    I read David Hick’s account of his years in Guantanamo, being tortured. Anyone who imagines that the US is a law abiding state is so far wide of the mark that one can only point to sources and suggest “wise up”. It’s an oligarchy, it has an establishment, as does Sweden, both of which are bound up with the military and security apparatuses. Sweden is not the nation of social democratic happiness and accountability of the popular imagination. Nothing in this case is what it seems.

  13. I haven’t looked into the details too deeply, …but… the focus on “extradition” from Sweden to the US (and the requirement for UK approval of such) ignores the “temporary surrender” mechanism I referred to earlier.

    According to the “justice4assange.com” website:

    Most of the attention regarding Julian Assange’s possible extradition to the US has focused on the EU agreements that are meant to prevent onward extradition – namely that the UK Home Office would have to consent to his onward extradition. Little or no attention has been given in Europe to the temporary surrender (sometimes called ’conditional release’, see the Panama example below) mechanism that Sweden established bilaterally with the United States in their 1984 treaty (TIAS 10812):

    VI. If the extradition request is granted in the case of a person who is being prosecuted or is serving a sentence in the territory of the requested State for a different offense, the requested State may:

    b) temporarily surrender the person sought to the requesting State for the purpose of prosecution. The person so surrendered shall be kept in custody while in the requesting State and shall be returned to the requested State after the conclusion of the proceedings against that person in accordance with conditions to be determined by mutual agreement of the Contracting States.

    As I say, I haven’t looked into it deeply, but if that prospect is real then it deflates JD’s core argument – “…that the Swedish request to the UK for Assange’s extradition makes no sense as part of any plan for the US to get hold of him.”

    On the contrary, it makes perfect sense. Why make such a big deal of trying to find a lack of “sense” in the actions of the Swedish players when the balance of probabilities seems to tend the other way?

  14. @J-D
    I have no idea if there are actual plans to extradite Mr Assange from Sweden to the USA, should he be in Swedish jurisdiction; I also have no idea if the USA have plans for rendering him from the UK to the USA, should he pop his head out of the embassy at some stage. My comments were about the lengths the US has gone to when it feels it has a duty to itself, even if that means ignoring or finessing the sovereignty of other nations. With the USA, if you are in their sights as a target, very few places are safe haven, and the law be damned. The DEA actions in Africa have demonstrated that quite clearly.

  15. I’m reminded of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

    [which pivots sort of around the idea that the things you think are actually impossible are more likely than the merely very very improbable, because the chain of coincidences that goes toward the very-improbable is less likely than your just missing something that makes your impossible straightforward.]

  16. @jungney

    Power in the US is concentrated; power in Sweden is concentrated; also, power in the UK is concentrated. If concentration of power in an oligarchic establishment would make it easier for the US to get hold of Assange (which isn’t totally clear), it doesn’t make it any easier for the US to get hold of Assange in Sweden than in the UK, so there’s no support there for the conclusion that Sweden’s extradition request to the UK is part of a plan by the US to get hold of Assange; it remains the case that Sweden’s extradition request to the UK makes more complicated and more difficult any US plan to get hold of Assange.

  17. J-D: from my reading it appears that there is a legal convention around extradition in which proper people don’t make an extradition request while a prior one is pending resolution. There appears to be a Grand Jury indictment against Assange which is sealed and awaiting outcomes of the Swedish matter. Once Sweden is over the indictment could be initiated by an interim warrant and extradition set in train. He’s holed up in the embassy and the further issue appears to be whether the UK would give him safe passage to Ecuador.

    Things have changed a lot since Assange first went on the run. It may now be the case that the US is not prepared to snatch him due to altered domestic politics (NSA, Snowden) whereas it was very possibly the view of Assange’s advisers that he was at risk of being ‘rendered’ so utterly furious was the US ruling elite at the time.

    This one acount (SMH 2013) gives just a few examples of the bollocks that the Swedish legal establishment has made of the matter. There are multiple others.

    There’s a funny article at the Salon which accounts for how an Randite hedge fund drank too much of the kool-aid and sent Sears down the tubes:

    Crazy Eddie has been one of America’s most vocal advocates of discredited free-market economics, so obsessed with Ayn Rand he could rattle off memorized passages of her novels. As Mina Kimes explained in a fascinating profile in Bloomberg Businessweek, Lampert took the myth that humans perform best when acting selfishly as gospel, pitting Sears company managers against each other in a kind of Lord of the Flies death match. This, he believed, would cause them to act rationally and boost performance.

    “Ayn Rand-loving CEO destroys his empire”

    It put me in mimnd of the current front bench. Crazy Tony is sounding good.

  18. @Megan

    It’s not my assertion that it would be impossible, in any circumstances, ever, for Assange to be extradited from Sweden to the US.

    It would be no harder for the US to have Assange extradited from the UK than it would be to have Assange extradited from Sweden; Sweden’s request to the UK for Assange’s extradition can only make more complicated and more difficult any plan for the US to get hold of Assange (whether by extradition or otherwise).

    The paragraph you quote from the extradition treaty between Sweden and the US begins: ‘If the extradition request is granted …’ The mechanism it describes operates only in cases where a request for extradition is made and granted; nothing in the text quoted states that extradition requests under that paragraph are not subject to the restrictions that apply to extradition requests in general (on the contrary, the text quoted imposes an additional condition on extradition under that paragraph); in particular, nothing in the text quoted says anything about overriding the requirements of other treaties (such as, for example, an extradition treaty between Sweden and the UK).

    Nothing in the text quoted makes the granting of extradition requests under that section easier than the granting of other extradition requests. Nothing in the text quoted disturbs the conclusion that it would be no harder for the US to have Assange extradited from the UK than it would be to have him extradited from Sweden.

  19. @Donald Oats

    In that case it would appear that you are not putting forward any argument that Assange was any safer from the US in the UK than he was in Sweden, or that he would be any harder for the US to get hold of in the UK than in Sweden or that the Swedish request to the UK for his extradition made it any easier for the US to get hold of him.

  20. @jungney

    I think it is more accurate to say that an indictment will probably be raised when (if) Assange is in Sweden.

    US officials have denied there IS any grand Jury indictment, but US Officials usually deny everything if it suits their purpose.

    None the less there is obviously a serious threat to Assange and we should ignore all the attempts at denialism in this thread.

  21. @J-D

    I would like to know why Swedish prosecutors refused to question Assange in London, and I’d also like to know why they have now changed their position; but neither decision has made it any easier for the US to get hold of Assange, and neither makes sense as part of a US plan to get hold of Assange.

    Quite so. And yet…

  22. @J-D
    That’s correct, I am not putting forward any argument about relative safety from retrieval by the US; nor did I say I was. However, while he is in the Ecuadoran embassy, Assange is safe enough. Once he sets foot outside, on UK soil, anything could happen. As I’ve mentioned in a previous comment, if the US’s boss secret squirrels feel strongly enough about it, they could render Assange from the UK or from European countries: act first, don’t apologise, and once Assange is on US soil, no points of UK law, or that of other countries, is going to bother the US into relinquishing Assange, not until his jail term is completed (assuming successful prosecution). The DEA have demonstrated the willingness to do unconventional retrieval of non-US citizens in their war on drugs, so it isn’t much of a leap to think the US could do it to Assange. Whether they do or not is another matter.

  23. @Collin Street

    In principle, Bayesian analysis is applicable to the question of how to update an estimate of the probability that the US is trying to get hold of Assange on the basis of the additional information that Sweden is trying to extradite Assange from the UK.

    For a numerical application of Bayes’s theorem to this problem, you’d need an estimate of the ‘prior’ (or background) probability of the ‘event’ ‘Sweden requests extradition of Assange from UK’ and you’d also need a ‘conditional’ estimate of what the probability of the ‘event’ ‘Sweden requests extradition of Assange from UK’ would be in the more specific context of the ‘event’ ‘US is trying to get hold of Assange’.

    I don’t have a numerical estimate for either of those probabilities, but they would be identical, or virtually so. What that means, according to the theorem, is that your estimate of the ‘conditional’ probability of the ‘event’ ‘US is trying to get hold of Assange’ given the added information that Sweden has requested extradition of Assange from the UK should be equal, or virtually so, to your estimate of the ‘prior’ probability of the ‘event’ ‘US is trying to get hold of Assange’ without that additional information.

    In other words, whatever your estimate was of the probability that the US was trying to get hold of Assange before the Swedish extradition request — high, low, or somewhere in-between — it should have stayed the same — neither increased nor decreased — unaffected by the new information of the Swedish extradition request.

    Even without numerical estimates, ‘What sort of evidence would you expect to observe if the US were trying to get hold of Assange?’ is the sort of question a Bayesian might perhaps ask. The answer would depend on how the US might be trying to get hold of Assange. If the US were trying to get hold of Assange by extradition, I might expect to observe news reports of the lodgement of a US extradition request with whichever country Assange happened to be in at the time; if the US were trying to get hold of Assange by kidnapping, I might expect to observe news reports that Julian Assange had disappeared and his whereabouts were a mystery. Neither of those things has happened. Of course, both extradition requests and kidnapping attempts take time to prepare. If the US were preparing for an attempt to get hold of Assange (by whatever means), I might expect to observe the absence of any events that might alarm or startle Julian Assange in a way that might make him take increased precautions for his legal or physical security. If you want to get hold of somebody who does not want to be got hold of, your chances are best if the target is unaware, not if the target is on the alert. So the Swedish extradition request is exactly the sort of thing I would expect not to see as part of a US plot to get hold of Assange.

    If I think about what I would expect from a group of people in the US plotting to get hold of Julian Assange (by whatever means it might be), what I would expect would not be those people saying ‘As our first move, we should try to get him to Sweden’, and if that is the sort of thing you would expect, I’m curious to know why.

  24. Without making any comment of the veracity of the allegations against him – it should be remembered that when all this (legal problems/accusations) started, Assange was already in Sweden, if there was a plot then it wouldn’t have originally had any component or need for getting Assange to Sweden.

  25. @Megan

    If I think about what I would expect from a group of people in the US plotting to get hold of Julian Assange (by whatever means it might be), what I would expect would not be those people saying ‘As our first move, we should arrange for completely unrelated legal accusations to be made against him in some other country’, and if that is the sort of thing anybody would expect, I’m curious to know why.

    Also, if the allegations are veracious, that provides an adequate explanation of the initiation of proceedings by the Swedish prosecutors without (on the principle of Occam’s Razor) any need to invoke the additional assumption that they were acting as agents of a US plot. To suggest that the assumption of a US plot is needed to explain the initiation of proceedings by the Swedish prosecutors is indirectly to suggest that the allegations are not veracious.

  26. @Ivor

    I have made no denial of the assertion that there is a serious threat to Assange from the US. The assertion that there is a serious threat to Assange from the US does not disturb my conclusion that the Swedish request to the UK for Assange’s extradition would make more complicated and more difficult any US plan to get hold of Assange.

  27. @J-D

    No one has said you made a denial of the assertion that there is a serious threat to Assange from the US.

    No one knows whether a Swedish request to the UK for anything would complicate matters for the US.

    This entirely depends on the UK and Swedish government’s attitudes and the terms of any request by the US to which ever party. It is possible that the UK and Sweden have different attitudes and tests for allowing extradition or temporary surrenders.

    Assange is doing the right thing – playing safe.

    This has nothing to do with what people in the blogosphere “expect”.

  28. PM Tony Abbott gives a speech in support of children/people suffering from bullying, and ABC radio asks the inevitable question:

    ABC local radio host Jon Faine interviewed Mr Abbott while the Prime Minister was on his way to an anti-bullying conference in Melbourne on Friday morning.

    “What credibility do you have on bullying – you’ve been accused of it so often yourself?” Faine asked.

    “Without foundation, I would say Jon,” Mr Abbott replied.

    This is irony, right?

  29. @Ivor

    You referred to ‘attempts at denialism in this thread’; if you weren’t referring to my comments, what were you referring to?

    Sweden and the UK are both party to the same extradition agreement. One of the terms of that agreement is that if anybody is extradited from one of those two countries to the other, and then a third country requests extradition of that person from the country that made the first extradition request, that country cannot agree to the third country’s extradition request without first obtaining the agreement of the country from which the person was originally extradited. For example, if somebody was extradited from the UK to Sweden, and then a third country requested extradition of that person from Sweden, that third country’s extradition request could only succeed if it had the agreement of both Sweden and the UK, which is more complicated and more difficult than just getting the agreement of one of them.

    I agree that is possible that the Swedish government and the UK government would not have exactly the same attitude to every possible extradition request; indeed, it’s not only possible but practically certain (there is no significant possibility of their having exactly the same attitude in every possible case). But the virtual certainty of their not having exactly the same attitudes opens up in exactly the same way both the possibility of Assange’s being safer (that is, from extradition to the US) in the UK than in Sweden and the possibility of his being safer in Sweden than in the UK: with no basis for judging between those two possibilities, there’s no basis for concluding that what Assange is doing is ‘playing safe’.

  30. As there is no new “weekend reflections” I’ll put this here for now.

    The “Moss” Review has been released.

    It’s only about 80 pages long, I’m only about 1/3 through it, but it is scary reading. The ‘take-away’ message is: “Information Suppression Is The Paramount Concern For The Department Of Concentration Camps, The Minister For Concentration Camps, The Corporate Concentration Camp Operators, The Fascist Governments Of Australia And Nauru and The Australian Establishment Media”.

    Please spend some time reading it this weekend.

    The allegation was that ‘Save The Children’ and ‘Refugee Advocates’ urged refugees to self-harm. That allegation was a bare-faced lie fabricated, in large part, by News Ltd.

    This is Abbott/Morisson’s “Children Overboard”.

  31. The W.H.O. has declared Monsanto’s “Roundup” a level 2 carcinogen.

    So GM fans might have to explain why we should be eating products specifically modified so they can sprayed with a carcinogen.

    To be fair, Monsanto is “outraged” and has called for an urgent meeting so they can have this outrage corrected. Monsanto has all the money and power, so we should really trust them with our health – or so the GM fans’ argument goes. Doesn’t it?

  32. @Megan
    Abbott’s response to the report – that in an imperfect world, “things happen” – is the clearest evidence yet of some sort of clinically diagnosable defective cerebration. What does he imagine might happen if the criminal law, or even traffic regulation, adopted that attitude? We all know that he is unfit to be in parliament but who on earth knew that he has failed, in all of those years in parliament, to arrive at some understanding of the fundamentals of why we have legislation, regulation, accountability and so on. Every day brings some new horror.

    As to roundup, thanks for the heads up. I note this as well:

    In a recent report by the Center for Food Safety, the heavy proliferation of Roundup was linked to a drastic 90-percent drop in the population of monarch butterflies in the US. Roundup has become a leading killer of Glyphosate-sensitive milkweed plants – the only spots where monarchs lay eggs, as the plant is the only food source for monarch larvae.

    See what poor lifestyle choices can do?

  33. Lol.

    Roundup hasn’t been upgraded at all. What has been upgraded to *Group 2A- Probably carcinogenic to humans* is glyphosate, an active ingredient in herbicide formulations (of which Roundup is just one) that has been off-patent for well over a decade. The EU, the US and pretty much everyone else disagrees with the upgrade, at least for now.

    If you look at the IARC list *Group 1-Carcinogenic to humans* you’ll see commonly consumed products like alcohol and in group 2A you’ll see a range of chemicals that are present in the edible parts of commonly eaten foods, including methoxypsoralen which is found in celery, parsnip, parsely etc..

    Incidentally, 99.9% of all pesticides consumed by humans are naturally produced by the plant itself. Of those that have been tested, more than half are rodent carcinogens. There isn’t so much as a single vegetable available in the supermarket today that doesn’t include a cocktail a natural carcinogens.

    Meanwhile the rotenone traditionally used by organic farmers for pest control was found by the US National Institutes of Health to cause Parkinson’s disease in farm workers and the copper sulfate used by organic farmers as a fungicide has poisoned some soils to such an extent that they are now toxic.

    Ain’t the world complicated.

  34. Re rotenone I wonder if there has been a spate of neurological problems because ‘derris dust’ was for years a staple of gardening practice. I stopped using it when dozens of earthworms in an old bathtub came to the surface and died. I had second thoughts about eating vegies grown in that tub.

    This may bode well for IGR. Avoidance of suspect chemicals and new medications may keep seniors out of institutionalised care. OTOH they may live a decade longer.

  35. This is serious for RoundUp, at first it was thought that the surfactant was the problem and now it has been shown that Glyphosate is also problematic.

    Of course the usual suspects will say that there is little evidence to show that Glyphosate is potentially harmful to humans – there will never be an approved human trial using known poisons.

  36. Megan and Jungney, have you seen this? The government had the Moss report when they were vilifying Triggs
    As the Rev says, it “leaves us questioning how we can possibly continue under this immoral leadership without being complicit in its evil”

  37. @Val

    Absolutely true and correct.

    But…..

    Where the hell is the ALP?

    The refugee men, children and women raped, sexually abused, tortured and murdered in Australian concentration camps over the last few years were put there by Julia Gillard (in the case of Nauru) and Kevin Rudd (Manus, Christmas Island and Nauru).

    That is the reason why “we” are supposed to either ignore the issue altogether or simply concentrate on arguing about the machinery of its delivery (Triggs or Moss).

    Partisans can go to hell as far as I care – there are people being tortured, raped and killed and all these people care about is perceived political advantage. Morisson, Burke, Dutton, Bowen, Howard, Gillard, Rudd or Ruddock – it doesn’t make any difference, if anyone supports one half of this equation they support the other half. And they can all go to hell.

    The ALP is simply a tool of fascist enabling. At least the LNP doesn’t lie to their supporters about their cruel and inhumane policy agenda.

    If you’re getting the feeling that I have a seething hatred for the ALP and every single one of its online cheerleaders – then you’re getting the picture.

  38. @Megan
    Hi Megan
    just in case any of that was directed at me (I hope not!), I’m not an ALP supporter. I resigned from the ALP in 2001, primarily over the Tampa affair and have not supported them since.

    I supported Julia Gillard against sexism, but that’s a different issue than party politics.

    Other than that – yes, both major parties are reprehensible. I still think the LNP is worse than the ALP at lies and cover-up, but the ALP introduced mandatory detention.

  39. @Val
    Yes Val, so they just lied and bullied away at Triggs but one wonders, to what purpose?

    Time and again I return to the idea that we are watching a specific and dysfunctional masculinity in play. All of the front bench appear to me to be angry men except Bishop who may very well be an angry woman; all have been exposed in the most blatant of lies and manipulations and their common response appears to be an angry denial of any facts than their authorized version. Contrary and informed opinion are ruled are out of court, inconsiderable, an insult to them.

    They all appear to be church men. To my eyes their authority looks like that of the family patriarch whose authority extended to defining the reality of intimate others. We know that this model mostly relied on violence and abuse to hold power over others. Their problem is that this model of authority is unsuited to public office in a democracy. It would do just fine in an authoritarian state, one where there were no challenges or challengers. Of course, this is why we must resist them endlessly lest they wear us out and succeed in taking us backwards to colonial times.

    They are a very disturbed and disturbing bunch.

  40. To which I’ll add: this is a significant anti-feminist backlash going on here that started with the national abuse of Gillard and continues afoot today. Women and children in detention? The pretadors mouth just waters. The linked article below, to NM, describes the wholesale shredding of services for domestic abuse survivors under the Libs (NSW):

    http://tinyurl.com/or8ngtn

    The refuge system, I know, is fundamental to women and children’s safety. When I worked in child protection I had numerous conversations with men from middle eastern, south asian and arabic speaking backgrounds all of whom were absolutely filthy at the very idea that the government, or someone, funded services that allowed women and children to escape them. They became incoherent with rage when I refused to tell them where there victims were. They became absolutely incandescent when I suggested that they ought to consult their Sheik about the differences between their home and here in Australia, with different rules.

    So, of course the primitives of the christian establishment are mounting a backlash and of course one of the primary targets is independently run women’s refuges. I don’t think that these ideologues are programmatic; they are intuitive and and their intuition is good because they so perfectly hit the buttons of middle and older aged white male grievance. You know, those who tend to be in power.

    If anyone else is saying this I’d appreciate some directions to their work.

    cheers.

  41. @Megan

    ‘At least the LNP doesn’t lie to their supporters about their cruel and inhumane policy agenda’, but that’s not true. The Coalition parties regularly lie about their policy agenda. I’m mildly curious to know how you derived any other impression of them.

  42. @Val

    Hi, good on you re: non-support of the ALP since 2001.

    That is the type of censure the ALP deserves.

    No, not directed at you.

  43. OK, let’s confine it to the LNP refugee policy for example. Which lie comes most prominently to mind on that policy?

  44. To help, you can find the refugee council’s summary of the LNP’s 2013 election policies on refugees at this PDF.

    Broadly speaking it supports my view. I can’t see where they told any substantial “lie” about what they intended to do and/or what they have subsequently done since winning in 2013.

  45. To compare, the refugee council’s summary of policies from the 2010 election includes this key statement from the ALP’s policy:

    Labor does not accept the idea of punishing women and children by locking them up behind razor wire or ignoring people who are fleeing genocide, torture, and persecution.

    And then the ALP went right ahead and did exactly that, and men women and children have been tortured, sexually abused and murdered as a direct result.

    That is the kind of lie I was referring to.

  46. [Quick extract from my comment on asylum seeker mandatory detention in New Matilda 3-12-15]

    It’s sad after more than 20 years Australia still incarcerates people not charged with an offence under the law and with no access to due process. The two major parties remain convinced that the asylum seeker issue is political capital to be cynically exploited when votes are needed. If the LNP and ALP wanted to do the right thing, they could by a simple vote of parliament – but they won’t.

    The Australian constitution gives the government the power to make laws about immigration, and the High Court of Australia has agreed that mandatory detention is lawful if it is done for “administrative” and not “punitive” reasons (yeah, right). This situation will continue so long as the major parties find it politically expedient to do so. Unlike the U.S. (by virtue of the 14th amendment), Australia has no constitutional guarantee of due process and equality of the law for *all* people under its political jurisdiction.

  47. @jungney
    I don’t really know of anyone who is looking exactly at those questions though I’d think there must be. in a – somewhat- related are of interest I read a good discussion by Raewen Connell which looked at neoliberalism and its links to white male privilege or its function as a defence of white male privilege threatened by the egalitarian movements of the 60s and 70s. It’s called ‘Understanding neoliberalism’ and it’s chapter two of ‘Penetrating Neoliberalism’ by Luxton and Braedley. Most of the other chapters are case studies from Canada

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