Total failure

The country is on fire. And:

  • The PM disappears overseas. His supporters spin the fact that it’s only his second overseas holiday this year (not second holiday, or second largely recreational OS trip)
  • The media are ordered not to report the fact, or even that we have an acting PM. Compliance is near-total until Twitter outrage puts the issue into the international press
  • Tory-fighter Albanese gives Morrison a free pass. Still hasn’t pushed the government on link to climate change. Would rather bash the Greens over ancient history disputes.

If there has ever been a more comprehensive failure of our political class, I’m not aware of it.

33 thoughts on “Total failure

  1. Albanese’s strategy is clear. If he can destroy the Greens, he can move to the right and capture back his lost working class voters without worrying about the inner-city progressives moving to the Greens. This is a classic Leninist manoeuvre. It was Lenin, after all, who moved against the Ultra Leftists, including in his 1920 publication, Left-Wing” Communism: an Infantile Disorder. The 20 year old Anthony Albanese probably read a lot of Lenin, or at least the CliffNotes versions.

  2. I’m astounded that Scomo thought he could order the media not to report on his holiday and even more so that the media obeyed!

    It really says a lot about the contempt some politicians hold both the media and the public as well as the deeply problematic relationship between politicians and the government.

  3. Australia’s politicians, especially in the “Canberra bubble”, are simply pathetic. Morrison, in particular, would be laughable if his denial of the realities of climate change vis-a-vis bushfires weren’t so dangerous.

  4. Yes. What it acknowledges, is the ‘them’ and the ‘us’, the different classes or levels of people, and the different roles they are expected to play in running the society.

    The people as the government, the government that is of the people, is obliterated as a conception.

  5. Smith9,
    Lenin hardly set out with a strategy to unseat himself!

    What we are seeing is Our Albo in his rather green seat blindly taking on the fossil fueled strategy given him that leads to Shorten again emerging as party leader. If you want history rhyming then, yes, it’s gonna be Anthony and Bill with Andrew and John.

  6. Svante

    Lenin didn’t have to worry about those pesky things known as elections. Albo’s strategy is at least coherent, unlike Shorten’s which was to say contradictory things to different audiences and hope that they didn’t notice. That doesn’t mean that it will work, or even that it would be a good thing for the country if it did work.

    Happy Christmas!

  7. John, Are you concerned with symbolism or practicalities? ScMo not being here will have almost zero effect on the fire control efforts. Of course, we should address climate change but this will not help deal with the pressing immediate issues of loss of human and non-human life and the destruction of our natural and person-made resource base. To stress the issues of ScoMo not being in the country and of the links between global climate control efforts and our current (really urgent) fire control problems seems to misrepresent the problem. Even medium term – over the next year – the urgent issues are controlled burns, the management of fuel loads and the provision of protective corridors for biodiversity resiliance and conservation. A sense of outrage over climate policies and of ScoMo’s holiday plans won’t help deal with the current national disaster.

  8. Harry

    The point, I believe, is that by going on holidays Morrison is making a political statement that the bush fires are business as usual for the Australian summer, and have nothing at all to do with climate change. You can read or hear this line at your leisure in any of Murdoch papers or Sky News or 2GB or from just about any LNP politician. The message Morrison is sending couldn’t be clearer if he painted it on the Opera House.

  9. It damages him more by slowly coming to light through social media rather than from MSM revelation or ALP criticism. Makes it more of a non partisan matter and exposes him to more ridicule.

    And the ‘everybody deserves a holiday’ argument doesn’t work for the Prime Minister, especially for natural disasters.

  10. “God gave Noah the rainbow sign:
    No more water but fire next time”
    – famous Negro spiritual

  11. The comment from Harry Clark is as ubiquitous as it is pathetic from conservative populists.
    We are discussing a complete abdication of humanity if not leadership and responsibility. We are dealing with the irrationality of spending cuts for fire control for “efficiencies”. We are dealing abdication of leadership where the Nats are given cart blanch to further screw an already broken water system.

    We are talking of the pervasive role of msm censorship on specious “national security” grounds (butt-covering for the government), in trying to understand why the armed forces were not pressed into service involving a disaster that has claimed eight lives and counting and ruined thousands more, of a cost to both the economy and carbon release so incalculable as to not be known for some time yet.

    How many firefighters health will be damaged? People’s health in general along the east coast?

    The stench of mendacity is almost as overpowering as the smoke, as the governments attempts to ram down the apparatus of authoritarianism on the community, for no better reason than to conceal corruption involving resources on a grand scale continues.

    Sick politics all round.

  12. We have to ask ourselves why the political duopoly are so disinterested in climate change issues. Could it be the donations to political parties from the fossil fuel industries?

    Then there are third party ads.

    “Coal lobby ads biggest third-party political expenditure in Australia” – Headline, The Guardian – Australian Edition.

    I might have told this true tale before. In October, a US special on climate change featuring Greta Thunberg was interrupted at each ad break by car ads. Surely, I was not alone in seeing the irony, absurdity and downright perversity of this. It is clear that capitalism, as a system run by and for capitalists only, will not deal with climate change. So long as capitalism continues, the destruction of the biosphere continues.

    The total failure of the political and capitalist class is global.

    “COP25 was a failure, but activists’ collective organizing at the talks was unprecedented” – “Nation of Change”.

    “The COP25 United Nations climate summit ended in failure Sunday, after negotiators failed to agree to a deal that would limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels — a key goal of the Paris Agreement. Scores of civil society groups condemned governments in the European Union, Australia, Canada and the U.S. for a deal that requires far less action than needed to avert catastrophic climate change.”

    It is as I predicted all along, for something like fifteen years on this blog. There would be a total failure to deal with climate change. J.Q. suggested, several years ago but without banning me, that I leave this blog for being so negative and pessimistic. Now, it seems I simply have been realistic, not pessimistic.

    What happens next? My next prediction has been (for some time now) that it will take a series of climate change driven natural disasters destroying the lives and/or property of millions of people (world wide) to activate the masses and cause them to overthrow the elites. Only when that happens do we have a chance of changing things. Late stage capitalism is endogenously unchangeable and un-reformable. Only a huge exogenous shock (as a series of climate and environmental disasters) can force change to this system. These shocks will force the masses to force change. That’s what climate forcing will come to mean in political economy terms.

  13. “The comment from Harry Clark (sic) is as ubiquitous as it is pathetic from conservative populists.
    We are discussing a complete abdication of humanity if not leadership and responsibility. ”

    Labeling people with boo words and confecting a sense of outrage does not constitute an argument, Mr. Walter. A noise not a contribution to a discussion.

  14. I agree that boo words don’t help when used against fellow citizens. It works against solidarity and finding common ground. However, I would leave politicians out of that. It’s a healthy tradition to disrespect self-serving, elite-serving politicians.

    However, it is important to note that the sense of outrage people feel is not confected. It is real.

    Scomo is on smoko. Here are two songs for Scomo. Two of the best worst songs ever. 😉

    “I’m on Smoko (so leave me alone)” – The Chats.

    “F-wit City is the place you belong.” – Cosmic Psychos.

    Look them up and enjoy if your tastes run that way. It’s rock / heavy metal satire which satirizes both the target and its own musical style.

  15. The issue isn’t practicality or effectiveness or anything like that. I trust the experts to sort out the technical operational issues like burnoffs and the like – and if they won’t or don’t, for civil society, regulators, the professional public and the press to hold them to account. As a member of the public, my input is pretty worthless here; I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to that stuff.
    What people ARE concerned about is the basic integrity of our governmental/electoral system. Can the media accurately and fairly report on facts without breaking out the blue bunting? Or is the system just totally corrupt all the way down? During the bushfire emergency, the answer has not been an equivocal yes; as JQ points out the press allowed themselves to cover up what would under JuLIAR or any other political leader have been considered a massive term-defining scandal. In my view, questioning of the PM with regard to climate change and RFS cuts has been lacklustre – again, a completely novel thing given the massive emotional salience of the issue. And so on.
    The problem isn’t that ‘ScoMo’ should chuck on an RFS uniform and pitch in. It’s that the system is rotten to the core and will not hold him accountable to what has historically been considered minimum basic standards of empathy.

  16. “The country is on fire. And:” …
    “The Golden Zombie [ almost writes itself as a cautionary tale ]

    “The 2019 Fact Check Golden Zombie award — for a “debunked claim which refuses to die” — goes to Energy Minister Angus Taylor for repeating his misleading assertion, from April, that the Coalition inherited from Labor a 755 million tonne greenhouse gas “emissions deficit” needed to reach Australia’s second Kyoto target, and, through the Government’s “hard work”, turned this around by 1.1 billion tonnes.”

  17. Its hard to see how hubris couldn’t set in after a ‘miracle’ election win like that .After performing so poorly and still winning they must be thinking ‘gee we can get away with anything , this right wing populism is a powerful wave we can easily ride into office’. Tiny Trump might just declare the fires an ‘on water matter’ soon- why not ? fire is related to water somehow I’m sure. If a terrorist had done 1/1000 th of the damage the fires have done so far tiny Trump would not go on holiday he would declare an emergency and pass a new ‘tranche’ (their silly favorite word here) of security laws to keep us safe.

  18. @ Smith9
    I agree with you totally. This has been the attitude and message all along. Drivel like “when I was a little fella I can remember the haze (not smoke) from fires’, yesterday from Good Ol Gus, “when I was a boy we had fires.. dah de dah”. Relax, all under control, just another drought, insert line from Dorothea Mac Kellar, all norm, all good, inner city lefties, quiet Australians, roadway to destruction

  19. “The country is on fire. And:”…
    “Compliance is near-total until (Twitter outrage) -bushfires- puts the issue into (the international press) – hibernation.

    “Chinese universities replace ‘freedom of thought’ with Xi’s teachings”

    And Australia I have seen this 2x in msn; outrageous psychologucal torture brought and paid for by us via the dutton;

    “The Australian Government Created A Bizarre And Very Bleak Horoscope Chart To Scare Asylum Seekers

    “The Gemini horoscope warns “You will lose your wife’s jewellery”, while Taurian asylum seekers are told “If you illegally travel to Australia by boat, expect to be returned home where you will face the humiliation of failure in your community”.

    “In recent years, the country has spent millions of dollars on advertising campaigns in countries from which people regularly attempt to flee to Australia, creating stern videos,graphic novels and social media posts.

    “United States president Donald Trump approvingly tweeted about Australian immigration posters earlier this year.”

    And we are providing teaching to the great leader. Here is Trump on our psyops…

    “Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump
    These flyers depict Australia’s policy on Illegal Immigration. Much can be learned!”
    Thanks to buzzfeed we know.

  20. James Wimberley this puts a new spin on ‘ fire! ‘: “God gave Noah the rainbow sign:
    No more water but fire next time”
    – famous Negro spiritual”

    Australia – fear is our driver, not preparedness. Fire!

    I count 12 deaths by terrorism in Australia and 600 – 800 deaths by bushfires… Wikipedia;



    But but … we forward plan and militarise police at $25m in rifles plus training infrastructure security etc….

    “Victorian police will be armed with 300 high-powered rifles to help combat terrorist attacks in regional areas.

    “More than 700 officers from the public order response team and stations in Geelong, Ballarat, Morwell and Shepparton will be trained to use the rifles from March.”

    $18m for water bombing aircraft. $25m for rifles.

    I have cognitive dissonance when saying this yet, can we please take decisions away from politicians, at least for the physical world. Please.

    And thanks firies.

  21. Todays Herald Sun only kind of mentions the fires and record heat on page 7 and doesnt mention Morrisons cowardly OS holiday. The front page and several more are devoted to openly questioning the “innocence” (their scare quotes ,not mine) of Australian Muslim children – toddlers and babies included . There is also extensive coverage ,several pages at least ,of the apparent dangers of allowing Africans to migrate to Australia. Also ,Morrisons nasty brand of Christianity should not be off limits to journalists .It is his most (perhaps only) deeply held ideology .

    US civilians own about 50 % of the worlds small arms and 100 times as many as their own military ,it is 400 times what US law enforcement has.

  22. @KT2

    But the privileged don’t live in areas directly affected by bush fire and they can always fly overseas when they don’t want to breathe the same air the rest of Australian do. However, there is still the danger of being shot by a random person during daily lunches at Tetsuya’s or dinners at Quay. Hence terrorism is infinitely more dangerous than bush fires and climate change and worth every dollar of tax money.

  23. “US civilians own about 50 % of the worlds small arms and 100 times as many as their own military ,it is 400 times what US law enforcement has.”

    sunshine 11:27am,

    I was stunned by some US gun facts related by Michael Moore in his 2018 movie “Fahrenheit 11/9”. I previously thought that a massive number of the people there owned guns, at the least a rather substantial voting minority. But Moore said that “78 percent of Americans do not own guns.”

    78% !!!! A number that amazed me, so contrary to my understanding, or prior suppositions, it made me actually sit up and pay attention. A number that’s stuck in memory.

    Moore went on to say “Americans kill people”, but it’s the same as here: it’s big business political donations and cushy jobs later for politicians post politics that kills people.

    Michael Moore: America’s Gun Crisis Has Only Gotten Worse Since Columbine | The 11th Hour | MSNBC Published on Aug 16, 2019 (clipped to from 3:13 on )

    Michael Moore on Gun Violence in America: “We Can Fix This”
    The Hollywood Reporter 10/19/2019 by Trilby Beresford

    “In an interview with MSNBC’s ‘The Beat’ host Ari Melber, the filmmaker pointed out that 78 percent of Americans do not own guns and that group will ensure that gun legislation is passed.

    …Considering what has changed in American society, Moore said that — although there is a culture of fear — he feels many people have “decided” to be less afraid, and that manifests itself by way of fewer households having guns. Moore pointed out that 78 percent of Americans do not own guns.

    “The 300 million-plus guns that we do have are owned by 3 percent of the population,” said the filmmaker, adding that many gun owners have between eight to 22 weapons in their possession. Noting the arsenals that have been built, he asserted that no American citizen should have a need for an arsenal….

    I’m not sure how to reconcile these two numbers:

    “Moore pointed out that 78 percent of Americans do not own guns”, and “”The 300 million-plus guns that we do have are owned by 3 percent of the population,””

    Does it signify that only 22% own a gun, and that 3% own an arsenal of up to 22 guns?

  24. Ok, a clarifying (?) statement on US gun owners from the above interview clip: 3% of the population own 160 million of the 320 million guns in the country. Well, it’s a bit less muddy.

  25. Annon: “… there is still the danger of being shot by a random person during daily lunches at Tetsuya’s”

    Excellent, and a start for a script.

  26. Iconoclast, I for one am glad JQ hasn’t banned you.

    “It is as I predicted all along, for something like fifteen years on this blog. There would be a total failure to deal with climate change. J.Q. suggested, several years ago but without banning me, that I leave this blog for being so negative and pessimistic. Now, it seems I simply have been realistic, not pessimistic.”

    Ironic that Austrlai has moved on climate change like glacier. Seemingly frozen forever – in human time – yet when it starts melting into action it will seem quick. I hope our glacial frozen politicians and naysayers do melt soon. And we are both around to see it.

  27. Svante, 12:37 pm.
    Based upon my expirience growing up in the USA your current understanding of American gun ownership is correct. A small percent of the population has collected an arsenal of weapons. I suspsect that many if not most of this subset that possess an arsenal of weapons considered themselves survivalists who fanatsize about carrying on the spieces after a nuclear war, or viral plague, or some such thing. Some no doubt have prepared themselves for the outbreak of a civil war. Then a much larger, but still minortiy percent of the population owns between 1 and 3 guns. 3 guns makes sense because you need a shotgun for duck or pheasent hunting and a larger caliber rifle for deer and a .22 for small animals like rabbits. An other important factor is of course gun ownership is much more prevelant in rural states. Remember a large state with a small population carries as much weight as a state with a large population.
    Many years ago I came up with a secret plan to massively reduce gun violence in the USA. My plan is so secret I have only told it to 2 people. I will not tell it to anyone else until worst killers in the USA are harshly dealt with. That is those in the military above the rank of O7, unless a person in that catagory can prove their innocence. For example by havnig the Cuban or Iranian Ambassador confirm that they were working as an agent of the Cuban or Iranian government. If those high ranking military officers are never dealt with then the world will neve learn of my plan.
    One thing that I can say about my plan is that it does not involve taking away anyone’s assault rifle.
    I have absolutely no love for assault rifles in civilian hands. But the fact is the NRA is actually right about something. If we take away people’s assault rifles we are dealing with only a small percentage of gun deaths. These deaths make a lot of attention grabing headlines because they come in clusters of one or 2 dozen at a time. The result is many dozens of people killed in the US each year by assault rifles. In the mean time those killed by handguns occur one or two or three at a time and mount up to dozens each day and thousands per year.
    But handguns can not be taken away either. in American society today in many parts of the country, especially in certian neighborhoods and proffessions the desire to have an handgun is reasonable. My plan takes that in to consideration.
    It was perhaps unneccessary for me to write about my secret plan for reducing gun violence in the USA. This is after all an overwhelmongly Australian audiance. My impression of Australia is that there is no need for such measures in Australia. All I can say as to why I wrote it is either I was trying to make myself look good or the devil made me do it. Posideon only knows.

  28. KT2 3:05
    Yes complete biosphere collapse is already locked in. The time period is clearly not distant. Humanity is like a person turning 70 years old in 2020. The time of biosphere collapse corresponds pretty darn well with a person aging between 70 and 100. Humanity has a 1% chance of not being extinct by 2050, as things currently stand. I often get annoyed about people saying on TV or in Newspapers or on the Radio that things like by 2030 there will be 10 million electric cars on the road. Or that such and such a country will have 75% renewable energy by such and such a time. These statements annoy me because they give the impression that we are sure to be around by that time. The reality is that humanity has not been doing even 2% of what has needed to be done.
    But we are not dead yet. Advances in science are unpredictable. We can not count on them though.
    That is why one side of me says that we should still be doing what we can with who we can to get the political gears in action to at least try to delay this cataclisym. But another side of me says, fuck it, if we step on the gas pedals of global warming it will all be over with faster. And because such a large chunk of humanity is a threat to the well being of their own children. It will be good ridance when it is all over.
    I see these as being the two choices that I am faced with at this point. I would have liked having a third alternative. That would be that humanity goes extinct not do to high infant mortality and a low birth rate, but one with low infant mortality an average age of death around 80 years old combinded with a low birth rate. Hope you can follow that.

  29. CK – “Many years ago I came up with a secret plan to massively reduce gun violence in the USA.”

    Like I said above, the answer as for numerous other issues both there, here, and elsewhere is to get the corrupting money out of politics and government. The chances of that occurring before catastrophe soon enough ends everything are Buckley’s and none.

  30. Yes it is true that a prerequisite of my plan was that corrupting money would be removed from the poltical process.

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