Sandpit

A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on.

To be clear, the sandpit is for regular commenters to pursue points that distract from regular discussion, including conspiracy-theoretic takes on the issues at hand. It’s not meant as a forum for visiting conspiracy theorists, or trolls posing as such.

26 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. in all my reading, the only place that resembled the remarkable unimpeachable numbers for a particular government here in west oz was the UN result for Vietnam in the early 1950’s.before the roman catholic political structure was replaced.

    we like having no sneaky contagion within the population. intensely.

    everyone (well,lots) is hoping for a bit of public housing.

  2. Public housing must be a post COVID19 strategy for homelessness. If we are to get anything out of the lockdownds, it must be a determination to house the poor. Poverty is more than a lack of a certain income. The fear of not having a roof over your head is most damaging wealth deficiency a poor family can face. Secure housing gives the poor a chance to begin to work their way out of poverty. This opportunity to dramatically expand public housing provisions, is an essential social capital investment in those less fortunate who suffer when rents rise to historic levels.

  3. Both major parties are ideologically opposed to affordable housing. The higher the demand the higher the price and rent. Creating a large portfolio of social housing reduces demand in the private market and lowers rent. The “rent seekers” won’t have that and neither will the Liberal party or Labor party. The Liberal party are looking after the landlord, banker and real estate agent lobby and the Labor party are looking after their CFMEU mates.

  4. Further to what I’ve said above, one only needs to look across the pond to New Zealand to see that politicians who campaign for hosing affordability, give up when faced with the lobbying of the real estate and property development industry and those who already own their own dwellings or investment properties.

  5. The three greatest failings of modern humans:

    (1) They think large equals infinite,
    (2) They don’t understand exponential growth.
    (3) They don’t care about the negative externalities of their actions.

    Example of 1 – “The earth is so large we could never run out of resources or damage things like the climate and the ocean.”

    Example of 2 – “We need more growth.”

    Example of 3 – “F*** you planet, I’m alright.”

    Why are humans like this? Well, they evolved (like any other species) in a situation where their own survival was the only issue they were properly concerned with. Our pre-civilizational evolved nature is inadequate to a visceral understanding of the above issues which are quintessentially modern predicaments. A mere logical understanding is insufficient. Humans rarely act on logic. They act on feelings (evolved and culturally modified feeling sets) most of the time.

    Humans have definitely evolved (a little) since they created agriculture and civilization. But this genetic evolution is far slower than social and technological development. Our evolved and evolving nature cannot keep up. We are on the brink of disaster but we just don’t get it viscerally, which is to say we simply don’t have evolved feelings, behaviors and perceptions suited to our current predicament. The fact that some humans get the dilemma logically is making no substantive difference to our trajectory. Our conceit is that we can logic our way out of trouble. Actually, logic has very little to do with what we do.

  6. The problem is that recent generations have not experienced the limitations experienced by previous generations (e.g. food shortages during wartime or pandemics that kill tens of millions of people). Over consumption has been normalised.
    When I occasionally travel on the Bruce Highway into or out of Brisbane, I’m thinking this is pure madness while observing the large amount of traffic. Most of these people do this every day, completely oblivious to the damage they’re doing.

  7. Both major parties are ideologically opposed to affordable housing.

    Also, visibly homeless people are a reminder of what can happen if you step out line. Centrelink is the reminder that just being poor is not punishment enough, street homeless are to stop people thinking they can choose not to play the game. It’s worth thinking about *why* the town camps outside Alice Springs etc are such targets for the police and other criminals… it would not do to have people living comfortably without houses, regardless of the climate.

    We might have got beyond the need for workhouses, but we’ve never let go of the idea of the “deserving poor” and their complement, the undeserving poor.

  8. Is Australia really a place where people can reasonable fear to have no housing because they can’t afford it? Sounds more like US level non-existing welfare. At least here in Germany, the welfare system makes sure you get quite decent housing paid under any circumstances. We still have a non-trivial number of homeless. The problem is that not everyone is in a state to jump through the bureaucracy or/and find a place where they manage to not get kicked out. That usually involves a state where no family nucleus exists anymore and ability to work is out of the question.

    Usually goes into the direction of things like PTSD or alcoholism. One of the advantages regarding public housing is that it is typically designed so that the organization cannot turn down anyone and has to prioritize according to need – with homelessness being a rather high priority factor. That is all nice, and it helps – it still means one has to jump through a bunch of bureaucratic hoops even in urgent need. The notorious counter example is Finland where being homelessness is grounds to get a flat assigned no question asked imminently. That really helps. The more typical response is to offer homeless shelters, sometimes even only limited to the cold period. A homeless shelter then means you get a bed in a room with a bunch of other people – all of them rather horrible at dealing with people and in a very horrible state at the moment. Then people wonder why many homeless would rather avoid that place.

  9. I agree that we need more and better public housing. I also agree that it seems very hard to impossible to get political economic action on this issue in the current system. The problem is capitalism. Until we get rid of capitalism none of this will be fixed. Don’t be bothered bringing up Russia and China as counter-examples. They never threw off capitalism. They became state capitalist systems. Now, they are one-party oligarchic capitalist systems with some socialist pretensions and no democratic pretensions. The world needs to move radically beyond capitalism. Will it happen? Maybe, maybe not.

    If we don’t move beyond capitalism we will collapse completely. Capitalism is incapable of meeting our problems and crises. Indeed, capitalism creates our problems and crises. The corollaries of capitalism are attempted endless growth, resource depletion, environmental destruction, over-consumption and the unnecessary immiseration of millions. Marx’s Immiseration thesis still holds up.

    “In Marxist theory and Marxian economics, the immiseration thesis, also referred to as emiseration thesis, is derived from Karl Marx’s analysis of economic development in capitalism, implying that the nature of capitalist production stabilizes real wages, reducing wage growth relative to total value creation in the economy, leading to the increasing power of capital in society.” – Wikipedia.

    Is this not exactly what we see today, since the 1970s? We see stabilized, that is stagnant, real wages. We see reduced wage growth relative to total value creation in the economy. We see the increasing power of capital in society. All exactly what Marx predicted or was predictable out of his basic thesis. How could these predictions be right? Marxists have no crystal ball and and the political economy or socioeconomic system is a chaotic [1] and even indeterminate emergent system. How is such prediction possible?

    What Marx realized and analyzed was that he was dealing with (in capitalism) a prescriptive axiomatic system. What do I mean by a prescriptive axiomatic system? Humans, in their attempts to grapple rationally and logically with the world and society, create axiomatic systems which permit them to apply heuristics (rules of thumb) to manage systems. An early example was Euclidean Geometry. Euclidean Geometry is what I would term a descriptive axiomatic system. It is descriptive in the sense that it attempts to “describe” 2D space, 2D topographies, with fundamental axioms sometimes termed The Axioms of Euclidean Plane Geometry. Euclidean Geometry has an empirical foundation in real space idealized to flat space. This idealization process begins the “journey” from description to prescription. This fact illustrates that there are no purely empirical axioms. Even axioms as relatively simple as those of Euclidean Geometry have already begun the journey from descriptive of the real to prescriptive of how we are going to deal neatly with the real in practical, pragmatic, customary and legal terms. Example: sloping land is still surveyed as a flat plane for the purposes of determining property area.

    Something similar to Euclidean axiomatization, in a sense, was attempted with capitalism by its pragmatists, theorists and promulgators. Property, production, distribution and consumption (insofar as they are economic activities) were theorized by axiomatization from real phenomena. However, these “real phenomena” are far less uncomplicatedly and objectively real, in many senses, than a flat plain of land idealized to a flat plane. The idealization of property, as an axiom, was particularly prone to what we may term “prescriptive drift”. That is, the idealization, definition and instantiation of property as an ontological object category takes property a long way from what we can term a clearly descriptive category in the objective realist sense. It moves property to a very legalistically defined prescriptive object category.

    What does this mean in terms of outcomes? It means essentially that property becomes formal and not real in certain of its manipulations of ownership and valuation. The real and the formal are (partially) sundered in this sense. A person can formally own land and have this ownership backed up by force of law and finally the state’s monopoly on legitimate violence. Ownership of property means the ability to exclude others from it and to retain or dispose of it (via money transactions though gifting and forgiving is possible). Ownership has to be backed by law and policing, otherwise squatting etc. occurs. The formal and the real are linked by legal law (formal) and force (real) but this linking is only partial. This is why I said the real and the formal are partially sundered by ownership. The parts of the real truly sundered by ownership (disposal and exclusion rights) are the environment and property-less people. Bad things happen to the sundered real when the axioms of capitalist property are applied: the environment is wrecked and property-less people are kicked out into the cold.

    This is where we discover that the axioms of capitalism, especially the axioms of ownership, are poorly aligned with the good stewardship of the whole real, which must include the entire biosphere and all people. Marx and the better Marxist theorists and others (few actually fully understood his work until recently [2]) realized in essence that what they were dealing with was a formal axiomatized system (capitalism, especially as as a set of ownership and capitalization rules) sufficiently removed from the real so that it could behave as a fully formal system UNTIL one of more of its axioms reached, by tendency, to a real asymptotic limit, meaning the point of violating the real fundamentally (which consequentially means the axiomatically prescribed operations of the capitalist system would break down at that point) as the prescriptive (formal) reached its always immanent clash with the real.

    Note 1. “Chaotic” in the sense of chaos theory.
    Note 2. See the work of John Bellamy Foster plus the work of Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan. The latter two researchers are not Marxists. There are several roads to understanding capitalism’s intrinsic, unavoidable and ultimately catastrophic problems: problems due to its doctrinaire formal prescriptive nature which ignores real systems. We can include the theorising of Marx and Engels, Veblen, Bichler and Nitzan and indeed of complex systems theorists and econophysicists.

  10. If I recall correctly Veblen completely destroyed the notion that Capitalism is the most efficient economic system we have, when he created the term “conspicuous consumption” to describe the extravagance of the well-to-do in this time and pointed out that this was a very inefficient use of resources. So yes if this is in fact an “axiom” then it has been completely falsified.

  11. Is Australia really a place where people can reasonable fear to have no housing because they can’t afford it?

    Here in Australia, rent assistance is provided as a welfare payment to the low paid and unemployed, however it is more targeted at putting a floor under rent than helping the poor. Many who receive rent assistance still struggle to feed and cloth themselves and pay for other necessities like public transport. It is clear that if the government were to construct a large portfolio of social housing, they could set a ceiling on rent for low-cost accommodation, but then some landlords might actually have to do some part-time work to supplement their rental income, and we cannot have that.
    Homelessness is hidden in Australia, with many people sleeping on a friends couch or in their car. I’m sure they’re acutely aware that a park bench is a distinct possibility should their circumstances suddenly change.

  12. I agree with Ikonoclast that capitalism is the root cause of homeless and poverty in the countries which manifestly fails to meet social needs. Its funny in a way, when you go back to the first proponents of capitalism they imagined that they were saving the world from mercantilism. In particular they advocated an end to legal monopolies and hoarding. Fast forward some two hundred and fifty years and note the hoarding that has occurred since 2008 by large corporations that are effectively protected monopolies. The US government in particular uses its political power to shield American based monopolies. This is mercantilism! So as a society, the USA has run away from something it now politically embraces.
    The great casual factor of poverty is unemployment! By excluding a section of society from working, by all sorts of means, capitalism creates poverty, Once the poor class is established it is kept subservient to the capitalist system by the price mechanism. This “invisible hand” is really a fist that knocks down poor people every day.
    I saw this in Sydney when i witnessed a poor woman walk into a small grocery store. She spent time choosing three items. They were bread, butter and Vegemite. On the way to the check she stopped, look down at the Vegemite, gave a deep sigh then placed it back on the shelf. As she counted out the few coins she had to pay for the bread and butter I saw resignation in her face. She had obviously been here before in these same daily choices dilemmas. I was born into a poor family. I can recognize poverty etched on the face of the daily poor. This woman would not take charity but she would suffer real poverty. That is what capitalism does to people in poverty. Karl Marx, of course, saw this in his day and in his family. But it has not gone away.
    Yes private property excludes poor people from adequate housing, the hoarding by surplus units makes deficit units poorer, monopolies distort prices making them suffer from downward price rigidity and the price mechanism excludes those who cannot stay in the bidding as it raises prices.
    This is capitalism!

  13. boconnor & James Wimberley, I was amazed James, you saying “Boconnor: should we feel bad that no other commenter here picked up your opener on gender violence? I think not. We can’t have informed opinions on everything, let alone contribute to a useful discussion. “.
    https://johnquiggin.com/2021/03/15/monday-message-board-499/#comment-234610

    James, I value your erudition and comments and historical knowledge. I don’t think you are a chemist or physicist James. Yet you contribute details, and have a distingished career it seems. So imho you could easily contribute to the violence against women discussion. Sounded a bit scomo-ey. And supporting information – JW “… in general, a good mix of genders is more likely to create Madisonian cultural checks and balances”…

    (I had to work out what ‘Madisonian’ meant – wikipedia Madisonian_model)

    Is this your writing James? If it is, thanks for the contribution to boconner’s request.

    “Votes for Women!
    by James Wimberley
    February 12th, 2009

    …” Banking should become a “boring public utility” according to John Quiggin. Feminization would help. I’m not a member of the”women are always nicer than men” school: but the vices women have at least as often as men – spite, deviousness, possessiveness – are not the ones that created the banking shambles. The exception may be conformism, the key to the psychology of bubbles: fashionistas are common and whistleblowers rare in both sexes. But in general, a good mix of genders is more likely to create Madisonian cultural checks and balances within an organization.”… http://www.jameswimberley.es/Blog%20posts/2009/Votes%20for%20Women!%20%C2%AB%20The%20Reality-Based%20Community.htm
    ****

    boconnor said: https://johnquiggin.com/2021/03/15/monday-message-board-499/#comment-234521

    “Is there any political strategy that will stop the harassment and violence against women? ” 

    Yes is the simple answer. See below for “Seven strategies to prevent violence against women: RESPECT women”, and many other valid strategies able to be utilised by governments, and politicians. 

    boc: “It’s wonderful to see the demonstrations across Australia today” +1
    boc: “– but I’m not sure how change will happen.”
    Slowly. Over 2+ generations. After concrete action by all levels and governance of society.

    Here is a contribution to a useful discussion – WHO answering  boconnor;

    “Seven strategies to prevent violence against women: RESPECT women

    “Violence against women is preventable and policymakers can play a huge role in this regard. We know more than ever before about what works to prevent violence against women. It is critical to invest across prevention strategies and in changing the structures and systems that perpetuate gender inequality and discrimination, as the root cause.”
    https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/RESPECT-women-infographics/en/

  14. KT2: It’s extraordinarily gratifying to have a 12-year-old blog post picked up and cited approvingly. Sadly, the point still needs making.

    One case of gender violence is one too many. But I maintain that it makes a difference to our response whether what we are seeing is a last flare-up of a dying culture of misogyny. a statistical artefact of reporting and media changes, or a true negative trend.

  15. Thanks KT2 and James for your comments on the gender issue.

    I read the WHO material – thanks for the link.

    I suppose my concern is that neither major party seems truely committed to implementing the whole set of policies that organizations like WHO advocate. That’s the political problem.

  16. James, excellent questions to which I’d also like to know the answer:-
    ” a last flare-up of a dying culture of misogyny. a statistical artefact of reporting and media changes, or a true negative trend.”

    boconnor, it does seem major parties seem committed to fixing gender violence, gender everything else. Whenever I hear the phrase ” fix culture” I think at least 2 generations. 40+yrs. Due to entrenched private & theology & militaristic education,  sub std public education, politicians raised in that environment and lack of true diversity etc etc. I suggest ‘we’ all simply cease – a societal strike. Although that would make clear a fix is needed NOW, the blowback and anger from those needing to change is too great.

    2 generations then.

    James q1. “last flare-up of a dying culture of misogyny”.
    I wish, but yes, I do think particularly those with strong patriarchal or misogynistic views are providing push back (in news corpse, sky a dark). But as we are discussing this; their oxygen will diminish.

    James’q 2:  a true negative trend?  Gender violence now has such a prominent position in discourse, I feel, barring outliers,  gendered violence will start to show a lesser trend. Go Grace Tame and all who came before her! But say,  a generation – by 2040 – will gendered violence be ‘history’?
    My suggestion for a 1 generation fix. Treat violence (or any culture war topic and suicide) like a pandemic and immediately contact trace to 3rd level, to inoculate and support human and system  change. Now, how will we decide what ‘inoculation ‘ and ‘support’! Violence is hard, homelessness seems easy yet…

    If we looked at homelessness, the picture has kept a negative trend. And all that really requires are physical assets – housing –  not reform of culture. And we seem to have the same arguments forever. Kulcha! 2 generations.

    “The rate of homelessness (which takes into account population density) is 50 out of every 10,000 people —up five per cent from the 48 persons in 2011, and up on the 45 persons in 2006”
    https://www.homelessnessaustralia.org.au/about/homelessness-statistics

    James’ q 3:  “statistical artefact of reporting and media changes”
    Possible answer… yes, brought about by the victim side defining, reporting, (me too, parliament rape) shaping and shining evidence, providing accumulated statistics to rewrite history “in relief”**. It will flow from the “long shadow of relief shown by reporting”, when changes to legislation and institutions waft through society – 2 generations.

    ** As in, conventions, traditions and misogynists had the light, but soon the victims will own the light source,  I hope!

    “Shaded relief, or hill-shading, shows the shape of the terrain in a realistic fashion by showing how the three-dimensional surface would be illuminated from a point light source. The shadows normally follow the convention of top-left lighting in which the light source is placed near the upper-left corner of the map.” Wikipedia.

    Thanks.

  17. whether what we are seeing is a last flare-up of a dying culture of misogyny

    Definitely not this, unless you mean “science progresses one death at time” type dying culture.

    I think it’s more a slow, contested, evolution as specific individuals are forced to change by the slow change of everyone around them. That’s generally how culture/society changes, “revolutions” are as often labelled in retrospect when a wave of change suddenly pushed up out of the seething morass of humanity and becomes briefly visible.

    I think the big wave stuff is still largely below the surface, and we’re seeing more sign of it in student politics and youf sex ed. Or maybe that’s just me, a lot of what seems to be finally percolating through to politicians younger than me is stuff that I remember from university. Apparently for some of them university the experience was more at the rape-with-impunity end of the spectrum. Back in the day I was doing “peer education” stuff with queer kids and some of their questions were pretty brutal.

    My first Reclaim The Night type march was in about 1985, and it wasn’t a new thing then. The Merv Thompson affray was 30 years ago, and I’ve seen no sign that women are quite that angry (yet). But there’s still time for certain political figures to find themselves the recipient of non-consensual activity.

    IMO the breaking wave will be when the legal system decides that on balance of probabilities we’re going to declare that the rape happened, the offender has to pay compensation and suffer whatever consquences flow from being declared a rapist, but since there’s reasonable doubt and it’s a first offence/accusation he’s getting diversion. But should evidence of a pattern of behaviour emerge there *will* be criminal sanctions. Thank you for you time, moving along.

    https://thespinoff.co.nz/featured/15-09-2016/the-mervyn-thompson-affair-he-was-bitter-angry-broken-and-quite-possibly-a-rapist/

  18. Moz said “IMO the breaking wave will be when the legal system decides that on balance of probabilities we’re going to declare that the rape happened”…
    Yes, we don’t consider law and changing it here often. Maybe occasional law pister / commenter?

    And still 2 generations to change kulcha.

    And here is a macho reversal.
    Links in article. I’d say we will see many more ‘nice guy’ stories saying yes, it is a culture problem and I’ve seen and experienced it.

    “EQUALITY MATTERS | HOW WE WORK
    “Why the ‘nice guy’ penalty disadvantages all workers

    “Research suggests that men are distrusted and passed over at work when they exhibit qualities stereotypically assigned to women. Fixing this would benefit all of us.

    “Yet even with all of his advantages, he believes his career has been impacted by a subtle bias: one against men who shun macho stereotypes, even in a field largely made up of women. 

    “The links between gender and perceived competence 
    “It’s impossible to understand how gender roles constrain men without considering how they do the same thing to women, and much more harshly. 

    “For one, there’s a persistent belief that women have less agency, or the ability to achieve goals and mastery. Around the world, “we ascribe more agentic qualities to men, such as being confident, assertive and competitive, and more communal qualities to women, such as being sympathetic and caring)”, says Janine Bosak, a professor of work and organisational psychology at Dublin City University’s Business School. So, women who aspire to leadership roles face a“competence–likeability dilemma”: if they’re clearly good at their jobs and successful, they’ll likely be seen as unfeminine and unappealing.”…
    https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20210310-why-the-nice-guy-penalty-disadvantages-all-workers

  19. The theory that only men enforce gender roles which penalise women is, IME, fanciful.

    One of the more blatant example was when I was in Feminist Studies tutorials at university. Even after prompting, and repeated discussions, it was still ingrained behaviour: the tutor asks a question or otherwise solicits comment and everyone looks at the one guy in the tutorial expectantly. If I sat schtum there would be an uncomfortable pause, generally until the tutor either gave up or prompted a specific woman. I made some solid friendships there by pausing until it was obvious, then breaking the social expectation in brutal ways. Friendships with women who agreed that it was appropriate for me to put them on the spot, and not-friendships with women who didn’t like that but weren’t willing to step up.

    (by saying things like “as a privileged white man I can confidently speak for all women when I say {something fatuous}” or “since none of the women here feel competent to speak on this matter” … often it turned out they *did* have opinions after all 😇)

    Also, my habitual reply to “more women should study {field}” being “why don’t *you* study {field}?”.

  20. My reading of ancient history tends to suggest that gender violence and inequality has deep ancestral roots for many Australians. The Ancient Greek males, in the times of Periclean Athens, actually believed that woman had to be dominated. That is why the race known as Amazons scared them so much that they tried ethnic cleansing to rid themselves of this contradiction to their deluded belief in male dominance. I often come across this attitude in ancient history texts. Even my history books on the middle ages kingdoms in Europe, are laced with many incidences of gender violence towards women. Only in the Dark ages, after the fall of the united Roman Empire, did women rise to something like equality in certain parts of Europe. Many Scandinavian tribes, for example, had women warriors and Queens that ruled in their own right. Of course, this did not last once the Franks began to influence European cultures.
    The role of genetic memory may explain why something as obvious as equal pay for equal work is still not universally applied. As at June 2017, the International Labour Organization’s Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (100) had been ratified by 173 of the 187 ILO member states. The notable exception was the USA.
    You can pass as many laws as you like, for example Australia’s 1973 federal minimum pay awards Equal Pay decision is coming up to its fiftieth anniversary. But the complicated situation of federal wards and state based wards in Australia frustrated attempts to implement equal pay for women. Many anti discrimination laws were passed but it was not be enough to change entrenched inequities in pay scales. New laws are not the answer unless such laws are draconian. Only Positive Discrimination laws seem to have any lasting impact on gender equality.
    As for the more disturbing area of gender abuse there must be strict enforcement of .all areas of assault legislation. If one person strikes another person then that is criminal assault. If one person verbally abuses another person then that too must be punishable by criminal law. This must then be applied no matter where the assault, physical or verbal, occurs. Even if it happens inside Parliament House in Canberra.

  21. there must be strict enforcement of .all areas of assault legislation

    Assault includes “a reasonable fear” of violence, and it would be very easy to construct things so that every man is a criminal because every woman reasonably fears he might be violent. It doesn’t have to be that explicit to cause problems – look at the way the US criminalises black men, for example.

    In a related area: it can be considered assault on the motorist if a cyclist touches the car that motorist is driving? Even if they’re doing so while picking themselves up off the ground and extracting their bicycle from under the front of the car? Riding a bicycle on public roads is one way that men can briefly experience what most women experience when walking the streets. On that note… women are not always the weaker party in a confrontation.

    I’ve also seen abuse witch-hunts happen in some queer communities, and it’s really, really unpleasant. As well as deeply unjust and abuse-enabling. Think about which party in an abusive relationship is more likely to talk about it, to be used to telling a convincing story about it, and find it less stressful to talk about it? “whoever who claims abuse first wins” is an evil pattern.

    It might be better to first get the family court abuse claims process working properly before we extend any new default presumptions through the general population. They already have to deal with claims of varying degrees of credibility and come up with a “balance of probabilities” decision. As well as navigating an area where the culture is shifting much faster than the legislation – male solo parents are becoming more common every year for example (a friend has been through the joy of trying to persuade the court that he’s not the reason their nearly-teenage kids do not want to ever stay overnight with their mother). That would be a good testbed for any ideas, though, because they already deal with the problem but the outcome is just loss of family and livelihood rather than criminal conviction and incarceration.

  22. Moz, interesting analogy;
    “Riding a bicycle on public roads is one way that men can briefly experience what most women experience when walking the streets.”

    I wonder if scomo, Patterson & Porter would get on their bikes in traffic.

    Moz said: “very easy to construct things so that every man is a criminal because every woman reasonably fears he might be violent.” And “male solo parents are becoming more common every year for example (a friend has been through the joy of trying to persuade the court that he’s not the reason their nearly-teenage kids do not want to ever stay overnight with their mother).”

    I have had the same ‘joy’ with police, family court, local court, numerous authorities. Over 5+ tortous years. Never have I seen so many cops, and never did I realise they just sweep up after broken ‘windows’. And never did I realise thendearth ofnservices and conflicting gendered opinions. On all sides and genders.

    After 450 days in my care, with 
    – grandmother, 
    – another teenage child of offender, 
    – a father of another child, 
    – a friend of perpetrator – all out the front of house of a known convicted violent using icehead, both perpetrators in and out of gaol &; metal health facilities, conspired to -my term abduct – 3yr old. Police said even with all those voices screaming get the child, – “no return without a federal court order – move on or we will arrest you”. 

    Child returned to me after lunchtime hearing next day, as limp as a rag. Slept for 16hrs straight (stress!!!) and diarrhea extreme for 36hrs. And it happened 2 more times before police acted proactively tonstem avo breaches and threats 250 abusive texts & voicemails assisted in turning tide. Family court, police, mental health etc are just ambulances at the base of the cliff.

    Gender goes both ways as expectations of parent depends on who is looking at it.

    And family court? Grrrr…. Reverse merging, fund like it is defense. Because it is defense – of children.

    Gender to me now is like gen x gen y , a loose category to hang opinions and traditions on. I truely want gender equity even if via setting targets. 

    But as nsw police only attend mental health and family matters, and first impressions last, hit and miss is what I have seen, with vastly under funded and under resourced services get to pick up the pieces after damage done. My local police bitch off the record about local community mental health. No where local to go -,3hr ride to mental health ‘facility’ and no funding for  support persons, and so they release into community unless extreme presentation. One with a noose around their neck. Another in a psychotic state filming outside house of 5yo, police took known perpetrator to comm mental health who released them 10mins later. Investigation in 2017 still NOT released. We have a long way to go.

    2 generations after law changed.

  23. Gregory McKenzie: It’s very curious that while classical-era Greeks relegated women to domestic purdah, and excluded hem comprehensively from the public arena (much more than the Romans), their imaginative universe was based on Bronze Age legends that show many women with agency and power. Clytemnaestra is a murderess from revenge, but she is presented by Aeschylus as a formidable person, a perfectly competent and scarcely temporary replacement ruler of Argos. See also Helen, Medea, Antigone, Jocasta, Penelope … Even those who are presented essentially as victims like Cassandra and Briseis are three-dimensional. Olympus is a dysfunctional extended family where goddesses get their way as often as male gods. On this, there is little reason to doubt the legends. Stratified, aristocratic societies often allow women to become powerful through the inevitable accidents of war and sickness. Class and education trumped gender bias.

  24. re agency and power:

    but “the-blast-em-with-lightning” persona always seemed to come across as uber.

  25. James Wimberley: You are certainly right there. Helen of Troy (?)- really she must have been born elsewhere- launched a thousand ships, that is according to Homer and this occurred in 1184 BC . Then there was Boudecia, Queen of the Iceni tribe in Roman occupied Brittany. Now Boudecia only revolted after her tribal land was seized by the Romans because her husband the dead king left no male heir. When she complained that, under Iceni tribal law, she was Queen and ruler of that land, the Romans publicly whipped her and raped her two daughters. Rome was to pay for that mistake so when Cartimandua was declared Queen of the Brigantes in 69AD, the Roman Governor not only recognized her as Queen but went out of his way to make her tribe an ally of Rome. Even the Ancient Romans could learn by their mistakes.
    As you pointed out other woman came to prominence, for various reasons, in Ancient writings.For example, Hera was the powerful Mother God on Olympus, second only to Zeus. When the Ancient Romans ‘borrowed’ their Gods from the Greeks then renamed them; so Zeus became Jupiter – bigger and Best- the ‘boss’. The Greek God Demeter was renamed Bona Dea but had a secret name known only to the free woman of Rome. On one of two festival involving Bona Dea males were banned from attending, Later in the early Principate era, the wife of Augustus was called Livia. She was considered to be the most powerful person in Rome after her husband.
    In the middle ages there was powerful Queens. But only one was allowed to chose not to marry. Queen Elizabeth I was the powerful Queen of England in a line of monarchs stretching over almost one thousand years. But there were others in Queen Victoria and the current Queen Elizabeth for longevity of reign.
    Joan of Arc was a powerful figure in French history. Only Queen Marie-Antoinette got more stories told about her by males attempting to discredit her fame. But France also had an imported Queen Anne of Austria who was powerful in her day and actually ruled France in the name of her son.

    Yes there were lots of powerful women but they are largely exceptions. For instances, out of sixty-one monarchs of England since 871AD, only eight have been female. In that same period there were 58 monarchs of France none of which were female.
    In its long history, China had only one female absolute ruler – Wu Zetin (624-705AD) during the Tang dynasty- ever who was acclaimed unchallenged Empress of China. She was unchallenged because she had murdered anyone else of royal blood who had a claim to the throne. The Empress that was portrayed unfairly in the Hollywood movie “55 Days to Peking” was Empress Dowager Cixi who was Regent in China for 47 years during the Qing Dynasty.
    Six women were rulers of japan from 592 to 770Ad most were recorded as regents but at least one Empress ruled in her own right (Jito).

    History seems to be more of a revolving door then a straight line. Powerful women like Eleanor of Aquitaine rose to become the richest and most powerful female of her time; but then along comes a man becomes her second husband and imprisons her for sixteen years. Freed by her son she is made Regent of England until another one of her sons took the throne. Finally Eleanor retired to an abbey. .

    So history only teaches us harsh lessons that we ignore at our peril. For women it is that males want to be obeyed in the home and in parliament. But strong women can dominate when given the opportunity.

  26. Speaking of bureaucratic hoops and public housing:

    The city housing administration here has a pdf one is supposed to print out and fill in by hand (no text field in the pdf. One can then can scan it and send it by email. It seems it will be printed out again then.

    Lots of questions regarding my trustworthiness as an upstanding citizen, job, former landlord etc. * Plus one box for “emergency”, which then gives as possible examples: Water damage, homelessness, severe disability. Pregnancy No need to clarify which one, apparently it’s all the same for your assigned place in the waiting list. Ok, that’s unlikely to be really true, but apparently you have to know that and smooth talk the administration on the phone, since there is no space to clarify the type of emergency.

    An acquaintance of mine did get a flat assigned relatively quickly a year ago. It was a pretty good one too, Diversity quota in a new luxury development. The rental difference not covered by standard public assistance paid by the city, not the developer of course. If you are in need, it pays to be really in need according to the checkboxes: His disability is pretty bad, at least 60% and his former landlord wanted to get rid of him.

    Before things worked out so well, he ended up sleeping at my place for a weak because the responsible administrator for handing out the keys was on a holiday. Neither could he tell in advance (in which case he could have stayed at the old flat for another month), nor could anybody else hand out the key to the empty and ready flat. The administration there was all running, they knew he was homeless and told him point black we don’t care, no one else can process new tenants.
    Next they tried to talk him into getting liability insurance, which makes zero sense when you are on welfare (which they absolutely do know). Lovely. Isn’t it.

    *As usual I don’t exist in such forms: You see people either work, get unemployment assistance, a disability pension or welfare. No spot for people with too many assets to get welfare, too little employment history to get a disability pension or unemployment assistance and no job. Can’t be that few of us, suppose we are expected to cover stuff up when we don’t have to reveal ourselves due to welfare payments. Considering the state of the for profit rental market here and how much my father is annoying me recently I might end up applying there and maybe move in too. In a year or two that is, which would also mean to fill out the form multiple times, since the entry is deleted every 12 month to confirm with data protection laws, you see. It all makes perfect legal sense.

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