Now that is a man who knows how to be Precedential.
Australia has a habit of tossing up silly political parties with a weird focus on one or two issues. In a democracy silly parties are as welcome as serious parties. The latest in this long line is the The Love Australia or Leave Party, also known as the We’re Full Party, The WOGS Not Welcome Party and The Way For Kim Vuga To Stay Relevant After Appearing on “Go Back To Where You Came From” Party.
Hyper Nationalist, Xenophobic, Muslim Fearing and generally afraid to go out alone at night, Kim Vuga wants to take the mantle of Uber Australian Conservative from Pauline Hanson. Younger and slightly more photogenic than Hanson I imagine she will get a following and media presence. And it’s nice that there is somewhere for all the racists,haters and trolls to gather in one place so we can point and laugh. But what does it say about the underbelly of Australian Politics?
There is no doubt that the rapid changes wrought by Globalisation, the transfer of manufacturing jobs from wealthier states to poorer or developing states, the shredding of the social compact that saw excess wealth redistributed, the casualisation of work, the corporatisation of the Public Service, and the privatisation of state assets has seen may lives disrupted and people feeling as though everyone else has won while they are left holding a booby prize. it is this sense of loss that drives people to lash out at those they perceive to have caused the problems, and yet they usually misidentify the target, lashing out at others just as powerless as they, rather than attacking the real culprits.
Once you start to read beyond the headlines you can see how little they understand of our democracy, our place in the world and our shared humanity. Their policies are often banal, hark back to a mythical “good time”, are derivative from other right wing parties elsewhere in the world, often in conflict with each other and just plain awful.
Kim Vuga has copied from the UK’s Nigel Farrage, the USA’s extreme right and evangelical Christians, as well as Pauline Hanson and the reprehensible, but now mostly forgotten, Blair Cottrell.
Vuga claims that one of the guiding principles of her Party is Freedom of Speech, yet on the about page of the Party’s website she features an edited version of It Is The Soldier. The version Vuga posts reads:
Remember, it is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us the freedom of press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
who has given us the freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag.
Who allows the protestors to burn the flag!
In a free democracy with Freedom of Speech for all a protestor does not need the permission of a soldier to exercise that freedom. The permission of the soldier is required in a military dictatorship, in a democracy the soldier takes orders but does not give them.
And that is why the simplistic jingoism of Kim Vuga is dangerous.
I haven’t done one of these is a while, but as soon as I saw Donald Trump had covered “Mahna Mahna” from The Muppet Show I knew it was time do one again.
Today is International Blasphemy Day, a day when we celebrate the right to freely criticise religious ideas and when we support those who are ostracised, demonised and punished for the simple act of speaking truth to bad ideas.
Too often when we think of blasphemy we think of backward theocratic nations like Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, et al. But blasphemy laws are wide spread and malevolent. Although unlikely to be prosecuted, there are still blasphemy laws in Australia.
Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France (Alsace-Moselle region only), Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Northern Ireland, and Turkey all have blasphemy or religious insult laws. Blasphemy laws, wherever they may be, need to be overturned. Criticism should not be a crime.
Here are just a few cases of the chilling effects blasphemy laws can have, even is supposedly civilised and enlightened countries.
Documentary maker Louis Theroux as a film about Scientology that apparently will not be shown in Northern Ireland due the blasphemy laws scaring film distributors.
Sanal Edamaruku had to flee his native India as the Catholic Church pursued blasphemy charges against him. His crime? They claimed a miracle, he showed it was a plumbing problem.
Albert Voss, a German atheist, was fined for having various messages on his car poking fun at religion.
And just today I have heard the story of Amos Yee, a Singaporean teenager who has been jailed for 6 weeks for slapping god’s face, or something. Is his writing aimed to ridicule? You bet. Will it upset “religious sensibilities”? For sure. Does it warrant time in jail? Fuck no.
The need for blasphemy laws show that religion is incapable of mounting a logical case for its existence, it must rely on fear, threat and intimidation to survive.
Jordanian writer and Christian-turned-atheist, Nahed Hattar, was murdered in the capital city Amman this morning, apparently in response to posting this cartoon.
At the time of his murder Hattar was on his way to court to answer a charge of “offending Islam” because he published the above cartoon on Facebook. He later deleted the cartoon, but that was not enough to appease the religious lunatic Riad Abdullah. No, Abdullah, probably sure that god would never act against this cartoon, probably because god is a figment of the imagination, took matters in to his own hands and committed a murder.
A Jordanian government spokesman has said ““We will hold the perpetrator who committed this despicable act to justice, and the government will respond with an iron fist to anyone who uses this incident as an opportunity to spread hate speech in society.”
Just a shame that the Jordanian government thinks that there is such a crime as “insulting Islam”, as if Islam is a person with feelings.
According to the Australian DFAT Website Australia and Jordan enjoy a warm and increasingly diverse relationship, underpinned by strengthening political ties, longstanding cultural links and a small but growing trade relationship.
Perhaps our government could use this warm relationship to tell the Jordanians that crimes against myths are not real crimes and that people should be free to mock religion.
Australian churches enjoy a special, privileged status. They pay no tax. They are exempt from some laws that apply to the rest of us. They are given a seat at the table when major decisions are to be made.
They contribute little of a positive nature, they are unable to prove even the simplest of their claims, yet they expect to be taken seriously and given respect by those of us who find their claims ludicrous, their manifestos anti-human, and their continued existence an affront to human intelligence.
They refuse to make any financial contribution to running the Nation, but at the first sign of a threat to their dominance, they demand that taxpayers fund their misinformation, their hatred, and their ignorance.
The debate on same-sex marriage is hitting taxpayers’ wallets as the government and churches tussle over whether millions should be forked out to fund campaigns during the plebiscite.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to reveal details of the planned plebiscite to his party room on Tuesday.
He’s likely to come under pressure from churches if those plans don’t include public funding for the “no” and “yes” cases.
One of the country’s most senior Anglican leaders, Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies, says Mr Turnbull promised him in February taxpayer money would be forthcoming, News Corp reports.
The Churches sit on billions of dollars but are not prepared to spend a single cent of their own money to promote their cause. They would rather steal money from taxpayers, money that could be used to educate children, heal the sick or feed the poor, all causes the churches claim to care about.
The Age reports that this is becoming a hot potato issue for the government, and will further test Turnbull’s ability to control the religious rump of his party.
In a dramatic intervention, former defence minister Kevin Andrews backed church leaders, rather than the Prime Minister, in a dispute over whether Mr Turnbull promised taxpayer support to run the campaign against same-sex marriage.
Kevin Andrews is the Catholic former government Minister who introduced “relationship counselling vouchers” because he did not think that Australians were capable of forming and maintaining relationships unless they had a Priest looking over their shoulders. Oh, and because this also had the potential to add to the income of his wife, a marriage counsellor.
Thankfully, the government saw the light and dumped this scheme last year. One can only hope that they will refuse church funding for the plebescite faster than you can say “Jesusonarollerskate”.
Someone whose political views you despise says something that makes you go “Wow, that guy is so cool”.
Today it was US Libertarian Presidential candidate, Gary Johnson who said
I hear that Donald Trump is watching the Olympics tonight. He’s seeing how high the Mexican pole vaulters go.
Nice one Gary.
OK, not strictly a cover song. But I reckon Matchbox20 have made this such a different song it should qualify.
Remember Texas? The Scottish band with an American name. And Sharlene Spitteri, the lead singer.
And do you remember Berlin? An American band with a German name.
Well, here is Sharlene’s take on it.