For earlier items on The Political Sword and TPS Extra at a Glance click here.
The real bullies
2353NM, The Political Sword, 4 November 2016
A Brisbane 13 year old committed suicide last week because, according to his mother he was being bullied. He identified as being gay and apparently was being bullied at school. Rather than join the chorus of those who instantly know what was going on and speculate for a week or so until something else comes along, how about we look at the culture that seems to be genuinely regretful when a tragedy such as the death of a Brisbane school boy occurs but votes for and allows much greater crimes against our society to be celebrated.
The rise of political staffers: how people disappeared from policy advice
Ken Wolff, The Political Sword, 27 November 2016
In October Attorney-General Senator George Brandis got into a stoush with Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson, which ultimately led to Gleeson’s resignation. At one point Brandis attempted to turn the issue into an argument about what constituted ‘consultation’ but the real issue was that Brandis had decided his office should have control of what advice could be offered by Gleeson — Gleeson would not have been allowed to provide advice unless the request for advice was first approved in Brandis’ office.
Trump’s Uncertainty Principle
Ad astra, The Political Sword, 23 November 2016
Way back in 1927 German physicist Werner Heisenberg, described the Uncertainty Principle
that applies to quantum mechanics. It states that the more precisely the position of a particle is determined, the less precisely its momentum can be known, and vice versa. With apologies to Heisenberg and quantum physicists, the uncertainty principle seems to be a suitable metaphor for America’s President Elect.
Let’s welcome President Trump
2353NM, The Political Sword, 20 November 2016
Yes, you read the title correctly. Donald J Trump will be the 45th President of the United States of America after amassing more ‘Electoral College’ votes on 8 November 2016. It doesn’t matter that Clinton won the popular vote as the ‘Electoral College’ is where you need to outperform. The reality is that close to 45% of the population used their democratic right (in the US anyway) of not voting for any Presidential candidate. It’s easy to make the assumption that a lot of people either didn’t care, didn’t like the candidates, or just couldn’t be bothered. Some of those may now be regretting their choice.
Aaand it’s sold
2353NM, The Political Sword, 16 November 2016
Housing affordability is perceived to be an issue in Australia. In some areas of Australia, the median price of a house is in excess of $1million and there is some justification in the common questions around how on earth can a young couple ever be able to afford a house in that market. There are a number of answers to the question and there are also a number of inequities that are assisting to take house prices in ‘desirable’ areas out the reach of those that are not on a well above average income.
Who invents this cruelty?
2353NM, The Political Sword, 13 November 2016
In the past week, the Turnbull Coalition government announced proposed legislation to ensure that each person on Manus Island or Nauru who were sentenced to the cruel and unusual punishment for no legal or moral reason since an arbitrary date in 2013, will never come to Australia. That’s never ever; doesn’t matter if they want to visit the Great Barrier Reef before government lack of policy on climate change kills it off; doesn’t matter if the person is a famous actor, musician or movie star in their future life; doesn’t matter if the person is representing a country at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast; and it even doesn’t matter if a current refugee on Manus Island or Nauru is a head of state in the future — they won’t be allowed to visit Australia (or only allowed to visit at the absolute discretion of the minister for immigration at the time).
Inequality is an invasive global cancer
Ad astra, The Political Sword, 9 November 2016
Inequality has been the subject of several pieces on The Political Sword
. They have focussed primarily on income and wealth inequality, which afflicts massive swathes of the world’s peoples, consigning them to constrained lives where poverty, underprivilege, disadvantage, and lack of opportunity has blighted individuals, families, communities, and in some instances, whole nations. Such inequality is divisive, disruptive and destructive to civilized society.
The problem with conservative warriors
2353NM, The Political Sword, 6 November 2016
A lot of employers place significant levels of trust in their employees. Retailers trust their employees to charge the customers the correct amount for the products they sell and put the money into the register; airlines trust that their employees are fit and mentally capable of servicing or flying the plane they are assigned to fly; bus and truck operators trust that their drivers will drive the vehicle along the assigned route; while health care workers are trusted to look after those in their care.
Statistics are people too
Ken Wolff, The Political Sword, 30 October 2016
On 20 October the ABS released its labour force survey data for September 2016. The media duly reported the drop in unemployment from an upwardly revised 5.7% for the previous month to 5.6% but most also picked up that this was largely a result of a drop in the participation rate, from 64.7% to 64.5%.
Trump is just part of the problem
Ad astra, The Political Sword, 26 October 2016
There are two outcomes of the US presidential election that should horrify us all: Trump wins or Trump loses.
We can see from his words and actions that on the personal front he is an ugly misogynist and a womanizer, yet is disrespectful of so many of the women who have entered his ambit…
The horror of his winning leaves little to the imagination…but while a Trump loss could hardly be worse than a victory, it would be foolish to believe that it would be without trauma at many levels. This piece attempts to tease out the possibilities.
All hail the mighty banks
Ken Wolff, The Political Sword, 23 October 2016
Banks have been in the news recently and there is a clear difference in the approaches of the government and the opposition. While some may suggest that Bill Shorten is being populist in his call for a Royal Commission into the activities of the banks, particularly the ‘big four’, it is clear that Turnbull’s approach of calling them before the parliament’s Economics Committee once a year has been a sham.
Planning - Turnbull’s black hole
Ad astra, The Political Sword, 19 October 2016
Let’s stand back from the daily tumult of federal politics momentarily, hard though it is to ignore, and look into the distance. What do we see? Given that politicians believe their role is to make this nation a better one for us all, where is the evidence of them planning to make it so?
Let’s talk about ‘traditional’ values
2353NM, The Political Sword, 16 October 2016
Donald Trump, in his mind anyway, is the next President of the United States of America. Last week, he was in deeper hot water than usual when a tape of a conversation between Trump and a reporter from Access Hollywood
regarding his sexual exploits with women, made a decade ago, was released. Trump released an apology around midnight on 7 October: “I’ve said some foolish things, but there’s a big difference between the words, and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women.”
The Turnbull endgame – again?
Ad astra, The Political Sword,12 October 2016
It was Karl Marx who said History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.
Malcolm Turnbull gives contemporary credence to these words. Seven years ago, in August 2009, as Malcolm Turnbull’s time as Leader of the Opposition seemed close to its end, I wrote The Turnbull endgame?
Four months later he was gone, replaced by Tony Abbott by just one vote. The leopard has not changed his spots. What was written about him then, applies now. This piece highlights the striking parallels between now and then.
Turnbull – Abbott from a better postcode
2353NM, The Political Sword, 9 October 2016
Assuming the Opposition agrees, there will be a plebiscite on the proposition to allow same sex marriage in Australia in February 2017. The independents in the parliament have (mostly) stated their positions on the matter and the Greens are against the plebiscite but in favour of same sex marriage.
The neo-liberal execution of democracy
Ken Wolff, The Political Sword, 5 October 2016
In my inbox each day I get an e-mail from The Washington Post called The Daily 202. This year it has been, as is to be expected, mostly about the American Presidential primaries and forthcoming election but, in reporting Bernie Sanders’ primary win in West Virginia back on 10 May, it stated the win was not really about ideology but disaffection: “Americans, collectively, are not as angry as watching cable TV would lead you to believe. But many poorer, less-educated folks who have been left behind in the 21st century — the ones who have seen their wages stagnate, their opportunities for upward mobility disappear and their life expectancies shorten — are looking to disrupt a status quo that has not worked for them.”
That’s what Sanders and Trump are both promising to do.
Do politicians make you sick?
Ad astra, The Political Sword
, 2 October 2016
I expect most of you would answer with a resounding YES
. They make us sick when they lie, break promises, assail us with mendacious rhetoric, engage in adversarial behaviour, fail to recognise this nation's problems, seek to blame their opponents for any ills we have, and exhibit incompetence in doing what they are well paid to do. They make us sick, though, in other ways - through their legislative actions. This piece will describe how policies can and do result in illness in individuals and groups in our society.
Are governments ready for the coming economic and social changes?
Ken Wolff, The Political Sword, 28 September 2016
In 1930 John Maynard Keynes predicted widespread technological unemployment ‘due to our discovery of means of economising the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labour’. In the decades since there has been rapidly increasing technological change but employment has generally been increasing, matching population growth, although not without winners and losers. The creation of new jobs often lags behind the pace of loss of jobs and those who have lost jobs are not always the ones who take the new jobs — they are often taken by the new generation.
Who is the culprit?
Ad astra, The Political Sword, 25 September 2016
When you reflect on the dilapidated state of federal politics; when you question how on earth we have become encumbered with so many appalling policies, do you ever ask: 'Why is it so?' I do often. And when I do, one culprit emerges over and again. Who is it?
What is Modern Monetary Theory and will it help?
Ken Wolff, The Political Sword, 21 September 2016
Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is a macroeconomic theory for the current age in which governments have abandoned the gold standard and also floated their currencies. It is ‘macroeconomic’ and ‘monetary’ because many of its conclusions relate to the money supply in an economy. Does it offer scope for a new economic approach recognising people? Can it better assist responses to robotics and computerisation than current economic approaches?
It’s all about me
2353NM, The Political Sword, 18 September 2016
At the risk of earning a Godwin Award in the first sentence, according to those that staffed his office, Hitler was a kind and paternal man. Apparently Goebbels was kind to his family as are no doubt most of the world’s leaders today. However, the same people that make sure they are kind to their staff, helpful for their friends and make sure they have a positive influence in their children’s lives can make the lives of people more distant from their immediate family absolutely horrific.