Have we got a deal for you

There is a conspiracy theory that suggests that birds (in the USA at least) aren’t real. The claim is that all the birds in the USA were hunted down by the government between the late 50’s and early 70s and replaced with bird like drones to spy on you. According to the theory President John F. Kennedy was assassinated because he didn’t support the program to replace birds with surveillance drones. Before you get too concerned, the kookaburra or cockatoo sitting in the tree watching you is not a drone and neither are any ‘drone birds’ in the USA because
The conspiracy theory powered by Gen Z was started by a man named Peter McIndoe. He told The New York Times last year the movement began at a women’s march in Memphis, Tennessee, in January 2017. Counterprotesters supporting former President Donald Trump also attended the event, and when McIndoe saw the group he wrote “Birds Aren’t Real” on a poster as a joke.

“It was a spontaneous joke, but it was a reflection of the absurdity everyone was feeling,” he told the Times.

He continued to joke about the idea of the conspiracy at the rally, and a video of him went viral on Facebook. The claim spread among teenagers in the area, and McIndoe told the outlet that he and a friend, Connor Gaydos, wrote a fake history of the conspiracy, coming up with more jokes and fake details.

“It basically became an experiment in misinformation,” McIndoe said. “We were able to construct an entirely fictional world that was reported on as fact by local media and questioned by members of the public.”
The ‘official history’ of Birds aren’t Real is here and it’s hilarious.

There is a serious side to satirical movements such as Birds aren’t Real or the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (go here for their ‘real’ history) and that is to draw attention to the absurd and ridiculous that some believe to the exclusion of reality. Unfortunately others believe conspiracy theories that are anything but harmless. For example when you have a current President of the USA claiming that the election was rigged and polling officials were substituting votes, there is a certain percentage of the population that will swallow the claim without question. They already feel so isolated from the system due to earlier pronouncements by the same President and his supporters they will follow anyone who offers an alternative. The January 6 riot in Washington DC is a demonstration of the power of conspiracy theories.

For those that believe it couldn’t happen on this side of the Pacific, think again. It’s pretty obvious why the Federal Government commissioned a report into why former Prime Minister Scott Morrison thought for a nano-second that ‘shadowing’ various Ministers of the Crown that he appointed was anything like a clever idea. The reason wasn’t political payback, although requesting the response by 25 November 2022, leading into the last week of Parliament for the year as well as being the day before the Victorian State Election could have been. The reason the report was commissioned was to ensure that there were processes in place to stop the next Prime Minster with an overinflated sense of their own importance from effectively being able to overrule decisions of the various Ministers of the Crown as well as understanding the role of Parliament in our system of governance.

Over the years, the various Parliaments of Australia have delegated authority to make decisions to various Ministers of the Crown in the belief the decision maker was responsible for that area of government. The minister would be answerable for those decisions to the people of Australia through our Parliamentary representatives. The Prime Minister, while leader of the government probably doesn’t (and arguably shouldn’t) have the access to all the necessary information and is responsible for the policy of their government to the people of Australia, again through our Parliamentary representatives. There is also the practical problem around if the decision impacts a multi-billion investment decision that is going to be made — such as a new mining venture — is the Minister the ‘decision maker’ or is there another undisclosed ‘decision maker’ above the Minster?

Justice Bell was requested to investigate what went wrong and what measures could be put into place to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Her report was scathing and delivered on time. The Prime Minister’s website states
The unprecedented and inexcusable actions of the former Prime Minister were emblematic of the culture of secrecy in which the previous Government operated.

The Bell Inquiry confirms the Solicitor-General’s conclusion that the principles of responsible government were “fundamentally undermined” because Mr Morrison was not “responsible” to the Parliament, and through the Parliament to the electors, for the departments he was appointed to administer.

Justice Bell found the secrecy around the appointments was “apt to undermine public confidence in government” and was “corrosive of trust in government.”
As ABC News reports
The report shreds any last remnants of credibility the former prime minister might have in regard to his disdain for proper process and in the way he treated his colleagues and the public.

Justice Bell doesn't call the prime minister a liar, but dances splendidly through a range of creative terminology which doubts the reliability of what he said, in writing, through his lawyers, in response to her questions about the circumstances of him appointing himself to no less than six of 14 government departments (not including the one he considered adding to the collection, but subsequently did not act upon).

It further documents what can only appear to be an exceptionally sneaky way of going about running a government.

"Mr Morrison's assumption that all the appointments were notified to the public in the Gazette is not easy to reconcile with his conduct at the time or with his public statements when the appointments came to light," Justice Bell writes
Justice Bell also found there is a process in place to transfer responsibilities should a Minister become suddenly incapacitated, so Morrison’s claim that the ‘shadowing’ was only done to ensure continuity in the event of incapacity are marketing hype and spin — not based in reality. There are 6 recommendations in Justice Bell’s report which unsurprisingly, the Albanese Government has committed to implement.

Morrison’s past history really isn’t that impressive. While a background in marketing and leading the government tourism agencies in Australia and New Zealand sounds impressive, the reality is far less so when it is considered that both governments (and a Coalition one at that in Australia) terminated his employment early for undisclosed reasons but plenty of chatter suggests that process, policy and good governance were not followed. There was also some concern about the way Morrison managed to reopen the preselection for the seat of Cook, not to mention the way he claimed he became Prime Minister, riding in on his white charger to save the Liberal Party from former Prime Minister Turnbull and current Opposition Leader Dutton.

Maybe the Liberal Party has fallen victim to the biggest conspiracy theory this side of the Pacific in the last 20 years by believing the hype around Scott Morrison, generated by the same Scott Morrison. They sadly haven’t realised their gullibility yet as demonstrated by mostly voting against the censure motion brought to the House of Representatives when the real adults in the room. The ALP, Greens and Independents called his behaviour out for what it really was — a messiah complex combined with a confidence trick.

The snake oil salesmen of the early 20th Century would be proud of him.

What do you think?

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I really think we need to stop giving this man the time of day.  Yes, he was a complete twat, but belabouring the point seems to me to be fruitless.  The people of Cook need to get rid of him at the next election.

bruce bilney


2353NM, Ad astra and Swordsfolk All,

It is a sobering thought that within the last 5 years the main English-speaking nations - the UK, the US, and Australia - have all had utter narcissists as their paramount leaders. Morrison, Johnson and Morrison, in saner days, might all very well have been "committed", and all are suspected (Hell, let's be honest, guilty) of conduct sufficient to make them ineligible to hold office at all. Three crazies, all at the same time! None has the excuse of Covid having queered the political process to their detriment: all were in office before the pandemic struck. But that event underlines the great danger of having irrational people as leaders. All of them made a pig's breakfast of handling the problems Covid has presented. And of international relations. And everything they could. 

Hopefully since the the sobering process has progressed far enough, and people are now shrewd enough, not to let such populist idiocy hold sway ever again (until next time!) But Oh the hangover! Australia had a brilliant future in 2013, until with the connivance always of Murdoch, the LNP was able to convince enough people that *J*U*L*I*A* had too big a bum to be PM. And we got a rabid religiomane in Abbott, followed by a do-nothing milksop in thrall to the rabid Right of his own Party, followed by the worst of all, the delusional moron Morrison. So we have an economy nearly devoid of manufacturing, a ravaged landscape with rife extinctions and Ohhh i could go on but it's so sad .. 

But at least we have a sensible and clever Government in Canberra now, with mostly Labor State Governments too, so we'll just have to try to make up for lost time. And resist, and defy, and vanquish the crazy Right that is the legacy of Trumpism.


I have two politicians and add 17 clowns and 14 chimpanzees; how many clowns are there?