Farewell 2015 — you could have been worse


It is common at this time of the year to reflect on what was, what could have been and how it all manages to fit into the ‘scheme of things’. This article is the 50th piece posted to The Political Sword in 2015 — and, if we didn’t have enough to do, late in January we changed the look and feel of our website as well as commencing a second site TPS Extra, where the concept is for shorter ad-hoc articles on issues of the day. Given that each Political Sword article runs for somewhere between 1500 and 2500 words, somewhere around 100,000 words have been written, coded and presented for you to think about. At the time of writing 45 articles have appeared on the Extra site — of varying lengths to address a current issue.

At the end of 2014, we started our annual reflection with the following:
It was a year in which we saw Abbott and his cronies trying to destroy the country and make us a paradise for the neo-liberals, the neo-cons and the economists that support them — and, of course, big business. We saw the worst budget in living memory and have, so far, only been saved from its full ramifications by the senate. We saw Clive Palmer appear with Al Gore to talk about the importance of climate change but, at the same time, cave in to support the repeal of the carbon price. We have seen Abbott, more through luck than design, deflect the budget issue and ‘bask’ in the glory of the world stage, taking on the Russian bear and alienating our closest Asian neighbour. He has ‘stopped the boats’ but also stopped government transparency in the process. He is undertaking more privatisation of government services and encouraging the states to do the same. Without openly saying so, he is pursuing a neo-liberal and economic rationalist agenda backed to the hilt by the IPA (and, as others have noted, he is, to a significant extent, following its ‘hit list’).
The criticism of Abbott started early this year on The Political Sword. By the time January was over we had looked back at 2012 where our esteemed blog master Ad Astra had correctly deduced Abbott’s character; and Ken offered to refund his assisted passage to Australia
He arrived here as a £10 pom and I will willingly refund his £10 (or $20 in real Australian money) if he takes the next boat home — perhaps we can spare him an orange life boat for the journey.
— as well as looking at his negativity, questioning if it was the right ‘sales pitch’ for someone who was supposed to be demonstrating that his government was a safe pair of hands.

During February, Abbott faced a leadership spill (as no one actually challenged him). The reality is that close to 40% of the members of his political caucus effectively ticked the ‘anyone but Abbott’ box by voting for a spill. Ken soon after assembled a catalogue of (lets be nice here — it is Christmas) exaggerations over the deficit that Abbott and Hockey claim they inherited from the Rudd/Gillard years, followed by 2353 looking at tax reform here and here.

During March, Ken looked at the reality of the ‘Presidential style’ of Australian leadership and suggested the ‘people voted for me’ claim that Abbott (as well as Rudd a few years earlier) was making was in fact bollocks. Jan Mahyuddin pondered why a number of political reporters were then publicly discussing Abbott’s character flaws, rather than before the election when the Australian people could have done something about it.

During March, the government released the fourth Intergenerational Report — which is a document that is supposed to look a few decades into the future, scan the risks and determine what plans we as a society need to have in place now to manage the transition. The Hockey intergenerational report was a complete farce, which you may remember Dr Karl Kruszelnicki later publically suggested he should have read prior to agreeing to advertise the document.

As the year went on we looked at the second Abbott/Hockey budget and determined that while it was somewhat softer than the 2014 version, the ideology behind it was the same. 2353 looked at the discussion on marriage equity in June, discussing the manoeuvres that Abbott was making to defer the process: followed a week later by Ken discussing the reality behind the ‘national security/terrorism’ concerns that Abbott frequently identified as his prime concern and found that Abbott was the one behaving like a terrorist by deliberately generating fear.

During August, we discussed the ‘concept’ of an increase in the GST rate, as floated by Mike Baird (NSW Premier) at the COAG Meeting, while suggesting that ‘we told you so’ (again) back in April when we published ‘Beware, there is a plan’. The government’s lack of ‘love’ for effective action to address climate change or progressive taxation (where everyone pays a fair percentage of their income) rounded out the month.

A traditional operating method for conservative governments is to hide their actions behind a cloak of secrecy or layer the whole process in quantities of red tape. Early in September, 2353 asked why is this so and determined that it was something to do with the conservative mindset. We also looked at how various governments had failed Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Australians and how Abbott was never going to rectify the damage; as well as the increasing trend for people such as Abbott (a Catholic) to reduce the distance between state and religion, solely to push their own agendas. September was also the month that Abbott was defeated in a leadership challenge. Given that Menzies was overthrown in a leadership challenge in 1941 and Gorton voted himself out of office in the early 1970’s, you would think that there would be considerable ‘corporate experience’ in the Liberal Party for how the vanquished should act and behave. After giving Abbott around a month to demonstrate he meant the ‘right things’ he said; and finding he didn’t, The Political Sword discussed (here, here as well as here) the problems newly minted Prime Minister Turnbull would have in stamping his authority on the position while appeasing the ultra-conservatives who were being attracted to the lightning rod of Abbott, then sitting on the back bench. Turnbull is still attempting to find a path through the forest of competing claims and ideologies.

A lot can change in twelve months. Abbott’s removal as prime minister in late 2015 was bookended by Queenslanders taking back ultra-conservative Premier Newman’s large majority in January and Canadians removing ultra-conservative Stephen Harper from their prime ministership in October. The replacement leader in Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk, and in Canada, Justin Trudeau, were both considered to be write-offs only months prior to the election results and both seem to have chosen methods miles apart from the ‘traditional’ loud, nasty politics to gain and retain leadership. While the Conservative’s David Cameron was re-elected in the UK election, subsequently the UK Labour Party (in a democratic process) chose a new leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who is (in the words of Yes Minister) ‘courageous’ and has stated he wants to take the UK Labour Party back to the days of a kinder and gentler society.

Palaszczuk, Turnbull, Corbyn and Trudeau seem to demonstrate a need for a ‘kinder and gentler’ politics and as a result there is certainly less intensity in the political discussion. Maybe we all do get sick of ‘he said/she said’ and those with the loudest or most outrageous voices winning. As a US General Election and an Australian Federal Election are both due in 2016, it could be interesting to see how the ‘kinder and gentler’ pans out.

Life does not revolve completely around politics and during the year The Political Sword took a look at some issues that at times begged the question why won’t our politicians do this as well and at other times had little to do with current politics at all.

2353 went ethical early in February (a recurring affliction for which we are assured he is getting help), looking at some of the research into why people treat those with differences as physical and intellectual inferiors. In March, he was questioning if social media influences politics and by April was discussing the fallacy of the ‘trickle-down effect’ as popularised by US President Reagan, British Prime Minister Thatcher and of course Australian Prime Minister Abbott.

Ken discussed the change in perception within Australia from helping those less fortunate to economic rationalism, asked if the budget papers are just a waste of paper and tried to justify claiming the term ‘budget trickery’ from Bill Shorten after the federal budget.

Around the same time as the Australian Budget was handed down (giving little to those that need a hand), 2353 looked at the experience in Utah where a Republican (conservative) governor authorised a long term plan to help banish poverty from his state; including literally giving the homeless a home. The social benefits have been overwhelming, as those who have a fixed address find it is easier to interact with government departments, employers and other aid groups, they feel part of a community and sooner or later, most of them are (to use Joe Hockey’s misadvised words) lifters, not leaners on society.

2353’s ethical meme surfaced again when he discussed why our immigration policies over the past couple of centuries seemed to reflect our prosperity as a nation as well as discussing the ethics of profit over human suffering, and why successive Australian governments have supported the apparent inhumanity experienced by those who are transported to Christmas Island, Manus Island and Nauru.

At the same time, Ken gave us a few valuable history lessons with his mini- series on the Westminster System (Part 1 and Part 2), health funding (Part 1 and Part 2), neo-liberalism and discussing the politics of water availability in Australia.

So 2015 really wasn’t that bad. This time last year we were hoping that Abbott didn’t ‘destroy the joint’ before he was evicted kicking and screaming from Kirribilli House; some other ultra-conservatives have been voted out; and we now have some optimism that kinder and gentler politics is possible across the world with a recognition that the environment and society is important.

In the spirit of optimism that seems to have broken out across the UK, Canada and Australia, please enjoy this (non-festive season) music clip as a final comment on 2015



What do you think?
Our publication schedule over the break is an article scheduled for New Year's Day and potentially one in mid-January. The site will remain open and moderated throughout the period. Apart from that, the people behind The Political Sword hope you enjoy your ‘Christmas break’ in the way in which you feel comfortable. Have a safe and happy holiday period, look after yourself, your families and those around you.


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Ad astra

13/12/2015TPS Team Thank you for the magnificent summing up of the material posted every week during 2015. It highlights how valuable the contributions to [i]The Political Sword[/i] have been, right throughout the year. [i]TPS[/i] has become a vast collection of intellectually stimulating material of high quality that serves as a resource for those interested in information-rich, well-reasoned political debate. The standard of political debate in this nation is poor. Too often it is self-serving, partisan and adversarial, and thereby distorted, unbalanced and often simply mendacious. The standard of media commentary is mediocre. Too often it reflects a partisan position. Although there are still a few even-handed commentators, they are outnumbered by those with a partisan barrow to push. Because of the paucity of well-written opinion pieces in the mainstream media, it has fallen to blog sites to fill the authority gap. [i]The Political Sword[/i] offers comment that is authoritative, objective, well-documented, fact-rich and well-reasoned. This year we have seen a set of outstanding contributions to the main site of [i]The Political Sword[/i]. Apart from a piece by Jan Mahyuddin @j4gypsy, all others have been penned by Ken Wolff and 2353. All of you write in a stylish, informative, and persuasive way. You have enriched our knowledge and our understanding of politics, the political process, and the players themselves. We have learned a lot. You have enabled us to think about political issues more rationally. Thank you so much. Bacchus, you have meticulously coded every piece that has appeared each week on [i]TPS[/i]. Coding is a tedious process that demands attention to detail. HTML is unforgiving; if the coding is wrong, it simply doesn’t work. The inclusion of images, videos and special effects requires particular expertise and painstaking care. Thanks to your competence in this complex coding, you bring us these fine enhancements. Thank you for your consistent contribution to [i]TPS[/i] throughout the year. At the backend is Web Monkey, who understands the thousands of lines of hard coding that make [i]TPS[/i] work. Keeping the site going smoothly week after week as it sits on a server in Singapore requires not just knowledge, but the skill to rapidly unravel any blips that occur. It is to your great credit that so few problems have arisen. Your redesign of the site has made it not just more attractive, but easier to use. Thank you clever Monkey for keeping [i]TPS[/i] alive and well all year. There are some others who help in the background. Casablanca took over when Lyn retired and has kept us supplied with items in Casablanca’s Cache. It is a time consuming task assembling items from other blogs and the media, but it saves those who read the Cache from having themselves to search. Thank you Casablanca for another year of great support for [i]TPS[/i]. Our tweeters too render a fine service to [i]TPS[/i] by spreading the news of a new post to their many followers. Our dear Lyn, who provided us for so long with Lyn’s Links (which are still available for reference), has many, many followers at lynlinking, as does Bacchus and his ‘Whispers’ Cellar’, Jan Mahyuddin, Geoffery Payne, and several others. Our thanks go to all our tweeters who via their tweets attract attention to [i]TPS[/i]. We hope to expand our tweet base in 2016. Finally, we thank our regular visitors who comment. We hope that the number of commenters will increase in 2016. Other than the authors who write for [i]TPS[/i], there are too many other commenters to mention them all, but one loyal regular warrants a special thank you, namely our beloved Talk Turkey. May you continue to talk turkey to us long into the future! We will now take a short break until January before resuming in 2016. We trust the politicians will also take a rest, and give us a break from their partisan utterances, which so often evoke a vigorous response from our writers and commenters. We all need a breather after what has been a tempestuous year. May next year, with refreshing new leadership, bring with it some sensible political debate directed not to self-interest, but to the common good. Hope springs eternal! As we approach the Festive Season, we at [i]The Political Sword[/i] wish all who visit here a safe, relaxing and contented time with family and friends over the end-of-year break. We look forward to your return to [i]TPS[/i] in 2016.

Ken

15/12/2015Ad Thank you. We try. :-) 2353 and I often address broader issues and not just the passing issue of the day which we hope adds to the debate and understanding of the debate. I would also like to add my praise to Bacchus and Web Monkey. With my knowledge of computers, my writing would sit unseen on my computer without them. They are the ones who make this work on-line. I also thank all our readers and commenters throughout the year. Next year will no doubt be a little different as we head towards an election and I hope we will be able to reflect that.

Bacchus

17/12/2015Ad - thanks for your very kind words. It is a privilege to work with the very talented authors here - yourself, mainly on the [i]TPS Extra[/i] site, Ken and 2353. For me, special thanks should go to Ken - [i]The Political Sword[/i] would screech to a grinding halt without his untiring work as Production Manager, editor and author. A special highlight of the year was meeting you and your lovely wife and 2353 for lunch while you were heading back from your trip to northern parts - it is always good to meet people face to face whom you frequently interact with in the 'virtual' world, but especially when those people are as amazing as you three. I hope I may get the chance to meet up with Ken as well one day soon. The ending of this comment has an ulterior motive relating to a post Ken has in the pipeline for early next year ;) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN4Uu0OlmTg

Ken

17/12/2015Bacchus I take it that means I can expect a comment from you when that piece appears.:-)

Ad astra

17/12/2015Bacchus Thank you for your kind comments. It was indeed a memorable meeting we had with you and 2353 in Brisbane. It was such a pleasure to meet in person with two [i]TPS[/i] stalwarts who have contributed so much to our blog site. Like you, we would enjoy meeting with Ken, who, as you point out, has not only authored many fine pieces, but has also contributed splendidly as our Production Manager throughout the year. We have a small team, but it is highly talented and productive. Your John Lennon YouTube: [i]Merry Christmas[/i], is poignant. And the awfulness of war still afflicts us as another Christmas approaches. It's still a sad world for so many. Ken's contribution scheduled for next year is another masterpiece, which readers can savour over the summer break.

Ken

18/12/2015I don't know who else has had a look at the ATO's tax figures for big companies in Australia but it raises some interesting questions. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-17/tax-transparency-report/7036708 While I understand that companies are allowed to claim various deductions and write-offs, it seems strange that some manage to reduce massive income to no or very little taxable income: BNP Paribas, $2.4 billion in income but no taxable income. But what I can't understand is that there seems to be variations in taxation on what is taxable. Even though the final column is tax as a percentage of total income, if you look at the 'taxable income' and 'tax paid' columns there appears no corelation between the two. Why can't they all be made to pay15-20% on their taxable income, or do away with their deductions and make them all pay, say, 5% on total earnings (I would have to do some math to work out a correct level if it was charged on total income) but at least a system where they cannot escape making a fair contribution to the country that is allowing them to make these sums.

Bacchus

18/12/2015Ken You may find this interactive version of the dataset more useful to analyse - you can sort on any column: https://interactive.guim.co.uk/tools/tables/embed/index.html?spreadsheet=1xAkF4dUbjjq4ik2NRRFM46Y--PwDBr5l5usCnvJT_x8 And the background from the ATO: https://www.ato.gov.au/Business/Large-business/In-detail/Tax-transparency/Corporate-tax-transparency---further-contextual-background/ Both links courtesy of the Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/datablog/ng-interactive/2015/dec/17/tax-transparency-search-the-full-list-of-1539-companies?CMP=share_btn_tw

Ken

18/12/2015thanks Bacchus It just confirms that the tax system is too complicated. And the ATO does point out that various off-shore activities are one of the biggest threats.

2353

19/12/2015I'm a bit late to this but I would also happily give a vote of thanks to my fellow conspirators. Regardless of what we do to ensure TPS keeps going, if any of us were missing, the whole thing would suffer. I've used Canadian airline Westjet's Christmas Video before to demonstrate that profit can exist with a sense of purpose to make the world a slightly better place. This year's version is here ->https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ME9PmSZedB4 . May their aspirations become a little more widespread in 2016.

TalkTurkey

20/12/2015Greetings to the TPS Team, and Thanks to all Comrades who have kept the Sword's edge through these very trying times. Yes well I suppose it could have been worse, but I reckon it was worse enough as it was. Getting rid of Abbort was the worst thing that happened for the Left. The exemplar of "Beware what you wish for - You just might get it." [ Man hitting himself on head with a rolling pin - (?Why?) - "Bcos it feels so good when I stop!"] Australians are now in a post-Abbort-induced endorphin daze, just getting rid of him seems like Mission Accomplished to many who were so scathing of his performance. But Turdball has undone NOTHING that Abbort has done, on the contrary he is extending LNP's dismantling and privatising, while defending the unaccountability of the many huge companies who pay little or no tax. Turdball himself has his great wealth cached offshore - yet he is defended to the hilt in this by the Media, and the People seem quite OK with that. Far from castigating him for this definitively unAustralian hypocrisy, the alleged public reaction has been Meh for him, and Spoilsport! to Labor for calling him on it. Can you imagine the response had *J*U*L*I*A* had the odd few grand stashed on the Caymans? And this extreme double standard is everywhere we look: instance Dyson Hayden of the TURC exonerating himself of his egregious bias while criticising Bill Shorten for giving answers that were too explicit and detailed. Poor Craig Thomson has been persecuted to distraction for really bugger-all offence, while the crooked Sinodinos is now a Minister. Oh so many instances that it's depressing even to think about them. I really don't know what can be done with a placidly brainwashed community like Australia's. Jesus said it so well long ago: people who strain at a gnat, yet swallow a camel. Ad astra You have been my Sage ever since I first found The Political Sword over 5 years ago. Due to your influence the people who come here to contribute have always been at the very leading edge of opinion in Wide Brown Land. I wish you could be our President. I wish you were head of the ABC. I wish you could replace Rupert Murdoch and bring down his evil empire. You deserve a better Australia than this, I feel so sorry for indigenous people and people with disability and poor people and I feel sorry for native wildlife and the environment and those who come across the seas in the proverbial leaky boats and sorry about many other things but I really feel a special kind of Sorry for you personally, because you have always tried so very hard, so very wisely to avert the very situation we have now. Australia is really a pariah state now and I feel a strong sense of personal responsibility for that - perverse I know, but even more poignant than fair-minded people's eternal Sorry to indigenous people for things that were done before our time. Because the things I am talking about are happening before our eyes. I blame much of society's ills on Religion. It seems to me it curdles everything it touches. The idiot Catholic zealot Abbort has entrenched his form of extremism which has never been so dominant in politics as it is now; with such an illogical basic belief system as Godism, how could religious people be anything else than illogical throughout? *J*U*L*I*A* is atheist: that freed her to be completely logical. Religion. Ad I regret to say though, I did far prefer the original format of TPS - I found it friendlier and easier to use, (I've never learned to use emphasis here) - Though I have lost very few if any intended posts with this program, as I lost quite a few before. And Ad I'd much rather you wrote on the main site. It was yur wisdom that brought people here in the first place, and I think that few follow you to Extra. Such a waste. Well It's the last Sunday morning before Christmas, I wish all readers exactly as much happiness as I wish you at any other time! Thanks to the mainstays here, 2353 and Ken, and you Ad yourself, for your research and considerations and your humanity, all of which shine like that Light on the Hill we all wish to flare brighter that ever before in the new year. I wish the political discourse in the MSM was of the standard it has always been, but the only thing to do is to fight on. Standing firm to one's own principles against all adversity. VENCEREMOS! PS My far better half J * * * * wants to wish you all well too.

Ad astra

23/12/2015Talk Turkey Thank you for your comment and your very kind words. You are right – Labor has lost a valuable asset with Abbott’s removal from prime ministership. But could this nation have suffered much more of his destructive political behaviour should he have continued? Australia is the better for his going. Although he lingers on and will continue to demonstrate to the voters just how bad he was, how bad the Liberal party was to allow him to continue for so long, and how bad are his Liberal colleagues still in supporting him and longing for his return. There is still bad-Abbott mileage for Labor. My hope is that by 2016, Turnbull will have consolidated himself sufficiently in his Party to allow him to institute the more progressive policies we know he endorses. I suspect he is biding his time, hoping his Liberal opponents will fade into the background. I share you apprehension about contemporary politics the world over, no less in our own country. I agree with you about religion. It was organized religion that first tried to eliminate Christianity. We see every day the shortcomings of organized religion and the stupefying influence it has on its unthinking followers. Entrenched beliefs, which are not amenable to evidence or logic, still influence so many, politicians among them. Regarding the vehicle for my contributions, I hear your plea for me to contribute via the main site. Over the end-of-year break we are planning to re-assess how we manage and publicize the contributions to [i]The Political Sword[/i] and [i]TPS Extra[/i]. There may be ways of increasing traffic and publicising more effectively all the contributions. Anyway, 2016 provides us all at [i]The Political Sword[/i] many opportunities to critique conservative and progressive policies, and to underscore the humanity of the latter, and the so-often-heartless approach of the former, always remembering your now famous VENCEREMOS! May you and ‘J’ have a joyous Christmas, and come back refreshed for 2016.

Ken

24/12/2015Some politics for Christmas. I see Morrison is considering giving the states a share of income tax. That is not only a revenue measure but a political measure. If the states are given more money, there is little doubt the commonwealth government would reduce its involvement in health and education funding to make up for the shortfall in commonwealth revenue. It would of course still be funding the PBS and Medicare in the health sector, and universities in the education sector, but schools and hospitals would become soley (or next to it) a state responsibility. That would suit the Liberals as it would remove two of Labor's strengths in federal elections -- voters have always rated Labor ahead of the Libs on health and education but if they are no longer federal issues (or such a minor part) then who benefits. Think about it!

TalkTurkey

25/12/2015Salutations of the Season Comrades Today is Christmas Day & I'm with J * * * * in a "five-star' hotel in Brisbane. We took a mystery trip and this is where it got us. It feels a lot like Keats the poet said: There was a naughty boy, And a naughty boy was he, He ran away to Scotland The people for to see- There he found That the ground Was as hard, That a yard Was as long, That a song Was as merry, That a cherry Was as red- That lead Was as weighty That fourscore Was as eighty, That a door Was as wooden As in England- So he stood in his shoes And he wondered, He wondered, He stood in his shoes And he wondered. I haven't seen Brissie in 52 years, it's hardly changed at all. Har Har. Skyscrapers everywhere, overmatch for Sydney. Amazing to an Adelaideian. But that wasn't what I started to say 2 days ago.(In Adelaide) and LOST the bloody post again, again when nearly finished. Anyway here's the gist. THREE days ago I was telling Jason per telephone of this mystery trip J * * * * & I were taking. He said, What about if you have another turn like you did Christmas before? M: ?? Turn? What turn? J: You were sick in hospital on Xmas Day a year or so ago! Me? Duh? J: I CAME AND VISITED YOU! Me: Wha'? J. You had a catheter! Me: That was 4 or 5 years ago when I had a prostate operation! And it wasn't Xmas-time ... J: No, this was only a year or so ago... It was at Calvary Hospital Dimly, memories started to trickle back to me. OMIDOG I had completely forgotten it !!! Then I remembered writing about it on The Political Sword! Dam, there it is! 26/12/13 at 9.02.11 AM I wrote on TPS : AAAARRRRRGGGHHHHH! I hope you-all had a happy Crispmess, Because I have had/am having the worst by far. I'm in hospital again, with a catheter again, and APPALLING pain this time. The original TURP (trans-urethral resection of the prostate) worked fine, after a terrible time for three weeks as a result of the inadvertent rupture of my bladder - which condemned me to a catheter all that time, and it was very sore, but when it was done at last I could pee for yards. That's been so for the last year and a half. But something happened on Crispmess Eve and suddenly I was passing a few millilitres and it felt like peeing razor wire. Terrible gut pain and a bad headache too. So here I am back in CALVARY (Catholic) Hospital, and God is getting His own back on me for things I've said about religion! All night long (and still) my urethra is spasming and it's bloody killing me! A thousand bloody spasms, I mean it. I have no idea what is wrong, hopefully find out when they do a scan of my innards this AM. You never miss the water until you can't pee. I'll keep you posted if I don't jump out the window first. AAAARRRRRGGGHHHHH! I hope you-all had a happy Crispmess, Because I have had/am having the worst by far. I'm in hospital again, with a catheter again, and APPALLING pain this time. The original TURP (trans-urethral resection of the prostate) worked fine, after a terrible time for three weeks as a result of the inadvertent rupture of my bladder - which condemned me to a catheter all that time, and it was very sore, but when it was done at last I could pee for yards. That's been so for the last year and a half. But something happened on Crispmess Eve and suddenly I was passing a few millilitres and it felt like peeing razor wire. Terrible gut pain and a bad headache too. So here I am back in CALVARY (Catholic) Hospital, and God is getting His own back on me for things I've said about religion! All night long (and still) my urethra is spasming and it's bloody killing me! A thousand bloody spasms, I mean it. I have no idea what is wrong, hopefully find out when they do a scan of my innards this AM. You never miss the water until you can't pee. I'll keep you posted if I don't jump out the window first. If I hadn't written about it I wouldn't even have remembered what I was there for! So much for my memory. But I asked J * * * * , "Do you remember where we were at Xmas 2 years ago?" Blank. I said, Well you were home and I was somewhere else ...? She needed a couple more hints but then she remembered too. "Oh ...Hospital!" Cripes. Anyway the kicker was, so many people posted sympathy ... Ken Catching Up PatriciaWA Khtagh Jaycee Gypsy Janet 2353 CuriOz It couldn't happen now. I blame the Government. But Comrades, look back into TPS archives every now and again. Pick a time, any time, and you'll remember things you wouldn't. Even with better memories than mine. I take a lot of 3D photos with my Fujifilm W3 3D camera. And that helps a lot too. Love peace and happiness to all. As at any other time. Oh well, wotthehell. Merry Christmas! More importantly: VENCEREMOS! :

Ken

25/12/2015Greetings TT Merry christmas to you and J. The mystery trip sounds fun and especially so if you haven't seen Brisbane for so long. I lived in Brisbane for a couple of years in the 1970s but then didn't get back for over thirty years and it had changed so much -- some things for the better, like the paths along the river and the pedestrian malls. But yes it had grown like all cities. Enjoy the day and the festive season and I look forward to your battle cry in 2016 as we head towards an election.

Ad astra

26/12/2015TT As we about to return to the south coast, I'll read your comment tomorrow. Have a pleasant holiday.

2353

26/12/2015TT, Brisvegas really isn't the big country town any more is it. I hope you enjoyed the trip. I'm also happy to read that you didn't have to darken the door of one of the hospitals up here (not that there is anything wrong with them - but only sick people go there). I hope you, J***** and all that are near and dear to you have a wonderful 2016, regardless of the future of the Turnbull Government.

Ad astra

27/12/2015TT Isn't it salutary that the awful episode you recount has been erased from your memory so thoroughly. Could we survive if all life's unpleasant experiences were retained vividly in our consciousness day after day? Politically, our fading recollections of bad times save us from reliving past traumas. I wonder how long it will take for the awful memory of Tony Abbott throughout his era at the top to fade from the electorate's consciousness. The longer he lingers, the longer it will take.

2353

29/12/2015Turnbull is filling his wheelie bin. Jamie Briggs and Mal Brough are both gonski - as well as the education funding http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/minister-mal-brough-resigns-over-peter-slipper-police-inquiry-20151229-glw90i.html http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/queensland-forgotten-in-gonski-funding-cuts--labor-20151229-glwbzg.html It amused me yesterday driving along the Sunshine Motorway (in Brough's electorate) and seeing a "Seasons Greetings from Mal Brough' billboard - located in a scrapyard.

Ken

29/12/20152353 And all announced at a time when most people will be taking no notice. At least, that seems the intention.

Bacchus

30/12/2015"Seasons Greetings from Mal Brough' billboard - located in a scrapyard. That got a genuine LOL from me 2353!

2353

30/12/2015Its a pity I was driving Bacchus - it would be a great photo with I suspect a lot of ways to use it in the not too distant future.

Ken

30/12/2015Turnbull proves he is just Abbott with (usually) a more pleasant smile with his reaction to the RC report into unions. I found it surprising that the report is still referring John Lomax of the CFMEU here in Canberra for further investigation. As a result of the RC's earlier work Lomax was earlier charged with blackmail and the charge totally failed and the government was ordered to pay costs (ie the taxpayers). One thing I did notice during Turnbull's press conference talking about this and answering questions about Brough and Briggs -- he wasn't smiling. Is the pressure already getting to him? Particularly when Abetz comes out publicly to suggest that Abbott should have a Cabinet position. It's not getting any easier for Turnbull.

TalkTurkey

31/12/2015Comrades, Last Post for 2015. LNP might think they're on a winner with attacking Unions. I think it's a loser for them. It will galvanize Unions & the Labor Party, and polls are already showing that the People don't buy Dyson Heydon's vapid propaganda. The double standard of the MSM remains the real enemy. That is why the 5th Estate is absolutely vital to Labor/Left strategy. Turdball's turdiness is showing through his gilding, he's not looking comfy at all and his threat to bring on a Double Dissolution is as hollow as the man himself. It would bring about utter unpredictability and uncontrollability in the Senate and engender legion lasting problems. But if Turdy does decide to DD, without having produced a budget, basing his strategy on Union-bashing, the threat of 15% GST, destroying Gonski and all manner of social services, him with his vast wealth in the Caymans, then let him do his worst, WE WILL PREVAIL in 2016. Best wishes to All. VENCEREMOS!
How many umbrellas are there if I start with two and take 2 away?