Andrew James Whalan

Poet Blogger Writer

Tag: United States

 

 

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Sexism and Feminism

I mean all I did was just repeat to the missus what was said on the radio.

Yep one of those shock jocks was sayin’ that women is destroying the joint.

Too right I thought!

Got home and the missus wasn’t going to be much fun I think. So I had a go at her. Just told her she was destroying the joint.

She said, “Don’t be bloody stupid. I look after the kids, keep down a job and make sure the bills are paid.”

“And what do you do?”

“I’m a feminist,” I said.

Racism : The Double Standard

Strewth! Stone the flaming crows!

English: No racism Lietuvių: Ne rasizmui

It’s bloody hard to be a racist in this country or what?

I mean just the other day I was listening to the radio. And one of those shock jocks and his politician mate was sayin’ stuff about those illegals that come here by boat ‘cos they want to take all our benefits.

And just then I got on the train. And I saw one and his family. Just knew it was them. Don’t care whether they have wet feet off the boat or got off the plane with dry feet. I gave ’em all what for. Mate you should’ve seen me!

Told ‘em how my granddad fought to keep youse people out of this country. And I then I really gave him what for. Just the same as what I heard on the radio.

And now I’m on that new fangled thingo called YouTube. Somebody must’ve filmed me on one of them smart phones. Didn’t have that sorta thing when I came here by boat. Nope.

And yesterday my boss called me in. Been carpeted for my racist rant. Hell I was just sayin’ what was being said wasn’t I? I mean we all think it, don’t we?

And now it looks like it might be up for that racial vilification thingy. The cops called me next. Didn’t even think such a thing could exist? I got my free speech haven’t I?

And now people are writing stuff about how we’re racists and how we should be nice to the immigrants. I mean they’re all the same to me. Don’t care whether they’re off the boat or on the tram. That’s what the shock jocks and pollies are tellin’ me.

Jeez its getting harder to be a racist in this country!

The LNP Know Nothings : Criticism Without A Solution

If you examine politics sooner or later one finds some trends that repeat themselves.

English: Flag of the Know Nothing or American ...

English: Flag of the Know Nothing or American party, c1850 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of these is the LNP’s approach to politics.

It is almost completely negative and oppositional.

But it is not the first time that this approach has been tried and failed. Let me take you back in time.

When One Nation first appeared on the Australian political landscape in the late 90s, Bob Carr wrote an article comparing them to the failed conservative American Party of the nineteenth century.

The American Party members were known as the Know Nothings! And Carr drew the same comparison with One Nation.

Both One Nation and the American Party failed politically as they were completely negative and made promises that they failed to deliver.

That comparison now even more accurately describes the LNP’s approach to politics.

Every question asked is steered back to the current negative talking point. And any promises made, for example, stop the boats, more jobs, etc, etc aren’t explained in detail if at all.

What detail given is scarce. Examples of this abound, Greg Hunt‘s interview regarding Direct Action on Lateline, Scott Morrison‘s interviews regarding immigration, Joe Hockey‘s interviews regarding the economy, Tony Abbott‘s recent comments regarding the Gonski reforms and education funding, Tony Abbott’s comments regarding funding infrastructure, etc.

In truth it is boring know-nothing politics.

All in all, the LNP have failed the first rule of debating: first criticise, then provide a specific solution.

Until that changes, they are merely an opposition not an alternative government.

Terrorism in the Heart : Some Thoughts on the Boston Marathon Bombings

The aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings is showing both the best and worst of humanity.

I was amazed at the people who ran towards the bombing and began to help the victims regardless of danger to themselves.

I was touched by the people who reached out to others regardless of any differences.

I am deeply saddened by the loss of life, a child, a mother, a student and the injuries too terrible to visualise.

And yet some people saw it as an opportunity to focus on and magnify the differences between us.

There was a call for death to all Muslims. And an Australian commentator assumed the bombings were the work of left-wing extremists.

And we move on from this tragedy, as shock turns to anger and grief, it would be too easy to take this latter path.

And to take that path would be to deny and ignore the differences that bring us together.

 

 

 

Why I’m UnAustralian

Being unAustralian is an epithet often levelled at people who don’t tow the line or aren’t politically correct.

English: Orthographic map of Australia centere...

English: Orthographic map of Australia centered at 26.75° S, 133.25° E. Official territory. Claimed territories. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In that case I better explain myself.

  • I believe in that Australia is a welcoming country where people of all races, colours and creeds put aside their differences to live as harmoniously as they can. Despite the stories we hear, harmony happens more often than not.
  • I believe that Australia’s strengths lie in the diversity of its people. Only in Australia can a diverse company supply interpreters at short notice!
  • I believe that Australia should help people from other countries as well as our own including the Aboriginals. As an immigrant country it is obvious to support those who emigrate here however they got here as well as those who were here first.
  • I believe too that the fortunate should help the less fortunate. Australia has enough riches and resources (even now when we have a AAA+ Credit Rating) to assist the disabled, children with learning difficulties, etc, etc. We’ve done it in the past!
  • I believe too that we should manage our resources from a long-term view (and sustainably so). After all as colonists and original owners of the land we had to!

Apologies in advance to those who believe that being Australian means being:

  • monocultural.
  • racist.
  • discriminating by religion, race or sexual orientation.
  • favouring the rich over the poor.
  • depleting our resources in the short term unsustainably.
  • being uncharitable to the unfortunate, original land owners and immigrants.

Such things make a small country smaller!

What Does the Ultimately Downsized Government Do?

With the death of Margaret Thatcher, many people have been reflecting upon her legacy.

Since her time as Prime Minister of Great Britain, governments of all colours have rolled back their dominance through spending cuts, tax cuts, withdrawal of services, privatisation and/or deregulation.

As the GFC and its after effects continue, austerity is the new watch word. Countries like Greece, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, USA and France are struggling due to even more tax and spending cuts, privatisation, withdrawal of services, etc.

Even when governments change (See France ), the incoming administration struggles to replace what is lost. The loss of revenue and spending cuts create difficulties in replacing what has been lost. Even Australia despite its world class economy will face this problem if there is a change of government.

This trend to roll back government raises the following question:

What does the ultimately downsized government do?

  • Are they reverting to the nineteenth century role of administering defence, foreign affairs, law and trade?
  • Will downsized governments have no role in the areas of health, education and social security?
  • What then happens to the poor, homeless, sick, unemployed, old, disabled and unfortunate?
  • What about the attendant social dislocation?

What does the ultimately downsized government do?

 

The Introverted Tourist

Empty street, San Marino

Empty street, San Marino (Photo credit: adrian, acediscovery)

Halfway through listening about that last overseas trip I wanted to interrupt. For I had heard something new and quite different about travelling overseas.

When talking about meeting people in their own country I began to hear a quiet deference. Someone who wanted to tread lightly as an invited guest.

I’m no traveller. I’ve been to Singapore and New Zealand. I’ve never been out of my comfort zone. Until this conversation I had never even considered the idea of the introverted tourist.

I certainly don’t identify with the tourist that is the centre of attention. The loud one with the expectation that the whole country is waiting for their next request.

No what I heard was this. I am a curious guest. I am visiting your country. I do know something of course, but mostly there is much I don’t know. And I will learn more if I am respectful to all those I meet. That is what I received from my conversation with the introverted tourist.

Weapons of Mass Destruction : Sandy Hook Connecticut

Early weapons models, such as the "Fat Ma...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What happened in Sandy Hook, Connecticut is proof that guns are just another weapon of mass destruction.

What happened negates that tired old adage from the gun lobby “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

Which means it’s easy to blame the shooter.  Which is the standard operational response for tragedies like this. But these shootings still keep happening.

Guns kill. That’s what they are designed to do. How can anyone give succour and comfort to the victims by saying  “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”?

Like President Obama, I’m a parent too and simply see no point to this. And in a few weeks or months, what is the point that once the victims are buried that this is forgotten?

Should these children and teachers have died in vain?

Why should this happen again and again? This time no more.

Sign the petition and save lives. Time to ban weapons of mass destruction everywhere!

 

 

Climate Change Sceptics:

Bring on the climate change sceptics! It certainly makes the debate more colourful and exciting. It certainly sells more newspapers, ups TV ratings and increases web site eyeballs.

Certainly, the climate change sceptics language, phrases and even their countenance are often quite extraordinary. 

But perhaps they have gone too far.

While these incidents are extraordinary, it does not address the real question at hand. It distracts from it.

So here is my question (I call it the child’s question).

How’s the weather lately? Is it the same? Is it getting better?

Even the anecdotal evidence is there. Every time there is a severe weather event, people affected by it describe it as the worst ever. Ignore the statistical evidence, but anecdotally people notice!

But statistically, why are weather records are tumbling like the Climate Olympics?

It might be just me but I don’t hear any facts from the sceptics. Which leads me to my real point. In the climate change debate, these sceptics in fact fail the basic rules of debate. Good debaters criticise the opposition and then present facts to support their case.

These people don’t. Perhaps they should. Perhaps then we can have a real debate.

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