login bonus existing player no deposit bonus_login bonus app download exchange_login bonus free casino games download https://www.google.com//0a5 Sun, 27 Jan 2019 11:51:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.1 /0a5/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/cropped-TDC-thumbnail-32x32.jpg https://www.google.com//0a5 32 32 Is it me or is music shit? https://www.google.com//0a5/2019/01/27/is-it-me-or-is-music-shit/ Sun, 27 Jan 2019 11:51:38 +0000 /0a5/?p=6511 It’s day after Australia Day, so Australia’s taxpayer-funded hipster national radio station Triple J has run its Hottest 100 songs of the previous twelve months. They are voted by the …

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It’s day after Australia Day, so Australia’s taxpayer-funded hipster national radio station Triple J has run its Hottest 100 songs of the previous twelve months. They are voted by the sort of people who strongly support moving Australia Day to a different date (60 per cent in favour, versus 10 per cent of the general population), so needless to say you probably haven’t heard most/all of them, and let me tell you, you’re not missing out on much (with the possible exception of Amy Shark):

1. “Confidence”?每 Ocean Alley

2. “Losing It”?每 FISHER

3. “SICKO MODE”?每 Travis Scott

4. “This Is America”?每 Childish Gambino

5. “I Said Hi”?每 Amy Shark

6. “Be Alright”?每 Dean Lewis

7.?“Groceries”?每 Mallrat

8.?“When the party*s over”?每 Billie Eilish

9.?“Dinosaurs”?每 Ruby Fields

10.?“Knees”?每 Ocean Alley

Only three of the above songs have crossed over to the ARIA singles chart for 2018,? which actually still counts sales as opposed to the once great US BILLBOARD charts which increasingly includes streaming, since fewer people then ever actually want to pay for music. Remember when it was not unusual for an album to sell 10 million copies just in the States alone? Good times. Last year the top album in America was the soundtrack to “The Greatest Showman” with 1.3 million sales. Coincidentally, this has also been the case in Australia, with just over 200,000 copies sold.

Why is it all so dismal? Perhaps this is part of the answer:

Pop songs have become angrier and sadder over the past 60 years, experts say.

Researchers analysed lyrics in best-selling songs from the 1950s to 2016 to find expressions of anger and sadness had increased, while words about joy had dropped.

The US study team looked at lyrics of more than 6,000 songs from Billboard Hot 100 in each year.

Tones expressed in each song were analysed using ‘automatic quantitative sentiment’ which looked at each word or phrase in the song with a set of tones they express.

The combination of the tones expressed by all words and phrases of the lyrics determines the sentiment of that song.

A cautionary note, however: “Study co-author Lior Shamir, of Lawrence Technological University in Michigan, said: ‘The change in lyrics sentiments does not necessarily reflect what the musicians and songwriters wanted to express, but is more related to what music consumers wanted to listen to in each year.'” So perhaps it’s all our fault after all.

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Welcome to communist anime porn https://www.google.com//0a5/2019/01/26/welcome-communist-anime-porn/ Sat, 26 Jan 2019 04:45:14 +0000 /0a5/?p=6508 While we’re still waiting for a comic book about Lenin and Stalin as superheroes (the original Iron Man), the ChiComms produce some cartoon (in both senses of the word) history: …

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While we’re still waiting for a comic book about Lenin and Stalin as superheroes (the original Iron Man), the ChiComms produce some cartoon (in both senses of the word) history:

This is Karl Marx, but not as you know him: dashingly tall, with a pronounced jawline, suave brown curls and blue eyes, and speaking Chinese — a world away from the German philosopher’s typical image as an old man with a bushy white beard.

“The Leader,” a seven-episode anime documenting the life of the “Communist Manifesto” author, premiers January 28 on China’s largest video-streaming website, Bilibili.

It is the latest production to come out of the Propaganda Department of the Communist Youth League, in association with the party’s Central Office for the Research and Construction of Marxist Theory.

Set in 19th-century Europe, the series covers Marx’s life between 1818 and 1883, including the period in which he published some of his best-known works such as the “Communist Manifesto,” “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon” and the first volume of his masterwork, “Capital.”

The official trailer depicts Marx and his future wife, Jenny Von Westphalen, playing as children, while promotional images show a grey-haired, bearded but still dashing Marx standing next to an equally aged and handsome Friedrich Engels, his longtime collaborator and the man who did more than anyone to popularize Marx’s works after his death in 1883.

A whole array of spin-off products?has emerged?even before the first episode of “The Leader” has premiered, including a comic book, Marx and Engels emojis, and stage plays based on the anime.

Wu Yunqin, who edited the comic book, told the state-run Global Times it informs “young readers that Marx is not only a great thinker as they learned in textbooks, but also a diligent, romantic and rebellious teenager.”

Marx and Engels emoji. Jesus wept.

The last thing Marx ever was was a romantic, but then again this is a cartoon and not a textbook, so maybe it’s unfair to expect historical accuracy – not to mention to expect it from the propaganda arm of the Chinese Communist Party. The real life Karl Marx was not a dashingly tall and blue-eyed man-about-town but a perpetually angry and neurotic hirsute misfit with rather dark and exotic looks (his wife’s nickname for Marx was “the Moor”). I don’t imagine “The Leader” will accurately portray him as a self-loathing Jew and one of the first professional ideologues who spent his life sponging off his best mate, the happily capitalist communist Engels, and his long-suffering aristocratic wife, whom he ignored and cheated on with their maid, while chronically neglecting his children for the sake of the revolution that never came. The truth and the reality would probably spoil the cartoonish extravaganza.

Come to think of it, a young and handsome communist who marries a beautiful princess while living off the fruits of capitalism quite well describes where the Chinese Communist Party is at in the year 2019. No wonder they prefer promoting the teenage heartthrob and his rich sidekick than the far more austere and non-glamorous Mao. The rightists, all of them!

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26 January is the least worst past for Indigenous Australians https://www.google.com//0a5/2019/01/26/26-january-least-worst-past-indigenous-australians/ Fri, 25 Jan 2019 20:55:51 +0000 /0a5/?p=6506 There is no doubt that Stone Age hunter and gatherer societies, having ruled the roost for hundreds of thousands of years, have had a very lousy few centuries lately. Unfortunately, …

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There is no doubt that Stone Age hunter and gatherer societies, having ruled the roost for hundreds of thousands of years, have had a very lousy few centuries lately. Unfortunately, throughout the human history those less technologically advanced or less warlike have always suffered as a result of the contact with those more so. Imperialism, conquest, displacement, slavery, extermination are neither white nor recent things; they have been practiced by every race and every ethnicity in every corner of the globe. Europeans might have been the most recent and the most successful practitioners but they’re not the inventors. Just about everywhere around the globe, those colonised by the white imperialists have themselves been imperialists and colonisers prior to the first contact.

Just about… The hunters gatherers?have been the most prominent exception, since their societies have been too small and too scattered and isolated to create own empires like the Aztecs, the Incas, the Ashante, the Zulus, the Moghuls, the Chinese and countless others. Australian Aborigines, like the Plains Indians or the Amazonian tribes, have suffered nevertheless, dying in violence or much more often from the Indo-European diseases to which they had no immunity, displaced from their tribal lands and relegates to the lowest rung of the new colonial societies.

All that is a matter of historical record. But were there any alternative paths to the present?

The few isolated Amazonian or Papuan tribes that are still being discovered to this day in remote jungles are an exception and thus not an example; their size and remoteness made them invisible and untouched until now. That the North American or Australian peoples could have survived until this or even the previous century in splendid isolation, continuing their traditional way of life until they were safe in the post-colonial age of more enlightened attitudes is a historical impossibility. Their lands were too accessible, too potentially rich and therefore too tempting for the?exceedingly overcrowded?and exceedingly competitive Europeans.

If Australia was not successfully and comprehensively colonised by the British, it would have been eventually by someone else: the Spanish, the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French, the Belgians, the Germans. And if Europe for some reason did not take off in the late 15th century, one of the Asian neighbours would have reached these shores at some point in an alternative history of the past half a millennium – maybe the Chinese, maybe the Malays, maybe the Muslim Indonesians – and?claim the continent for their own tired, their poor, their?huddled masses yearning to breathe?free, the wretched refuse of Asia’s?teeming shore.

I don’t envy Indigenous Australians their fate nor do I seek to deny or minimise what has been done to them over the past two and a half centuries. I merely doubt that any other conceivable historical scenario would have resulted in a happier history. Quite the contrary; to paraphrase that old imperialist Winston Churchill, the British colonialism was the worst thing that could have happened to Australia’s Aborigines except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

The British imperialism might not have necessarily been less bloody or less destructive of native societies than its competitors, but its ultimate outcomes have unquestionably been better for all concerned – or at the very least less worse. Compare and contrast former British colonies with all the other former European colonies and there is a better chance you will find reasonably stable democracies rather than poor and dysfunctional states. The “settler societies” like Canada, Australia and New Zealand are the pinnacles of development, with good governments, solid constitutional arrangements, prosperous economies, and?respected rights and freedoms for the citizenry. Yes, in all these countries – as well as in the United States, which decolonised itself a lot earlier – the first peoples lag behind the rest of the population in most health, social and economic indices, hence the desperate need to “close the gap” (changing the date of Australia Day and other symbolic gestures will do absolutely nothing towards that end), but they are still overall better off than in other former colonial countries and have better prospects of and opportunities for advancement than anywhere else. Would you rather be an indigenous former hunter and gatherer in Brazil, Namibia or Burma – or in Australia? You might still consider 26 January to be the Invasion Day, but history being what it is, it makes a hell of a difference who you were invaded and colonised by. Just in case you doubt my white colonial privilege qualifies me in any way to judge, remember that in the past eighty years, Poland has been invaded and colonised by both the Nazi Germany and the Soviet Russia. The former wanted to enslave and exterminate the sub-human Slavs, the latter to enslave and assimilate the Poles. Poland survived the 45 years of communism; it would not have survived the 45 years of fascism.

The past can be shit – in fact, in all sorts of ways it has been shit for an overwhelming majority of people for an overwhelming majority of human history – but there is a vast gradation of shit. Life in Australia before 1788 was not a prelapsarian idyll either, as often imagined by noble savage romantics; it was, to borrow from Hobbes, nasty, brutish and short, but it was the Aborigines’ own. Still, good chances are that were [Insert an alternative name for Australia] Day be celebrated on [insert an alternative date] today, there would be no one left to rally against the Invasion Day. It might not sound like much but it is.

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Brexit? Brentry back into the world will be even harder https://www.google.com//0a5/2019/01/25/brexit-brentry-back-world-will-even-harder/ Fri, 25 Jan 2019 09:13:21 +0000 /0a5/?p=6503 Hillary Brit is The Daily Chrenk’s European correspondent. Brexit.? What a word.? Half noun, half verb.? The word inflicts grammatical torture on my ears every time I hear it.? But …

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Hillary Brit is The Daily Chrenk’s European correspondent.

Brexit.? What a word.? Half noun, half verb.? The word inflicts grammatical torture on my ears every time I hear it.? But the most fascinating effect of this word is how its mere mention can turn an otherwise sane and rational person into a foaming, frothing crazy person.

I find this effect fascinating.? Whether it is a Brexiteer screaming ※Treason!§ at the top of their lungs and warning of civil war if Brexit isn*t delivered in full, or a Remoaner whining that Granny will die due to a shortage of life-saving drugs; they are both as bad as each other.

As one of the newest citizens of the UK, I think Brexit is neither the end of the world, nor is it the starting gun for Pax Brittania 2.0.? I believe the story is somewhere in between these two extremes, and I would appreciate a little more balance from the partisans battling it out Parliament and on the airwaves.

First, to declare my interests.? I would have voted Brexit.? I could make many arguments, but they largely all come back to a single principle.? Decisions are best made by the most local competent entity.? Brussels represents the antithesis of this principle.

With that said, I am not a one-eyed supporter.? There are significant issues with Brexit, and we should face into them fully.

What issues am I talking about?? Lorry car parks?? Medicine shortages?? Food price escalation?? An immediate recession and loss of 8% of GDP?

No, nothing like that.? In each of those cases, saner voices have debunked these hysterical claims 每 for those willing to listen.? Without dealing with each in turn, these same types of claims were made about the Referendum.? Economic collapse, increased unemployment, an immediate drop in GDP.? None of them came true.? There is no reason to believe these same people are any going to be any more right this time than they were last.

But there are fundamentally bigger problems than the ※Project Fear§ claims which at worst, will be short term hiccups.

My concerns are deeper and best summarized by Peter Hitchens, writer for The Mail on Sunday, former socialist and now arch conservative 每 although no friend of the Tory Party.

Hitchens believes some of the muscles of the UK body politic have atrophied during its time in the EU.? That certain ordinary functions of independent nation states have been unused and rendered useless.? Regaining ※muscle tone§ will be a slow and painful process.? I agree.

I want to use one example to demonstrate Mr Hitchen*s point:? the extreme shortage of civil servants with the capability 每 let alone the experience 每 to negotiate trade deals.

I*ve played in that space in a peripheral way.? As an Australian State Government bureaucrat, I was regularly asked to review trade agreements with our Asian trading partners to ensure that State interests were adequately protected.

Trade agreements are complex.? They are behemoths of legal jargon, written in the context of international law, treaties and agreements.? They are hyperlinked and interconnected with various schedules, addendums, side bar agreements, WTO rules and legacy deals.

A sagacious person once claimed the beginning of wisdom is to grapple with exactly how much you really don*t know.? After over 15 years in public service, I don*t really know anywhere near as much about trade agreements as I feel I should.? And this is coming from a public/civil servant with over a decade of experience, with relevant training, working in a stable, well-functioning and established bureaucracy.

As at November 2018, the UK had 90# yes 90# civil servants who had taken the necessary ※expert training§ to negotiate trade agreements.? They have no experience.? They are operating in presumably new organisations, without the benefit of stable policies, rules, operating procedures, customs and norms.

In the Foreign Office*s own words:??※The UK has not had to operate on the frontline of trade policy and negotiations since it joined the EEC. The scale of the UK*s challenge in building trade capability from a very modest base is unparalleled amongst developed economies.§

※Building trade capability from a very modest base§?is public service code for ※We haven*t a f**king clue what we*re doing.§

I do wonder what this ※training§ constituted?? If my experience is anything to go by, they probably attended a half day workshop of PowerPoint slides prepared by a management consultant.? Maybe they played ※two truths, one lie§ as an ice breaker.? Maybe they got to take a workbook home.

They will face across the negotiation table with hardened, experienced trade negotiators with dozens of agreements under their belt and a wealth of experience.? Talk about sheep to the slaughter.

So when the likes of Nigel Farage, and Jacob Rees-Mogg claim the massive benefits that will almost immediately flow to the UK from free trade discussions and agreements with countries like the US, Mexico and even Australia# they are kidding themselves.

By way of example, the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement took a feasibility study, 21 negotiation rounds and 10 years to negotiate.? That is not to mention the thousands upon thousands of hours of consultation with other government agencies, heads of industry, labour unions, think tanks and so on.

More from the relevant Parliamentary report?※The FCO said it &aims to have trained at least 240 people to expert level by March 2019*, and that &90 have already been trained to this level.§

※We asked the head of the Diplomatic Academy, Jon Benjamin, what an &expert* meant in this context. He said it &means people who are ready to negotiate the immense detail that goes into free trade agreements*, and noted that they &will be dealing with counterpart officials in other countries who may have been doing this for many years, perhaps exclusively so.*§

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has an entire group dedicated to trade agreements run by a Deputy Secretary.? Four First Assistant Secretaries (FAS in Australian Public Service jargon) report to the Deputy Secretary responsible for Trade Agreements.? One FAS is solely responsible for trade negotiations.? They have 5 assistant secretaries, two special negotiators, probably around 30 Directors and 180 departmental officers reporting to them.? And that*s just to run the 7 ongoing trade negotiations Australia is currently involved in.

Then there is a separate office that solely deals with?existing?agreements.? Presumably this office has a similar number of trained staff.? Then there are the hundreds of public servants like myself spread throughout the state governments with an intermediate knowledge of trade and industry development.

That*s around 500 highly experienced, trained Australian Public Sector professionals, working for probably the most prestigious Australian government agency, plus an auxiliary of several hundred more spread through the country just to administer and negotiate trade deals for a country with an economy half the size of the UK.

The UK have 90 trade negotiators who have attended ※training§.? When Peter Hitchens talks about ※atrophy§, I am guessing this is exactly the sort of thing he is referring to.

The Brexiteers claim that they can piggy back off existing deals already negotiated by the EU.? But it just doesn*t work that way.? Trade deals are bespoke, highly customized agreements drafted to reflect the unique circumstances of the respective partners.? The UK outside of the EU and the Customs Union – presumably with different tariff schedules and with ambition to diverge in regulatory requirements – is not the EU.? Existing EU trade partners will at the very least want to review arrangements in light of the new UK context.? That could take years.

30 separate EU agreements requiring review before existing concessions might be restored to the UK following Brexit.? 30 agreements to be renegotiated, not to mention the handful of brand-new Free Trade Agreements the Brexiteers are claiming they want negotiated.

30 odd agreements to negotiate with 90 ※trained§ but inexperienced staff.

Australia has 7 negotiations ongoing, and 500 experienced staff supported by an army of auxiliaries.

The China-Australia FTA took 10 years.

The Brexiteers are kidding themselves, and they do themselves a disservice by pretending that this isn*t a significant problem requiring great effort, attention and urgency.

These are the sorts of real issues that ought to be being discussed calmly and with gravitas in Parliament, in public and most importantly in the civil service.? Not screaming about whether Granny will get her meds, or how traitorous the Speaker of the House of Commons is.

So I have a plea to both Remainers and Brexiteers.? Let*s stop with the hysterical response to Brexit please?? When did you all become a breathless set of shrieking harpies?? Can we all please just make a nice pot of tea, take a few deep breathes and remember we are all supposed to be British?

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Neuston, we have a problem https://www.google.com//0a5/2019/01/23/neuston-we-have-a-problem/ Wed, 23 Jan 2019 11:48:55 +0000 /0a5/?p=6498 How often do we see good intentions not translating into good results? A very interesting new example – as we attempt to clean up the oceans from plastic (good thing …

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How often do we see good intentions not translating into good results? A very interesting new example – as we attempt to clean up the oceans from plastic (good thing in anyone’s book), we are risking inadvertently destroying some little known ecosystems (bad):

Imagine you*re on a small boat in the middle of the open ocean, surrounded by what looks like a raft of plastic. Now flip the whole world upside down. You remain comfortably attached to your seat〞the abyss towers above you, and all around, stretching up from the water*s surface, is an electric-blue meadow of life. What you thought was plastic is actually a living island. This meadow is made up of a diverse collection of animals. The most abundant are blue buttons and by-the-wind sailors, with bright-blue bodies that dot the sky like suns, and deep-purple snails found in patches so dense one scientist?described?collecting more than 1,000 in 20 minutes.

This is the neuston, a whole ecosystem living at the ocean*s surface. I once stumbled upon a raft of neuston when a storm blew it ashore in California. Many neustonic animals are vibrant highlighter colors, and the sand was saturated in bright blues and pale pinks. Together, these small creatures may function like upside-down coral reefs: an oasis of shelter and life far out to sea. As far back as the Cold War era, scientists were describing these colorful and important ecosystems, yet they still remain all but unknown. But now, as efforts to clean the ocean of plastic start up, our ignorance is putting this ecosystem at risk.
When I learned about the Ocean Cleanup project*s?600-meter-long barrier with a three-meter-deep net,?a wall being placed in the open ocean, ostensibly to collect plastic passively as the currents push water through the net, I thought immediately of the neuston. How will it be impacted? But in the 146 pages of the Ocean Cleanup*s?environmental-impact assessment, this ecosystem isn*t mentioned once.
I was disturbed by this omission. Though the neuston isn*t known to many people, it is certainly known to marine biologists. Evidence that the Ocean Cleanup knows about the neuston is clear from a table reporting animals in the vicinity of the Ocean Cleanup deployment area, where both blue buttons and by-the-wind sailors are listed. But the ecosystem itself is never discussed. By omitting the neuston from its assessment, the project is overlooking the habitat it could be impacting most, and there is no sense of what the damage might be. Because the impact report didn*t provide any answers, I went looking for my own.

Yet another remainder of how careful we need to be when trying to help.

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40 times unlucky https://www.google.com//0a5/2019/01/23/40-times-unlucky/ Wed, 23 Jan 2019 10:47:12 +0000 /0a5/?p=6494 I honestly don’t know how these things become news stories, even for the tabloids: A student who*s been on 40 ※atrocious§ dates in nine months has created a brilliant Tinder …

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I honestly don’t know how these things become news stories, even for the tabloids:

A student who*s been on 40 ※atrocious§ dates in nine months has created a brilliant Tinder presentation called ※why you should swipe me§ 〞 and it*s incredibly honest.

Unlucky-in-love Natalie Palmer, 23, who jokes she*s 2019*s answer to Bridget Jones, has laid bare her pizza obsession, compulsive cleaning habits and plans to rock a face mask on date number five.

She is hoping the innovative ad, which she uploaded on Sunday night, will help bag a date with her dream man,?The Sun?reported.

I don’t know Miss Palmer from a bar of soap but if you are a young, attractive, intelligent woman who ends up having 40 “atrocious” dates in nine months, maybe, just maybe, it’s not all men out there that are shit but there is something wrong with you. Not sure what, because Palmer indeed seems attractive and intelligent and endearing, but as they say in the world of commerce, “customer is always right”.

“The innovative ad”, or rather her revamped profile, is cutesy but nothing extraordinary, consisting essentially of captioning profile photos with the text that others would simply put in the body of their profile. Though in a world of profiles where people can’t be bothered to write anything at all, or if they do it’s mostly generic and indistinguishable from every other one, any effort is appreciated.

welsh1

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The 24 hour media rule https://www.google.com//0a5/2019/01/23/24-hour-media-rule/ Wed, 23 Jan 2019 01:50:18 +0000 /0a5/?p=6491 The mainstream media – and the social media – are so good at generating instant outrages that I now have an informal rule: try not to comment on any new …

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The mainstream media – and the social media – are so good at generating instant outrages that I now have an informal rule: try not to comment on any new development or news story for 24 hours, because the chances are that what was originally reported will turn out to be at least partly and sometimes completely garbage. This is not a good rule for blogs like mine, which rely on speed to be there among the first to offer our 5 cents, but it increasingly seems the only sensible way to avoid constant embarrassment, corrections and revisions.

The latest case in point: the lynch mob baying for blood of the Covington Catholic High School.

Covington, being a Catholic school and Catholics being against abortion, sent a contingent of students to the March for Life in Washington DC. At that event, the students were filmed being confronted by a Native American activist, Nathan Phillips, banging his drum and chanting inches from the face of one of the boys, Nicholas Sandmann (the filming was done by a supporter of Phillips’). The story subsequently erupted all over the media universe about the schoolboys, many of them seen in the video wearing MAGA hats, being disrespectful and generally racist and bigoted towards the counter(March for Life)-protesters, Phillips chief among them (no pun intended).

Online celebrities and respected journalist and commentators (like CNN’s Reza Aslan) lined up to express the desire that Nick Sandmann be punched in the face for his silent but smirking reaction to Phillips (which apparently signified all the evils of the world from white privilege through toxic masculinity to racism). A female Saturday Night Live writer even offered oral sex to any man who punches Sandmann in the face. In the process of the hunt, a wrong boy was first identified as Sandmann, his contact details published online, his family receiving death threats. Other online fantasies included feeding the Covington students through a woodchipper or mass shooting at the school. The school is now actually closed because of security concerns.

The outpouring of hatred and bile from the progressive side of politics was quite something to behold (and be terrified of). Even many conservatives have initially joined in condemnations of the boys (albeit less heated and violent) based on the original reporting.

Within the 24 hours the whole story unraveled. A second, longer video recording of the events came to light, which clearly shows that no racist chants were made by the students and that they behaved themselves quite properly and maturely when confronted by adult counter-protesters. The ultimate irony is that the second video was shot by members of the Black Israelites, a bizarre and racist cult, who were at the scene also counter-protesting, and who are recorded actually abusing the Covington students in?the vile and threatening way that the Covington students were originally falsely accused of doing.

Since then, there have been mass deletions of social media posts by celebrities advocating violence against minors. Phillips himself, a far-left activist who falsely claimed to have been a Vietnam veteran, doubled down however, demanding that Covington boys be expelled from school (for what exactly no one knows). He refuses to meet with them in a more peaceful atmosphere to try to reconcile, because “He (Sandmann) stole my narrative. From the time I hit that first beat of the drum until I hit the last beat, I was in prayer. Now all of a sudden, he*s the prayer guy and the passive one.” [emphasis mine, because oh my God!]

Phillips is not the only one who continues to spew hate against the Covington students. Now that no actual wrong-doing of any kind can be shown against them, they are essentially convicted for merely being pro-life Trump supporters. As the has-been actress and now a full time left-wing activist Alyssa Milano (and many others) commented, a MAGA hat is the new KKK white hood, a symbol of racist hatred. Presumably everyone wearing it, from teenage boys to the elderly, deserve to be punched in the face for being bigots. First you declare that “It’s OK to punch a Nazi”, then you wildly redefine who Nazis are, and so you end up in a situation where you are a wealthy and prominent adult advocating assaulting 15-year olds.

As an aside, I can understand why Sandmann’s smirk has driven so many people absolutely bonkers. Most journalists, commentators and activists have been nerds, freaks and misfits at school. Sandmann stands in their minds for every jock and popular boy they hated for being lionised by everyone, getting all the girls, and giving the unpopular kids wedgies. The outpouring of hatred against Sandmann is today’s revenge of the nerds; they couldn’t punch jocks at school so now they want to punch them as adults. For myself, I think that Sandmann’s smirk is more an expression of nervousness, bewilderment and discomfort when confronted by a strange man doing strange things right in front of his face rather than arrogance or racism.

Be that as it may, days later the original smear is in tatters, but young lives continue to be in danger, reputations ruined and hatred persisting. It’s been a disgusting example of a progressive lynch mob in action, and sadly it’s not even the first major piece of “fake news” this year. But you can be sure that they will continue to beat the drum for outrage,

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Can porn tax help build the Wall? https://www.google.com//0a5/2019/01/22/can-porn-tax-help-build-wall/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 12:05:41 +0000 /0a5/?p=6488 Put this is the “possibly good idea but it will never happen” file: Here’s a?genius idea from the state of Arizona for how to end our nation*s border standoff and …

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Put this is the “possibly good idea but it will never happen” file:

Here’s a?genius idea from the state of Arizona for how to end our nation*s border standoff and free the 800,000 federal hostages who are wondering how to pay next month*s rent.

Just tax porn.

No, really.

Republican state Rep. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford, wants to charge you $20 to look at pornography on the internet.

House Bill 2444?would require companies that make or sell electronic devices in Arizona to install software that blocks porn.

To remove the block, all you*d have to do is prove you are 18 and plunk down $20, payable to the Arizona Commerce Authority.

The money would go into a newly created account?called the John McCain Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Fund, with the proceeds to be used for one of 10 things.

No. 1 on that list: ※Build a border wall between Mexico and this state or fund border security.§

Twenty dollars might be a bit steep but the heart is in the right place. Of course the slogans just write themselves:

“Help Us Erect The Wall”

“You’re Just Another Prick in the Wall”

“Wank 4 Wall”

“Mexican Porn, Si – Mexican People, No”

“If You Cum, He Will Build It”

“The Wall – Give Us a Hand”

But just in case Rep Griffin can pull it off (no pun intended), you know what you need to do, patriots.

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Davos’ false dichotomies https://www.google.com//0a5/2019/01/21/davos-false-dichotomies/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 11:44:44 +0000 /0a5/?p=6485 I’m a globalist, you are a globalist, everyone’s a globalist (the term I don’t particularly rate, since like “neo-conservative” in the last decade, it has become a little more than …

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I’m a globalist, you are a globalist, everyone’s a globalist (the term I don’t particularly rate, since like “neo-conservative” in the last decade, it has become a little more than an all-purpose term of abuse):

Maybe populist political movements don’t have as much support as often presumed.

The global public favours cooperation between nations, thinks immigration is a good thing and believes climate scientists, according to a poll of 10,000 people in every region of the world.

The poll was commissioned by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and will be discussed at panels at this year’s meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

People in South-east Asia and Africa were the strongest believers in countries working together, with 88 per cent saying it’s extremely or very important.

The least enthusiastic region was Western Europe, where 61 per cent held that view. In North America, the figure was 70 per cent. Worldwide, it?was 76 per cent.

A global majority of 57 per cent said immigrants were “mostly good” for their new country, but only 40 per cent of Eastern Europeans thought so. Despite the continuing stand-off in the United States?over building a wall along the Mexican border, 66 per cent of North Americans had a positive view of migrants.

One theme where there’s less optimism?is social mobility, with only 20 per cent of Western Europeans and 34 per cent of Americans saying it is common to be born poor and become rich.

Across the world, 54 per cent have trust in climate scientists. But in North America, only 17 per cent do.

Populist political movements might or might not have as much support as often presumed – and it’s clear that the Davos crowd sincerely hope it’s the latter – but contrary to the media reporting above or the WEF’s own spin, you won’t learn much either way from this poll.

Yes, “globalism” is overall quite popular around the world, but there is a clear (though not uniform and consistent) divide between the developed world and the rest, with the rest being more positive, probably because the rest is on the rise and sees itself as a clear beneficiary, whereas the situation in the more mature economies is more ambiguous – the impact of globalisation mixed while the standards of living stagnate.

Secondly, the polling sets up a contrast of “globalism” with rather extreme positions that don’t actually accurately reflect the concerns people do have about the direction of their societies and economies.

For instance, majorities everywhere but for Eastern and Western Europe agree that “new immigrants are mostly good for [my] country” – including 66 per cent in North America. But there are different types of immigration: humanitarian and economic, legal and illegal, high and low, and so on. There are few people who would want zero immigration, but that does not mean that a great majority conversely supports an “open borders” free-for-all. Most people in the developed world, which is the preferred immigration destination, want migration that is legal, orderly and in the national interest, i.e. of a kind that benefits their country socially and economically and does not impose too onerous costs. To argue in favour of such policies is not populism or anti-globalisation – until not so long ago it used to be a matter of common sense. The situation is of course different throughout the developing world, which exports rather than imports people; needless to say people of Africa or South Asia would love to see a borderless world since it gives them more opportunities to go where life is easier and more rewarding.

Similarly, there are majorities in all regions of the world that agree their country “has a responsibility to help other countries in the world”. For most of the world, perhaps, this is a hypothetical question, since they would be the net beneficiaries of help by other (usually richer) countries. But even in the developed world this is a rather loaded question. No one wants to be a “hermit kingdom” like North Korea, not even the North Korean themselves if anyone could ask them and if they could answer truthfully and without fear. Again, there are different types and degrees of help. Most people, I imagine, recognise a humanitarian need to assist victims of catastrophic national disasters; far fewer would agree that helping should entail an unrestricted entry for all “the wretched of the Earth” or a significantly higher foreign aid expenditure (seeing there is preciously little evidence that aid actually helps anyone but the aid industry intermediaries and the local elites).

And when asked?“Generally speaking, do you think that all countries can improve at the same time or that if some countries improve others must become worse off?” even larger majorities agree with the former. Again, this tells us little. All countries can and often do, but not always and not in the same ways or at the same rates.

It’s easy to get the results you want when you posit nice motherhood statements against straw men (or is it straw people these days).

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Cossie is not the messiah https://www.google.com//0a5/2019/01/21/cossie-not-messiah/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 07:35:45 +0000 /0a5/?p=6483 With Kelly O’Dwyer pulling the pin on her federal parliamentary career and vacating the previously ultra-safe but now probably not-so-much seat of Higgins, people are popping up in the media …

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With Kelly O’Dwyer pulling the pin on her federal parliamentary career and vacating the previously ultra-safe but now probably not-so-much seat of Higgins, people are popping up in the media longing for a comeback by the previous member. Writes Peter Van Onselen in “The Australian”:

If Costello returned at the next election in his old seat of Higgins, he would hold it, staving off a challenge by the Greens. Apparently O*Dwyer was genuinely worried that she might lose the blue ribbon seat. Whoever takes over will be at even greater risk of -losing Higgins.

Were Costello to be installed as Liberal leader for the next election, he would also be capable of retaining seats in Victoria under massive threat since the removal of Malcolm Turnbull.

Costello*s return could see the government revive and muscle up to Bill Shorten. Currently down 45-55 per cent in the polls, the -Coalition has nothing to lose.

Scott Morrison could serve as caretaker prime minister until the election, with Costello the elected Liberal Party leader, much like happened with Campbell Newman in Queensland before his thumping victory. It just takes a little outside-of-the box thinking from a parliamentary team incapable of such thought.

There are very few sitting days scheduled between now and the next election anyway, so an extra-parliamentary leader is a viable option.

The only difference with the Newman comparison is that if elected prime minister, Costello would not implode the way Newman did. He has runs on the board as one half of the successful Howard government, one respected by voters longing for a return to such stability and competence.

While it is far from ideal not -selecting a woman in Higgins, given the Liberals* gender problems, Costello*s return is too necessary to ignore. And he is the type of leader who would genuinely throw himself into cultural reform inside the Liberals to help more women secure parliamentary careers. As well, women pre--selected for marginal Labor-held seats have little or no chance of winning. Under Costello, such candidates* fortunes would blossom considerably.

At 61, Costello is also younger than Turnbull, and Morrison has admitted he is an accidental PM anyway, having been unable to explain to voters why he*s there in the first place. The Liberal Party would finally have a Victorian leader again for the first time in decades.

John Kehoe at “The Australian Financial Review” takes a similar view: “Even though a Costello return is extremely unlikely and he’s repeatedly dismissed the idea in the past, the former treasurer is the best chance an underdog Coalition has to combat Shorten in a presential-style [sic] contest between a businessman and a unionist.”

Costello as the Prime Minister is perhaps the greatest “what if” of Australian political history in the past few decades. Many people had doubts whether he could have translated himself from the hard-nosed role as the Treasurer to that of the PM, which requires more charisma and likability to make it a success. I have no doubt that Cossie would have been great. He was – and is – a genuinely nice, decent, warm and funny person, whose character would have shone through in the top job the way it couldn’t before as the government’s money man. But it was not to be.

There are many “fork in the road”/”sliding door” moments in this story. It would have been great if John Howard retired after ten years as one of the most successful Prime Ministers in Australia’s history. It would have been great if Costello chose to contest the leadership after the 2007 loss, though it’s not difficult to understand the frustration and the exhaustion that led him at that point to the backbench. Perhaps the greatest tragedy is his decision to retire?during the term (I’m almost convinced that MPs should not be able to cause by-elections but for genuine health reasons or other emergencies, though it would be difficult to enforce such rule). In mid-2009, with the controversy over Kevin Rudd’s ETS starting to rear its head, Tony Abbott and Andrew Bolt begged Costello to stay in the Parliament, but he remained unconvinced. In fact, if only he had delayed his retirement by a few weeks he would have been the unquestioned candidate against Malcolm Turnbull. Costello would have won more convincingly than Tony Abbott’s one vote, and he would have likely won the 2010 election, saving the country from more Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd as well as from Tony Abbott’s wasted promise and Malcolm Turnbull’s wasted second chance.

But was almost nine years ago and the ship has sailed. Nay, the whole flotilla has.

From what I can gather from people who have been speaking to Costello recently, he has no intention of getting back into the political fray. But even if he had, I remain sceptical about the viability of political come-backs in general. John Howard’s story is truly exceptional; when he returned to lead the party in 1995 he has not in the meantime left the parliament after his previous stint in 1987.?Over the eight years in the opposition wilderness,?he has watched all his competitors fall by the wayside until he was literally the last man standing, with Costello himself opting to gain more valuable experience as the deputy instead. It’s been twelve years since the end of the Howard government and twelve years is an awfully long time in general; in politics it’s almost an eternity. There is a whole new generation of voters out there who don’t really remember Costello as the Treasurer. I suspect that even those who do, think of it as very much a closed chapter, a glorious one for many to be sure, but?only a few?(and certainly none who have ever been married) believe that golden ages can be so easily resurrected.

Sadly, there is no easy and painless way out of the mess that the Liberal Party created for itself over the past two terms. There are no messiahs (remember John Elliott and Bronwyn Bishop in the early 90s?), only bad boys and girls. This is why I thought that Turnbull should have been left as the Prime Minister to own the coming disaster instead of being able to create the “stab in the back” legend. Absent that, let Morrison go down with the HMS “Liberal”. Longing for Costello as the political saviour is a tacit acknowledgment that the current crop of senior men and women at or near the top are shit and incapable of changing the fate of the party. This is arguably yet another reason to let the voters make their harsh judgment in May, even if inevitably the harvest of resentment will carry some good and decent up-and-comers together with lots of dead wood.

May he live a long and happy life, but Costello is politically dead. Like all dearly departed, I miss him, but he’s gone. The Liberal Party doesn’t need an Ouija board; it needs a cold hard dose of reality and enough time to digest it and reinvent itself again. Sure, Australia will suffer with Bill Shorten as the PM. Maybe it’s the (bad) Catholic in me, but he’s the penance – like Atilla, “the Scourge of God” – we all deserve. May the Lord have mercy and make it short.

costello

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