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Australian Labor Party cannot even get social policy right much less economic policy

It’s Wednesday and I am working on other things today, which need finishing. But today we saw once again why the Australian Labor Party is a disappointment. They regularly frame the economic debate in neoliberal terms, which make it harder to break out of the mainstream narratives. But, today, they even go social policy wrong and will support legislation that allows religious organisations (schools etc) to discriminate against gays and trans people under the platform of ‘religious freedom’. The legislation allegedly is designed to stop non-religious people saying bad things about Pentecostal extremists. But it just enshrines the rights of religious characters to inflict damage on others. And the Labor Party is supporting it. Spooky – which brings in my music feature today.

Australian Labor Party cannot even get social policy right much less economic policy

At present the conservative Australian government is in deep electoral trouble having offered the nation almost daily demonstrations of their incompetence, corruption, infighting, racism, sexism, and the rest of it.

The election is in May and they are now trying to shore up their position by garnering support from their base – which in a not unimportant way happens to be the Pentecostal religious lobby, that provides the conservatives with big dollars.

One such supporter, a weird Christian school in Queensland, recently tried to get new students to sign a ‘contract’ that basically said homosexuality was evil and equivalent to bestiality.

I kid you not.

They are big supporters of the government, which regularly panders to this extremist lobby.

The Prime Minister claims to be a ‘man of faith’, yet even his own party members have recently called him a liar, a psycho, and a terrible man.

We didn’t need Emmanuel Macron’s assessment of him as a liar to know the true nature of this ‘man of faith’.

So at present they are trying to rush through legislation after doing little for 3 years, other than completely mess up the pandemic response, and one such bill is the so-called ‘Religious Discrimination Bill’.

This Bill will allow religious schools to expel Trans people (students or staff-members). Originally, it would have allowed them to also expel gays, in general.

Moreover, while the proposed bill will not allow the religious schools to expel a gay person, the school could still discriminate against them in ways that do not involve outright expulsion.

That includes harassment, intimidation or bullying of gays by the school or its non-gay students.

This might take specific forms – such as openly questioning and criticising the student’s sexual orientation; refusing to recognise the orientation and placing the student in dangerous situations relative to that orientation; openly punishing the student for being gay; denying the gay kids key roles in teams, sporting teams etc that might develop self-confidence and leadership capacities; and denying the student’s right to take their boy/girl/other friend to school functions (like end of year social nights, picture nights, parties, etc).

The only option then for the gay student would be to employ an exit strategy – miserable and defeated – and join the trans kids who were already expelled – miserable and defeated.

Hideous is not the word really.

The conservative government is, of course, pandering to their funding sources.

They are deeply split into three groups: (a) the crazies out on the Right – some of who combine this Pentecostal zeal with all sorts of anti-vaxx messages at the moment; (b) the religious Right – which are not quite as crazy as the crazies; and (c) the so-called moderates, which are only marginally less crazy than the ‘religious Right’.

Its a pretty diabolical mix.

But they need every vote they can get at the upcoming election and this sort of legislation appeals to voters in some of their marginal seats.

So we have a proposed Bill before the national parliament today that was designed by extremist Christians, that paid various politicians lots to push it through parliament, which has the sole aim of exclusively allowing religious institutions (schools, etc) to discriminate against anyone they like, which includes using vile, hate speech and other bullying and harassing strategies against gay and bi persons, and, worse against trans people, and progressives are out there on social media telling anyone who criticises the Bill that they should stop talking about religion.

And the rest of us cannot dare say anything about the conduct of these religious organisations because that would violate their ‘rights’ under the proposed Bill.

So a church will be able to say, under this legislation, that being gay is dirty and evil and equivalent to bestiality – which dishes up all the stress and anxiety that you would expect for the targetted cohort, but, I am not able to say that the church official who said that is filthy and brain-dead.

And, with that being the state of affairs, who do you think is going to support the legislation to allow it to go through – other than the government members?

That’s right – the Labor Party announced today they would support the bill in the Lower House and try to change bits of it in the Senate.

But essentially, the Bill will go through with most if not of the above intact – thanks to our so-called progressive party of workers – the Labor Party.

They are scared the religious lobby will turn against them.

So aspirations for power over principle rule among that mob.

I guess it will allow them to get back to criticising the government for running deficits.

Phew!

Wordle

I was shocked this morning when I brought up today’s – Wordle – puzzle, which took 3 lines to solve today – when I realised that the puzzle used American spelling.

I hate American spelling.

I wondered whether it was because the developer had sold the rights recently to the New York Times.

But I then discovered it has always used American spelling and it is just that I hadn’t encountered a ‘ou’ becomes ‘o’ word before.

Oh well, I guess it expands the possibilities given the 5 letter format.

Our edX MOOC – Modern Monetary Theory: Economics for the 21st Century started today

We are off and running again for another year with the first day of our MMTed/University of Newcastle MOOC – Modern Monetary Theory: Economics for the 21st Century.

The course is free and will run for 4-weeks with new material each Wednesday for the duration.

Learn about MMT properly with lots of videos, discussion, and more.

This year there will be some live interactive events offered to participants, which adds to the material presented previously.

So even if you completed the course last year, these live events might be a reason for doing it again.

Further Details:

https://edx.org/course/modern-monetary-theory-economics-for-the-21st-century

If you want to do the course, get in early as then you avoid having to catch up.

All are welcome.

Eurozone Dystopia becomes Distopia Dell’Eurozona

My 2015 book on the Eurozone – Eurozone Dystopia: Groupthink and Denial on a Grand Scale (published May 2015) – has just been released in Italian.

There is now:

1. A German translation – Dystopie Eurozone.

2. A Spanish translation – La Distopía del Euro.

3. And, now an Italian edition – Distopia Dell’Eurozona

You can get the Italian translation – Distopia Dell’Eurozona – from Lola Books, which is a small publishing company located in Berlin and run by my friend Carlos Garcia.

So Italians, there is now no excuse for not reading it (-:

Lola Books publishes many supportive books and I hope you can support their catalogue.

Thanks to Carlos for his work.

Note: I make no money from Lola sales but appreciate their work in spreading the message.

Music – Spooky

Yes, I was a child in the 1960s as the R&B, soul revolution was in full swing and we had our ears stuck to transister radios listening to the music coming out.

One song that kept resonating despite the pretty cheesy lyrics (it was the time!) was the 1967 release – Spooky – from the – Classics IV.

For young guitar players, there was agonising over what that ‘mystery’ chord in the accent was. Turns out it was an A#dim7 which makes sense.

There was an early instrumental version by saxophonist Mike Sharpe, who co-wrote the song.

A year later, the Classics IV produced their version with lyrics.

The guitar chords and strumming pattern make the song as well as the mystical fog sound to make it all sound – well spooky.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2022 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

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    This Post Has 13 Comments
    1. The ALP ceased being progressive long, long ago. I wasn’t surprised in the least by today’s announcement. I am yet to encounter anyone worth voting for and it’s been that way for a really long time.

    2. “ …I hadn’t encountered a ‘ou’ becomes ‘o’ word before”

      Helpfully, there’s one right there in the headline, just to remind you! ; )

    3. Dear MrShigemitsu (at 2022/02/09 at 6:27 pm)

      In terms of encounters, I meant within Wordle to date rather than generally (-: In general life, I just dismiss the ‘o’ and the ‘ize’ and the ‘er’ as bad spelling.

      best wishes
      bill

    4. I found an interesting quote, some days ago, about American Christians (which, I think, we can generalize to the rest of the world):
      It goes like this:
      “There is something off about Christians spending millions of dollars to go abroad to share the gospel while simultaneously believing that the same people should not come to them; and that walls should be built to keep them out & protect their earthly nation.”.
      I’m sorry but I don’t know the author of this brilliant phrase (it came to me by a facebook post by the Marginal Mennonite Society).
      Beeing a Catholic Christian, I must make a sort of disclaimer here.
      All my life, I’ve been haunted by doubt about the so-called gospels.
      A lot of what I heard came from interpretations of the gospels, made by the the Vatican, from the very beggining, 2000 years ago.
      But, with time, I learned to distinguish between what was true and what was not.
      And what I concluded was that Christ was the greatest revolutionary of his time.
      He was killed for that.
      And what I have been told He was, is the opposite of a revolutionary.
      Maybe we can start a new religion (please, don’t laugh…)

    5. As an ordained American Baptist clergyperson (the liberal/progressive Baptists, not the Southern variety), I hear you, Paulo, loud and clear. And I also hear the sharp and righteous edge/indignation in Bill’s words. Those interested in things religious and various takes on Jesus might want to search for a strange little booklet available only on the Kindle and read the free sample by clicking on the cover. The title is “Life of Truth: a synoptic gospel” written under the pen name Theophilus. Or, as a more mainstream option, check out well known theologian David Bentley Hart’s controversial article, “What Lies Beyond Capitalism.”

    6. The ALP is, regrettably, the only current alternative to the appalling rightist Coalition federal government. The Greens are as neoliberal as Labor.

      The only emerging but long term alternative seems to be the RepresentUS movement.(representus.com.au). It gets MMT and has plans to field Senate candidates in the upcoming election.

      Hopefully they will have some success and be able to exert some influence on the next government.

      I am not sure if Labor MPs “get” MMT but if they do I think they are extremely wary of going against the neoliberal narrative. If Labor does eject the Coalition they might act on MMT principles.

    7. Thanks for this article, Bill. Like you, I treat US spelling as errors and find the invention of words more than a bother, acclimated for instance rather than acclimatised.
      Our opinions on the Labour Party coincide as well. I find the ALP stance on this particular piece of legislation an outrage, they are gutless and driven to act this way in fear of losing a couple of seats in outer western Sydney, They choose to stand for nothing, in pursuit of power.
      I was equally outraged yesterday morning when I learned that my federal representative, the newly appointed speaker, had used his casting vote to pass this horrific bill. Upon ringing his office to express my disdain for this action I was told that I was an outlier on the issue of LGBTIQ+ rights and that his office would receive 20 calls in support of this bill to one against. At first, I was dismayed at the attitude of my fellow man but now I realise that these devout”Christians” are a very small but vocal minority. In the words of Grace Tame, IT’s Time To Make Some NOISE People!!
      Barri Mundee, if you live in NSW take a look at Victor Kline and his TNL, they appear to be a great alternative with some brilliant policies and a genuine understanding of MMT.

    8. The ALP ceased being progressive long, long ago. I wasn’t surprised in the least by today’s announcement. I am yet to encounter anyone worth voting for and it’s been that way for a really long time.

      The ALP is the workers party, it is not primarily about moral purity.
      Not voting is voting.
      This attitude that the ALP must be perfect for everyone before it can be any use to anyone is interesting.
      It certainly makes life easy for the ALP right to claim the “pragmatic” high ground despite an appalling electoral record.
      Perhaps MSM conditioning is more subtle and pervasive that we admit.
      I would suggest voting systematically for even a 1% improvement would have a lot more effect than not voting because the ALP is only an order of magnitude improvement.

    9. Thanks for the Classic IV today Bill and thanks for turning me on to Joy Crookes in the past. I always look forward to Wednesday’s music with Bill.

      Cheers

    10. @Brendanm I don’t watch the mainswamp media. There is no ‘conditioning’ here. Not voting when you are legally compelled to do so (as is the case in Australia) signals that there is no person or party that you wish to express a preference for.

      By 1990, the ALP morphed into the faux workers party, Its policymaking was often lauded by the faux Libs. Indeed, the ALP went much further than the Libs would or could have on many economic policies.

      The way the ALP and Coalition voted to prevent the religious discrimination bill from being debated in the Senate tells you everything you need to know about these people.

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