Posts tagged "politics"

Malcolm Fraser.

Shout out to Australian lefties, are you that desperate to hear a Liberal say nice things about refugees that you’re ready to act like the man who tried to destroy universal health care and literally conspired with the representative of a foreign crown to overthrow a democratically elected government is worthy of being welcomed into polite society?

More than half – 52% — of people surveyed said the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, who was recently seen calling for President Barack Obama’s impeachment in a Breitbart News column, should just “be quiet.”

Ms. Palin, still a tea party favorite and who maintains an active television and social media presence, scored worse than fellow former pols Jesse Jackson (45%), Dick Cheney (42%) and Newt Gingrich (39%).

Mr. Jackson’s numbers are a bit of a mystery, given that he has not been in the national media much of late. More than half of people surveyed who are 50 years or older – who perhaps remember the civil rights activist when he was more prominent and a potential Democratic presidential nominee – said Mr. Jackson should be quiet. Only 35% of people aged 18-34 said the same.

The Journal/NBC/Annenberg poll was kinder to Bill Clinton (31%) and Al Gore (37%), though about half of Republicans said they would prefer that the 1990s Democratic team in the White House would be quiet.

Poll: Most Americans Want to Hear Less From Palin - Washington Wire - WSJ (via waitingonoblivion)

I mean, I don’t think this poll really means much of anything — you’re asking people about something they probably aren’t thinking about and have no means of effecting anyways, but the Jesse Jackson bit is interesting. Conservatives seem to still like invoking him as a proxy for Black People Who Say Terrible Things — Al Sharpton is another favorite in this realm — so I sorta suspect the poll finding is just that 45 per cent want black people in general to shut up.

[T]he Supreme Court has become a frequent refuge for religious conservatives rather than just their reliable bete noir, is itself partially the result of liberal gains in the political and cultural sphere, which have reduced religious traditionalists to making the kind of defensive appeals to liberty and pluralism and minority rights that tend to end up adjudicated in the courts. And such a liberalism would take ownership of its own ascendance and take more responsibility for (and pride in!) its own aggressions, rather than perpetually crying “theocracy” whenever its advance is interrupted.

Ross Douthat, “The Culture War’s Sore Winners,” The New York Times, July 1, 2014

Douthat channels Christian victimhood, which understands freedom of religion as not the freedom of anyone to practice his or her faith, but the ability to impose that faith on an entire society. (He makes reference to  another recent post, in which he’s less candid but refers to conservatives “looking to the courts … for protection" — my emphasis; protection from what?)

According to this outlook, Christianity can only be freely practiced if it is inescapable; if its prayers are conducted within public schools, if its moral proscriptions are written into law, if public money goes toward its festivals and institutions. For religion to be merely a personal practice is for religion to be under attack — and this is a vaunted moderate conservative talking, a reformist. An America that does not exist under the authority of Christian diktat, Douthat says, is one in which Christianity is under assault. He puts pluralism on one side and Christianity on the other, inextricably opposed forces.

Over, at the other blog, I have a post arguing that Hobby Lobby is the Supremes’ worst decision since Bush v Gore:

[A] craft shop can’t have a religion. A corporation can’t have a religion. Belief requires consciousness, and whatever our strides in artificial intelligence, corporations aren’t conscious.

Particularly since Citizens United, liberals have frequently expressed my philosophical objection by mocking the idea that “corporations are people.” Yet, as Matt Yglesias explains here, there is nothing wrong per se with the idea of corporate personhood. “Forming corporations wouldn’t make much sense unless corporations had many of the legal rights of persons, including most notably the right to own property and enter into contracts.” The ability of people to create legal entities that can act as people has been of great benefit to our society.

But corporations should be considered people with rights and responsibilities only to the extent that they pertain to corporate practise. This is why I think Hobby Lobby is worse than Citizens United. Speech is a valid part of corporate activity — think, for instance, of advertising. Religious practice has absolutely nothing to do with corporate activity, and hence it’s completely illogical for a corporation to be considered a person with religious beliefs.

There’s more.

John Sides, WaPo:

People who are consistently liberal or conservative are much more likely to vote or donate. This may not be surprising. But it speaks to a real tension that is often unacknowledged. On the one hand, many bemoan the fact that so many Americans don’t know facts about politics or don’t vote in elections. On the other hand, many bemoan partisanship and ideology and yearn for moderation and compromise. Well, to put it bluntly, we don’t get to have a politically engaged public and a moderate one.


John Sides, WaPo:

People who are consistently liberal or conservative are much more likely to vote or donate. This may not be surprising. But it speaks to a real tension that is often unacknowledged. On the one hand, many bemoan the fact that so many Americans don’t know facts about politics or don’t vote in elections. On the other hand, many bemoan partisanship and ideology and yearn for moderation and compromise. Well, to put it bluntly, we don’t get to have a politically engaged public and a moderate one.


This is succession planning. It’s about laying down memories in Australia against the time the Queen dies. The first tour is the one that matters – the tour with the young couple and the baby, the gloss not worn off their marriage and possible princely misdemeanours of the child far in the future.


The press still eulogises them. “It’s truly magical,” said a TV reporter to her camera as we waited at the rock for something to happen. Not really. It’s the highly skilled creation of soft propaganda in which the press is complicit, the locals are extras and Uluru is a backdrop.

David Marr, “Royal tour of Australia is all about creation of soft propaganda,” The Guardian, April 23, 2014

This is why accomodationist republicans who want to act like it’s OK to glory in the reflected glow of the royal family’s trappings of privilege while still arguing for new constitutional arrangements are full of it. The monarchy is made up of political actors trying to preserve their power, and every republican who gets doe-eyed over that new baby and that nice wedding and that wonderful photo-op is only helping the royals entrench their power further. Forget my side’s we-mean-no-disrespect-to-the-queen dissembling. I mean full disrespect. When I stick the knife in, I want it to hurt.

To this end, the budget cuts benefits to sole parents and stay-at-home mums, reviews the assessment of some younger recipients of the disability support pension and imposes ”compulsory activities” on recipients under 35, cuts the benefit received by unemployed people aged 22 to 24 from the dole to the youth allowance, imposes a waiting period for benefits of up to six months on people under 30, reintroduces Work for the Dole and introduces a ”restart” payment of up to $10,000 to employers who take on job seekers aged 50 or over who have previously been on benefits, including the age pension.

Get it? Older people want to work, but suffer from the prejudice of employers, so they’re helped with a new and generous subsidy to employers, whereas the young don’t want to work when they could be luxuriating on below poverty-line benefits, so they’re whipped to find a job by having their benefits cut and their entitlement removed for six months in every year until the lazy loafers take a job.

Just how having their benefits reduced or removed helps young adults afford the various costs of finding a job — including being appropriately dressed for an interview — the government doesn’t explain.


How does it help to starve a youngster to the point where they’re prepared to undertake some pointless training course? Is it really smart to take a university graduate who’s having a few months’ wait to find a suitable job and force them into a taxpayer-funded course on driving a forklift truck?
Ross Gittins, “Shifting form entitlement to enterprise,” The Sydney Morning Herald, May 27, 2014

If we truly seek to understand segregationists — not to excuse or absolve them, but to understand them — then we must first understand how they understood themselves. Until now, because of the tendency to focus on the reactionary leaders of massive resistance, segregationists have largely been understood simply as the opposition to the civil rights movement. They have been framed as a group focused solely on suppressing the rights of others, whether that be the larger cause of “civil rights” or any number of individual entitlements, such as the rights of blacks to vote, assemble, speak, protest, or own property. Segregationists, of course, did stand against those things, and often with bloody and brutal consequences. But, like all people, they did not think of themselves in terms of what they opposed but rather in terms of what they supported. The conventional wisdom has held that they were only fighting against the rights of others. But, in their own minds, segregationists were instead fighting for rights of their own — such as the “right” to select their neighbors, their employees, and their children’s classmates, the “right” to do as they pleased with their private property and personal businesses, and, perhaps most important, the “right” to remain free from what they saw as dangerous encroachments by the federal government. To be sure, all of these positive “rights” were grounded in a negative system of discrimination and racism. In the minds of segregationists, however, such rights existed all the same. Indeed, from their perspective, it was clearly they who defended individual freedom, while the “so-called civil rights activists” aligned themselves with a powerful central state, demanded increased governmental regulation of local affairs, and waged a sustained assault on the individual economic, social, and political prerogatives of others. The true goal of desegregation, these white southerners insisted, was not to end the system of racial oppression in the South, but to install a new system that oppressed them instead. As this study demonstrates, southern whites fundamentally understood their support of segregation as a defense of their own liberties, rather than a denial of others’.

Understanding segregationists in such a light illuminates the links between massive resistance and modern conservatism.
Kevin M. Cruse, White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism (2005)

The wind blowing across the British Isles was odorous with fear of asylum seekers, infecting everybody with the panic of impending doom, and so articles were written and read, simply and stridently, as though the writers lived in a world in which the present was unconnected to the past, and they had never considered this to be the normal course of history: the influx into Britain of black and brown people from countries created by Britain.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah (2013)

So over republicans who want to act like we shouldn’t have personal beef with the monarchy.

Monarchy survives as an institution by creating a cult of personality around its representatives. That’s how it legitimizes itself. If you participate in their cult of personality, you’re propagating their political power. Royalty presents itself as something natural and uncontroversial by branding itself as an alternate form of celebrity, instead of the question of politics it really is.

The republic and the royal family are not separate issues. If you support the former, you should consider the latter contemptible.

First, the depth of the crisis is masked for the ALP by the electoral system. The two party preferred system inflates the focus on Labor when the real mood of the electorate is one of a cultural and emotional disengagement with the whole democratic system. The crisis is masked again by compulsory voting when representative democracy itself is now part of the problem as new horizontal and more direct forms of democracy permeate our lives, often online. But in Oz, while you are legally bound to participate in a system that, to say the least, is losing its legitimacy, democracy becomes more and more just an edifice. Of course, the same applies to the Liberals, but it matters more for the ALP because the right is always in power, regardless of whether it’s in office. Democracy is the only tool Labor has, the only source of power and influence. A sham democracy just results in the illusion of power when in office.

- Neal Lawson, "The challenge for Labor", Evatt Foundation, 7 April 2014 (via redrabbleroz)

jacking the important part from Oz’s quote.

Aw, hell, this on the ALP is good too doe:

Thirdly, its deep, bitter and, as far as I can see, politically meaningless factional divides deny the possibility of fresh thinking and the chance to form powerful and imaginative new intellectual alliances. The personalisation beyond any purpose, the hubris, the jobs for the boys and a few girls, instills rigidity and conformity when the very opposite is so clearly required.

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