A musical interlude for the holidays

Ken Wolff, regular author extraordinaire at The Political Sword, has gone back to his ‘radical lefty’ roots to have a look at political and protest songs. We take this opportunity at the Cellar to run in parallel with Ken’s piece as an old fashioned music thread that Migs and others used to run at Café Whispers.

Have a leisurely read through Ken’s excellent piece, comment there and/or here at the Cellar – join in the fun here and at TPS

guthrie

[Woody Guthrie]

In my piece ‘Are you sure you’re not a radical?’ I wrote: ‘Over the centuries folk music has been important in supporting the oppressed and Ireland and many countries in South America have a long tradition of revolutionary music.’ So I have chosen in this ‘summer recess’ to present some of that ‘revolutionary’ music to make the point that such music has influenced, and continues to reflect and influence, social and political movements. There are over 40 songs linked here, so it is not intended that you listen to every track in one sitting. Take your time over the next ten days, come back a few times, and check out as many as you wish. I hope you find some that you like. [Please note that these are not always what I consider the ‘best’ songs but I have been limited to some extent by what is available to link to.]

In the 1840s Thomas Osborne Davis in Ireland wrote ‘A Nation Once Again’ which set the tone for the Irish fight for independence for the next 80 years. Davis recognised the power of song and wrote:

“… a song is worth a thousand harangues”. He felt that music could have a particularly strong influence on Irish people at that time. He wrote: “Music is the first faculty of the Irish… we will endeavour to teach the people to sing the songs of their country that they may keep alive in their minds the love of the fatherland.”

Many songs were written about the 1916 uprising but one I particularly like is ‘The Foggy Dew’ — this version by The Wolfe Tones.

Davis’s words were prophetic and ‘rebel songs’ have continued into the modern era in Ireland with songs written about The Troubles in northern Ireland: ‘Man Behind the Wire’, and ‘My Little Armalite’. Very late one night in the Canberra Irish Club I heard a similar song when a young man, not long arrived from northern Ireland, sang a song that included reference to an AK47. It was the first time I realised how the Irish tradition of rebel songs continued to this day.

It is not only in folk music that the influence is felt — U2 performed this song about ‘Bloody Sunday’.


Read the rest of Ken’s musings at The Political Sword, comment and add your favourites there and/or in comments here.

WINNER TAKE ALL

I have the answer, that would meet the aims of business and many commenting here.

Do away with Oppositions all together by electing a board to run the country, not a government.

Yes, winner takes all. No parliament needed. No lower house, no upper house.

Board to face elections every three years.

Maybe only allow those in business to vote.

Not too sure though, we would have a democracy left with this way of running the country.

No pesky checks and balances.  No input from ungrateful public who do not like their place in society. In fact no society, just a economy.

Think, not rethink.

The conversation we cannot ignore is Hockey’s “rethink”  A con with the aim of wedging Labor, softening us up for the kill in the budget.

“On Monday morning, Joe Hockey, the Australian Treasurer, released Re:think, a tax discussion paper. It is no accident that he did so at the Australian Council of Social Services office.  Let’s hope ACOSS don’t fall for the 3 card trick that is the tax discussion paper.

Given the widespread opposition to the 2014 Budget, the one percent have drawn an important lesson from that debacle – consult with the intended victims before launching attacks on poor people and workers.  That is what the tax discussion paper is about. This Damascene conversion to talking to people begs the question – is a tax shit sandwich no longer a shit sandwich if it has consultation sprinkles on top? To ask the question is to answer it

http://enpassant.com.au/2015/03/30/of-shit-sandwiches-tax-reform-and-taxing-the-rich/

“IN launching its national “conversation” about tax reform, the Abbott government is caught between the policy imperative of “leading” and the political requirement of “listening”.

A further complication is that Prime Minister Tony Abbott is seeking to wedge Bill Shorten, paving the way to blame him if no real progress can be made in fundamentally recalibrating the tax system.

What we are witnessing in this first stage of the “conversation” is that the government is reluctant to be seen to be “leading”. It’s hinting and nudging, but playing coy about what it believes is required. Inevitably, this makes the beginning of the debate quite confused.

The government is starting the sentence – “we need to fix the tax system” – but then leaving it hanging. Is this some super-sophisticated tactic, or is it not sure itself where things will head”

http://citynews.com.au/2015/grattan-a-confused-start-to-governments-tax-conversation/#comments

Karma LNP Karma !

I was going to call this post Karma Tony Karma !. However the actions of the last few weeks have changed that, as it is not only Tony that is feeling the heat of Karma but also the LNP everywhere, even the Country Liberals are in panic mode.

It seems they are imploding all over the place. The leader of the LNP in VIC was changed before the last election. The leader of the CLP in NT was deposed and the current leader had a coup against him which backfired and he has stayed. The leader in NSW is not the leader from the last election. All of these changes made to elected leaders of the LNP and they claim the high moral ground in politics.

While I live in a very safe LNP seat it looks like the LNP has lost up here in QLD to the utter amazement of all, including myself. I had wished for a hung parliament in my previous blog. Never in my wildest dreams imagining it would happen this year but rather in 3 years time. The LNP had such a massive majority it seemed untenable. With swings of up to 38% ( yes 38%) the LNP and Campbell Newman managed to achieve the impossible, an almost 50% loss of seats.

Now it is the Federal Leaders turn and actually Tony Abbott is the one who deserves it the most.

Why do they deserve it ?.

THEY LIED. They lied and lied and lied to get elected. It really is nothing more than that. Because all the lies are what has constituted the unfair budget, the attacks on Medicare, the attacks on the ABC and SBS, the attacks on the Poor and the attacks on our Education System. No new Taxes ( increase in Fuel Tax). No forced Public Service Redundancies (many forced redundancies). Claim of Mandate to get rid of 12,000 Public Servants. Now 16,000 gone, but more advisers and media spin doctors recruited to the LNP. Maintain Landcare Funding. Funding Slashed. Far too many to list all of them here.

Each attack is based on a lie and broken promise. The biggest lie of all was No Surprises, because all of us would have to agree there have been so many surprises that they actually outweigh what we did know prior to the last election.

Usually swinging voters comprise up to 20% of an electorate at most. So with swings of up to 38% in QLD it shows how many voters the LNP actually managed to alienate.

While there are many other reasons people will use to justify why Tony should go, and many of them are valid, it is the lies that will be his undoing.

He was such a negative and disgraceful Opposition Leader attempting to undermine the elected government of the day each and every single Question Time it was an utter contempt to watch.

To now ask the ALP to act in a bipartisan way to passing policy ( especially when it is breaking promises the LNP made at the last election) is the height of hypocrisy and gall of the man and the LNP.

The Government of Honesty, Integrity, No Surprises, Honouring Commitments and doing what we said we would do has been reduced to a shambles because they were all lies.

Having said that I was amazed at Annastasia in QLD saying prior to the election she would do no deals with the Independents and my wrath was directed at her in my last blog. Now here we are, Annastasia is breaking her first firm commitment which will now be a broken promise or Lie.

We also had Lawrence this morning saying each elected member of parliament deserves full respect as they are elected by their constituents. Pity your LNP didn’t adhere to those comments for the last 3 years instead of being the horrible, bitter, mean and greedy twisted members you were under Campbell when it came to anyone outside the LNP.

My hope is that Annastasia becomes the new Premier, but only with the help of Peter Wellington who can keep things more honest, especially given the release of his agreement with the ALP today. This shows his honesty and integrity. Peter is also calling for the CMC to be overhauled and become more like the ICAC in NSW. He has demanded donations go back to $1,000 for declaration.

My hope for things Federally is that Tony Abbott stays leader until the next election. He deserves the humiliation that Campbell Newman suffered. He is a liar and, as I have written previously Swinging Voters do not like liars. He deserves to be the leader when the LNP is humiliatingly defeated at the next election as he is the reason for it. People have switched off and I cannot for the life of me see it being switched back on, no matter what happens.

The ALP at all levels had also better learn from this and tell the truth, respect Independents and Minor Parties and be a good government for all.

Twelve observations from the Queensland Election

vote

 

DavidPascoe

The following is a post by Dr David Pascoe BVSc PhD OVH Repro, originally posted on facebook, reproduced here with permission. Dr Pascoe, who runs a veterinary clinic in Oakey, Queensland, has been successfully exposing the political and corporate greed and corruption behind the destruction and sale of our farmlands for quite some time now.

 

1. That the media had little or no idea what really happened on Saturday night – they knew as much as a flock of galahs. Their convenient fall-back position was to blame it on Abbott – a theme that came directly out of the Canberra Press Gallery – “so it must be right”.

The media have no clue about the real issues that affected Qld and what really drove the rage of the election. The truth is that both the state and national media have never shown either the spine nor the stomach to expose it.

The role of the Courier Mail and the Sunday mail in desperately trying to protect the LNP and keep them in power was shameless – and needs to be publicly condemned.

2. That Tony Abbot is the real cause for the rout in the Qld election is completely ludicrous : Abbott hardly had a clue what was really going on in Qld, no matter how many times it has been warned to him . In July last year, for instance, in a speech at the LNP State Conference he stood up and called Newman “’a great leader”:

3. That Bruce McIvor, President of the LNP and a primary architect of the whole election disaster told the media that he “’feels for the families of the politicians”. So why didn’t the apparently compassionate Mr McIvor have anything to say about the families of farmers being terrorized off their farms by miners and banks? Did he feel for them the same way? Or was that reserved for the comfortably off families of politicians because they were known to him?

4. That Newman shamelessly pork barrelled his own electorate – the suggestion is between $16 to 24 million – while the rest of Queensland was begging to have potholes filled in their streets. His matter was constantly abrasive, abusive and arrogant. Right across Qld, people reported what they called ‘The Hitler factor”- when ordinary working people struggled to express their rage and enunciate the right word to describe Newman. Inevitably, the word ‘Hitler’ was repeated over and over. Ordinary people felt as if they had no say, that they didn’t matter.

5. That Newman – in his farewell speech – only showed a glimpse of emotion when he mentioned his police protection detail. Why? Did he explain that this “police protection detail” consisted not of one or two police but rather, he was surrounded by several police at all times? Why did he really need so many? And why did he suddenly feign surprise that the public didn’t like him?

6. That in every community – right across Queensland – someone knew about something they believed to be corrupt. These cases were not linked. They were not discussed. The electorates were not linked – but the rage and the size of the swing was consistent. This is what is called ‘uniform’- even if the political experts don’t understand it themselves.

7. That the Party system is clearly controlled by the Corporates, the Unions and big donors. The party system is dedicated to destroying any emergence of quality Independents. They were not able to get a story in a local paper: they simply refused to publish them. Was this an editorial decision? So who controls the editor? Who owns the newspaper? What is the real relationship between the corporate owners and the political parties?

8. That the LNP targeted certain seats and shamelessly spent from their massive secret stash to literally pulverise their opponents. One of their primary targets was Dr Alex Douglas (Independent Gaven), a man of great integrity and ability who knew where many of the LNP skeletons were buried. Some reports estimate that the party spent close on a million dollars in spam, phone calls, texts and advertising to smash the vote of Douglas – and that was only in the last few days before the polls.

Other targets included the seat of Lockyer – where the belligerent and abusive Ian Rickuss was re-elected – and Toowoomba North – where ‘Steady Eddie” Trevor Watts was elected – and Nicklin – where they failed to destroy Peter Wellington.

9. That Deb Frecklington managed to increase her vote in Nanango – which proves the seductive power of a charming liar. While the entire nation now understands what really went on with New Hope State Three and the massive cash donations paid to the LNP, Frecklington nonetheless still managed to convince a trusting country community that she was the one left smelling of roses.

Now she has lost both the mentoring of Newman – and the pleasures of being in Government – and so her own particular Pollyanna story is about to change.

10. That Rob Katter and Shane Knuth still managed to win massive majorities in traditional Labor electorates – such as Mt Isa – or formerly rural electorates such as Dalrymple that are now dominated by large Labor communities such as Moranbah – is amazing testament to their performance and credibility .

11. That both political parties completely underestimated the power of social media and were unable to shut down its freedom of speech. The suggestion that truth could be told from an entirely different quarter caught them all flat-footed: the LNP had the Murdoch Media – Courier Mail and the Sunday Mail – all stitched up, as they did the APN regional newspapers (the cheer squad for the mining industry because of their reliance on advertising) as well as Channel 7 and Channel 9 (in particular).

12.. That the State of Queensland is angry, dislocated – and the economy is up the creek. Mining has NOT been the saviour that the Queensland people were promised – instead, it has destroyed prime farm land and precious water resources. It has destroyed farmers, families and entire communities. And the voters have responded accordingly.

 

 

The Queensland Election in review

 

bottles

Friend of the Cellar and lurker, “Bruce” gives us his take on last night’s events.

Today I’m suffering.  For some reason I’m in a drug and alcohol dependence unit in a Brisbane Hospital.  I think it has something to do with the drinking game we were playing last night.  You see we believed Campbell Newman had a strong plan for Queensland and that people would see the sense in it despite losing the income from profit making assets for the next 99 years and the probability that my grandkids or their kids would have to pay to re-purchase any asset that had been improved over that time.  We also believed Newman when he said that he wouldn’t be reducing any more government services – despite the wholesale reduction in services that was not flagged at the last election.  We believed Newman when he said that investing $100million in a railway to allow an Indian Company to export coal (in an era where the major coal consumers are claiming they will reduce consumption) was a good idea.  We also believed that Newman – despite having ransacked the Brisbane City Council while Mayor and being elected to state parliament for the first time in 2012 had considerably more experience than that nice but ineffective Palaszczuk lady who only became the Opposition Leader because she had the cleanest licence to drive the opposition’s Government Toyota Tarago after the last election.

So a few of us decided to have a drinking game.  Bacchus kindly (after a few protests about quality and quantity) agreed to hook up a keg of XXXX ‘heavy’ beer to the tap in the Whispers Cellar and the rule was to drink a pint of beer every time Antony Green declared on the ABC that a seat had changed hands.  Given our belief that Newman was right – we thought a few seats might change hands and we would end up somewhat happy but certainly healthy this morning.

You could say we were barely set up for the night when Anthony Green declared that Ipswich was gone.  Fair enough, we surmised, Ipswich is a traditional ALP seat, which was always going to correct itself.  The ABC hosts turned to Wayne Swan and Tim Nicholls for comment.  Both ALP Swan and LNP Nicholls put their iPads down for long enough to suggest that it was early days and the night was long.  However I doubt that Swan or Nicholls were looking at ebay to purchase something funded by the appearance fee they were being paid.  Swan was smiling and Nicholls looked worried.  Antony Green announced that his computer was reporting double digit swings across the state but he didn’t believe it.  He should have more faith in his system – after all he designed it – we thought.  Despite his doubts in his computer system, Green declared a few more seats had fallen to the ALP – we had a few more pints.

An hour or so later, we had a line of full pint glasses in front of us that you couldn’t jump over.  Green had regained faith in is trusty computer, you couldn’t get the smile of Swan’s face and (at the risk of scoring a Godwin) Nicholls was sounding like Hitler in the Berlin bunker in 1945 when surrounded by the Russian Army.  Nicholls was suggesting the numbers are a concern but we will overcome this temporary setback and Campbell Newman will lead us to victory.  Newman conceded about 10 minutes later.  We poured another pint.

By this stage, we had no clean glasses in the Whispers Cellar and well – we weren’t feeling the best.  We did see Tim Nicholls leave (to direct the imaginary armies above the bunker?) and Federal LNP member for Ryan, Jane Prentice,  came aboard to try and make sense of the rout that was occurring around her.  Maybe it was the haze we were in but we were sure she was suggesting that Abbott had a big problem as a result of this election result.  Swan gleefully suggested that Newman and Abbott were leaders in a similar style – and that Abbott had more than a big problem here.

About this time, the beers took over and while we remember Palaszczuk coming to a microphone, deliberately not claiming victory but going on to tell everyone how she will run a government – we’re not sure of the detail.

So here we are.  Sorry Bacchus, we didn’t get a chance to clean up after ourselves before the ambulances arrived.  The saline drip in the arm is restoring my fluid balance, the anti-nausea drugs are starting to kick in – and the doctor says I should be right in about two weeks.

Nurse – can I have some more Panadol yet?

Note:

Whispers Cellar doesn’t condone excessive drinking – regardless of the provocation.  “Bruce is currently in a Brisbane Hospital and should make a full recovery – but is being assessed for a liver transplant in the future.

Queensland Election 2015

QldElection

That’s it – votes have been cast and the counting can begin. Early news suggests that Labor could actually win government tonight. Dare we dream?

An early exit poll shows a statewide swing of 16.8%.

The premier’s seat of Ashgrove is showing Kate Jones with a 2PP lead of 56% to 44%. Good bye Campbell. Don’t let the door hit your @r$e on the way out.

7:25 edit.

Antony Green has Labor winning 42, LNP 36 at this stage.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/qld-election-2015/

8:30 update

I’ll tentatively open a second bottle of red 😀 It’s still looking possible that Labor could form government after this election. It’s interesting (and entertaining) watching the rhetoric of the LNP commentators in denial of what’s happening. We’ve even got the idiotic Tim Nicholls bringing up the hoary old “you never brought in a surplus budget” with Wayne Swan. (ABC)

Similar squabbling over on channel 7 – haven’t bothered watching 9.

8:50 update

Contrasted nicely with an excellent victory speech by Kate Jones in Ashgrove.

10:00 update

All right Campbell – you’re yesterday’s man. Let’s hear from Annastacia!

Is climate change still crap Tony?

This is the forth in a series of TPS Extra opinion pieces by Ad astra, originally posted in comments on The Political Sword.

It is holiday time, where your overworked ministers take a ‘well earned break’ from the turmoil and anguish of trying to work out how to run a vast nation of 23 million with a federal budget near one and a half trillion, so it might be excusable Tony that so far there has been no response from you or your Environment Minister to the the latest alarming report on climate. We will be interested to see how long it takes you to respond, if indeed you bother at all.

Now we all know that what you really said at that fateful meeting in Beaufort was: “the science behind climate change was crap”, and that since that unwise utterance, designed to curry favour with your audience, you have backtracked, as you so often do. But we wonder how you regard the latest science that confirms what rational people, who have regard for the facts, already know, namely that the planet is warming steadily and dangerously.

NASA has just released its annual report, which states categorically that: “The year 2014 ranks as Earth’s warmest since 1880, according to two separate analyses by NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists. The 10 warmest years in the instrumental record, with the exception of 1998, have now occurred since 2000. This trend continues a long-term warming of the planet, according to an analysis of surface temperature measurements by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) in New York. In an independent analysis of the raw data, also released Friday, NOAA scientists also found 2014 to be the warmest on record.”

The report goes onto say: “Since 1880, Earth’s average surface temperature has warmed by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius), a trend that is largely driven by the increase in carbon dioxide and other human emissions into the planet’s atmosphere. The majority of that warming has occurred in the past three decades.

“This is the latest in a series of warm years, in a series of warm decades. While the ranking of individual years can be affected by chaotic weather patterns, the long-term trends are attributable to drivers of climate change that right now are dominated by human emissions of greenhouse gases,” said GISS Director Gavin Schmidt.

“While 2014 temperatures continue the planet’s long-term warming trend, scientists still expect to see year-to-year fluctuations in average global temperature caused by phenomena such as El Niño or La Niña. These phenomena warm or cool the tropical Pacific and are thought to have played a role in the flattening of the long-term warming trend over the past 15 years. However, 2014’s record warmth occurred during an El Niño-neutral year.”

You don’t have to believe me Tony – read the report for yourself, and do take the time to play the short video at the top of the page and the graphics in the right panel.  They might startle you; at least I hope they will. www.nasa.gov/…/#.VLmnp8YihHh

Commenting on the report, our own Professor Will Steffen, Director of the ANU’s Climate Change Institute said: “Effects of the steadily warming climate such as heatwaves, bushfires and extreme weather were happening more frequently and closer together. Historically in Australia, more people die from heatwaves than they do from any other type of natural disaster.” He told ABC’s AM: “It does have consequences and it isn’t the meteorological record that scientists and geeks like to look at, it’s actually affecting us on the ground, now.”

“There is no doubt that to really get on top of this problem we have to have deeper targets, more ambitious targets for 2020.”

Professor Steffen said the rise in sea level temperatures was the most significant aspect of the reports: “This is a real cause for concern because 93 per cent of the excess heat – because of the greenhouse gases we’re popping into the atmosphere – actually ends up in the ocean. When you start to see the ocean warming up as much as it is, there’s a lot more heat down there that’s going to come back to bite us.” www.abc.net.au/…/6022714  Hear him for yourself: www.abc.net.au/…/6022804

We know you’ve countered arguments supporting the reality of climate change by reminding us that it was hotter in Jesus’ time and that in this country we’ve had bushfires and floods for centuries, although you have conceded that man might have contributed to global warming.  But we are still to be convinced that you or your Environment Minister are taking global warming seriously.  You killed off the carbon tax that was reducing carbon pollution, and you tried unsuccessfully to knock it off the G20 agenda on the spurious grounds that this forum was about the global economy, although we all know climate is global too and affects every economy.

If you can remember any of the chemistry you learned at school, you will recall that when carbon dioxide dissolves in water, as it now is in alarming amounts, it forms carbonic acid, which dissolves calcium, a major component of coral reefs. You may also recall that as water gets warmer it expands, and so the sea level rises.  Warming also melts ice, which falls into the sea and raises its level too, which will lead to inundation of low-lying seafronts, of which we have many in Australia.

For someone as intelligent as you must be to win a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford, and to become PM of this nation, it is complete mystery to me why you seem unwilling to acknowledge what climate scientists have been telling us for ages. NASA’s report now strongly reinforces the data scientists have assembled for many years.

Instead, you continue to be a vocal advocate for the coal industry, happy to tell us that it will be our main energy source for decades (while our scientists insist it should stay in the ground), and at the same time you have been seemingly prepared to reduce our renewable energy target, leaving environmentalists and the rewewables industry convinced you are determined to put renewables out of business.

The only explanation of this illogic I can muster is that you are so ideologically driven, so wedded to coal interests, so determined to prevent renewables from damaging the coal industry, that you have abandoned scientific facts and logic. Are you really prepared to irreparably damage our planet so that its becomes uninhabitable for your grandchildren and mine?

Tony, do you really still believe that the science behind climate change is crap?

Please awaken; please accept the science; please take decisive action now; please persuade all your counterparts to do so next year in Paris. Otherwise, life on earth is doomed. Seriously!

What do you, the readers, think?

Don’t miss out – make sure you also check out the current piece at TPS, ‘And that was . . . 2014‘. At this stage, the new more in-depth weekly pieces at TPS are due to return from January 25th.

Ad astra is a retired academic who lives two metres above sea level.