We were hoping for a special for our hundredth WitCH, but the chips fall when they fall. Still, it’s an odd one.
Robodebt is one of the greatest perversions of politics and public administration in Australian history. It is now reaching its appalling conclusion with the Royal Commission‘s hearings, a grotesque procession of half-wits, cowards and sociopathic goons. Rick Morton, and pretty much only Rick Morton, has covered the just-ended hearings in maddening and heart-rending detail. We only await Commissioner Holmes’s inevitably damning report.
We had pondering writing something on Robodebt, just to add our public declaration of disgust, and if only to employ the expression “Little Eichmanns”. But, we could see no natural angle. Now, however, a statistician has provided a different angle.
In the last week, the Age/Sydney MorningHerald sisterhood has engaged in one of the craziest, most hysterical anti-communist campaigns we’ve ever seen, a direct throwback to the early, nutso days of the Vietnam War. Titled Red Alert,– yes, really – and illustrated with a red sky swarming with Chinese jets on their way to Australia – yes, really – once were journalists Peter Hartcher and Matthew Knott authored a series of articles and videos, all pointing to the imminent threat that China poses to Australia. The series is based upon a “review” by a panel, concocted by Hartcher and Knott, of five “independent” “experts”. The panel concluded,
The overwhelming source of danger to Australia is from China. The nature of the threat extends to the prospect of a full-scale war – and Australia would have to be involved. … We need to be ready to fight in just three years …
We try to avoid recommending paywalled stuff, but the Van Gogh nonsense, and the response, is just so depressing, and Taibbi’s critique is so good, we decided to make an exception. Of course, regular readers will be used to our badgering them to read Taibbi, and the subscription is worth it. But readers can also avoid paying by “trying 7 days for free”, and then cancelling immediately (so you don’t then forget and get billed).
A couple paragraphs are below. Read all of Taibbi’s post, and then scream.
We probably should have known that the Productivity Commission was no more than a safe place for pompous, pseudo-rational windbags. But, we didn’t. And so earlier this year, by request, we made a submission to the PC’s review of the National School Reform Agreement. The PC’s Interim Report appeared in due course, and it provided sufficient reason to never again bother with these clowns. Until now.
Last week, the Productivity Commission released its Interim Report on, um, Productivity. Which makes one wonder what all their other reports are about. No matter. We have a report. It is special.
The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.
Don’s Party is a great Australian movie. It is set entirely on the night of the 1969 Federal election, when Gough Whitlam was destined to lead Labor to victory for the first time in twenty years. David Denby wrote,
Don’s Party is derivative of Pinter, Fellini, Antonioni, Albee, and about a dozen others, and it’s a dispiriting, ugly experience, cliche’d rather than illuminating, smarmy rather than funny.