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Conclusions

July 3, 2018

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There’s a scene in the movie Children of Men where the character played by Michael Caine (Jasper Palmer) walks outside of the family home to be knowingly shot dead by government officials who suspect he’s colluding with other anarchists who fail to subscribe to the prevailing government’s ethos.

The movie points to a dystopian future where the media and the government are complicit in forming popular opinion and actively encourage citizens to commit suicide as a way to lessen the burden on the rest of society.

While we may not have arrived at this stage yet, I fear our current government has set us upon a path that could see such a scenario unfold in the distant future. Let’s face it, voting citizens are just an unnecessary inconvenience to an otherwise omnipotent government.

While this prediction may seem melodramatic, consider for a moment, the state of things in Australia.

Our current media landscape is dominated by three main players; Fairfax, News Ltd, and the government funded/subsidised ABC and SBS.

As most of us already know, News Ltd content, and its coverage is pretty much exclusively pro-conservative in its leanings and this extends to the current government.

Fairfax has, for the last ten to 15 years or so, presented a fairly ‘balanced’ view when it comes to political coverage, however this has become compromised in recent years in no part due to its declining audience, and therefore an increasing pressure to present coverage that is favourable to its ever reducing base of corporate advertisers .

If you’ve ever wondered why Fairfax continues to spruik residential property as a “sure fire” investment you need only consider that the weekend real estate supplement in both The Age and Sydney Morning Herald respectively, are responsible for the overwhelming majority of its revenue. This, despite recurring figures that show we’re heading towards a monumental property crash.

The ABC, already on life support after savage budget cuts, is under increasing pressure to provide pro-government coverage (irrespective of whoever is in power), for its very survival, a move that serves as both a disservice to Australians (who fund it) and pushes it further towards becoming a government propaganda channel, rather than a mechanism for holding the government of the day to account as per its charter.

Scott Morrison and Mathias Cormann would have us all believe that the economy is doing fine and the future is rosy, but you’d have to be a moron to believe this is true.

Interest rates are at record lows, not because the economy is doing well, but because it’s on life support, and with no prospect of recovering any time soon.

Trump is rapidly heading the world towards an international trade war that will see share markets tumble and plunge the world into economic crisis.

Meanwhile in Australia, we have among the highest (if not the highest) level of household debt in the developed world, high levels of underemployment, escalating job insecurity, and wage stagnation.

The Turnbull govt is busy slashing penalty rates and subsidising big business – with OUR money – while telling us ‘we’ve never had it so good.’

This whole sorry saga is about to some crashing down on our heads and it will be all thanks to the neo-cons at the LNP.

My advice – get out of debt now, while you still can.

 

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Past Performance is no guarantee of Future Returns

May 12, 2018

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The Royal Commission into Banks and Financial Services has in the space of just a few short weeks uncovered a cavalcade of allegations concerning the so-called Big 4 – ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac NAB, and also at AMP.

So far the Commission has heard evidence that involves alleged bribery, forging  documents, the repeated failure to verify customers’ living expenses before lending  money, and selling insurance to people who can least afford it. Charging dead people for services long after they’d passed away also rated a mention.

The Liberal National Coalition fought tooth and nail to hinder the Royal Commission only finally conceding its inevitability when the Banks, in a fit of self-flagellation, wrote to the Government requesting it, and that Labor together with members from within the Government’s own ranks had the numbers to force it into being.

In November last year, Turnbull called the decision to launch the inquiry “regrettable” while John Howard went a step further deriding calls for a Royal Commission as “rank socialism.”

“Our banks demonstrated in 2009 that they were among the best-run, the most prudentially supervised, and the most well-capitalised in the world,” Howard said.

Those lofty protests all seem rather quaint in hindsight, with Liberal heavyweights like Scott Morrison and Kelly O’Dwyer attempting to rewrite history saying that the inquiry wouldn’t have happened without the Government’s intervention. A most creative recalibration of past events if ever there was one.

There’s much wailing and gnashing of teeth at the Big 4, with some already announcing that they plan to sell off their advice arms to give some semblance of “independence.”

What happens to AMP remains to be seen but some are speculating that its entire business model is “basically fucked.”

But are the Banks and Product Providers really capable of the reform that’s needed to restore trust?

This particular observation from Aleks Vickovich suggests not (recommended reading).

 

 

You may have noticed…

December 4, 2017

Hello

You may have noticed that, like many other of our former contributors, I’m not around these parts much anymore.

I’ve come to the realisation that running a blog isn’t worth all the effort it requires particularly with a dwindling group of participants and especially with so many other forums for people to participate in.

But perhaps, more than a few months ago, it became apparent that this blog had degenerated from a place to one where we could talk about politics and life issues and such like, and instead become a place where people who had became so familiar with each other to some extent, could instead engage in public slanging match with some of the abuse becoming very personal and offensive.

From my perspective, there’s little point in running a blog where this sort of abuse was occurring – especially if it was being facilitated by me.

So I kind of stood back, occasionally venturing back in to see what the temperature was like, occasionally commenting, and then occasionally opting out for a while. But it was clear that the blog had become a shadow of its former sense.

During this time, a lot of people decided to opt permanently out and frankly who can blame them.

So this is just a note to thank everyone for making this place what it once was.

I’m mostly on Twitter these days and commenting at The Guardian where it’s much more fun and I don’t have to do any work..! 🙂

So thank youse all for being part of The Gutter Trash.

yours

reb.

 

Marriage Equality is not Malcolm Turnbull’s victory to claim

November 15, 2017

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While many of us are breathing a collective sigh of relief that the Marriage Equality postal survey delivered a landslide victory for the YES supporters, it would be disingenuous for Malcolm Turnbull to claim the outcome as a victory for his leadership.

Desperate to claim credit for almost anything that may resuscitate his dire polling, the PM has been hitting the airwaves to claim that the massive turnout is a vindication for his decision to inflict the postal plebiscite on the Australian public.

Make no mistake, many LGBTIQ people didn’t want this divisive plebiscite. We didn’t want to be subjected to the slanders, the undermining of our relationships, the attacks on our families, yet Turnbull went ahead all the same.

The plebiscite was always about delaying marriage equality. Orchestrated by prominent NO supporter Tony Abbott, the plebiscite (or postal survey as it later emerged) unleashed a torrent of abuse and accusations that had little to do with the matter at hand – allowing loving couples to marry.

The fact that Turnbull caved in to the postal survey proposal demonstrates his weakness as a leader. The fact that so many people voted isn’t vindication of his decision to go ahead with the postal survey. We didn’t have a choice.

Marriage equality wasn’t achieved because of Malcolm Turnbull. It was achieved despite him. It’s not his victory to claim.

 

 

Senator Helen Coonan: Then and Now!

November 2, 2017

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From the files of “Where are they now,” take a journey with former government minister Helen Coonan

Once a prominent member of the Howard government, The Gutter Trash can reveal that Helen Coonan, the former Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, has moved on from her post political life and now enjoys a successful career as a drag artist starring in a number of revues and ‘one woman’ cabaret acts around the inner Sydney gay strips of Darlinghurst and Newtown.

Born in the NSW town of Mangoplah in 1947, Helen attended boarding school in Wagga Wagga before moving to the University of Sydney to complete her law degree. She then embarked on a diverse legal career that included starting her own legal firm, becoming a partner in a large commercial law firm and working as a commercial barrister.

However a career in drag never seemed far away with Helen paying careful attention to her hair and makeup during most media conferences and senate enquiries which she clearly relished.

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Taking time to smell the roses

A fan of musical theatre, and a keen follower of fashion and haberdashery, Helen believes in a sensible work-life balance, taking time to smell the roses and not taking life too seriously.

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Always bubbly and full of life

Helen passed up the opportunity to host a day time talk show although she remains good friends with Kerri Anne Kennerley who she calls a good friend, confidante and “an inspiration.”

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A rare bad hair day

Fans of Helen can catch her new show at Kinsela’s on Taylor Square, Sydney every Saturday night.

Book at Ticketmaster.

Former PM Tony Abbott wants Martial Law

September 28, 2017

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Former PM Tony Abbott has been ordered by senior colleagues to ‘get a grip’ after suggesting the Army could invade the states which don’t expand natural gas production.

Mr Abbott called on his successor Malcolm Turnbull to invoke “defence powers”, telling The Gutter Trash the government could then take control over the management of resources from the states.

His drastic response to warnings of a possible gas shortage next year was an implied criticism of Mr Turnbull’s deal with three major gas suppliers yesterday to ensure potential exports would be used to protect the domestic market from gas scarcities.

The suggestion was immediately laughed off by his senior colleagues.

“No we’re not interested in a khaki solution,” Treasurer Scott Morrison said curtly today.

Another senior Government source said the move would be illegal.

“The Defence Powers are a wartime provision. There is no way the High Court would allow it to be used like that,” said the source.

The defence powers allow the Commonwealth to impose domestic new controls during wartime, such as rationing and price fixing.

They have never been seen as a means to control the market or other governments during peace time.

 

 

End of the world still coming soon.

September 25, 2017
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Actual photo.

The end of the world is still coming soon, Christian numerologists say — it was just postponed.

Saturday passed without the world coming to an end, but we’re not out of the woods yet.

The Doomsday writer who claimed that the world would end on Sept 23 now says it will end on October 21.

Christian numerologist David Meade predicted Sept 23 as the date a mysterious Planet X would collide with Earth based largely on verses and numerical codes in the Bible.

Meade said his prediction is based on ‘secret codes’ found in the Bible, specifically in the apocalyptic Book of Revelation. He said recent events, such as the solar eclipse and Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, are omens of the approaching apocalypse.

The significant number is 33, according to Meade.

“Jesus lived for 33 years. The name Elohim, which is the name of God for the Jews, was mentioned 33 times [in the Bible],” he said. “It’s a very biblically significant, numerologically significant number. I’m talking astronomy. I’m talking the Bible…and merging the two.”

Sept 23 is also 33 days since the Aug 21 solar eclipse.

Meade has built his theory on the so-called Planet X, which is also known as Nibiru, which he says would pass Earth on Sept 23. This will cause volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and earthquakes, he said.

DOOMSDAY IS NOT ON SATURDAY AFTER ALL, WRITER SAYS AFTER PREDICTING END OF THE WORLD

However, the author has since clarified that October will be the month of “action” and “seven years” of war and disaster will begin Oct. 21.

“It is possible at the end of October we may be about to enter into the seven-year Tribulation period, to be followed by a Millennium of peace,” Meade told The Gutter Trash.

NASA said Planet X does not exist.

 

 

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