December 29th, 2019
I’m sorry. This could be an accumulated boiling-over rage-induced little rave.
The time around Christmas festivities and New Year celebrations is often the time for people to tune-out and relax. Time to stop worrying about what is going on in ‘the outside world’.
But, just to break the torpor and be a thorn-in-your-side nuisance, I’d like to point out a few facts:
Let’s do some maths. There are a few figures that need looking at:
I may be wrong, but there seems to be a bulk leakage of $$$$ from our government that does not go towards helping anyone— those in need, or otherwise —or as I would view it.
Others have different views, of course.
A lot of this (following) comment has been lost to most media outlets—and therefore the public’s communal brain.
Let’s start at the latest news concerning Australian Police.
“More than 700 police will be trained to use high-powered semi-automatic rifles, with frontline officers expected to take immediate action to confront terror attacks and active armed offenders…each valued at nearly $6000”. (The Age, Dec 2019).
That seems reasonable — or does it? “…to confront terror attacks…” ?
700 police, each with a semi-automatic rifle, valued at nearly $6000.
700 x 6,000 = 4,200,000.
In words: Four million, two hundred thousand dollars.
Maybe they’ll share their weapons, meaning an entire $4.2m may not be needed at once…but, but, there’s all that training. What will that cost? And all to make us safe in airports - and out in the street! (Not a good look, by the way).
But that amount is small bikkies.
Let’s look at ‘our’ submarines for a minute:
“Australia's new fleet of attack submarines is now estimated to cost about
$225 billion to build and maintain, according to Defence officials.” (SMH, Nov., 2019)
Would you like to read that again? That’s 225 BILLION dollars! And for submarines that are out of date…and, even if they weren’t, why the hell do we need attack submarines? If ever (heaven forbid) we needed war-like protection, I’m pretty sure it would be done using drones, missiles and hypersonic weapons and not out-dated submarines. (Submarines that cost Australia $225 BILLION, by the way).
Then what about other war machines? For instance:
“The RAAF is expected to have its first squadron of F-35s operational in 2020 with the delivery of about 30 aircraft. The Australian government has budgeted $17bn for 72 of the aircraft.”
(Dec 9, 2018)
Just another few BILLION. This time, only (only!) 17 BILLION dollars for 72 aircraft. (And that figure is a year old). And only what has been ‘budgeted for’.
By the way, 72 billion, looks like this: 72,000,000,000.
That’s just a very small summary of some latest BIG spends.
But, let’s add up just those THREE items:
Semi-automatic rifles = $4,200,000
Attack submarines = $225,000,000,000.
Fighter planes = $72,000,000,000.
Calculators out, please.
Total = $297,004,200,000
In words: two hundred and ninety-seven billion, four million, two hundred thousand dollars.
IMAGINE what GOOD works could be done with even a fraction of that amount!
(Look, my calculations may be wrong. I am not in the habit of working out dollar amounts that are any larger than my meagre bank balance – or estimating how many bananas I can buy for $4— so have a go yourself and see what you make of it!)
Meanwhile, lots of little smaller amounts pile up to make this country poor as opposed to how funds could be used to help people grow and function.
Incidentally, did you see the (almost hidden) announcement that
…the Australian govt has recently given $110,000 to a church attended by the prime minister. (For safety measures, apparently). That’s $110,000 for a church which has a ‘brother’ church (Hillsong) boasting millions of dollars in revenue and a three-level Manhattan apartment.
Then there was another little amount—just (just!!) $380,000—used for an architecturally designed coffee kiosk for Parliament house.
And did you know that the LNP has taken $4.6 billion from the NDIS (National Disability Scheme) to prop up its useless ‘Surplus’?
I wonder what that $4.6 million could have done for disabled folk? Any ideas?
Meanwhile, as the country burns, funds are being raised by the public to help provide equipment for VOLUNTEER firefighters.
AND…People on ‘Social Welfare’ (horrible term) are being demonised for asking for help.
To me, this all seems very wrong.
And there seems NOTHING we can do!
BTW: “... of the top 100 companies that paid no tax, 22 were fossil fuel companies, meaning most coal and gas companies are not contributing a cent to the cost of the natural disasters their product is fuelling.”
AND the gov has just (quietly) privatised the Aged Care Assessment body. So be ready for profit-making corner-cutting cruelty for our elderly.
How good is Australia? (NOT).
I apologise for this rage induce rave.
I could go on—but I won’t.
It’s early morning in Queensland, the place I now call home.
Birds of all sorts - an amazing variety - are calling, displaying a vast range of musical notes and possibilities. Yes, the rainbow Lorikeets are a bit noisy and tuneless but others soften their raspy notes. A Currawong calls, telling us there is rain on the way. Hallelujah!
Magpies warble their glorious song, without moving their lips (sorry, beaks). How do they do this?
It’s Christmas Eve and I have had a seething mass of despair in the pit of my stomach for the past few days, but I have to let it go — at least until after Christmas.
I refuse to let the happiness of this festive season be overcome by the ridiculous, harmful stupidity and callous behaviour of our politicians—one in particular. I will put off writing and voicing my thoughts until another day, yet keep my hopes for fire relief to soon appear.
Meanwhile I will be grateful for what I have at this Christmas time.
Shopping is done. Some gifts already given; books and garden herbs and wooden beads for the littlest one, to mention a few.
The pudding is waiting in the fridge (you don’t hang them in the sub-tropics – a fact I learnt on the first Christmas here!) The shortbreads are about to be packaged in their cellophane Christmas finery, and I am (temporally) at peace with the world.
All that is left is to wish everyone a happy, joyous, love-filled Christmas. Yes, even to those who have no links to the Christmas story or any Christian faith. May it be a peaceful, relaxed time, far away from all the hustle and bustle and worries of the past days, weeks —and the year.
The birds are still carolling.
Soon I will turn on my electronic music source and select some Christmas music and sing along.
And Boris makes three: A clown story.
Once upon a time, there were three clowns. Two of them had funny hair and one of them had almost no hair.
Their names were Boris, Donald and Scott.
They were perhaps not the nicest clowns in the world but many people must have loved them as they were given special chairs in special places, with special houses and special powers and especially lots of money to do with whatever they liked.
Boris had really only just officially joined their group, but now he was there to stay (for a while anyway and…is it really FIVE years?). Boris had some very funny acts.
Did you see the one where he grabbed the phone from the journalist’s hand and put it in his pocket?
Oh, how we all laughed!
Did you see when he couldn’t recall how many children he had?
What a funny joke that was!
Donald was the first in this group, but he was feeling a little upset, since some nasty people said they didn’t like him. But that didn’t stop Donald from being a clown and saying lots of funny things.
Oh, how the world laughed!
He sent lots of funny messages out on Twitter and he said things in his speeches that people called “gaffes” but they weren’t gaffes, they were Donald’s jokes.
My, he’s a funny one!
Meanwhile the super-Pentecostal clown, Scott, made his country laugh when they talked about things that are true and Scott just said, “pffft…no that’s not true!”
Oh, how the people laughed!
“Funny Scott,” they said.
Scott made lots more people laugh by talking about a very silly and funny thing he called the ‘Religious Discrimination Bill’.
Laugh? You should have heard the people in the churches laugh - and the gay people laugh.
Oh, you are a very funny clown, Scott!
And, so Scott, Boris and Donald continue to say whatever they like and do whatever they like and the people cheer.
Or do they?
"The forest was shrinking, but the trees kept voting for the axe because it's handle was made of wood and they thought it was one of them."
(part of a Turkish proverb)
Huge parts of Australia are burning. Biggest bushfires ever.
So far, in NSW, more than 280,000 hectares of land have been burnt and many still burning.
1,000 homes have been damaged or totally destroyed.
At most recent count there are 94 fires raging in NSW alone.
There are serious fires in several parts of Queensland —some out of control.
The country is swathed in smoke and people are finding it hard to breathe.
Our Prime Minister has not been seen near any fires or fire brigade headquarters. He has had nothing to say.
I guess he’s been busy…
To wit: “Morrison took an airforce 737 airliner from Canberra to Sydney last night for the sole purpose of attending drinks with the Murdochs & then returned on it this morning - while refusing requests from firefighters to fund aerial firefighting capabilities.” * (Thanks to Mark Dando on Twitter).
He did manage to appear on TV news, though.
Was he announcing some help for the fire fighters? No.
Was our generous (?) PM announcing funds to help devastated families who have lost their homes and properties? No.
Was there an announcement of an inquiry concerning - or planning -any future mitigation of bushfire risk? No.
Was he apologising for decreasing fire services funding? No
Was he acknowledging (finally) that we have a climate emergency? No.
Was he even sending ‘thoughts and prayers’ (as is his wont)? No, not even that.
His media appearance was to make an announcement that our airports are about to have—wait for it--
a “$107 million package for a new highly-trained anti-terrorism squad”. They will be “armed with Mk18 Short-Barrel Rifles and body cameras to rapidly detect terrorists, undertake behavioural assessments and scope out the airports.”
This proposal is to give “people a great sense of reassurance. They are there to protect the public and the travelling public."
It’s nothing but an expensive & very intimidating look. But…
Have we ever had a terrorist threat at an airport in Australia? NO.
Have we ever had a safety issue with deadly firestorms endangering lives, homes and the environment? YES.
Is our government offering extra help and support to any Fire services? NO.
The need for assistance is so great that a ‘GoFundMe’ page has been set up to raise funds to help the NSW Rural Fire Service. (They were aiming at receiving $10,000 and I am happy to say that, so far $12,000 has been forthcoming. So, it seems that the generous general public at least appreciates what is being done).
And get this: A lot of this desperately sought money is needed to merely feed volunteer firefighters!
(The Red Cross and Salvos are doing a mighty job but are running out of food and volunteers).
Meanwhile in Queensland, Brisbane ABC tv/radio put on a variety concert on Friday to raise money for the 1400 Rural Fire Brigades in Queensland that have been toiling in dangerous conditions and extreme temperatures to keep people and their homes safe. They were hoping to raise $200,000. (Nearly there, at last count).
We have to beg for money for the heroic fire fighters!
It’s a sad state of affairs; tragic, in fact. To have under-resourced fire brigades in this time of tragedy and trauma is shameful.
Extreme weather conditions are now the ‘new normal’.
Climate scientists/experts are bewildered at the government’s inaction.
The awful sight of gun-toting security at airports is not going to solve the fear that is being felt in our nation.
Our population’s real fear is the fact that Climate Change is producing uncontrollable infernos that we are now witnessing.
It’s not just that there has been little acknowledgement of the devastating fires from ‘our leader’ but it’s the incredible inaction and ignoring of the drastic and deadly Climate Change reality that is oh, so obviously contributing to the disaster.
The NSW Rural fire service has been quoted as saying they are ‘at breaking point’.
Where’s the PM?
‘In July of 64 A.D., a great fire ravaged Rome for six days, destroying 70 percent of the city and leaving half its population homeless. According to a well-known expression, Rome’s emperor at the time, the decadent and unpopular Nero, “fiddled while Rome burned.” The expression has a double meaning: Not only did Nero play music while his people suffered, but he was an ineffectual leader in a time of crisis’.
Remind you of anyone?
* This is so outrageous that I am still trying to confirm that it is true. (Canberra to Sydney is a 3-hour drive).
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.