Category Archives: Politics

WOODY, FLUFFING, POWER AND ALL THAT JIZZ

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Okaaay here we go. One would have to be living under a rock on Mars not to have heard the recent palaver over Dylan Farrow’s letter published by Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/02/opinion/sunday/kristof-dylan-farrows-story.html

Dylan’s letter has unleashed a maelstrom of hostility towards her, and by implication anyone who speaks out about their experience of childhood sexual abuse. Well, not anyone actually, because we all know that if the perpetrator is NOT a privileged, influential, white male then the “alleged” accusations can sometimes sway the onus of proof of innocence onto the abuser rather than the victim.

However, when we are talking about rich, powerful, primarily white, male privilege it’s a different story. In the cases of Woody Allen, Jimmy Saville and the Catholic Church, we have seen time and time again that there is always doubt about the victim’s account, because the “innocent until proven guilty” legal privilege is given to the accused while it is the accuser whose innocence is doubted from the outset.

In the case of Dylan Farrow, her mother has been the target of the most vicious slurs which go some way to illustrating the rampant misogyny underlying the polemical fluffing for Woody by influential white men like Stephen King who described Dylan’s letter as “palpable bitchery” or Robert B Weide’s article published in The Daily Beast http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/27/the-woody-allen-allegations-not-so-fast.html where he writes:
“I am not here to slam Mia. I think she’s an exceptional actress and I seriously admire her political activism. (I even follow her on Twitter.) But those who hate Woody “for what he did to Mia,” should be reminded that if Sinatra was indeed Ronan’s biological father, it’s not the first time Mia had a child by a married man. In 1969, at the age of 24, she became pregnant by musician/composer André Previn, 40, who was still married to singer/songwriter Dory Previn. The betrayal is said to have led to Dory Previn’s mental breakdown and institutionalization, during which she received electroconvulsive therapy”.

The point of this article is not to “slam Mia” oh no siree, just an objective accounting of “facts” to help you think Mia is a vindictive fantasist, a home-wrecking liar; to make you question whether Dylan Farrow was molested, question if she was mentally stable, to doubt Ronan Farrow’s credibility.

And just maybe, it is pathetic justification for working with Woody Allen, venerating him because “we just can’t know what happened, it’s a private family matter”. Well ain’t that the truth? White male privilege means that any abuse of power within the private domain of the master’s family and home that comes to light in public will be met with hostility and disbelief- private matters are private unless we have prurient pictures as proof, then they are in the public interest. The go-to position for western society is to seek the comfort of co-option into the morality of patriarchy where we can be “rational”, “objective”, focus on “facts” and punish those who innocently remind us of the inequitable power differential between women, children and men, especially if it collides with sex, class, ability and race.

Disturbingly, in my own little social media world a psychologist wrote:
“ It just doesn’t feel right to me to vilify someone when I am not privy to all the facts (on this occasion??) Inexplicably horrible for this girl if it is true but also as horrible for Woody Allen if it’s not. I’ve sadly seen both sides”.
In another post a children’s special needs educator re-posted Robert B Weide’s article reiterating the dominant view that Dylan, Ronan and Mia Farrow are fantasists out to ruin Woody’s reputation out of malice and spite.

I find this disturbing because implicit in this co-option into the ‘Woody was found innocent of charges” camp is the fundamental view that children and their mothers lie, because “I’ve sadly seen both sides”. This means that in their professional capacity as mandatory reporters of child abuse, these educators and psychologists will be starting from the position that a child may be lying. Children are not stupid, they sense cynicism and doubt, so how are they meant to trust and feel safe with a professional – who palpably has given the benefit of the doubt to the person who has power over them as an abuser, as the entitled member of the innocent (until proven guilty) party?

It is this co-option and group fluffing of phallic power that doubly makes a victim of abuse powerless, marginalised and voiceless, their experience completely invalidated- a symbolic jizz in their faces for daring to speak out. Woody Allen, Jimmy Saville and the Catholic Church have a hell of a lot of sycophantic supporters screaming to drown out the lone voices of their victims. In the case of the Church and Saville it is patently obvious that educators, psychologists, the media and the establishment allowed child sexual abuse to occur under their watch because “we can never know what really happened”, we didn’t SEE it. Thus the very people in a position to protect children fail them time and time again. That’s exactly why privileged, white male child molesters, and, the beneficiaries of a patriarchal society will always place the burden of proof of innocence and thrust shame in the faces of little children who unwittingly challenge patriarchal power.

As for the argument “we cannot know what happened, we weren’t there, so we cannot judge”? How disingenuous: you have judged Dylan Farrow, her mother and brother because Dylan WAS there and she has told you in her own words what happened.

Addendum http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/dylan-farrow-responds-woody-allen-678552

*Postscript for the innocent re: Fluffing: “A technique used in most pornographic films today. When the male star has to get “aroused” for the camera he is fluffed beforehand. A stagehand, someone usually chosen just for this job, either gives the star a hand or blow job” ` http://www.urabandictionary.com


Swan talks turkey.

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…”a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work with a decent social safety net for the vulnerable, that had served our nation so well for so long”.~ Wayne Swan.

In Wayne Swan’s essay published March, 2012 in The Quarterly ‘The 0.01%: The Rising Influence of Vested Interests in Australia’, Swan asserts that he’s sharing the benefits of the mining boom “to the most vulnerable in society”. In fact, this is what he said in conclusion:

To me, the most significant question in politics when I started out in the late ’70s, when I wrote Postcode, and when I go to work tomorrow, is what we use our prosperity for. It’s not just about putting dollars in people’s pockets, but about building a better society; a society that creates wealth and spreads opportunity, a society that lifts up the worst-off and gives everyone a decent shot at a decent life.

So how has he gone about walking the talk? Let’s look at a vulnerable group in Australia today: sole parents. What has Wayne Swan done for sole parents since he wrote his Opus Magnum on going to war on vested interests and providing a decent safety net?

There are 630,000 Australian lone parent families with dependents – 84 per cent are single mothers and 16 per cent are single fathers. 54 per cent of these single parents have a youngest child less than nine years of age. Of the parents with a child less than 9 years of age 59 per cent were in some form of employment end of June 2011 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics(2011). On January 1 Federal Minister for Families, Jenny Macklin announced that 80,000 lone parent families with dependents would be affected with payment reductions and many moved on to Newstart payments and forced to look for work – the Newstart payments would be less than the Parenting payments. The Government continues to defend its decision but peak advocacy groups have condemned the decision. Condemnations have also come from the United Nations.On March 4, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) called on the Australian Government to detail its response to a United Nations request for it to explain the decision to cut the payments of over 80,000 lone parent families.The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights wrote to the Australian Government raising concerns about the $100 a week payment cuts to lone parents. These cuts took effect on January 1. Courtesy of The Stringer – http://thestringer.com.au/cuts-to-single-parent-payments-lead-to-hardshi…(Gerry Georgatos) Projected savings for the Labor Government by declaring single parents of children over eight years old are now sole individuals on the dole are expected to be $700 million.

That’s right, just after Christmas when its impossible to find work or childcare. When the kitty is empty and the bills are piling up. If that’s a safety net then sole parents and their children are drowning in a sea of risk. However it seems the UN are a mob of pinko lefties who have no idea what jealous bludgers sole parents are:

Let’s get through the class warfare smokescreen, we need to regain our roots and encourage people to invest and build. There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire. If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain; do something to make more money yourself – spend less time drinking, or smoking and socialising, and more time working.” ~ Gina Rinehart

Rinehart also suggested lowering the minimum wage and taxes. Rinehart is the richest woman in the world. Her wealth is inherited from her father, Lang Hancock, who died in 1992. “She could buy two iPads for each of her fellow 22.9 million Australians, or eliminate world hunger for a year. If that should not appeal, she could play her own game of Monopoly with all the mansions in the nation’s most expensive address, Wolseley Road, Point Piper. Gina Rinehart has just become the richest woman in the world with the BRW Rich 200 list estimating her wealth had nearly tripled in the past year to $29.17 billion”. (www.smh.com.au) Rinehart is also a single mother, whose children don’t seem to share the same appreciation she does in valuing work and the accumulation of wealth, over nurturing children, and, finding a work-life balance to allow for adequate parenting.

Politicians have a choice: between exploiting divisions by promoting fear and appealing to the sense of fairness and decency that is the foundation of our middle-class society; between standing up for workers and kneeling down at the feet of the Gina Rineharts and the Clive Palmers.
~ Wayne Swan

So let’s see what Swan’s labor Party have done to stand up to miners…The Australian Conservation Foundation examined fossil fuel subsidies and found:

“The biggest of these are the diesel fuel handouts to the miners – called the fuel tax credits scheme. This is a tax payer handout to big miners worth $2 billion per year this equates to $182 per taxpayer every year, and worth a staggering $9.4 billion over the next four years to some of the most profitable companies operating in this country. This is a much greater cost than the carbon price will have on households.These wasteful, inefficient handouts will continue to promote fossil fuel use at a staggering rate of $4,480 of taxpayer dollars per minute, day in, day out.The politically powerful mining lobby has got its way in Australian public policy at last year’s may Federal Budget – again.This equates to $182 per taxpayer every year, and worth a staggering $9.4 billion over the next four years to some of the most profitable companies operating in this country. This is a much greater cost than the carbon price will have on households. While the rest of us pay 38c a litre in taxes at the bowser, these companies are mining the public purse and in the process they are making climate change worse”.

$2 Billion dollars a year in subsidies to a vested interest group, partly funded by cutting sole parent payments to people who are now categorised as sole unemployed individuals, even though 59% with very little children are working parents on low incomes. The working poor, who have no voice. The working poor whose hard work as parents is seen as nothing of value to society at all.

Yeeeepp…Swannie is on his knees to miners, standing up to sole parents. What a classy warrior.


Sex, love and persecution: William J Chidley (1860-1916)

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NAA: A1861, 336

A little over a century ago Australian sex reformer William Chidley was repeatedley locked away in mental asylums for speaking openly to women about sex. Of particular moral concern to the authorities were his pamphlets ‘The Answer’, which he dedicated to “womankind”.

“I give Australians this mission in the world: – Shepherd my Book! Oh! Shepherd my Book! Remember, it is the One hope for Humanity. Let those read it who want to; its truth will become apparent in time. The human race must return to (1) natural coition, (2) to nudity, and (3) to a natural diet: fruit and nuts only; and each of these depend on the other two. Only thus can you obtain mutual Joy, Love, and Content.”

‘The Answer’ was seen to be so dangerous by the guardians of public morality in Australia that it was eventually suppressed by The Supreme Court in 1914 with Chidley put in compulsory detention in an asylum on the grounds that he was insane and a danger to public morals.

So what was so dangerous about Chidley that he had to be locked away by society, over and over again? Well, primarily it was his concept of “natural coition”. Although his promotion of vegetarianism, fresh air, sunlight, unrestrictive clothing and an anti tobacco, alcohol and opium stance didn’t make him too many friends either. Chidley believed that women should be the dominant sexual force in coitus, asserting that “false coition makes villains of us all”. Not surprisingly, women were fascinated with Chidley’s views. Rose Scott, a prominant feminist and social hostess of the time, was so taken with Chidley’s ideas that she organised ladies only public meetings so women could hear him speak about naturism, vegetarianism and most importantly, sex reform.

Chidley’s key idea “natural coition” was about taking the primacy of erection away from sex and instead focusing on the female’s body. He argued in a quaint C19th way that the snake in the Garden of Eden was in fact an erect penis. He felt that an erect penis was primarily due to “nervous irritation” and that the obsession with erections was inherently unhealthy (remember this was an era when Freud and Reich’s ideas were gaining influence and “nervous” complaints were often attributed to psycho-sexual forces). So without an erection, how did Chidley argue sex was possible? Rather than concentrating on the man’s body, Chidley argued that the woman’s body should be “erect” at the time of intercourse. Through foreplay, the woman’s vagina could suck a flaccid penis up through vacuum force, thus eliminating nervous irritation in sex for both parties. Women loved his ideas!

One of the possibly more kookier aspects of Chidley’s view on sex, was that as with animals in nature, sexual relations should only occur in Spring (and it was his notion that we are animals in that sense that led him to view the female as the dominant sexual player). So despite being an obsessive sexual reformer, Chidley advocated sexual restraint…and yet was condemned for sexual immorality.

Chidley hit the streets of Melbourne with copies of The Answer’ and kept on delivering his “immoral” public talks. He was continually harassed by police and left for Sydney. He was an arresting sight; tall and suntanned, wearing only a short, white cotton tunic with bare arms, legs, feet and quelle horreur, bare head! So arresting in fact, that he was charged twice with offensive behaviour and fined numerous times for breaking by-laws etc. In 1912 the self appointed moral guardians of Australian society had ensured he was deemed insane by The Lunacy Court (yes, there was such a thing) and he was sent packing to Callan Park mental Hospital. His case was debated in the Legislative Assembly with his defenders questioning the misuse of the power to certify.

Eventually he was released on the proviso that he wear a man’s “ordinary clothes”, stop selling his publications and desist from public speaking. He refused…and was certified insane again, then released 5 days later. In 1916 he was again deemed insane and took his appeal to The Supreme Court. He tried to commit suicide in gaol. He lost his appeal and was certified and locked away again. He died of heart failure in Callan Park Mental Hospital a few months later at the age of 56.

What was so terribly dangerous about William J Chidley? Essentially it was because he preached a doctrine of gentleness, mutual joy and love in male/female human relations. Dangerous ideas indeed in a patriarchal society on the verge of war.

Vale WJC.


The corporate psychopath: a monster of our making?

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Image from http://www.bipolarbear.com.au

As I glanced at the TV News last night I saw the stock market indices such as the Dow Jones, Nikkei, Hang Seng, Nasdaq etc. and pondered why on earth global stock markets have become a fundamental part of our news programs on TV . Why do news producers insist stock markets are so important to the average TV news viewer? It’s up there with the weather as essential information. Why such an emphasis on the immediacy of the markets? Well, it seems the dominant view is that the stock market is all important because if the stock market is healthy then our economy is healthy.

Alongside this primacy of the market, we are being fed a narrative that “growth is good” and that our economy is in pretty good shape considering the aftermath of the GFC. Wayne Swan, the Federal Treasurer, stated in early March 2013: “Australia has managed to achieve solid growth in the December quarter at a time when around half of all advanced economies contracted, including five major advanced economies.” So growth is good according to Euromoney Magazine’s 2011 Treasurer of the Year. Growth is good, so the wisdom goes, because it solves unemployment, thus widening the tax base to meet government expenditure and the redistribution of wealth. A strumpet might argue that this is arse-about; that surely employment is the key to growth, but I digress.

The “Growth is good” mantra along with the relentless focus on financial markets may be something we should be concerned about if we are not corporate psychopaths or their acolytes. Let’s consider what has been occurring in an era of “unprecedented growth” where corporate psychopaths have thrived in environments of rapid change, high turnover of key staff, and, where “growth” is the KPI for success, so that a “whatever it takes” mentality is venerated and rewarded. Before and after the 2007 GFC, government (i.e. taxpayer) bailouts of frankly, criminal banks such as Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, London Scottish Bank, IndyMac Bank etc. were the reward for a whole population of corporate psychopaths in the financial sectors. The pursuit of growth appears to give the psychopath a mantle of protection. Why weren’t these criminals held to account? Well this is what US Attorney General Eric Holder had to say about banksters in the USA during the GFC:

“I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy,” he said. “And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large.” http://www.alternet.org/economy/outrage-some-banks-are-too-big-prosecute

Our Stock Exchanges and Banks are loaded with corporate psychopaths, whose rather unwholesome qualities mean they do very well in their employer’s psychometric testing. Qualities such as empathy, people management skills, esprit des corps and emotional intelligence are definitely not sought as positive attributes for key personnel in the financial industries. Evidence suggests that corporate psychopaths are concentrated in these sectors because they are attracted to competitive environments that offer power, prestige and money to the right takers.

In ‘The Psychopath Test’, Professor Robert Hare told the author Jon Ronson: “I should have spent some time inside the Stock Exchange as well. Serial killer psychopaths ruin families. Corporate and political and religious psychopaths ruin economies. They ruin societies.” Hare’s view is reinforced by Clive Boddy’s (2011) peer-reviewed paper “The Corporate Psychopaths Theory of the Global Financial Crisis” which outlines how highly-placed psychopaths in the banking sector nearly brought down the world economy.
Boddy states:
“If the Corporate Psychopaths Theory of the Global Financial Crisis is correct then we are now far from the end of the crisis. Indeed, it is only the end of the beginning”.

Corporate Psychopathology Exhibit A is Dick Fuld, former head psychopath honcho of Lehman Brothers with a penchant for “ripping out hearts”. Have a look at this couple of seconds of footage:

NY Mayor Bloomberg had this to say about Dick at a news conference: “There’s Lehman Brothers, who I feel very sorry for, Dick Fuld, I’ve known for 40 years, who’s a competent guy, and people are criticizing him. They didn’t criticize him when things were going well for an awful lot of years.” No. They didn’t. In fact he was feted for his success.

Brave and brilliant US Senator and strumpet, Elizabeth Warren asks: “What does it take, how many billions of dollars do you launder from drug lords and how many economic sanctions do you violate before someone will consider shutting down a financial institution?” Senator Elizabeth Warren has been attacked for her standpoint, probably because it’s just not nice to criticize “competent guys” in the financial sector who walk away from the smoking debris of their collapsed corporations with millions of dollars and apparently clean consciences…Only to rise again as consultants and advisors to government and other corporations to tell them how to avoid disasters such as the ones they have previously overseen. Oh the irony.

Here in Australia, The High Court ruled that several directors of the former asbestos manufacturer James Hardie Industries PLC breached their duties by approving a misleading statement about a fund for asbestos victims. One of these former Directors, Meredith Hellicar, now advises up and coming directors on corporate governance. So it seems cheating, lying, causing harm to others and stealing is a necessary means to the ends, and this “whatever it takes” mentality gives corporate psychopaths a righteous sense of impunity even when they are hauled before the courts. And then we have elite sport so favoured by governments and corporations where huge injections (no pun intended) of public and corporate funding and sponsorship deals have enabled creatures like Cyclopath Lance Armstrong to be seen as heroes.

Corporate psychopathology has tentacles that stretch and clasp all areas of society. Whether we are talking about politics, business or consumers, each and every one of us is culpable to some degree, because it is the mind-set and values of immediate gratification and deferred accountability (in the guise of “growth”) that have enabled corporate psychopaths to flourish. We are living in a culture where the corporate psychopath is the piper we pay, but s/he calls the tune and it’s the same one over and over, ‘Whatever it takes’…and we are all singing along with them. The corporate psychopath is the dark side of the choices we make as consumers and as citizens.