Mao is famously quoted as insisting that “all power comes from the barrel of a gun” and while that may hold true for a country in the throes of a revolution or subject to military conquest in an established democracy like our own all power comes form the most persuasive tongues and the dialogue those tongues foster within the part of the population who are politically active or engaged. For a very long time during my lifetime those persuasive tongues were controlled by the owners of the mass media who were able to disseminate their ideas and understandings to a receptive audience who could only respond and engage with the issues via a limited facility provided by media owners in the form of “letters to the editor” they heavily controlled the choice and publication of such feed back to maintain their monopoly of political discourse. This made owners, editors and Journalists both powerful and significant in our democracy. Political parties and aspirants to office openly courted the media and media owners and editors of both political inclinations have not hesitated to promote or deride the political players of their day especially when it came to promoting their own beliefs or vested interests. Thus we have a business focused player like Rupert Murdoch considering not only the players who will serve his political ideals but also his business interests. We should never forget that the reason that anyone publishes a news paper or owns a commercial television channel is to make a quid by selling advertising on or in it so it naturally follows that a media entity has to be responsive to its audience and to some extent reflect the needs desires and aspirations of that audience as well. Thus no matter what the ideology of a media owner may be (and I’m sure that some readers are imagining Rupert Murdoch as an evil manipulative puppet master right now) he or she also has to respect and reflect the audience who buy his product.
The media landscape changed with the rise of the internet and the invention of the blog. All of a sudden political discourse was not controlled by mega rich gate keepers who shaped the discourse through their cohorts of authorized writers and speakers (journalists) Suddenly ANYONE could write anything they pleased about the issues of the day and more importantly ANYONE could comment freely on what had been written. And comment people did with spirit and gusto. In the political blogs that were the pioneers of this brave new online world it was not uncommon to have comment threads that had many hundreds of postings as commentators had lively debates in real time as they tried to “find the plan” to explore an issue with great thoroughness. The problem is that most of these blogs have become very tribal indeed. A sort of mob rule mentality and tribalism has become the norm in most of the online spaces where politics are discussed. Thus if you visit any popular political site you will find that the commentators who have views consistent with the slant of the site tend to gang up on anyone with a dissenting voice who happens to raise their heads above the parapets and offer a contrary opinion. I’ve seen this happen on both left-wing and right-wing sites and it almost always devolves into personal attacks upon the person espousing a heterodox position along with the accusation that they are “trolling”.
My question is does it have to be this way forever? Surely the better way to go would be for those who have a passion for politics to do more than just seek the affirmation of those with a like minded. Democratic politics is first and foremost about the art of persuasion. If you want change you have to persuade those who disagree with that change that they are in error and that the changes you propose have real virtue. No one is ever going to be persuaded to change their opinion if they never even encounter a rationale for a contrary opinion or if they never have their own beliefs challenged which means that even the most spirited but “within the tribe” discussion is ever going to change a single mind. To make change within a democracy you have to change the minds and vote of those who give our political candidates their jobs.
What I advocating here is that those who want to see a better standard of political debate in this country learn to respect political difference and to embrace diversity in their interlocutors and further that everyone who wants a better Australia needs to try to breakdown the tribalism in the online spaces where we discuss the issues. At the very least you could learn more about why those you disagree with think the way that they do, and you may even find that you can persuade them to a position that is closer to the way you see things.
Of course if you are going to be at all convincing you will have to interact with your interlocutors sincerely and with a generosity in debate that many culture warriors (as so many long time blog commentators become) find difficult. You see snarky comebacks and put downs become quite addictive when you are arguing with someone in an online forum (I know because I have not always been a saint on that myself) but if you can resist that temptation you will discover a couple of things pretty quickly. Firstly your “political opposites” are often not that different to yourself and that you may well have more in common than your think you do. From common ground you can find a common purpose and from a common purpose you can find a way to try to reconcile the differences in your positions. Even if you can’t reconcile those differences you can at least learn to respect each other.
As I suggested with the tittle “So you say you want a revolution ” its very easy to want change if you don’t think about how that change is to happen and what is to be built in the place of that which you want to tear down. Well I want to see a revolution in political discourse where those on the right and those on the left are willing to engage in productive online debate that does not just degenerate in to acrimony and rancor. Hopefully in time we will see roughly equal numbers of players in the modern electronic sandpits but if we can’t have equal numbers any time soon can we at least have some respect for those of one political persuasion who go and play in the sand pits of the other-side? These brave souls bring that most rare and valued thing to these debates and that is what the Catholics used to call “an advocate for the devil”. You see once you have an advocate for the devil in your debates the depth to which you can explore the issues increases as a consequence. Of course those who just go into online comment threads for a bit of venting and affirmation from the like minded will probably hate having their blinkered thinking challenged, they will also hate having to justify many of the notions that they have previously taken for granted but the totality of the debate will have benefited. In the end we all want to change the world, we all want to see the plan, but you need to do more than carry pictures of Chairman Mao if you want to make it with anyone.
With a hat-tip to John and Paul
Its sort of amazing just how nasty the latest plot to further the cause of Jihad in this country is, according to the news reports the plotters would have grapbbed a random person off the street and then brutally murdered them with a knife.
Police allege the 22-year-old, who was among 15 people arrested yesterday morning during the biggest anti-terrorism operation in Australia’s history, communicated with the Islamic State organisation while allegedly planning the attack.
Court documents allege Mr Azari had been preparing for the attack for several months, working closely with several other men including Mohammad Ali Baryalei, an Australian thought to be in Syria and working in a senior role with Islamic State.
Mr Azari “did between 8 May and 18 September 2014 conspire with Mohammad Baryalei and others to do acts in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act (or acts)”, the documents allege. He could face a life sentence if convicted.
Police moved swiftly to arrest Mr Azari after intercepting a phone call two days earlier, Mr Allnutt told the court.
“There has been an immediate reaction to a clear and imperative danger,” he said.
The alleged attack “was clearly designed to shock the community as a whole with a plan to randomly select a person to rather gruesomely execute … I don’t think I’ve seen much worse”, Mr Allnutt told the court.
Mr Boland said the allegation was “based on one phone call”.
“As I understand it, there’s a very limited compass of information that federal police intend to put forward,” he said.
Bail was refused, and Mr Azari will return to court in November.
Even worse is the left’s favorite follower of Allah, Waleed Ali who seems to be suggesting that we should not even try to smash ISIL in Iraq because some new iteration of the Jihadi scourge will inevitably spring up in its place:
And it’s that thought that perhaps has the most to teach us in Australia. ISIL is not simply a group to be vanquished. It is not a fixed, finite, collection of people we can somehow control or eradicate. For us in Australia, it’s most dangerously a symbol: a brand a young man from Sydney can claim for himself; a flag in which he can wrap himself, and his proposed victim. For all its pretensions to statehood, the key thing is that it’s anything but. It exists in the mind as much as on land.
So it’s not the kind of thing we can simply destroy with military force. Modern terrorism doesn’t work that way. We keep killing “senior figures” in terrorist groups – indeed, it’s more than three years since we killed the most senior of them all – and nothing substantive changes. We tried to smash al-Qaeda. It fragmented, then morphed into a mass movement not truly under anyone’s direct control, with Osama bin Laden mostly a symbolic figurehead. Then it begat ISIL.
This yields a devilish problem: namely, that we are trying to confront a threat that exists nowhere in particular, and anywhere in theory. We can’t destroy that. Not in the short term and not with the kind of conventional force the state has at its disposal. What we can do is manage it. Arrest, prosecute, convict. The good news is, we’re good at that. The bad news is that this isn’t a cure. It’s the (certainly necessary) treatment of symptoms.
Police are carrying out terror raids across western Sydney.
NSW Police said the operation, which was still ongoing on Thursday morning, was the result of a counter-terrorism operation also involving the Australian Federal Police.
Officers have raided properties in Beecroft, Bellavista, Guildford, Merrylands, Northmead, Wentworthville, Marsfield, Westmead, Castle Hill, Revesby, Bass Hill and Regents Park.
Hundreds of police officers are believed to be involved in the operation.
A number of arrests have been made, but police would not specify how many.
It is understood that raids are also being carried out in Brisbane.
Further updates were expected later on Thursday morning.
(by SockPuppet ~ a Libraryatarian blogger)
I cannot believe what all the fuss is over these brave Colombian girls wearing lycra that looks like a bare midriff gone way south – all the way past Brazil if ya get me drift:
A flesh-coloured kit that makes a Colombian women’s cycling team look naked below the waist has been described as unacceptable by the sport’s governing body.
Photographs of the Bogota Humana team were taken at the Tour of Tuscany, showing the six women wearing red and yellow kit with flesh-coloured material immediately above and below the waist.
After the pictures went viral on social media, International Cycling Union (UCI) president Brian Cookson wrote on Twitter: “To the many who have raised the issue of a certain women’s team kit, we are on the case.
“It is unacceptable by any standards of decency.”
Among leading riders criticising the outfits was the Welsh former Commonwealth, Olympic and world road race champion Nicole Cooke.
“This has turned the sport into a joke,” she said.
“Girls stand up for yourselves – say no.”
What a bunch of spoilt sports.
Let the girls show their fake lycra muff if they want to.
They obviously did.
Yeah I think maybe they should “stand up” too by saying “up yours Nicole” and show their real muff – don’t you?
Go the whole hog girls and cut out the middle bit for real.
Just do it. Please.
It would do wonders for the sport.
Australia will send a military force to the United Arab Emirates to contribute to the US campaign of airstrikes against Islamic State (Isis) militants in Iraq.
In response to a formal request from the US for specific Australian defence force (ADF) capabilities, the prime minister, Tony Abbott, said Australia would supply 600 personnel – made up of 400 from the air force and 200 from the military, including special forces – along with equipment to the coalition force against the Isis movement.
Up to eight Royal Australian Air Force F/A18F Super Hornets combat aircraft, a Wedgetail surveillance aircraft, and a tanker and transport aircraft will be sent to the United Arab Emirates.
“In addition, the Australian Defence Force will prepare a special operations task Group as military advisers that could assist Iraqi and other security forces that are taking the fight to the [Isis] terrorists,” said Abbott. Military advice would also be provided to Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq.
ADF personnel will be based in the US headquarters “to ensure close coordination” with the US and to support planning and logistics.
“We are not deploying combat troops but contributing to international efforts to prevent the humanitarian crisis from deepening,” said Abbott.
For once its possible to praise Bill Shorten for something because the on this occasion the opposition is sticking with the long standing tradition of solidarity with the government when our troops are deployed into harms way. In fact with the exception of the far left Greens who have been predictably tacitly defending the IS Islamofachist killers in the northern part of Iraq there is an almost universal feeling in this country that going to war to stop the atrocities committed in the name of Allah. With the brutal murder of a British aid worker fresh in our minds who could possibly think that there is any other choice but to go into northern Iraq and Syria with all guns blazing?
I rather firmly of the opinion that a predominately air based campaign will be more successful on this occasion than it was in the previous forays into Iraq. I think this for a couple of reasons. Firstly the current crop of Jihadis have very little willing support from the people in the territory they nominally control. This has to be a natural consequence of their brutality and continuing war crimes. Without some support from the population for their aims and methodology then all they have is fear from the people who currently live under their rule. While that is a good motivator for population compliance its not going to help them much in terms of defending the territory that currently occupy. Secondly the local geography of dry desert mostly flat territory provides little cover and that means that vehicles and men on the move are hard to hide form air surveillance and more importantly air strikes. If its moving and holds armed men then it can be taken out form the air.
I think that we can be pretty sure that the Kurds in the north will not tend towards the excesses of war that will alienate the Sunis who we want on our side n this war but I am far less confident of the Shia militias who may well be inclined to take some sort of revenge on the Suni population if they are perceived to be at all sympathetic to the IS Jihadis, this issue was front and center in the weekend news reporting out of Iraq on the ABC.
One thing that I don’t expect though is that there will be many IS Jihadists taken prisoner. Fanatics can not be trusted to be honorable nor is it to be expected that they will surrender when their situation is hopeless. Rule 303 is also likely to be applied by the ground forces that mop up as well. If many of them are taken prisoner its likely that bleeding hearts like the loopy Greens will want to see them tried by one court or another. While that may suit the namby-pamby Greens I just don’t think that you want to give too many of these scumbags the venue to further promote their hateful ideology.
Its of course too early to predict the result of this war but I don’t share the pessimism of dyed in the wool extreme lefties who are already wishing for failure here. Frankly failure is not an option because we have to excise the cancer from he middle east if any of us are to sleep well in our beds into the future the death cult has to be, well, killed as quickly and completely as we can do it. Fortunately there seems to be a quite broad range of nations who are willing to join into this sadly necessary task.
Those who have been following this blog for sometime must have noticed my interest in the battle that we are all involved in between modern secular society and the medieval version of Islam that sadly too many young Muslims are so keen to kill and die for. So it should surprise none of you that the government has just announced that the threat level has been increased. Who could complain? in the last few days we have had arrests made of two men who have been charged with terrorism offenses not that far from Chez Hall in Logan (speaking from a global perspective), Obama has announced that there will be no rock that the Jihadists can hide under in Iraq or Syria and no day goes by with out some new Jihadi outrage hitting the airwaves. Personally I don’t feel any more concerned before the change to the threat level but then I have been more interested in this issue than many people for some time. I do however hope that the discussion helps those who have been either in denial about the nature of Islam or the sincerity of those who would kill for it realize the error of their ways before its too late.
I Know precisely how you feel about these scumbags of the left who want us to do nothing, to look the other way at the savagery of the the Jihadists Yale. I too have a teenage daughter and there is nothing taht horrifies me more than the thought that young girls like her are being so ill used by the ISIL mob. There can be no redemption for “men ” such as these and the only solution is to rain death upon them with enough consistent ferocity that they are wiped from the face of the earth. Be it in the shape of drone or ordinary air strikes they should be pursued from the air until they are frightened to show their faces above ground.
Any that are captured should be subject to a capital sanction for even being the most minor part of this evil enterprise.
Sadly I can foresee some problems with stripping them of their current citizenship should they try to return to this country because the bleeding hearts like Geoffrey Robertson will want to insist that such a thing might contravene the UN conventions by making them stateless.
There is only one rule for this brand of pedophile thug and that is rule 303 .
Angry Comrade Yale, Very angry
Originally posted on The Red And The Blue:
WITH CALLS GROWING for military action against the so-called Islamic State — and warnings, including from Foreign minister Julie Bishop, that jihadists bent on setting up a terrorist state may already be too entrenched to wipe out — the usual anti-war bleatings are emanating from the usual orifices of the Left. Today we see a picture somewhat less ideal than the fantasy world in which the “compassion” babblers and chardonnay drunks dwell.
Readers know I make very few bones about the true value of the ABC’s QandA programme: with a panel of six (including the host, journalist Tony Jones) that is invariably stacked 4-2 or (mostly) 5-1 with left-wing participants, QandA is not a serious forum for quality discussion of politics and current events: it is merely a weekly opportunity to get a good look at what the Left is talking about among itself.
So it was last night, and it will equally…
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I expect there are readers of the Sandpit who are waiting for my next words of wisdom. Well I’m it a bit of a waiting mode too. I have finally connected up our new water-tank I have set it up so that it can both equalize with the house tank and with a bypass that allows me to fill it above what would be the full to the brim level of the house tank. So naturally I’m waiting for it to rain now and the Gods are trying hard to mock my hubris.
In terms of my car building hobby its been a case of one step forward and a couple back. I want to swap out the Honda carbs I have on my sports car for a pair of SUs which I naturally want to rebuild. Naturally enough the mob I order a full kit form have the kit I want on back-order, due late this month. Likewise after a great deal of thought I have decided to fit a manual gearbox . The normal wisdom would be to go for a five speed but I have a very limited budget so I’ve bought a 4 speed out of a KE70 Corolla and guess what I’m waiting for that to be delivered by courier from the importer I bought it from. Those of you who are familiar with my car may be wondering why I chose that particular gearbox well its the manual alternative to the Auto that I currently have in the car which means the adapter plate I made for that box will work for the manual. All I have to do is get a Pulsar flywheel, a Corolla clutch plate make a clutch peddle and of coarse that will all need a bit of finessing . Which means you guessed it more waiting as I try to source all that I will need and waiting between the small amount of time that my pain issues will allow me to tinker with this stuff. What this all means is more waiting…
Hell is the eternal sojourn in a waiting room, where the magazines are filled with print that is just a tiny bit to small to read and the TV plays eternal advertorials for consumer crap that promises far more than it can ever deliver.