Some people are really stupid

Mallacoota

During the fires (2019/2020) the Emergency Management Commissioner for Victoria, Andrew Crisp, on 28th December 2019 said “If you’re planning on visiting East Gippsland tomorrow, don’t. If you’re already there, leave now. Residents should leave early tomorrow and register on Register.Find.Reunite. Emergency services can only do so much and we need the community to take action to stay safe. Take care”. This warning was all over Twitter, Facebook and other social media. It was also consistently broadcast on free to air TV and radio. It was also all over the VicEmergency app which is available for smart phones.

Two days later there were up to 4,500 people cowering on the beach while Mallacoota was under attack from fires. Mallacoota is at the east end of East Gippsland and has a permanent population of just above 1,000. That means that there were over 3,000 people who didn’t bother with following the advice of the Emergency Management Commissioner.

Now, a couple of days later, these same people are moaning that they have no resources. The fires were extreme and the town is cut off by road and the Australian Defence Forces have been called on to ship supplies in by sea and air. They are also ferrying fire-fighters in and out to relieve those that have been on the front line for far too long.

Resources are extremely stretched and are being more and more stretched by the extra 3,000 or so people who simply shouldn’t be there.

Why are people so stupid ? The advice to get out of there was given by someone who has vast knowledge of emergency management and is surrounded by a large number of people with expert knowledge of fires and logistics.

By staying, when they should have left, these people are a drain on resources and they put themselves and others at risk. The community and emergency services have much, much better things to worry about than a bunch of people who should not have been there.

While I feel for the people caught up in this situation, I have no real sympathy for them. Their situation is a problem of their own making. Maybe next time they’ll listen.

Prescribed Burns and Protestors

A local person in a position of influence and who should know better has reposted a Facebook post about protesters stopping prescribed burns. These misguided people tried to stop the burns but ultimately failed. One burn went ahead after more community consultation and the other was reduced in size. It needs to be mentioned that neither of the burn areas have been impacted by the current fires (as at 2nd January  2020).

And the anti green replies started. Talk about a Firehose of Falsehood. Noone seems to have noticed that the Australian Greens support prescribed burning and yet the people posting the comments would have you believe that the greens (radical or not) need to be at least burnt at the stake.

The blatant lack of fact checking displayed in the post is breathtaking.

I guess this is the face of social media these days. Anything that can promote community outrage is posted in order to garner likes or even votes in the next election.

 

More on politicians

Prime Ministers should be leaders.

I've already given my reasons for thinking politicians are stupid. Well here's a bit about the complete lack of leadership displayed by our Prime Minister.

Scott Morrison, our Prime Minister, has recently seen fit to go on holiday. I have no issue with him going on holiday with his family. Working Australians are entitled to a number of annual leave days per year and the Prime Minister is no different.

The problem, as I see it, with Scott Morrison (ScoMo), is that he compounded his absence.

When it comes to climate change he is offering no leadership whatsoever. On the subject of climate change he's gone missing. We've just seen the reports that have come from the 25th Conference of the Parties in Madrid (CoP 25). Effectively Australia's position is that we need to do absolutely nothing to meet our already inadequate targets. We can meet these targets by means of dodgy accounting. Not real action. In all of this ScoMo has shown not a jot of leadership and is content to just roll along. Leadershop ScoMo, get with the programme.

The economy. When expert after expert says that economy is tanking and the Reserve Bank is urging government to do something to facilitate growth our government does nothing apart from saying that there will be a surplus. ScoMo has again gone missing. We've just had the economic review released and now they have said that the projected surplus will be a lot less than originally predicted. Meanwhile the Reserve Bank is left with little else to say apart from "we told you so".  Leadership ScoMo, get with the programme.

The current fire emergency.  While large swathes of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, West Australia and South Australia are burning ScoMo seems to be doing his level best to avoid the issue. He's gone missing. He even went so far as to offer "thoughts and prayers" to the people who have lost everything and the fire-fighters who are mostly volunteers. These brave people are, in a lot of cases, taking time off work to fight for their communities and will worry about their employment status later. It's now very nearly Christmas and this has been going on since August. A lot of them will lose their jobs because of the time they took off work. As one of them pointed out "thoughts and prayers don't pay the fucking rent mate". ScoMo said that he doesn't hold a fire hose or rake the burning undergrowth and nobody expects him to.  For crying out loud, he even refuses to meet with a bunch of past and present emergency managers, fire brigade leaders and others to work out what needs to be done. Instead he is again, showing no leadership. Get with the programme ScoMo.

So what does ScoMo need to do apart from dissapear to Hawaii with his family.

For a start he could acknowledge that we have an issue with climate change that is having real effects right now. He should be looking at what action the government could take to reduce the effect that Australia is having. He should be consulting far and wide and forming policies that will help Australia reduce emissions. He should be publicising his, and his government's thoughts and actions. HE should be explaining what policies have been formulated and why. He should have the confidence to put these policies to the court of public opinion.

He could acknowledge that the economists are experts in their fields and he should be listening. Again, he should be looking to formulate policies to get things on the up and up again. He should be telling the general public that the country's economic performance is not good enough and that he is taking steps to listen to the experts and making policy to turn it around.

As far as the fires are concerned, leadership would have him just say "the best thing I can do now is to stay out of the way and let the experts get on with the job". He should just listen to what the fire fighters and emergency managers are asking for and then facilitate that. No need for a big fanfare. Just do it.

So, he's been absent on climate change. He's been absent on the economy. He's been absent of the current emergency situation.

And just to make sure that we really know that he's absent he disappears while doing his best to make sure that the public doesn't know where he's going. He's left the country in the care of the Deputy Prime Minister - the leader of the National Party. This bloke is a log - he even went so far as to say that while he was acting PM Wagga Wagga was the capitol of Australia. He is a climate change denier and has no idea about the economy. He wants the irrigators to have more water out of an already destroyed Murray Darling Basin.

Why didn't ScoMo just say "I and the family, are off to Hawaii for a couple of weeks leave. While we are away I'll be being briefed multiple times per day on what's happening and what the federal government needs to do". There, that's it, image problem solved. He's basically saying that "I booked this holiday some time ago and I'm going but while I'm gone I'll still be Prime Minister and I'll be right up to date with what the government needs to do and I'll be making sure it happens."

Leadership is lacking ScoMo. Get with the programme.

 

Firehosing

Firehosing really, really annoys me.

What is it though ? From Wikipedia :- The firehose of falsehood is a propaganda technique in which a large number of messages are broadcast rapidly, repetitively, and continuously over multiple channels (such as news and social media) without regard for truth or consistency. 

Governments, oppositions, lobby groups all use “Firehosing” to try and swing opinion.

To my way of thinking it’s a bloody disgusting technique and is yet another Social Engineering strategy. Social meda including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, et. al. are able to be bent to the will of what I call the Firehosers. They can have a huge audience, a monstrously huge audience, that can share the Firehosing in all its demented glory.

We’ve all seen how a Facebook post, for example, can spread like wildfire so that quite soon a huge number of people have seen and shared it. It’s the same with the other social media platforms. Firehosing makes brilliant use of this to spread lies, mis-information and misdirection.

Trying to counter Firehosing with the truth is a futile exercise as the Firehoser doesn’t care, they just carry on with the next lie or piece of mi-information or misdirection..

Whilst trying not to be party partisan – before the last Australian election I was watching the leader of the opposition on the ABC’s Q&A explain that his government, should he be elected, would definitely not be introducing a death tax. He explained that the so called “retirement tax” was nothing of the sort – it was rolling back a government handout to some retirees who had a decent sized share portfolio. He explained that the changes to “Negative Gearing” would only effect new purchases of already built houses. It wouldn’t effect already negatively geared houses and it wouldn’t apply to new housing. The leader of the opposition spent about forty minutes debunking all of the lies and mis-information.

While I was watching Q&A I was also watching Twitter and Facebook. The firehosing was continuing unabated. Seconds after the leader of the opposition debunked a lie or bit of mis-information I would see a tweet or a facebook post saying that what the opposition leader said was a lie and that the opposite was true. eg. The opposition leader said that there will be no death tax and seconds later there would be a post saying that was a lie and that there would be.

As the 2019 Australian election proved to me that firehosing works. Political leaders around the world will be well served to work out a technique to combat it. In the last American presidential election there was firehosing in the extreme from all parts of the political spectrum. In the UK Brexit debate there’s firehosing from all sides.

It matters not how many experts quote numerous studies saying that the firehosers are wrong they will just ignore the facts and keep the firehose pumps running.

It doesn’t matter how much you try to combat the falsehoods and misdirections you’ll only be a small bit of chatter that easily gets lost in the storm. Firehosing relies on an absolute torrent of rubbish that gets spread far and wide and quickly. Trying to keep up and spread corrections just can’t work.

Firehosing is a social engineering technique and inflaming public sentiment is how it works and was put to very effective use by Randolph Hearst as long ago as the 1890’s. Social media has been the great enabler. I guess Firehosing will be with us until social media and instant communication die out.

Politicians

Politicians are stupid. Let me repeat that. Politicians are stupid.

Here’s a factual story concerning my elected representative in the Federal Parliament. Before what has become known as the “Same Sex Marriage Vote” it was abundantly clear that a large majority of the electorate was in favour and would vote “yes”. When our esteemed local member voted in parliament he voted “no”. Why was that ? Surely his job is to represent the views of his electorate in the parliament. He didn’t, he presented his own views which indicates to me that he doesn’t know what his job is.

Lately we’re seeing demonstrations all over the country regarding climate change. It’s pretty obvious to all, probably including Blind Freddy, that the demonstrators want their representatives, at all levels of government, to do something.  The demonstrators are largely young and can see their future going down the gurgler. The older generation protesters can see the future of their grandchildren and great grandchildren also heading south and, like the younger generation, are bloody angry and want the politicians to do something constructive about climate change. They can see their future and their children’s future as well as their grandchildren’s and great grandchildren’s  futures being quite nasty, if not untenable.  What do our esteemed elected representatives do ? They sure don’t try and formulate meaningful policy to address the issue. They’d rather look for draconian ways to prevent people from demonstrating, that’s what! Do they even hear the message? Nope. They’d rather just shoot the messenger.

The economy.  Day after day I read various economists and commentators saying the the economy is in the toilet. Stagnant wages, high unemployment, rising prices, stunted growth, etc.  The politicians, however, keep telling us that the economy is strong. There they all sit in their Canberran Tower telling us all that things are good but the learned opinion from a bevy of real experts including the governor of the Reserve Bank tell us that the economy needs intense work because it’s nearly broken. Why do the politicians not do anything to address the concerns of the real experts let alone the concerns of the electorate at large?

Politicians say that the community should trust them. Why? They’ve demonstrated time and time again that either can’t or won’t act in a constructive fashion with policies that will have an outcome that benefits all of us.

I say that they can’t be trusted because, as I say at the beginning, Politicians are stupid. We need to get rid of this lot, all of them apart from three or four exceptions, and elect a new lot that aren’t so bloody stupid. We need to hold them to account. Send e-mail, call, do whatever to make them accountable. Make good and sure that they know and understand that every vote is gold and that they stand to lose a great deal if they act so bloody stupidly. We elect them, we pay for them. They work for us not the other way around.

Birds

In the news lately there have been a number of articles abou the most popular bird. There have been champions of Magpies, Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, Seagulls and others.
Noone has mentioned the Noisy Miner, the Crow or the Wedge Tailed Eagle which are the three birds that get my votes.

They’re cheeky little buggers. Whilst camping I’ve had one walk into my tent and have a good look around before walking out again. I’ve had one sitting on the edge of my porridge bowl watching me eat breakfast. It would’ve been better if it didn’t shit in the bowl though. We had a couple of them sitting on a camper annex guy rope for about fifteen minutes carefully watching every move we made. We’ve encountered them at just about every campsite we’ve been to. They’re cheeky, they’re fun, they’re curious and quite friendly.

These are my favourite birds.

Second on my list are Crows although Jenny hates them with a vengeance. These are almost the opposite to Noisy Miners. Thayre not curious, friendly, cheeky or fun. They are serious and very intelligent. But what really stands out is that they very rarely squabble amongst themselves. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them fighting. I even saw one try to feed a Willy Wagtail about half a hamburger bun when it was being pestered by the best pesterer of large birds there is.

Third on my list is the Wedge Tailed Eagle. What a mighty bird. Big, dark, sinister and very imposing. Their presence as a mere speck high in the sky is enough to send all of the smaller birds scuttling off to a nice safe place somewhere out of sight of the eyes in the sky. I can sit and watch a pair of the soaring for hours provided they don’t effortlessly soar off into the distance.

Wedge Tailed Eagle (Aquila audax)