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Christine Holgate Starting To Wish She’d Just Taken A Photo Up A Man’s Trousers

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 13/04/2021 - 4:02pm in

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Business, Featured

Former Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate was kicking herself today, saying that she should’ve just taken an unsolicited, sexually inappropriate photograph of a stranger rather than awarding four executives a bonus watch.

“What was I thinking? If only I’d hid in a bush and taken photos of a woman in public without her knowledge, I’d still have my job right now. But instead I had a brain-snap and gave a corporate gift,” she said.

Ms Holgate, who was forced to stand aside from her job after pressure from the Prime Minister, said if she’d had her time again she would’ve paid $26.7 million too much for land next to an airport, owned by Liberal Party donors, rather than spend $20,000 on four watches.

“I mean that’s obvious now, but at the time I just didn’t think of it. But if I’d done that, the Prime Minister would never have called for my resignation. I’d still be in a job. Probably promoted.”

The former Australia Post chief said she made the grave error of rewarding people rather than bullying them. “Now that I’ve had time to reflect on the situation, I can see that I should’ve called those executives lying cows, or at the very least relentlessly bullied them on Facebook. I’ve still got a lot to learn”.

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Tory Flag-Waving Now Reaching Reaganite Proportions

Patriotism, someone once said, is the last refuge of the scoundrel. And the Tories have done their best to show how true this is, especially last week when it seemed that they wasted no opportunity to wave the flag. This also led them to generate more synthetic outrage towards the BBC. Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty raised Tory ire when Stayt joked about the relatively small size of the union flag on display during an interview with Matt Hancock or one of the other Tory ministers. This led to howls from the Tory press that the Beeb was sneering at the flag. They weren’t. They were laughing about the Tory’s sheer opportunistic use of it.

It’s no accident that they’ve started waving the flag in the weeks running up to the local elections. Their performance on health, the economy, Brexit and just about everything else has been dire. They’re still trying to privatise the health service by stealth, they insulted the nurses with a 2 per cent pay rise, which is in real terms a cut in their salaries, wages are still frozen, more people are being forced into real, grinding poverty, the queues at the food banks are as long as ever, or longer. The Brexit that Boris has been so desperate to ‘get done’ is spelling disaster for Britain’s manufacturing industry, and businesses dealing with the continent and ordinary Brits wishing to travel abroad are now faced with mountains of paperwork and bureaucracy. Bureaucracy which the Brexiteers blithely assured us wouldn’t happen. Hopefully this year will see us coming out of lockdown and the Coronavirus crisis. We’ve a far higher rate of peeps receiving the vaccine than the EU, but that shouldn’t distract attention from the colossal way the Tories have mismanaged the Covid crisis as a whole. As Mike’s pointed out in one of his articles, Tory bungling and corruption – they gave vital medical contracts to companies owned and run by their friends and supporters, rather than to firms that could actually deliver – that over 100,000 people have died of the disease. One of the good peeps on Twitter has shown how this compares to the numbers killed in some of the genocides and ethnic massacres that have plagued recent decades. And the report, which was supposed to show that Britain isn’t institutionally racist, has been torn to shreds with some of the academics cited claiming they were not properly consulted and seeking to distance themselves from it. And then there are the mass demonstrations up and down the land against their attempts to outlaw any demonstration or protest they don’t like under the guise that it would be a nuisance.

And so, with all this discontent, they’ve fallen back to Thatcher’s tactics of waving the flag at every opportunity. One of the hacks at the Absurder in the 1980s said that Britain had three parties – the patriotic party, who were the Tories, the loony party, which was Labour, and the sensible party, which was the SDP/Liberals. Which showed you the paper’s liberal bias even then. The SDP, Liberals and their successors, the Lib Dems. have sold out utterly, while after four decades of Thatcherism Michael Foot’s Labour party looks far less than loony. But the hack was right about the Tories and patriotism. Thatcher waved the flag as frantically as she could and constantly invoked the spirit of Winston Churchill and World War II. One particularly memorable example of this was the Tory 1987 election broadcast, which featured Spitfires zipping about the sky while an overexcited voice told the world ‘Man was born free’ and concluded ‘It’s great to be great again’.

Here’s another feature of Fascism that’s been adopted by the Tories to add to those on Mike’s checklist. Fascism is an ideology of national rebirth and revival. Thatcher was claiming she was making us great again, just as Donald Trump claimed he was doing for America. Just as Oswald Mosley called one of his wretched books The Greater Britain. And unfortunately, as Zelo Street has also pointed out, Fascists like the Nazis have also used people’s natural loyalty to their flag as a means of generating support for their repulsive regimes. British Fascism was no different. Mosley also made great use of the flag at his rallies, and this tactic was taken over by his successors in the National Front and BNP. This has been an embarrassment to ordinary, non-racist Brits, who simply like the flag. One of my friends at school was a mod. At the time, the union flag and British bulldog formed a large part of mod imagery without meaning that the person was a racist or White supremacist. During one of the art lessons my friend started painting a picture with those two elements – the union flag and bulldog. The teacher came over and politely asked him not to do so, as he was afraid people would like at it and come to the wrong conclusion. This was just after the 1981/2 race riots, so you can understand why. But it is frustrating and infuriating that ordinary expressions of reasonable patriotism or simple pop culture iconography have become suspect due to their appropriation by the Far Right.

But the real excesses of flag-waving were to be seen over the other side of the Pond in Reagan’s America. Reagan was wrecking his country with privatisation and an assault on what the country had in the way of a welfare state, while murdering the people of countries like El Salvador and Nicaragua by supporting Fascist dictators and their death squads. But, like Thatcher, he did everything he could to use the symbols of American nationhood. Like the Stars and Stripes. A Republican party political broadcast in 1984 or thereabouts showed the American flag being raised no less than 37 times. This was so bizarrely excessive that one of the Beeb’s foreign correspondents commented on it. As far as I am aware, no-one took him to task for sneering at it.

This flag-waving is part of the Tories attempts to present themselves as the preservers of British national identity, tradition and pride against the assaults of the left, particularly Black Lives Matter and their attacks on statues. I’m not impressed with the attacks on some of the monuments, like that of Winston Churchill, even though he was a racist. But in Bristol the only statue attacked was that of the slavery and philanthropist Edward Colston. None of the other statues in and around Bristol’s town centre of Edmund Burke, Queen Victoria, Neptune and the sailors who made my city a great port, were touched. And then there was the protest last week against the new school uniform policy at Pimlico Academy in London. This ruled out the wearing of large afro hair styles. So the students started protesting it was racist. The headmaster also raised the union flag, which led the statement from one of the students, Amna Mukhtar, that it weirdly felt like they were being colonised. And then some idiot burnt the flag in protest. The headmaster has now rescinded the school’s uniform code and taken the flag down. Now I gather that one of the Tories is now calling for every school to fly the union flag.

It all reminds me of the comments the late, great comedian Bill Hicks made when Reagan and his supporters were flying the flag and their outrage when a young member of the Communist party burned it. After making jokes about the Reaganite rage and hysteria, Hicks said that he didn’t want anyone to burn the flag, but burning wouldn’t take away freedom, because it’s freedom. Including the freedom to burn the flag.

Quite. And the Tories are wrecking our country and taking away our freedoms while cynically waving the flag.

So when they start spouting about it, use your scepticism and think of Hick’s comment instead. And vote for someone else.

A Philosophical Look at the Tech Companies You Use

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 05/04/2021 - 8:47pm in

A philosopher who specializes in questions about technology and a Silicon Valley executive with a Ph.D. in philosophy have a conversation.

The philosopher is Evan Selinger, professor of philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology, and the executive is Mary Berk, most recently a product manager at Instagram and Facebook (and whose previous employers include Amazon, Ebay, Google, and Microsoft).


[Rob Pettit, “Flip Phone Spiral”]

The conversation ranges from stories from Dr. Berk’s education—

During my first year of graduate school, I wrote a paper on Hobbes. One of my professors stopped me in the middle of my presentation on it and said, “No, that’s wrong. Whose presentation is next?”

to how she got her first job in tech—

They weren’t interested in me at first… But eventually, the hiring manager called me. He expressed that after 50 phone interviews, nobody demonstrated they could think critically about how to calculate the consequences of actions 20 or so steps down the line, or understand the motivations behind someone’s actions… But given my training, I could do that easily.

to various issues in the tech world, such as corporate knowledge—

Companies may go to lengths to avoid having knowledge or the appearance of knowledge, especially when that “knowledge” is tenuous or obligates them.

and corporate ethics, both in general—

When companies put out value statements, they’re really excited about them and announce the ideas with great fanfare. They typically believe in them upfront. But often, they’ve also gone through 18 layers of PR and legal vetting. These processes are designed to prevent companies from using words or making claims that can be interpreted in ways that might create problems down the line.

and at specific companies—

Facebook is generally really good at ensuring its employees think of the people who use their products as real people — not abstract entities like users to be exploited… But what happens in tech companies is that company culture, policy, or executive direction constrain all of this good stuff.

as well as what it is like to work at some of these places—

In one hilarious performance review, I received peer feedback that criticized me for both not smiling enough, which meant I’m too serious and unapproachable, and also for smiling too much, which meant I’m not serious enough. I’ve also been called “difficult” for having even the gentlest of opinions and was basically told that having any feedback at all meant that I didn’t trust my manager and that this made me a problem. Even with lots of emotional labor, offering constructive criticism through compliment sandwiches — where you insert carefully worded criticism in-between praise — it’s very hard for women to be heard. These are the situations and performance reviews I can laugh at. You develop a thick skin and learn to laugh when it hurts.

The interview is part of a new series from Dr. Selinger called “Open Dialog.” You can read the whole interview with Dr. Berk here. And you can follow Dr. Selinger on Twitter here.

Welfare Recipient Down To His Last 193 Retail Department Stores

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 24/03/2021 - 11:30am in

A man who is dependent on government payments for his livelihood has literally less than 200 electrical, furniture and bedding retail stores to his name.

The 81 year-old battler, who can barely afford to buy basics such as racehorses without the help of government payments, says if things don’t get better soon he may be forced to make a derogatory statement about homeless people.

“A lot of people don’t know what it’s like to live year to year, not knowing where your next $22 million cheque from the government is going to come from. If it wasn’t for those payments, I’d be left with literally just tens of millions of dollars. It’s heart-breaking”.

The Sydney man, who some have described as a welfare sucking leech, said he didn’t know where he was going to sleep tonight. “I’ve only got 12,000 different beds to sleep on, and they’ve all got to go!”

State Secrets

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 23/03/2021 - 11:00pm in

Photo via Sharomka/Shutterstock Sometime later this year, the Fort Wayne, Indiana, city council will vote on whether to give a...

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Dyson Launches New ‘Scott Morrison’ Range, “The World’s Most Impressive Leadership Vacuum”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 16/03/2021 - 5:18pm in

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Business

Electronics manufacturer Dyson has launched a new range of devices called ‘The Scott Morrison’, which it says is the most complete leadership vacuum the company has ever developed.

“We’ve always held a leadership position, and we’ve always created vacuums. So it made sense to rename our entire new range after the Australian Prime Minister,” a spokesperson for the company said.

She said the similarities with Mr Morrison were uncanny. “It makes a lot of noise, it’s obsessed with cleaning up anything unsightly and it doesn’t add anything at all”.

The company says the Scott Morrison doesn’t do anything at all except suck. “Although you can set it to its reverse mode and use it to blow huge amounts of hot air into any situation. And when it gets into trouble it automatically organises a photo opportunity in an aeroplane”.

The ‘Scott Morrison’ comes with a manual that isn’t designed to be read.

A Better Way to Do Corporate Giveaways

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 09/03/2021 - 2:55am in

Photo Credit: Indypendenz/Shutterstock.com _____ The debate around corporate tax breaks usually centers on a specific giveaway. Should Virginia have given...

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No, It Is Not Anti-Semitic To Question Whether Jews Are An Ethnic Minority

Ever keen to bash the Beep, the Torygraph printed another story yesterday accusing the Corporation of anti-Semitism. Benjamin Cohen, the CEO of Pink News, had been invited on to Politics Live to debate whether Jews should be included as an ethnic minority in the national census. Coming out of the show, Cohen tweeted how offended he was by the question, and that he was the only Jewish person facing a panel of four gentiles. He was absolutely sure that Jews should be treated as an ethnic minority, and asked rhetorically if the Beeb would have asked that question of a Black or Asian guests.

Actually, it’s a very good question whether Jews are an ethnic minority, and colour is a part of the issue. Before the rise of biological racism, Jews were largely persecuted in Christian Europe because of their religion. The persecution generally ceased if they converted. Before the outbreak of Nazism and the horrors of the Third Reich, the majority of Jews in Europe did not wish to be seen as a separate people from those the countries in which they lived. The British Jewish establishment opposed the Balfour Declaration because they believed that Jews were ‘Englishmen of the Jewish religion’. The British government’s support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine, they feared, would lead to Jews being viewed as foreigners, whose ultimately loyalty was to the new state, rather than loyal British citizens.

Even now there is a healthy debate within Judaism about whether it is a ethnic group, a religion or a descent group. Not all Jews are happy with being considered an ethnic minority. The comedian, opera director and broadcaster, Dr Jonathan Miller, is one of them. One of the team of satirists in Beyond the Fringe, along with Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Alan Bennett, Miller was once introduced as a Jew on a programme covering the jolly funsters. Miller responded by stating that he was a ‘Jewish’. He had not interest in being an ethnic minority.

Jews also differ from the other groups regarded as ethnic minorities in terms of race, and socio-economic status. Traditional, indigenous European Jews are White, as the founder of modern scientific racial classification, Ludwig Blumenbach, maintained. Some of them, like Tracy-Anne Oberman, are more ‘Aryan’ in appearance than the Nazi scumbags, who abuse them. Which shows how wrong scientifically Nazism is, as well as evil. Where there has been anti-Semitic abuse and violence, it has been generally directed against Orthodox Jews, no doubt because of their characteristic dress and appearance.

The British Jewish community is also largely more prosperous than other ethnic groups. The mighty Tony Greenstein has cited sociological studies that have shown that 60 per cent of British Jews are upper middle class. Furthermore, while there is still anti-Semitic persecution and hostility, Jews don’t suffer from the same level of prejudice as Blacks and Asians. Tony again has quoted statistics showing that 77 per cent of Brits have positive views of Jews. Those that don’t generally regard them as no better or worse than anyone else. The number of people with negative views of Jews has risen from 5 to 7 per cent, but they’re far outweighed by the mass of the Brits who don’t share their opinions. This is no doubt one of the reasons the NF decided to stop goose stepping about in Nazi uniforms in the 1970s. When National Action turned up in Liverpool a couple of years ago screaming their hatred, the good peeps of that fair city, including socialists and trade unionists, chased them out of town. Literally. They had to retreat to the train station to await the next train out of there.

While the persecution of the Jews has been particularly vicious, it’s reasonable to compare it to the persecution of dissident Christian groups in Europe. Such as the Manichaean heretics in the Middle Ages, and Protestants in Roman Catholic countries. In Britain before Roman Catholic emancipation and the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, Catholicism was banned. It had to go underground in Ireland, and worship was carried out at secret locations in the countryside. British Protestant nonconformists, such as Quakers, Baptists and Methodists, were barred from serving on juries or in local and national government. By law their chapels had to be built five miles away from towns. You can also compare the British Jewish community’s current prosperity with the Quakers. The actual membership of the Society of Friends was small, but they became influential and prosperous businessmen because of their exacting standards of commercial conduct. You could trust them. A book I read a few years ago on the history of the Jewish people, written by an Anglican clergyman, made the same claim about them. The Jewish laws governing food purity meant that, if you bought a wheaten loaf from a Jew, that’s exactly what you got. Instead of being full of cheats determined to defraud gentiles, Jewish businessmen could be trusted. As for the traditional Jewish prohibition against marrying outside the religion, there are also Christian sects, such as the Exclusive Brethren and Particular Baptists, who also reject marriage with those outside the sect.

In short, Jews are integrated and accepted into British society to a far greater extent than Blacks and Asians, who are obviously different because of their colouring, dress and religion. Muslims are particularly subject to suspicion and abuse following 9/11, and are, with Blacks, generally poorer and more marginalised than the rest of British society.

I suspect the issue here isn’t so much about the question of whether Jews constitute an ethnic group in themselves, but over the benefits membership of an ethnic minority confers. Ethnic minorities are specifically protected by law against persecution, and in the case of Blacks and Asians may be assisted by affirmative action programmes. Even though Jews don’t suffer the level of violence and prejudice that Blacks and Asians do, they are still regarded as particularly vulnerable. As a result, they enjoy a degree of protection far greater than other ethnic minorities. For example, there’s the Community Security Trust, a paramilitary vigilante set up to protect Jews, synagogues, Jewish cemeteries and other Jewish sites and monuments from attack. The group is supposedly trained in self-defence by members of the Israeli security services. This is, as far as I know, unique. I am not aware of any other ethnic group or religion being permitted their own private police force. Far from it. When the Islamofascists in London launched their Muslim Patrols harassing non-Muslims outside their mosques, they were rightly pounced upon by the authorities and arrested. But the CST is allowed to continue, stewarding Zionist and pro-Israel rallies despite reacting violently to counterdemonstrators. At several of these rallies, Muslim and Jews marching together in protest against Israel were forcibly separated and beaten. The victims included elderly Jewish women and rabbis.

The Zionist Jewish establishment were also able to exploit the general high regard and acceptance of Jews in British society by mobilising it to smear Jeremy Corbyn and his followers as anti-Semites. This is part of the general ultra-Zionist campaign to suppress criticism of Israel and its monstrous persecution of the Palestinians. Mass rallies and protests were arranged, and the lies and mendacious denunciations repeated in the national news and press.

Other ethnic groups have not nearly received such sympathy and support. For example, while the Labour party actively complied in the witch-hunt against suspected anti-Semites in the party, it has been extremely reluctant to investigate and punish those responsible for the racist bullying of Black and Asian MPs and activists. Probably because the racist bullies were the Blairite plotters and saboteurs, who collaborated with the anti-Semitism smear campaign as part of their own attempts to oust Corbyn. The affirmative action programme designed to assist Blacks and Asians achieve the same level of prosperity and acceptance as Whites are still extremely controversial. And rather than support allegations of racism by members of those ethnic groups, the reaction of the right-wing press has largely been to denounce them.

It therefore seems to me to be a good question whether Jews should be treated as an ethnic group, rather than simply a religion practised or not by some Brits, not so very different from various traditional Christian sects, which were also persecuted by which are now accepted as integral parts of British culture. I think that the determination by Jews like Cohen to retain their demarcation as an ethnic minority is doubtless partly motivated by a quite understandable fear of the return of the biological racism which led to the monstrous horrors of the Holocaust.

But I also wonder how much also comes from Zionist ideology. The IHRA definition of Zionism claims that it is anti-Semitic to deny Jews their national aspirations. Jews are a nation, and so it is supposedly anti-Semitic to deny them the right to their own state, Israel. But these national aspirations become highly questionable if Jews are not seen as a nation or ethnic group, but as a religion. Zionism becomes spiritual, not political. Jerusalem and Israel become the spiritual centres of the Jewish faith, just as Christians regard them as the spiritual centres of their religion. But this does not necessarily translate to a desire to return to the Promised Land. Some Jewish denominations removed the traditional Passover toast, ‘Next year in Jerusalem’. Many other Jews simply repeated it as part of the revered ritual celebrating their deliverance from Pharaoh’s persecution in Egypt without actually meaning it.

All this makes me wonder whether the Torygraph’s article isn’t really about whether British Jews really constitute a separate ethnic group or not, but whether it’s was just a way of exploiting the anti-Semitism witch hunt to attack the Beeb, a favourite Tory target, on the one hand, while subtly trying to reinforce support for Israel on the other.

Aged Care Home Announces Plans To Build $500 Million War Memorial, In Order To Get Proper Government Funding

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 02/03/2021 - 12:58pm in

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A nursing home in western Sydney will start work on a half-billion dollar upgrade of its existing war memorial, saying it was the best way to get proper funding from the federal government.

The government, which announced a $500 million upgrade of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra in 2019, has committed a lesser amount to the Aged Care sector, leading some facilities to take matters into their own hands.

A spokesperson for the Fairfield Nursing Home said the home’s existing war memorial – a small fountain in a courtyard – would be upgraded and extended to include a new kitchen, meals area, lawn bowls rink, games area, movie theatre and 4,000 residential rooms.

“It will be a beautiful, peaceful place for people to come to pay their respects, and then stay and live in proper conditions”.

Why Sunak should put an end to England's stamp duty holiday romance | David Mitchell

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 28/02/2021 - 9:00pm in

The tax break on house purchases saw prices rise by 8.5% – but is it really the best way to address the housing shortage?

Reports last week that the stamp duty holiday in England and Northern Ireland is to be extended were met with unsurprisingly little consternation, surprisingly. I mean that I wasn’t surprised by the lack of consternation which, on reflection, was surprising. Can you be surprised on reflection, or just by a reflection because you haven’t had a haircut since October? I think you can. It was a gradual, creeping surprise that stole through me gingerly, like a presentiment of diarrhoea.

People don’t like stamp duty, because it makes the surreal sums involved in procuring shelter significantly more eye-watering. Still, isn’t it a bit nuts, when you think about it, extending the stamp duty holiday? The country isn’t made of money. Except it sort of is made of money because the property here is worth so much. Particularly in the south-east, but in Britain generally, houses cost too much. And, thanks to the stamp duty holiday, UK prices rose last year by 8.5%. That’s while most of the economy was somewhere on a scale from lightly to totally screwed.

I, like all loyal Britons, swell with pride that our property market has become the repository of choice for Russian oligarchs’ ill-gotten wealth

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