Reasons to be cheerful …

COVID-19 day 72: Morrison, Seneca, co-morbidity, and Wellington.

Both the ABC’s Laura Tingle and The Guardian’s Katharine Murphy cut Prime Minister Scott Morrison some slack in their analyses of his news media standup yesterday with his chief health officer, Professor Brendan Murphy.

I was incredulous.  What short and fickle memories these analysts have.  And I say ‘his’ chief health officer, because the man is too much a political pawn for me to trust anything he has to say.  My chief health officer is my GP, who gains nothing by lying to me.

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2019-nCoV exposes Chinese weaknesses

News stories this morning about contradictory reports that early coronavirus (2019-nCoV) diagnostician Dr Li Wenliang was dead, or had died and been revived and was now in critical condition, came with some indications that China’s public image as world power and international leader is a shallow façade.

It seems Dr Li was threatened by police to stop spreading unfounded rumours when he warned colleagues early on in the disease’s discovery about the potential risks.

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In the news …

China panic is more concerning than dictatorial overreach; Morrison confirms he’s a liar; more political instability coming our way.

Chinese panic

Like many others, I have only Western news reports on which to base my judgements about all things China, but it seems the coronavirus has created panic in Chinese corridors of power.

Twenty-thousand infections.  More than 400 deaths.  Building hospitals so fast the concrete surely hasn’t had time to cure.  Cremating bodies en masse regardless of family wishes.  Lodging official protests about editorial cartoons!

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Planning from the head must follow statement from the heart

It’s not that I was surprised to read Peter Dutton making Coalition policy by media statement on Friday. It’s more that he would do so for the Indigenous Australians portfolio. It signals to the public and the party that the responsible minster, Ken Wyatt, is thus publicly stripped of any authority by the LPA’s extreme right wing, presumptively led by Home Affairs Minister Dutton after nihilist-in-chief Tony Abbott was voted out of Parliament.

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Why overlook the Saudis?

Reading about the solidarity between the USA and UK about pointing the finger at Iran for the oil tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman recently, and the haste with which Western media uncritically reported these pointed fingers, I couldn’t help letting my mind wander a little. Why were Western analysts so quick to endorse ‘official’ statements? What should they be doing instead?

‘Teleology!’, I thought. The analysis of phenomena not by looking for causes, but by examining who benefits.

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Media more shallow than politicians

Only today I yet again had cause to link political decline to simpleton journalists.

This time the obvious candidate is the ABC’s Queensland commentator, Chris O’Brien, turning out two stories that are so shot through with ignorance, and an absence of a single clear thought, the ABC should feel cheated to have paid O’Brien this week.

Chris O'Brien
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What have they learnt?

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Watching events unfold from far away sometimes offers a fresh or detached perspective. At other times it is confusing because salient facts obvious to those close to ground zero are hard to make out.

Then there are events that are so simple and obvious that it’s hard to mistake them, even if doubts are raised about the culpability of many who refuse to draw the obvious conclusions.

The obvious conclusion drawn all over the world, and by large swathes of the American population, is that President Trump must be deposed for the good of the country. Why is there still hesitation?

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Fuelling Abbott’s arsonism

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Islam is not a source of feminism or liberation for women.  Secular liberal democracies are.

Arguing the former might be trendy, but plays into the hands of Australia’s worst xenophobes.  Arguing the latter might defuse that xenophobia, but only if we stop reifying Australian Mulsims just for being Muslims.

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Evil bitch spearheads drive to turn ‘public service’ into ‘enemy control’

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Jack Waterford’s editorial for syndication by the Fairfax press on Department of Human Services’ baleful chief, Kathryn Campbell, is a rare pleasure to read.

In the era of inarticulate, anti-grammatical social media clicks and grunts that has subverted even nominal writers, Waterford’s considered prose paints a fairly stark picture of a narcissistic, sociopathic, top-down manager unduly influenced by her career as a defence force reservist general.

Instead of repeating Waterford’s excellent points, they are taken as read here, though extended beyond his intentions.

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