Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Trump is the end of US "exceptionalism"

I've always been highly insulted by the whole idea of "American exceptionalism". The idea that simply because of a chance of birth that you're better than anyone else on the planet, just because you were born in the US. Apart from being entirely absurd, it gave Americans the notion that it was actually true.

It has lead to extreme arrogance on their part to the rest of the world, including Australia and New Zealand. Even though we've fought along side them in wars, particularly Australia, Americans still arrogantly think they're better than us just because they're Americans. 

Am I wrong? I'd like to think that by foreign people now engaging with US citizens on the internet that this attitude of theirs is changing. Who knows?

It was never true, and never should have been. The US borrowed many ideas from European history, including the Enlightenment and the Magna Carta from France which became the basis of independence. Hence the statue of liberty gifted from France. The US wouldn't have had independence if not for France.

Anyway Trump has pretty much ended the idea, outside of the US at least, that America is "exceptional".

At times President Trump has shown his ability to merit the mantle of the American presidency: his plans for mending our infrastructure, his concern for those thrown into unemployment by the faceless forces of globalization, his nudging of allies to carry their fair share of the burden. However, by his proposed ban of Muslim immigrants from selected countries, he has erased the words of Emma Lazarus from the Statute of Liberty. With his erratic tweeting, he has shown disregard for the necessary machinery of democracy and has promoted a democracy of chaos and distraction. By slashing the budget of the Department of State and increasing that of the Department of Defense, and by his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson—in a public speech—placing interests over universal rights, Trump has magnified the idea of might makes right at the expense of the idea of might for right. By his labeling of the media as the “enemy of the people,” he has taken a page—however unwittingly—out of the totalitarian handbook of the 20th century. By not revealing his income tax returns, he has shown contempt for a vigilant, free-thinking citizenry. And by his coarse words and actions, he has promoted the vulgarization of American society. Raw Story

Angela Merkel wants free vote on marriage equality - Germany

Oh look, Merkel is pushing for a free vote on marriage equality in Germany. Why can't this happen here so David and I can be married? 

Oh yes, Turnbull has no spine to stand up to his lunatic christian back bench ..... Even though if a free vote were held in Canberra there are enough pro marriage equality MP's to pass the legislation here.

Angela Merkel has signalled a change in her party’s opposition to gay marriage after stating MPs should be allowed a free vote in the German parliament.

 Speaking at an event organised by the magazine Brigitte, the German chancellor said she felt aggrieved that debate was mainly carried out along party lines and that she hoped it would be “headed towards a conscience vote”.

 It is widely believed the Bundestag would legalise gay marriage in a free vote on the issue. The Guardian

Original newspaper story Stonewall riots - pic 1969

*click to see full image if not fully viewable

For the full story you can go to JoeMyGod here, but above is the original newspaper article about the Stonewall riots and the ongoing hostility of the police to the gay community back then. The article is homophobic and entirely making fun of gays, particularly concentrating throughout the story on drag queens. I guess that's how they viewed gays back then, as girlie men.

We owe so much today to those that have come before us and fought against such prejudice and bigotry.

Xenophon's Energy Assistant Payment - Carers don't get it (the fine print)

What a bloody con job this whole Energy Assistant Payment (EAP) has been. Either Xenophon was in cahoots with the gov to provide some sort of token gesture in exchange for a $50 billion tax cut for businesses that don't need it (because he agreed with trickle down), or he was really stupid and the gov did a full on con job on him.

So to explain, David and I are both on pensions. I'm on the Disability Support Pension, and David is on the Carer Payment for me. His pension is exactly the same amount as mine.

It was reported that Xenophon negotiated this deal that and Energy Assistance Payment would be paid to pensioners. Naturally one would think that that would be all those on a pension, whatever type of pension it's called. Of course after I got the $62.50 half payment for the $125 couple thing, we assumed David's payment would be following shortly after.

It never arrived. I got an email today letting me know MyGov had a letter in my inbox with them. The letter was a short explainatory note about me getting the EAP, and provided a link to more explanatory stuff about the one off EAP here. Of course with this gov the details haven't been widely explained at all, and if not for the link (which I had to manually type in BTW as it wasn't a hyperlink) I'd have had to wade endlessly through layers of the very user unfriendly Centrelink site to find it. Believe me I've done that many times with other issues.

And then I saw it; the eligibility criteria for getting this EAP for pensioners:

Yes folks, as David's pension is called "Carer Payment" he's not eligible for the EAP

What's more, however you look at it, we're a couple both on pensions. However in the end all we've gotten was my $62.50 for both of us. Less than what a single person would get, but for both of us. What a fuckin con job!

This would affect thousands of carers across Australia, as indeed I expect they're just finding out now.

Xenophon, you are a dead set fuckwit.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

"China is Buying Australian Politics" - US perspective (video)

If you watch this video in the hysteria that is currently Trump's US, then you'll be panicked and appalled. He talks in a way that's it's the West vs China, or more particularity the US vs China (under Trump that is). You have to take what he says with a grain of salt if you're looking at it from our Australian perspective. We're in the middle, both politically and geographically. 

Yes we need to change our foreign political donations to political parties here. The Chinese have obviously taken advantage of it recently. But honestly the way this US guy talks here it's like the Chinese are the reds under the beds. Get a grip!

Particularly now that Trump is the loony tunes US president. Would Australia like to deal with a nutter country bend on turning itself into some kind of theocracy lead by Trump in perpetual war, or with a country where the leaders are all atheists and don't care less about some mythical sky man? Who would any reasonable person trust more in such a circumstance?

The fact remains Australia does huge business with China, our biggest trading partner. That can only be beneficial as long as it's fair trade. China is not Australia's enemy. They have their system, we have ours. Both have lead to the abuse of human rights, like Australia's offshore detention centres for example. Who are we to point the finger and say we're so much better?

Trade, peace, and understanding of each other is always better than confrontation. Friends can co-operate and work to a more humanitarian goal together. Enemies cannot.

Convicted rapists murderers can get married in jail - David and I can't

Big headlines from New Zealand today about a convicted rapist who was married in a maximum security jail to his former lawyer. 
Corrections Minister Louise Upston is "revolted" disgraced former lawyer Davina Murray is allowed into prison to marry her former client, convicted rapist and murderer Liam Reid.

 The pair tied the knot at Auckland's maximum security unit at Paremoremo Prison today - six years after Murray was caught smuggling an iPhone, cigarettes and a lighter to Reid in prison.

 "I just find it revolting," says Ms Upston. "I find that particular marriage absolutely distasteful, and I think most New Zealanders would too."

 Murray was acting as Reid's lawyer after he was sentenced to a minimum of 26 years for the 2007 murder and rape of Christchurch woman Emma Agnew.

 Sources have told Newshub that Reid's best man was a convicted killer and sex offender, and a drug smuggler was among the guests.

 It's understood that the prison chaplain officiated the ceremony, and the prison kitchen provided catering at the expense of the bridal party.

 "I'm thinking of Emma Agnew's family because they won't ever get to see her get married," says Ms Upston.

 "For her family, it will be an absolutely tragic day for them because they know they will never see their daughter get married." ninemsn
Whatever your opinion is, the fact remains that it's within NZ law for inmates to marry in jail.

So what you may say? Surely that's not the case here? Well it is:

Corrective Services NSW believes that incarcerated persons should not be deprived of the right to enter into marriage. Marriage may take place unless there is a legal restriction. Marriage in correctional centres will not entitle the inmate or spouse to any additional privileges other than those available to other inmates. The General Manager may decide not to give approval to a marriage taking place in the centre if the guidelines are not satisfied by the parties involved. Corrective Services NSW
Yet David and I, never jailed, good citizens worked for many years, I even bought up my daughter whilst caring for my late wife before the end, cannot get married in Australia. Even after ten years of polling saying that Australians are fine with us doing so.

What a disgrace, what a failure this gov has been in stalling the inevitable. Outrageous.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Lieberals implode again over marriage equality (video)

The festering sore that the Lieberals have made for themselves over marriage equality has continued to ooze, with Christopher Pyne making an apparent statement behind closed doors to the party faithful that marriage equality could happen "sooner than everyone thinks". Also saying friends of the Lieberals in Canberra were "working on getting marriage equality laws passed".

Well it didn't take long for the howls of heretic! from the back bench were sent forth, from the usual source Abbott. His words were particularly galling considering all the broken promises the Abbott/Turnbull gov has made and how many Australians have had their faith in the party breached by said broken promises.
“We took a policy to the election — it was a very clear policy — that there would be no change without a plebiscite,” Mr Abbott told Sydney radio station 2GB this morning.

 “To dump the plebiscite, to do anything without a plebiscite, would be a breach of faith with the people.” The Advertiser

Not to be out done Treasurer Scott Morrison chimed in that it didn't matter about LGBT human rights because the gov wasn't talking about them. 

“We’re not actually talking about it — we’re talking about power prices, passing the Budget, schools funding going up by $23 billion,” Mr Morrison said when quizzed about the reports on Channel Seven’s Sunrise program this morning. The Advertiser
Honestly, why is this such an important issue to Abbott and his churchie mates? What does it matter to him if David and I get married? It's none of his business. He has no more right to stop us being married than I'd have had to stop him and his wife getting married. 

So once again we have Turnbull without a spine trying to please the lunar right and refusing to allow his party a free parliamentary vote. 

The courts have said it's the job of parliament. The senate has said it's the job of parliament. Nobody except the Lieberal far right and Turnbull says our human rights should be decided by asking the rest of Australians if we can have them. 

Would straight people want to have to go through that to be married?

Another broken promise

Cloe becoming a lovely little lady - pics

Her and Casper are past the kitten stage. Casper has a very warm personality like Cloe, but Cloe has a real little lady thing happening with her. When she sort of half purs sort of thing she sounds like a Tribble from Star Trek.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Labor opposes Lieberals new citizen language test (video)

OK, although I never got school certificate in English in New Zealand, I was able to migrate to Australia (in 1985) without having to undergo some kind of humiliating citizenship test in the early 1990's. 

It didn't exist back then, as it was only after the Howard gov nightmare came in to power in the late 1990's when they came up with this racist bullshit. One of the questions in those early tests was about cricketer Bradman FFS who had died many decades before. Were new citizens supposed to worship Australian sporting heroes? 

The new citizenship test, courtesy of the Abbott/Turmbull gov demands language skills beyond what many Australians would be capable themselves. Labor is opposing this.

Australia has the highest immigrant population per capita in the world, much higher than even the US. Those migrants helped build this country and were a part of it being the most successful multicultural country on earth.

I myself don't mind if they have a bit of trouble with English. Their intentions to hard work and contribution are just the same as mine was when I came here from New Zealand in 1985.

Jim Bakkers best efforts (at lunacy) - video mashup :)

17 minutes of complete hilarity. I honestly could not stop laughing. Particularly at the tribulation buckets of slop. Yum :s

Remember this was the Jim and Tammy Bakker thing that got busted for fraud and sent Jim to jail over it. Well he's out now and just look at the results......

I can't believe people actually believe him. Who are these stupid nutters? OMG they can vote and all! 

Got the one off Xenophon energy bribe for pensioners today

*click to enlarge
*Update: Oh, the $62.50 is gone already before the end of the day. We were embarking on another 4 dayer without a cent before Wednesday, so it didn't go far.

This is the one off energy payment to pensioners that Xenophon was bribed with by the gov. In exchange for what you may ask? Just that little thing of $50billion tax cuts to businesses that don't need it. 

As we're a couple it's $125 for both of us. They've paid me half and David will get the other. 

So that's it folks. This is supposed to make those tax cuts to the well off just fine and dandy.

Meanwhile I hear electricity prices in NSW are going to increase from July 1st by about 17% or something ridiculous, because there's no stable energy policy coming from Canberra. Well apart from worshiping coal in parliament.

So I look at that payment and think what a rip off. Xenophon may as well just join the Lieberal party and be done with it. 

They get $billions they don't need. We sick and old and poor, the most in need, get a few token crumbs from their table. This must be trickle down....?

What has become of this country? We have just about the lowest pension rates in the OECD, then get chucked crumbs whilst the well off make laws to give themselves riches. Whilst they try and dismantle our Medicare public health system. We might as well be Africa:

Friday, 23 June 2017

Stop the stigma against HIV in the gay community

Most discrimination cases involving an HIV+ person in Australia happen in the health profession, I learned a few years back. For example a while back I attended the local hospital here after splitting my forehead open falling out of the bath onto the toilet (with the lid up). Blood everywhere. I waited in Emergency with David to be treated, and David overheard a nurse at the front counter when he was going out for a smoke: "I'm not going near him, he's infectious". Lovely :s

Likewise, stigma against HIV is unfortunately very high in the gay community itself. "Are you clean?" is a regular question asked of a possible hookup. The below video people read out conversations from Grindr.

BTW years ago somebody asked me that question in a sex club "Are you clean?" I actually didn't know what he was talking about at the time, so I said "Yes I've just had a shower". Fuck even I get astounded at my own naivety at times. Ha ha ha....

Three gov ministers facing contempt of court have apologised groveling to the court

After publicly criticising the Victorian court of appeals and refusing to apologise to the court for doing so, the three gov ministers involved have about faced  and issued a public and groveling apology to the court. Albeit a very late one.

The court has accepted the unreserved apology and will no longer proceed with contempt of court charges. However the court is anything but impressed with the three:

"We have realised we should have offered an unconditional apology to the court.

 "We offer that apology now and unreservedly withdraw all comments.

 "It's clear just how inaccurate our understanding was."

 The court accepted their apology and will not refer the ministers for contempt of court, but Chief Justice Marilyn Warren said the comments were "fundamentally wrong" and that the delay in apologising was "regrettable and aggravated the contempt".
 Chief Justice Warren said the court was "gravely concerned" there was a prima facie case that the ministers and The Australian had committed contempt. She described the hearing last week as "stern", noted that the ministers had sent the comments to the journalist who wrote the article unsolicited, and that they had publicly confirmed they stood by the comments within 48 hours of the first hearing.

 "There is one matter we emphasise," she said.

 "The court has accepted in this instance the apologies and retractions proffered. It should not have come to this, namely two court hearings.

 "But for the apologies and retractions we would have referred the groups, namely the ministers and The Australian ... for prosecution for contempt of Court." The Age
WTF were they thinking? All three are qualified lawyers FFS They could have bought down their own gov by their stupidity, arrogance, and stubbornness. The fact that it took two court hearings and the serious threat to the gov to get them to apologise says volumes about their character. They honestly seemed to think they were above the law.

And WTF was Turnbull thinking in supporting his ministers in their public criticism of the court? Did he too think him and his gov were above the law?

We all know of course Tudge's view of the law with Centrelink, leaking private information about Centrelink clients to the media to support robodebt, under very questionable circumstances of the legality of doing so. 

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Istanbul youth party - gays want to stop straights having sex :s

Well I guess it's a change from straights wanting gays to stop having sex, which has been the case in conservative churches for zonks. Strange that straights would now accuse us of the same thing but in reverse. I suspect they're projecting.....

I note in the picture they all have beards to protect themselves from gayness.

So the loony tunes nationalist youth party of Istanbul is all a fluster over an upcoming Pride march there and have vowed to stop it any way they can. Despite the fact that there's been years of Pride marches there before. The reasons for this severe hostility to the LGBT are explained by them thus:

Speaking on June 19 during a news program aired on the minor Cultural TV (KRT TV) station, Mican complained that LGBT individuals had “started to organize in every neighborhood … destroying the unity of the family.”

 “Their project is to create a structure in every neighborhood. We are warning our intelligence agencies. This is part of a project by capitalist, communist and imperialist powers. By popularizing homosexuality, they want to destroy the unity of family, stop reproduction, end relations between wives and husbands, and prevent children born in such relations from growing up to be propitious to their land and country,” he said.

 “This is dynamite to the foundation of the family structure. They have especially started to work on the neighborhood level,” Mircan added.

 “Under no circumstances will we allow them to march. I call on the Turkish people: These structures are very dangerous. We need to prevent this immorality or it will expand very seriously,” he also said. Daily News Turkey
OMG! They're onto us!

It's been 10 years of Australian majority wanting gay marriage

Whilst we continue to wait for Turnbull to stand up to his back bench that's holding the entire country to ransom of their outdated notions, yesterday was the ten year anniversary of the main stream media announcing majority support by Australians for marriage equality.

Nothing has changed in those ten years. Poll after poll has shown more and more support for gay people to be married. How out of touch can the Lieberal party be to ignore that in favour of their own religious beliefs? They're supposed to be there to serve the people, not shove their religion down our throats.

Gay marriage now has majority support in Australia, according to new research findings that suggest a huge shift in mainstream opinion.

 Nearly three in four people say they want gay couples to have the same legal rights as de facto heterosexual partners in areas such as health care and superannuation.

 In 2004, both major parties rushed to declare their support for outlawing gay marriage.

 The findings will put pressure on the Federal Government as it considers a report from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission urging greater equality for same-sex couples.

 A Galaxy poll, commissioned by the progressive political movement GetUp! and obtained by The Age, surveyed 1100 people last weekend.

 It found that 57 per cent of Australians agreed that gay couples should be allowed to get married, with 37 per cent opposed.

 The poll suggests a 20-point jump in support since 2004, when Newspoll found 38 per cent in favour and 44 per cent against. The Age 2007

Robodebt senate inquiry verdict - suspend robodebt

The verdict is in on the senate inquiry into robodebt, the inquiry recommending that the whole system be shut down until it's huge problems are fixed. The list of recommendations is here. There are 21 of them. Recommendation 20 is of particular interest, as in normal proceedings the creditor owed money has to leave you enough to live on. The full senate report is here.

Everyone is in agreement with this, apart from the gov of course, stubbornly insisting it's OK. Of particular concern to GetUp is that from July 1st robodebt will be targeting old aged pensioners and people on the disability support pension surviving on bugger all. GetUp has set up a web page here where you can blast your Lieberal MP or senator over robodebt.

Other organisations are equally concerned that the gov wants to continue with this flawed and unfair system.

The inquiry began hearings in March, and its chair, Greens senator Rachel Siewert, said it had exposed serious flaws in the system.

 “The evidence presented to the committee as it travelled across the country was compelling, consistent, and showed a program that was putting huge pressure on some of the most vulnerable members of our community,” Siewert said after the report’s release.

 “Procedural fairness is lacking in every stage of the robo-debt program; whether it be the forcing of people to reach back through their paperwork from six years ago, sending debt letters to the wrong address and/or not engaging with concerned recipients, or averaging out of income data, often producing incorrect results.”

 The Department of Human Services used the inquiry to highlight the changes it had made to the system, which it said had largely resolved the problems. But others say the changes don’t go far enough.

 The Australian Council of Social Service chief executive, Cassandra Goldie, said on Wednesday said the system is unworkable and must be abolished.

 “Since its adoption 12 months ago, robo-debt has issued thousands of debt notices in error to parents, people with disabilities, carers and those seeking paid work, resulting in people slapped with Centrelink debts they do not owe or debts higher than what they owe,” Goldie said. “It has been a devastating abuse of government power that has caused extensive harm, particularly among people who are the most vulnerable in our community,” she said.

 Anglicare Australia released a similar statement on Wednesday, saying the system has unfairly shifted the onus of disproving debts onto vulnerable Australians.

Its executive director, Kasy Chambers, urged the government to pay heed to the significant evidence the inquiry heard about the hardship caused by the system.

 “The shift in the onus of proof onto recipients, the barriers to people trying to fix these problems through the Centrelink system, and the growing stigmatisation of welfare, is a step towards the criminalisation of poverty and disadvantage,” Chambers said.

 “Let’s suspend this failing system and work together to design one that works for people – not just the government,” she said. The Guardian

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Moby's new song pisses off Trumpets - so watch and share (video)

I've always liked Moby. This new music video is really pissing off all the Trumpets, so all I can say is watch and share :)

Inside a Chechen gay torture jail - Chechnya (video)

Vice has this video of the Chechen gay gulags they have operating there. Of course the Chechen regime denies completely any such thing. Note the grinning faces of the soldiers when asked if any such order had been given to arrest and torture gays.

Shocking and heart wrenching. The views and attitudes expressed by the Chechnyans against gays are so ignorant and anachronistic as to indeed be from the stone age.

Gay marriage caused bush fires - Paramedic, South Africa

Yet another reason why the christians don't want us to be married. According to a christian paramedic in South Africa, gay marriage caused bush fires. Apparently it was all too much for his loving invisible sky man who lost it and wrathed all over the place in the form of bush fires. Didn't realise David and I had that much wrathing power.....
Can you remember last year when Knysna was made up in pink and 12 homosexual marriages took place on one day?

 It was only after the election of the Dutch Reformed Church when they approved gay homosexual marriage.

 It was all over the newspapers. It dared god.

 They mustn’t cry now about the fire.

 God doesn’t let himself be mocked. Independent
He got suspended after the Facebook post and has deleted his account.

I started ALL OUT world campaign for marriage equality in Australia

It was more out of sheer frustration than anything else. A way of letting off steam and giving people a chance to respond if they feel so inclined. 

It is indeed pathetic that both major party leaders in federal parliament agree with marriage equality (including the prime minister Turnbull) and this parliament has for the first time a majority of MP's who would vote yes for marriage equality. Yet Turnbull made a deal with the lunar right of his party to gain the prime ministership, that the Lieberals wouldn't be allowed a free vote on the issue and would all have to vote no. 

All Turnbull would have to do is let his party have a free conscience vote and we'd have marriage equality tomorrow. Yet he's too gutless to stand up for our human rights as it may cost him his prime ministership. Absurd. This is about our lives, not his career aspirations.

ALL OUT is a worldwide platform so you can sign this wherever you are in the world. I have no idea if it will get a response, but it certainly makes me feel better putting it out there :)

Malcolm Turnbull, There are no more excuses for your party not to vote for marriage equality in a free vote than your tenuous grip on the leadership. Marriage equality is about our lives, not yours.

We're sick of waiting for your party to drag itself kicking and screaming into this century, or your leadership fortunes to improve. All polling shows huge and widespread support for marriage equality across Australia. Yet your party has managed to delay and obfuscate to the point of absurdity, where now even with overwhelming community support marriage equality under your one vote majority in the lower house is in limbo.

 Recently a gay couple in Sydney reached their 50th anniversary and wanted to marry for the occasion. Not being able to one of them passed away from illness, both of them forever denied marriage because of your gov's cruelty.

 The plebiscite was rejected by the senate. It's time now for politicians to do their jobs and amend the marriage act to include all people. No more excuses. No more delays. Sign petition here

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Beards protect you from gay temptations - Russian priest :s

More lunacy from the christians......
Sitges Bears Week, Spain

He's obviously never heard of gay bears, who are bigger sized hairy gays often with beards (as the picture shows). But yes, a priest in Russia says that beards will protect you from gayness as they're part of being the natural god given thing that is being a man, or something like that. 

What about women then? How are they supposed to ward off evil lesbians?

I note his position in the church is called "Primate", which about sums him up completely :)
A religious leader for Russia's Old Believers has called on Russian men to stop shaving to “protect themselves from homosexuality.”

 Metropolitan Kornily, Primate of the Russian Orthodox Old Believer Church (RPSC), said that men with beards were less likely “corrupted” by same-sex relationships.

 "God set down certain rules. The Lord created everyone with a beard. No man can resist his creator,” Kornily told Russia's National News Service. "It's made a monstrous thing to see men's clothing and hairstyles changing."

 Metropolitan Kornily also lamented that the beard's special status had "completely disappeared from the Catholic West." Moscow Times

Boy George covers YMCA for marriage equality in Australia (video)

As part of a new campaign to encourage young people to speak out about issues that matter to them, the YMCA Australia asked Boy George to cover the song YMCA. The result is the below video.
 AS a coach on The Voice, Boy Georgeis encouraging his artists to find a new meaning when covering iconic pop songs and it seems the Culture Club front man has been taking his own advice.

The ’80s pop icon has rerecorded the Village People classic YMCA in order to shine a light on issues important to Australian youth like marriage equality, mental health and youth unemployment. Daily Telegraph

Monday, 19 June 2017

Victoria court of appeal vs Turnbull gov (video) - gov in peril?

Turnbull has backed three of his ministers who publicly criticised the Victorian court of appeals. The ministers made their comments whilst the court was still deliberating over it's decision in the particular case involved. The court viewed the minister's comments as an attempt to influence the courts decision, and therefore may well be contempt of court.

It remains to be seen if the ministers will be charged with contempt. However if they are charged with contempt the gov will find itself in dire straights having only a one seat majority in the lower house.

Turnbull has now made this about the gov vs the independence of the Victorian judiciary. A move I think is just stupid. These ministers weren't just raving on at the pub to anyone who'd listen, they made their comments in the media to the whole of Australia.

We'll have to wait to see where this goes, but Turnbull's latest move may end up bringing down his gov. Surely it'd be easier for these arrogant men simply to apologise to the court for their error of judgment? Instead they seem to be throwing fuel on the fire. Hardly astute, but then we are talking about this gov....

Video below of the court reading out the allegation of contempt.
The shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, says the day before last Friday’s court hearing, the prime minister went on radio station 3AW and “backed in his ministers’ comments, despite knowing this matter was before the court the following day”.

 In a radio interview last Thursday, Turnbull said the courts of justice “are not immune from public criticism”.
“The courts cannot be and are not immune from criticism which may extend to robust observations of a particular decision or penalty,” the prime minister said.

 “Those three ministers, yes they are ministers in my government, they are members of parliament but they are also citizens of Victoria and residents of Victoria and you know, as your listeners do, that there is real concern about law and order and the failure of the state government and the system in Victoria to protect people”.

 Turnbull went on to note that “in a free society a person is entitled to criticise the conduct of the courts or of a judge”.

 Last Friday, three federal ministers, Greg Hunt, Alan Tudge and Michael Sukkar failed to apologise to the Victorian court of appeal for their comments describing judges as “hard-left activists”, “divorced from reality,” and conducting an “ideological experiment”.

 The three retracted some remarks but did not apologise for their criticisms.

 On Sunday, the ministers were not commenting ahead of the court’s ultimate deliberations.

 If the three go on to be charged with contempt, it could imperil the government, given the Coalition holds government by a one seat majority. The Guardian

Sydney Morning Herald

A call to name mega iceberg #ExxonKnew - sign petition

A new mega iceberg the size of the US state of Deleware is soon to break off the Antarctic. Since Exxon knew about this decades ago, there are now calls for the Larson C iceberg to be renamed #Exxonknew.

From the 350.0rg email:

In 1962 Humble Energy, a division of the company that would go on to be known as Exxon, ran a full page ad in Life Magazine bragging about their ability to melt glaciers. They say that time makes fools of us all, but Exxon was more than foolish, they were criminally reckless.

What Exxon didn’t tell anyone was that only a few years after running that ad, their scientists warned the company’s executives that CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels really was melting glaciers, and that it they kept burning fossil fuels that would lead to devastating consequences.

 And their scientists were right. As I write this, one of the largest ice shelves in Antarctica is at breaking point. A giant rift has been rapidly developing in the Larsen Ice Shelf for years, threatening to split the shelf in two.

 The speed of the crack has increased dramatically in the past few months and scientists are expecting that any day now an iceberg twice the size of Samoa, the size of Delaware, will calve off and collapse into the ocean, in one of the most dramatic displays of the destruction Exxon and their peers in the fossil fuel industry have unleashed upon the planet. This collapse of sea-ice was created by Exxon’s climate denial; it should be named after it too.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

6 HIV experts resign from US HIV/AIDS council - Trumpcare doesn't care about HIV victims

6 experts who are in advisory positions within the HIV/AIDS council in the US have resigned from their positions, saying that Trump has no plan how to deal with HIV and doesn't care about people with HIV.

They cite the last straw as Trump's efforts to kill off Obamacare and replace it with Trumpcare. With only 40% of HIV+ US citizens presently able to access HIV meds, the consequences of Trumpcare will be dire for the HIV epidemic in the US.

Australian health is going in the opposite direction, with HIV meds free in both New South Wales and Victoria. It simply makes economic sense to get people on meds and stop the spread of the disease.

From their letter of resignation:

And we know who the biggest losers will be if states are given the option of eliminating essential health benefits or allowing insurers to charge people with HIV substantially more than others.

 It will be people—many of them people of color—across the South and in rural and underserved areas across the country, the regions and communities now at the epicenter of the U.S. HIV/AIDS epidemic.

 It will be young gay and bisexual men; it will be women of color; it will be transgender women; it will be low-income people.

 It will be people who become newly infected in an uncontrolled epidemic, new cases that could be prevented by appropriate care for those already living with the disease.

 While we are in agreement that the ACA needs to be strengthened to lower premiums, improve competition, and increase access to care, it makes no sense to dismiss gains made under the ACA just to score political points.

 Experts with real facts, grounded in science, must be in the room when healthcare policy decisions are made. Those decisions affect real people and real lives. If we do not ensure that U.S. leadership at the executive and legislative levels are informed by experience and expertise, real people will be hurt and some will even die.

 Because we do not believe the Trump Administration is listening to—or cares—about the communities we serve as members of PACHA, we have decided it is time to step down.

 We will be more effective from the outside, advocating for change and protesting policies that will hurt the health of the communities we serve and the country as a whole if this administration continues down the current path. Raw Story

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Robodebt being expanded to pensioners

The outrageous robodebt fiasco, which has resulted in at least one suicide (a 20yr old that Centrelink claimed owed $18,000) is now being rolled out to include pensioners. Yes folks, that's old age pensioners and people like me on the Disability Support Pension.

Whilst they double the deficit to an eye watering half a trillion dollars, they expect to gouge the poorest and sickest people in Australia to cover their incompetence. People like me and David paying around 55% of our pension on rent. Trying to live off what's left. You can't get blood out of a stone.

I wonder how it works if you're bankrupt? I recently sent my yearly financial info to the Australian Financial Security Authority in Adelaide, in which they replied I wasn't required to pay anything back to the bank in my present state of affairs. How then could somebody, even Centrelink, demand anything off one who's in a situation as I? You have to be left with enough money to live off.

Shadow Minister for Human Services Linda Burney said the government now has “pensioners in their sights” with the robo-debt program.

 “The Turnbull government plans to rip $1 billion out of the pockets of pensioners using systems like their broken robo-debt program – that is rightly frightening to thousands of pensioners across the country,” Ms Burney told

 The move to continue with the planned expansion comes despite a number of inquiries and controversies surrounding the scheme. The Commonwealth Ombudsman has already delivered a scathing report, a Senate inquiry into the program has just wrapped up, and the Privacy Commission has launched its own investigation into data-matching.

 Ms Burney said the program should be put on hold pending the outcome of these inquiries.

 “The Ombudsman ordered that robo-debt be reviewed. [Human Services Minister] Alan Tudge is talking about expanding it before that review is even completed – that makes no sense,” she said.

“This was a terribly designed program with no proper oversight. It beggars belief that the Turnbull government would expand it before making changes to ensure that it is accurate and fair.”

 “The system is not ‘working well’. After months of public outcry, a Senate inquiry and the Ombudsman’s report, that much is clear at least. Fix the system before expanding it. That is the very clear message from the public.” Innovation Australia

Gay teen killed by uncle in "honour killing" - Chechnya

The genocidal horror against gays has continued in Chechnya. A 17 year old gay was thrown off a ninth floor balcony to his death. He was killed by a family member, his uncle, supposedly to cleanse the family of shame.

Sign a petition to Turnbull to provide refuge for gay Chechnyans in Australia, who are fleeing the country.

A gay teen in Chechnya has been brutally killed by his uncle after he was outed to his family.

The anonymous 17-year-old was pushed from a balcony from the ninth floor of a building.

 The teenager’s family was reportedly encouraged to “wash the shame” away of their gay relative.

The heart wrenching story of the teen’s murder comes after a survivor of the gay purge in Chechnya opened up to a Russian magazine about their experience of growing up in the extremist region.

The anonymous survivor explained that while he managed to escape the dire region, where hundreds of men have been detained and killed for their sexuality, others were not so lucky.

He said: “Others were caught, killed and their bodies were thrown into the yard of their families, in some cases, the bodies just passed away, because according to Islamic laws, gay bodies are not necessary to bury.”

Speaking to Snob magazine, the survivor explained that the story of the teen was recounted to him after he came out as gay to his religious leader. Pink News

Friday, 16 June 2017

Immediate HIV treatment? - same day as diagnosis?

I've just filled out an online survey from Positive Life regarding my thoughts on starting HIV treatment on the same day as an HIV diagnosis.

It sounds good in theory, but as we're human beings we're all different. Look at the problems I had with Truvada and Naprosyn which caused an allergic reaction and acute kidney failure. I nearly carked it. Indeed the kidney specialist told me when I was discharged from hospital that on presentation to Emergency I'd have been about 48 hours from death had I not turned up there.

They also tried Kaletra after stopping the Truvada which caused my heart to just about stop and I nearly carked it again. They found me at home on the bed nearly dead with a very weak pulse. I spent three days on a respirator (I don't remember that BTW) whilst nobody knew if I was going to live or die. The hospital staff even inquired to a friend of mine visiting at the time as to my wishes about pulling the plug. I eventually woke up but the lack of oxygen had further damaged my kidneys as well as some brain damage. Upon waking I thought I was at home for example, and I was wondering what all these hospital people were doing there. They had my hands tied to the bed so I wouldn't pull out the central line. I remember thinking how unfair that was!

My point is that caution should be used in prescribing HIV drugs. Yes today's drugs are a marvel of modern science and work well, but diving in blindly head first seems rather dangerous to me. There should be blood cultures done to find out about possible allergies for example. This is what my HIV GP did with me when I went back on the meds after a two year break to give my kidneys time to recover. I've had no problems since then and have been undetectable for years.

The time lag between diagnosis and starting treatment is shortening. Some of us can remember a time when the Australian HIV Treatment Guidelines recommendations were to wait until your CD4 count was 350 or below. History however shows us that the International and Australian HIV Treatment Guidelines have been incrementally revised upward to higher and higher CD4 counts. Firstly it was treat below 350, then 500, and now the recommendation is to start at any CD4 count. Research is increasingly showing that treatment commencement very soon after diagnosis (i.e. immediate) is recommended as your best course of action, not only for your health, but also to prevent the transmission of HIV to your sexual partners.

 So, what’s the difference between immediate and early treatment? ‘Early’ treatment is usually defined as starting treatment within six months of diagnosis. The definition of ‘immediate’ is less clear. Basically, it’s initiating treatment as soon as possible after diagnosis, and ideally within two to four weeks. There’s a number of important issues for people starting treatment to consider: tests to determine what drugs work best for you and not produce allergic reactions; the results of your HIV viral load and CD4 cell counts; tests to identify your predisposing risks factors for developing side effects from the drugs; working out the best drug combination to start on; and allowing enough time to get your head around the diagnosis. Positive Life