Month: March 2015

Post #18 – The Parable of the Desert and the Mobile Phone

I’m walking down King Street, a busy shopping street in my neighbourhood. It’s Saturday morning and I’m hungover and tired… and clothes shopping with my girlfriend. Every bloke who has (or had) a partner knows this pain. However, in my haze I spot three young men on the footpath up ahead of me dressed in green t-shirts handing out fliers and greeting people as they walk past. I slowly wake out of my daze as we get closer to these men – I’m curious to see what they’re up to. Also, any excuse to get me out of clothes shopping when I’m hungover is welcome. As they came into focus (my eyesight is shit, so at this stage they’re only about three metres away) I could see that these men were Muslim (it was emblazoned on their t-shirts) and were answering questions and educating people about their faith. As I’ve stated before, I’m not the biggest fan of religion – but I really respect people who are willing to engage others about their faith and at least start a dialogue. We may never agree on certain things, but at least at some level we can relate and try to understand each other.

So ironically the day before I (more…)

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Post #17 – Survival Of The Biggest

Another bank in Australia posts record profits… yawn. Spice it up a little corporate Australia! Throw a few ‘poor returns’ or a ‘setback’ in there to show us paupers at the bottom that the game isn’t completely rigged in your favour. It makes you wonder, should these monolithic corporations really be rewarded with billions of dollars solely for being the biggest and baddest motherfuckers every financial quarter? Are they worthy of such obscene amounts of wealth? I mean, they haven’t invented a cure for cancer or patented an engine that runs on thin air – they’re a bank. Yet I frequently hear defensive phrases come from otherwise intellectually sound people justifying these obscene profits by saying things like: ‘these corporations must be there (and earning that much) because they’re the best at what they do – they’ve earned it!’

But how much truth is in that argument?

It is a popular misconception that the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ can be attributed to the founder of evolutionary theory, Charles Darwin. However it was actually a bloke by the name of Herbert Spencer who first penned this phrase, and it was written to refer to his own economic theories – not biology. So is survival of the fittest in economics a good thing? And what does this ‘competition’ shit that economists’ always talk about mean anyway? Better yet, how do both mainstream and Marxist economists’ understand ‘competition’? Follow me into this peculiarly slippery and dark rabbit-hole and we shall see.

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Post #16 – Three Questions You Need To Ask Yourself Before Voting for Mike Baird

As some of you may have been made aware, I really try and encourage participation on my blog – my posts are as much about me and my observations as they are about you and your observations. Just like my post on Islam after the attacks in Paris, I’m going to base this post off a message I recently got from a friend asking my advice about the New South Wales state election, which will be held on the 28th of March:

Yo JimJam [my uber-cool nickname]… Coz I couldn’t give two shits about politics these days, what’s your view on state elections? Non bias if possible. Apart from the angst of the lock out laws I haven’t heard too much negativity against liberal state govt.

Again, I said it was going to be difficult to sum up my response in 140 characters, and I would take it to the interwebz and my blog – so you can all see my response, and possibly comment and get involved *hint, hint*. I know a lot of my friends voted for the Liberals’ in the last federal election and (just like the rest of Australia) feel dismayed and confused as to how it all went so horribly wrong so quickly. Most people don’t want a repeat of an Abbott-style onslaught at both a federal and state level. So to start my answer to the question posed, I’m going to quote the famous playwright, Shakespeare:

‘Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.’

– Hamlet, (Marcellus to Horatio)

Shakespeare’s modern day version of his famous play would probably incorporate the Australian state of New South Wales, such is the stench of corruption in this state. Something truly rotten is happening with politics around here, but bizarrely it doesn’t seem to be affecting the current premier much at all, with the ABC stating that:

Bookmakers have him [Baird] easily winning the election with odds of 20 to 1, making a win for his rival, NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley, highly unlikely.

The current premier Mike Baird seems to have successfully disassociated himself (in the eyes of the public) from the toxicity of his Federal counterparts and Tony Abbott, plus the foul odour still emanating from the ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) inquiries. Just to illustrate how impressive this is, the Abbott government’s continual lack of popularity has partly led to the surprise routing of both Liberal denominations in the states of Queensland and Victoria in the last couple of months – elections the Liberals’ were tipped to win.

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Post #15 – ‘Everyone Speaks Spanish Except For The Apes’

A few days ago the Spanish government closed a Spanish-language school in Gibraltar (a British territory at the arse-end of Spain) because, according to them, ‘everyone [in Gibraltar] speaks Spanish except for the apes’. Now, this can be read two ways – he could be referring to the native monkeys that live on the rock, or he could be referring to the British. He’s most likely referring to both. You see, Gibraltar couldn’t be anymore geographically Spanish even if it was smack-bang in the Puerta Del Sol in Madrid, but the British classify it as their overseas territory and solely their territory. British border guards, British pubs… even British phone boxes, double-decker buses, little red post boxes, pictures of the Queen and crooked smiles galore! It’s nearly British in every respect, except there’s sun. As you could imagine the proud people of Spain see this as an historic injustice and therefore every now and again Spain makes life difficult for England and little Gibraltar, just to let them know they consider it their territory. To demonstrate that it really pisses the Spanish off, they sometimes just close the only land border into the country, for no reason at all… for days on end. So to help explain this bizarre situation I’m gunna have a look at a very influential navy seaman (lolz… seamen) and strategist called Alfred Mahan and see how his ideas’ from over a century ago might make some sense out of why the Spanish are referring to the British as monkeys.

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