Episode 222 – China, Greta, Prorogue and Impeachment

The strange relationship between left and right and attitudes to climate change.

2:37 Happy 70th Anniversary to the Chinese Communists

It’s 70 years since Mao declared an end to the humiliation.

9:55 China USA Priorities

From Newspoll

Coal-loving Morrison scolds China over emissions

From Jeff Sparrow in Crikey

If chutzpah was combustible, Prime Minister Scott Morrison could single-handedly solve the global energy crisis.

After ostentatiously not attending the UN climate action summit, our “man of titanium” capped off his American tour by insisting that China, as a rising power, must do more to reduce emissions.

The effrontery was gobsmacking … because, in 2018, Australia sold China about $15 billion worth of coal, a substance that, as you might have heard, bears some link to carbon pollution.

In 2016 when the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) contemplated prioritising renewable energy projects throughout the region, then-treasurer Scott Morrison led the Australian lobbying effort to push funding back towards coal.

When, early the next year, the AIIB reversed its policy, Morrison could barely contain his delight.

“Australia’s national interest demands”, he said, “that coal continue to be part of our future energy equation, not just here in Australia, but around the world. That is why following our strong representations, I am pleased that the AIIB has now put fossil-fuel generation investments back into the mix for their energy sector strategy, which is now under discussion.”

13:20 Greta Thunberg

What did she say?

An amazing reaction. She has triggered many people.

The reaction is a classic case of playing the man (or the 16yr old girl) and not the ball.

From Umair Haque

The child made to be an adult before her time is scolding the world’s most powerful adults for acting like…spoiled children. It’s a genuinely bizarre, surreal, head-spinning thing to see. We see revealed, in stark terms, just how badly the world’s leaders have failed. A little schoolgirl is taking them to task — literally. Can there be any greater indictment than that?

Greta, like all great figures of history, uses shame. Think of MLK. Think of JFK. Gandhi, Mandela, Malala. They are all titans of moral power. What gives moral power its shattering force? By making us bear witness, it appeals to our better selves. Our moral souls. Our consciences. It shames us.

The Fist: The problem is these people don’t feel shame.

20:28 Is Climate change a left right issue?

The attack on Greta seems to be orchestrated by the right.

The bulk of Thunberg’s attackers are right-wing media personalities, elected officials, and climate skeptics. These critics have taken a few different approaches, some more reasonable than others, in countering Thunberg.

Fox News host Laura Ingraham said Thunberg, and other young protesters who participated in the global climate strikes, seemed like cult members. President Donald Trump also weighed in with a sarcastic tweet that read: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”

Other right-wing critics haven’t attacked Thunberg herself, but rather have suggested that the adults around the teenage activist are manipulating her for political gain.

From Si

On a different topics, I had a thought while listening to the podcast today. It relates to the ‘climate debate’. You guys were talking about the Left v Right a lot on this issue. It seems to me that we tend to all fall into a trap of labelling it a Left-versus-Right one. I don’t think it is. Many people who are Centre and to the Right are on board. I wonder if it’s a ploy by those with an agenda to brand us all as Lefties. Shouldn’t we just refer to it us an issue of science v anti-science/science denial?

What does the Essential Report say?

  1. Do you believe that there is fairly conclusive evidence that climate change is happening and caused by human activity or do you believe that the evidence is still not in and we may just be witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate which happens from time to time?  

63% (down 1% since September last year) agree that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity and 25% (up 1%) believe that we may just be witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate.

By age groups, those aged under 35 split 66%/19% and those aged 55+ split 56%/37%. People with higher education were more likely to think climate change is happening and is caused by human activity – those with university degrees split 70%/20%.

Here is a complicated study on the issue.

25:26 Morrison’s Anxiety Argument

The “protect Greta’s childhood” argument is similar to the “stop the boats so people don’t drown” argument. Stopping the boats is a good practice but the reasoning is BS.

From the Betoota Advocate

Scott Morrison has responded to an impassioned speech by Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg this week by urging scientists to stop subjecting Australian children to “needless anxiety” over Climate Change.

“I don’t want our children to have needless anxieties” said Morrison.

“Not about these issues anyway. I want them to be worried about the very alarming and rapidly normalised conversations about women who used to be men wanting to use womens toilets”

Or as Peter Fitzsimons pointed out:

In response, reader John Lloyd poses a couple of serious questions. “Which of the following is the scarier to tell kids? 1. There is a possibility that in the future you, your family and friends will live in a damaged world that won’t be anywhere as nice as it is now if we don’t fix it. Or 2. There is the certainty that you, your family and your friends will be tortured for all eternity if you or they reject our concept of God. I reckon No.2.

“And Scott Morrison’s church encourages this anxiety-inducing rubbish being taught – presumably to children.”

27:29 Greta as Leader Thought Experiment

The 12thMan has an unusual thought experiment.

34:03 Listener

Her child protested

38:45 The UK Supreme Court declares Johnson’s Prorogue of Parliament to be illegal


The benefits of an independent judiciary.

Ian Dunt described Johnson as “The death of shame”.

Plan B – repeal the law requiring 2/3 majority for an early election.

49:37 Trump and the Whistle Blower

The key allegation is stated up front: “I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election,” the whistleblower wrote, in a letter dated August 12, 2019. (You can read it at this link.)

The well-written, detailed, and footnoted complaint alleges a months-long effort by President Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani to pressure the government of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

The centerpiece of the complaint is the whistleblower’s recounting of what transpired during Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. But it also describes an apparent White House cover-up to hide records of that call, and lays out other troubling events that occurred both before and after that call.

Interestingly, the whistleblower appears to have anticipated an attempt to suppress the complaint. The complaint was written so that the first seven pages would be unclassified, with classified information only included in a separate two-page “enclosure.”

54:59 Kyle Sandilands

Are we brave enough to play the audio?

“I thought Mary was his girlfriend but apparently it was the mother,” he said, seemingly confusing Mary Magdalene with Mary, the mother of God. “And the mother lied obviously and told everyone, ‘Nah I got pregnant by a magical ghost’. Bullshit.”

More likely, he said, “someone chock-a-blocked her behind the camel shed.” The definition of chock-a-block, by the way, appears to be “crammed full of people or things”. He continued: “You might believe everything that was written down 2000 years ago to be absolutely accurate. Good on you, you’re dumb. Dumb as dog shit.”

But no complaints about Peter Fitzsimons saying:

“And Scott Morrison’s church encourages this anxiety-inducing rubbish being taught – presumably to children.”

From Ian Robinson of The Rationalist Society of Australia

Sydney ”Shock Jock” Kyle Sandilands has upset Christians and Muslims by wrongly claiming on air that Jesus’ mother Mary lied about her pregnancy and told everyone, ‘I got pregnant by a magical ghost’.

There is no evidence that this is the case. The story of Jesus “virgin birth” was not even known to Jesus’ mother Mary. It was made up later by others. The earliest known Christian writings, the Epistles of Paul and the Gospel of Mark, do not mention it. This is a very telling omission. It is obviously a concoction by later Christians in an attempt to validate the evolving myth that the man Jesus was God and therefore could not have had a human father.

Sandilands’ co-host Jackie O’Henderson also got it wrong when she claimed in Jesus’ defence that his virgin birth was unique. On the contrary, the history of religious myth abounds with stories of virgin births. For example, the Roman god Mars was conceived when his mother, Juno, touched a magic flower; the Chinese god Qi was conceived when his mother Jiang Yuan stepped in a giant footprint left by the supreme deity Shangdi; and the Aztec god Huitzilopochtli was conceived when his mother Coatlicue found a ball of feathers that fell from the sky and placed it in her waistband.

Moreover, one of Sandilands detractors got it wrong when he complained forlornly “you have accused her [Mary] of having sex”. Leaving aside the implied slur on the sexual act, it is clear that Mary must have had sex sometime, even on the Biblical account, since Jesus had a number of siblings, and unless they were all the offspring of the Holy Ghost, they must have been conceived via sexual intercourse.

Finally, his critics got it wrong. Sandilands comments were ill-informed and expressed in intemperate language, but, although he misplaced the blame, he was within his rights to question the plausibility of the virgin birth story. That religious leaders didn’t grant him that right is concerning. It exposes their one-sided view of the idea of freedom of religious expression.


59:41 From Listener Craig

I’ve only just finished listening to Ep 220 (forgive me, I also have a lot of science podcasts to listen to) and there was discussion on the use of commonwealth funding, specifically childcare rebates, and payment to individuals who are not registered child-care facilities (e.g.- grandparents).  I THINK it was Mr Fist who was of the opinion that this was a bad idea, and to paraphrase, public monies provided for a purpose should not be able to be spent in a private arrangement.  Personally I completely agree with this point of view as it would provide a simple avenue for individuals to submit false claims for childcare expenses which may not have occurred, and split the profits in an arrangement with a 3rd party.  At the same time though you were also recently discussing the cashless welfare card and stated that welfare recipients should be able to spend their welfare on whatever they want to (as long as it’s legal) specifically including alcohol and cigarettes.  Do you not consider these viewpoints to be contradictory?  Personally I’m a bit ambivalent on the cashless welfare card myself as I’m sympathetic to its inflexibility and the social stigmatisms it may bring to users but at the same time as somebody who pays a significant amount of tax each year I’d like to see it being used for what it’s intended.  I include cigarettes and alcohol only as the example discussed and my overall inquiry is not to point at specifics, but at the general argument over the acceptable use of public funds.

In summary:

So, on the one hand, with the child care money we are saying here is some money which must be spent this way but with the welfare card we are saying here is some money to spend as you like.

The Fist says:

Regarding child care, having a private option allows the rich to opt out of the public system. We have seen what happens with hospitals when you create a private option. The public option deteriorates because the rich know they can choose the private option. Allowing welfare recipients options as to what they buy doesn’t damage a public system that the rest of us rely on. If they choose badly and buy booze and cigarettes it doesn’t damage some community cafeteria that we all rely on. Now they may end up with lung cancer and cost the community a bomb (actually it doesn’t, it saves us because we don’t have to pay a pension) but the same could be said about non welfare recipients so if we ban smokes for that reason we should ban them for everyone.

1:03:01 Halloween on Hastings

Saturday 2 November at 8pm

A queer celebration of religious freedom and freedom of speech.

Praise be Scott Morrison – your proposed “Freedom of Religion” Bill will open the gates of Hell in the streets of Australia.

For all of us who are condemned to the underworld we are planning a queer Halloween celebration of our new found Freedom of Speech and Religious Freedoms.

Halloween on Hastings invite all Mad Fkn Witches, Sodomites, Warlocks, Pagans, Satanists, Atheists and Whores to our 2nd November event. We are going to take back the streets from the State and Local Government sponsored homophobes and misogynists.

Get frocked up in your best devilish drag and join us for a night of fun. Zombies especially welcome.
Grab some dinner before joining us at 8pm at the Police Beat for a few speeches and invocations before we flamboyantly parade down Hastings Street.
We will be preaching the gospel of where to obtain abortions, handing out condoms, how to support Voluntary Assisted Dying, where to find brothels and sex shops, how you can stop chaplains from messing with our children and many other issues.

The night will end with an orgy of drinking and dancing at a nearby nightclub.
It ‘s going to be one hell of a party party.

This event forms part of the nationwide LGBTI organised protests against the proposed Religious Freedom Bill now before Federal Parliament.
Gays don’t get angry – we have a party!

Please message the organisers if you require more details, like to be involved or would like to be emailed the Media Release.

1:03:40 Patrons

1:06:21 Hillsong is not happy

Through a strongly worded statement circulated to media outlets, including The New Daily, on Thursday afternoon, Hillsong said it was investigating several unnamed articles for defamation – as well as social media users.

“Much of this commentary is factually incorrect and highly defamatory, and we call on the media and others to immediately stop making these spurious claims,” the statement read.

“We have directed our lawyers to review several articles that have published untrue and defamatory claims that smear Pastor Brian’s reputation as a Christian leader.

“Furthermore, we remind those who seek to spread rumours and baseless information via social media that these comments may also be subject to a defamation action.”

Mr Houston’s father, Frank Houston, abused as many as nine boys across New Zealand and Australia, including Brett Sengstock who testified before the royal commission into child sexual abuse in 2014.

Mr Sengstock, told The New Daily, the abuse he suffered for years at the hands of Frank Houston, had destroyed his life.

“Frank would have done me a favour [by] killing me at the age of seven. It’s been a train wreck ever since,” he said.

Mr Sengstock told the royal commission that over the phone, Mr Houston allegedly told him: “You know, it’s your fault all this happened. You tempted my father”.

In Thursday’s statement released to media outlets, Hillsong claimed that Mr Houston never “placed blame on any victim” and stressed that the royal commission did not “directly involve Hillsong.”

“It is an indisputable fact that Pastor Brian is not a perpetrator of abuse, has never been accused of abuse, and took immediate action to expose and stop a child abuser,” it read.

“At no stage did the Royal Commission ever imply that Pastor Brian was involved in any sort of ‘cover-up’. Reporting around this is wrong.”

The 2015 royal commission found Brian Houston had failed to immediately report his father’s abuse to police.

“We are satisfied that, in 1999 and 2000, Pastor Brian Houston and the national executive of the Assemblies of God in Australia did not refer the allegations of child sexual abuse against Mr Frank Houston to the police,” the commissioners wrote in their report.

“We consider that a conflict of interest first arose when Pastor Brian Houston decided to respond to the allegations by confronting his father while simultaneously maintaining his roles as national president (of the Assemblies of God in Australia) and senior pastor,” they said.

“The commissioners express the view that the NSW executive failed to appoint a contact person for the complainant, interview the complainant, have the state or national executive interview the alleged perpetrator, or record any of the steps it took.”

1:07:31 Falou

He wants to play for Tonga.

Also, the Jewish community’s peak body has urged the Morrison government to rethink the so-called “Folau clause” in its religious discrimination bill, describing it as “alien to Australia’s tradition of a fair go” … arguing it was unfair and unclear.

1:09:10 The Great Debate – Martin Iles Vs Fiona Patten

Wednesday the 9th of October. Additional security procedures are in place for this event and form part of the conditions of entry.

The Fist hopes Fiona is up to speed on the FFF argument that religious freedom requires the freedom to associate. See this article from Alex Deagon as an example.

The right to association necessarily entails the right to bar others from entering the association. The competing claims of an institution and an individual in such a situation cut to the heart of practical applications of the right to religious freedom. Alex Deagon acknowledges the tension present while arguing that the religious freedom of institutions is a cornerstone of democracy and must be protected.

The Fist: That freedom is limited to relevance. It is only OK when worshipping and not OK when conducting normal affairs of human interaction such as commerce and education. Also, the other protected minorities did not ask for the right to exclude others.

Please also, argue Inherent Vs Ideological.

1:10:03 Justin Trudeau

He was never a favourite of IFVG so we have little sympathy for him now.

The blackface scandal could prove very damaging because it further consolidates the narrative of a hypocrite. On 18 September, in the middle of the election campaign, Time magazine published a 2001 photo of a 29-year old Trudeau when he was a teacher at an exclusive school in Vancouver. His face and hands are darkened for the character Aladdin at an Arabian Nights-themed party, and one hand is splayed across the bare upper chest of a woman.

1:12:17 A Jordan Peterson clown story

TORONTO – Controversial U of T psychology professor Jordan Peterson once again ignited a public furor last night, refusing to refer to a popular Stephen King-based horror film by the gender-neutral pronoun “IT”, on the grounds that the titular character, Pennywise the clown, is obviously a “HIM.”

According to eyewitnesses, Peterson spent 12 minutes holding up the box office line at Toronto’s Varsity Cinema while he repeatedly requested VIP room tickets for “HIM”, to the confusion of numerous employees.

“I was called over to the box office because this guy wouldn’t stop going like, ‘I’m here for HIM, I want to see HIM,’” recalled assistant manager Toby Duncan. “When I eventually clued in and asked if he meant ‘IT’, he said he most certainly did NOT mean ‘IT’ and called me a radical postmodernist ideologue trying to punish him for not using the clown’s ‘compelled pronoun.’ “

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