Should MPs be Butchers, Bakers, and Candlestick Makers?

A frequent criticism of government ministers is that they have absolutely no experience or qualifications in their portfolios. Can we take that criticism seriously? Let’s look at the high-level list of portfolios: AgricultureEnvironmentDefenceEducationEmploymentFinanceForeign affairs HealthCustomsIndustryScienceEnergyResources(Attorney-General) TransportCommunicationDevelopmentSocial ServicesTreasuryVeteran’s Affairs(Prime Minister) What are the chances that, of the MPs elected, the party or parties forming government will […]

Measuring Prayer

A Facebook acquaintance recently posted the meme above, and I was surprised at both the variety and vehemence of the responses. Some agreed, and others absolutely disagreed. What interested me in particular was the remarkable illogic of those disagreeing, and it so irritated me I decided to write this rebuttal of their counter-claims and arguments. […]

Morrison’s Deadly 80% Cargo Cult

Perhaps now, far too late, it’s finally obvious that Morrison never intended to use or follow the Doherty modelling in any meaningful fashion. At the very beginning of the pandemic he made his political and ideological preferences clear—go to the footy, let it rip—but such was the overwhelming pressure for a medical, scientifically sound path […]

Morrison’s 80% Cargo Cult, Redux

Originally tweeted by Peter Barnes (@infinite8horizo) on 2022/01/08. There’s black humour in peeling back the layers of wrong here (not Allan’s, what he describes). tl;dr —A model’s predictions can be wrong if its assumptions are wrong; —or wrong if they’re correct but are invalidated later. —A model’s predictions are *irrelevant* if politicians only wanted the […]

The LNP RATs — Always Late. Or Never.

With the LNP it’s not “better late than never”, it’s “always late – or never” Water bombers- never Bushfire fund – never ICAC – never Quarantine – never Vaccines – late Rollout – late Local mRNA – still late NSW lockdowns – late Boosters – late RATs – never, then late Do you remember Morrison […]

Culpability of the Fourth Estate (even Tingle is not exempt)

On the one hand we should, again, applaud ⁦@latingle⁩ for calling a spade a spade when almost the entire MSM and many of her ABC colleagues are doing their usual bucolic gushing. On the other hand, she’s perpetuating the myth. The myth that most of the MSM’s employees are actually journalists and bona-fide members […]

Culpability of the Fourth Estate (silence is consent)

Silence is consent. Quite a few genuine, competent journalists have been vocal in the defence of their profession against social-media criticism. Silent, though about the obvious, massive propaganda imbalance. This election, the fourth estate *will be* part of the story. This election, you have no choice. Or at least, you have this choice: Remain silent, […]

Carbon Capture? Press capture, more like

I think we might have reached that point where nuance just dies under the appalling load of a megaton of bullshit. THIS IS TOTAL BULLSHIT THIS IS SNAKE OIL DRESSED UP AS FAKERY MASQUERADING AS BULLSHIT THERE IS NO PLAN IT’S BLATANT DO-NOTHING KABUKI THEATRE I appreciate that when a supposedly responsible, serious body like […]

The asymmetry of propaganda warfare

The asymmetry of propaganda warfare. Brief thread. It’s a truism of warfare that defenders have to succeed every single time, while attackers only have to succeed once. It’s true, for example, of cybersecurity, but it’s also true of propaganda. This is because there are infinitely many lies that can be told, many of them plausible, […]

The Dead Overton Whistle – a right-wing media dream

Here’s a perfect worked example of what I call the “Dead Overton Whistle”. It combines the most noxious elements of the Crosby-Textor dead cat, an attempt to move the Overton window, and a typical political dog-whistle. Johnson was supposed to be in parliament, getting excoriated for his part in yet another piece of breathtaking corruption. […]

Morrison harcut (

Culpability of the Fourth Estate (Reporting haircuts but not lies)

A deliberate, calculating liar doesn’t have to lie all the time to be an immoral, bad-faith actor. It’s much better strategy to tell the truth about all the little things, & save the lies for occasional, big, important things. No, not Morrison. Murdoch/Costello/Redstone MSM What also works is to lie by omission.What doesn’t get reported […]

Buttrose’s performative defiance

Having watched and frequently decried the slow destruction of the ABC from within and without in accordance with Murdoch/IPA/LNP principles, I’m torn by this sudden access of principle. Prima facie, yes, absolutely, this is outrageous. Tediously so. Statement from Ita Buttrose, ABC Chair, on ABC complaints handling process. It’s a typical Dead Overton Whistle, a […]