Is ANYTHING Worth the Death Penalty?

Short answer: NO.

I’m writing this Sunday night, after hearing on the news today that the 72-hour-notice has been given for the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Their executions could be anytime from Tuesday onwards.

I just think… Why? It seems to me that President “Jokowi” is talking tough on drugs, so he paints all with the same brush (no pun intended), regardless of rehabilitation, repentance, youthful stupidity grown into wiser maturity.

#Istandformercy.

The death penalty is wrong, regardless of the crime. I say this because it is too final a punishment, too terrible.

From Amnesty International (https://www.amnesty.org/en/what-we-do/death-penalty/):

The problem

Why the Death Penalty is wrong

Denial of human rights. Sentencing someone to death denies them the right to life – enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Not irreversible and mistakes happen. Execution is the ultimate, irrevocable punishment: the risk of executing an innocent person can never be eliminated. Since 1973, for example, 150 US prisoners sent to death row have later been exonerated. Others have been executed despite serious doubts about their guilt.

Does not deter crime. Countries who execute commonly cite the death penalty as a way to deter people from committing crime. This claim has been repeatedly discredited, and there is no evidence that the death penalty is any more effective in reducing crime than imprisonment.

The death penalty is a symptom of a culture of violence, not a solution to it.

Often used within skewed justice systems. Some of the countries executing the most people have deeply unfair legal systems. The ‘top’ three executing countries – China, Iran and Iraq – have issued death sentences after unfair trials. Many death sentences are issued after ‘confessions’ that have been obtained through torture.

Discriminatory. You are more likely to be sentenced to death if you are poor or belong to a racial, ethnic or religious minority because of discrimination in the justice system. Also, poor and marginalised groups have less access to the legal resources needed to defend themselves.

Used as a political tool. The authorities in some countries, for example Iran and Sudan, use the death penalty to punish political opponents.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

In the case of these two, it’s clear they are guilty. But it’s been ten years since their crime – they’ve changed. Why now?

All this puts me in mind of a song I heard last year by Eric Bogle. It’s about apartheid in South Africa, with symbolic links to Good Friday. I think its words are quite appropriate here, when I think of those two men and the other nine prisoners destined for the firing squad so soon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tcK3pb9nPM : Singing the Spirit Home.

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On My Activist Horse Again… Down with Wicked Campers and their Slogans!

The title says it all. Um, TRIGGER WARNING, I guess.

Check these out:
https://www.change.org/p/john-webb-founder-wicked-campers-eliminate-misogynistic-and-degrading-slogans-and-imagery?tk=C9V2MflTXyvaVgvxW-p3qc1YL0AsVy9IJqXHmCbRyTk&utm_source=petition_update&utm_medium=email
http://questionsforus.com/2015/01/16/literally-wicked-campers-still-offend/

A while ago, I signed a petition trying to get Wicked Campers (& their founder John Webb) to remove their sexist, degrading, just-plain-awful slogans off their vans. The founder said things but did nothing.

As Paula Orbea puts it: “This van PARTICIPATES in perpetuating a toxic and violent perspective about women.
SHAME ON YOU, WICKED CAMPERS!”

31 women so far this year have been killed by men. This is the sort of thinking that encourages that*! It’s not a joke. It’s not even a little funny. It. Is. F**king disgusting and misogynistic.
(* = see comments below.)

So it’s up to us. Write to a campground you know. Ask whether they’d be willing to ban the vans from their sites. If they’re banned, tourists might stop renting them. This needs to be stopped. Now.

This is the image that started the outrage:

ANZAC Day

Well. The 100th Anniversary of Gallipoli has passed now.

I spent yesterday quietly, with the occasional thought about things, but didn’t go to any marches or anything. My hometown apparently had thousands of people at the dawn service.

Then I went to Mass. It was Good Shepherd Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Easter. I found it appropriate.

For, in all the hustle and bustle of the commemorations that a centenary brings, it gave a proper chance to reflect. On all wars – and their aftermath. We need to think more about the aftermath.

Some songs to listen to:
The first one is Eric Bogle’s and the band played waltzing Matilda.
The second is an Irish song by The Fureys.
The third is a Turkish folk song. “Canakkale is a town close to Anzac Cove. The mirrored bazar is the town square, a focal point of the community. It is where Turkish troops assembled and marched from much like Circular Quay.”

Humanity. Lest we forget.

http://youtu.be/HbCF0iwjxfA

Weekly Round-Up

Hey everyone. How has your week been?

Well, my USB was fixed. Thank you Mum, Dad and electrical shop!

My first placement went well. Oh the kids are great. I’m going to love it there. 🙂

My story is going very well. I’m at 49,613 words and we’re just hitting the middle stuff. My original prototype was 50,911 overall. So I’m feeling pretty good about it.

Characters are funny things, especially regarding names. One of my major sources of names has been my friends. But that’s all they give – no personality or anything or it would be too weird. Especially since my characters surprise me often – frequently regarding their sexuality and relationships (the side-plot stuff), but occasionally something else.

I try to be diverse in my casting. Which can sometimes mean that I’ll assign a name & personality without quite knowing what they exactly look like, beyond perhaps a stereotypical image. I play around with that later.

All the little interesting things.

And I recently commented on a thread over at Chuck Wendig’s site regarding my protagonist, Lily. That’s helped me realise that when I’ve written as much of the plot as possible, I’ll need to go back to the beginning and ensure certain things are fleshed out. Of course, I do that on the way, too, but sometimes I rush and accidentally skip things.

Now to work on some uni things. See you!

Life Lessons Learnt: BACK UP YOUR STUFF

This week has been busy. I’d hoped to write about politics, but instead, THIS happened.

My memory stick broke during class. Not the “trusty USB” I’d mentioned in connection to writing. I wish it had been, because while it would frustrate the hell out of me and the same process would have to be followed, it’s ‘only’ got free time stuff on there. Plenty of *important* free time stuff, but I’d have coped (marginally) better.

This USB is my *uni* USB. It has tons of stuff on there thatI need. Like *assignment work*.

imageHence why this post is titled thus, because of course silly me has not backed up the current year’s work yet. A.k.a., the stuff I need is stuck on a memory chip inside the stick. We’ve tried holding it together and reading it, but that didn’t work. So all I can do is hand it off to Mum, hoping like hell someone at her work can get something to read the chip so I can get my files off there. Hopefully in a week or less.

Oh, and part b) of this lesson – talk to parents/ family/ significant other before attempting to fix it yourself by making executive decisions like handing it off to a computer shop. Even if they grumble and scold, they’ll still be able to find a way of sorting it out in a cheaper, better way. Probably. I hope.

I’ll keep you lot updated.

Just remember: back up your stuff. You never know when something will happen.

Change, Bill Shorten, Change!

So, um, that article I linked to last week about Shorten?
This is the answer. My bad. 🙂

Ærchies Archive - Digital Detritus

I’ll preface this by saying I am not a member of the ALP.  I am a member of the Greens. Yet I do admit that even under Scott Ludlam, the Greens will not win Government.

The best PM Australia will never have. The best PM Australia will never have.

No! The alternative leader in Australia is Bill Shorten. And, if we listen to vocal ALP members and the MSM and Tony Abbott, he is not doing a very good job.

So what is the job of an opposition leader?

It is to convince the electorate that he, or she, is capable of doing a better job as Prime Minister than the incumbent.

Doesn't he look like Bolt! Doesn’t he look like Bolt!

Last century this was done by putting forward policies which counter-acted the unpopular policies of the Government, or by putting forward policies which the Opposition felt would improve Australia.

But that is so last century. Kim Beazley did that and…

View original post 509 more words

“Lifestyle Choice”????? Pfffffffffffffft! (a.k.a. Does the term “traditional owners” mean anything to certain people?

http://theaimn.com/imagine-the-uproar-if-the-government-shut-down-the-water-supply-to-a-white-community/

The government is being stupid. Again.

They can posture and preen all they want; this sort of thing smacks of racism.

It’s pretty damn typical of this government – they don’t understand so much of what their constituents go through because they grew up with privilege; and they’re not going to bother learning because they don’t care.

They say one thing and do another, then try to justify it with weasel words. Why? Gah.

Imagine the Headlines….

http://theaimn.com/the-headlines-we-should-have-had/
An article about the mainstream media (MSM) and how, thanks to the business of selling news, certain headlines are written and not others. Or, the tagline: “Do you ever look at the way the mainstream media constructs its headlines and shake your head? I think they call it ‘agenda setting’. Here’s some agenda setting we could have had, but didn’t.*”

Also, a little sidenote on Vision (yes, I know I keep harping on about it, but…): this article, http://theaimn.com/if-i-were-bill-shorten-on-a-vision-for-the-nation/
I think it illustrates nicely what I’m having difficulty with at the moment regarding the Opposition.

Extract from the article: “What would you say if you were Bill Shorten? Respected blogger Ad astra has some ideas that Bill would be wise to heed.

Last week Jon Faine interviewed Bill Shorten on Melbourne 774 radio. I wonder what Labor voters felt about that encounter. My guess is that they would have been disappointed; a feeling expressed by many talkback callers and text messengers.
Faine gave Shorten close to half an hour to state what Labor stood for, and what plans he had. He asked Shorten repeatedly how he would pay for them.
Bill hesitated, stumbled, repeated himself, and obfuscated over the revenue issues. It was not a confident or impressive performance.

Defeating an incompetent and untrustworthy government with a spent leader takes more than sitting back and waiting for the Abbott government to implode. Labor and its leader need to be out there offering a positive vision, plausible plans and cogent strategies to pay for those plans. Malcolm Turnbull is doing this piecemeal in his inimitable style; why can’t Bill Shorten?

While not being vain enough to pretend to have all the answers, this piece attempts to put together some ideas about how Labor and Shorten might proceed. “If I were Bill Shorten…’
It’s easy from the coziness of a comfortable chair, free from the pressure of a live interview, to be a smart aleck about what one would say, so I kept this front-of-mind while writing.

Shorten could learn something from Abbott, who seems to be able to learn his lines, albeit simple ones of just a few words, and repeat them endlessly. I’m not suggesting he become the mindless automaton Abbott has become. I’m simply saying to him: formulate your lines carefully and learn them so well that you can spontaneously give them out, with suitable variations, in response to the right stimulus.

If I were Bill Shorten, I’d structure responses in a commonsense sequence, beginning with a vision, then plans, and then how to fund them.

What do you think?

Has he perhaps started doing this? After all, the very day ad astra wrote this article, Shorten gave another interview, on 7:30, which was perhaps more successful….

A Writing Update

Hel-lo!

I thought it was time to give you guys another little update…

I’m currently working on chapter five. Keeping to the writing schedule of using the up-and-back journey by vline train means I get currently about five to six hours a week. This is not enough, really. But uni comes first (see previous post). Right now, I’m just trying to write as much as I can in the time I’ve got. Some of the characters are really coming together; others are still a bit blank.

With Chapter Five, I’ve begun an interesting stage. I’ve talked a bit on here about how I’m a plantser – I need a plan to begin, but can then decide on-the-go how the scenes for the day will actually work out. The plan by its very nature is loose. It has a backbone though, for most. But with Chapters Five through to “midway(?)”, the backbone has shrunk, because I just couldn’t lay it out too clearly.

It’s like that bridge over the water which is made of rope and wood, swinging in the breeze… I’m working hard to stride across it without it breaking! I’m helped by this in part because of that narrow timeframe I mentioned before – it forces me to be a pantser more, to develop my writing-on-the-go skills. This is where my “Notes” and “Extracts” docs come in handy (very handy), cos if I get a wisp of an idea for later, or decide that the current scene is good but not for this part of the story, I can jot it down there instead of figuring out where it fits now. I’m also using the “comments” section on Word a lot, so that I avoid wanting to do major edits-on-the-go.

I decided, at the start of the revamp, that I’d title the chapters. Which is funny, given that for this book at least, I’m uncertain about its overall title (though I just got an idea then…). It’s fun.
Another thing that’s fun are subplots (I know <–that is slightly grammatically incorrect, but pish!). There are quite a few in this book/ overall story, revealed bit by bit. This is largely because the entire overall story is influenced – hugely – by stuff that happened fifteen+ years before the start of the book. As you may remember from my post about characters a while back, there are mix of adults and teens, older and younger. Naturally, this means that some will know more than others (even some adults know more than other adults). Of course, no single person – adult or teen – has the same perspective. One of my themes is secrets.

It’s all so fun!

The State of Australia

More and more, when we look at the news, it seems there are so few politicians who really care about the people more than profit, or getting re-elected. Three to four year terms are too short. Why can’t they focus on the bigger issues?

http://theaimn.com/what-are-the-greatest-challenges-facing-australia/ – This puts it very well. An excerpt:

What are the greatest challenges facing Australia?
When allocating limited resources to best satisfy unlimited needs and wants, this is the question we must ask.Is ISIS a greater threat than climate change?
Should we spend hundreds of billions on defence and new submarines, jet fighters, patrol boats, planes, helicopters, drones and bombs or should we increase our foreign aid and actively assist in disaster relief, building infrastructure, improving health and education, moving people out of poverty, and emancipating women?Should we spend billions persecuting asylum seekers or should we join the global effort to offer displaced people fleeing war and oppression hope, safety, and a new life?
For a sovereign currency, is pursuing a surplus more important than investing in health and education?
Should we be investing in wringing the last cent out of our natural resources, giving subsidies worth billions to a dying industry, or should we be investing in research and renewable energy?
Should we be pursuing people on welfare or corporate tax evaders?
Should we be removing regulations on gambling, food labelling, alcohol and tobacco or should we be putting the health of our citizens in front of profits for international corporations and the taxation or donations they give to government and politicians?

Should we be building more roads or investing in public transport and high speed rail?
Should we be spending billions to build a national broadband network that relies on a limited, decaying copper network that is costing us millions to maintain unless you want to pay thousands to hook up to the fibre that WAS going to service over 90% of premises without cost (other than contract)?
Should the rules regarding political donations, political advertising, and electoral funding be changed?
Should politicians’ entitlements be tightened up and better scrutinised?
Should we have the 9th inquiry into pink batts and divert funds from the child sexual abuse Royal Commission to the RC into trade unions or should we have a Federal ICAC and a Royal Commission into children in detention and asylum seeker policy?
Should we be spending hundreds of millions on school chaplains or on trained school counsellors with support and referral networks?

What do you reckon? This article really resonates after that “vision” post I wrote a few weeks ago.

And this article: http://theaimn.com/australian-and-global-political-subversion-global-corporatism-and-neo-liberalism/ Is this the reason why the pollies are behaving so selfishly?
“Is Australia on its way to becoming a plutocracy? Andreas Bimba investigates and discovers that the answer is a frightening ‘yes’.

The neo-conservatives in the Australian Liberal, National and Labor (yes Labor) parties are not just more right wing than before, they through their actions rather than their words appear to be disciples of the Institute of Public Affairs and other nests of this poisonous ideology such as the Tea Party in the US. I suspect that these people are on the balance of probabilities trying to subvert our democracies with many parallels with the methods used by a rather famous Austrian in Germany many years ago.

This ideology can be called global corporatism or neo-liberalism, it doesn‘t sound as scary as communism or fascism but give it some more time and we may see. It‘s a lot more than being just about economics, I suspect it‘s actually also about political subversion of the worlds democracies and even many of its dictatorships.

How could this be true and why would these people do such a thing? After all many nice old grannies would love to have Tony Abbott as a pet.

Just think if all the world‘s nations were all neutered so that laws that benefited citizens could no longer be passed. Does this sound like the current US Senate and Congress to you? This means that corporations are then FREE to accumulate wealth and do as they please unencumbered by taxation, regulations, red or green tape, any courts, labour laws, environment protection laws, international laws, high wage costs or international institutions like the UN and the international court of justice and indeed any laws. Total freedom or corporate nirvana? Gee I would vote for that, freedom is good and even more freedom is gooder or something like that and besides everyone knows socialism is the root of all evil. Rupert keeps telling me this so it must be true, I think, oh that hurt, no more thinking just do what he says, yeah that‘s it and God bless Ame…

US President Barak Obama and his current Democrat government as well as a small number of brave politicians may be the last remnants of genuine democracy (i.e. for the benefit of the people) at the national level in the United States but don‘t forget that this government also fears the power of the corporations which probably explains why they are also pushing for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and are also still promoting neo-liberalism economics at least half heartedly.

The United States is well on the way to becoming a plutocracy but countries like Australia are not far behind. In the US, politics has become so warped that proponents of governments acting in the best interests of the people, compliance with the constitution and for the correct functioning of the democratic system of government, are derided perversely as socialists or even communists. If anything it is those that pull the levers behind the Tea Party movement that are trying to subvert democracy in the US (& globally) and implement the fundamentally undemocratic and totalitarian ideology of global corporatism.

I suppose the logical end point of this perverted political subversion is something like a more capitalist version of George Orwell‘s 1984 or Aldous Huxley‘s Brave New World. A particularly horrible world that even it‘s proponents will eventually live and die miserably in.

Oh dear…….

Also, this post (http://theaimn.com/if-you-cant-deal-with-vulnerability-youve-no-business-being-in-government/) backs it up, too.

Coming off the back of this is the three-part series that’s been running over the past three Tuesdays on ABC at 20:30, “Making Australia Great” (http://www.abc.net.au/tv/programs/making-australia-great-inside-our-longest-boom/). It points out that we’ve been here before, in some fashion. We need to step up and realise that in order to move forward, we need to be inclusive, not exclusive and actually plan for the future innovatively instead of coasting along, cushioning the mates and hoping for the best. Can we do that?