Once a man becomes president, he becomes known by the title. Barack Obama becomes “President Obama” — rarely “Barack”. Donald Trump ceases being “The Donald” and is kowtowed to as, “President Trump”. It’s a measure of respect for the office. However, only occasionally is Joe Biden referred to as “President Biden”. The press and public continue calling him by his full name; not “Biden” or “Mr. President”, not “Joe” but, “Joe Biden”. Or, as it now falls trippingly from the common tongue, a hipster sounding: “J’Biden”.

Well, J’Biden has now been with us for that mythical 100 days, hence it’s…

Announced in 2019, the Respect Matters program was instituted to support teachers educate students about safety, consent and wellbeing.

In a press release, Minister for Education Dan Tehan said parents and teachers played an important role in teaching children about the value of healthy and respectful relationships, and the impact of their behaviour.

“This program builds on the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework, released in 2018, and will include resources to help students understand vital concepts like consent and respect,” he said.

To achieve these aims, the Morrison government budgeted $7.8 million. More than half of was spent on the video…

This morning, the NSW Police Minister, David Elliott attacked a group of primary school students for hanging a Black Lives Matter poster in the wake of the George Floyd ruling. Sensationally, Elliott made the case that children were being brainwashed with anti-police propaganda, and he would be pursuing an apology from the teacher involved.

The poster, shared by GetUp! media advisor Alex McKinnon on Twitter, asks us to ‘Stop Killer Cops’ surrounded by hashtags calling for #JusticeNow and #BLM. …

This morning, as Newsweek put it, “a jury has found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd…Chauvin was the first of four officers to face a jury. The other three responding officers involved in Floyd’s fatal arrest — Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng — have been charged with aiding and abetting murder. They will be jointly tried in August. All four officers were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department the day after Floyd’s death.”

On Friday, Portland, Oregon, police murdered an unarmed man…

Over in New Zealand, a depressed cow was reunited with his pal after a daytime television-inspired rural manhunt.

In New Zealand, a depressed cow has finally been reunited with his beloved therapy goat who was brazenly stolen from the paddock they shared. The goat in question, Peaches, was located after an investigation inspired by midday television.

The cow, Bunter is one of the animal residents at a hotel and found the death of his cousin (another cow) rather difficult. So, Joe, his human owner/hotel manager decided to find Bunter a therapy pal.

“After Rosie passed away, Bunter got really depressed and we heard that goats were good therapy, and there was a lady who was willing to gift…

Yesterday, Scott Morrison closed Australia’s role in the decades-long Afghanistan war, tearily noting our sacrifice. He read through a list of the 41 Australian personnel who have died while serving, his voice wavering at times. “The sacrifice immense, the bravery and courage things we can speak of, but not know of personally.”

But while he failed to mention the 157,000 Afghans killed since 2001 (more than 43,000 were civilians), the average Australian has to wonder what it is that we’re leaving behind, and what we’ve done in the name of “freedom”, as Morrison put it.

The irony is certainly bitter…

In recent years, following bloody terrorist attacks in Europe, the United States and Australia, we frequently hear that “the perpetrator was known to the authorities”.

It has practically become de rigueur, a statement typically appearing 12–24 hours after an attack. Authorities disclose such statements through various media outlets, indicating there was neither a blunder nor negligence in play, rather, that “watchful eyes” already knew of the perpetrator and very often, the person of interest remained on their radar for quite some time.

“It is France that is under attack,” Emmanuel Macron said in the wake of the attack. “Three of…

As numerous news outlets have reported, US financier, sex offender and suspiciously dead person Jeffrey Epstein donated $US650,000, to the International Peace Institute between 2011 to 2019, a revelation the think-tank’s chair Kevin Rudd says is “deeply disturbing”.

Per AAP, “The former Australian prime minister, who became vice-chair of the UN-affiliated organisation in 2014 and chair in 2018, has convened an extraordinary board meeting after reports IPI president Terje Rod-Larsen borrowed $US130,000 from convicted paedophile Epstein in 2013.”

“I first learned of contributions from Epstein’s foundations to the IPI in November 2019 through reporting by the Norwegian press. …

By a margin of 52–48, the United States Senate has confirmed Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment to the Supreme Court.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement is a staunch conservative, and will soon be voting on upcoming cases Affordable Care Act, abortion rights, and voting rights. Barrett’s confirmation also means that the Supreme Court sports a 6–3 conservative majority, a bias that will remain in place for decades.

As Vox noted, “…every Republican senator except Susan Collins (R-ME) voted in favour of Barrett’s confirmation, while no Democrats did. Collins voted against Barrett because she disagreed with the process used for her nomination…

Kevin Rudd’s petition to parliament for a royal commission into the dominance of the Murdoch media in Australia is entitled to be seen as more than an embittered ex-politician’s desire for revenge.

The fact is that in the three mature English-speaking democracies where Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has a dominant presence — the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia — politics are deeply polarised and conducted with a toxicity and dishonesty that is harmful to the public good.

There are differences in degree, of course. Australia has not elected a reactionary extremist such as US President Donald Trump, nor…

The Big Smoke

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