Adelaide’s village idiot

Cory Bernardi embraces political oblivion … Mr Harbourside Mansion makes vitriolic attack on Mr Billionaire Poodle … The Rise of Trumpism: A lesson from history … Who wants to be a Roman Catholic? … In praise of a health crusader …Author Kate Grenville writes anti-perfume book …

Adelaide’s village idiot

Senator Cory Bernardi made headlines for a few hours this week by resigning from the Liberal Party. Then he quietly slipped into political oblivion.

Bernardi believes in obliterating long-established anti-discrimination laws so right-wing scum can racially abuse Aborigines, immigrants and religious minorities with legal impunity. So he won’t mind me calling him a piece of unreconstructed homophobic, bigoted, racist guano.
His self-styled Conservative Party is unique: it was dead before it was declared alive. Its nutty right-wing programme of extreme free market capitalism will attract rancid ex-supporters of Pauline Hanson, Mark I, and Clive Palmer. Let’s be clear: Bernardi will vote for every piece of Coalition legislation that comes before the Senate. The only exceptions will be laws to legalise gay marriage, abortion or euthanasia. When Bernardi finally faces the electorate, he will be chucked out.

One senior Canberra media commentator tried to convince me that “Bernadrongo” was a modern version of Don Chipp who quit the Liberals in 1977 to found the Australian Democrats to “keep the bastards honest”.

Hang on, there’s a huge difference. “Chippy” had been a Cabinet minister and a well known political figure before he left the Liberals. Bernardi is an unknown senator with no serious political experience whatsoever. Outside a few like-minded crazies, he is a nobody. He’s relying on the Murdoch media to turn him into a somebody. Good luck with that.

Turnbull v Shorten: dead heat

They were both correct. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called Opposition leader Bill Shorten a “simpering sycophant” and a “parasite” who yearns to live in his own harbourside mansion. “There was never a union leader in Melbourne that tucked his knees under more billionaires’ tables than the Leader of the Opposition,” he shouted.

In response, Shorten told the ABC: “The drums are beating in the corridors of Canberra about whether or not he [Turnbull] will remain as Liberal leader and I think he is showing the pressure.”

Turnbull is right about Shorten and Shorten is right about Turnbull. It’s a draw. However, Turnbull’s tirade is hypocritical because throughout his adult life he has enjoyed the patronage of billionaires on the BRW’s Top Ten Rich List – Kerry Packer, Frank Lowy, Harry Triguboff as well as a long list of multi-millionaires such as David Baffsky, the Fairfax family and “Aussie” John Symonds.

When compared to Turnbull, Shorten is a novice in the field of sycophancy towards vast wealth. He’s another Tony Blair.

The rise of Trumpism

In the 1930s as Europe was swept by the rise of Nazism and fascism, the ruling class in Britain, France, the US and Australia were deeply divided between those who thought the Fuhrer and Il Duce should be given a chance and those who opposed appeasement and warned of a coming war. The anti-appeasers were derided as “communist dupes” and “war mongers”.

History records that the left was right to oppose Hitler’s Nazism and Mussolini’s fascism and the right were wrong to flatter them and adapt to their dictatorships.

Hitler’s military expansion was incremental, starting with the occupation of the Saar in 1935, followed by imposing Nazi sovereignty over the Rhineland in 1936, annexing Austria by military force in 1938 and then reconquering (“bringing home”) the German-speaking Sudetenland.

Tory MP Ronald Tree warned of Hitler’s war preparations, writing to his American-born wife Nancy Keene Perkins: “A wave of the strongest pro-Germanism has swept the country – which the government very stupidly has done little or nothing to counteract. What it is in fact is sheer pacifism and a refusal to face facts but it’s terribly dangerous. People here behave as if Hitler and Co were ordinary people and could be trusted instead of realising that these are a bunch of gangsters whose word is good only so long as it serves their purpose …”

Tree, a lone voice among Tories, was proved correct. A second world war broke out and millions were killed. There is something achingly similar in the global reaction to America’s Trumpism: the left is up in arms while the right is in favour of co-operation, i.e. appeasement.

(Incidentally, Tree’s daughter Penelope, the famous fashion model, designer and friend of Beatle John Lennon and photographer David Bailey, lived in Sydney in the 1970s.)

In London, Parliamentary Speaker John Bercow has stated that Trump should not be welcome to address the House of Commons given “our opposition to racism and sexism, and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary”.

In shrieking contrast, Australia’s Coalition government led by Malcolm Turnbull and Barnaby Joyce is crying out for a Trump visit so they can prostrate themselves before the billionaire real estate huckster and beg for a few trade crumbs.

Catholicism sunk by the Vatican

Who wants to be a Roman Catholic? If official reports are accurate, more people are leaving the Catholic church than joining it. That is only to be expected. Who would want to be associated with world’s largest practitioner of institutionalised paedophilia?

The Australian royal commission into child sex abuse this week released preliminary findings:

  • Priests and nuns at 10 religious orders abused at least 4,500 children between 1950 and 2009. Non-reporting and suppressed complaints means that the actual number is far higher;
  • Ninety per cent of the victims were boys at an average age of 11½;
  • The Brothers of St John of God targeted disabled and orphaned children with the apparent ignorance (or blessing?) of superiors;
  • Other orders named for their fiendish predatory behaviour were the Marist Brothers, Christian Brothers, Salesians of Don Bosco and the De La Salle Brothers.
  • More than 20% of priests and nuns working in Catholic orders were involved in sex abuse of children in their care.

The statistics are shocking but totally explicable. If you take a group of brainwashed, idealistic young men and women and prevent them from having consensual sex with other adults, you create misfits, self-haters, depressives and psychologically disfigured people.

This is not to excuse the destructively demonic behaviour of the perpetrators but to put the blame where it belongs – on ancient, reactionary, invented canon law imposed dictatorially for centuries by the Vatican.

A plug for state schools

I make no secret of my support for state school education where teachers are devoted to giving children a well-rounded education and they are not prone to kiddy-fiddling. They regard teaching as a noble profession and a civic career.

I’m gobsmacked by recent figures showing that the cost of “faith” education is going through the roof, and enrolments are rising. Why?

Why do religious-minded parents want to inflict sexual abuse on their children? Trust me, in another 10 or 20 years, taxpayers will be asked to fork out another $100 million for a royal commission into massive rorting by “faith-based” schools which groom pupils as sex toys on a biblical scale.

This Sunday the faithful will go to the local Catholic church, fall on their knees and beg for forgiveness for crimes, not committed by them, but by church leaders. They’ll seek absolution for themselves while the vile perpetrators in Rome open another vintage bottle of red.

Who would think that growing up and acquiring reason would take so long?

I totally respect the freedom of religion but that doesn’t overrule my freedom of expression.

Anyone for Chanel No 5?

When American actress Elaine Hollingsworth arrived in Australia more than 35 years ago, she was already a committed health crusader. The star of Magnificent Obsession settled on the Gold Coast hinterland and opened a health “farm” for men and women with chronic urban illnesses, such as depression, anxiety and obesity.

Her lectures were a frightening revelation. One of her favourites was to demonstrate the toxicity of common household – kitchen and bathroom – products. She would invite “students” to bring all their toiletries to the assembly room where she inspected them one by one. Toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, mouthwash, shaving cream, perfume, nail polish – everything was spilled out on the table and Elaine would clinically examine the items one by one.

She would read the list of ingredients in every product, record them on a blackboard and then consult a massive encyclopedia of all the chemicals used in modern pharmaceuticals (a standard universal directory). Some products contained 30 chemical derivatives from petro-chemical plants and they were all toxic or highly toxic.

In tiny doses, the health impact was miniscule; but over a lifetime of everyday use, the body was impacted and regular users began to suffer skin complaints and serious internal illnesses. As a result of her relentless advocacy, Elaine was ostracised by “big pharma”, particularly the global corporations that manufacture men’s and women’s fragrances.

She didn’t help her cause by attacking the medical profession – many of whom believed she was onto something – with a book called Doctors Are Dangerous, and by making claims that her treatment could cure a whole set of ailments, including cancer. It was utter nonsense.

As a result of reading Elaine’s articles, lectures and books, I cleaned out my bathroom cabinet and threw out all the products that contained high quantities of industrial chemicals.

I helped spread the word and many of our friends, male and female, stopped using chemical-based deodorants, perfumes and shampoos. They either ceased using them altogether or switched to those made from natural products, grown and made locally.

The sweeping range of sun-block products are particularly dubious, as recent surveys show. If the major ingredient is zinc, they are probably worthwhile. Otherwise chuck them out.

PS: One of Elaine’s devotees once explained that if a man or a woman liked wearing perfume, they should spray it on their clothes rather than onto their skin. A piece of good advice.

FACT: The human body’s largest organ is skin. Skin directly absorbs everything we apply to it. If it is a chemical industry-based product, those toxic chemicals enter the bloodstream via the skin and circulate throughout the body.

Kate Grenville joins in

Many years ago I decided not to poison myself and increase the profits of the toiletry industry. As a result I switched to using safer, naturally-sourced products and to follow the example of my parents and grandparents who, as far as I can recall, never used a single cosmetic product. Did yours?

Now author Kate Grenville has made her own unsettling discoveries about the perfume industry and written a non-fiction book called The Case Against Fragrance, Text Publishing 2017.

The publisher’s blurb says: “Kate Grenville had always associated perfume with elegance and beauty. Then the headaches started. On a book tour in 2015, dogged by ill health, she started wondering: What’s in fragrance? Who tests it for safety? What does it do to people?

“The more Grenville investigated, the more she felt this was a story that should be told. The chemicals in fragrance can be linked not only to short-term problems like headaches and asthma, but to long-term ones like hormone disruption and cancer.”

As the anti-toiletry crusade grows globally, Grenville’s voice is welcome, if a tad late. Predictably the book is laced with Western middle-class angst but it’s well worth the effort.

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