‘Jesus Camp’ – “America Is Being Born Again” and not in a good way.

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Tory (Victoria 10), Levi (11) and Rachael (9) enter ‘Jesus Camp’ as children but leave it as newly recruited soldiers for the Religious Right.

Their mission; to “take back America for Christ”.

A growing number of evangelical Christians believe that there is a war being fought in their country for the hearts and minds of America’s youth. .

This is a war that aggressive Evangelical Children’s Minister, Pastor Becky Fischer , fully intends to win, as she demands that the children of America to rise up to form an army of young Christian soldiers to once again go fourth and do God’s will.

To this end, Fischer devotes herself to the task of indoctrinating children as young as six, within the confines of a summer camp she established for fundamentalist Christian children, called “Kids on Fire”, with the message that Jesus needs you to fight for him, because “Christian Adults have become too fat and lazy to protect them from the evils of this world”.

By following the activities that take place within Fischer’s camp through the eyes of three of the children targeted by her message, this documentary not only enables viewers to directly see and hear just what these children are being e are exposed too, but also enables us to see the way in which her process of indoctrination both impacts on, and changes the way these children view not just religion, but the world as whole.

Prior to entering the camp, Tory appears to be a fairly normal ten year old girl who likes to dance and listen to Christian music. Yet it’s not long before her views on Christianity are changed as she explains to the camera, whilst at camp, that in her view, there are “churches that are called ‘dead churches”.

These are churches where people sing three songs, listen to a sermon and talk like robots. God is not to be found in such churches.

God only likes to go to churches like hers, where people are jumping up and down and shouting his name.

Apparently, quiet, reflective religious practices are no longer acceptable, as God is only attracted to bouncy people who praise him loudly

By the end of the camp she truly believes that she’s being trained to be a warrior for god.

Levi, the eldest of the children followed, is a friendly 11 years old boy who is home schooled. Neither he nor his family believe in global warming,

They believe, as many on the religious right do, that science isn’t real. It’s merely another belief system and as such, should not be given greater weight in schools than creationism and the teaching of the bible.

Levi is asked to preach to he’s fellow campers and whilst preparing his sermon he claims that god writes the sermon through him and that he can actually feel God’s hand guiding him.

He also believes that whenever he interacts with a non-Christian there’s always something about them that doesn’t seem right and makes his spirit feel ‘really yucky’.

He states that he believes that America is supposed to be gods’ nation but that it’s been twisted by corruption and evil

Rachael, at only nine, is perhaps the most zealous of all the camp attendees. She prays before even doing something as simple and fun as bowling and views every outing as an opportunity to preach to people.

This becomes apparent when, whilst at the bowling alley, she approaches an unknown woman and begins preaching at her, telling her that God wants her to “follow him with her whole heart” and that she approached this particular woman “because god told her too”.

Instead of having a quiet word with his daughter about the dangers of approaching strangers, her father instead praises her for the strength of her faith and calls her a ‘medium’.

She admits that she dreams of becoming a nail technician so that she can use her nail painting skills to hold people’s hands and preach to them.

In other words, her idea of a perfect audience is a captive and unsuspecting one.

Rachel’s thinking appears to be highly reflective of the themes she’s experienced whilst at camp.

Inside the Camp

On the first day of the camp itself, we find Pastor Fischer preaching:

“This is a sick old world so let’s just fix it. Kids you need to change things. We’ve got too many Christian adults who are fat and lazy. They don’t want to do anything. Do you know Muslims train their children from the time they are five years old, to fast during the month of Ramadan.”—said with mock awe.

When the kids don’t respond with appropriate awe, they are told “listen, we hold the keys. We can change the world. Boys and girls can change the world. I need you to get serious with god. To say god I’m here to be trained. “

And this is the reasoning behind Pastor Fisher’s words:

“Our enemies are putting their focus onto the kids. They’re going into the schools. You go into Palestine and they’re putting hand grenades in their kid’s hands and they’re teaching them how to put on bomb belts. They’re teaching them how to use rifles; they’re teaching them how to use machine guns.

It’s no wonder, that with that kind of intense training and decipling that those young people are ready to kill themselves for the cause of Islam.

I want to see young people as radically laying down their lives for the gospel as they are over in Pakistan and Israel and Palestine and all those different places because, excuse me, but we have the truth.”

“We have to stand up and take back the land”.

She also says that “kids are so useable in Christianity because one third of the world’s population are children under the age of 15.”

She believes that George Bush has rekindled America’s faith in Christianity via his own faith because he is telling schools that they should still be teaching creationism. (Please. Has she not read how many dodgy corporations this man and his family are involved in?)

Seriously, she reminds me of Abby Lee Miller from Dance Moms. She’s demanding and tough and big on the hard sell when it comes to promoting her camps.

She prepares for preaching in much the same way that Abby prepares for competitions.

She begins the camp by stepping into her makeshift pulpit and asking her camp congregation “what do you guys think of the hair, the nails, the eyebrows and the rest of me?”

Immediately after providing this display of vanity, Fischer then explains to her congregation that the devil is hunting them, even as children, and that sin is designed to destroy them.

She warns them that:

“The devil goes after the young, those that cannot fend for themselves”.

And how does he do this?

According to Fischer, the devil is attacking children via Harry potter.

“Warlocks” she declares, “are the enemies of god, and had Harry Potter have been in the Old Testament, he would have been put to death.” Poor harry.

One child later admits to his small circle of friends, that he watches Harry Potter movies at his dad’s house, because his mum won’t let him watch them at home.

The response he receives from those around him is a shocked silence, complete with nervous eyes flicking in all directions.

Ghost stories are out of bounds too as they don’t honor god. But hang on, wasn’t Jesus kind of a ghost when he rose again and don’t they say the father, the son and the Holy Ghost?

In Fischer’s next sermon, she tells the kids that they are phonies and hypocrites because they go to church but then they talk dirty with their friends and that they need to come up to her and get washed clean of their sins with the bottle of normal drinking water she’s holding in her hands.

Kids immediately start bowing their heads, falling to the floor and crying in response to her accusations that they are “phonies”.

This goes on for quite some time and the kids look completely demoralized and traumatized by the prospect of having to step forward to have their hands cleaned, because as young as they are, they realize that the act of stepping forward is, in and of itself, an admission of guilt.

And not step forward would make them guilty of deceit.

One poor kid sits on stage with a microphone and tells the entire camp that sometimes he doesn’t even believe what the bible says and that makes him a “faker” and a “phony” and that he feels really bad about that.

All the other kids watch him with anxious eyes, no doubt hoping that they won’t be required to confess their hypocrisy aloud as well.

It’s like some form of bizarre mind control. She suggests it and they immediately feel it.

At one point another preacher places a life sized cardboard cut-out of George Bush on the stage and begins to talk to the cut out as if it were real and encourages the kids to pray over the cut-out and to use their prayers to fill Bush with god’s spirit.

“One nation under god”, they shout at him.

Yet another preacher takes the stage and starts telling all of the children that over 50 million babies have been cut out of their mother’s womb s and aborted.

He then says:-

“Do you know that a third of your friends couldn’t be here tonight, because, they never made it”.

As the ramifications of his words hit home the children are handed out tiny dolls that represent foetuses at 5 weeks, 7 weeks and so on.

He then challenges the children to become a part of the anti-abortion movement, which of course they accept, clapping once again and screaming yes.

As the camera pans back out, some young children are now sitting with pieces of red tape plastered across their mouths with the word “life” written on them.

The preacher then places even more red tape over the mouths of over children as he fills them with the horror of the devil’s plan to kill unborn children.

And now of course he tells them that the courts too are corrupt, (but not because they let rapists and murders walk free, but) because they allow a woman to choose her own biological destiny.

The end result is once again children crying, begging for an end to abortion, commanding the devil to leave those unborn children alone and ends with a close up of Rachael, tears streaming down her face, gripping a microphone for dear life and crying while she chants, “no more, no more, no more”.

But does she mean no more abortion or simply no more of having to be exposed to the disgusting thoughts, feelings and distress that this preacher has incited within her?

Remember she is only nine years old.

During the camp the kids are all told that they are soldiers for Christ and asked how many of them want to be one of those who would give up their lives for Jesus?

The response is clapping and cheering, hand raising and affirmations” I do, I want to give up my life for Jesus.

A male preacher states that they are going to break the power of the enemy over government. That’s right, government isn’t corrupt due to the many back door deals that it does, no, and it’s corrupt for removing prayer from their schools.

America now has a corrupt government and that god wants that government to be replaced by a good godly government who will reinstate prayers and the teaching of creations, whilst doing away with science all together, as well as abortion and declaring war on all non-Christians and punishing them accordingly.

I presume that “punishing them accordingly” means death.

Once again this is followed by images of kids in tears and distress while the adults preach war and vengeance at them.

Fischer later declares:

“This means war. Are you apart of it or not?”

Ah……………….not.

I don’t believe that there will ever be any true fairness in the world while some people are choosing to raise their children to be fearful of those who are different from them in any way, whilst enabling them to be arrogant enough to believe, even at the age of 9, that they know everything and that any adult who disagrees with them must automatically be an agent of the devil, who needs to be wiped off the face of this earth.

Nor will I ever believe that one group of people should ever have the right to rule over and dictate to all others how things should be done.

Not to mention that I found it very disturbing to see such small children being spoken to about issues as complex as abortion, war and corruption, in such a simplistic and biased way.

I’m pro-choice.

Pro-gender equality.

Pro- marriage equality.

I’m also anti- child abuse in all of its forms, including psychological abuse.

If this is the future of America, then……

I’m sure you can finish the rest of that sentence yourself and when you do, you might also want to also consider just what form that help might take.

Let’s hope that God is not a fan of Evangelical teaching.

Like many others, if I had to try and classify this film in terms of genre, I’d have to agree that it’s more of a horror story, than a hopeful story.

Related Reviews

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/jesus_camp/

http://www.cinemablend.com/reviews/Jesus-Camp-1816.html

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/film/reviews/3421-review-jesus-camp

Australia The land of the Young, White, Able Bodied, Heterosexual, Male, Fair Go…..

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The question of “Australian Identity” reared its head again this week (as it so often has a remarkable tendency to do whenever this nation gets within spitting distance of an election).

At first, due to my overwhelming cynicism of all such notions hoisted  up on behalf of nationalism, I summarily dismissed the question.

However upon reflection, I think this time around, it might just be a question well worth asking.

Though not in terms of assessing what the average Aussie now looks like but rather in terms of assessing Australia’s mythologizing of the ‘Fair Go Spirit’.

So can Australia, through the lens of identity, really be seen as the land of the iconic “Fair Go”?

I have a rather unsettling suspicion the answer to this question might just be no.

If you look at the Australian response to illegal refugee’s (AKA ‘Boat People’) the answer would most definitely have to be a resounding no to the idea of a ‘Fair Go’.

There has been a rather concerning lack of ‘fairness’ shown toward those who arrive on our shores without the benefit of that all-important small piece of paper known as a valid passport.

So being Australian today, if you believe the political spin, now includes holding a rather alarming propensity for locking asylum seekers away.

Another Australian propensity related to this revolves around the broader issue of racism.

Apparently Australians today are a racist bunch and indeed if you were only to look at Australia’s policy driven responses to Indigenous Affairs, you would undoubtedly see clear evidence of this.

Australia’s history of  ‘Intervention’ in Indigenous Affairs is a rather sad and sorry one. Consisting of one human rights violations (such as the “Stolen Generation”) on top of another..

So far, the notion of the Australian ‘Fair Go’, in terms of identity, only applies to those who are born white and non-Indigenous in this country.

The Australian identity (well at least our political one) is also  homophobic too.

If you look at the political stance that Australia’s leaders have taken over  Gar Marriage, you could also add the denial of the right to marry the one you love, to the list of  human rights violations occurring in this country.

In terms of identity, the ‘Fair Go’ spirit does not seem to apply to those born elsewhere or born of a different race (ethnicity), nor to those born with a different sexual orientation.

But wait…. There’s more……

If you are an Australian with a disability or the parent of an Australian with a disability, guess what?  Apparently you are excluded from the notion of a ‘Fair Go’ too.

The recent political ‘push through’ of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Australia (NDIS) is not what many within the disability community had hoped it would be.

Nor can the NDIS even be seen to be, at this point time, as providing a solid promise toward making the lives of those with disabilities ‘fairer’.

So far all it has done is make those agencies who provide disability support workers, richer and quite frankly, that’s about it.

The quality of care has not increased even thought the amount of money being thrown at organizations who provide said care, has.

As the parent of a young adult with a disability I can tell you that there is absolutely nothing even remotely  ‘Fair Go-ish’ about the way this country both treats and regards those with disabilities.

So far the concept of a ‘Fair Go’ only applies to those who identify as white, born in this country but not of Indigenous or any other ethnic descent  and who are entirely heterosexual and also not at all disabled.

And then there’s the unemployed whom have been quite vocal of late in airing their grievances over the fact that unemployment benefits haven’t risen for the last 20 years despite the constant leaps and bounds in inflation.

Of course I should also add the elderly and those who work as unpaid familial carer’s, to the ever growing list of those whose identities, are no longer experiencing the much mythologized Aussie Fair Go.

Ok, I will. So here we go…..

Identities that don’t qualify for the Australian ‘Fair Go’ experience are those who are Indigenous or of any other ethnicity, not born in Australia, homosexual, disabled, elderly or work in the care giving industry and those who are unemployed.

Qualifiers for the Aussie ‘Fair Go’ experience are those who are white, born in Australia with not too much ethnicity, heterosexual, able bodied, young, workers.

I really should also add the growing, (not shrinking), lack of equal pay being experienced by Australian women  in terms of wages and job security in this country.

One more time….

Those who qualify for the Aussie ‘Fair Go’ are……..

-White,

-Non-Indigenous

-Australian Born

-Young,

-Heterosexual,

Able Bodied,

-Male

-Workers.

Sounds like a capitalists dream workforce really……. Oh wait

Those who do not qualify for the Aussie ‘Fair Go’ experience are those who are……..

-Indigenous

-Any other ethnicity

-Not born here,

-Aged,

-Gay,

-Female,

Disabled,

-Familial Carers

Unemployed

Makes me wonder just how much of the Australian population there is left for politicians to marginalize?

So what do all of the potential leaders of the Liberal Party worried about?

Well, clearly they fear that an elderly, disabled, gay, unemployed, refugee seeking female, on a boat may be coming their way.

Related articles

Are all Men Pedophiles?

Are_All_Men_Pedophiles_Correct_Poster

This is the question posed by Jan Willem Breure in a 60 minute piece of propaganda documentary which attempts to persuade viewers that an adult male’s level of increased sexual attraction toward much younger female’s, is an evolutionary and therefore natural process that all adult males experience.

This documentary states, that from an evolutionary perspective, it has been preferable for older males to find much younger females (teens and tweens) sexually attractive because their appearances indicate to men, that on some primal level ,that young and developing girls are at their prime breeding age.

Hence forth the older male should be excused for having lustful thoughts and feelings towards teenage girls as they are only obeying their primal instincts by doing so.

The makers of this documentary then take this particular line of rational despicably one step further by making the claim that it’s also a natural evolutionary and biological process for younger females (teens and tweens) to deliberately seek out and desire the sexual attention of older males.

As evidence of this they cite the rising levels of young girls taking naked or sexually suggestive “selfies” and sending them to boys or posting them online to garner male attention.

They then state that across globe “there is no standard definition for pedophilia because the world cannot agree on the legal definition of the age of consent. The legal age at which a heterosexual person is considered legal for sexual acts varies from nine years to twenty years.”

Due to the lack of legal agreement as to the age of consent, the presumption is them made that the age at which one is considered to be an adult, in western countries, is an arbitrary one that is based more on the needs of our economic and educational systems, than it is based on a young person’s actual levels of physical and mental maturity.

Thus, because girls mature physically faster than males of their own age, they are also presumed to mature mentally and sexually faster as well.

So fast in fact that under age girls are (supposedly) routinely seeking out and willingly engaging in sexual encounters with much older men.

Given that the film makers have already argued that the age at which one becomes viewed as an adult is an ineffective and economically arbitrary one, the sick argument then follows that, if a girl is physically developed, regardless of her biological age, she should also be considered mentally mature enough to legally have sex.

In other words, if her breasts are developing and she’s begun menstruating, then a girl should effectively be considered an adult who is fair game able to engage in sex with older men.

In a further attempt to normalize pedophilia the documentary makers repeatedly make the assertion that the sexual actions that we consider to be acts of pedophilia are instead acts of Hebophilia which is defined as the state of adults being sexually attracted to adolescent children.

In this case an adolescent is described as a child between the ages of 12 to 16 years of age.

As opposed to pedophilia which is defined as an attraction to pre-pubescent children (12 years or younger)

Hebophilia, they argue, should be seen as something that is perfectly normal as it serves an evolutionary purpose and therefore should be accepted and if not legalized, then understood by society to be a lesser crime than that of pedophilia.

In order to further bolster this claim they then introduce the few cases of hebophilia around the world that have involved older women, usually teachers, engaging in consensual sexual acts with teenage males.

As if this fact somehow creates a level of predatory equality.

At no point within this documentary do they make the point that the vast majority of hebophilia is committed by males and that acts of pedophilia, sexual acts committed against children under the age of 12, are exclusively committed by males.

Only once do they mention the sea of damage and devastation caused to the many victims of pedophilia who are by no means willing participants in the process of their sexual abuse.

They do their best to make it sound as if all acts of hebophilia between younger women and older males are consensual acts, when in point of fact, statistically they are not.

Only once in this documentary is the word ‘rape’ mentioned and even then it’s only as a sound bite within a broader conversation.

They also fail to address the incredibly wide age range wherein acts of hebophilia, the kind of pedophilia that they say is okay and should be made forgivable, occur.

It’s one thing to claim that a 16-year-old gave her consent to engaging in a sexual encounter with an older male but another thing entirely to try and make that same claim regarding a 13-year-old child.

On the whole I’d have to say that this documentary sickened me to my very core and left me even more concerned for a world that could produce a documentary that seeks to promote and defend pedophilia / hebophilia in such way.

As much as I despised the messages contained within this documentary I think it’s worth making others aware of the kind of illogical bias and propaganda that those who are willing to defend pedophilia are spouting.

Related Materials

“Are All Men Pedophiles Correct Poster” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki

http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/05/13/are-all-men-pedophiles/

http://www.amazon.com/Are-All-Pedophiles-Dick-Swaab/product-reviews/B00EX6UHPA

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/are_all_men_pedophiles/

Mutually Insured Insanity

Long ago, insurance was predominantly viewed as being a stop gap measure that was designed to cover you financially should disaster strike you.

As with most things back in the way back when, taking out insurance on one’s property was a luxury that only the rich could afford.

As such it both gave them a weapon to use against the honest and the poor whilst at the same time providing many with the means that would eventually make them targets.

But what about today?

Supposedly insurance is now something that everyone who owns anything should be able to afford.

That’s what we’re told right?

After all, what’s the point of owning a nice car, a nice home or even a nice laptop if you can’t afford to insure it against its potential loss?

I mean really, what on earth would you do if your car was stolen or trashed and it wasn’t insured?

Or worse still, what would you do if a hurricane or a raging flood engulfed your home and you weren’t insured?

Chances are you’d probably be in a right mess, as would we all, if such things were to happen to us.

Yet the truth is, that the chances of any of those things actually happening to us in our lifetimes, are fairly small.

That is unless of course you’ve chosen to buy, build or rent a house in an area that’s known to be prone to such disastrous occurrences.

In which case taking out insurance to cover such risky behavior on your part would seem to be the only fair and reasonable thing to do.

Or so we are told.

But what if it’s not the only fair and reasonable thing to do?

What if the actually fair and reasonable thing to do would be to choose not to take such risks by choosing not to build, buy or rent in areas that are prone to natural disasters?

Wouldn’t that make more sense?

So what if we only believe that such risks are reasonable simply because it’s what insurance companies, the people who make money out of our risk taking behaviors, want us to accept and believe in order to guarantee that we’ll keep doing it?

The insurance industry, over the last 4 decades, has become a n auto exacerbating entity in its own right.

As such, it’s key area of interest lies solely in perpetuating its own areas of growth and profits.

Insurance companies are not genuinely interested in making sure that we as individuals are covered against any and all future financial losses.

If they were, well then, we may as well call them charities.

Because that’s basically what they’d have to be if their main area of interest lay in preventing us from becoming destitute due to misfortune or unforseen circumstances, whilst not turning a healthy profit by doing so.

But they’re not charities.

They’re businesses.

And like all businesses they’re sole aim is to make as much profit as they possibly can out of their customers.

They do this by engendering the sense of fear within us that something unforseen might happen to us.

That someone might steal our car, break into our homes, or that we ourselves may be struck by lightning, another person’s car, a truck, a bus or just pure bad luck.

Via this fear mongering they encourage us to insure more and more items with them for more and more money.

And as we do so our premiums go up and up and up, right alongside our access fees.

But does anyone ever stop to ask whether or not any of this is even feasible, let alone sensible?

Does anyone ever stop to consider the fact that, barring natural disasters, crimes are committed by other real life people and that for many criminals, the fact that the owners of whatever item is stolen or damaged is probably insured, provides the very rational for targeting those people or items in the first place?

From small crimes like shop lifting:

                “Hey the stores are insured so it’s no skin off their nose if a few items go missing here and there.”

To larger crimes like robbing banks:

                “The money’s insured so what does it matter. It’s not like they’re actually going to lose anything.”

Or far more heinous crimes like kidnapping and ransom:

                “They’re rich. They’re insurance company will payout. ”

All provide classic examples of the way in which our societies thinking processes have been altered by the mere idea, let alone the actualization, of insurance.

So pervasive has the role of insurance become within our society that even genuine accidents, such as small fender benders, are now being treated with the gravity of a life and death situation, in which the person with the biggest insurance company wins.

No longer is it even an option for the parties involved in ‘fender benders’ to even try to talk directly to each other to sort out the quickest and most cost effective way for one to make reparations to the other.

Instead such things now involve the swapping of insurance company details and any notion that the real life people involved might actually be able to resolve such accidents themselves faster, cheaper and easier, without ever getting insurance companies involved seems to have gone completely out the window.

And heaven help you if you are an uninsured driver who’s involved in a ‘fender bender’ as the other person’s insurance company will see to it that you are taken to the cleaners and charged for every little thing they can possibly think to charge you for, including encouraging their client to use a hire car whilst awaiting repairs, simply for the sake of making their client believe they are getting their money’s worth from their insurer, when no such undue expense is either warranted or required.

Yet the insurance company isn’t the one paying the bill for all of these things.

The other driver is.

All the insurance company does in such situations is simply add on the cost of their substantial fees for doing nothing more than sending the other driver the bill.

Seriously, just think about it.

The insured driver is the person who drives the car to the repair shop of their choice.

They pick out their choice of hire car.

They return their hire car and collect their repaired car.

The insurance company quite literally does nothing at all within this entire process other than send out a bill.

It pays out no money what so ever to its client, yet retains the premiums paid, plus the access fee, plus then maintains the right to charge their client a higher premium simply because they’ve made a claim for which the insurance company paid no money out on.

So the insurance company makes a tidy profit for doing nothing much at all.

Just think that over for a few seconds and you may be able to see how honest people, who do take responsibility for their actions in such situations, are fundamentally being double billed for their honesty by an insurance company that’s done nothing but encourage their client to get the most expensive repair job possible and waste money on an unnecessary hire car in the process.

It’s a wonder anyone ever dares own an uninsured vehicle and I’m sure, given enough time, the act of doing so will eventually become illegal.

The point of all this is to highlight the ways in which insurance companies are changing the face of our society.

Now, not only do we live in a world in which we are constantly being told that we should strive to own a nice car, a nice home and have nice possessions, but that once we achieve these things we should also live in the perpetual fear of someone taking these nice things away from us.

Hence we should pay continuously to hedge our bets against such things happening to us, despite the fact that the very people who are making life so expensive and unpredictable for us are the same ones who are insuring that life is so.

How does this even make sense to anyone?

What’s the point of striving for the biggest and the best if all its doing is leading us to a place of fear and loathing once we achieve our goals?

Wouldn’t it have made more sense for us to have been directed instead toward striving to become a generation of decent people living in a world surrounded by other decent people?

Yet, all the insurance industry has done is made it possible for us to continuously believe the worst of other people.

To fear them to such a point that we feel that we have to pay money to cover the many potential “what if” scenarios that they throw at us daily.

To me, this is the very definition of mutually insured insanity and I for one am tired of being told that I don’t live in a world where I can trust others to do the right thing.

Thanks to insurance companies, we’ll never really know if people are capable of doing the right thing anymore.

Because their very existence both underpins and perpetuates the idea that people are no longer capable of doing the right thing.

In fact, according to them, people have become so incapable of doing the right thing that we are now required to pay money, year after year, to faceless corporations who take that money knowing full well that the chances of anything really catastrophic happening to us is slim to none.

We can’t insure ourselves against life.

All though I’m sure that at some point in time we’ll be encouraged to try doing just that.

After all, they’ve already got death covered now haven’t they?

How our Public Housing system is creating Australia’s Public Housing Crisis.

Public housing was never meant to be seen as being a life style choice.

Yet unfortunately for far too many, that’s exactly what it’s become.

Many politicians and welfare groups consistently claim that Australian’s in need are experiencing a public housing crisis.

To further bolster this claim, every year at Christmas time there are ads on TV from welfare groups showing families living in cars complete with the said children of these car dwellers asking their parents the question “will Santa be able to find us this year”, as they sit in the middle of a car park.

At first these ads made me cry.

This is, of course, exactly what they’re designed to do.

Then I moved into a suburb that’s mostly filled with public housing or housing commission homes as we call them in Australia.

The neighbors to the right of me are a couple who have been living in their housing commission home for over 30 years.

No doubt they qualified for their 3 bedroom home when their now adult children were much younger.

However, for the last 15 years or so, it’s just been the two of them living there.

They have two brand new cars, one a 4 wheel drive, the other a shiny silver dual cab Ute.

As well as having these luxury vehicles, they also have a huge recreational fishing boat with all of the latest mod cons, which they take out and about with them almost every weekend.

Despite owning all of these things, plus one of the largest wall mounted plasma TV screens I’ve ever seen, their house looks desperately rundown and un-cared for.

It looks this way because they simply put no effort what so ever into making it look nice.

There’s no garden at all and their backyard consists of a consecutive line of shabby and incredibly ugly makeshift sheds.

They are loud and bossy people who insist on getting everything that they possibly can for free.

Even though they are both in full-time employment.

Opposite my house, there’s an 18-year-old girl living in a housing commission home that’s actually supposed to be her mothers’.

Her mother does not live there and has not done so for several years.

Undoubtedly the mother applied for and received her housing commission home many years ago, when her children were small.

Her children are also all adults now and she too works full-time.

Yet rather than being honest and telling the housing commission that she no longer needs the home and has indeed moved out, she’s simply passed it down to her daughter.

As if it were some kind of hard earned family heirloom.

The daughter would never legitimately qualify for a 3 bedroom housing commission home at all today.

Never the less, there she sits, living in a 3 bedroom tax payer funded home all on her own.

At the same time as all of this misuse and abuse of government housing is going on all around me I’m being bombarded with ads showing families who are in such desperate need of accommodation in Australia that they’re forced to live in their cars.

Is it just me or can anybody else see something terribly wrong with the new version of a desperate crisis in public housing that’s being portrayed, whilst such wanton abuse of the system is being so openly displayed?

Just to make it clear, here’s yet another example.

The older woman behind my home, is also living in a 3 bedroom tax payer funded housing commission home all on her own.

Last year, whilst I paid to have a new fence built between us because her dogs kept pulling the palings off the old fence, she contributed absolutely nothing toward the cost of the fence, then turned around and demanded that she be given half of the old palings for her wood heater.

The fact that I have a wood heater too and that I’m the one who paid for the new fence to be built because her dogs destroyed the previous one,  barely seemed to register with her.

She’d become so used to getting everything for free that she was no longer even able to recognize how abominable her own behavior towards those around her had become.

Yet this same woman also works full-time as a teacher’s aide and was, in fact, one of my son’s aides whilst he was in high school.

So she knows exactly what my son’s conditions are and that I am his full-time carer.

Which means I live on a minimal income.

Yet even knowing all of this she displayed a remarkable lack of compassion toward our situation and remained steadfastly interested only in latching on to whatever she believed she was “rightfully” entitled too for free.

I.E. half the palings off a fence she didn’t even own, had never paid a single cent for and had to be replaced, at no cost to her, due to her lack of regard towards it’s upkeep.

This inability to take responsibility for her own neglect of the property, along with her expectation that someone else will carry the burden of fixing it for her for free is a common theme.

The key understanding that seems to be missing among all of my neighbors is the fact that living in public housing doesn’t absolve them of all responsibility for the property for ever and a day.

Access to public housing is not a “right” that they earned once a long time ago and therefore never have to give up.

Nor is it a home that once loaned to them somehow automatically converts into being an “entitlement” that is owed to them.

Hence they never view themselves as being required to try and improve the value of the property as this is a task that they feel the  housing commission should do for them.

This is also often a point that most media commentators get entirely wrong when it comes to the housing crisis debate.

The media often portray young families as being the destroyers of a public homes value, rather than seeing them as the potential builders of it’s value.

Young families are the ones who are doing public houses up, to improve them so that they’ll be safer, cleaner places for their children to live in.

They’re not the ones leaving the houses to literally rot around them simply because they’ve become so ingrained with the  idea that they’re “entitled” to a hand out for anything and everything to do with public housing the way older housing tenants are.

It’s not young people and young families who are abusing the welfare system and treating public housing as if it’s something  they’re automatically “entitled” to.

It’s those people who are over forty, whose children have grown up and moved out and who are in full-time, paid employment that are abusing the system.

They are the people who need to be moved on and made to face up to the realities of trying to live life in the public rental market.

They are the ones who have full-time jobs and no children to look after.

They have cars, boats, furniture, and clothes.

It’s not like they’re being asked to start all over again from scratch.

They’ve had the benefit of being supported for years and years by tax payer funded housing.

Young people view public housing as  a short term welcome reprieve from their existing circumstances.

They do not view remaining in public housing as a life long, over all goal.

They recognize and appreciate the gift of  tax payer funded housing support.

So my question is why aren’t older, working housing commission tenants  being moved on to make room for young families in need?

Why are people who no longer have children to bring up and who are working full-time being enabled via our current public housing system to continue living in housing commission homes long after their years of need have passed?

Aren’t they now guilty of taking up the very homes that were meant to have been set aside for those who are currently the most in need in our society?

If so, why is it that those who run the housing commission aren’t doing something about moving these people on so that young families, the ones whom we are told are currently homeless and living in their cars, can experience the same safety net benefits that once helped people such as my neighbors all those years ago to get by?

By letting this practice of long-lived and unchecked occupation of housing commission houses continue unabated, the housing commission system itself has created the very breeding grounds for the abuse of tax payer funded homes.

It’s the systems inability to monitor its own machinations that has created the sense of “entitlement” that many of my older neighbors feel and which continues to allow them to believe that they have the “right” to live their lives in public housing if they so choose.

It has completely blinded them to the point that being able to access public housing is neither a right nor an entitlement.

It’s supposed to be a form of support for those who need it the  most.

Under this  once valid understanding of the purpose of public housing, none of my neighbors would qualify for public housing today.

A single, fit and healthy, 18 year old teenager with no children to support and a mother with her own home else where, has no right being placed in public housing before a family that’s living on the streets.

All it would take for the public housing system to right itself again would be for the housing commission to put in place a mandatory five-year re-evaluation period for every tenant to weed out the genuinely needy from the compulsively “entitled” greedy.

This seems like such a logical solution to me yet all we hear about on the news are the governments on going proposals to build more and more housing commission homes and apartment blocks to cater for the so-called growing need for public housing.

Yet there would be less of a “growing need” if they simply turfed out all of those who no longer genuinely require public housing.

So why aren’t they trying this approach instead?

Is it simply because any government of the day is so scared of losing votes that it dares not open up the flood gates of reason?

Whatever the rational for their inconsistency, one simple fact remains and that is that due to the governments continued desire to placate the “poor” they themselves have created a generation of older Aussies who feel entitled to take and take and take some more.

And all because no one ever said “no, you’ve had more than you’re fair share of support, it’s time to give someone else a go” to them.

Well I’ll say it.

All of you who are over forty and living in housing commission homes whilst working and earning a decent enough income to have new cars, boats, motorbikes, holidays abroad or whatever else your little heart’s desire, it’s time to get your snouts out of the public trough and give young families the same fair go you got when you were first starting out.

If you all did the right thing, there simply wouldn’t be a public housing crisis.

So come on older Australian’s.

Fair go.

You’re better than this.

Public housing was never meant to be seen as being a valid life style choice.

So wake up and stop being so darn selfish.

Australia Day – Invasion Day

I am truly grateful to live in this beautiful land.

At the same time, I am also honest enough to be able to acknowledge the history of dispossession that shadows our land and hence to seek to understand and honor the feelings of Australia’s traditional indigenous population regarding Australia Day.

In so doing, I offering up my humble apologies for the disrespectful way in which Australia was stolen from its traditional indigenous land owners all those years ago.

I believe that holding the capacity to acknowledge the wrongs of the past does not make anyone a “bad Aussie”.

If anything, I believe that holding the capacity to truly acknowledge our past, whilst also offering up a genuine willingness to pay respect to the true custodians of this land, would make us better Australians.

There is no shame in showing respect and understanding towards those for whom Australia Day is not now, nor has it ever been, viewed as a day of celebration, but rather a day that signals the loss of their country, ‘Invasion Day’.

We lose nothing by showing compassion and support for those who still feel the sting of dispossession.

We lose nothing by tempering our own views in such a way as to be able to incorporate within Australia Day, both our gratitude for being able to live in such a beautiful land our acknowledgement that our fortune came at the loss of our Indigenous population.

Were we personally responsible for the past?

No, of course not.

But we are personally responsible for both the present and the future.

I for one have spent years explaining to my children that for many people, Australia Day is double-edged sword.

It is a day filled with both joy and sorrow.

A day that attempts to celebrate the diversity of the Australian way of life, whilst seeking desperately to cover up the ugliness of a past that includes genocide and endless interventions aimed only at one race.

Hence racism.

I make sure that my children know the truth about the history of this nation because it’s a history that has created the framework for the circumstance in which our indigenous population all too often find themselves living in today.

Living lives in rural and remote outback towns, filled with poverty, poor health care, lack of educational and employment opportunities, high infant mortality death rates, lower than average life expectancy for both men and women and the by the far the highest per capita rate of incarceration.

I make sure that my children understand that this is a past that can never be truly left behind until all of the inequities that have accrued from that time forward, are both acknowledged and addressed by all Australians.

There is no point in trying to hide or excuse the actions of those who have gone before us.

There is even less point to it if, whilst in the process of doing so, we are enacting further harm, isolation, dispossession and outrage upon those who have already been harmed so much.

This Australia Day, let’s work toward recognizing the rights of our indigenous people via having the courage to honestly to acknowledge exactly how white Australian’s came to be here, and not just to ourselves, but also to our children and to our neighbors.

Let’s honor the truth and validity of those who consider the 26th of January to be ‘Invasion Day’ by showing them the respect they deserve instead of getting all fired up simply because we feel as if we’re being “shamed” over the actions of the past.

The only in which the actions of the past can ever continue to cause us shame will be if we continue to deny and vilify our fellow countrymen for feeling differently about Australia Day.

As I’ve said before, we are not responsible for the past but we are responsible for the present.

So I’d love to see every Aussie donning the colors of the Aboriginal flag somewhere on their body, in support and recognition of Indigenous Australian’s on Australia day.

To me, that would truly be proving Stan Grant’s words that “we’re better than that”, right.

#AustraliaDay #IndigenousRights #InvasionDay #StanGrant