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What you might have missed…..Scott Ludlam, mushrooms and Admiral Mike Rogers

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What Scott Ludlam learned from 10 years in the Senate

In this month’s issue of The Monthly, former Greens senator Scott Ludlam revealed why he hasn’t fought like hell to get his parliamentary seat back after he lost it for being a dual citizen. He was born in New Zealand and has been in Australia since he was three, but he should have renounced his NZ citizenship before entering parliament.

Ludlam was elected in Western Australia in 2007, the year Kevin Rudd led Labor back to power after 12 years of Liberal Prime Minister John Howard. The idealistic Western Australian Green quickly learnt lessons, such as that “Australia’s role in the world is decided in the cabinet room or the prime minister’s office with the blinds pulled down”. And the Opposition doesn’t fight that because at the top levels they all grovel to “excruciating lengths” to support US military bases on our land as well as building up our own “national security state”.

He learnt that Labor leaders keep Greens out of policy-making, and devise wimpy plans to appease the big businessmen and their Liberal Party, and that those guys are hard to appease.

The best policy-making Ludlam saw took place outside the old boys’ club of corporate lobbyists when PM Julia Gillard got together with the Greens and other cross-benchers, plus experienced experts and bureaucrats, to design a sensible tax on fossil fuels. The policy, and Julia, then got buried by Abbott’s “bitch-witch” campaign, Minerals Council money and Murdoch’s media.

Ludlam believes our fundamental political sin, the “dark, foundational lacuna in our history”, is that “Colonial Australia began as an armed invasion, followed by two centuries of violent dispossession”. Still today, he reminds us, a majority of parliament support torturing innocent people on Pacific islands, ignore the causes of spiraling wild weather, accept perpetual war in the Middle East and approve of rampant global surveillance and drone assassinations. All this, and the frenetic drudgery of life in parliament, came to mind when a barrister rang him to say he had a document proving Ludlam was still a New Zealand citizen. He was devastated that his Senate career was shot, but he also thought, “there are many other creative ways to make trouble” and to resist “our government’s ugly drift into bogan authoritarianism”.

Parliament, Ludlam concludes, is evidence that “we’ve ritualised the big disputes that in other places and times were resolved with machetes and guillotines; instead we use how-to-vote cards and attack ads with menacing voice-overs”. Now, he says, we must resist the notion that this is as good as it gets.

The joy of recycled vomit 

A Queensland mycologist (studier of fungus), Dr Sandra Tuszynska, believes mushroom vomit could one day replace plastics, bricks and certain metals. She says the mycelium — a white, furry, web-like growth that oyster mushrooms throw up on themselves — is tough, water repellent and fire retardant. She discovered that if she set the ‘shrooms loose in a bowl of coffee grounds, they spat out enzymes which digested the grounds “until the whole thing becomes all white and really sturdy and then you bake it.” As you would.

The ABC reported that Dr Tuszynska, who works as the environmental projects officer at ‘Woodfordia’, home of the Woodford Folk Festival, says the mushy goop also digests plastic. That’s big, given the world produces over 400 million tonnes a year of plastic and 95% of it is not recycled. And some Amazonian ‘shrooms can digest in the dark, like, under a land-fill.

NSA boss says Putin has trumped the President

Admiral Mike Rogers, director of America’s National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command testified last week that: “I believe President Putin has clearly come to the conclusion there’s little price to pay” for having his cyber warriors interfere in America’s elections. “If we don’t change the dynamic here,” Rogers added, “this is going to continue and 2016 won’t be viewed as something isolated.” This is a failure even Trump’s patriotic backers in Congress find seriously offensive. Trump just tweets “WITCH HUNT!, perhaps believing that Putin’s hackers will be his backers.

4 responses to “What you might have missed…..Scott Ludlam, mushrooms and Admiral Mike Rogers

  1. Thank you Phillip. Wanted to hear Scott’s reasons for making his escape and as expected his insight helps us all to confirm our suspicions. More sunshine on the inner workings of our democracy much needed!

  2. How refreshing to read a complimentary reference to Julia Gillard’s time in office and without, what seems to be these days, the need to “balance” the comment with reference to the LNP. Although you’d be hard pushed to nominate a decent policy outcome for the LNP in recent years.

  3. Mushrooms, mushrooms, mushrooms. I never could have predicted that they would have been the inspirational paradigm I hung my sanity on in 2017 after coming across the work of Paul Stamets and the findings of psilocybin being a wonderful PTSD therapy assistant. And now their vomit makes bricks! Would be good if they could vomit all over the Russiagate narrative so that we could make something useful out of that instead of it being a coercion for public approval for the US to go for its last war before it implodes upon itself.

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