Waking Up to Absence of Leadership in America: An Essay About Being Lied to By Politicians


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Noam Chomsky

With respect to the responsibility of intellectuals, there are still other, equally disturbing questions. Intellectuals are in a position to expose the lies of governments, to analyze actions according to their causes and motives and often hidden intentions. In the Western world, at least, they have the power that comes from political liberty, from access to information and freedom of expression. For a privileged minority, Western democracy provides the leisure, the facilities, and the training to seek the truth lying hidden behind the veil of distortion and misrepresentation, ideology and class interest, through which the events of current history are presented to us.

The issues that Macdonald raised are as pertinent today as they were twenty years ago. As for those of us who stood by in silence and apathy as this catastrophe slowly took shape over the past dozen years—on what page of history do we find our proper place? Only the most insensible can escape these questions. I want to return to them, later on, after a few scattered remarks about the responsibility of intellectuals and how, in practice, they go about meeting this responsibility in the mids. This, at least, may seem enough of a truism to pass over without comment. Not so, however. For the modern intellectual, it is not at all obvious.

Americans tend to be more forthright. It is of no particular interest that one man is quite happy to lie in behalf of a cause which he knows to be unjust; but it is significant that such events provoke so little response in the intellectual community—for example, no one has said that there is something strange in the offer of a major chair in the humanities to a historian who feels it to be his duty to persuade the world that an American-sponsored invasion of a nearby country is nothing of the sort.

And what of the incredible sequence of lies on the part of our government and its spokesmen concerning such matters as negotiations in Vietnam? The facts are known to all who care to know. The press, foreign and domestic, has presented documentation to refute each falsehood as it appears. The deceit and distortion surrounding the American invasion of Vietnam is by now so familiar that it has lost its power to shock.

It is therefore useful to recall that although new levels of cynicism are constantly being reached, their clear antecedents were accepted at home with quiet toleration. Nor is it only in moments of crisis that duplicity is considered perfectly in order. The date is important. Had this statement been made six months earlier, one could attribute it to ignorance. But this statement appeared after the UN, North Vietnamese, and Soviet initiatives had been front-page news for months. It was already public knowledge that these initiatives had preceeded the escalation of February and, in fact, continued for several weeks after the bombing began.

Correspondents in Washington tried desperately to find some explanation for the startling deception that had been revealed. Chalmers Roberts, for example, wrote in the Boston Globe on November 19 with unconscious irony:. Johnson…had just ordered the first bombing of North Vietnam in an effort to bring Hanoi to a conference table where the bargaining chips on both sides would be more closely matched. It is interesting to compare these observations with studies by scholars actually concerned with historical events.

But even government sources [5] concede that in Hanoi received the first direct reports of what Diem referred to [6] as his own Algerian war and that only after this did they lay their plans to involve themselves in this struggle. In fact, in December, , Hanoi made another of its many attempts—rebuffed once again by Saigon and the United States—to establish diplomatic and commercial relations with the Saigon government on the basis of the status quo. He does not see fit to mention, for example, the Russian notes of March-April, , which proposed unification of Germany under internationally supervised elections, with withdrawal of all troops within a year, if there was a guarantee that a reunified Germany would not be permitted to join a Western military alliance.

The facts are that there was a Russian attempt to impose by force a pro-Soviet government in Northern Azerbaijan that would grant the Soviet Union access to Iranian oil. This was rebuffed by superior Anglo-American force in , at which point the more powerful imperialism obtained full rights to Iranian oil for itself, with the installation of a pro-Western government. We recall what happened when, for a brief period in the early s, the only Iranian government with something of a popular base experimented with the curious idea that Iranian oil should belong to the Iranians.

The bland assumption that it does is most revealing of deep-seated attitudes toward the conduct of foreign affairs. Berle, who, in commenting on the Dominican intervention, has the impertinence to attribute the problems of the Caribbean countries to imperialism— Russian imperialism. He observed, rather sadly, that what disturbs him most is that others question not our judgment, but our motives—a remarkable comment by a man whose professional concern is political analysis, that is, analysis of the actions of governments in terms of motives that are unexpressed in official propaganda and perhaps only dimly perceived by those whose acts they govern.

No one would be disturbed by an analysis of the political behavior of the Russians, French, or Tanzanians questioning their motives and interpreting their actions by the long-range interests concealed behind their official rhetoric. But it is an article of faith that American motives are pure, and not subject to analysis see note 1. Although it is nothing new in American intellectual history—or, for that matter, in the general history of imperialist apologia—this innocence becomes increasingly distasteful as the power it serves grows more dominant in world affairs, and more capable, therefore, of the unconstrained viciousness that the mass media present to us each day.

We are hardly the first power in history to combine material interests, great technological capacity, and an utter disregard for the suffering and misery of the lower orders. The difficulty, rather, was that it seemed unlikely that the deception could succeed. The operation, in his view, was ill-conceived but not otherwise objectionable.

There are three possibilities in descending order of preference: a decent democratic regime, a continuation of the Trujillo regime or a Castro regime. The reason why the third possibility is so intolerable is explained a few pages later p. Our policy must be based on our national heritage and our national interests. Both our insistence on unconditional surrender and the idea of post-war occupation…represented the formulation of American security interests in Europe and Asia. As to our interests, the matter is equally simple. And academic intellectuals have made their unique contribution to this sorry picture.

There is much to be learned from a careful study of the terms in which this distinction is drawn. A distinction of this sort seems to be what Irving Kristol, for example, has in mind in his analysis of the protest over Vietnam policy Encounter , August, His is a realpolitik point of view; and he will apparently even contemplate the possibility of a nuclear war against China in extreme circumstances. Is the purity of American motives a matter that is beyond discussion, or that is irrelevant to discussion?

Although Kristol does not examine these questions directly, his attitude presupposes answers, answers which are wrong in all cases. American aggressiveness, however it may be masked in pious rhetoric, is a dominant force in world affairs and must be analyzed in terms of its causes and motives. There is no body of theory or significant body of relevant information, beyond the comprehension of the layman, which makes policy immune from criticism.

These facts seem too obvious to require extended discussion. It is these men, too, who deserve the credit for what was reported by Malcolm Browne as long ago as May, Tens of thousands of tons of bombs, rockets, napalm and cannon fire are poured into these vast areas each week. If only by the laws of chance, bloodshed is believed to be heavy in these raids.

The US Government Printing Office is an endless source of insight into the moral and intellectual level of this expert advice. In its publications one can read, for example, the testimony of Professor David N. Professor Rowe proposes p. These are his words:. Mind you, I am not talking about this as a weapon against the Chinese people. It will be. But that is only incidental. The weapon will be a weapon against the Government because the internal stability of that country cannot be sustained by an unfriendly Government in the face of general starvation.

But, one may ask, why restrict ourselves to such indirect means as mass starvation? Why not bombing? However, in Ukraine consented to get rid of its entire former Soviet nuclear stockpile, a process that was complete by When challenged on the former assertion at a lecture given to the International Politics department at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth , he maintained that in spite of European integration and expansion, he still believed that his predictions would come true if the United States military left Europe.

Also, in op-ed pieces written in and for The New York Times , Mearsheimer supported India's decision to acquire nuclear weapons. In support of this position, he argued that India has good strategic reasons to want a nuclear deterrent, especially in order to balance against China and Pakistan , guaranteeing regional stability. He also criticized United States counter-proliferation policy towards India, which he considered unrealistic and harmful to American interests in the region. Mearsheimer is the leading proponent of offensive neorealism.

It is a structural theory which, unlike the classical realism of Hans Morgenthau , places the principal emphasis on security competition among great powers within the anarchy of the international system, and not principally on the human nature of statesmen and diplomats. In contrast to another structural realist theory, the defensive neorealism of Kenneth Waltz , offensive neorealism maintains that states are not satisfied with a given amount of power, but seek hegemony for security because the anarchic makeup of the international system creates strong incentives for states to seek opportunities to gain power at the expense of competitors.

Given the difficulty of determining how much power is enough for today and tomorrow, great powers recognize that the best way to ensure their security is to achieve hegemony now, thus eliminating any possibility of a challenge by another great power.

The Danger of President Pence

Only a misguided state would pass up an opportunity to be the hegemon in the system because it thought it already had sufficient power to survive. He has also dismissed democratic peace theory , which claims that democracies never or rarely go to war with one another. Mearsheimer usually does not believe it is possible for a state to become a global hegemon and occasionally recognizes the global hegemon as an accomplished fact see chapter "Night Watchman" below.

When the global hegemon is theoretically impossible, it is because there is too much landmass and too many oceans which he posits have effective stopping power and act as giant moats. Instead he believes that states can only achieve regional hegemony. Furthermore, he argues that states attempt to prevent other states from becoming regional hegemons, since peer competitors could interfere in a state's affairs. States which have achieved regional hegemony, such as the U. In a speech, Mearsheimer praised the British historian E.

Carr for his book The Twenty Years' Crisis and argued that Carr was correct when he claimed that international relations was a struggle of all against all with states always placing their own interests first. Night Watchman is "global hegemon" in Mearsheimer's terminology—theoretical impossibility as stated in The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. With the United States serving as a night watchman , fears about relative gains among the Western European states were mitigated…" [22]. Afterwards, Mearsheimer lost the watchman. A decade later, he described the "international anarchy" as having not changed with the end of the Cold War, "and there are few signs that such change is likely any time soon.

States remain the principal actors in world politics and there is still no night watchman standing above them. Precisely two decades since Mearsheimer detected the watchman in the world for the last time, he rediscovered him again. Watchman exists and, moreover, keeps Europe at peace. In January and early February , Mearsheimer published two op-eds in the Chicago Tribune and the New York Times arguing that the war to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi forces should be quick and lead to a decisive US victory, with less than 1, American casualties.

This view countered the conventional wisdom at the start of the war, that predicted a conflict lasting for months and costing thousands of American lives. Mearsheimer's argument was based on several points. First, the Iraqi Army was a Third World military, unprepared to fight mobile armored battles. Second, US armored forces were better equipped and trained. Third, US artillery was also far better than its Iraqi counterpart. Fourth, US airpower, unfettered by the weak Iraqi air force, should prove devastating against Iraqi ground forces. Fifth and finally, the forward deployment of Iraqi reserves boded ill for their ability to counter US efforts to penetrate the Iraqi defense line along the Saudi—Kuwaiti border.

These predictions came true in the course of the war. In October , Mearsheimer was drawn into a bitter controversy at the University of Chicago regarding Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann , a visiting professor from Germany. Noelle-Neumann was a prominent German pollster and a leading academic on public opinion research, who authored the highly regarded book, The Spiral of Silence. It described Noelle-Neumann's past employment as a writer and editor for the Nazi newspaper Das Reich from — Noelle-Neumann's response to the article was to claim "texts written under a dictatorship more than 50 years ago cannot be read as they were in , or Severed from the time and place where they were written, they are no longer real, for reality is in part based on time and place.

As chairman of Chicago's political science department at the time, Mearsheimer sat down with Noelle-Neumann to discuss the article and the allegations. After meeting with her for over three hours, Mearsheimer publicly declared, "I believe that Noelle-Neumann was an anti-Semite," [28] and he spearheaded a campaign asking her for an apology. They declared, "by providing rhetorical support for the exclusion of Jews, her words helped make the disreputable reputable, the indecent decent, the uncivilized civilized, and the unthinkable thinkable. To ask somebody who played a contributing role in the greatest crime of the 20th century to say 'I'm sorry' is not unreasonable.

Stephen Walt was the former academic dean and professor of International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government , and together they published a Harvard University Kennedy School of Government working paper [32] and a London Review of Books article [33] discussing the power of the Israel lobby in shaping the foreign policy of the United States. They define the Israel lobby as "a loose coalition of individuals and organizations who actively work to steer US foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction".

They emphasize that it is not appropriate to label it a " Jewish lobby ", because not all Jews feel a strong attachment to Israel and because some of the individuals and groups who work to foster U. Finally, they emphasize that the lobby is not a cabal or a conspiracy but simply a powerful interest group like the National Rifle Association or the farm lobby. Their core argument is that the policies that the lobby pushes are not in the United States' national interest , nor ultimately that of Israel.

Those pieces generated extensive media coverage and led to a wide-ranging and often heated debate between supporters and opponents of their argument. The article was subsequently turned into a book entitled The Israel Lobby and U. Mearsheimer was critical of Israel's war against Lebanon in the summer of He argued that Israel's strategy was "doomed to fail" because it was based on the "faulty assumption" that Israeli air power could defeat Hezbollah, which was essentially a guerrilla force. The war, he argued, was a disaster for the Lebanese people, as well as a "major setback" for the United States and Israel.

Mearsheimer was also critical of Israel's offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip that began in December He argued that it would not eliminate Hamas's capability to fire missiles and rockets at Israel, and that it would not cause Hamas to end its fight with Israel. In fact, he argued that relations between Israel and the Palestinians were likely to get worse in the years ahead.

Mearsheimer emphasizes that the only hope for Israel to end its conflict with the Palestinians is to end the occupation and allow the Palestinians to have their own state in Gaza and the West Bank. Otherwise, Israel is going to turn itself into an "apartheid state. Mearsheimer's criticisms of Israel further extended to Israel's possession of nuclear weapons. In remarks made at the International Spy Museum in , Mearsheimer asserted that a nuclear Israel was contrary to U. In April , Mearsheimer delivered the Hisham B.

This state, according to Mearsheimer, would not be politically viable, most American Jews would not support it, and it would eventually become a democratic bi-national state, politically dominated by its Palestinian majority. He suggested that "American Jews who care deeply about Israel" could be divided into three categories: the "new Afrikaners " who will support Israel even if it is an apartheid state, "righteous Jews," who believe that individual rights are universal, and apply equally to Jews and Palestinians, and the largest group who he called the "great ambivalent middle".

He concludes that most of the "great ambivalent middle" would not defend an apartheid Israel because "American Jews are among the staunchest defenders of traditional liberal values" resulting in the "new Afrikaners" becoming increasingly marginalized over time. He shows how assimilation and liberalism are making it increasingly difficult for Jews in the Diaspora to maintain a powerful sense of their 'Jewishness. As Atzmon's own case demonstrates, this strategy is not working and is causing many Jews great anguish.

The Wandering Who? Atzmon has been called an antisemite and Holocaust denier , and Jeffrey Goldberg said the book espoused Neo-Nazi views. Mearsheimer said he had "no reason to amend it or embellish" his review, [41] and defended his position. Writing with regard to the charge by Jeffrey Goldberg that Atzmon is anti-semitic, and by implication so is his own positive review of Atzmon's work, Mearsheimer responded: "Atzmon's basic point is that Jews often talk in universalistic terms, but many of them think and act in particularistic terms.

One might say they talk like liberals but act like nationalists And just the same way Howard said no GST under his government, no children overboard, we will decide who comes to this counrty. For once I agree with you. Gillard had a fixed price leading to an ETS. The fixed price is also called a Pigovian tax. Gillard had to negotiate with a hung parliament. Abbott was given exactly the same deal as Gillard.

He would say or do anything to get into power but the mainly conservative independents could tell he was untrustworthy. Tony Abbott of "if you want to put a price on carbon, why not just do it with a simple tax? Now let me see how the tax wrecked the economy Labor handed over the economy with three AAA ratings. He has proven the independents right, he is not trustworthy. He is not dealing with a hung parliament. He doesn't have to renegotiate any of his platform to suit others. He is simply going back on his word.

Honesty: The Plain and Simple Truth

He lied to get into power. He lied about Gillard and he lied about the state of the economy. He lied about the effect of the carbon tax. Lying is just another political tool for the Liberals. They haven't broken any promises yet, but have made good on their promise to stop the farce on our borders. So let's wait and see what the budget brings. They promised to reverse Labor's waste, financial mismanagement and debt. And that is where I want to see them held to account. Deluded much these days GRF? This is the most lying Government in the history of Australia and even the "stop the boats" mantra is a lie!

The boats keep coming, but they are turned back, so much so that the Government had to broadcast an ad featuring Lt. Gen Campbell telling potential asylum seekers not to come. If they have "stopped", why the ad? They have stopped coming ashore, stopped being our problem, ergo they have "stopped". The concept really couldn't be any simpler Alpo. What a great Australian outlook. Weren't we the lucky country, the compassionate country. Weren't we proud of our place in the world? Now, after six years of Abbott and Morrison you can make such a statement with out even the slightest blush.

Soon we will have our non actions on climate change,that the world can cast aspersions at via the good graces of the same deluded mob. Do not get me wrong. I do not think there should be an open door policy, but bipartisan action, so long resisted by those wanting electoral power, could come up with something better.

Given the billions of dollars it costs each year to have the navy push boats back and also house people in off-shore centres I'd hardly say it's "stopped being our problem". That's money that could be saved and spent elsewhere, potentially avoiding some of the cuts that are about to be delivered in the upcoming budget. That makes it very much our problem. Which lies? IF they break promises which hasn't happened yet , that will be broken promises, not lies. I and many other people will hold this against them if it happens.

As for boats, they have essentially stopped - these days it's very rare for them to be turned back. So when Gillard introduced a carbon tax it was a lie not a broken promise but if when the LNP ups the pension age it will be a broken promise not a lie. The ciscumstances are slightly different of course.

When Gillard made her promise it was when Labor was hoping to form government in their own right - the election result removed that possibility. Whereas Abbott formed government in his own right and thus has no excuse at all for breaking his promises. But will we hear of ToLiar or JoeLiar? What annoys me is that she never admitted as much, and claimed it was always her intention to introduce a "carbon" [sic] price after the election.

Interestingly, he has also broken a promise made immediately AFTER the election to have a free-trade agreement with China in place before the end of the year []. Easter has just passed and we are no closer to an agreement than we were in Sepember , and have virtually no chance of gaining any advantage whatsoever from the eventual deal because Abbott has already declared 'open misere' - stating that he will do "whatever it takes" to secure the agreement.

This is the equivalent of walking into a used car lot and declaring "I simply must have that beautiful Trabbant - I don't care what it costs" and then handing a blank cheque to the sleaziest salesman you can find. To V I just read your list of broken promises. No a single one of those things has actually occurred. All that has happened is there has been media speculation, and members of Labour telling us that these promises will be broken,or speculation that these things might have been discussed. But not a single one has occurred. For the record, I dont think Gillard lied when she said no Carbon tax ever, as that was her intention at the time.

But she got backed into a corner and could not honour that promise. I think there are times, such as when the GFC hit, that its better for governments to change policy, even if that means not honouring promises, simply because circumstances are either not as you believed at the time, or have changed. That is not a lie? OP Sov Borders has got to be the greatest public policy success in Australian history and it is that success that utterly enrages leftards like Alpo into making such ridiculous statements.

Alpo, "The boats keep coming, but they are turned back" Quite correct, and it is costing us an absolute fortune.

Why Leaders Lie: The Truth About Lying in International Politics with John Mearsheimer

Think of this: the cost of turning back ONE asylum seeker could also pay the yearly wages for two teachers in a disadvantaged school or two extra nurses in a public hospital. And this is just boats that can be turned back. When the boats are insufficiently seaworthy, the Navy presents the people smugglers with a BRAND NEW lifeboat worth tens of thousands of dollars, considerably adding to the cost of the turnback. Now, you can buy a lot of leaky fishing boats in Indonesia for what you can get for a slightly used RAN lifeboat.

You can then send out these boats with asylum seekers in them, and the Navy will present you with a brand-new, highly marketable lifeboat for each boat you send, which gives you the funds to buy more fishing boats and send even more asylum seekers toward our shores. In terms of a business model, it is the closest thing I have heard to Gomez Addams' "perfect product", which "cost a dime to make, sells for a dollar, and is habit-forming".

Mr Abbott has provided people smugglers with a goldmine, at our expense. And, of course, when the "turnback" policy is lifted to avoid bankrupting the Commonwealth, the flow of asylum seekers through our onshore processing centres will resume, but the people smugglers will be better resourced, with better boats and more sophisitcated means of avoiding detection.

We simply cannot afford it such a gross waste of public money. However, once the boats stop coming, and the centres are empty, the cost mostly stops. If however the boats keep coming, there is a very high ongoing cost. So yes money will be spent stopping them, but over the long term, its cheaper. If they don't stop if they just come every so often and we are keeping our navy patrolling that area then it will cost us big time.

I've read recently that 6 out of the 7 boats are or were out of service for repairs. Then we have the careers of the navy personnel that have been disciplined for trying to carry out Abbott's commands but I guess they don't count. Sending them back is still cheaper than detaining them or keeping them on Australian welfare. The lifeboats have beacons. We can always ask for them to be returned, since they remain our property.

Anyone who purchases the boats can be arrested for obtaining stolen goods. Your big ol' theory has a massive flaw. If arriving into Australia by leaky boat just means you're sent back, people won't risk their money trying to do so. If nobody risks their money, no more leaky boats arrive. If no leaky boats arrive, no lifeboats return. Which means no lifeboats can be stolen by the people smugglers and you're assuming people smugglers will acquire the lifeboats in the first place - in most cases, the boats are seized by Indonesian authorities.

It was a slight mistake in the mantra - should have been "stop the news" about boats. That is what I call an evil farce. Peter: What would induce someone apparently educated enough to read, to come up with that statement? Do you not think that bipartisanship between the parties would have solved this issue years ago. Instead we have sunk to the depths in using our armed services, and creating a "Sovereign border emergency.

So, is your preference to pay poor countries and private companies to lock innocent children up whatever the number? If you would care to do a little research on the numbers who migrate to Australia for work every year as compared to those who have sought asylum as refugees, you will quickly see that the former number is much larger than the latter. By an order of magnitude ten times as many. In other words, the assertion that there are "hordes" of people who will "overwhelm" Australia is a big, fat lie.

Whoever suggested just 'letting anybody in'? Only in feverish far-right wing minds. Thanks for the non sequitur. Are you unable to see beyond those two options? I think there is quite a bit more variation to be found than the all or none you're talking about. Given the minute numbers of people we actually take from refugee camps there is plenty of scope for an actual queue to be formed and a more orderly intake. At the moment the chances of someone from a camp actually ending up in Australia is almost non-existent.

For starters let's change that and give them a real chance of coming here legitimately. That's my preference. We are now able to sensibly re-look at our humanitarian and immigration intake numbers as we now have control of our borders. Those in the refugee camps now have a chance of getting to Australia as they have stopped going backwards in the queue for the first time in 6 years!

The last time the current government looked at the humanitarian intake numbers, it cut them by 6, places. Please indicate where the above four issues were in any way mis-managed by the Labor government and why the Prime Minister has the right to lie. The deal with the previous Government for Australian National Channel tender was a sham, that alone was million dollars. The previous Governments ruinous distraction of the health systems needs to be rebuilt, the education budget de-barkle was nothing short of bribery with no policy If you're so keen on them, learn to spell them.

And why should the ABC's breaking of news be an excuse for the government to lie? Education "de-barkle"? You mean the one that Christopher Pyne said that the Coalition was part of a unity ticket on? Either he thought Labor was doing okay And what distraction of the health system? You're not referring to NDIS, are you? I would have thought that caring for people with permanent health conditions was part of what the health system was supposed to do It reports what happens.

It is not obliged to be a cheer squad screaming: "Aussie! Oi" which you would clearly prefer. As to your criticism of Labor's health and Education policy as "ruinous", you really need to provide detail. Is the ABC really doing any damage to our foreign relations? Or is this done by those whose words and actions about which the ABC is reporting, without fear or favour?

My money is not on the ABC - they are simply reporting on the ill-informed rantings of a few loonies who don't know any better. I think the Indonesian government fully understands this because they are adult enough to recognize that it is the message and not the messenger. There are none so blind as those that will not see. Wake up. This government has pretty much broken a promise at every press conference they have held since getting into power. It's pretty clear they never intended to keep any promise they made and just lied their way into power.

If you hooked a generator up to their lie dial you could power the country and solve the carbon emission problem overnight. That's right GRF, they have a big job ahead of them, but they have to be held to account for the repair job required. The debt is such a mess, even sell off a couple of assets. Trouble is, Labor's debt is so huge that even if they sold everything they realisticlly could, it would hardly put a dent in it.

Can think of a couple of others, the best ones are the ones that give no return on investment and just a continual drain on the economy That way they will help the structure of the budget in the long term. Private enterprise will pick them up, how they perform there is up to them. Adults know that when they take charge of something they become responsible. Especially when this debt was accrued in less than 6 years under Labor, whereas other countries took DECADES to get into their pressent economic positions. The old debt smokescreen. Our debt was one of the lowest in the developed world and what debt we had was used to get us through the GFC.

Try a different angle. George, the debt is real, regardless if it is "one of the lowest in the developed world", the country's that you are comparing us too are a basket case, doesn't mean that we become one Abbott must be accountable to fix the problem, that's his responsibility and mandate, regardless of whether Shorten or Palmer respect that. The old " we're not as bad as others" smokescreen! We have now been set on a trajectory towards these longer established "basket case" economies, and the only question that remains is which generation of Australian tax payers will be stuck with the bulk of the "biting of the bullets" and the bulk of that bill that is ever building?

I assume that you'll direct as much ire towards the Coalition if debt goes up under their watch as you did for Labor. Or how long do you propose to make excuses for them? The fact is that Australia was going into debt anyway due to the GFC. Even Joe Hockey has admitted as much. The only questions were how much debt and how we got into it and whether it would be used in such a way as to preserve an economy capable of paying it off.

Don't panic buddy. Abbott's done a deal with the Greens and unlocked the debt ceiling. This is going to be an election promise breaking budget that smashes the poor. We won't be fooled again. Debt ceiling abolished, revenue sources abolished or about to be mining tax, carbon tax , new expenditure in the pipeline PPL. They are making it worse not better.

For a Government determined to improve the budget core or non-core promise??!! Those are two of the funniest ones LRO. Mr Abbott's promise that "no school will be worse off" was being withdrawn within days after the election and he tried to justify by the blatant lie that "we never promised that". Then removing the credit limit by doing a deal with the Greens, something he explicitly and inexplicably promised before the election. Not sure why he even felt such a promise would be helpful, but he made it and broke it anyway. I certainly hope that if you ever find yourself in the most unenviable position of having to seek asylum, that other humans have far more compassion for you than simply considering you a farce to be dealt with.

Do you mean in preference to being subjected to persecution in your home country? Are you a Christian? In that case, no problem with going to PNG for you! Are you aware that PNG is not the friendliest place to be an adherent of Islam? Not really the best solution for those poor buggers, is it? According to this hypothesis Australia would not be safe. I'd love to open the borders for everyone who is not as well off as us, but Australia can not handle a population of 5 billion so a reality check is in order. The world ain't fair and its not yours or my fault. What will the 6 years of boats arriving cost us?

Putting some sort of a lid on the 6 years of the ALP government's allowing of "uncapped immigration" costs, just had to be taken at last, even if it's costing us some in this operational stage. I am not so sure about whether they have broken any promises yet but we will see in the next few months but the signals are clear. What is important is that Abbott made commitments that are looking more and more rubbery by the day. Abbott knew he would have a monumental problem trying to close the gap if he abandoned the carbon and mining taxes but failed to let us know this.

Labor did raise the issue but the message was not heard. The Labor deficit was unveiled in the run up to the election and that has not changed markedly. What is changing is the forward estimates under the assumptions of the new government and these estimates are without the revenue form the mining tax and the carbon tax and other initiatives. So of course the deficit will rise but it is not all Labor's. This is a given and Abbott and Hockey should have said before the election that they would remove all of the benefits that were funded by these including the pension increases etc etc or said that the deficit will rise substantially if we axe these.

The essence of what Chris has said is right. Politicians rarely see commitments as things that have to be honoured. Nor do they see that introducing major change that has not been spoken about as anything but "reform'. From where I sit a sin of commission is the same as a sin of omission. When did Hockey or Abbott ever mention changes to pensions, or changes to Medicare or in fact changes to anything actually. A government of no surprises yeah right. She changed tack on one issue and was branded a liar a label that never left her.

I expect the same front page screaming from Murdoch and others of Abbott does the same. Something I suspect will not be mentioned in the budget - but which should be, because it is of overwhelming public interest - is how much the 'stop the farce on our borders' has cost thus far. I would not be surprised if this is at least in the tens of millions of dollars, if not hundreds of millions. I would be even less surprised if this huge waste of money will be continued to the point that it sends the country broke, just to prove an ideological point. No broken promises?

How about:- 1 - "spend my first week as prime minister? We will get the Budget back under control, cut waste and start reducing debt.? There was also "no government job for Mirabella" - but technically that promise was made after the election. Abbott is a deceiver of biblical proportions, that much we should all have known. Many of us said as much. Most of us are neither surprised nor shocked; just depressed. Hypocrisy is just Liberal pronounced with a slight affectation. If Mr Abbott breaks any promises there will be a motive of saving money not costing us billions and loss of business in do nothing carbon Dioxide tax.

Stopping the boats is an indicator of management capacity. How about we require a written manifesto from each major party three months prior to an election? One that spells out their policies and promises. Might cut down on the policy-on-the-run that we've been suffering lately. If a promise is press-released that wasn't included in the original, every pundit can claim correctly that it hasn't been thought through quite enough. While I'm wishing, why not require them to put them in order of reliability?

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Give them the opportunity to put the core-est of core promises at the top of the list, and the maybe-maybe ones a bit further down? Don't they do something similar to this in Britain? At least with regard to publishing policies? A manifesto would be good and it should include all political donations and by whom and f they are from a trust then it should state who is in that trust. I think ideology is also as important as policy. I think a lot of people vote on a policy but then don't realise the ideology of the party.

The libs should just come out and say we are a neo-liberal tea party right wing party and our ideology is free market, profit at any cost, poor people should be punished for being lazy and poor, the rich rewarded this will make the poor strive harder and we believe in privatisation and that govt. Pete, re political donations which I abhor , feel free to look up the register - they're there for all to see I find your article extremely depressing.

You're saying that we should expect our politicians to be honourless, lying charlatans and that we should just accept it. How about not accepting it? How about holding them to account? The lack of honesty and integrity are surely contributing to the level of cynicism and unhappiness with politics in this country. Next election hold the politicans who break promises to account - vote them out. And if the new lot do it, turf them out at the next election.

Make them realise they HAVE to keep their promises if they want a chance at re-election. Let's see if I can fix that: Australian citizens have absolutely no way of doing any of the things you've described. Berg was correct in saying that elections are weak discipline. Nobody votes on whether promises were kept, everyone votes because they've been institutionalised to be Liberals or Labor, because that's how their parents voted. If that were true Fenixius then we would never see change.


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A reasonable proportion of voters are swingers. What tends to happen is we vote via our hip pocket. Even the media focus on it. What's in it election promises, budget release etc for ME? Voting for current circumstances seems to be the favour with swinging voters. PPL, Gonski, Carbon tax abolition etc. The financial impact to the average person of the carbon tax was minimal, however we were told that it is a big cost we shouldn't have to pay. The fact that the Direct Action plan is us paying via taxes seems to have slipped soem peoples minds.

The biggest difference being that an individual could change their habits to reduce the carbon tax impost, whereas the Direct Action will either require higher taxes or lower services - i. Turned out I vote differently to them. And for other options rather than just Labor or Liberal. But hey, i'm not everyone obviously Berg is actually helping out his political mates by softening us up for the many broken promises that will happen innthe first budget. Elections are only a weak discipline because we allow them to be.

This is characterised by rusted-on voters and safe seats - both the enemies of acountable government. Next election, vote against your incumbent - give the complacent liars on both sides something to think about.

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Depressed, Politicians generally are lawyers - so why would you then expect them to be honest in keeping their promises? Be realistic. Rusty, what a silly comment. This coming from one of the right's biggest cheer squad members who rode on one of Julia Gillard's misquoted statements on the ETS. Yet Abbott has broken every promise or election pledge from day one and the country has to endure his woeful excuse of a government.

Depressed, The politicians won't change until the voters do. The recent WA Senate elections were evidence that maybe some voters are getting it. Both major parties lost votes to the Greens and PUP.

The decades of swinging from Labor to Liberal and back again have done nothing to change their behaviour. Voting against these parties is the only way the electorate CAN make a difference. It is true, the author is stating that politicians are now officially allowed to lie to us. Where you are getting caught up is the voting them out bit. That just means the last set of liars are voted back in, its the old revolving door syndrome.

When you have only got a choice in a modern capitalist democracy between dumb and dumber, who do you think is going to do anything. They effectively are the same, so voting them out then back in is just part of their long term plan to control the cheque books and military. Personally, I don't see why courts should only enforce commercial contracts that have not been fulfilled - they could readily form an institutional mechanism by which voters could enforce the pledges that their elected representatives have made.

I'd like to see a pensioners' representative body get a legal injunction preventing the Abbott Government from cutting their indexation, holding him to his "promise" of less than 12 months' ago. Dave M. A grain of gold dust to come out of your passage Personally, I don't see why courts should only enforce commercial contracts that have not been fulfilled - they could readily form an institutional mechanism by which voters could enforce the pledges that their elected representatives have made. Why not give representatives of social bodies and I mean social bodies like the Pensioners groups , Hospital support groups.

Disabled support Groups. Permanent Non-elected seats in the senate. This would give some sense to what is today failing us miserably by moral and ethical corruption I make no distinction between the two though a lawyer or politician might. The population responds emotionally. Emotions drive politics. I think the media has a certain responsibilty to keep the politicians accountable regarding promises.

But when the media is in bed with government theres a huge conflict of interest. The allseeing eye of Rupert won't fall on Tony. It is fair and reasonable to suggest that a Promise is an offer insofar as a commitment to the Australian people, on 'just terms' - In short, the Australian folk entered a contract with Tony Abbott. So now we have the Promise broken Abbott entered into a verbal contract with the public when he made the claims. As the cops sill testify, a verbal contract is evidence of a contract, hence the crappy small talk to bind in contract.

Australian politics is devoid of any law. Look at the constitution for instance, the government changes it every year at Coag. Once upon a time only voters can alter the constitution. Now it is a free for all. Once upon a time Senators had to get voted in to parliament, now you can be given a free ticket into parliament, no questions asked.

What has Australia become? Would love to agree but unfortunately the contract is not enforceable under law. For a contract to be binding it must have an offer it does , acceptance it could very reasonably be argued voting for the party constitutes acceptance and consideration - ie monetary payment. It does not have consideration and therefore is not enforceable so unfortunately no law has been broken. Abbot lied and broke promises, he broke contract with his voters, i would never vote for him or the ALPLNPGr machine so he didn't brake contract with me.

He broke contract as a PM to the nation. So, to summarise: "Obviously Coalition failures deserve to be treated as harshly as Labor failures were. It is one thing to make a promise in Abbott's case, a bunch of unqualified promises with the intention of keeping it, it is another thing to make a "promise" without such intention, which would make the "promise" a lie.

Abbott was lying, and all the fluffery about "signals" and nuance and voter rationality does not change the fact he is the most deceptive charlatan. This is a government of no surprises - its no surprise to me it is the uber duper of governments. And its no surprise the IPA is head cheerleader for it.

Sucked in, Australia. Don't you think you should wait until the budget and find out first rather than joining the procession of crystal ball gazers forever banging on about cuts and broken promises that haven't even been confirmed yet? Hope all you want Doris. The Liberals offered roses to all, but the majority those not at the top will only receive the thorns. I'm going to dish it out to the Libs at every opportunity. They called Gillard a liar for years on her promise to put a price on carbon and ruling out a carbon tax.

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There is a difference. So what they sow they will reap. The debt is not really a problem if you remove the ceiling. Know what Doris - this LNP government are just full of liars and no one is crystal ball gazing. SO, no matter how you try and spin it we all saw her on TV and listened when she said "There will be no carbon tax by any government I lead" or words to that effect. She admitted herself that reneging on that promise did her massive political damage. It was said and it was referred to as a tax not a price.

Get over it and admit that your idol had feet of sand. I'm well and truly over it. Gillard made both statements - a price on carbon and no carbon tax. She muffed it up completely by agreeing to calling it a carbon tax later. Either way, it does not matter. How about you defend this nonsense of Direct Action where we bribe polluters to not pollute - a waste of billions and you are mute on that little doozy.

Berg anytime your ready to raise capital via crowd funding to launch a class action lawsuit against Mr. Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party of Australia for verbal breach of contract then please let me know. Unfortunately the last line of your article just seems to condone it. I'll put my name on the court docs. Gillard, in the most basic sense, did lie.

She said there would be no carbon tax under a Government I lead, and there was. Personally I didn't mind, she couldn't have known there'd be a minority Govt, she did say there would be a price on carbon, and, I broadly believe in the principle 'when circumstances change I'll change with them'.

But, as Berg points out Abbott and his supports were not so forgiving, and we had years of the JuLiar jibes. If he does break his promises he will be a hypocrite of the highest order. Given my stance on Gillard I could forgive him, but I have no doubt all those who could never 'forgive' Gillard will hold him to the same standard. How could they not?. Well they'll find ways of course. Unsuprisingly Bolt has already found a tiny 'out' for Abbott, just as those who supported Gillard tried.

I wish people applied the same standard to those they support as they did to those they oppose. Maybe we'd get better politicians then. Except that it wasn't a tax. It was a fixed price Carbon trading scheme, which is exactly what she promised she would do. That fact that the Coalition continually yelled about it being a tax doesn't actually make it so. Politicians only seem to get better when they retire of die. There is no wiggle room in the english language for this one as he was so clear with "No cuts to ABC. No cuts to SBS. No cuts to pension". Unlike Gonski where we just misinterpreted him

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