July 31, 2006
Israel is terminally shamed
"When you sleep with a missile, sometimes you don't wake up in the morning."
-- Dan Gillerman, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations.
Ehud Olmert may have been promoted from nebbish to shtarker but a mensch he'll never be. The atrocities in Lebanon rest squarely on the shoulders of this yekl. The above photo of a 16-day-old baby whose head has been blown off, the fruit of Zionist atrocities in Lebanon, is one of dozens from the Qana and other massacres to be found here.
Did this baby's parents have any choice? What were they going to do, tell Hizbollah to bugger off? Gillerman seems to think so. Since when have civilians had a say in what their military/terrorist organisations do?
Yes, it is equally true that Israelis have there own gruesome photos from years of Hizbollah and Hamas suicide bombings, but these terrorist organizations were formed in response to the Israeli occupation of their lands.
David Pryce-Jones says:
Israel is the victim of terror, and its response to Hezbollah is a parallel to the American response to September 11.
This is true, but it's not right. Neither nation has ever bothered to identify the root cause for the terror committed against them. This arrogant dismissal of cause and effect has been catastrophic for the world.
Israeli Zionism, responsible for the nationalistic/religious mindset that places its people above all others, and American Imperialism, responsible for the nationalistic/religious mindset that places its interests above all others, are the twin blood brothers who have emerged from a hell of their own making.
Together they threaten the existence of every one of the rest of us. By taking on the Arab world, and by extension all Muslims, they are digging a grave for the whole world. The Americans, who in Iraq are the equivalent of Custer's army to the terrorist Indians, have given their full backing to Israel's Lebanese "Little Big Horn".
The Americans cannot win in Iraq. Israel cannot win their war against Hizbollah and Hamas by destroying Lebanon. Why can't they understand this? All the might at their disposal is never going to eliminate the solidarity being strengthened with every death of an innocent. Their own fable of David and Goliath should have instructed them. For years they have thrown their sophisticated weapons at rock-throwing Palestinians. It never stopped the suicide bombers for whom revenge was sweeter than a life of subjugation. They may eventually eliminate Hizbollah's weaponry from Southern Lebanon, but the rock throwing will never stop. Like Bush2's foolish "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq, the war between Israel and those over whom they hold dominion, will never end.
There can be no doubt that in the 20 days of this war, the Muslim world, including those who were once moderate, is now united in its hatred of the West. Meanwhile the West is anything but united. Bush and Olmert, along with their stooges Blair and Howard, can no longer count on support, tacit or direct, from Europe. Worse, the citizens of every Western nation are polarised. To paraphrase the old saying: Divided the West falls, united the Muslim world stands.
There can now be no resolution. Israel's insane retribution in Lebanon would have to be nothing less than the opening stages of World War III. Until it enters its terminal phase, the phase wherein Islamo-fascism and Judeo/Christian fascism cancel each other and everything else, perhaps the only winners in Lebanon will in be the only winners so far in Iraq: Halliburton and Bechtel.
-- Chet LaMerde
July 30, 2006
Screwdriver-wielding private school rowing retard hugs wind-up PM
Andrew Dyson reports:
A screwdriver-wielding schoolboy last week publicly embraced the Prime Minister. This spontaneous act, which heralded the first flush of spring, did not provoke the joyful celebration it merited. Instead, we were glumly informed that had the lad been swarthier, he would have most likely been gunned down by security personnel. We also learned he had zero knowledge of Australian politics, a disclosure that prompted predictable elitist sneers about the true worth of a private school education.
Sadly, few found time to commend this most excellent youth's compassion and quick intelligence. Many have noted that the Prime Minister has of late been even more formidably energetic than usual. This is because he has been mistakenly retrofitted with a heavy-duty battery, of the type commonly used to power pink drumming rabbits, which allows him no rest. It took a mere schoolboy bystander to grasp what Mr Howard's overpaid senior consultants had overlooked -- the supercharged PM was in agony, and had to be unscrewed.
Noting the screwdriver he fortuitously held in his right hand, and filled with the zeal that motivated Simpson, Dunlop and other notable Australian altruists, the lad swung swiftly into action. Perhaps too swiftly, for in the heat of the moment he made one fatal, if forgiveable, error. Wrapping an arm around Mr Howard's shoulders to exert more leverage, he forced his flat-head screwdriver into the Phillips head screw that secures the PM's battery compartment, thus rendering the screwhead useless. This action made further running repairs impossible, and it now seems likely the PM will continue power-walking at warp speed until he expires, or implodes.
Though his actions have imperilled the nation's future, we need not be too harsh on this youngster. His patriotism was exemplary, his noble spirit willing, and his stunning lack of success was due merely to the poor quality of his education. Had he been enrolled at a reputable trade college, he would have known to first lubricate the PM's screw, then loosen it with an impact driver. It was his misfortune to be enrolled at a private school, where the inmates are taught how to screw others, not to unscrew them. He is not to blame. Cornered, by Andrew Dyson, The Age, 30 July 2006.
The event as reported in the press.
July 29, 2006
Arab lives don't matter to Western rulers and their media-trained subjects
Courtesy, Ron Tandberg
Get a load of this editorial headline and subheader in the 29-30 July Weekly Australian:
IT IS TIME FOR IRAN TO END THE KILLING
In Lebanon and Israel, Ahmadinejad has blood on his hands
Just to the right of this interesting projection on the deaths of 20 times more Lebanese than Israelis since Israel invaded Lebanon, are the following two letters dealing with the twin hypocrisies of: 1) Australians Asaf Namer and David Hicks, the former regarded as a hero, the latter as a terrorist, and: 2) the outrage at Lebanese-Australians refugees holding dual citizenship, while not a squeak about Asaf Namer holding dual Israeli-Australian citizenship. Read 'em and weep:
What confusing times these are. Many of the Australians who have escaped from Lebanon, when they return here, will be vilified by other Australians as "Lebos".
Asaf Namer, the 26-year-old Australian from Bondi who has just been killed in the Israeli army attack on southern Lebanon, was a sergeant in that army ("Mother begged fallen Aussie not to fight", 28/7). I wonder what we would have called him if his unit had attacked and killed any of the 12 Australian soldiers who were helping other Australians to escape from Lebanon? That would have made him an Australian killing other Australians.
What would we have called him if he'd been part of the force that killed four unarmed UN observers in southern Lebanon who were trying to do no more than observe what the Israeli forces were doing? Would we have called him a murderer, a terrorist? Would this mean that, under the same logic that has seen David Hicks locked away for years at the hands of our great friends, this Israeli-Australian soldier would have been locked up indefinitely as well? Of course not.
The Israeli forces can illegally invade another country, relying on mass punishment and indiscriminate bombardments; attack ambulances and fleeing refugees and/or blow them up if they stay where they are; and target UN observers, who were obviously dangerous people if they'd been able to report what they had observed.
Why can the Israelis do this while the world stands by and our political leaders refuse to condemn their actions? Because the lives of Arab people don't matter. The life of an Israeli-Australian matters, even though he was a volunteer soldier choosing to participate in an immoral invasion of another country in which nearly 500 innocent people have been killed for the crime of being Arab, and for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Will this Israeli-Australian soldier's name be added to the military honour rolls in Canberra for his heroic actions? Or will his former Sydney school be scrutinised by ASIO, under the anti-terror legislation, for signs of supporting religiously based war?
Stay tuned for the next chapter in the unravelling of our world, brought to you by nutcase zealots, some of whom aren't even our elected representatives.
-- James Alexander
As an Australian who also holds a passport from another country, all I can say is what a difference a day makes.
A few days ago, Australian papers throbbed with letters from writers indignant about Lebanese-Australians with dual citizenship. When there is the sad fatality of a young man who not only held both Australian and Israeli citizenship, but whose loyalties also led him to join the armed forces of Israel, there is not an indignant word.
I surmise that should a Lebanese-Australian, who, mistaking the military efforts of Israel to defend itself as an act of open war against Lebanon, make an attempt to defend that country, he will be called a terrorist. It does seem that the term terrorist is rapidly gaining a narrow ethnic application.
-- Martin Dix
Thanks to Israel's termination of Lebanon as a sovereign state the Arab world now hates the west far more than they did eighteen days ago. But this hatred will be intensified to catastrophic proportions once every Arab in the street realises just how much most Westerners hate them.
No one in the West seems to be aware that the present conflict dates back to Israel's occupation of Palestine. Furthermore:
Western priorities dominate perceptions of the region. Newspapers around the world fulminate against Iran's rudimentary nuclear power program. But how many editorialists direct a portion of their anti-nuclear wrath at nearby Israel, which, as Pilger points out, possesses between 200 and 500 thermonuclear weapons (more bombs than Britain; perhaps even more than China), not to mention well-documented chemical and biological warfare programs?
And what is the Arab in the street to think of Icy Rice's declaration that "It's time for a new Middle East"? They know exactly what she means. A Middle East shaped by the hand of a self-deluded America gone insane.
As the first letter writer said, "Stay tuned for the next chapter in the unravelling of our world."
-- Chet LaMerde
July 28, 2006
Axis of Evil welcomes new inductees US and Israel
If I were a cartoonist I would draw a boxing ring. In one corner, a Goliath-sized boxer with Israel printed on his trunks. Behind him his coach, with US printed on his skivvy. In the other corner, a David-sized boxer with Hizbollah printed on his shorts, and behind him his coach, with Iran printed on his skivvy. In the centre of the ring, a crater. Maybe it's already been done.
I've heard several Jewish commentators talking about the long arm of Iran being behind Hizbollah, but only one talking about the long arm of Bush2's Umeruhca being behind Israel. The discrepancy matches the kill count. As of this writing 445 Lebanese and other nationalities and 51 Israelis are dead, while Israeli shelling has displaced some 750,000 Lebanese. The number of Israeli displaced is possibly insignificant.
The war is into its 17th day, but the Rome talks, lasting a mere three hours, failed to come up with a responsible cease-fire agreement. Only Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora appeared to correctly assess the situation. Perhaps his message fell on the deaf ears of the other diplomats, absorbed, as they no doubt were, with the grand luncheon menu.
After they all departed with burps and farts, Israel took their indecision as a green light to continue the deadly assault on Lebanon. "Yesterday in Rome we in effect obtained the authorisation to continue our operations until Hezbollah is no longer present in southern Lebanon," Israeli Justice Minister Haim Ramon told Army Radio.
The US refuses to condemn Israel's actions, either in general, or, in particular, the killing of UN peacekeepers. That's what we came to expect from the Soviet Union back in the old days. The US has long become the New Soviet. Since Bush2's first stolen election, to be exact. The reason for their action is simple. They want Israel to provoke Syria so they can do an Iraq on Iran.
One wonders how much of the heartrending Lebanese refugee coverage is being shown on Israeli television. Probably very little. They will be getting a lot of triumphant bombardment footage though. Here in Australia we have watched for over two weeks the thousands of bewildered, bloody, shell-shocked people trying to escape the Israeli blitzkrieg.
And now we hear that Israel may be using chemical weapons.
The Lebanese killed by Israeli air raids are charred in a way local doctors, who have lived through years of civil war and Israeli occupation, say they have not seen before.
Bachir Cham, a Belgian-Lebanese doctor at the Southern Medical Centre in Sidon, received eight bodies after an Israeli air raid that he said exhibited such wounds. He has taken samples from the bodies to test for what killed them. He believes it is a chemical.
Dr Cham said the bodies of some victims were "black as shoes, so they are definitely using chemical weapons. They are all black but their hair and skin is intact so they are not really burnt … If you burnt someone with petrol, their hair would burn and their skin would burn down to the bone. The Israelis are 100 per cent using chemical weapons."
Lebanese President Emile Lahoud has repeatedly accused Israel of using phosphorous bombs in its offensive.
If this is true, then Ehud Olmert should stand in the dock along side Saddam Hussein for war crimes. Sooner or later he and his stand-ins for Dr Strangelove's Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper will have to face a population dishonoured.
Bush2's original Axis of Evil: Iraq, Iran and North Korea, should now be expanded to include Israel and his own country.
-- Chet LaMerde
July 27, 2006
Heil Olmert! Cry of the Israeli Juggernaut
Here is the report on the UN bombing and killings from this morning's The Australian. Strangely, the final paragraph has been omitted from the online edition.
UN observers made 10 frantic telephone calls to the Israeli military, warning them aerial attacks were getting close to their post, in the hours before a direct hit on their bunker killed four peacekeepers.
A UN report released last night said the peacekeepers were told during each of the calls that the bombing would cease, but they were then hit by a precision-guided missile.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert telephoned UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to deny warplanes had deliberately bombed the UN position.
Mr Annan said last night there had been 17 bombardments of the UN camp, with 12 artillery rounds landing within 150m and four scoring direct hits. "Many calls went out" to the Israeli military and "you can imagine the anguish of the soldiers and men and women … who were down there in the name of peace", he said.
And from The Age, this entire excerpt has also been omitted from a similar news entry in the online edition :
A UN source said about 20 bombs or shells fell in or close to the post before an aerial bomb finally penetrated the bunker where observers were sheltering.
The UN Truce Supervisory Organisation and the UN Interim Forces in Lebanon (Unifil) had protested to Israel repeatedly during the bombing which preceded the fatal strike.
"This position has been there for 20 years. In the old days that was the front line. Israel knows these positions and they have had two weeks to zero in on this area and register targets and where you don't want to hit," the UN source said.
"(The UN bunkers) are big white things -- you can see them for miles and they are lit up at night … If you keep firing all afternoon into a position like that, then ultimately something will go wrong."
What is going on here? Why have these paragraphs been removed from both papers? Have I missed something? Like, yes it happened, but let's not give the mugs too much information?
As the rest of the world leaders spun their mumbled horror about the "incident" (while remaining supine at Israel's insanity), it took a woman, Helen Clark, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, to speak out in no uncertain terms.
"With respect to today's bombing of the Unifil (UN Interim Force in Lebanon) post in Khiam, New Zealand joins the Secretary-General of the United Nations in calling on the Government of Israel to conduct a full investigation into this very disturbing incident and demand that any further attack on UN positions and personnel must stop'," Miss Clark said.
"Just as Hizbollah is urged to stop its attacks, so must Israel cease the disproportionate violence which is striking civilians, infrastructure, and UN personnel and posts."
Her stand makes sense. She's not a member of a patriarchy whose penchant for violence has impeded human evolution from its beginnings.
Let's conclude with a letter in The Australian, which puts anti-semitism, whether against Jews or, these days, against Arabs -- they're all Semites -- squarely at the feet of those unfortunate members of the human species for whom racism is like oxygen: the bloody Right.
Mark Steyn's article ("If only they had refused to indulge Arafat", Opinion, 26/7) demonstrates that anti-semitism has not disappeared from the mindset of sections of the Right – it has simply transformed into a malignant bigotry against Muslim Arabs.
Of course, not all the features of classic anti-semitism are present in this new anti-Arab bigotry. Steyn and his ilk do not argue that Arabs control international finance, for example. However, his allegation that Palestinian terrorists drank the blood of the assassinated Jordanian prime minister in 1971 has an eerie parallel in the persistent medieval belief that Jews slaughtered Christian children and drank their blood in accordance with their own depraved rituals.
Like anti-semitism, the new bigotry makes no distinction between Arabs. Whether they be Palestinian or Lebanese, Shiite or Sunni, in essence they are all the same. They all share the same murderous and unappeasable bloodlust towards Jews. It is pointless to try to negotiate with them because they have no interest in compromise, only in total victory. Their genocidal jihadism is ineradicable and can only be countered with violence.
Like his fellow anti-Arab bigots, Steyn has no interest in the historical or political context except where it supports his position. He amply demonstrates Cardinal Newman's remark that although some people's opinions may radically change, their casts of minds remain fundamentally the same. -- Nick Laffey
-- Chet LaMerde
July 26, 2006
Israel warped by its militaristic culture
Military service is compulsory in Israel. Men are required to serve for three years. Women are required to serve for two years, unless they volunteer for combat positions, in which case they must also serve for three years. Following regular service, both men and women are required to remain in the reserves, in most cases, until well into their forties. The only exceptions are the orthodox Jews enrolled in Yeshivas, who may choose to be exempted.
Given Israel's place at the centre of an unending maelstrom of Arab hatred, this decades-spanning conscription makes sense.
But it makes Israel a culture saturated with militarism. To the point where the life of a soldier is regarded more highly than that of a civilian. Had civilians been kidnapped instead of soldiers at the start of the current conflict, Lebanon would not now be in ruins.
A nation whose military has that much power over its people cannot help but be warlike, with voices for peaceful negotiation barely tolerated. The last person to challenge the military as the sole arbiter on how to deal with the Palestinians was Yitzhak Rabin. He was assassinated for his temerity.
It also makes Israel a paranoid culture. It's terrorist origins have hardened its heart against an enemy perceived to be a lesser species. This has outraged the Arabs in the region and increased Israel's paranoia of attack. Had the state been founded with a modicum of respect and generosity to the peoples it displaced, the Middle East might be a different place today. It is not unreasonable to suggest that Hamas and Hizbollah might not exist if this were true. Instead, paranoia and aggression reigns on both sides.
To bolster its military resources and further protect its border, Israel long ago enlisted the help of the United States. Israel's toehold in US foreign policy was gained initially through the use of holocaust-guilt, or the entirely justified reminder that most western nations had turned a blind eye to Hitler's Final Solution. But it apparently also struck a deal to increase US interests in the Middle East in return for favours, one of which -- non-interference -- it is now being calling in. The US has literally been at Israel's beck and call ever since.
Neither the US nor the UN has tried to stop Israel's decimation of Lebanon. Salim Lone writes:
The world's carefully constructed international system for maintaining peace and security, built around the UN charter, is now on its last legs. It tackles crimes by the weak but is mute and unresponsive in the face of lawless behaviour by the powerful.
Sadly, we've come to expect weakness from the UN. And, under Bush2, we are not surprised to see the US sitting back, twirling its well-oiled moustaches, while Israel gets closer and closer to Syria.
Kofi Annan eventually made the headlines with his call for an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East crisis. It was too little, too late. That the United Nations Secretary-General waited nine days before seriously speaking out has dealt a severe blow to the organisation's humanitarian image. That he twinned his criticism of Israel's "excessive use of force" with repeated condemnations of Hezbollah again showed how deeply in thrall to the United States the world is.
That this blog is primarily concerned with Israel's disproportionate use of force in Lebanon in no way condones the actions of Hizbollah. But when attempting to analyse the use of Goliath's might against David, the disinterested observer must eventually support the bloke with the slingshot.
More from Lone:
Complicity in a war with such a high civilian toll is unprecedented in this era. It is particularly odious because all these leaders had, at last September's extraordinary UN summit, solemnly hailed as a historic milestone the declaration on the "responsibility to protect" civilians during conflict, labelling this protection as one of the most urgent global priorities.
Read Salim Lone's full article here.
It seems that WWIII is but a shrapnel-peppered child away. If so, Israel and the United States can be seen to have played a large part in bringing it about. Both have implemented foreign policies since the end of WWII guaranteed to start the conflagration we are about to be part of.
In Israel's case, the adage about the abused child growing up to be an abuser is being proved with apocalyptic results.
To finish up, here is a pair of quotes from Dr James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute. He spoke last night on Lateline
I'm not one who sees history repeating itself infinitely in the same way, but certainly there are echoes here of what happened before and I shudder having lived through that history then, seeing it play out again. I wonder how many times we have to bang our heads up against the wall before somebody says "ouch!" and stops. This makes no sense. You cannot have a military solution to what is essentially a political problem. There are pathologies playing out all the way around. Israel has its pathologies, Hezbollah has its and the Palestinian movements have theirs. What is required here is adult supervision and that's what has been absent. The United States and/or some other agency from the world community has to be in a position of helping these parties put an end to this. And, frankly, we reduce ourselves to a role too small when we become a coat holder or cheerleader, which is what we've done. In the past when America has exercised restraint, we've been able to control these pathologies, but when we don't, we allow them to play out and the consequences, as I said, are felt down the road. I would also add here that despite the fact that there is a Sunni-Shiah split in the Arab world felt especially among leadership, it is no accident that in Saudi Arabia or in Egypt or in Jordan, there is grave concern about Hezbollah, as there ought to be. It is not a healthy movement and does not represent I think the future of Lebanon. But, Iran is a threat, no doubt, and Arab Sunni leadership are reflecting that. But on the Arab street we are seeing something very different play out. We are seeing a resentment against Israel and the US that itself will have consequences down the road.
…the infantile fantasies of the neo-conservatives have brought great destruction to Iraq and I would add to our country in the Middle East. Lord spare us from any more of their fantasies. They're a dangerous crew. They're about as dangerous as the ayatollahs. I think a strike against Iran would open the gates of hell for everybody in the Middle East and, frankly speaking, all of the footsteps of terrorism in the Middle East go directly back to Tehran. There's no question about that. But these morons - and I use that term advisedly - led us into Iraq and only served the purpose of emboldening and strengthening Iran, giving them unleashed power in Iran - sorry in Iraq and they pose now a greater threat in the Gulf region. There is an absolute need to deal with Iran, but at this point in time with 130,000 US troops in the middle of majority Shiah country, with Lebanon in flames, with Iran emboldened, the last thing we need to do is to envision a war against Iran that I believe would cause grave damage throughout the entire Persian Gulf on both the Arab side and the Iranian side, leading to a greater destabilisation in that broader region. If Iran crumbles, and it very well might crumble if in fact a war were to occur, the spill-over into several neighbouring countries would be enormous. Even a more dangerous situation than what we are currently seeing in Iraq. I do not believe, as the neo-conservatives do, in creative chaos. In fact what they have brought us is nothing creative. Just chaos. We don't need more of that.
-- Chet LaMerde
July 25, 2006
Is the uncircumcised cock a laughing stock?
The uncircumcised penis may well be the cause of our era's backlash against the good old sex revolution of the Sixties. Back then circumcision was routinely done to all males, not just Muslims and Jews, for whom the procedure is still required. Today, every dude is running around with one of those risible foreskins while article after article talks about young women putting off sex until marriage or worse.
The question is worth pondering, because there is nothing sillier or less conducive to passion than that preposterous prepuce covering a man's otherwise noble member. You know the scene: a trail of wildly discarded clothes leading to the bed and then … nervous laughter or a grimace of repugnance followed by a dick-withering "Eeuuhhhgghh! You're not putting that weird thing in me!"
At the very least it's another nail in the coffin of "Intelligent Design". Of course the simple folk who buy this hogwash would argue that such an unattractive sex organ fits perfectly with "God's" exhortation to forego fornication until marriage with the lights turned off.
It was Michael Winterbottom's film, 9 Songs, that got me thinking about cloaked willies. Briefly, it's about the explicitly repeated sexual encounters of a couple as the basis for exploring their relationship. Each "coupling" is interspersed with a few minutes of various rock bands in concert.
About half way through I started fast forwarding the music scenes -- there are some excellent bands around these days, but none of them seem to be known to Winterbottom -- and then I hit the fast forward during the sex scenes. After awhile, it just gets boring. But one of the latter scenes showed the girl -- a replica of Olive Oyl right down to the little knob of her pony tail -- giving the bloke a blow job. This would have been an erotic moment, except that, not only was he uncircumcised, but the thing she was putting in her mouth looked like a rotting sausage encased in a withered prepared intestine. I asked myself, do they all look like this? It was positively frightening.
I've seen my share of porn and nowhere do you see uncircumcised penises. And when two women are getting it on with a slick double-headed dildo, would it ever be moulded to represent an uncircumcised thrust-o-matic? Not on your buried-to-the-hilt gasps of "Who needs men, then." Not only are socked cocks the antithesis of eroticism and sexual esthetics, but they are potential containers of all sorts of yucky stuff from foul-smelling smegma to yeast infections.
How do women put up with them? Or men, for that matter. Perhaps they aren't. Perhaps the real reason teenage girls are holding on to their virginity is not because they fear falling pregnant, or because they fear "God's" wrath, or because they fear AIDs, but because the cocks under the jocks are so-o-o silly looking. Just about guaranteed to dry up the wettest of pussies.
My advice to parents of newborn boys: have 'em circumcised right away. For parents of older boys, call your cosmetic surgeon today, don't delay. The little tyke's short-lived pain will be the adolescent's throbbing gain and may well prevent an impotent adulthood. And, hey, if you want a stand-up comedian to do the job, call a mohel.
-- Benoît Balz, (in association with Dr Nick Riviera, everybody's favourite cut-rate surgeon).
Update, 13 May 2007: Health fear drives circumcision comeback
July 24, 2006
Israel's terrorist origins
The following article gives some background to the founding of Israel and the causes of the present turmoil. -- Chet LaMerde
Shock and awe a savage reply (title in Melbourne's Herald Sun)
By Correlli Barnett. (Originally published in London's The Daily Mail.)
Several of my good friends are American, but this does not inhibit me from criticising George W. Bush's catastrophically misguided invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Similarly, I have good friends who are Jewish, but this will not inhibit me from criticising the current "total war" being waged on Lebanon by the Israeli state.
The fact that some of my Jewish friends will read this article only makes me the more sad that I have to say, as a military historian, that this war is grotesquely out of proportion to the level of casualties and damage previously inflicted on Israel by Hezbollah.
It is likewise grotesquely out of proportion to the taking hostage of two Israeli soldiers. As are the ferocious Israeli attacks inside the Gaza Strip in response to the taking hostage of just one soldier. Certainly, Israel has the right to defend herself today, as she has done successfully in the past.
But surely her response to Hamas and Hezbollah should have been limited and precisely targeted rather than a version of the "shock-and-awe" bombing that opened the American invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The Israeli Government should have learned that "shock and awe" may only be a prelude to a protracted guerrilla war.
During the long and bitter struggle against the IRA in Northern Ireland, it never occurred to any British government that IRA bases and arms dumps within the Irish Republic should be bombed by the Royal Air Force.
Let alone that whole districts of Irish cities known to harbour IRA terrorists should be destroyed.
Equally, it has never occurred to a Spanish government that it would be right and proper to respond to the lethal, indiscriminate attacks by ETA (the Basque terrorist organization) by savagely bombing and rocketing San Sebastian and other Basque cities.
Why should Israel regard herself as a privileged exception?
Why should "the West" in general, and Bush and Blair, in particular regard her as entitled to conduct a total war in response to Hezbollah attacks no worse than those of the IRA and ETA?
These questions are the more pertinent because Israel was born out of a terrorist struggle in 1945-48 against Britain, which then ruled Palestine under a United Nations mandate.
The so-called Stern Gang (after its founder, Abraham Stern) specialised in assassination; its most famous victim being Lord Moyne, the Colonial Secretary, shot in Cairo in 1944.
But by far the most dangerous Jewish terrorist group was the Irgun Zvei Leumi (National Military Organisation) led by Menachem Begin who, after the creation of the state of Israel, founded the Likud political party, and even finished up as prime minister.
The group's propaganda stated its political aims with brutal clarity.
First, what it called "the Nazo-British occupation forces" must be driven out of Palestine. Then a Jewish state would be established embracing Palestine and Transjordan (as Jordan was then known). Too bad about the native population of Arabs, of course.
The group's logo, displayed on the fly-posters which I saw as a soldier in Palestine in 1946-47, showed a crude map of Palestine and Transjordan with an arm holding a rifle splayed across it.
The Irgun's successful attacks included the demolition in August 1946 of the wing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem housing the secretariat of the British mandatory government and the HQ of British troops in Palestine: at a cost of 91 lives; Jewish, Arab and British, most of them civilians.
Another "success" was the blowing up of the Officer's Club in Jerusalem in March 1947.
In combat with a terrorist group perhaps 3000 strong, a maximum of 100,000 British troops were deployed in a country the size of Wales.
There was a lesson here for George W. Bush and Tony Blair before their invasion of Iraq, but of course a lesson unheeded by men with no interest in history.
In July 1947, the Irgun Zvei Leumi kidnapped two British Intelligence Corps sergeants as hostages to trade against the lives of three Irgun terrorists under sentence of death for an attack on Acre jail.
Here is an exact parallel to the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah.
But, unlike the savage reaction of Ehud Olmert's Government today, the British government in 1947 did not seek to apply pressure to the kidnappers by ordering the RAF to destroy large parts of Tel Aviv.
In the event, the three Jewish terrorists were hanged and the Irgun in turn strung up the two British sergeants from a tree in an orange grove and booby-trapped their bodies.
All attempts to negotiate a future for Palestine, which balanced Jewish interests against those of the majority Arab population, came to nothing. A project for a single state with Jewish and Arab cantons was rejected by the Arabs.
An Arab proposal for a single state based on the existing Arab majority and a limit on future Jewish immigration was rejected by Jewish leaders. A two-state solution proposed by a UN commission and favoured by Washington was in turn rejected by the Labour Government, which rightly feared that it would be British troops who would have to impose the settlement on one side or the other, or perhaps on both.
So Britain handed the mandate back to the UN and announced that British rule in Palestine would end in May, 1948.
By the time the last British force had left, this violence had degenerated into anarchic civil war between Jew and Arab. It was just the prelude to the full-scale war between the new state of Israel and neighbouring Arab regimes wanting to extinguish it.
The war ended in the successful conquest by Israel of the larger part of Palestine, and a tidal wave of Arab refugees into Lebanon and Jordan.
Here is the origin of today's bitter Arab resentment of Israeli hegemony, a resentment that powers both Hamas and Hezbollah as they follow the path of terrorism first mapped out by the Stern Gang and the Irgun Zvei Leumi in the 1940s.
July 23, 2006
The Weekly Gee (24)
Copyright © 2006, Maurie Gee
Posted by Willikers at 2:35 PM
July 21, 2006
Ehud Olmert: the Yosemite Sam of the Middle East
How can one side be right when they are both wrong? -- Doug Steley
My memory of Yosemite Sam is of a feisty little cartoon character shooting off his six guns and jumping up and down as he tried to jab his elbow into some tall galoot's side. Sam's ineffectual attempts to best his adversaries were humorous; Ehud Olmert's are not.
Jonathan Freedland, A war with no winners, has this to say:
Professor Eyal Zisser of Tel Aviv University says Israelis could not tolerate "military failure" against both the Palestinians and Hezbollah: "There comes a point when you cannot stand it any more." Some governments might have been able to resist such pressure. But not this one, for Israel is now led, for the first time, by both a Prime Minister and Defence Minister whose path into politics did not go through the army. Ehud Olmert and his coalition partner, Labour leader Amir Peretz, are military novices. Both have something to prove.
So Ariel Sharon could negotiate a prisoner exchange with Hezbollah in 2004, rather than bombing them from the sky, because he had no fear of being branded weak. Olmert and Peretz, by contrast, need to assert themselves. Hence Olmert's declaration that "we will demolish them and nothing is going to hold us back". And the Defence Minister's vow that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah "will remember the name Amir Peretz for the rest of his life". In that mood, neither man was likely to rein in Israel's ambitious chief of staff, Dan Halutz. Instead, say the Israeli commentariat, there are "three Napoleons" running the show.
An inexperienced greenhorn gets promoted when the crusty old sheriff kicks the bucket and immediately comes under the spell of the mustachio-twirling cattle and land barons.
-- Chet LaMerde
Posted by Chet LaMerde at 3:04 PM
July 20, 2006
Israel commits war crimes in name of self-defence
Ed O'Loughlin's report begins, "Western powers are refusing to intervene to halt spiralling Middle East violence that has claimed more than 250 lives." But that should be qualified to read, "Right Wing western powers," etc., the US, Britain and Germany, to be exact. Why are they refusing to intervene? Because The Chosen Ones, with weapons supplied by Umeruhca, are doing their job for them against Hizbollah, whose weapons are being supplied by Iran. The verbally challenged US President is giving Israel's military one more week ("Go on, git Syria so's we'll have an excuse to git Iran and all that extra oil.") before sending Condi over to bite their heads off.
Did I say "Chosen Ones"? Oh, dear. That must mean I'm anti-Semitic. You just can't criticise a thing Israel does these days without being called anti-Semitic. I could even be a Jew, in which case I would be called a self-hating Jew. As Anthony Loewenstein says, the Israeli right wing have adopted Bush2's dictum, "You are either with us or against us." For them, in this greyest of world conflicts, there is only extreme black and white.
I have two Jewish friends. Neither is religious, which perhaps explains why they do not necessarily believe in "My Israel, right or wrong." There is no religious bullshit to cloud their vision, which is why they view Israel as a country rather than the righteous homeland decreed by a god who values them above all others. They understand that this conflict is fundamentally tribal. Almost, you might say, prehistoric. That as long as we isolate ourselves within a tribe, the tribe across the border must be viewed with suspicion or outright hostility. That's how it is with neighbouring tribes. Sooner or later they go to war.
My Jewish friends are deeply ashamed that Israel has updated an eye for an eye to an eye for a village. And their shame extends all the way back to the first Israeli expansion into Palestinian territory. Perhaps even back to the dubious founding of Israel itself.
Another Jewish friend, whom I lost contact with years ago, is a Canadian writer. We once attended a lecture on the Palestinian question by Noam Chomsky. On the way home, this otherwise mild-mannered young man muttered over and over about how the Palestinians were scum, were less than scum, were in fact sub-human. The venom in his voice blew me away.
What's that old song, "Hate makes the world go 'round"? It used to be some other emotion, an emotion gradually being phased out of human existence as the Right takes control of every country. (That the Netherlands (scroll down to "Dutch Detention") has eclipsed Australia's inhumane treatment of asylum seekers is a despairing example.)
The Israelis are bombing the sovereign nation of Lebanon to smithereens in order to root out arch-enemy Hizbollah in revenge for the latter's double-dare-ya incursion into Israel in which three Israeli soldiers were killed and two more kidnapped. The word "disproportionate" just won't go away.
I'm just wondering if the thugs ruling Israel have taken a different meaning from the Holocaust to the one the rest of us have. Something like, "The Nazis tried to exterminate us, so the way to avoid this in the future is to be the new Nazis: Subjugate first and be saved. If that doesn't work, exterminate the scum." Surely that can't be the case. So why do they persist for decade after decade in treating the Palestinians as if they were sub-human? Why, after all these years do the Palestinians not have their own sovereign state? Because Hizbollah is predicated on wiping out Israel? But why is that so? Who did what to whom first?
I have the horrifying suspicion that Israel's claim to be a nation of chosen ones among all the peoples of earth is the justification, conscious or unconscious, for their disregard of the life of those whom they regard as not chosen. State terrorists fighting stateless terrorists is neither more nor less than a battle between terrorists. Didn't the Nazis feel the same privilege in coldly slaughtering all those they deemed inferior?
At the risk of unleashing a modern day Golem on my person, here is what I think. Since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by a right wing extremist, Israel has gradually become a terrorist state. Present-day Israel has absolutely nothing in common with the rich contributions Jews have made to the evolution of the human species. Without Jews we would still be in the Middle Ages. Historical anti-Semitism may stem from nothing more than jealousy. In almost every intellectual breakthrough it has been the Jews who got there first. That is why anti-Semitic skinheads are such a laughing stock. Promoting the white race as genetically superior, they are mostly white trash, their leaders puffy faced, bloated couch potatoes with the weak voices of ten-year-old boys whose nuts have yet to drop.
The Israel of recent times has more in common with these skinheads than the history of its own race. Worse, it has attached itself to the dying hulk of the biggest terrorist state of all, George Bush's hegemonic demon, Umeruhca. Together these two nations have implemented foreign policies that, by deviousness and/or by force, have caused more damage to the world than all the pissy little Muslim death-worshipping states put together. By their sheer arrogance and hubris, they have begat enough enemies to insure a future of massive conflagration.
Shame on all of them and their primitive religions. Such self-serving, inept understanding of the mysteries would have caused their deities, God, Yahweh and Allah, to long ago forsake them. In truth, these deities were invented, made-in-their-own-image, fronts for just about all the evil that has befallen mankind. Deep down, the believers of all three religions know this, that each is a fraud. And that is why they are going mad.
-- Chet LaMerde
July 19, 2006
Child abuse in a world gone mad
Courtesy of Bruce Petty
-- TG Willikers
July 18, 2006
Where wars begin
In 1942, Reinhard Heydrich, the Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia, was on his way to work in Prague when his car was attacked by two Czech resistance fighters. Heydrich was mortally wounded and died in hospital.
We designate the assassins "resistance fighters" retrospectively. To the Germans, they were terrorists.
The Germans, determined to protect the lives of any of their citizens, "waded through blood", in Hitler's words, to exact revenge. They chose the town of Lidice to demonstrate their rage and their reach. When the avenging Germans had finished, they left behind a pile of rubble and 1300 corpses - because one German had been murdered. Or was it murder? --Terry Lane, In war, semantics is everything.
Once again the male of the species is beating his chest at the behest of his ego. We do it all the time. In disputes with neighbours, while driving in traffic, after too many drinks in bars, just about anytime and anywhere we think our insufferable, mindless pride is at stake. The only exception is when we are dealing with the little woman across the kitchen table. Sometimes we beat her to a pulp for being smarter and more evolved than us, but mostly we sit there and take it, because we know she is right.
It's only at that kitchen table when the Heydrich's, the Olmert's, the Sheik Yerbouti's, the Bush's, the Howard's turn into timid little boys. But when they, or their surrogate soldiers, get into the field, the revenge for all that humiliation at the feet of the instinctive intelligence of women becomes possible. With an AK-47 or an M16 and the camaraderie of their fellows, rape and murder becomes as easy as shooting a duck during peacetime.
The male ego is the foundation of all horror on this earth, but the current Middle East prelude to conflagration exemplifies another dimension, that of "Me and Mine and to hell with You and Yours" vs "We're all in it together".
All good and all evil begins at home. And every home resides in a neighbourhood, the microcosm of everything happening on the world stage.
Let's say neighbours X and Y have an uneasy relationship with each other. Neither of them knows exactly why. Maybe they perceive each other as coming from different social strata. X thinks Y is a mushroom with a stubby in its hand; Y suspects X is a latte-sipping twit. Both are married with two children.
Y and his wife like to have friends around on the odd Saturday night. They watch footy and drink beer and Jim Beam colas into the wee hours. X lies furiously awake until the last door of the last car is slammed and the car speeds off, honking its horn merrily. X's wife and children sleep through it all.
Sunday mornings, as soon as his wife and children leave the house to escape the inevitable retribution, X responds by playing Steve Reich's "Six Pianos" and/or Phillip Glass's "Music With Changing Parts" at full volume, the high-powered speakers in his office pointed directly at Y's bedroom. The mind inside Y's pounding head plots various forms of revenge, while his wife and kids sleep peacefully.
Y buys a puppy for his kids, and purposefully leaves it outside to bark incessantly some, but not all, nights, reasoning that X will never know if he's going to have a peaceful sleep.
X calls the council, keeps the required diary and the council eventually knocks on Y's door with an either/or: keep the dog inside at night or hefty fines will apply.
X's wife has a new car, but X still drives his 1985 Mitsubishi Sigma, hoping it will last another year until he can afford his own new car. The Sigma has a faulty exhaust that makes it sound like a Harley Davidson. When he starts it and idles it for, oh, say 20 minutes every morning in the driveway right next to Y's bedroom, he knows Y will be waking up earlier than he wants to.
Sometimes Y retaliates by sneaking over to X's front yard late at night and turning off the water spigot. He knows that X will have to come out in the frosty morning to turn it back on before he can take a shower.
When this happens X refuses to throw back the tennis balls Y's younger son and friends use to play cricket in their backyard and which occasionally fly over the fence into X's yard. Or, if he does throw them back, he makes sure to rub them in his own dog's feces.
For no particular reason, nothing happens for awhile; a detente has been reached. Perhaps their minds are on other things. Then one summer night Y comes home with firecrackers his workmates have given him and lights them in his driveway. X, who did a few tours in Vietnam, hits the floor of the lounge room in panic, thinks Y is shooting his family or trying to shoot X's family, and calls the cops.
The cops ream Y's arse. In retaliation, Y instructs his eldest son to start parking his Ute in front of X's house.
After a few weeks, X eventually blows his stack, goes after the eldest son, who kicks the shit out of him.
Two nights later, X sneaks down Y's driveway, lobs a Molotov cocktail into the family room at the rear of the house, runs back to the front yard and shoots the entire family as they come running out the front door.
X spends the rest of his life in prison. A year later, Y's brother knocks on the front door of X's house. When X's wife opens it, he shoots her, enters and shoots X's two children.
During the entire lifespan of this war, the wives of X and Y were never more than nodding acquaintances, yet they never failed to wave to each other if they were passing in their cars, or to say hello if they encountered one another shopping.
-- TG Willikers
July 16, 2006
The Weekly Gee (23)
John Howard has become more than the nation's Prime Minister: to some, inside his government and within his electoral support base, he is the head of a political personality cult. In some sections of the modern Liberal Party, the truth appears to be what John Howard says it is and hell should await anyone who fails to stick to the edicts of the great leader. Shaun Carney, A real nowhere man.
Copyright © 2006, Maurie Gee
Posted by Willikers at 10:26 AM
July 15, 2006
Overlooked items (1)
Time passes rather too quickly and newspaper clippings I've meant to quote and/or comment on pile up on the desk in a forgotten lump. Every few months I go through them, sadly noting their urgently red-circled paragraphs and, as often as not, their irrelevancy to the present. And so they get filed in the rubbish bin.
But today's resolution is this: Irrelevant to the moment or not, they're better posted than wasted. Here are a couple:
Back in May, Mark Baker wrote a column for The Age called "The deputy sheriff from Down Under is still all the way with GWB." And the red-circled paragraphs are:
But while Holt's embrace of LBJ made him a winner, Howard's enthusiastic cuddling of Bush has gone well beyond its political use-by date. What, might we ask, was the pressing purpose of John Howard's languid ninth official visit to Washington in 10 years? While the Prime Minister insisted that he was not "embarked on some personal frolic", there was little evidence to support his claim.
What urgent matters of state needed Howard's presence in the US this week? Sure he had lots of talks, dinners and photo opportunities with lots of important people but name one significant outcome or initiative to emerge from the carnival of pomp and back-slapping bonhomie.
More serious perhaps is the visit's confirmation of Howard's determination to skew Australia's most important bilateral relationship through the prism of one failing presidency. The visit coincided with new opinion polls showing Bush's approval rating has collapsed to 29 per cent and that his disapproval rating is now worse than that of Richard Nixon just before his resignation. At the same time, Vice-President Dick Cheney and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld -- the principal neo-conservative architects of the Iraq debacle -- have become laughing stocks whose jobs are saved only by their lifelong bonds to the Bush clan.
Yet during four days in Washington, Howard found no time to meet prominent Democrats let alone key figures within the Republican party increasingly alarmed by the collapsing fortunes of their incumbent.
As Bush so gauchely suggested this week, Howard might not be the prettiest person on the block, but he seems determined to be the last man standing beside his presidential pin-up boy. It's an ugly look for Australia's leader, a demeaning posture for Australia.
And way back during the Commonwealth Games, Raymond Gill, writing in The Age, had this to say about Little Johnny and our national anthem:
Who would have thought that every man, woman, child and athlete in the country now knows the words to Advance Australia Fair and is able to sing it with a gusto that almost borders on the creepy Tomorrow Belongs to Me anthem from Cabaret?
And who would have thought that in the line-up of mayors, premiers and wannabe-ers on the giant lazy susan of officialdom at the MCG last Sunday night, it would be our great PM whose mouth went all Clutch Cargo when called upon to sing our anthem loud and proud? Though, what with the Pacific Solution and all it might have just been the line "For those who've come across the seas/We've boundless plains to share" that stuck in his craw.
-- TG Willikers
Posted by Willikers at 3:57 PM
July 14, 2006
Was Nostradamus right?
Back in March, in the posting: 2006: The cookie is starting to crumble, I wrote: "I've got a bad feeling about this year. Maybe it comes from too many jalapeño peppers and tequila shooters, but I don't think so. There is something transitional in the air, as if the little staple that binds the world's fragile concord is about to encounter the staple remover of devastation."
Almost (but not quite) jocularly, I included this prediction from Nostradamus:
During continuing unrest in the Middle East, one of the leaders will be able to get hold of a nuclear bomb. He will go to the greatest lengths over the smallest things and will not hesitate to use the weapon because of his obsessions with deadly warfare. The people he is warring against retaliate with a nuclear weapon. The country has a coast on the Mediterranean.
One of the bombs will land in the Mediterranean instead of the land, poisoning all the fish. The passages of trade in the region will be disrupted so that the people on the other coast of the Mediterranean will be desperate for food and will eat the fish anyway. It will happen near the east coast of the Mediterranean in a region of dark-colored cliffs.
The nuclear weapon being dropped by one of the Middle Eastern countries will spark off yet another war on top of that war. European and Western nations will try to interfere to diminish the threat to oil supplies. When the European countries try to interfere, the crazed leader who earlier dropped the nuclear bomb will use the rest of his arsenal on Europe, most striking the closer southern part.
The European Mediterranean coast, particularly that of Italy and France, will be almost uninhabitable, and Italy will get the brunt. This leader is not the Antichrist but helps to set the stage for the Antichrist to rise to power with little or no opposition. The Antichrist will wield great power and authority; no one can argue with him.
I can snigger, you can snigger, we all can snigger, but jeez, old Michel de Nostradamus (or whoever wrote the interpretation) is looking more and more spot on.
At the moment, Israel is bombing the shit out of Lebanon. Some 25,000 Australians are trapped in the country (and countless other foreigners), unable to leave by air since the airport was demolished, or by sea, as there is a blockade, or by road, as the roads to Syria have been blown to smithereens.
Has Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert gone mad? And here we thought Ariel "The Butcher of Beirut" Sharon was dangerous. Looks like a case of the new recruit trying to outdo the old warrior.
If Hezbollah were to retaliate by making a significant missile attack on Haifa (two have already hit the city with, I believe, minimal damage) or some other important Israeli town, could we expect Olmert to whip out a mini nuclear bomb to exact revenge? Where will it stop? And what other Arab countries are going to be drawn into this?
Perhaps the second most important question is: what in the hell is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad up to? He's warned that if Israel moves against Syria it would be regarded as an attack on the whole Islamic world and be met with a "crushing response."
The most important question is: how far away is the first nuclear attack since Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
Theodore G. Willikers
The phrase that shuts down political debate
In his comment to yesterday's posting Left and Right: Meeting of the twain postponed indefinitely, Phill makes an interesting point:
"You know it's funny I was speaking to a work mate the other day about the lies that the PM has spun since being in office. His retort? "Don't they all lie?"
How many times have you heard this in conversation? And doesn't the whole political debate simply stop then, all potentially valid points deflated like a punctured balloon.
"Don't they all lie?" is a phrase mostly used by conservatives to stop you from telling them, in effect, that if they like Howard they would have loved Hitler. Of course Howard is no Hitler. He is several degrees removed in his fixations and manias. But he most definitely belongs in the same continuum. The continuum where politicians employ similar lowdown means to justify their corrupt ends. As I said, it's just a matter of degree.
But the phrase is not exclusive to conservatives. Others use it because they can't be bothered discussing the demise of their wellbeing. It's just too complicated or boring. She'll be right, mate. Hasn't it always? They'd rather talk about their renovations, or Big Brother, or their children … any topic, please, but not politics.
The next time someone tries to derail you with "Don't they all lie?" don't fall for it. Make them aware that they too are responsible for the mess we are in. The truth is, of course, that all politicians do lie. But Australia has never seen a government lie as contemptuously, as psychopathically, as John Howard's.
-- Chet LaMerde
July 13, 2006
Left and Right: Meeting of the twain postponed indefinitely
All around the PM's chair,
The monkey chased the weasel.
The monkey cried, I know that you lied!
Who cares? jeered the weasel.
Margaret Ward, letter to The Age, 13 July 2006.
The Bilegrip mob usually, but not always, takes a daily squiz at Melbourne's The Age newspaper. The other newspapers are so insufferably right wing that they are only consulted when something big happens.
The letters page in today's Age is better than usual. Both the Left and Right have succinctly summed up their viewpoints. Here are some excerpts. First, the Left:
A Hobbesian world where it's OK to lie
I am grateful to The Age for publishing letters like the one from Mitchell Beston of Woy Woy ("May the best liar win", Letters, 12/7). I often wonder how people can both believe that the Prime Minister lies to them regularly and still vote for him. Mr Beston gives me a window into the world of such voters.
As he sees it, all politicians lie and the only question to ask yourself is which one will feather your nest while he does it. Mr Beston has no time for the reverend Vincent Zankin ("Weasel-word champ", (Letters, 11/7) and other "bleeding hearts" who are so foolish as to worry about the truth or care about those who are less fortunate than themselves. Apparently, it's every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.
I sometimes wonder what I could say to change the mind of anyone who supports John Howard while still recognizing that he lies regularly. Mr Beston's letter gives me my answer: nothing would change his mind.
The only thing I can say to Mr Beston is that I'm sorry that life in Woy Woy is such a grim struggle for survival that he can afford no higher political goal than naked self-interest. My heart bleeds for him.
Not my Australia
Mitchell Beston's boastful claim that "Howard can keep lying until he is blue in the face, just as long as he looks after me, the voter" makes me wonder just which country he lives in compared to Reverend Zankin, whom he lampoons so shallowly.
Whatever happened to the Australia where people looked after each other? Have such values become so inconvenient and trivial in Howard's brave new world where social concerns have all been thrown overboard in the selfish quest for individual wealth?
I know which of the possible Australias most people of good faith would rather live in.
You may wish to read the next two comments, from the Right, with a towel or bucket at the ready:
The Don Bradman of Aussie politics
Prime Minister John Howard played cricket, a game that teaches the discipline of coping with disappointment and having the patience to wait and keep on waiting until your time comes, if ever, to be appointed skipper. Mr Howard stood those tests with dignity and a gritty smile before arising from his own ashes in glory to lead his team to victory after victory. The splendour of it all!
Time and again, this decent man with an exemplary wife and family has stabilised the team and the nation in conditions not conducive to run-making — the odd high-flyer whistling past his ear — while picking up the runs necessary for victory.
John Howard has the runs on the board and clearly there are more to come. He should bat on for the good of Australia.
Thomas A. Watkin
There is no crisis in the Liberal Party, and no "poisonous" stand-off between John Howard and Peter Costello. There is simply an embarrassment of riches: an astute Prime Minister, and a very promising Treasurer who wants to show that he is ready and willing to serve in the top job, together with at least another three people on the front bench who could step up to the PM job at short notice and defeat Kim Beazley comfortably.
The weird thing is that if you passed the latter two on the street they would look like they belonged to the same species as the former two. But they don't. Some scientists suggest that Neanderthals didn't entirely die out, so … perhaps they are descendents of Neanderthals? Or am I being unkind to our erstwhile ancestors.
All lame attempts at ridicule aside, there is something very different about right-wingers. They walk, talk and look like us, but they have more in common with science fiction aliens. Their cold-blooded belief system indicates they are barely restrained predators who have only recently become upright. Aren't they the ones who constantly clamour for war? To a man and woman. And when they finally get it on their own soil, that predator instinct turns them into the murderers of Srebrenica.
When I read snippets of John Howard's beloved Axis Sally/Tokyo Rose rolled into one, the inimitable Janet Albrechtsen of The Australian, I am reminded of women in France at the close of WWII, the ones who had their hair shorn in public for collaborating with the Nazis. Perhaps a better comparison would be Magda Goebbels, the wife of Joseph, the woman who so loved and believed in Adolph Hitler that she murdered her own children, rather than leave them to a world governed by bleeding hearts.
If you have seen Good Night, and Good Luck you can recognise them all in Joseph McCarthy: a couple of pubic hairs short of outright insanity.
A better illustration is Invasion of the Body Snatchers. We are the poor woman who confronts Donald Sutherland at the end. His finger-pointing ululation is the ultimate signal of the right.
-- Chet LaMerde
ADDENDUM: Here is another letter describing the unprincipled Right (The Age, 14/7/06):
Made to measure
If it's true that people get the governments they deserve, Bob Seaman (Letters, 13/7: "Mitchell Beston wins my prize for the year's best example of "people get the governments they deserve."), it's also true that this is often not by accident. Mitchell Beston ("May the best liar win", Letters, 12/7) and his ilk are the product of careful cultivation by John Howard, who has deliberately created a selfish, couldn't-care-less citizenry more than happy to overlook corruption, lying and equally self-interested behaviour from their politicians, business-people — and even their own kin? — as long as they're doing all right. We may well get the politicians we deserve, but partly because politicians create the compliant citizens they need.
July 12, 2006
Squabbling egos put Australia last
Wouldn't be wonderful if Peter Costello called a press conference and said: "I am here to state unequivocally that not only did John Howard lie to me about leadership change, he has consistently lied to the Australian people, and I am deeply ashamed to have served under him all these years. Unfortunately I do not have the numbers to challenge him for the leadership, so I am resigning my position as treasurer and moving to the back bench, where I intend to remain until this party is purged of the degenerate elements that Howard represents."
Sadly, Costello will have to endure several more lifetimes before he arrives at that stage of his evolution. In the meantime, Australia remains in a state of moral decline.
The message from Non-core Howard is as usual: "Nothing is happening now, nor has it ever happened, nor will it ever happen. Please remain asleep." Notice he says, "remain asleep," not "go back to sleep". John Howard knows only too well that this squabble would have awakened no one.
And the people will gladly remain in their moral crypts. As long as the economy is healthy and their jobs remain unchallenged by the IR barbarians gathering just over the horizon but still out of sight, he can do what he damn well pleases.
Thus the rule of ambivalent bullshit will continue unabated.
-- Chet LaMerde
July 11, 2006
Vive Zidane! À bas Materazzi!
You've got to hand it to the "Azzurri". They sure know how to win a football match.
Don't get me wrong. I love Italy and Italians. I love Italian movies, Italian food, Italian music, Italian landscapes. I wish I knew the language. I wish I lived there.
But this is also the country that gave us the Mafia. It may be coincidental that with the collapse of communism and the ascendancy of capitalism Mafia tactics became less honourable. In the old days they only took out contracts on adversaries, eschewing the capitalist tendency to give the OK to collateral damage. Nowadays they couldn't care less if women and children get caught in the slaughter. Capitalism brings out the worst in everyone, and with its predominance in the world today, no one really gives a damn about honour.
So it is with the Italian football team. Grosso's dive got them past the Australians in the dying minutes of regular time and Marco Materazzi's calculated baiting in the dying minutes of extra time made sure that notorious hothead Zinedine Zidane wasn't around for the penalty shootout.
At this point, it's believed that Materazzi called Zidane a "dirty terrorist." Good one, Marco, coming right on the anniversary of the London bombing, and all. Another version claims Materazzi said, "We all know you are the son of a terrorist whore." We will eventually know exactly what he said to Zidane, but never why, for the same reason we still don't know who killed Kennedy. An odious comparison? Not when you consider the billions who follow the world game. Kennedy's assassination and the blatant skulduggery of referees and behind-the-scenes controllers in the World Cup come from the same dark heart and have affected a similar number of persons worldwide. The secrets of vested interests are taken to the grave.
In my opinion Materazzi's alleged taunt is infinitely worse than Zidane's head butt. Yet for those who bow obsequiously before authority, Zidane is ultimately the only culprit in this story: rules are rules and must not be broken. He simply did not display sportsmanship. But where was the sportsmanship in Materazzi's action? In all likelihood, he will get off scot-free, because cheating to assure a positive outcome has replaced the old-fashioned code of ethics.
Zidane's reaction was dictated by real life, not someone's idea of a world in which there are no Materazzi's. When some slimy bastard insults us, racially or otherwise, we react in one way or another. In Zidane's case, personal and family integrity suddenly became more important than a goddamn football game.
French President Jacques Chirac told Zidane the following day, "You are a virtuoso, a genius of world football. You are also a man of heart, commitment, conviction. That's why France admires and loves you."
And that is why Zinedine Zidane will emerge from all this as a hero. And why Marco Materazzi will suffer ignominy.
-- Hyper Roland
July 9, 2006
The Weekly Gee (22)
Copyright © 2006, Maurie Gee
Posted by Willikers at 2:00 PM
July 7, 2006
Enron's founder: God got 'im
Here is a partial transcript from the ABC's AM radio program (italics mine):
HAMISH ROBERTSON: There's been another dramatic twist in the tale of the collapsed US energy giant, Enron, with the sudden death of the company's founder and former Chairman, Ken Lay.
Mr Lay, who was 64, and who was convicted earlier this year of fraud and conspiracy, died of a heart attack at his holiday home near Aspen, Colorado.
The former business titan, who was expected to be given a lengthy prison term at his sentencing later this year, maintained his innocence until the very end.
Here's our North America Correspondent, Michael Rowland.
MICHAEL ROWLAND: When he fronted the media just after a Houston jury found him guilty of fraud and conspiracy charges, Ken Lay was convinced his fate would not be determined by mere mortals.
KEN LAY: And most of all, we believe that God in fact is in control and indeed that he does work all things for good for those who love the Lord. And we love our Lord and ultimately, all of these things will work for good.
MICHAEL ROWLAND: Six weeks later, Ken Lay is dead. And so is the US Government's case against one of America's biggest and most brazen corporate criminals.
Lay is, or was, clearly a psychopath, in that he exhibited some or all of the traits common to the disorder, which include the following: "insincere, arrogant, insensitive, remorseless, shallow, impatient, erratic, unreliable, unfocused, parasitic, dramatic, unethical and bullying". Add to that a trait common to so many Umeruhcans, that of using God as the instantaneous sin-washing buffer between the criminal and his or her crime. They all do it, from serial killers to corrupt CEOs.
In Snakes in suits: Spot the true psychopath among the sharks in your office, Giles Whittell writes:
… spotting psychopaths is hard, though it may be about to get easier. Next year [Dr Robert] Hare and a New York-based colleague, Paul Babiak, will publish a book called Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go To Work, that will at least alert the average office worker to the possibility that her amusing but exasperating - and, frankly, narcissistic and untrustworthy - colleague may be clinically psychopathic. Hare and Babiak will also produce a new diagnostic tool based on the PCL-R but designed to help businesses to keep their recruits and senior management psychopath-free.
The question is: do businesses really want to keep psychopaths out? Until they are caught or self-immolate, the psychopath can generate incredible wealth for companies and shareholders. Let's face it, big business couldn't give a damn about anyone else. Employees and consumers? Fuck 'em, is the prevailing ethos.
But back to Ken Lay. You might want to listen to him as he embarrasses himself and his country when he claims to love his Lord. It's about a minute into the broadcast.
-- Chet LaMerde
July 5, 2006
It's too broke to fix
A sample of the headlines in recent Business sections of The Age and The Australian: Lusting for Power; Another Exxon record as oil surges; New ways of selling money are paying off; What counts in the world of private wealth; CFDs: The trading craze anyone can play.
Take a look at any newspaper on any day and all you see is incompetence, corruption and arrogant mendacity in the highest places. The Bush, Blair and Howard Governments are in a joint dance of death to see who wins Belle of the Wrecker's Ball.
The soulless capitalist paradigm is going bust. Leaving the well being of its citizens to market forces, governments around the world have banked on the greed and fear of those citizens to bolster their ignominious regimes. And while we're all having a great time on the Titanic of State, thanks to the illusion of continuous economic growth and prosperity, the iceberg of financial and moral bankruptcy is dead ahead.
None of the "isms" have worked. The great pie in the sky of socialism failed because the masses were too unevolved to acknowledge or include "the other" in their lives; unable to connect with anyone beyond their securely locked front doors, they left the mechanics of state to madmen who turned socialism's lofty aims into just another excuse for totalitarianism. Ironically, totalitarianism is the only consistently successful "ism". It is the self-regenerating daddy of them all.
The religious "isms" have failed mankind utterly. In two thousand years of the Christian era and some 1500 years of Islam, each has in turn led the way in repression and murder, dividing the world into warring camps, each claiming ownership of "God".
Left behind by all the "isms" is the innate drive of the human species to increase intelligence and to live with one another peacefully and tolerantly. Even more powerful is the drive to spirituality -- as opposed to mere religiosity. In retaliation, the major religions have historically suppressed or marginalised their mystics, the men and women who embodied the essence of spirituality.
Politicians and priests, ever in the service of power, pay lip service to these qualities from time to time, but only ever come on loud and clear when promoting division and subjugation. What they really want us to believe is that happiness depends on our blind worship of a deity in their image and, above all, that purchasing the baubles manufactured by their corporate bosses is the raison d'être for existence. Believing this, we are distracted from our existence as wage slaves.
Those not content with glorified workhouse conditions are exhorted to unleash their aspirational greed in wealth creation. As the by-product of an ethical life, wealth is well deserved; certainly everyone wishes they had enough to stop worrying about it. But the model for achieving untold riches these days is that euphemism for rival cleansing, competition. As always, the unethical cutthroat is the paragon of the business world.
And that's all they have to offer: the highest good attained by the reduction of the miraculous brain to skulduggery and its greatest reward, consumption … with comforting pats on the back assured by the simpleton's version of God when the existential dread strikes.
If we are to survive, the competitive template for human interaction must give way to the more natural need for cooperation. Competition is a disaster in terms of human evolution: it sets in motion the basest desires; it sets us against one another. Sport, the one endeavour where competition seems of benefit, is ultimately harmed by it. The "desire to win" inevitably degenerates into the desire to "win at all costs". What has been a healthy contest among talented participants is now open to manipulation by vested interests with filthy lucre at stake.
The human race will not cope with the massive changes coming in the next decade unless we the people start to cooperate with one another in achieving a sane model for our physical existence. Once that is established we can go about transforming the dead "civilisation" that has brought so much unnecessary pain into one that flourishes through the free exchange of knowledge and information.
Revolution is pointless; why set out to reform a system when it is infected by the self-replicating viruses of greed and intolerance and is thus beyond repair? The present mode of world government run by the corporations and all their secondary fiefdoms, is neither of the people, by the people or for the people. Rather, it uses the people. It uses people as fodder; fodder for its profitable wars and fodder for the consumption of its products.
The time is approaching, not to initiate revolutions to bring down governments, but to abandon them altogether.
As world disorder accelerates, the methods for abandonment will become increasingly clear. If they don't, we're stuffed.
-- Gort Slypesunder
July 4, 2006
John Howard sowing seeds of Liberal Party demise
You had to run to the toilet at the sight of Peter Costello posing as a Great White Missionary with those Solomon Islanders, but he's just a sweating little satrap compared to his master. And that be John Howard.
Howard used to pride himself in not commenting on this, that and the other thing: "I'm not a commentator," he loved to say. But these days he is nothing but, sticking his lower lip into every issue that offends his ultra-conservative nature. The Big Brother kafuffle is just the latest instance.
Don't conservatives understand that people like to watch illicit goings on? That sex is primal and primary, no matter how we try to smother it with bibles and hollow "family values" that have no connection to real life?
Ingrid Wassenaar attributes to the writings of Marcel Proust his "overall aim to show sexuality as the engine room of human experience, driving our capacity for deceit and suffering, and distorting our cherished values and ideals."
When the engine room is repressed, we get unconscious prurience. If it weren't for murders, rapes and other crimes newspapers would front up every morning with blank pages and the number of novels published over the years would have been miniscule. Just a couple of hundred years ago, the biggest attraction in town was the public hanging or guillotining. Nothing has really changed.
When a population is subjected to laws and mores repressing sexuality and promoting conformity, the natural urge finds other outlets. What happened on Big Brother is tiddlywinks compared to its counterparts in other countries. It's just that Australia is the cardigan-wearing old lady of the world these days. Those who recoil in fear should not be watching.
Next, with the appointment of Keith Windschuttle to the ABC board of directors, Howard's blue-rinse commandos have effectively scuttled the publication of an important, albeit unauthorised, biography on their foremost cheerleader, Alan Jones. This is blatant interference from a quasi-totalitarian government.
But the worst interference with democracy of late (and they seem to come every week, if not every other day) was the 33-31 Senate passage of Orwellian-titled Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Bill 2006 at the end of the last budget session.
In a nutshell, the bill makes it easier for the Coalition to stay in power in three ways:
1) It closes the electoral roll the minute the Prime Minister calls an election. Before its passage, people -- in particular new voters -- had seven days to get their voting papers in order. This will eliminate thousands of voters who have turned 18 and will be voting for the first time. Of course it is no coincidence that 57 percent of voters in the 18-25 age group prefer Labor.
2) People serving prison sentences are now deprived of a vote. Eric Abetz, the Tasmanian senator who is responsible for this bill, claims "if you are unfit to walk the streets, you are unfit to vote." Removing yet another area of human rights is typical of the black and white simpleton right. Because those "unfit to walk the streets" would have included Nelson Mandela, had he been Australian under this government's rule. It may exclude a lot of nasty characters, but it will exclude many more people who have made unsavoury mistakes but who are most likely not to re-offend.
3) Condemning this government as Australia's most corrupt is the move to raise the level of undisclosed donations to political parties from $1500 to $10,000. In a true democracy, no donations should remain secret.
Read a full analysis of this bill in Brian Costar's Eroding our democracy.
It is now very important for parents of children turning 18 to urge them to register to vote immediately. Even if they wish to vote for the Liberal Party; that's what democracy is about.
The move to restrict voting, along with the Industrial Relations rollback of worker's rights, is likely to backfire disastrously on the Coalition. With the Nats all but consigned to history, the Liberals are inadvertently awakening new voters (and old) to its equally insidious rollback of democracy. With this bill more and more people will begin to awaken from their long consumer's nap to become aware that their country is turning into totalitarian state.
July 3, 2006
David Hicks: Betrayed by the Axis of Evil
I get it now. John "The Bad Seed" Howard will not repatriate David Hicks until he and George W. Bush decide that cutting and running is not such a bad thing after all, and that the time has come to cut and run over Guantanamo. By then the spin will assure us unequivocally that to protect Umeruhcans and Arsetralians, the best of all policies has always been to cut and run. And the majority of Umeruhcans and Arsetralians will agree that it has always been so.
Look at this tiny article, on page eight of today's The Age: Britain told to take back detainees:
The US is stepping up pressure on Britain to take back eight terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay following the court defeat over special military panels for detainees.
The chief legal adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has begun talks with British diplomats over the repatriation of the men who have residency rights in Britain. Washington is frustrated at Britain's criticism of Guantanamo Bay while it fails to help reduce numbers at the detention centre.
Notice the Yanks are "stepping up pressure" over men who only have residency rights in Britain. David Hicks is a citizen of both Britain and Australia. The Brits don't want Hicks because he is, after all, born in Australia and therefore John Howard's responsibility.
The article goes on to say:
The men's return would create a problem for the British Government. They are either asylum seekers from countries such as Algeria or long-term residents with relatives in Britain.
Clive Stafford Smith, the lawyer for five of the detainees, said: "The Government does not want to have anything to do with these people, but it will come under increasing pressure from the US to accept them back, as otherwise the Americans will argue that this is stopping them closing Guantanamo
So why hasn't the Bush administration put pressure on Little Johnny to repatriate David Hicks?
1) Unlike the British Government, John Howard and Alexander Downer have stated over and over that Guantanamo is the best thing since sliced bread was banned at Auschwitz;
2) John Howard has asked Georgie to keep Hicks until he can find a way to convict him;
3) Georgie is paying his debt to Johnny by voluntarily keeping Hicks until the bitter end.
Anyway you look at it we in Australia are dealing with a weaselly knave who deserves his own open-ended prison term for crimes against humanity. Like all tyrants before him, Howard will eventually get his karmuppance. Unfortunately, like almost all tyrants before him, it will come with a taxpayer funded villa and state protection for life. That's how it goes on this bitch of an earth.
-- Chet LaMerde
July 2, 2006
The Weekly Gee (21)
Copyright © 2006, Maurie Gee
Posted by Willikers at 4:18 PM
July 1, 2006
Indonesia's leader meets Australia's follower
Diplomatic tensions between the two countries were eased the other day when Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono confirmed his earlier impression of John Howard as a gormless dickhead and the plaything of international bullies. Here is a snippet of what they said:
Prime Minister Howard: Do you come here often? (This is not a joke. John Howard uttered these very words to SBY during this staged chance meeting.)
President Yudhoyono: Only when I'm cruising for arrested adolescents dressed up as jogging old fools. (This is a joke.)
-- Chet LaMerde
Posted by Chet LaMerde at 4:58 PM