June 20, 2007
EEP (Mark II)
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June 4, 2007
Pied Piper From Hell on song
Photo courtesy Peter Morris and The Age
Here we go again, folks. The Vodaphone spruiker's only hope of winning the election is to scare the bejesus out of pacifier-sporting Australians over Labor's "radical" (real) policy on climate change and their 'lack of credentials" on the bloody economy.
"The question I pose to the Australian people, quite directly, is this: who do you trust to take these vital decisions about our future?
"Who do you trust to strike the right balance, so our firms and families can plan for the future with confidence? A government that has given Australia 11 unbroken years of prosperity … (or) a party whose policy approach is steeped in recklessness?
"A 20 per cent cut from 1990 levels by 2020 would be the recipe for a Garrett recession. That is not a recession which Australia has to have."
And on and on for the next excruciating five or six months. Never mind that everything Tricky John Howard does or says has only one point: to keep his job. Never mind that the "experts" on his pet climate change taskforce were made up of industry and government representatives, without one representative from an environmental group. The only thing he wants you to hear is Peter Shergold doing an hysterical Chicken Little routine: "The coal-fired power sector will have to shut down and we'll have to take every car off the road," if Labor wins.
The latest Galaxy poll shows the Great Propagandist is on the move, closing the gap to 53-47 in Labor's favour from the previous week's 57-43. That's the change the Tory mongrels have been hoping for.
Alas, the Pied Piper from Hell is on song to yet again pervert the nation without a backbone. Is Australia a joke?
-- Tommy Pendejo
June 3, 2007
Yikes! What if Jason Koutsoukis is right?
Courtesy Channel Nine
John Howard set the tone on day one of the Liberal Party's federal council meeting — by falling asleep.
The imagery could not have been worse for a party doing its best to avoid being cast as old and tired. -- Jason Koutsoukis, It only takes a second … a bad time for a power nap.
Here were the two John Howard Party saviours -- His Nibs and His Nibbler -- showing Australians and attendees at the Born-to-Rule sleepover just how motivated they are. Moments later, the Garden Gnome-in-chief rose to his Florsheims to repeat the same old claptrap:
"It's never time for a change," Howard thundered. "Unless the change is for the better. And if the change is not for the better it is never just time for a change … so change for the sake of change is never an end in itself."
But that's not all Jason had to say in today's Sunday Age. Back there on the opinion page, (Tale of Peter Rabbit), he posed many compelling reasons why Peter Costello should step in to replace John Howard. Let's hope the John Howard Party faithful keep reading The Australian. Here are a few of Koutsoukis' points:
Let's imagine that Howard acted in the interests of his party this morning and announced to the Liberals' federal council meeting in Sydney that he had decided to step down. The media would go crazy. A deluge of Costello profiles would help present a softer side to the man who has been lumbered with the Treasury portfolio all these years and give the electorate the sense of "change" it has been yearning for.
A month-long Costello honeymoon would be just the circuit-breaker the Liberals need. Then Tanya Costello, a corporate lawyer, could also come out of the shadows. The Costellos are every bit the modern couple that the Rudds are.
Because Costello and Rudd are, in many ways, so similar, if Costello were leader it might cancel out much of Rudd's current appeal.
Rudd and Costello are the same age, they are both committed Christians, they are both economic conservatives, both republicans, are both married to women with high-flying careers of their own, and have the same number of children - who are all roughly the same age.
Some may worry that the polls show Costello is unpopular. But voters may look at Costello differently if he were prime minister, and they also might want to thank him for getting rid of Howard.
Another important question is "can Costello match Rudd in the areas where Rudd is doing well?" He certainly has some things Rudd doesn't.
Such as a sense of humour (has anyone ever seen Rudd really laugh, or crack a joke?). Costello is also a man who makes friends easily, while I'm yet to meet one person who describes themselves as a friend of Rudd's. (A Labor MP told me over dinner last week that he could not name a single friend Rudd has made in the eight years he has been in Parliament.)
There are also signs that Rudd shares some of the characteristics that made Hewson a poor political leader. He is a workaholic with a short temper, he is quick to blame others for mistakes and is apparently unwilling to listen to other points of view.
He also has a tendency to drive his staff too hard. Last week Rudd dumped his new chief of staff Simon Banks and replaced him with veteran Labor insider David Epstein. This just a few weeks after one of Rudd's new economic advisers hit the wall because he couldn't hack the pace.
It is also said that Rudd does not respect the intellect of most of his peers and doesn't mind showing it. Conversely, Rudd doesn't seem to command the sort of respect from the caucus that a good leader should have.
It's possible that if Costello were leader, he might be able to capitalise on these weaknesses and bring them to the surface in a way that Howard hasn't been able to do.
Scary stuff. Especially after you read David Marr's analysis of John Howard and, more importantly, the Australian psyche, in Careful, he might hear you:
We aren't the larrikins of our imagination. Australians are an orderly people. We grumble about authority instead of challenging it. We despise politicians. Belittling them as a class is a cover for our own passivity. We elect leaders much as we hire electricians: we may whinge about the job and haggle over the bill, but essentially we leave them to get on with their work.
Passivity in national affairs inevitably begets slick manipulators like John Howard. Australians don't give a shit about the political process. It's too hard, they say, let's keep the topic superficial. And hours and weeks and entire lives are spent dissecting the meaningless statistics of sport.
European nations have been invaded so often they tend to get jittery when peace reigns for too long. But nothing of a sort has happened in Australia. For Aussies the suffering has always been over there. This is true of Americans too, but the Yanks are always ready for a political discussion, where Australians instantly go mute.
Leave us not forget that just a couple of weeks ago Wilson Tuckey reminded all and sundry that Labor replaced Bill Hayden with Bob Hawke after Malcolm Fraser called the election. And Hawke won.
There are still six months to go and Jason K's potentially revitalised Liberal Party with Costello as PM could be an eye-bulging worry.
-- Tommy Pendejo
Posted by Tomås El ("Pinche") Pendejo at 1:09 PM
June 1, 2007
Conservatives wouldn't know a value from a price tag
Courtesy Michael Leunig and The Age
Dubya's brand new War on Climate Change
Let's forget about Eyerack, the new improved war is on climate change, and George W. Bush wants to include John W. Howard. Or so he said in an afterthought. Recently acquainted with the term "greenhouse gas emissions" thanks to his flatulent dog, Mr Bush has released "a plan to tackle global warming" to show foreign varmints he's no dope. As for Umeruhca, it "would set its own, looser goals for reducing emissions, but allow individual nations to develop different strategies for meeting them." In other words, who cares what them fureigners do as long as the USofA c'n fiddle while the planet burns.
In the Land of Oz, John Howard's specially commissioned carbon emissions task force has reported just what the PM wanted to hear: 1) We'll all be rooned if you try to save the planet now; 2) Wait until 2012 when it might have all gone away; 3) Nuclear is the way to go.
As a feller name of "worldforpeace" said in The Age online today, "Maybe Mr Howard is waiting to see what will happen when the Mayan calendar finishes in 2012."
At any rate the task force report allows him to sit on his hands and plead increased electricity prices and a generally stuffed economy if he were to do something about helping to save the planet.
Meanwhile, wouldn't you just know it, the Climate Institute has criticized the report, saying the recommended time frame (2012) is too long. Says Erwin Jackson of the Climate Institute:
"Why wait five years? Potentially this could just be a smoke screen for further delay, the climate system isn't waiting for us to make a decision about reducing emissions so why should we?"
And did we expect a report stating otherwise? The old saw -- never commission a report or instigate a Royal Commission unless you know what the outcome will be -- holds true as always.
Coalition's fan club: old fogeys and dumb shits
The elderly and poorly educated have secured the Coalition its hold on government in an electorate increasingly influenced by issues thrown up in the course of the election campaign.
Macquarie University researchers attribute the Coalition's success with these groups to John Howard's strategy of centralising his media strategy on talkback radio.
So begins Talkback tactic wins PM his voters by David Uren. This is the voter demographic that always supports conservative/totalitarian political parties. And their favourite forum these days is commercial radio talkback (not the ABC), where frightened old fools and the malleably ignorant are encouraged to vent their spleen against the evolution of the species.
But even they, it seems, are getting sick and tired of old Mr Sick and Tired. To bring them around, John Howard will have to stop trying to play catch-up on policies he's unable to comprehend and do something to cattle-prod the old fogey's back to the state of fear their meaningless lives have left them with. As for the "poorly educated," he merely needs to ramp up the dogwhistling on racism and xenophobia. Perhaps in the late stages of this endless phoney election campaign, he can whip them up against Muslims. Better yet, both can be whipped into shape by feeding them the line that they'll be paying too much for electricity to save their children from climate change.
Apology is a symbol that will heal
In a recent editorial, The Australian newspaper, Australia's answer to the Stalin era Pravda, showed once again how the conservative right wing knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
In the wisdom of their desiccated souls they saw fit to ridicule the idea of an apology to Aboriginal people:
… it is distressing that while most Australians have shifted their focus to practical reconciliation, the federal ALP is still committed to a formal apology to the Stolen Generation. The time for apologies is over.
I doubt seriously that most Australians are all that enamoured with John Howard's pragmatism; if they were the hope for a more humane nation symbolised by Kevin Rudd would not be reflected in the polls.
Pragmatism is fine as far as it goes, but human beings need to believe that they are more than mere pushers of Abacus seeds. Symbols are important to the well-being of both individuals and nations.
The symbol of a flag and a national anthem in times of war is one that brings about great outpourings of emotion.
On an individual level, saying you are sorry to another for a slight or some other transgression may not be easy, but it works, and everyone involved is relieved.
The symbol of an apology for the Stolen Generation will have a tremendously cathartic affect on not only the Aboriginal people, but those Australians who feel that life should be a celebration instead of nothing more than the rote accumulation of pay cheques and gadgets. It is an act of the heart, something missing in this country for eleven years. First the heart, then the pragmatics.
The long overdue apology to the Aboriginal nation is a first step towards the maturing of the entire nation.
And the conservatives simply cannot understand it.
-- Tommy Pendejo
Posted by Tomås El ("Pinche") Pendejo at 2:16 PM