September 30, 2007
Howard Government looking to Burma for solutions?
Courtesy Matt Davidson and The Sunday Age
What better way to control the people than to cut off the internet and just plain shoot 'em? (See Is John Howard about to drop the "Pre" in Pre-Fascist State?.)
O' course us dissidents are safe from wholesale slaughter. Another three years and the passing of the Crime or Terrorism Related Internet Content Bill referred to above, and Uncle Johnny Stalin (Russian for "Man of Steel") can simply reopen the concentration camps formerly reserved for Middle Eastern "Pumpkins" and throw us in, never to be heard from again.
And Mr and Mrs Centimetre-deep Australian Mug won't give a shiny slurry. They've been too busy these eleven long years being conned into believing his yearly round of bribes constitutes "good economic management". As Andrew Charlton says in PM of Ulterior Motives, in every one of his policy areas, "Howard's record seems almost incoherent from an economic point of view, but clinical and logical from a power perspective." [Italics mine.]
Read Charlton on Howard's systematic attack on unions and industrial relations, university education and student-unionism, the Arts and the ABC, health (the privatisation of and the starving of public), all for the one goal of "entrenching conservative power".
He has all but successfully turned Australia into a mushroom with a stubby in its fist.
After eleven years of systematically rendering this country into a bastion of philistinism, don't expect anything beyond "diplomatic jargon" from Alexander Downer and his Master on the fate of the Burmese. They are exactly where every right wing conservative government wishes its people to be. Helpless. With occasional handouts to keep 'em grateful.
-- Bilegrip Admin
September 27, 2007
Kim and Ja'mie: Exemplary specimens of John Howard's Oz
Kim Craig, the selfish, racist daughter of salt-of-the-earth Kath Day-Night, and Ja'mie King, the selfish, racist daughter of Jhyll and Marcus King, perfectly mirror the two extremes of class in John Howard's xenophobic Australia. Kim's the ocker and Ja'mie's the toff.
Who said satire was dead?
With The Chaser's War on Everything (most recently showing the real reason a red-faced Alexander Downer couldn't get a grip on those tax figures), satire is alive and well on its way to topping the best satire of the dim dark past, when it seemed everyone was a satirist.
Kath and Kim and Summer Heights High, airing on different channels, seem to be in synch. Last week's episode of K&K (number six) featured the chunky harridan lambasting Asians while glued to Border Security, the show that makes sure all them gooks 'n' chinks 'n' slopes 'n' all wogs in general get their just desserts for daring to invade these Aryan shores.
Meanwhile, on Summer Heights High (episode four), Ja'mie was still slandering Asian teen Bec, as well as the rest of her newfound friends, for being so much lower than her esteemed former private school self. Let's face it, Ja'mie, is saying, all public school girls are sluts who should be thrilled just to be in her born-to-rule presence.
Chris Lilley, who does all three characters (Ja'mie, Mr G and Jonah) on SHH, and our beloved Jane Turner and Gina Riley, Kath and Kim respectively, are shoving it up John Howard's spotty little botty with every line they speak.
Many viewers of both shows are outraged at being slapped in the face with their own flagrant bigotry.
Congratulations to the ABC and Channel 7 for having the guts.
-- Bilegrip Admin
September 26, 2007
Is John Howard about to drop the "Pre" in Pre-Fascist State?
Get out while you can.
-- Excerpt from comment posted on CNet News item, Australia pushes further Web censorship.
A bill to silence dissent by censoring content on the internet if it disagrees with Heil Howard's unconscious capitulation to Osama Bin Laden hasn't been passed yet, but if there is another sitting before the election or if the Howard Government wins the election, expect web sites like Bilegrip to be taken down and/or prosecuted.
Read all about it:
Coonan seeks to censor the Web. (20 September 2007)
The Federal Police commissioner will have the power to block and ban websites believed to be crime or terrorism related under an internet censorship amendment bill introduced into Parliament today.
The bombshell web ban bill was tabled in the Senate at 9:58am, without prior notice.
Communications Minister Senator Helen Coonan proposes to expand the "black list" of internet addresses (URLs) currently maintained by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to include terrorism and cyber-crime sites.
At present, ACMA has the power to act against websites containing pornography or offensive content.
Under the proposed amendment, Federal Police will inform ACMA of websites to be blocked, and the agency must then notify the relevant internet service providers. ISPs will be required to "take reasonable steps" to prevent users accessing the website or content.
Australian Privacy Foundation chair Roger Clarke expressed disbelief that "the government of any country in the free world could table a Bill of this kind. Without warning, the Government, through Senator Coonan, is proposing to provide Federal Police with powers to censor the internet. Even worse, ISPs throughout the country are to be the vehicle for censorship, by being required to block internet content."
Web 'censorship bill brings police state one stop closer. (23 September 2007)
According to Electronic Frontiers Australia, the Communications Legislation Amendment (Crime or Terrorism Related Internet Content) Bill 2007, which has been introduced into the Senate, would, if enacted, give senior members of the Australian Federal Police powers to ban access to Internet content which they have reason to believe: encourages, incites, or induces the commission of a Commonwealth offence; or was published in part to facilitate the commission of such an offence; or that it is likely to have the effect of facilitating the commission of such an offence."
EFA chairman, Dale Clapperton, said that the bill would "give sweeping and unchecked powers to the Federal Police to ban access to Internet material by decree."
According to Clapperton, "the powers granted by the Bill, which can be delegated to senior members of the Federal Police, have an unacceptably low threshold test, requiring merely that the person 'have reason to believe' that the material falls into one of [these] classes."
Clapperton claimed that the 'reason to believe' could be based on material that would be inadmissible in a court of law, obtained unlawfully, or on rumour, innuendo, or gossip "There are no provisions in the Bill for an appeal or review of a decision by the police to ban access to material...These laws will be open to massive abuses by the police. They could, for example, be used to prevent access to websites organising protest marches or rallies against the government, or advocating for the legalisation of euthanasia."
Clapperton added that: "To the extent that this legislation allows the police to ban access to material discussing political matters, it is probably unconstitutional," and he suggested that "the reference to 'terrorism related Internet content' is a transparent attempt to deter criticism of the substance of the Bill...This legislation has nothing to do with terrorism."
I think we had better get used to the taste of Victory Gin. The thing about John Howard is that he is a master at wearing people down with his incessant presence; like a political Freddie Krueger who invades everyone's dreams and waking states, he keeps the Australian electorate paralysed with the fear that if they lose him they will regain their souls. After supporting him for eleven and a half years, they are in too deep to admit they sold out their humanity.
Such is the power of John Howard that to have a soul is now regarded as un-Australian.
Those in the electorate who a few months ago felt a surge of courage at the thought of getting rid of this predatory automaton will soon be gibbering in a colloidal goo of their own faeces as he turns their taxpayer funds into a campaign of stark raving fear of everything that moves.
-- Bilegrip Admin
September 25, 2007
Polls: do the Silent Majority just hang up?
If so, and the ones who don't are actually interested in the election, which means they probably favour Labor, then the accuracy of polls needs to be reassessed.
Anthony Leigh, Economist, Research School of Social Sciences at ANU (as heard on Radio National's Rear Vision (audio)) suggests polls are largely inaccurate because Pollsters often contact people sitting down to dinner or returning home from work, people who, if they do talk, do so with some exasperation. Importantly, response rates are not published, settling on a sub-sample of those actually willing to talk.
He suggests that the betting market is more precise. Money coming in from punters carries more weight than someone's hurried response on the telephone.
Stephen Lloyd disagrees, saying the betting market only seems to move the day after a poll.
But Leigh points out there are no insider trading laws concerning election betting, so that someone with privileged information in government or closely associated with it can influence betting. In other words, money talks with more authority than the person who just got up from the dinner table.
John Warhurst, Professor of Political Science at ANU adds that poll results of people strongly for or strongly against the polling question is rarely more than 20 per cent. That leaves 80 per cent who could be considered as equivocal.
Most Coalition supporters wouldn't care if the Burgher of Bennelong called a Wannsee conference to work out the systematic deportation or incarceration of anyone deemed to be an enemy of the John Howard Party. As a result, pollsters calling these people would probably hear nothing more than a grunt or an aborted schwa as the phone on the other end was hung up.
However you look at it, this is not a country of ideas but one in which the ultimate value is purchasing power. Both parties are subservient to this base materialism, but only Labor has the remnants of a heart. Come election day, only a miracle will get it across the line.
-- Bilegrip Admin
Posted by Bilegrip Admin at 1:04 PM
September 24, 2007
Australia: The Larval Country
Why aren't Australians proud of the writers and artists who have sprung from our soil? -- Hazel Rowley, biographer of Australian writer Christina Stead.
Almost every country celebrates its writers, but here in John Howard's Australia no one wants to know about them or talk about them. Only the celebrities and sporting icons get to keep their heads and our admiration.
"A nation in decline," says Peter Craven. A nation where a monocle-eyed yokel like Steve Irwin is called a hero for shouting "in the ears of animals with hearing 10 times more acute than" his, as Germaine "Up yours, philistines" Greer said.
A hero? Nelson Mandela is a hero. But we don't want to hear about that kind of hero in John Howard's Pleasantville. The kind who makes people stand tall as human beings instead of slumped dutifully in the check out queue at some consumer paradise. Keep it simple and parochial is the Aussie motto. As Kath and Kim parodied in episode 6, "no Asians or any other illegal immigrants, please!" If you want to be a hero, be Aryan, even if you're stupid.
Here is more from Rowley, in The Mocking Country:
I found that people readily toss into the air that term tall poppy syndrome (an expression nobody overseas has a clue about) and they shrug a little helplessly, as if to infer that it is deeply regrettable, this need we seem to have to belittle our local talent; indeed, to punish people for being artistic or intellectual.
Yet I noticed these same people no sooner sighted a bright-coloured bloom standing slightly higher than the waving mass than they got out their shears. "He's a wanker," they would assure me. "He's full of shit." They were nearly always referring to people I admired, people who made a substantial contribution to the arts and public debate, people who were outspoken, and had conviction and passion. "She's got tickets on herself," I was told. "He's up himself." Or they would tell me they liked some semi-articulate television personality because "she's not pretentious".
Australians have always had a tendency to be affably superficial airheads, but the reign of John Howard has made it a national virtue. Where once the accumulation of money was a by-product of worthwhile endeavour, now it is the endeavour itself, and ethics have been removed from the equation. Get it anyway you can. Screw as many as possible and you will likely be up for an O.B.E. or the John Howard Party equivalent.
While we're out their gleefully conning the endless supply of suckers with no thought to consequences, we're spending a fortune on products to make us look better than ever. And well we should, as never before have the less-than-beautiful been so demonised. Michael Leunig, in Thou shalt be attractive:
Painful to watch and painful to be - a seeker after approval: upstanding yet crawling, smiling yet deeply hurt, eating and breathing and exhaling conflict, composed while decomposing. And above all, needing always to be somehow attractive.
Little wonder that many politicians go barking mad inside and end up doing weird things in brothels and boardrooms; little wonder they finish up hating those whom they serve, crawl to and run for, no surprise that their anger becomes so monstrous that by proxy they become violent and unleash sadistic wars with righteous conviction in the unconscious belief that they have earned it.
Larval: adj. The word larva refers to the newly hatched form of insects before they undergo metamorphosis.
That about sums up most Aussies. The only "metamorphosis" we can expect from the grunters when they place their "x" for the JHP on election day is that of a pupa: The nonfeeding stage between the larva and adult in the metamorphosis of insects, during which the larva typically undergoes complete transformation within a protective cocoon or hardened case. The old pupal cocoon protecting the electorate from the consequences of willful ignorance.
-- Bilegrip Admin
September 22, 2007
This is a planet of spiritual criminals
I'm becoming a snarling, bitter, skeletal presence as the days dwindle down to what looks more and more like the re-election of the Weasel of Oz. Yesterday, on Jon Faine's conversation hour, Waleed Ali stated his reasons why John Howard would win -- or so I'm told, as I didn't hear it and Faine's web site has not been updated yet.
But Ali's forecast is not surprising. Anyone who knows the Australian character would not be surprised. In the main, this is not a nation of dreamers or seekers or creators. We are a little people who scurry from work to the shops to our favourite sitcoms, and we slam the front door behind us. We are a people much like the Germans who praised Hitler, not so much for his atrocities-- though they really didn't care, like most Australians didn't care about the refugee camps here -- but for giving them jobs and keeping the economy going strong.
Unlike Hitler, John Howard has never directly killed anyone (though he is indirectly responsible for tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths), but he has driven hundreds of refugees to madness.
The day before yesterday, I watched a documentary made in 1974: Hearts and Minds, about the Vietnam war. One of its many themes centred on deluded rah-rah American mums and dads who loved their country, right or wrong, more than they loved their slaughtered sons. Three decades later a new generation of patriots are once again throwing away their sons because they believe George W. Bush's lust for oil is more important than family.
Yesterday, I watched a film, Fateless, the story of a Jewish Hungarian boy who is pulled off a bus on his way to work and sent to Buchenwald. One of the themes of this film on life in the camps, was the silent approval or uncaring reaction of non-Jews to the atrocities.
And for the last few weeks, I've been reading a book by Daniel Mendelsohn, The Lost: A search for six of six million. The six are Mendelsohn's great uncle, Shmiel, his wife and their four daughters. For decades no one knew what happened to them. The search takes Mendelsohn to Poland and Australia for interviews with survivors from the little town on the Ukraine-Poland border where this family lived. In the most horrifying pages I have ever read, Mendelsohn, from the evidence he has gathered, recreates the days leading up to and including the mass slaughter of this family and their friends and neighbours at the hands of the Germans and Ukrainians.
The overwhelming theme that binds the documentary, the film and the book together is man's inhumanity to man, which is the inevitable result of its precursor: an indifference to the suffering -- or even the existence -- of others. And this is precisely what will re-elect John Howard.
-- Bilegrip Admin
Posted by Bilegrip Admin at 1:13 PM
September 21, 2007
Noel Pearson: John Howard's pet Aborigine
I first became aware of Noel Pearson during the 1993 election, when he called John Hewson "the man with dead eyes". A straight shooter and perceptive to boot, I thought. But since then, I've developed an innate mistrust of him. He has so often sounded like a fellow traveller of the John Howard Party.
A letter to The Age states that Pearson was brought up a Lutheran. Now, I'm no fan of Christianity, but some of the more interesting people I've known were survivors of a Catholic upbringing. I've never met an interesting Protestant.
Pearson's Lutheran background fits neatly with John Howard's Methodist upbringing. A couple of Calvinist straiteners and punishers at heart, they see eye to eye on paternalistic remedies for Aborigines. Here's the letter:
No guilt if you blame the victim
Noel Pearson's simplistic social theory is that taking the dole away from Aborigines will somehow produce black lawyers, doctors and entrepreneurs. Delivered with missionary zeal inherited from his Lutheran upbringing, Pearson hides the silliness of his enlightenment behind jingoistic slogans such as passive welfare and sit-down money. So why is such an undoubtedly talented man peddling such nonsense, so popular with white Australia and yet, judging by the meeting I attended in Alice Springs last week, so unpopular in Aboriginal circles?
In a climate where black-bashing is politically correct, Pearson helps shift public focus away from Government neglect. Never mind that a whole country was taken from Aborigines or that we have been dominated to such an extraordinary degree ever since, and even had our children taken: the fault is not with the whites but with the blacks who have failed to cope. Pearson offers white Australia the Holy Grail: expiation without burden.
For Aborigines, Pearson's absolution doctrine makes it more difficult to gain compensation for the stolen generations, land rights and language retention, or recognition that remote Aboriginal communities need to be bolstered, not dismantled.
-- Michael Mansell, legal director, Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre
It's also hard to understand Galarrwuy Yunupingu's capitulation to the NT intervention. What could have induced him to make this about-face decision so close to an election? Anyone who is not a pinch-faced JHP supporter believes the intervention is just an update of the White Australia policy.
-- Bilegrip Admin
September 20, 2007
Nairn and Phelps are the ones acting like Belsen guards
Special Minister of State Gary Nairn's chief of staff Dr Peter Phelps has upgraded the rampaging storm of John Howard's dirty tricks campaign to the equivalent of a Beaufort 9.
Dr Phelps has compared the Iraq service of Labor candidate Colonel Mike Kelly to those of Nazi concentration camp guards during World War II.
At a public forum in Mr Nairn's Eden-Monaro electorate, Dr Phelps took Col Kelly to task over his service in Iraq, suggesting it was incompatible with Labor's policy to withdraw troops from the war zone.
"You took part in it willingly because you weren't sent over there, you volunteered, didn't you?" Dr Phelps asked during the forum.
Col Kelly responded that he was a soldier and had done what he was ordered to do.
"Oh, like the guards at Belsen perhaps? Are you using the Nuremberg Defence?" Dr Phelps said.
You would like to think that Nairn, via his stooge Phelps, acted on his own in this breathtakingly stupid, typically despicable act, but the orders usually come from the top, from the Kleine führer himself.
Probably lost on most irony-deprived JHP supporters is the fact that the Government has attacked a Colonel for serving in Iraq on the Government's orders. Of course, now that the Colonel is a Labor candidate, he is no longer Australian, which clearly means that he has become a socialist and a baby-eater and is quite prepared to take everything the supporter owns and give it to the nearest Asian, homosexual or single mother.
It's obvious that Phelps is projecting with his Belson quip. Like all rabid right wingers he must long for a government with full Nazi powers.
Similar, isn't this, to the JHP rounding up boatpeople fleeing from Iraq and putting them behind razor wire for having the temerity to escape the country the Government sent soldiers like Colonel Kelly to save from Saddam Hussein.
Gary Nairn and Dr Phelps, by their blind obedience to John Howard's vile dirty tricks campaign, are the only Belsen guards in this little escapade.
BTW Here are a couple of links to Phelps:
He used to work for another JHP rottenführer, Eric Abetz. Check out this tidbit from Media Watch in 2004.
For a detailed rundown on Phelps, go to the following Crikey article, Who does Dr Phelps really represent?. Reading Crikey you can see that Phelps is not so much like a Belsen guard as an Untersturmführer who got off on torturing the half-dead inmates, but only if they were asleep.
It helps to hear that according to the latest poll, there is an 11.5 swing to Labor in Eden-Monaro.
-- Bilegrip Admin
Posted by Bilegrip Admin at 3:04 PM
September 19, 2007
Nothing to do now but wait
John Howard thinks the latest Newspoll is a “clawback” for the Government. No John, this is the same situation that occurred back in 1996 with the Keating government. I’ve studied federal elections for 35 years and I can guarantee the Government that nothing has changed in the past nine months to enhance its re-election chances.
I believe Labor will continue to command a minimum eight to 10 percentage-point lead in the two-party preferred stakes. The vast majority of people have already made up their minds, so please, for the sake of sanity, call the election. The people want it over and done with as soon as possible. -- Andrew Edson, letter to The Australian.
Only a masochist or a journalist would continue to follow the insanity being played out daily by the Coalition in its schoolyard bully tactics on Kevin Rudd and Labor. We've all seen it before in high school: the fascist thugs choosing off the prissy guy with brains.
As H. L. Mencken famously said, "No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby."
All we hear this week is that a recession is looming. Andrew Charlton, Beware a cold climate, says, "If Australians wake up in early 2008 with Kevin Rudd as prime minister and a recession on their doorstep, Labor could have a monkey on its back that lasts a generation."
That's Mencken's local brain masses for you. Without a global brain to assess the big picture, they live in a little cocoon of tentative life. Perhaps that's why history shows how cheap life really is. People being slaughtered day after week after month after year after century simply because they refused to pay attention to events and mind-sets beyond their immediate needs.
Catastrophe tends to wake up the perennially slumbering. But only for a little while. As soon as they realise they can shop at the Safeway without being shot at they go back to sleep.
John Howard Party supporters, the Australian contingent of sleepwalkers, have no shame. Nor did the sleepwalkers who looked the other way under the Nazis. They are all the same people. Selfish and greedy and incognizant of the reality of The Other to the point of being psychologically impaired. In the face of the putative evolution of the species, their lives are meaningless.
So, there is every possibility of a Coalition victory, as John Howard enlivens their ingrained support for fascist behaviour. However, if Labor pulls off a victory and Charlton is right, then that brief moment of flickering light will be turned off yet again. I don't mean to say that Rudd and Labor constitute the saviours of Australian mankind, but the past eleven years under the JHP have shown that prosperity without conscience begets a long dark night of the soul. In Christian terms, John Howard and his historical ilk are exactly what Jesus Christ warned us about.
Either way, we are stuck, as Samuel Beckett said, "on this bitch of an earth," where the noble efforts of mankind are occasional to the point of being statistically insignificant.
-- Bilegrip Admin
September 14, 2007
Shattering Non-Core Magoo's "carapace of invulnerability"
Courtesy Warren and The Daily Telegraph
The quote in the headline belongs to Annabell Crabb, on Fran Kelly's Breakfast show. Other guests included Glenn Milne and John Stirton, from AC Nielson.
Now then, for openers, here is a letter written to The Age:
I was confused as I witnessed John Howard ... last night and as I read the report of his interview in The Age (13/9). When John Howard announced that he may retire into his next term of office (presuming that he wins the election) I wondered, like most of the voters in the Australian electorate, whether he was committing to a "core promise" or whether he was simply clarifying a "non-core promise".
Some people might be even more cynical and ask whether he's really set a "target date" or he's simply defined an "aspirational goal". -- David E. Spratt
And here is what John Howard said on The 7:30 Report last night, on the subject of his putative retirement:
JOHN HOWARD: If the Australian people are good enough and kind enough to re-elect me again, there are a lot of things I want to do, and I would want to approach those things with enormous energy, but I would expect well into my term, and after those things have been implemented and bedded down, I would probably, certainly form the view well into my term that it would make sense for me to retire and in those circumstances, I would expect, although it would be a matter for the Party to determine, that Peter would take over.
But you really need to hear and watch him. Click here for the transcript, with links to video. As Glenn Milne said on Breakfast: "It sounded like pulling very long teeth."
Oh, and here is a correction to John Howard's perhaps outright lie yesterday, when he attempted to reassure his colleagues "that Liberal Party polling indicated that the Government could hold on to the 'bellwether' NSW seat of Eden-Monaro." Polls contradict PM's upbeat evaluation:
The Liberal polling Mr Howard used to reassure his worried party room that the Government would hold onto the seat provides the opposite result to other polls out there.
A Morgan poll published yesterday said the Liberals were bound to lose the seat, with Coalition support down to just 38 per cent and the ALP on 62 per cent.
Over the past year, the Liberal-National Party vote had dropped from 49 per cent on a two-party preferred basis to just 38 per cent. The ALP had climbed from 51 per cent to 62 per cent.
Apropos, this from the Daily Telegraph, heralding a Liberal Party wipeout in NSW:
Labor is set to secure such a massive swing in NSW that the Liberals have formally surrendered all hope of winning a single new seat anywhere in this state at the federal election. The Daily Telegraph can reveal:
Labor polling in key marginals last month was so positive for the ALP that it was redone, only to return the same results;
The Liberals have started polling the blue-ribbon seat of North Sydney because of fears Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey could fall; and
Seats with margins of up to 10 per cent have been identified by the Liberals as vulnerable.
Now feast on these exquisite commentaries from today's dailies on the debacle of the last few days, in no particular order.
Michelle Grattan, Team Howard? Not:
Howard's office says the PM gave his timeline to the Liberal party room that morning If so, the message was not picked up by the usually sharp-eared Victorian MP Russell Broadbent. "I didn't glean from what he said in the party room that he was suggesting he would retire next term," Broadbent told The Age yesterday. "I don't think he was." Fellow backbencher Mal Washer agrees. The retirement plan was "absolutely not" announced to the party room, he says. The first he knew about it was when Howard revealed his plans publicly that evening.
This communications gap between speaker and listeners is a metaphor for the shambles that has consumed the Government over the past fortnight.
Howard made a waffly reference about retiring. He may indeed have thought he was outlining what, as became obvious later, was a major shift in his public position on his future. But he failed to clearly say what he meant
Tony Wright, Now descends the curtain of political reality:
In reality, Howard's sudden discovery of a vague exit strategy was little more than the action of a weakened leader trying to buy time. He was buying time from Costello and his supporters, from a cabal of cabinet ministers who no longer believe in him and from the Australian people who give every indication they want to be rid of him. Will anyone buy his strategy?
The look on the faces of his backbenchers in Parliament yesterday — a mixture of studied optimism and plain fear — suggests Howard has successfully purchased one commodity he might not have been shopping for: dumb resignation among the troops
Misha Schubert, MP's walk verbal tightrope in hope of a net benefit:
Now that it's all about "the team", one alarming side effect of the Liberal leadership compromise (John stays but Peter gets near equal billing as anointed successor) has been an itchy rash of pronoun readjustments.
Symptoms include an obsessive inclination to tweak the spoken word to reflect the new terms.
In one outbreak yesterday, Prime Minister Howard deftly refashioned his assertion that the Medicare safety net was "a policy that I … we … introduced".
But with a perversely retrograde strain of the virus, an emboldened Costello was at pains to highlight his solo contribution to the "joint campaign".
Asked by 2GB's Alan Jones if he might play a more prominent role than previously, the Treasurer concurred, explaining that he was keen to articulate "my vision".
"I hope so, I hope that I have the opportunity to get out and to explain to the people the program that we have," he said.
Peter Hartcher, Howard's mortal fears exposed:
The leader's crisis of confidence had exposed the Government's dependence on his naked ambition. Howard is now hoping that a new surge of confidence will inspire his party, and his new faith in himself has already buoyed the party.
But Labor will seek to remind us of this low point, to ask us why we should vote for a prime minister whose own cabinet was prepared to let him go.
Bob Carr, Howard meltdown 'spectacular': Carr:
"I think it's the most spectacular disintegration of a federal government on the threshold of a federal election we've ever seen - not Gorton in 1969, Billy McMahon in 1972, not Gough Whitlam's beleaguered government in 1975 after a month-long constitutional crisis," Mr Carr told ABC Radio.
Peter Nicholson's animation: Howard's Titanic.
Matt Price, The John braves Labor's bodyline:
Having convinced himself that ignoring a majority of cabinet members advising he retire was “in the best interests” of the Liberals, Howard also reckons “the party still wants me”.
If this sounds like the PM has been freebasing hillbilly heroin, it becomes vaguely comprehensible when you consider Joe Hockey’s punch-drunken ramblings.
Where last week the Workplace Relations Minister was one of the scaredy cats meekly suggesting the PM follow APEC’s Sydney Declaration by running himself out, yesterday Hockey pronounced Howard the “Bradman of Australian politics”.
When it was gently pointed out The Don finished his career making a famous duck, cricketing tragics very close to The John reminded The Sketch Australia won that Test by an innings and 149 runs. Suddenly it’s all about “the team”, with Peter Costello promoted to opener, consulted about field settings and occasionally allowed to toss the coin.
You’d think the unbridled insanity of recent days might have left Coalition MPs floored and depressed, but many of these madmen (and women) of Australian politics departed Canberra deluding themselves everything had ended for the best. Certainly, Labor was encouraging the Liberals to bat on and on.
Whew! If only Non-Core Never-Ever had an outside interest, he could take the weekend off and give us a rest!
-- Bilegrip Admin
September 13, 2007
Hysterical Libs beg voters to suspend reality
Courtesy Ron Tandberg and The Age
One minute the jackals are circling the PM's carcass, the next they are happy little lambs pledging unswerving, undying support for their former prey. Give us a break!
You'd think The Chaser had taken over government. There is not a hell of a lot they can do next week to satirise what's happened in the last 24 hours. The Howard Government has done it all for them.
What a mob of "Political contortionists"!
Suddenly it's Team Howard and Costello, and all the other terrified ex-jackals instantly become cheerleaders for the most undignified grab for re-election ever seen in this or any other country.
Some of the commentary is priceless.
Katherine Murphy, in Reality Check, Ideas start to go to jelly:
"I think the team can win this election." Peter Costello was asked yesterday whether he thought John Howard could win the election.
Who is this team? The same team that gathered in a hotel room in Sydney last week and decided Howard couldn't win the election? Surely not that treacherous team? But apparently, it is that treacherous team, plus the star full-forward, Costello, who was benched in Sydney, considered too treacherous to be part of the treacherous team discussing whether Howard would lose the election. Confused? Why? It's all so straightforward. Go team!
A snippet from Matt Price, They are cuckoo over dinosaurs:
After a week of silence, Costello emerged wearing a fixed grin so dopey he risked being wrestled into a straitjacket and whisked away.
Tony Wright, There's nothing in this, or is there?
Just because the Prime Minister had asked the ministers to examine their consciences and figure out what should happen in the first place certainly didn't mean anything. He was just tricking. Or muttering aloud. He does that in moments of stress, and he's had a few of those recently. How could it mean anything when the Prime Minister hadn't even asked his family first? Doesn't anyone understand the frightful fate that would await if he took action unauthorised by A Certain Somebody?
And then Joe Hockey has called John Howard the Don Bradman of politics. But didn't Bradman's last innings produce a duck?
In truth, this mob is too far gone to govern another day, let alone until the election or, Team God and Satan forbid, beyond. They are in a permanent state of hysterical denial. And Australia is yet again the butt of international sniggers.
-- Bilegrip Admin
Posted by Bilegrip Admin at 2:23 PM
September 12, 2007
Araldite Man: the humanoid adhesive from hell
Copyright © 2007, Maurie Gee
In the year 2525
If man is still alive
If woman can survive, they may find …
John Howard still in overdrive.
-- apologies to Zager and Evans
Like the undead in horror films or a fiendish dictator in a B science fiction movie (I'm thinking of Time Under Fire), John Howard, with the able assistance of the mad Doctor Janette, could be perpetually rejuvenated for centuries to come. For it is becoming more and more possible that this uni-directional replicant will never be ousted from office.
I felt a frisson of fear this morning while listening to John Hewson talking to Fran Kelly on RN. Hewson said that there are 20 seats of great interest and that if you look at the polling seat by seat instead of the national poll, you find the margin between parties much less. Hewson, an honourable man despite being an investment banker, thinks the JHP still has a very real chance of winning the election. The bellwether seat of Eden Monaro, always with the victor, will be the one to watch.
But we keep thinking Labor is going to win. In the euphoria of recent polls we forget that despite the big lead, Labor has to win a minimum of 16 seats. We also forget that Labor won the popular vote in 1998, but lost key marginals, so cleverly worked by the Illiberals. And we forget that the JHP has a treasure chest bursting with taxpayer money to blitz the media with propaganda.
Any other politician in history could safely be written off in the situation John Howard presently finds himself in. But Howard is an anomaly, a freak. He lives for nothing else but power.
Here is Shaun Carney:
Essentially, the federal Liberals have been asleep since 2001, when Howard masterfully exploited the budget surplus, the Tampa and September 11 to score what had seemed only a few months earlier an unlikely election win. After the 2001 victory, the myth of Howard the Invincible took hold within large sections of the party room and the party's support base.
Because so many MPs felt they owed their continued existence in the parliament to Howard, the party gradually started to resemble a personality cult, with Howard as the supreme figure. In 2003, he stood up an anxious Costello and came up with his mantra, which was that he would remain Liberal leader for as long as the party wanted and while it was in the best interests of the party that he stay. The real meaning of the mantra was that Howard was declaring that he owned the Liberal Party, that he would decide when he would go. After uttering this incantation, he received the party's blessing.
And the blessing of voters. Let's not forget that his increased majority at the last election owed itself to a self-interested electorate of philistines for whom a bulging hip pocket was all that remained of a memory that once upon a pre-1996 time included a quaint concept called society.
Individuals (or family units) are in it for themselves in Howard's Australia. And while there appears to be a reawakening of what was once called "the vision thing" there is no certainty that it can overcome the selfishness Howard has bequeathed to larval Australians.
What has happened in America, Britain and Australia in the last decade may require yet another term of madness in each country to reverse the trend. Gordon Brown in the UK is simply a modified Tony Blair. If Hilary Clinton wins in the US, there will not be peace in the valley. Kevin Rudd will certainly be a modified John Howard, but Howard is so dangerously egocentric that the change will seem like suddenly being freed from a fascist dictatorship.
Polls aside, you still have to wonder if enough voters will restrain their selfishness and find the moral courage to throw out the man who has consigned their children to 19th century wages. They have long ago forgotten his crimes against humanity.
-- Bilegrip Admin
Posted by Bilegrip Admin at 4:36 PM
September 11, 2007
Damning words from Jason Koutsoukis
At last! A respectable journo shoots straight from the hip! Unlike John Howard's right wing commentariat, who routinely override the old self-censorship that most journalists adhere to in the name of "keeping it balanced", we finally have one who says it like it is from the people's side, the overwhelming majority chomping at the bit to throw this depraved government out of office.
In his Sunday opinion piece for the Sunday Age, Koutsoukis wrote about the pathetic attempt by the Illiberals to slander Julia Gillard. Complete with Bill Heffernan's knuckle-scraping claim that she was unfit to govern because she was "deliberately barren", and Julia Bishop's hypocritical criticism of Gillard for dressing in designer clothes, which Bishop claimed was simply not allowed for "an elected representative, … a member of Parliament."
Koutsoukis responds thusly:
This twaddle from a woman who doesn't get out of bed without a designer label draped around her neck and who is renowned for having the most expensive wardrobe in town. What's Gillard supposed to do anyway — wear a hessian sack? Since Bishop was elected to Parliament, I don't think I have ever seen her wear the same outfit twice. That sort of snooty hypocrisy might have worked for Bishop in the sandpit at her Adelaide alma mater, St Peter's Girls, 40 years ago, but not today.
Well, that's just tea and scones talk, for at the end of his article, Koutsoukis lets 'er rip about the party itself. I've put the second paragraph, comprehensive in its damnation, in verse form:
Out of government in every state and territory, losing power in Canberra will leave the Liberals very nearly bankrupt. And not just financially. After 11 years of being run by a policy contortionist, it's difficult to see why the Liberals want to be in government.
They don't stand for paying less tax,
not for less regulation,
not for smaller government,
not for protecting civil liberties,
not for investing in universities,
not for the arts or sciences,
not for a fair go in the workplace,
not for states rights,
not for an open economy,
not for less welfare,
not for caring for the planet
and not for respecting international law.
About the only thing it does stand for is John Howard. A man who in nearly 13 years never had the courtesy to invite his own deputy over for a meal — an act of selfishness almost unparalleled in Australian politics.
No wonder people are itching to toss the Liberals out.
Savour it, folks. That Koutsoukis chose to call it like it is instead of being coy or sardonic like so many others shows that the tidal wave of contempt is building to a devastating tsunami of retribution for the man who, today, has chosen to make Australians wait until November for the inevitable tar and feathering.
-- Bilegrip Admin
Posted by Bilegrip Admin at 11:38 AM
September 10, 2007
APEC: Iemma and Howard congratulate Aussie Stasi
Courtesy Ron Tandberg and The Age
"In the words of one of our well-known APEC guests, 'Mission Accomplished'," Morris Iemma said today.
If I'm not mistaken, Iemma mispronounced it as OPEC, also the word of one of their well-known guests.
[Addendum 11/9/07: I was right! Here's what Morris Enema said:
Mission accomplished. What did you accomplish? What did your staff accomplish? Well, two things: firstly, our Prime Minister and his ministers and the world leaders were able to conduct the A… OPEC…
The APEC… The APEC! As George said, we'll get an invite to OPEC next year.
Clueless Morris stood alongside the Wicked Weasel in extolling the virtuous security crackdown on democracy in order to make the nation safe for uranium sales to Vladimir Putin, who arrived on our shores shortly after selling Indonesia a billion dollars worth of arms. Trust me, says Little Johnny. No worries, mate!
Besides the Chaser arrests (which went a long way towards redeeming this nation of sheep) and the arrests of some 18 others, a father of three was detained for crossing the road in front of a motorcade.
Break out the champagne!
"There will always be critics but our agencies were focused on a safe, secure APEC week with the lowest possible impact on residents, said Iemma"
A security fence constructed through the city's centre will be pulled down over the next few days.
"As the fence is dissembled (sic), the streets return to normal and thousands of police head back to their daily commands, let's remember the effort that's been put in on the ground.
"APEC was a big challenge and NSW Police and our other front-line staff were determined nothing would be left to chance.
"Sydney deserves a huge vote of thanks from the 21 world leaders who got to hold their conference in the world's best city.
Apropos, Australia's tourism industry has slammed the image that Sydney's APEC summit has sent to the world.
Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) managing director Christopher Brown says authorities failed to strike the right balance when given a promotional opportunity akin to Sydney's hosting of the Olympic Games.
"Empty streets with concrete barriers, high fences and riot squad officers, snipers in buildings and helicopters.
"We just got out of control ... we just didn't get the balance right between the imagery and security," Mr Brown told ABC Radio today.
"It was not the image we should send to the world and I can understand completely why those from the tourism industry, who had thousands of rooms given back and who had no customers for the period in the city ... that there would be a concern today."
Never mind, sez the Wicked Weasel, Sydney is the most beautiful city in the most beautiful country in the world. Oh, God how I love this city, this country. Of course, I love all the other cities in this great country too. Did I mention the towns? I just love all the towns in Australia. Oh, and the electorates too. I love all the electorates, but I especially love the marginal electorates. Can I mention here, that it would be really good if those electorates could love me in return? No? Well who are they going to love, then? Surely not that Mandarin-speaking Chinese communist sympathizer!
And so on, ad nauseam, as the nation clutches its collective weary head waiting for the call that will signal the end of one of the most farcical years in its history.
-- Bilegrip Admin
September 8, 2007
Don't listen to 'em, Johnny
So desperate is the Right Wing Commentariat to keep the Illiberal Party in power that, one by one, they are begging their former hero, John Howard, to abandon ship in the hope that Peter Costello can divert its destiny from the boiling rapids of the present, the massive cataract of the election, and a just comeuppance featuring dozens of political corpses floating in the slough of despond.
Andrew Bolt: "If British voters got tired of the great Margaret Thatcher after 11 years, it's arrogant to think voters here couldn't tire of a Howard … A prime minister Costello would at least tempt voters to check out the Liberals a last time…"
A last time is right, Andrew. One look at Smug Pete at the helm of the HMAS Born to Rule and the Illiberal Party might be checking out for decades.
Janet Albrechtsen: He has overseen extraordinary economic success, created the conditions for a whole new class of aspirational Australians to prosper from the inevitable forces of globalisation, confronted the scourge of terrorism and has fundamentally realigned the political landscape in this country on so many fronts.
Under Howard it became cool to be a conservative. He rebuilt a political philosophy of individual responsibility for a new generation. His legacy is profound. From workplace reform to welfare to indigenous politics, to our sense of national identity, Howard has changed the nation in a way very few leaders ever do. Each step rankled his opponents as they clung to old orthodoxies. Yet Howard, through sheer dint of character and intellectual fortitude, prevailed. But now he must go.
Dear, oh dear. "Cool to be a conservative?" When you consider the origins of "cool" -- in the New York nightclubs of BeBop, where the likes of Charley Parker and Dizzy Gillespie held forth -- and the absurd take teenagers have on it these days, Albrechtsen's usage has to be the final blow and good enough reason to assign it to the dictionary designation of archaic.
As for the rest of her pathetic plea that Howard turn over to Costello, a couple of letter writers to today's Australian sum it right up:
Albrechtsen’s claim that Howard is the "finest prime minister Australia has had" is a touch too glib. Howard was elected on the eve of increasing global prosperity of which Australia was a part. His greatest skills were, and are, in the dark arts of Australian politics. History would judge him severely if he were to pass a poison chalice to Peter Costello at this late stage in the electoral cycle. -- Bob Barnes
John Howard "the finest prime minister Australia has had". Who are you kidding, Janet? I always thought a good leader groomed a successor. By failing to do so and by overstaying his welcome, Howard has dudded himself, dudded Peter Costello and dudded the Liberal Party.
Australians are also the losers. They now have a neo-con party instead of a Liberal Party. As for the economic success you mention, this really piggy-backed on China’s growth. Where was real tax reform, non-divisive "fair go" labour reform and the development of our skills capital and infrastructure?
This is also the prime minister who brought us Iraq, the AWB bribery scandal and children overboard. -- Richard Morriss
So don't listen to these lily-livers, John. Stay in there to the bitter end. And boy, will it be bitter. For you, not us. We want to see your carcass swinging in the wind. Preferably in a prominent leash-free park somewhere in Bennelong. And the rest of your decidedly un-Australian colleagues packing their bags in disgrace.
-- Bilegrip Admin
September 7, 2007
Kennett and Keating pontificate to complaining Sydneysiders: "Get a life!"
Employers and employees in Sydney's CBD have had their lives put on hold for a week in order to entertain the heads of APEC (Arsehole Potentates Enjoying Cronyism). The loss of income for these wretched of the earth is of no import in the face of the pomp and glory of men who wield power over them. Or so thinks former Victoria premier Jeff Kennett.
In remarks reminiscent of his exhortation to Victorians to stop whingeing about the lack of heat and hot water in their homes for 19 days in September and October 1998, when the entire state lost its supply of gas, Kennett (who spoke at the time from a warm hotel room in Perth) has now rounded on irate Sydneysiders to "get a life" and stop bitching. Naturally, being a member of the Illiberal Party, he referred to them as "the chardonnay set".
Well that's the Illiberals for you. But what about Labor?
In remarks reminiscent of his exhortation to a student protestor in 1995 -- "Get a job. Do some work like the rest of us" -- Paul Keating told Sydneysiders complaining of losing income because of the APEC circus, "Grow up and count yourselves lucky." He may even have echoed (or been the first to say it) Kennett's contemptuous advice to "get a life".
Both claim the $150 million spent (and incomes lost) to protect the potentates will be "a huge asset for Sydney." Yet another reminiscent remark, that of the American General who, during the Vietnam war, said the only way to save the village from the Commies was to burn it.
But hey, why do the peons always have to suffer? Is this part of some unwritten law handed down by the Wealthy and Powerful that in order to host a Gathering of Y Chromosome Strutters the serfs must dine on bread and water … if they're lucky?
As many have asked, why was this shindig not held in Canberra? Or some place where it would have been almost impossible for a terrorist attack to take place?
But then, it's not for we plebeians to interfere with the wisdom of the ruling fathers, but to do or die without a murmur.
-- Bilegrip Admin
September 6, 2007
The lunacy that bothers me is not the stuff you find in Bedlam - people raging at the walls: that's what sane people do now; it's the new variety that comes from poverty of spirit: the popular, well-dressed, well-heeled and well-spoken lunacy that elects mad leaders to make mad wars upon the unfortunate and the dispossessed - the lunacy of the soul; of cold human hollowness, emotional flatness and numbness, moral emptiness; all surrounded with a gargantuan, manic and carefully disguised greed as a remedy for pain and the fear of death: the clever, well-adapted madness that the world rewards and to which the world aspires. -- Michael Leunig, A manicured madness takes hold.
George: Where's all them Sydneysiders, folks?
While journalists are hiding their contempt by reporting with humour as they try to seriously assess the gibberish coming out of Dubya's mouth and the blind subservience of Australia's Prime Mistake, Chaser members, "Fearless" Chas Licciardello and Julian Morrow, have been detained for staging a fake motorcade through Fortress Sydney. Who knows if we'll ever see them again.
One sample of journalist tongue in cheek:
Misha Schubert, Leader of the free whirl breezes by:
George Bush is a man who likes a short sentence. Which is not to say the President of the United States reduces ideas to bite-sized chunks. Or maybe it is.
Either way, during the course of his first 24 hours in Sydney, there were plenty of efficient exclamations. Like the exchange on the tarmac as Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile inquired how things were going in Iraq. "We're kicking ass," he declared. In a similarly thrifty oratory bent yesterday, he telegraphed his lunch order — "I'm a meat guy".
Leunig's quote comes home with a vengeance, as, dumbfounded, we observe the shenanigans of a pair of old Y chromosomes who accidentally got elected to high office and who were never, ever up to the job.
Finally, Dr Anthony Ashbolt, politics lecturer at the University of Wollongong, worries that the "heavy-handed police tactics at APEC will "in fact, create the very circumstances [they] are trying to avoid." Philip Ruddock will certainly be hoping for proof that his Stasi-like anti-terror laws can be put to the test.
If that doesn't work, there is still hope for those who lust after a police state. As Bruce Dudon wrote in a letter to The Age, "Someone will pop a balloon near Bush. Howard will cry 'terrorism!' and the polls will return to normal."
George: Put 'er there, pardner.
John: Whoops, I missed.
-- Bilegrip Admin
Posted by Bilegrip Admin at 2:46 PM
September 5, 2007
Protests begin as Chicken Hawks swap bodily fluids over war toys
300 Melbourne high school students gathered at Flinders Street Station to protest the meeting of the World's number one terrorist and the Wicked Weasel of Oz. The Walk-out Against George Bush was watched by 20 Victoria Police thugs, including four in riot gear.
Meanwhile, the cretin that cost millions of taxpayer funds to protect his worthless arse in Sydney is the subject of a new book, Dead Certain, by Robert Draper. In it, the Dangerous Dimwit has this to say about life after he leaves office.
"I'll give some speeches, just to replenish the ol' coffers. I don't know what my dad gets; it's more than $50,000-$75,000 a speech, and Clinton's making a lot of money."
Real statesman-like stuff, that. Warms the heart to know that drive-in churches and American Legions across the breadth of Umeruhca will be host to the man they so love 'cause he proved that dumbshits like them can go straight to the top.
"We'll have a nice place in Dallas," where he will be running what he called a "fantastic freedom institute" promoting democracy around the world.
Whoopee! It always helps to "have a nice place" for something swell like freedom and democracy and such. Too bad he didn't start in Bagh-fucking-dad.
Noting that he ran into former president Bill Clinton at the UN last year, he added: "Six years from now, you're not going to see me hanging out in the lobby of the UN."
Six years from now George W. Bush should be serving a life term in prison for crimes against humanity. Trouble is, the über bad guys always get away with it. Like Pinochet, he'll have a comfy retirement at his Crawford Ranch, surrounded by then with a moat full of crocodiles and an electrified fence. And John Howard as his butler.
-- Bilegrip Admin
Posted by Bilegrip Admin at 3:39 PM
September 4, 2007
Missing rocket launchers: Desperado Johnny's Lapin de résistance?
"Have I got a surprise for you!"
As America's worst president flies in to meet Australia's worst Prime Minister for APEC, the latest Newspoll, the first one of Spring, shows the JHP slipping further and further behind. Poor Dennis Shanahan, writing in today's Oz, sounds positively despondent -- or should that be "negatively" despondent. Like so many in the Right Wing Commentariat, Shanahan cannot understand why "an incumbent government during economically successful times" should be facing such "annihilation". For them, it's all business and wealth creation.
But wait. Another article on page one of The Australian is far more pertinent. In Just who has the missing weapons?, John Lyons reminds us that on the eve of APEC there are still nine stolen rocket launchers out there.
The failure to be able to answer that question comes at the end of one of the most extraordinary searches seen in this country - involving, at different times, up to 30 officers from ASIO, the Australian Federal Police and NSW Police.
APEC has always been a deadline to find the weapons - people don't take rocket launchers to hold up the corner store so whoever knows where they are is almost certainly prepared to use them to cause major damage.
The fact that there are nine rocket launchers believed to be in the vicinity of Sydney as a meeting of world leaders begins has meant in recent months this operation has become one of the highest priorities of ASIO.
It is one of the reasons Australian and US security advisers are insistent that protesters will be at least 300m from the President at all times. Theoretically, the launchers can fire from that distance but an amateur would generally be able to fire them only 125m.
The most worrying aspect of the weapons is that they are concealable - when folded, they are about 67cm, which means they can fit into a backpack. They can be painted any colour to blend with carry bags. The M-72 launchers are designed to carry warheads that can cut through metal with a small hole, then explode. The warheads are designed for a "blast effect". They are often used in warfare to attack bunkers, as they cause maximum damage.
The nine rocket launchers were in a batch of 10 allegedly stolen from a private storage facility at Orchard Hills in Sydney's west in 2002. Security agencies believe they were then placed in PVC piping and buried in the national park between Sydney and Wollongong.
Whoa, Nellie! Is this Little Johnny's master rabbit? Has he instructed ASIO to go easy on the search so some obviously left-wing nutter can shoot one off and scare the Cardigans into voting for him again? Never mind that someone might get killed, even boyfriend George. Isn't John Howard's motto "Whatever it takes"?
Ok, so that scenario is totally absurd. The real reason they haven't been found is because of the innate incompetence of intelligent agencies to find or solve anything. The same goes for the police. Just about the only time they catch a crook is when someone tells them where he is or he gives himself up.
Then again, try this. ASIO has long since found the launchers, disarmed them and given them to Muslim-appearing government operatives who will join the protesters. Just before these "enemies of the state" are able to launch them, alert and alarmed and, above all, informed police will pounce. John Howard will step onto the balcony of glory and announce to the nation that only his conservative government is capable of protecting the nation against terrorism. The Cardigans will return to the fold and the next Newspoll will record a massive swing back to the Illiberal Party.
Sound daft? John Howard's form suggests otherwise
-- Bilegrip Admin