Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Abbott crowd gets ugly!

This lot would feel comfortable in the hate rallies of the American Tea Party, nasties that circle on the margins of Australian public life with nothing constructive to contribute. Abbott's natural constituency at work and play....

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Just when we thought Abbott could not stoop any lower!

The alternative PM struts his stuff. It takes me back to the Uni of Sydney in the 70s when this same turkey routinely made a fool of himself spewing piss and wind to rabble rouse. Ladies & gentlemen we present for your entertainment, the new leader of the Australian Tea Party, Tony 'the moose' Abbott. Can anyone put this to Duelling Banjos?]

Monday, March 21, 2011

Is the Liberal Party guilty of ‘race baiting’? - Political Sword article

I came across this excellent piece today, posted on the Political Sword blog.

This is a blog for grown-ups, so I suggest the pygmy possums that trip the light fantastic across much of the virtual landscape stay away.

I like this comment:

"Thank you for the link to Peter Hartcher's article. He blows hot and cold, doesn't he? One week he's all over the government like a rash(last week), this week he's condemning them to a fast descent through the 7 stages of Hell. I think he's suffering from 'The Great Unhinging' that Possum predicted would happen. It seems that the political journosphere are having to cope with the reality that they are just another source for political opinion, and not the Delphic Oracles they had been pumped up to be before the Web 2.0 scene got into full swing and we all started having our own opinions and putting together pieces that outshone theirs by a country mile, and showed them up to be the political equivalent of the Wizard of Oz, cloistered in their Ivory Towers down there in the Canberra Press Gallery, hobnobbing with the political 'stars' on a daily basis and getting their little tidbits of political gossip fed to them. Big deal! Sometimes it's better to be 'Unhinged' from all that, you see the political world much clearer I

Great work, love this blog!

I spotted Virginia Trioli on ABC News24 on the breakfast segment this morning. Classic example, yet again, of Virginia (no one understands how important I am) wanting to be the news. Some poor bloke was being grilled on the situation in Libya and VT was demanding from him an answer as to 'how long this would take'?, as if this guy was making these decisions. She and many of her ilk have joined the Alan Jones school of interviewing. Unless you give an answer that meets their pre-determined spruik and self-important judgement on what's what, you are interrupted and rudely interrogated. Its sooooo tedious.

Another bug bear at present is the mindless fawning after Prince Willie, the latest poster boy for Corporate Windsor, or Vice-President elect for Windsor public relations. It was pleasing to see Paul what's his face telling VT he just does'nt get it. I'm with you Paul, especially given it will be the Australian tax player that foots the bill. Bring on a republic post haste before we have several more generations of this clever PR firm foisted on us, glad handling and setting the benchmark for the 'hail fellow well met' stakes.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Media rabbits abound on the left & right in the carbon tax debate

Has anyone noticed the amount of mindless chewing being done in the media hothouse on the subject of the carbon tax, tax compensation and what it means to the number 46.

What a tedious dialectic (although this is too grand a word for the claptrap about on both sides of the divide). On one side Gillard and all who sail in her are grossly incompetent, recalcitrant, lying misanthropes who want to destroy our bourgeois inheritance. At the other extreme Gillard et al have not moved nearly fast enough to claim the high ground of environmental sanctity in a quest for the holy grail of carbon sequestration, presumably in a metaphorically large place where the sun doesn't shine (yelp).

On some of the more enlightened blogs you can find a reasoned approach to the subject, trying to pick the lumps of gold out of cow pats strewn about the media landscape. These are thin on the ground. Yesterday Crikey, through its political correspondent Bernard Keane, had another crack at Labor for not getting the message right on the carbon tax. Methinks a lot of selective hearing is going on, with the prejudiced mindset only hearing what tickles the pre-determined fancy. I commented on this piece as follows:

"Hmm, methinks there is a bit of rabbiting on here. From day one the Govt. has said that the major polluters will be taxed and the revenue stream will be used to compensate low & middle income earners and applied to renewable energy initiatives. The detail of said compensation will be in the budgetary process mix, presumably to be outlined on budget night. Garnaut’s prescriptions will be thrown in with elements of the Henry review to extract a politically saleable package. If it doesn’t capture the electorate’s fancy Labor will be tossed out at the next election. However, if it does they will come back with a majority in the House with a Green dominated Senate. Thence your environmental ‘carrots’ will be easier to get through the Parliament. Its all about real politic in a 3 yr cycle. As Rudd discovered, if you get the rhetoric out of tune with the art of the possible, you get the shaft. I think Gillard et al get this and they are trying to get the timing right, but yet again, they may get it wrong (phew!)."

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I wanna hold your haaand, I wanna hold your haaaaaaaand!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lumpen media winning propaganda war against Labor Government

Crikey posted a piece today on the shortcomings of the Labor Government, accusing the party of lacking guts & personnel. However, the author is failing to take into account the minefield strewn before those same personnel on a daily basis by an orchestrated media campaign to win back office for the lumpen reactionary mob. I had this to say by way of comment, which reprises sentiments oft repeated here:

"This email (see comment from Climate Change) from the crypto-tea party lunatic fringe just about sums up one of the most egregious attempts to grab power in recent times, apart from the invasion of Iraq. A conga line of mediocre journalists have failed the test of detachment, objectivity and intellectual rigour and have climbed on board. The truly dreadful lumpen mob that masquerade as journalists in the Murdoch stable run rough-shod over the public clearing houses of information and analysis. The ABC is meant to counter this, but presently it is operating as a ‘parenthetical amplification’ of this propaganda machine.

The polls for Labor can be expected to fall in the face of a relentless fear campaign waged over putting a price on carbon and over asylum seekers. The gutter press has banged the fear drum louder than the politicians, with shock-jocks oiling the wheels of a propaganda machine on a very nasty roll. Goebbels would have been proud of the orchestrated smear of the so-called ‘carbon tax’.

The daily fare of spin, laced with fear and loathing has become so ubiquitous I find it difficult to follow the news cycle, something to which I’ve always been addicted. Crikey and its affiliated blogs are a breath of fresh air, although the disappointment with the position Labor is in and the difficulties of countering the propaganda of the gutter press is palpable at times, but jeez Bernard you could probably make a better fist of it by taking a slightly more forensic look at what is really going on! What ever shortcomings Labor has, they pale into insignificance when measured against the mediocrity and lumpen reactionary melange swamping the public arena, oiling the wheels of one of the most cynical power grabs in living memory…"

Monday, March 14, 2011

Our ABC losing the plot on carbon tax, nuclear energy and politics in general

Has any one been following 'our' ABC lately? It has become a vehicle for spruiking anti-government nonsense. Insiders on Sunday took the cake. I complained to the show and to the ABC complaints area. My comment to Insiders went like this:

"By contrast with last week your panel today was puerile and infantile. They spent most of the time bucketing Gillard & Rudd and what amounts to very little on the carbon tax, when the politics of the day are beset with serious issues. We could have had Abbott talking to the joint sitting, swinging his arms and telling them about how shit happens in Afghanistan, and we too have a tea party! Walsh and Bolt don’t have the necessary intellect to grapple with the issues of the day. Everything the government does is viewed through a narrow prism, liberally fertilised by the main by-product of their fevered brains – bullshit. At least Farr has a go at ‘balance’ but he reverts to the hail fellow well met default too easily. Barry, Barry, Barry, maybe its time to put your feet up….I turned you off half way as it was so intellectually debilitating."

Insiders, or as one wag put it 'Inciters', is the worst offender, frequently supplying some of the worst wing-nut commentators with a glad-handled forum, but has anyone noticed how key players on ABC News24 and RN have fallen into the default of government bashing? On a daily basis the slightest hint of variation from the Labor line by Rudd or Combet or whomever is pounced on as evidence of leadership murmurings and a failure of minority government. Gillard is criticised for basically being alive and in the job!

The trouble is Kelly, Trioli, Gilbert, Faine, Curtis and a conga line of mediocre journalists fail the test of detachment, objectivity and intellectual rigour. Perhaps their careers were advanced during the awful Howard years and they owe the reactionary side of politics something! I don't know what it is and I am afraid to know but, as a result, the truly dreadful lumpen mob that masquerade as journalists in the Murdoch stable run rough-shod over the public clearing houses of information and analysis, serving a right wing agenda to put ABBOTT in power. It is truly revolting to see how media is manipulated by robber barons to pursue their commercial interests and power games. The ABC is meant to counter this, but presently it is operating as a 'parenthetical amplification' of the lumpen propaganda machine.

How did this happen? What is behind it? Perhaps Mark Scott could let us all know why his journalists have become spokespersons for one of the most cynical power grabs in living memory, driven by the MSM.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Human rights in Australia - fear works when journalists fail the test of integrity

Well, we have the expected fall in polls for Labor because of the relentless fear campaign waged over putting a price on carbon and asylum seekers. The gutter press (sorry, the Murdoch press) has banged the fear drum louder than the politicians, with shock-jocks oiling the wheels of a propaganda machine on a very nasty roll. Goebbels would have been proud of the orchestrated smear of the so-called 'carbon tax'.

I sent the following message to the Liberal Party yesterday:


Your cheap politics and fear tactics have got you a poll jump. But as for convincing voters you are an alternative credible government you will find this tactic to be pyrrhic. You are trashing the national interest through your low rent strategies and it will come back to haunt you.

Good luck with that…"

It remains to be seen whether the fear-mongering that has become the major currency of the Coalition will ultimately win out. It worked for Howard during the 'Tampa' episode and by affiliation to the 'war on terror' con. The Australian electorate continues to be easily swayed by slogans that play to fear and prejudice. It is a sad reality that our body politic has not matured and that our collective capacity to critique the manipulation of mass media by sectional interests remains weak.

I am on the brink of stopping this blog as I've run out of things to say on human rights and the failings of our media commentariat. It is at a very low ebb at the moment and I seen no signs of improvement. The low rent nature of the media campaigns waged against the progressive side of politics is debilitating - the daily fare of spin, laced with fear and loathing has become so ubiquitous I find it difficult to follow the news cycle, something to which I've always been addicted. Crikey and its affiliated blogs are a breath of fresh air, although the disappointment with the position Labor is in and the difficulties of countering the propaganda of the other side is palpable at times.

I have'nt given up completely but it will take something special to renew my enthusiasm for the struggle against mediocrity and the lumpen media melange swamping the public arena. Good luck and good day...

Friday, March 04, 2011

Asylum seekers in Australia - mandatory detention has failed

Reports that a new detention centre is to be commissioned by the Gillard Govt. on the mainland is a further signal (if any were needed) that mandatory detention of asylum seekers is a failed policy.

I remember when Howard said mandatory detention was working well...yes and hate was doing fine, racial tension was humming and we were all relaxed and comfortable - thanks John, I felt better then. The failed Pacific Solution and the horrors of Baxter detention centre was the legacy of 'success' Morrison was spruiking this morning. It should also be remembered that the Christmas island gulag was commissioned by the Howard Govt. in view of the failed Pacific Solution. Whole families were detained for years in some cases; detainees routinely self-harmed; we bribed a failing state to be complicit in our cruelty toward refugees.

Faced with revolt within his own ranks Howard was forced to soften his approach, but it was only at the margins. I think it is instructive to know what was behind these policies - and yes at their core lay racism, shamelessly exploited by politicians. Instead of moral leadership we get the politics of race played in the worst way. We can blame Howard and his cronies for Tampa and beyond; and the ALP can only look back in shame at the policy that made it possible.

It is time to review the whole sorry story of mandatory detention. When authorities fail to ensure non-Australians held in detention facilities are afforded the same basic protection and duty of care we expect for ourselves then we are all diminished.

That noted spokesperson for the loony left, Robert Manne, summed it up well:
“Howard sang a song until the people believed him. It was a horrible song, and it allowed hateful things to happen in a democracy in a way that no one would ever have believed Australia would allow” (cited in Caroline Moorehead, Human Cargo).

Abbott and Morrison continue the tune, with the regular Greek chorus of MSM pamphleteers and shock-jocks providing the rhythm section.

A key concern of mine has been the long-term damage Australia has done to its international standing as an upholder of international laws and agreements by thumbing our nose at these same global instruments. The most glaring example is mandatory detention of asylum seekers. When our government contravenes international law and human rights conventions it is not in our national interest, though done in our name.

It is time for Labor to redeem itself and show some leadership on this issue. Stop building detention facilities and start meeting our obligations under international instruments on human rights and refugees. Challenge racism, stare down the xenophobia and educate the Australian people on the universality of human rights.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Liberal party called out on racist policies - Wilkie gives voice to what many already know!

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has given voice to what many of us concerned with human rights have known for a long time - the Coalition taps into nascent racism to whip up electoral support. This has been going on for a long time, but put its ugly head above the parapet with the Tampa fiasco and the subsequent asylum seeker policies. Leaders and their bandwagon of fellow politicians, shock-jocks and a conga-line of MSM journalists, have beaten this drum, sometimes softly and other times with full amplification.

In a report in The Age Wilkie's speech to Parliament is quoted:

''I stand today to condemn the racism that eats at the Liberal Party and I call on the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to show strong leadership and to stamp it out, once and for all,''

I say to Mr Abbott: you must lance this boil,

It is not good enough to dismiss the hate inhabiting the dark corners of the Liberal Party, and the widespread community concern it engenders, by just noting that your most senior operatives merely go a little too far - what you should have done is sack such people immediately from the shadow ministry and read the lot the riot act.

You must also look afresh at your party's policies, determined to address the way hate corrupts your party's approach to public policy. For instance, asylum seekers are not 'illegals' or terrorists, and heartfelt protection is not afforded by temporary protection visas.

Trying to deny asylum seekers the use of surplus defence housing is nothing short of an act of bastardry. And threatening to slash foreign aid is abominable.''

Coalition spokespersons are out today dismissing everything Wilkie said, but what a bunch of hollow men they are. This is a real problem that requires courageous leadership.

On another front, the hate rhetoric engendered around racial, ethnic and religious difference is flowing into the debate on pricing carbon. The vilification of the PM and anyone who has the temerity to stand against the fear campaign waged by Abbott and his 'coterie' has engendered death threats and foul abuse toward another independent, Tony Windsor. This benighted strategy of using extreme language to prosecute a political argument can easily inflame unhinged minds, and believe me, there are a lot of unhinged people on the fear and hate side of the political divide.