|Dalai Lama gets the last chuckle|
Friday, 31 May 2002
John Howard's inauthenticity is such that he can hardly go anywhere without tripping over his own feet. This time he couldn't trip because he was sitting down, but the result was the same: he looked his usual inept and ineffectual self.
The photo in The Australian (24/5/02) said it all. There was Australia's Prime Minister absorbed in reading some article in the English language China Daily. Perhaps he missed the big headline on the front page facing us: "Largest gas field found in N. China". The accompanying article by Lynne O'Donnell must have been written before the snap was taken, because nowhere does it mention the discovery that blew John's hopes for a $25 billion natural gas deal with China. For that story we had to leave News Ltd and go to Fairfax. John Schauble in The Age of the same day reported "Gas deal looks lost as Chinese strike it lucky." Literally discovered as Howard was hard-selling President Jiang Zemin, it seems the new field will produce 6.5 billion cubic metres of gas annually. Bad luck for John? Perhaps it's just bad karma. Stifle the consciences of politicians by forbidding them to greet the Dalai Lama and look what happens.Labor "scaredy-cats" live up to name
Friday, 31 May 2002
Using cost to taxpayers as an excuse, Labor has decided not to pursue Peter Reith over "a certain maritime incident". Instead they are calling for an independent report to assess Reith's and other government advisers' role in the affair.
Illiberal Pit Bull George Brandis, a member of the Senate committee, leapt for joy, calling Labor "gutless" and "cowardly". Brandis and other Illiberal Senators deliberately abstained from the vote put forth by the Democrats to subpoena Reith in order to force Labor's hand.
Democrat Senator Andrew Bartlett said the report would just be a waste of time. He said Reith would likely have fought the subpoena and that it could have gone as far as the High Court (costing those taxpayer funds Labor wants to shield us from), thus proving how far the Howard Government was prepared to go to cover up.
Labor could have had a field day with that, but it looks like their heart is just not in it. Every time they show their belly the despair so many of us feel broadens and deepens. We truly live in a one-party state.Race-baiting nullifies years of breathtaking incompetence
Friday, 31 May 2002
A fiction writer stoned on a multitude of mind altering drugs couldn't have come up with a scenario as ludicrous as that of the elderly Seasprite helicopters. The Howard Government has spent nearly a billion dollars on eleven choppers whose bodies are 40 years old! Oh, yes, the innards are "state of the art" but the frames were built in the early 1960s, before the Vietnam war. Worse, the project is running three years late because of difficulties fitting modern computer equipment into the old hulks. Worse yet, $192 million of that billion bucks is going to Karman Aerospace, the sniggering manufacturer in the US, for a 10-year contract signed in 1997 to maintain the choppers, even though they are not now and never have been operational.
Either the government is plain stupid or someone is getting kickbacks out of this. It sounds suspiciously like the painfully incompetent deal the Kennett Government signed taxpayers to with City Link: 35 years of tolls with no recourse to alternate routes. An investigation into that contract was aborted by a weak-kneed Labor Government under Steve Bracks.
Will there be an investigation into this? Hardly. Like every other incident of incompetence or corruption since March, 1996, it will disappear from the media and the public mind in a trice. The point being, that as long as the Howards can keep a majority of Australians foaming at the mouth over undesirables in leaky boats and phantom terrorists, they will continue to get away with ethical murder.The Parrot's Audience: Silent or zombie majority?
Friday, 17 May 2002
The scariest thing about Alan Jones is not so much Jones himself but his listening audience. Jones, Laws, Zemanek, Limbaugh, and the rest their ilk are half-baked* vocal charismatics who could just as easily have been in-your-face political demagogues. In either case, their core constituency are the kind of people shown (selectively, I'm sure) in The Four Corners report "Jonestown". Isolated, middle-aged and elderly men and women who stare blankly into space while ironing or doing the dishes or dreaming of that comforting pokies venue nearby or looking over the racing form while trying not to look at the liquor cabinet.
Unformed, uninformed, empty and afraid, they look to the fatherly harangues of shock jocks like Jones to give them the confidence to get through yet another day. His verbal righteousness helps to flip the switch on the white picket fence surrounding their dreams of a simple, flatland world by turning it into high voltage razor wire. As long as he rails against everything they are either incapable of understanding or refuse to understand, no one is going to get through that fence. Least of all a bunch of baby-eating swarthies.
It must be a wrenching experience for them each day when Jones' signs off. But never mind, the chump channels are there to take his place. The Bold and the Beautiful, The Young and the Restless, Jerry Springer and Oprah help to fend off the creeping shadows of inconsequence. In the evening, Mengele TV, with its sadistic treatment of losers, alternates with Keyhole TV, where they get to watch frumpy girls shower with their clothes on; all of it serving to remind them of the days before their genitals dried up and blew away.
Of course, it's not always like this. Every three years or so, they gird their loins to venture forth and vote for someone as creepy as them, someone like John Howard.
* (What's that? You think I'm half-baked too?)Downer & Kroger: Lollipop & Agitprop
Friday, 17 May 2002
"This is not the end of democracy as we know it, but an adjustment..."
You've got to hand it to John Howard's crew, they are a zealous lot when it comes to dismantling their major irritant: democracy. In one day, we heard Alexander Downer and Michael Kroger adding copiously to the dossiers being compiled for their eventual trial on the charge of cynically corrupting Australia's fair go.
Downer, of course, is impossible to take seriously. When Australia's Nuremberg tries, convicts, and releases him without punishment to a baby-faced dotage, he'll take his place in Illiberal history as just another arrogant, overgrown schoolboy who operated under the delusion that he was a bully.
Kroger, however, is a serious player when it comes to spruiking state controlled media.
First, let's see what Little Lord Downer was up to. Well, he was pleased as punch with himself during the launching of his foreign policy White Paper at the National Press Club. You could almost see the little cartoon Alex, the inner yes-man that pops up in his mind to giggle at his laboured one-liners, reassuring big cartoon Alex that they really are funny.
In what was meant to be an insult to the left, Little Lord repeated the moderately difficult tongue-twister "Pseudo-intellectual Bourgeois Leftists" several times, to make sure everyone got it. But he muffed it on the third go with "Pseudo-intellectual Boygeois Leftists." Maybe it was the memory of his tango party in Buenos Aires last year flitting across the fish-net membranes of his mind. To the credit of the embarrassed throng, the only titters heard were those of, well, embarrassment. Typical of the conservative's Germanic lack of anything approaching real humour, Alex took the titters as approval. Then, after a wandering diatribe against Simon Crean's complaint about our over-dependence on the US, he came up with this gem: "I left all that behind in University." It came off like a senseless non-sequitur, but Alex had no doubt worked for hours to memorise the line and so it had to fit somewhere. His involuntary twitch of smug self-satisfaction was noted by all.
Oh, and he also informed everyone that Australia's standing in the world has never been better and that we are "one of the few countries in the world with an active and non-discriminatory immigration program". A real comedian.
Then came Michael Kroger's turn. He'd spent the day all over the airwaves extolling the virtues of media censorship by denouncing the ABC's Four Corners and Chris Masters for not putting out a positive program on his mate Alan "Pick 'n' Stick" Jones. But this transparent homage to a North Korea-style dissemination of Great Truths was nothing compared to his blitz on Lateline's incessant reportage about asylum seekers. The official government line, beginning a few weeks ago with John Howard, is that too much time has been devoted to incidental issues such as this one. In the interests of the constituencies that count, Aspirationals and the silent majority, programs like Lateline should be investigating the traumas suffered by owners of cats up a tree or, better yet, the latest instalment of Melbourne's enthralling Society Murders.
After his serve against Chris Masters, Kroger (who has still to view the show) was questioned on PM by David Hardacre about the Lateline allegations. He waffled on awhile before he finally fell on the sword of his inescapable message: "If you're going to keep researching a story over and over again you're going to keep finding more information."
No room for that in Howard's Australia.
Friday, 3 May 2002
Like the dimwitted Ronald Reagan, who caused the deaths of thousands of innocents in Central America on behalf of the fight against Communism (the threat to American capitalist interests there), Philip Ruddock has blood on his hands. Each death by suicide in his concentration camps should result in separate indictments for murder. They would not have happened but for his neo-Nazi immigration policy.
He is already guilty of sending a pregnant woman back to China with her eventual arrest and execution some years ago.
Now, two Iranian men, refused refugee status here in Australia, have been returned to Iran after spending two years in detention at Woomera. Upon arrival, they were arrested for the crime of converting from Islam to Christianity (punishable by death) and ordered to appear before a revolutionary tribunal. They have "been exiled from their families, their phones have been tapped, their movements monitored and they have been prevented from obtaining work or a passport."
One of the men said he had gone back because the psychological pressure of being in detention for almost two years had finally got to him.
"During the riots last year I was badly beaten by the guards and each day people were slashing themselves and trying to kill themselves. I thought nothing can be worse than this, but I was wrong," he said.
A Second man, interrogated for six hours at Teheran airport, faces the same charge.
Yet, Philip Ruddock is presently visiting Teheran to persuade Iran to allow Australia to forcibly repatriate up to 330 Iranians currently held in detention. Too bad for zealous Phil, but in order to keep their workload to a minimum, the Iranian government told him they would accept only voluntary repatriates. Perhaps Ruddock should emigrate there to whip these lazy tyrants into shape.
If the majority of Australians were not a bunch of apathetic wankers, Philip Ruddock would be arrested, tried and, if convicted, hung by his heels from the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
(Based on an article by Russell Skelton: Detainees arrested on return to Iran)
SCUM AT THE TOP is not copyrighted and may be used in whole or in part for any purpose the reader chooses.
Published and distributed by the Political Prisoners of the Future.