Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Janet Albrechtsen, Ditch Diver for the Liberal party

Ah Janet Albrechtsen. Doctorate of law, columnist for The Australian, conservative supporter. Below is her effort in today's Oz (read by me because the paper shop lacked the SMH which us discerning thinkers like to read as opposed to Murdoch spin), where she lauds Conservatives and Howard, and reinforces her belief that the Left are just a bunch of Communist Ninnies who really can't see how great it is that we should bargain as individuals and not as a group.

You can also find her article on the below website. Her bits are in ital. My response is in normal text.

Article is located here;  http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,17672971%255E32522,00.html


An excellent year for conservatives and the countryDecember 28, 2005

PSSST. Keep this to yourself. John Howard will be with us for a very long time. Even if the Prime Minister hands over the reins to Treasurer Peter Costello in 2006, the Howard imprint will remain for years to come. Looking back on 2005, Howard has put serious runs on the board. He will not be remembered as a do nothing, occupy the crease kind of PM. He's more Don Bradman than Trevor "Barnacle" Bailey, the English all-rounder who made the slowest half-century in first-class cricket.
So even if Labor gets in, our Aryan friend Albrechtsen (I say that because she's white and blonde and in Hitler's Germany would undoubtedly made prime brood stock for the glorious Reich), believes Howard's legacy will remain for years and years. I agree with her – worst luck. But hopefully next election it will be that – a legacy – not his continued political imprinting of our nation.
It has been a momentous year for the conservative cause. Howard has become for Australia what Ronald Reagan was to the US and Margaret Thatcher to Britain. Plenty of politicians spend a lifetime gaining power and, when it comes, are so busy holding on to it that they shy away from controversial but much needed reform. Think of Malcolm Fraser. Known for little more than his efforts in Zimbabwe and introducing secondary boycott provisions in the Trade Practices Act, Fraser was out for a duck, if we're talking cricket.

What is exactly this cause she is speaking about? Conservative cause?!?! Maybe it's 'Restrict the workers', 'make sure we continue to rule at all cost by massively restructuring the laws of the land to ensure this through massive increases in unregistered donation by companies, forcing workers to bargain individually, create a climate of fear and discord so the daddy party can rule for ever and ever'. I thought conservatives were about minimal impact on the individual (ie small government, unrestricted business). Not according to Mein Albrechtsen it seems.

Howard, on the other hand, is changing Australia to reflect the way we work, the way we raise our children, the way we're educated, the sorts of things we expect governments to do and, more to the point, the things we want to do for ourselves.

Worse luck. He's changed Australia to make it so women stay at home, so people cannot rely on protection from unfair bosses and employment practices, and provided massive increases in money to ideologically fuelled schooling such as polo field owning private schools that spit out Adlers and other corrupt money men that all hold our balls in their winter uniform optional doe skinned gloved hands.

Of course, Howard is far from the perfect conservative. He has thrown tax dollars at failed businesses (Ansett, United Medical Protection), set up slush funds to massage the passage of reforms (voluntary student unionism, Telstra), and continues to prop up and pander to powerful lobbies (pharmacists). Not to mention his obscene election spending sprees. But, then, reform comes at a price. And Howard is on the reform path.

Dang ! Poor old Howard. You know you can't catch a break when Ditch Diver still thinks you haven't gone as goose steeping as you can. And I just love her use of the word Reform. If you look closely the Liberal/Nationals have bandied that formerly positive word around in everything they day. Apparently taking away my civil liberties and protection in the workplace is reform. Apparently granting the ability for companies to massively donate funds without accountability to the Libs is reform. Indeed he does pander to lobbies DD, and now – even more so.

Generations X and Y (and indeed earlier generations) are no more interested in collectivist labour structures than they are in allowing central planning of their sexual and social beliefs. So the Work Choices legislation puts individual choice above union power.

I'm generation X and I am interested in collective labour structures. And why is that? Because I believe in the essential principle of fairness. I think she probably means those Gen X/Y who by right of their appearance and education can in fact influence their conditions of service because they are entering in demand trades. Not the janitors, the food processors, the service industry staff, the transport workers, and all the other semi-skilled professions out there that need collective protection and who if they stand alone stand poorer and more likely to be wiped out at the stroke of a pen by an unfeeling business just beholden to the bottom line.

Similarly, the VSU reforms are based on a simple idea that no one should be forced to join a union, be it on campus or in the workplace. So if students want to jump on a bus to Woomera to protest against mandatory detention, fine. But don't expect other students to pick up the bus fare by paying compulsory union fees.

Get fucked DD. A fraction of funds was ever used by unis for political action as well you know. The vast bulk of it was providing services on campus for those that needed it, clubs for people to interact in, and building esprit de corps and a feeling of belonging. My understanding is that DD spent her entire time with her nose to the grindstone in an effort to win, win, win. Which likely explains her current 'me, me, fucking, me' mindset which is so clearly evident in her poisonous bile that she spews forth from the Oz, which I note with irony she did in the SMH until they forced her out (and her leaving them to settle a massive defamation case because of some shit she wrote about Pat O'Shane).

Indigenous people are being encouraged to take responsibility for their lives, to work, to be able to buy their home, to send their children to school, because the past 30 years of top-down, bureaucrat-driven regulation has failed them.

Yes blackies. Get back to work. Stop lying around in those homes you don't own, in areas with no employment and minimal resources to improve your lot in life. Oh, and stop clinging to your old identity and try and be a bit whiter if you can. Me? Peroxide darlings. Does wonders. Seriously I support the efforts of Noel Pearson and all those awesome programs that have been bought in to assist indigenous Australians. But let's not forget that land rights and all that other guff was fought tooth and nail by the Howard government and his ilk, and that they did not support a number of programs that worked either. You bet indigenous Australians need to help themselves as they are in turn helped. But patronising dog whistling about 'responsibility for their lives' is just fucking code for 'we are white and we are better' and you fucking know it.

Telstra is being sold because public ownership of assets in such a hi-tech, high risk, fast-moving industry is only slightly less Jurassic than Soviet-style collectives or the Great Leap Forward.

Ah yes. It's the soviet mantra to own infrastructure that supports the common good. Excuse me DD, but can you actually explain how Telstra being sold when it provided $$$ to the government coffers actually helps us? Er no, you can't can you? Because it doesn't. You support it because your party supports it.

Critics go bonkers at the idea of Howard changing Australia. The level of vitriol aimed at the Prime Minister on each of these issues is testimony not only to the significance of these changes but also to the fact Howard is overturning long entrenched vested interests, be it in the workplace, on campus, in indigenous politics and so on. A few weeks ago, even University of Sydney vice-chancellor Gavin Brown was calling VSU supporters such as Howard "redneck philistines". Hardly an intellectual response from our lofty academics. But, then, no one relinquishes power or money quietly.

It's not about power you skanky right winger. Do you honestly think unions exist solely as a power source for some ardent Marxists? Do you honestly feel that universities opposed VSU because they were scared of opening up their $2 sausage rolls against the $1.20 ones down the road? Of course not. These institutions existed to help people. All the ones you named here existed as a service to protect and assist people in need. Not people on some sort of power trip.

Then there are the genuine but misguided Fabian socialists who believe, to steal from Reagan, that a little band of intellectual elites in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves. These people have lost their elevated status in Howard's Australia.

Plan for ourselves. Yep because the immigrant with poor English earning fuck all doing a semi-skilled job has ALL the power to protect themselves and plan for themselves. Fuck me rigid. Individual planning only works in an atmosphere of mutual balanced cooperation. Those workers that could demand more because of ability or scarcity already could. It's the ones that can't that need collective protection. Not all of us have wealthy husbands, or PhDs or beautiful children going to beautiful schools. Ditch Diver certainly made her way in the world from humble beginnings, and all the more power to her, but I hardly see that her entering those phases of employment where she had rights and bargained collectively held her back. Unless it was because at the SMH they put her through the cadet system like everyone else and she thought this was somehow demeaning to her obvious ability to be greater than everyone else. In fact, I bet I just fucking nailed it. And it's not Howard's Australia. It's OUR FUCKING AUSTRALIA. And he's made it worse for people through his ideologically fuelled desire to ensure continued rule and that the bosses in this country are looked after. Of course, should I expect anything different from 'I wear stylish glasses' Ditch Diver whose boss is Murdoch? No, I guess not.

Other critics include one Greg Barns, once a Liberal, then a Democrat, now politically homeless, who last week wrote that Australia had become a pigsty under Howard, the conservative ideologue. The country, he argued, needed to be rescued by some latter-day Gough Whitlam or Paul Keating. Poor Greg sits waiting for Judgment Day, when a new philosopher king will lift whatever party he then belongs to into power while the Coalition will be cast into eternal damnation.

And boy do I hope it comes soon.

To criticise Howard as a conservative ideologue gravely underestimates him. Far from this being one man's ideological jaunt, Howard has caught the temper of his times. For Howard, conservatism is not an abstract ideology. It is diametrically opposed to abstractionism. It is rooted, instead, in human experience, in what works and what doesn't. To borrow again from Reagan, when "conservatives say that we know something about political affairs and that what we know can be stated in principles, we are saying that the principles we hold dear are those that have been found, through experience, to be ultimately beneficial for individuals, for families, for communities and for nations; found through the often bitter testing of pain or sacrifice and sorrow".
Howard's year of reform is driven by the idea that what works is letting individuals be free to make their own choices. Which raises a sweet irony in the progressives' opposition to Howard's reforms. The Left, after all, let the individualism cat out of the bag back in the 1960s when we were encouraged to "do our own thing" without any state interference. What people did in their personal lives was out of bounds. So why the vitriol when a similar notion is applied to people's lives once they step inside a workplace, a university or the family home?

Oh fuck off. It's not about the individual at all. These "reforms" are about degrading the base of the Labor party through denuding unions ability to organise and raise funding, and to make the average ozzer so concerned for their fiscal wellbeing in these times of greatly reduced employment protection and massive mortgages at the mercy of 0.25 increments, that they turn to they very people that caused their distress in the first place. It's about ensuring that business dominates this country instead of people. It's about engendering fear in the community of others and outsiders and again assisting people to vote their way because instead of realising they are part of a community, all they want to do is go home to their steel shuttered McMansions, thumb on the AC, and try and ignore the damage their insular fiscally fixated lives are doing to society and the environment as a whole. If the Howard government was so reformist minded Ditch Diver, why aren't they reforming the way the environment is protected hmmm? What about Kyoto? Global Warming? What about the fucking stuff that fucking matters?

But such logic is wasted. Instead, pining after bygone days, critics such as Hugh Mackay suggest workplace relations may just be on the cusp of a new "communitarian era", communitarian being an updated and refurbished version of collectivism. As if somehow a new word will fool us into thinking the Left is pursuing something new.

It worked pretty well for the last 10 years Ditch Diver. As you know, and as the Libs know. Enterprise bargaining via collective agreements helped drive this economy. All Howard did was change how some tax is garnered and, using the flood of wealth pouring into the coffers balanced the busget. Though of course his kicking pensioners off the free dental program certainly helped. The Left is, as always, concerned for the whole, unlike the Right Wing who somehow thinks that individuals that through either hard work or beneficial circumstances, should be held in higher stead than the collective whole. In DD's case I'm thinking her concern starts and ends with her immediate circle of luxury 4WD owners and those who send their kiddies to private schools.

And just to confirm that opposition aimed at Howard is too often unshackled by reason or evidence, the Howard haters have finished off the year with one of their old favourite taunts: Howard, the racist ringleader. When, after the Cronulla riots in Sydney, he refused to label Australians as inherently racist, it was just another example of "all sorts of dark shadows fall[ing] out of his mouth", according to Richard Ackland. Howard is holding the lead of that "rancid old race dog". Or, according to left-wing think tanker Clive Hamilton, Howard was whistling at us racist dogs. And let's not forget Barns's contribution: we are living in a pigsty with the PM winking and nodding to a racist populace.

Howard's not a racist ring leader. It's not like he has a statue of Hitler that he flips up to reveal a secret button to send a coded signal to skin heads and Alan Jones demographic to leap in their Racist mobiles and go bash brownies and lebs. No one's made that charge and you know it. What Howard has done, as well Ditch Diver knows, is create a climate where racists respond to how the Federal government positions itself, and how the Australian positions itself, where it denigrates people on the basis of their Religion or cultural background. When Hanson bleated on about special preferences for minorities (whilst bizarrely demanding the same for angry small business that fell victim to global trade) all Howard did was say 'political correctness had gone mad' and that 'she had a right to speak her mind.' And so did you Howard, and did you? You did not. What about Tampa Ditch Diver? Did Howard use that to his advantage? You bet your sweet arse he did. In the days leading to the 2001 election Howard's team didn't put out full page ads regarding their economic management skills. They put out the infamous 'we decide who comes to this country' ads, tapping into the visceral fear the ill educated and ill informed have that somehow migrants were jumping a non existent queue and that they were here for our jobs and other shit like that. Does Howard have some responsibility for Cronulla? You bet his fucking arse he does. Because he and his government have passively stood by as rancorous racists reared once more and gave a broad wink to the electorate that 'concerns' would be addressed. Look too to DIMIA and it's shameful excuse for management of refugees. They've been in nearly 10 years Ditch Diver, all of that shit happened on their watch. Vindictive and mean spirited and, yes, racist. Why? Because their key supporters want it. Does it make it right? Fuck no, it does not.

Dark shadows? Leads and dogs? Pigs? Winks and nods? Howard's critics imagine he has some spooky Svengali-like influence over that dumb animal farm known as the Australian electorate. But, then, Howard haters are forced to talk down to voters rather than 'fess up to the fact the PM may be on to something with policies based on empowering individuals to make their own decisions, thus neutering a whole swag of elites who would prefer to call the shots. No wonder his critics are becoming more feral every day.

Ah, DD, you do make me laugh. Howard's critics are criticising the way he governs, and the way he crafts laws in this country that strip away rights (terror legislation, WorkChoices). They criticize the way he avoids responsibility for failings in government, and the way he uses public servants for his political gain.

And I'll leave those who think Ditch Diver is somehow correct with this. Explain to me exactly how $10,000 secret donations, loss of rights in the workplace, the detention of citizens without charge, creating a climate of hostility and fear causing the ill educated and the ill informed to treat those of a different background differently because of it, not to mention revamped sedition laws somehow results in 'empowering individuals'.

I bet you my trusty groat that you cannot.

Merry Xmas from the FSM

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

RIP KP

Ah, yes, welcome, welcome. Let me look you up ... here we are, Kerry Packer yes? We've been expecting you. Hmm, quite a few times actually.









Oh yeah, when was then then mate?








Well, let's see (flip, flip, flip). October 7, 1990. You were playing polo I believe and suffered a massive heart attack.









Sure did Petey. Fuck me it hurt. Lucky one of them ambos with a de-fib. Resurrected me right there on the field it did. I gave five mil to the NSW ambos so they could stick 'em in all of 'em. Seemed only right.







Indeed. Let's see. We were next expecting you on October 23 the same year when you got your bypass but you pulled through. Ah, September 13, 1995. Another heart attack at the Hakoah club.









Yep. Prawn cocktail went down the wrong way mate. Got a pound on the back and spat it out, but it triggered me heart again. Fucking useless thing.





Not that useless. You pulled through again. Then of course there is the matter of that Kidney in 2000. If you hadn't have got that transplant you would have been here five years ago.









Good old Rossy. Talk about takin' one for the team. He's a good bloke. He'll be looked after.






Well, he's certainly going to get a few points on the good side of the scale that's for sure Kerry. And here you are finally. December 26, 2005. Well I suppose 15 years late is better than not arriving at all.









Not for lack of trying mate, that's for sure.






Yes, well, fair enough. Now Kerry. It seems your balance is a little on the bad side. You know, rich man, eye of needle, camel and so forth. Plus you embraced a number of vices in your time, chief of which was gambling.






So?








Well as it stands you're 12 points under and it looks like it's hell for you my friend. I wish it were the other way, but well, it's not I'm afraid. You are satan bound, due to spend eternity in an embrace of his firey bossom.







Oh yeah, I'll flip ya for it. Double or nuthin.








I'm afraid you're much mistaken Kerry. There is no "flipping for it" in heaven.








Ok, thought you might go the bgark option ya poof. I'll give you 5/2 odds.









(confused) 5/2?












If I win, I gets the 12 I needs for heaven. If you win you gets 30 points. 5/2. Bargain.







(still confused) but ... you don't have any points?










I reckon I saved a few lives with those de-fibs mate. That's gotta be worth a potential 30 points for you.







(even more confused) er, yes, um, ok that's fair enough then I suppose. Then "Flip" away.









Great. Got a spirit copy of me lucky $2 coin here mate. I choose heads...







See ya Kezzer. You made public life richer for your presence.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

And so this is Christmas

It's Xmas day, 2005. I'm at my parent's place. Pressie opening is about to commence, followed by lunch.

Last night and early this morning I attended Midnight Mass. Not the Catholic kind, the Anglican one. Does that count as a Mass if they are not Catholic? I'm not sure.

The sermon was naturally enough on putting Christ into Christmas. And that only with a true appreciation of Christ being involved could Christmas be possible.

I wonder if the pagans who celebrated December 25 as a Winter solstice felt the same way before the early Christian church decided that was the date for them? And of course with the pagan faith gone (I think it was Mithras) December 25 is now Christ only.

I did find it amusing that the sermon giver bashed the commercial side of Chistmas (which I heartily agree with and think that the Santa powered side of it is a tad pathetic and fucked), then recommended gifts of Narnia books and tapes down at the local Christian bookshop - which his church owns and operates.

So what is Christmas? Strip out the santa crap which, as a 33 year old balding male with pretty much every material item needed for a long and happy life, I do not need to be concerned with, I honestly think it's about celebrating the better side of people. Yes family gatherings can be stressful if you're battling parents or siblings. And there is always well meaning criticism from parents or siblings about each other's faults ("Do you really need to eat that?","Gosh you've put on weight","Maybe you could have a New Year's Resolution about cutting down on smoking"). But put that aside I honestly feel that Christmas is about people and celebrating people and celebrating being with people that you love.

The wife has rumbled me writing this. She thinks it's going to be a by by blow of what happens today.

Anyway. Can you have Christ without Christmas? Yes you can. But it doesn't hurt to absorb some of the spiritual side of it of peace on earth and goodwill to one and all.

Merry Xmas lads.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Twatwatch - 22 December 2005

Kevin Fucking Andrews, Minister for Workplace Relations.

Yep I've taken five out of my flu ridden reverie at my parent's place in Northern NSW to twatwatch Andrews for the second time.

Now I read this in the Oz (or what I like to call 'Proudly bought to you by the Federal Liberal Party') a day or so ago, at least I think it was, so I am going to paraphrase rather than find the link to the actual story.

In response to the announcement that one of the state governments was going to challenge their despicable 'let's lower the minimum wage for minimum wage workers and keep Australia decent for high paid executives' legislation, Andrews actually had the gall to suggest this expenditure was 'a waste of tax payer's money and would be better spent on schools and hospitals'.

???

I had to read that several times or, if it was a radio news item, remember it a few times, before I really wrapped my mind around it.

Kevin Andrews suggested that political spending was immoral did he? That the action by the State government, to preserve what little state authority exists under the current Iron rule of pseudo fascists in the Coalition at the federal level, was somehow a waste of money?

What about our 55 million you spent on your shameful exercise in propaganda you Christian on the armsleeves twat?

Fuck I hate this fucker. He really is both a miserable excuse to humanity, and the religion of Christianity. I know Christ accepts any that accept his call, but unlike Andrews, Christ spent a fair amount of effort preaching about looking after those who are unable to fend for themselves. Not, as I recall, restructuring the law to strip out entitlements and potentially create a country where we have full time working poor who live under the poverty line as the US.

I wish the churches could go around the Andrew's place, knock on his door, and demand every crucifix, bible, altar cloth, communion wine, and whatever other religious paraphernalia he has secreted in his house and not give it back until he starts acting like ... a Christian.

And that goes for all those other Leviticus quoting fuckers that abuse the notion of Christ the Peace Maker and the man for the poor and somehow turned his words into supporting mill owners, coal miners, and other 19th century hard arse boss wannabees that seem to think that being paid 20 times the average salary of one of their workers somehow makes them a better human being.

Massive total and utter twat.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Q&A for HarrangueMan

Q: First up Mr HarrangueMan. The extra R, what's with that?

A: Huh?

Q: Harrangue is actually spelled Harangue. You stuck an extra R in.

A: I did?

Q: Yes.

A: Er, I think I stuck the extra R in to show how Haranguey I was going to get. You know, like Mega.

Q: You just spelled it wrong and only just realised didn't you?

A: Maybe. Maybe not.

Q: Moving on. What are some other embarrassing things about yourself or that you've done that make you uncomfortable? Clearly you're not adverse to sharing your tales of woe - such as that Doctor sticking his fingers up your arse during a prostate exam.

A: Yeah, that's true. I guess I find this online confessing thing cathartic.

Q: Really? Are you going to confess to everything from now on?

A: Well nothing that can hurt other people obviously. So stuff between me and the wife stays off here. As does stuff between me and friends. But my past indiscretions I can discuss.

Q: What about current ones like masturbation? Remember that site you found? Extreme Fetish dot com or something?

A: Yeah, er, no, not about that.

Q: Ok then. Putting aside your occasional freakish turn ons (cough)sickbastard(cough), what's something you cringe about even now?

A: Well there was this time when I was on a school choir trip and I didn't quite make it to the toilet in time, and there was this number two related accident. But I had no access to fresh underwear until I went to bed. So it dried into place. For six hours. Finally I got the guts to get up and de-frock (having put my PJ's over the top when I changed), with dried bits having dislodged onto the bed I was in. I was up brushing them out when the parents of the family I was staying walked in and turned on the light. That was fucked up. Big time. I went back there the next year and was terrified they told their kids about it, but they never did.

Q: Ouch man. That's pretty bad. Learn a lesson from that?

A: Never pass up a toilet stop if you can. And, if you have IBS, keep a spair pair of underwear at work just in case.

Q: What else?

A: I remember at my first job as a casual stocktaker talking about this guy called Arthur. An old bloke. 'Yeah, that Arthur. He looks like a sly prick,' I said as part of a conversation starter. The other stocktaker said 'hey leave him alone.' Later I found out he was Arthur's son.

Q: Fuck me, you like to put your foot in it.

A: One another time I said that this English teacher of mine reminded me of Frankenfurter from Rocky Horror. I said this to a bunch of girls. One of them got upset. It turned out she was her daughter. I hadn't connected the fact they had the same last name.

Q: Wow, two for two man. How do you do it?

A: I think it's because I push the envelope too much. And when I get nervous I talk shit.

Q: Ever tangle with a girl and get embarrassed by that?

A: There was this girl I liked in year nine. We'd go mushrooming. We were lying by a river bank one day and I rolled on top of her and started kissing her much to her disgust. She pushed me off. We never spoke of it again but that friendship died pretty quick. On account of my stupidity. I was like that fake deaf guy in Seinfeld that tries to paw at Elaine and she kind of forces him off a couple of times.

Q: Dude, that's messed up.

A: Yeah, well, pretty cringe worthy.

Q: Do you feel better for getting that off your chest?

A: You know I do. But I do get worried what people I know will think about me if they read it.

Q: Well HarangueMan ...

A: ... HarRangueMan. I'm keeping the extra R ...

Q ... ok then, HarrangueMan. The thing is that all of us have done things that embarrassed us, and made us feel dumb. So I think they'd probably think 'Geez, I've done some odd stuff too man, don't worry about it.' And I think too that it's not healthy fixating on stuff you did 20 odd years ago that didn't actually hurt anyone except your feelings. Dude, just get over it.

A: It's easy enough for you to say. I am a bubbling froth of deep regret, embarrassment, pain, stupidity, anger, fattiness, ugliness, awkwardness, ill humour, not funny, demented, lazy, obnoxious, rude, argumentative, obstinate, cruel, unhygienic, hypocritical, fucked in the head moron that has it so much better in life than 92% of the planet, that I still manage to whinge about my life despite the fact I am an educated whitey in a comfortable job, in a great country, with some really nice people in my life who I care for a great deal and help me forget about all that shit I feel about myself.

Q: ... O ... K ...

A: Sorry, self pity mode again. I gotta pull my finger out and set new goals for myself, make myself better, and try and address some of those bad things I listed.

Q: New Years resolutions perhaps?

A: Maybe. I'll wing it.

Q: Well thanks for that cathartic blast Harrangueman. I understand you're on holiday now.

A: Yep, leaving tomorrow until just before New Years.

Q: Well I hope your hols are awesome, and that you stick with the Operation Stop Killing Yourself with Fucking Food and Fucking Drink.

A: 15 days so far on no Diet Coke and Caffeine. Now I just gotta make sure I don't go nuts with the Xmas cheer.

Q: And keep walking, despite Techno and Cass not being there to motivate you.

A: Will do.

Q: Well, that's it for the Q&A. Everyone have a great holiday and New Years and I hope 2006 sees us all work for the better of all in the new year. Good night.

Mrs Jones speaks out



A sphincter says what?
















If you're curious to hear Jones in action outside his carefully managed program, see the JJJ Hack website here. Funn-ee.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

John Howard - 30 October 1996 - speech to Parliament - spot the difference between his words and subsequent actions of his government

Mr HOWARD (Bennelong— Prime Minister) (3.06 p.m.) —by leave—I move:

That this House—

(1) reaffirms its commitment to the right of all Australians to enjoy equal rights and be treated with equal respect regardless of race, colour, creed or origin;

(2) reaffirms its commitment to maintaining an immigration policy wholly non-discriminatory on grounds of race, colour, creed or origin;

(3) reaffirms its commitment to the process of reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, in the context of redressing their profound social and economic disadvantage;

(4) reaffirms its commitment to maintaining Australia as a culturally diverse, tolerant and open society, united by an overriding commitment to our nation, and its democratic institutions and values; and

(5) denounces racial intolerance in any form as incompatible with the kind of society we are and want to be.

As indicated in question time, the terms of this motion have been agreed in discussions between the Leader of the House (Mr Reith) and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Gareth Evans). I want to say at the outset that, so far as the government is concerned and I am sure the same applies for the opposition, this motion is not an attempt to pretend some phoney level of bipartisanship; rather, it is an embodiment of certain attitudes and values that both sides of the House in the national parliament have in common.

It embodies a number of notions which have been enunciated by me repeatedly over a long period of time. It contains commitments to the kind of Australian society that I believe in and have always believed in. It contains a commitment to some common Australian values which are held by Australians, irrespective of whether they were born in this country and irrespective of whether their ancestors came from the British Isles, Europe, the Middle East or Asia. It embodies a number of principles which are a proper underpinning for vigorous and robust debate that ought properly to take place in the Australian community on all issues.

Whatever the rights and wrongs and the contribution of different people and different attitudes in the Australian community, it comes at a time when it is appropriate and in the national interest to send a clear and unambiguous signal, particularly to the nations of our region but not only to the nations of our region, of the kind of society we are. It is put forward to this parliament by the government and I trust also by the opposition not in any sense of apology, not in any self-conscious sense and not in any self-deprecatory sense, but as a simple, direct and unambiguous statement of certain common values and principles.

There are few nations in the world that can boast such a record of democracy, such a record of fair treatment and such a record of harmonious blending together of people of different racial backgrounds than Australia. Australia remains one of the very few nations of the world that has been continuously democratic for the whole of this century. It pioneered many liberal reforms in many areas. Its record of achievement in integrating into a very harmonious and united nation people from all parts of the world is something of which all of us can be immensely proud and something to which all of us have made a special contribution.

There was a time when this nation was overwhelmingly made up of people, apart from our indigenous people, whose ancestors came from England, Scotland, Ireland or Wales. Successive waves of immigration, particularly after World War II, began to alter that pattern; although we continued to have a significant number of immigrants from the British Isles and from Ireland. Subsequently, and certainly in the last 20 years, there has been a significant flow of immigration from the areas of our region, from the Middle East, from South America and also small numbers from the African continent.

There are certain landmarks along that path of development. The abolition of the White Australia Policy in 1966 under the Liberal prime ministership of Harold Holt represented a very significant cultural and attitudinal change on the part of the Australian people. I accept that it was supported at the time by people across the political spectrum. I also accept that it was not at that time greeted with universal acclaim but I believe it gradually won very strong acceptance.

I remain very proud of the fact that I was a member of the coalition government led by Malcolm Fraser which, in the late 1970s, chose to admit to this country tens of thousands of people from war-torn Indochina; so much so that Australia on a per capita basis took more Indochinese refugees than any nation in the world. It is worth repeating that: Australia took more Indochinese refugees on a per capita basis than any other nation in the world. I repeated that because on occasions I hear voices saying that we have a past which in these areas is totally bigoted and prejudiced. The reality is that, on that occasion, we demonstrated a passion and a willingness to accept and absorb, which was an example to the rest of the world and something of which all Australians should feel particularly proud.

Inevitably, the character of Australia has changed as a result of this migration. Much of that change has been profoundly beneficial. I think this country owes an enormous debt to people that have chosen this as their home—people who have come from the four corners of the world. When I returned to the leadership of the Liberal Party on 31 January 1995, one of the things I said was that the policies that we would put together would be guided, in certain respects, by a belief that Australia was composed of people drawn from all parts of the world but united behind a common commitment to the values, beliefs and institutions of the Australian community.

We can within our ranks have legitimate debate about the size of our immigration program. There is a different attitude towards immigration now than there was in the 1950s and 1960s. All of us, whatever our political views, should take account of that. You cannot isolate the sense of insecurity and anxiety that people at a time of relatively high unemployment feel from considerations of levels of immigration. There is a legitimate debate to be had as to whether or not we should have more or less immigration. I think that debate should go on in a calm, rational and intelligent fashion.

It is natural that people, particularly those who feel themselves at the sharp end of challenge and anxiety in industries that have seen extensive job losses, should feel some sense of anxiety about immigration levels. It is the obligation of all of us to understand that. It is our obligation to point out, where it is appropriate, the error in their understanding of the causation between immigration and job security. But it is also our responsibility to involve them in the debate. It is never appropriate for us, as I think on both sides of the House in the past we have tended to do, to take the attitude towards the Australian community: after all, this is really a little bit too hard for you to understand; leave it to us; we will make the decision on your behalf.

Some of the difficulties and some of the resentments that we have seen in recent times are as a direct result of many Australians feeling that there is in some sense a political elite in this community—and that political elite has been composed of people from both sides—that has denied to the people of the Australian community a right to participate. This motion is about saying to the Australian people and to the nations of the region that we are a tolerant society; we are a compassionate society; we are a society that has demonstrated our credentials so far as the absorption of people from all around the world is concerned, in a fashion that entitles us to feel extremely proud about our past.

It is also a statement of some fundamental beliefs about the nature of our existence as human beings in Australia: the very strong belief that people should always be judged on their individual worth and merit, on their character and behaviour, and on what they do for their fellow man and not on the basis of their ethnic origin, the colour of their skin, their religious beliefs or their lack of religious beliefs, or where they may happen to have been born.

Any notion that anybody in this country entertains that it is in the moral, political or economic interests—and I put them deliberately in that order—of Australia to return to anything approaching the White Australia policy I think is profoundly wrong. That is a view that my government enunciated when it came to power; it is a view I enunciated when I became the Leader of the Opposition in January last year and I believe that, soberly explained and properly understood and put in the context of some of the things that I have said earlier in this speech, it is something that on reflection the great majority of the Australian people will accept. It is an obligation on all of us to put that view calmly and in an understanding fashion.

This motion also says something about our attitude towards the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia, the original Australians and first inhabitants of this continent of ours, however one would wish to describe it. There will continue to be debate and there will continue to be sharp differences of opinion between the government and the Australian Labor Party about the appropriate policies to respond to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Mr Campbell —No, there won't.

Mr HOWARD —There will be—and that is as it should be. But I think we can agree on one or two things. We can agree that as an identifiable group the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the most profoundly disadvantaged within our midst. That is something I have said not just for the first time and it will not be the last time I say it; it is a view I have expressed before.

I do believe, as I know the opposition believes, in a process of reconciliation. We will have our different views as to what reconciliation represents. To me, the most effective way to achieve reconciliation is to address current disadvantage in areas such as health, housing and education. I do not believe, and I have always strongly rejected, notions of intergenerational guilt. I regret as an Australian the appalling way in which members of the indigenous community have been treated in the past and I believe the truth about what occurred in our history should be taught in an unvarnished fashion.

But could I also say that I profoundly reject with the same vigour what others have described, and I have adopted the description, as the black armband view of Australian history. I believe the balance sheet of Australian history is a very generous and benign one. I believe that, like any other nation, we have black marks upon our history but amongst the nations of the world we have a remarkably positive history.

I think there is a yearning in the Australian community right across the political divide for its leaders to enunciate more pride and sense of achievement in what has gone before us. I think we have been too apologetic about our history in the past. I think we have been far too self-conscious about what this country has achieved and I believe it is tremendously important that we understand, particularly as we approach the centenary of the Federation of Australia, that the Australian achievement has been a heroic one, a courageous one and a humanitarian one. Any attempts to denigrate that achievement I believe will derive the justifiable ire and criticism of the Australian community, however people may lie in the political spectrum.

There has been some talk in recent weeks about the way in which political debate should be conducted in this country. I have said before, and I am happy to repeat it, that I do believe that in recent times there has been a tendency towards excessive political correctness in political debate in this country. There will be those opposite who will disagree with that. I naturally accept their perfect right to express that disagreement and put their point of view.

I think the way some people in the Australian community have reacted to the debate of recent weeks, and the way advice has been given to me and to others as to the precise way in which I should respond to particular comments, has demonstrated an absolute obsession with the form rather than the substance of the debate.

I think there has been a wholly disproportionate reaction by too many people in too many areas of Australian society to one particular speech. I find it rather interesting that I pick up the newspapers, I watch the television, I listen to the radio and I hear constant talk about the deeply divisive debate on immigration which is going on within the Australian community. Yet I learn on the morning after the Lindsay by-election that Australians Against Further Immigration received a little over six per cent of the primary vote in the electorate of Lindsay. If ever AAFI were to have a hope of scoring a high result, it was in the Lindsay by-election. Yet the result was that the party polled a derisory share of the popular vote.

I think it does say something about the maturity of the Australian people. It demonstrates the ill wisdom of any attempts by any of us to deny the Australian people the courtesy of accepting that they can debate and understand things in a mature and open fashion. Every time we treat them in that patronising fashion, they will demonstrate their great maturity and their great understanding.

Two other things that I want to say, I want to say very directly to Australians of Asian descent: so far as the government of this country is concerned, those Australians of Asian descent are as honoured citizens as any other section of the Australian community. People of the Asian communities have contributed very greatly to the enrichment of our life. They have brought their values of the extended family, they have brought their values of hard work, they have brought their values of commitment to small business and entrepreneurial flair and their infectious vigour in so many other areas to our shores, and particularly, but not only, of course, in my own home city of Sydney they have made a very significant mark on the life and the activities of that city.

They number amongst their ranks like any other section of the Australian community—people whose views we may or may not share. But it is important that we remember that relations between people have a deeply personal character. Insensitive remarks, hurts, insults and intemperately made generalisations can inflict enormous personal hurt and damage on individuals.

A few weeks ago I made a speech to the Queensland division of the Liberal Party, which subsequently attracted some attention. I do not recant, retract or take away one syllable of what I said during that speech. I might be permitted to say something to the House about that speech. I remind the House that, having said that I believed we had entered an era of clear and more open debate in the Australian community, I supported the right of Australians to participate in a vigorous fashion in open political debate. I then went on to say:

. . . that freedom of speech carries with it a responsibility on all of those who exercise that freedom to do so in a tolerant and moderate fashion and to not convert the new-found freedom, if I may put it that way, into a vehicle for using needlessly insensitive and intolerant language.

It is a caveat and an injunction that I think all members of this House should follow and observe. I hope that this motion attracts the support of everyone in this chamber, because it does reflect, despite our profound political differences, including on some of the issues I have canvassed in my speech, the common assent of the members of the national parliament of Australia to some very important and fundamental human values.

Ah John Howard on Racism

"There’s no doubt that the greatest criticism I have of One Nation is the way in which it has described people according to their race. That is wrong and that is repugnant to the values of Australian society and all Australians irrespective of their ethnic background are entitled to decent treatment and respect and I have said frequently before as a fourth generation Australian on one or two sides that as far as I am concerned anybody who has embraced this country as their own, whatever their ethnic background, has as much right as I do to call Australia home. And that really is the greatest criticism I have. You ask me whether any final analysis was has been the impact. I think you have to make your own judgement on that. I am not as pessimistic as others. I am really not and I think the reaction of Australians over a period of time has demonstrated their fundamental tolerance. And the thing that has annoyed me most about this debate is the readiness of some people to typecast the whole thing as an illustration of the inherent intolerance and racism of the Australian community. I don’t believe that and I get very, very angry when people describe Australians as racist or intolerant."

From an Address to the Press Club on 1 October 1998 - see here

Get angry Johnny, because I very much fear the average Aussie with an average job and average education who has had an insular isolated culturally whitebread upbringing is in danger of being racist and intolerant.

By the way, note the get out of jail free comment of "embraced this country as their own". Cue dog whistle...

The Cronulla Riots and aftermath - readers respond in Crikey

Interesting responses. I agree with most of them - except the 'lebs out' missives from the minority represented there. Henry Pills' comment I think is right on the money.

From today's Crikey (13 December 2005).

Crikey.com.au offers subscriptions to their e-newspaper at just $100 a year. Well worth it.

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Chris Graham, editor of National Indigenous Times, writes:
Benjamin Amy's letter to Crikey was an extraordinary read... the things you see when you haven't got a gun! As for the chant, "We grew here, they flew here", the response going around Aboriginal Australia today is "We growed here, you rowed here". Everyone who participated in this shameful, disgusting display – and that includes the morons who turned up with flags and BBQs to "take back the beach" and show their "Aussie pride" – should be deported. Small group of trouble-makers my ar*e. They were a large pack of mindless, human filth... Every single one of them.

Henry Pill writes:

The Cronulla race riots are a product of a generation which has grown up in John Howard's Australia. Many of the participants would have been just ten or 12 in 1996 and know the Howard government as the only one in their living memory. They are a generation whose ideas of multiculturalism and tolerance have been shaped by Howard's adoption of Hansonism, his trashing of the reconciliation agenda, his deliberate abuse of asylum seekers and his implicit endorsement of Bush Administration fundamentalism. Look no further than Bronwyn Bishop's comments on Arab Head Scarves for a quick glimpse into how this government is still poisoning the minds of these young Australians. These guys aren't deviants, they are conformists to the Howard worldview, they use the Australian flag because they think this country stands for ignorance and hate, that's hardly their fault, that's what their upbringing under this government has told them. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and this is what happens when you try to raise a child in a village run by a hatemonger who plays the race card like it's the ace of spades.

John X. Berlin writes:

The Cronulla Beach Madness ultimately emanates from the 'Kirribilli Kaiser'. Now, if we as Aussies, don't like a country like Iraq or Afghanistan we simply illegally invade that Sovereign Nation and 'Bomb the Crap' out of its defenceless residents. If we don't agree with sovereign countries in Asia and the Pacific we threaten them with economic blackmail, unless they accept our Prison Camps, Federal Police and Army. It suits the Federal Government to foster this climate of fear. There will be much more. Messrs. Howard, Downer and Ruddock should hang their heads in shame.

Jim writes:
Let's stop the hand-wringing, the angst and the outrage. There is no such thing as "un-Australian." What we saw on the weekend was utterly "Australian." We are just like everybody else around the globe – full of hate, frustration, resentment and a suspicion that someone else is getting a better deal. Don't blame the media. Don't blame seditious text messengers. Don't for God's sake blame Bali! Blame us. We, the nation of Australia, are reaping what we have sown, and the seeds have already begun to blow across this vast continent on the hot summer wind. It is a toxic crop. It is the harvest of 200 years of well-nourished xenophobia, fertilised with ignorance, cultivated by masterful hands and finished with a decade of concentrated hate and fear.

Paul S writes:

I read Crikey regularly and like the treatment most subjects are given. However, the story by S Feneley re Cronulla (yesterday, item 2) was way off the mark! Yes the drunken hooligans were an embarrassment and they virtually blew the hope of a peaceful solution out of the water. They were stupid and attacking the police was idiotic and the treatment of a few people with dark skin was madness. However, they are not the major problem! I repeat, they are not the problem, they are unfortunately our first line of defence (Yes that has me worried too). S Feneley (and his cafe latte friends) should be more worried about the islamic criminal gangs and extremists. They are one who have disrupted society and cause a real threat to our way of life in Sydney. They are the ones who will knife, shoot or attempt to blow us Aussies up. Obviously Steven has not been to a Bulldogs match or spent a Sat or Sunday night down at Brighton. These gangs are aggressive, often uneducated and have no respect for Australia. They despise Aussies and are motivated by crazy ideas from abroad. They fully intend to disrupt whatever they can and will stoop to very low depths whilst they remain in large gangs. Stephen missed the point of the demonstration. It was the majority rising up! Unfortunately it was diverted by a bunch of drunken fools (possibly on purpose). But Aussies will need to rise up again. I just hope they are led with insight, patience and direction. If not, Sydney will be a mess that may not be worth living in!

Pamela Curr writes:
After constant reminders that we are under threat of terror attacks, bolstered by ASIO raids on the homes of first Indonesian, then Iranian, then Australians of Lebanese and Turkish backgrounds and then Sri Lankans under the glare of right wing media shock jocks, is it any wonder that “Paranoid Nationalism” is rearing its ugly head? Urged on by the ugliest media in the country, individual Australians have turned to mob violence. Get your boot in –oi,oi,oi. How relaxed and comfortable are we all feeling now?

Reg Hudson writes:
Those who deplore so vociferously the behaviour of the drunken mob at Cronulla are on the wrong tram. The root cause of the problem is the behaviour over a long period of these Lebanese louts to the extent where things have built up to where many of us, many non-ockers and others are calling "enough." Christian Lebanese have been coming to this country for over a century, and in that time have assimilated into the community, particularly country towns all over Australia and become successful businessmen in many areas, also in the professions. We see non-Christian Lebanese arriving here, flocking to suburbs which they turn into ghettos, and attempting to impose their foreign culture upon us. Contempt for young Aussie sheilas springs to mind, (we don't like this idea of female g*nital mutilation for starters) , objecting to our littlies having their Nativity plays and similar interference is showing its ugly cultural head, and there are many other instances of unwelcome pressure on our norms. Many of us feel that if they don't like our ways, then they should go back from whence they came.

Holger Lubotski writes:
Small Town Johnnie's denial that the Cronulla riots depicted an “underlying racism” was very hollow, coming from the man who manufactured the Tampa “crisis” to win an election. He has to choose denial because it's the easiest way for him to deny responsibility for what happened in Cronulla! Morris Iemma's remarks on the 7.30 Report last night made a very clear case for what went on and why. Johnnie might be right when he says it's not an “underlying racism” – it's obviously a very overt and obvious racism! What? The PM responsible for racial attacks in Cronulla? Damn right!

Toastwatch has been rumbled

Got the message from the wife today. 'I am aware of Toastwatch' she complained, her friend the delighful Cath having dobbed me in ("hi Cath").

I explained my theory that she deliberately interrupted my eating of toast, and was in fact part of some sort of conspiracy to prevent my enjoyment of cooked bread products.

She just looked at me as if I was nuts !

Toastwatch will now go underground for a few weeks until I feel safe to blog about it once more.

Cronulla Riots II; what now?

Ok, I've had time to digest all this, along with the what 'they' did and what 'they' dids that have gone tit for tat in the past few days.

I discussed this with Techno on one of our vigorous constitutionals around our work and he made a valid point.

'It's all very well blaming this on the cultural conditions for this on your perception of passive and/or active racism by the Howard government, but what do we do now?'

I'm stumped. How do you teach a lost generation of Australians that somehow missed the 'yes, we are all individuals' and 'yes, we all cooperate in a society' message that was supposedly being taught.

Blame the parents, blame Howard, blame being new to this country, blame religion, blame tribalism, blame it all, but what now?

How the hell can us Ozzers step back from this? Changing how people think is the hardest thing. Especially if they have entrenched opinions.

Here's some ideas

1) Federal government stops using dog whistling on racist lines eg refugees = scum therefore all people different to you are scum. And please gentle viewers from the right - do not deny the Howard government does not dance with the different to us devil. They do. They win elections on it.

2) The media stops focussing on the racial mix of people in reports. Yes the gang rapes of Western Sydney were appalling. But each time you mention 'Lebanese' you colour the perceptions of people that all are like that. As one caller to the ABC pointed out - when the Bra Boys were mentioned in reports outside the recent experience, they were not described as 'white anglo-celtic males'. Sure describing people by their genetic or cultural overt appearance is important sometimes. But not in the media like they do.

3) Shoot Alan Jones. Just kidding of course (like Alan). Filth like Jones should be charged under the sedition laws. What's good enough for Muslims, as the federal govt keeps pointing out, should be good enough for whitey. I'm against these laws, but I would find the irony delicious if Mr Bum Boy for the Federal Libs goes down 7 years in the pokey for incitement. See here

Isn't it ironic that Abu Bakar Bashir was jailed for incitement to violence? Remember how Australian's whined about that? Well now we have one too. Step forward Mrs Jones.

Seriously, I'm all for free speech. I am. However Talk Back Radio seems to have its fair share of ill informed fuckwits from the right braying invective about people that are different all to the nodding bird like acceptance of their radio host providers. Perhaps there could be something done about this? How about this? Each time a radio station host is found guilty by the tribunal to which they respond to of vilification their station suffers prime time dead air for two hours. That's it. Dead air. Gone. Woosh. No more talkies for you. No fines. Dead air. And each additional breech doubles the time.

Ditto for newspapers. Each time say the Herald Sun or the Daily Telegraph runs some sort of racist dribble they have to have a page, a whole page, maybe even the cover, and apologise.

4) Discover to the best of their ability those who participated in all levels of the Cronulla riots and follow on violence - from both sides. Then - put them in a room 3 at a time from each side, and have them sit through some sort of awareness training. Yes, I can dream. Better yet, have representatives from the communities affected to describe how racism affects their day to day living. Both sides man. Equal. Anglo girls describing that they can wear what the fuck they want and that by all means look but don't touch/comment. And Muslim girls about how being called a terrorist and having their head scarf ripped off actually is rather intimidating.

5) Make all of them line up opposite each other and shake hands. Worked in school.

6) Howard stamps hard on any fuckwit in his ranks (Bishop I'm talking about you) that makes even a whiff of a racist comment. Hmm, pretty hard to enforce that. What with so many fellow travellers in their ranks. Maybe we'd be better off just having his government sacked at the next election.

7) Someone stamps on Howard. Maybe have Howard appear in hospital talking to the people injured - like he managed to do in Britain for his last round of 'I just happened to be in the city when the terrorists came' tours - and explain to their faces while he thinks those 5000 cockwits who turned up and made comments like 'fuck off lebs.'

8) The government spends say, 55 million dollars, on a multicultural awareness campaign.

9) The police actively target under represented minorities and get them into their ranks (yes, it's quite hard, but they can do it if they had a mind to it).

10) Stamp out misogynists. Many louts of all colour and creeds seem to regard women as merely walking sperm receptacles. See Puberty Blues for example of a toxic surf culture. Ditto those groups of men that mention how'd they like to do chicks to their faces and do so in a threatening manner. It's not grown up. It's not manly. It's being a bully and a fuckwit. In fact, see this article here.

11) Women who hang around these men. Stop it. Move on. Go find a snag. Do not think this behaviour is cool, or that men who do it are. If you stay with these people you are asking for a life of pain and abuse.

On a side note I hate bullies and fuckwits. I've been assaulted a number of times in my life by groups of alcohol fuelled fuckwits who thought me being a fatty with a larger vocab was somehow a threat to their ability to potentially lodge their penis in a sperm receptacle. Even ones who only knew me cause they happened to see me in the street as they drove past.

So watching the fuckwits in Cronulla was far scarier to me and far more real than the reports of reprisal raids on people who actually didn't do anything (which was as fucked).

To me those fuckwits in Cronulla represent, in the words of Diamond Dog from ConAir, the very basest elements of the white race.

If something happened to their ability to reproduce, given their current mindset, I certainly wouldn't be shedding any tears.

My greatest fear is A) they will breed and B) their toxicity will be inherited by their children.

God save us all.

Any ideas on the way forward campers? How do we make our lost generation of Australians realise that we all have the same aspirations/desires/dreams and rights of access to public areas, no matter if they or their parents arrived here 40,000 years ago/200 years ago/100 years ago/50/30/20/10/5/1 or last week?

Time for you to cool off

Well the Governator has denied clemency to Stanley Tookie Williams, ex joint founder of the crips gang in LA, and convicted murderer of four people. He dies tomorrow US West time at 12.01.

This is of course, an angry black man with issues. As can be seen by the photo from his Crips heyday. And the fact that he murdered people (though he claims innocence for some of those crimes) cannot be disputed.


Left: Angry, angry young man.

But here in lies one of the core problems of Capital Punishment. The ability to repent or make amends for your crimes when you have been executed, or will be in days, months, or in Tookie's case, decades later.

Now in the Governator’s statement of claims regarding why Tookie should die, see here, which by the way does not actually appear to be all the Governator’s own work ("Arnold, look me in the eye. Did you write this?" .. "Yes Miss Tonkenmeyer, it is all my own vords"), he claims that Tookie has failed to redeem since he did not stitch former team mates up. And despite receiving a commendation for his work in negotiating a reduction in gang violence in LA from no less than President Bush II (more Bush, more often), the Governator decided that because there was still gang violence that meant no clemency for Williams.

The Governator also manages to dismiss a number of questionable elements of prosecution evidence on some of the murders, which relied heavily on accomplices testimony I note, by hand waving a ‘yes, these were looked at and denied by appeals judges.’

Which I suppose is fair enough, since the Californian courts are known for their ability to 100% guarantee the rights of the accused during their legal process. And the Californian police naturally are above board and don't fiddle with evidence at all. Or beat up black motorists.

Be all that as it may, Tookie has done as much as anyone can on death row to atone – without stitching up his former gang members (one of the ‘he must die’ claims). Which is ironic since had he stitched up former gang members, then his ability to be a broker for street peace would be about as small as one of the Governator’s steroid reverse swollen testicles.

What can you do in the US penal system to atone, and repent and gain recognition for this? Seemingly nothing. Governor Bush, as another one time presidential aspirant (though unlike Arnie not barred from the top job because of his non US birthing), likewise executed someone who had repented. She’d been a model prisoner, converted to Christianity, and met her end with quiet good grace. Of course this did not matter to Bush, who proceeded to sign more death warrants than any governor before him. But then considering his propensity to start wars that cost 100,000 lives, then really should we be actually surprised.

It seems the primitive adage of an eye for an eye is alive and well in the US of A. Which was one of the first legal mechanisms employed by embryonic societies. There are Sumerian tablets for example that list such laws, such as if a builder builds a house that falls down and it kills the son of the occupant, that the son of the builder should likewise be killed. Like I said, primitive.

Fortunately for Tookie his death will be by the more advanced and apparently humane lethal injection, as opposed to dropping a house on him like in Sumeria. He will get to say some final words to the family members of those he was convicted of killing, who get to watch from behind a glass screen. And the details of his last meal will be posted on a website somewhere. Oh and some sombre faced corrections officer will announce when Tookie was pronounced dead.

"Justice” at last. I hope that those Americans that were diverted from a hopeless cycle of poverty and cultural fuelled violence and despair by what Tookie achieved despite being banged up and facing the Reaper, look to him with quiet appreciation for avoiding a ‘but there for the grace of God go I’ similar fate.

It seems it doesn’t matter how sorry you are, and how much effort you put in to make amends, you can’t be forgiven from a sentence of death in the US of A, home of the free and the brave and the compassionate.

After-all, you start showing signs of humanity, and the toxic right wing of US politics will come down on you like a Valkyrie toting an automatic weapon in each hand.

Actually, I think Arnie would like that. "You and me bay-bee, right here, right now. I have scheduled a meeting for you ... in bed."

For a more balanced view on Tookie Williams, see his wiki entry here. I note with morbid fascination that they already have his life closed off with his end date, bracketed with ‘(scheduled)’ after it.

God bless America.

By the way, the inability for repentance to be factored in is just one of the many ways I am against the death penalty (see previous blog on Van Ngyuen). At the end of the day Capital punishment cheapens life, and reinforces the concept that the cycle of violence and hate can somehow be slowed by the application of violence and hate. The death penalty, like torture, in all its forms, and for all its reasons, is abhorrent and immoral, and it makes society lesser for it. And that blanket statement of 'No Death Penalty for all' goes for all the worst scum of humanity too, such as pederasts and genocidal heads of state that start wars and cost the lives of thousands of innocents.

Like Saddam Hussein … and President Bush.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Cronulla Riots

I am about to duck off to NerdNight(tm), so can't blog about this and do it justice just yet. But from my subscriber's copy of Crikey comes this gem.

I am sickened by this. Absolutely sickened.


From Crikey, 12 December 2005

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Words and pictures by long-time Cronulla resident Benjamin Amy:

I've just returned home after spending six hours watching the disgusting afternoon unfold at Cronulla beach. I'm sending this to anyone that'll read it.

I'd seen media reports in the lead up to today's "showdown," and never believed it was actually going to happen. In particular I noticed on page three of Saturday's Herald "A lesson in beach etiquette, Shire-style" which featured a guy named Shaun – pictured with his Aussie flag singlet, tattoos all over him and holding a long-neck of beer in a paper bag.

Shaun dislikes visitors he says are rude. "They look down on our women," he says. I'd never seen anyone like that at Cronulla beach and thought the paper had exaggerated the facts about how locals felt and what they were planning to do. I was wrong. Cronulla today was filled with loud, pis*ed, Shaun doppelgangers, all of them looking for a fight.

When I arrived at Cronulla at about midday the crowd was fairly calm, rowdy and yobbo-ish, though not violent. The drinking had already started, there were BBQs being cooked in the back of utes, John Williamson music was blaring from car stereos and the "Wall" at North Cronulla was a sea of Australian flags, Eureka Stockade flags and boxing kangaroos. Political correctness had already been thrown aside, with some of the guys there screaming "f*ck off Lebs" (there wasn't a 'Leb' to be seen) and "reclaim the shire," and with comments like "we grew here, you flew here" and "Save Nulla, F*ck Allah" painted on their chests.

What was most unbelievable, even more so than the overt racism, was the number of people there... There were thousands and thousands of people. It was like the harbour foreshore on New Year's Eve or Australia Day. Roads had been closed and the empty space created was filled thick with people. It wasn't just twenty-something males there, there were groups of girls and women, packs of teenagers, entire families (I just cannot understand anyone taking their kids to participate in something like this), bikies, neo-nazis and surfers.

I saw a group of three well-dressed 40-ish women drinking Breezers standing atop a retaining wall chanting at the police. I saw a group of four teenage girls (typical tanned 'Northies' Shire-girls – long hair, short skirts and massive sunglasses) being interviewed by ABC radio with 'Multiculturalism Doesn't Work' stickers on their backs. I saw a fifty-year-old man wearing an 'Osama Don't Surf' t-shirt. I've never seen that many people in Cronulla before.

About ten minutes after I got there I called a mate of mine to come down and see what was actually happening before me – I seemed to be the only person who was horrified about what was occurring. While I was on the phone I saw a young Middle Eastern Australian kid walk through the carpark, about ten metres away from me. I'd seen this kid on the news earlier this week defending his right to swim at his local beach.

It wasn't long before he was being screamed at ("Leb c*nt", "Get off our beach" etc) and surrounded by a group of flag draped p*ssed idiots. The kid screamed back, fairly insistent on getting to the beach, for all of about ten seconds before he was hit by one of them and had to turn and run across the park toward Northies.

The crowd of people up the slope to the Wall had noticed what was happening and all of a sudden it was on. The mob chased this kid into Northies, straight through the traffic which was brought to a sudden standstill with the now thousands of people surrounding the entry to Northies. Imagine a group of thousands of people, and I really do mean thousands of people, all chasing one kid into a pub and then standing outside screaming the most hateful and violent trash talk, throwing bottles, jumping on cars containing children that were stuck in the crowd.

The kid they were after was about 17 and would weigh in at a huge 60kg. I could not believe my eyes that a lynching like this could happen anywhere, let alone Cronulla beach.

This was a group of people that were thinking and moving as one, a true "mob." Reason disappeared and the violently racist slurs and the bizarre form of patriotism got worse. Waltzing Matilda was being screamed like a war cry into the faces of police and Northies security guards. The crowd was still on the street, stretching across the the Wall, but would move up the Kingsway or down Eleoura Rd a bit if they thought there was a Leb to get.

We saw a group of three "wogs," two girls and a guy, all early twenties, walking along the lower walkway of the Wall. The fact they'd managed to get that far surprised me, but they didn't catch the attention of the mob until they got very near the end of the Wall, about 20 metres from where the path met the crowd. The abuse started, and then the crowd started to move toward them. Thankfully there were a group of police close by who were able to get them out safely, but it didn't stop the crowd following them out, screaming in an absolute frenzy.

This was a crowd where almost every member was involved – there were hardly any onlookers like my mates and myself, everyone was into it. I watched the ABC news tonight and the reporter was asked whether locals were approving of what had happened – he said the ones that were there were, though local talkback callers through the day were appalled, he said.

It wasn't too long before a rumour started spreading that a train full of Lebs was on its way to Cronulla (it was like an insane game of Chinese Whispers, there were stories going through the crowd that Tom Ugly's and Captain Cook Bridge had been closed, that the Bra Boys had arrived and that the kiosk at North Cronulla was under siege because it was owned by Wogs), so everyone was off to the station, via Cronulla Mall.

I can only imagine what it would have been like as a bystander in the Mall with these idiots running through. By the time we got there, teenagers were on the ground with pepper spray in their eyes, there were Nazis up trees unfurling flags, more bottles being smashed and not a train full of Lebs to be seen. Riot cops ended up pushing them all back until they were forced to return to North Cronulla.

The irony of the situation didn't seem to be sinking into anyone's head either. This all started last weekend when two lifeguards were bashed by a Lebanese group of guys who apparently are aggressive, rude and disrespect our women. Talkback radio has been filled all week with locals calling in and saying so. I agreed with a lot of it, I'd seen these guys before and I'd been intimidated by them. But what I saw today was far scarier than the Leb guys could ever be. Behaviour far more more aggressive than any ethnic I've ever seen. Rudeness?

Apparently Nando's had to be closed by police because two ethnic guys were eating their lunch at a table inside when part of the mob arrived to scream at them for doing so. Over the road at Macca's there were drunk guys on the corner screaming the foulest of language down the mall. These are guys and girls preventing ambulances from leaving.

This is a group of people happy to smash glass bottles in their own beach sand! I saw a group of guys trying to get their footy out of one of the Norfolk Pines by throwing beer bottles at it. As for "respecting our women"... where's the respect in surrounding a teenage girl (Anglo and alone) and harassing her from one end of the Wall to the other?

And I just got this off the Herald's coverage: "He could not comment on a report that a girl of Middle Eastern appearance had been pushed over and was kicked repeatedly as she lay on the ground." What the hell?!? The behaviour today by the locals involved and all those with them was far worse than any previous incident at Cronulla caused by a so-called ethnic outsider visiting the area.

There were clearly a lot of non-locals involved. I think that once the text message story got into the media it became a city-wide talking point and made the numbers present today worse, attracting people who were either just racist or just wanted a brawl. The sight of surfers and Romper-Stomper-like neo-Nazis running together towards the next hopeful brawl is not one I'll quickly forget.

But many locals were involved, and for the most part loving every minute of it. There were plenty of units and apartments decked out in Aussie flags with parties overflowing into the streets, proud to be a part of what was just a disgusting day. How so many people could be getting pleasure from this was just impossible to comprehend. It was part machismo bullsh*t and part mob-mentality but it was mainly just ugly racism. It no longer had anything at all to do with two lifeguards getting beaten up last weekend, it was all just hatred towards a group of people who weren't even there.

The sight of the Australian flag being over-used like it was today was embarrassing. Watching that crowd of thousands chase a single 17-year-old was sickening. And to watch watch so many people think that what they were doing was a good idea was just staggering.

It was the most shameful thing I've ever seen, no matter what happens next.