13 August, 2017

On uniting the right

Something that needs to be remembered about the nazi rally in Charlottesville this weekend is that it was promoted under the banner of “unite the right.”

We have spent the whole of the 21st century being told, mostly by those on the right, that Muslims are expected to renounce terrorism (as if they don’t) if they are to be considered members of society, and that leftists (whatever the hell that even means) must reject Stalinism if they are to be heard.

I only hold people to the standards they expect of others.

If you identify as conservative, or right wing, or a Trump supporter – and I know there are good people who do – I get that you’re not on the side of the Charlottesville fascists.

BUT THEY ARE ON YOUR SIDE. And I humbly and respectfully suggest you seriously need to reflect on that.

Embed from Getty Images
If these are not your people, you need to say so.

I am not going to play a game of defining those I disagree with by the worst possible examples. No good can come from that. But for the whole of this century, the right has justified illegal and unnecessary wars by reminding us that all evil needs to triumph is for good people to do nothing.

So what are you going to do?

You can no longer say that these are just a rowdy, unrepresentative minority who don’t reflect your views. They’re out there saying they do. You thought Trump would go away if you ignored him. Now he’s president and these crowds are angry because they don’t think he’s being crazy and dictatorial enough.

I call upon conservatives and the right to make this the moment that really does unite the right - AGAINST fascism.

I know you shouldn’t have to. Muslims shouldn’t have to say they’re not terrorists either, but that’s the world you have created, so how about it?

I know there’s good in you. At least, I hope there is.
 

28 May, 2017

The Latham Diaries

I had always intended to read Barking Mark’s parliamentary diaries ever since they were first published. It wasn’t until my reading habits improved that I eventually got around to it.

At the time they came out, I actually had a lot of sympathy with Latham. I felt he had been treated unfairly, especially with the Labor Party referring disparagingly to “the Latham experiment” after he had tried to modernise the party. It wasn’t until he signed up with Channel 9 to act as a serial pest during the 2010 election that I lost all respect for him. Almost everything that has happened since has just been an embarrassment. Even so, I still wanted to read what he had to say before he went completely insane.

Much of his criticisms of the party, which go back well before his leadership, are entirely valid and remain so even now. His frustrations with machine politics are quite understandable and in some ways, ahead of their time. So too are his annoyances with a media more interested in trivia than policy.

However, the seeds of his later derangement are visible. He has much to say on the need for the Labor Party to separate itself from socially conservative unions who no longer have the numbers to swing elections. A fair point, but he also writes of his preference for the company of the knockabout Aussie larrikin – an overly blokey type of character represented by the kind of unions he was trying to break away from. Also, in choosing to out himself as the unnamed MP who told a female journalist at a drinks function that he was “going home to masturbate,” he reveals that he might not understand the distinction between being a larrikin and being a dickhead. Elsewhere, he rejects the notion that his attitude to women is a problem, and then refers to Michelle Grattan as ugly in the very next paragraph.

I couldn’t help but wonder what the Latham of 2005 would make of the Latham of 2017. Although the diaries reveal an ability to justify contradictory points of view, I still think the author of this book would be disgusted in a bloke who took Murdoch’s dollar to talk about recipes on a news channel (Broccolini, Mark? What self-respecting knockabout Aussie larrikin has even heard of broccolini?) and makes videos of himself wandering the streets of western Sydney looking for non-English speakers to humiliate. He has become one of the leading purveyors of the “downwards envy” he rightly criticised throughout his diaries.

The biggest message of the book should be what a toll party politics and being an MP takes on a doting family man. Unfortunately, his description of Bob Hawke on page 158 becomes an even more apt summation of Barking Mark himself: “A tub-thumper who degenerated into a clown.”


26 February, 2017

He won, get over it

I have to admit, there are a lot of people who just need to get over the fact that Donald Trump won the election.

At the top of the list is the president himself.

Following close behind are the majority of his administration.

In third place are all his supporters.

I thought I’d seen some sore winners in the second Bush administration, but at the very least they got on with the job, however badly.

Stop complaining about people whose duty it is to hold you to account. Working the ref’ is for losers!

Stop saying “we’re gonna…” The time for that is over. You don’t get to “tick off” promises by saying you “will.” Tell us what you are actually doing. Tell us what you have achieved.

You have the executive, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Any impediments to your agenda are entirely your own fault.

Stop the pathetic whining and START DOING YOUR DAMN JOB!
  
 

17 February, 2017

What if Obama had done that‽ - Episode 3

Good evening everyone, it's Friday night again and it's time again to play the world's most beloved game show. Period!
WHAT IF OBAMA HAD DONE THAT‽‽

This week we have:
vs

You know the rules by now:
Simply choose the one that would have had Ann Coulter screaming TREASON! the loudest if Obama had done it. 

This week's prize is your own personal replica Situation Room mounted on a Presidential selfie stick.

10 February, 2017

What if Obama had done that‽ - Episode 2

Good evening everyone, it's Friday night again and it's time again to play the world's fastest growing game show, 
WHAT IF OBAMA HAD DONE THAT‽‽

This week we have:
vs

As you know, the rules are very simple:
Just pick the one that would have had Fox News and their viewers frothing at the mouth the most if Obama had done it. There is a trick to this one!

Choose correctly and you will move on to the bonus round:

vs

Make it through both rounds, and you will win a commemorative bust of Col. Henry Blake. (Who I hear is doing fantastic work, by the way. Everyone says so.)

03 February, 2017

Good evening everyone, it's Friday night and it's time once again to play the world's fastest growing game show, 
WHAT IF OBAMA HAD DONE THAT‽‽

This week we have:
Forgetting to mention Jews on Holocaust Remembrance Day
vs
Using the National Prayer Breakfast to talk about his TV ratings

Remember the rules are very simple:
Just pick the one that would have had the most conservatives screaming for impeachment and/or revolution if Obama had done it, for your chance to win a year's health insurance!
   

02 February, 2017

The heartlessness of the deal – An explainer for my American friends

45 is right. It’s a dumb deal.
Just not for the reason he thinks.

You see, since about 2001, successive Australian governments have been trying to shirk our international responsibilities regarding refugees by trying to palm them off onto various countries including Nauru, East Timor, Malaysia, Nauru again, Papua New Guinea and most recently, the United States.

Why? Mainly because the Murdoch media on behalf of the Liberal party* (or it might be the other way around – it’s hard to tell) has trained enough of its readers to be scared of brown people. Is this starting to sound familiar?
*Remember the conservative party in Australia call themselves the Liberals. Yes, it's weird.

So, with the exception of a brief blip during the Rudd government, three different governments and five different prime ministers (including Kevin Rudd’s brief second attempt) have spent the 21st century trying to outdo each other on border security by being as cruel as they possibly can to some of the most desperate and vulnerable people in the world.


Just in case you might be thinking the US and Australia have similar problems regarding illegal immigration, a couple of other points of perspective:
1: Seeking asylum is NOT illegal.
2: Australia is, as the anthem says, girt by sea. We don’t need some stupid wall. We’ve got a MOAT! We’ve got the best moat in the world. Trust me, you wouldn’t believe the size of our moat. You can’t even see the other side. It’s amazing. Everyone says so. You’d never want to try crossing our moat.

And yet, people still try. You’d have to be serious, wouldn’t you?
As that well known bleeding heart PJ O’Rourke once said,
“...the thing is when somebody gets on an exploding boat to come over here, they're willing to do that to get to Australia, you're missing out on some really good Australians if you don't let that person in.”
But we won’t, because that would require leadership, so we go looking for any other country with a Pacific coast to send them to.

And if that was 45’s reason for hanging up on Malcolm Turnbull, he’d have been right to do so. But that would mean having the faintest idea what you’re talking about.

Instead, according to reports that could only have come from those in the room, he accused Turnbull of seeking to export the next Boston bombers.

Seriously, Donald? The Boston bombers?
You do realise, don’t you, that the Boston bombers were from Russia? That’s R-U-S-S-I-A! You know, the place you’ve got a big ol’ embarrassing man-crush on?

And despite Australia being in such a pathetic position on this issue, is this how friends treat one another? Is this what we followed you into five wars since 1945 for? Is this why we’re your eyes and ears in the southern hemisphere? Is this how you intend to gain respect?
You’re determined to learn the hard way, aren’t you?