Supping from the Drinking Gourd

Barack Obama, the President of the USA, has just completed his trip Down Under and is intrigued by the nature of Industrial Relations here.

Having returned to the States, he gets wind of a couple of Aussie outfits that have acquired large cotton plantations and ranches in the Deep South in Louisiana. And one in particular, as a marketing ploy, under the shrewd management of its CEO, Tony “Simon Legree” Abbott, has named their headquarters on the plantation, “Uncle Tones’ Cabin”, hoping to piggy-back on a name similar to the title of the famous novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Anyway, Barack has decided to visit two of the newly acquired Aussie businesses. The first planned visit is to Uncle Tones’ Cabin. Obama has been warned, however, that the quality of the cotton there isn’t the best, due to infections of the boll weevil but, nevertheless, it’s the IR system, in particular, that he wants to run his eye over.

So, Barack has got up early and is being driven, just before dawn, in his armoured limo, to Tones’ place.

As he glances out the window at the dark cloudless sky, Barack notices the Big Dipper constellation. He turns to his driver, an African-American.

Barack: There she is...the Big Dipper...

Driver: Yes, Mr President...the Drinking Gourd, as us descendants of slaves call it...

Barack: Wow...that’s interesting...why does it have that name?

Driver: Well, Sir...in the old slave days, my people would look for the Big Dipper – the slaves reckoned it was the shape of a gourd in the night sky – knowing that two of its stars point to the North Star...and that was the direction of freedom...But as a matter of fact, Sir, I have a song about it on a CD...would you like to hear it?



Just as the song finishes, Barack’s armoured limo drives through the gates of Tones’ property. However, in the glare of the headlights, he can’t help noticing a slogan of some sort on the archway: “WorkChoices will set you free!”

“Hmmm...” says Barack to himself, “that sounds familiar...I’m sure I’ve heard that somewhere before...”

So, with the first glimmer of sunlight rising in the east, Barack’s car pulls up outside Uncle Tones’ Cabin, where Tones himself, and a strange-looking character wearing a balaclava, and holding tightly onto the leashes of a pack of fierce guard dogs, stand in wait. Barack alights and Tones moves forward to shake his hand.

Tones: Ummm...ahhhh...errrr...g’day, mate...Tony “Simon Legree” Abbott at your service, ready to give you a tour of the old hacienda here...

Barack: Yes...that would be good, Tones...I’m very keen to see how an overseas model of Industrial Relations works here in the USA...You never know – but we might replicate some of your best practices right across our great nation...

Tones (muttering): Huh...I wish the bloody Indos in Australia would see the benefits of our “best practices”...sheesh!

Barack: Oh, and who’s your friend here...he must be feeling the cold with his balaclava on...

Tones: Yeah, I always said old Pete here was a bit of a cold fish...hee...hee...But seriously, Mr President, this is our Head of Security, Peter Reith...and don’t worry about the dogs – they’ve been fed this morning already...heh...heh...

[Then, a squad of very weary-looking labourers troops past and heads off towards what looks like an old barracks or, in the dim light, could even be a crypt. Barack, moreover, can’t help notice how pale the workers are, even death-like.]

Barack: Hmmmm...Tones, the cotton business must be booming, if you need to operate a night-shift as well...

Tones: To be honest, that lot have no choice but to work at night...and, if there’s one crop they can’t harvest, it’s garlic...if you get my drift...heh...heh...

[Barack hasn’t got a clue at what Tones is intimating. Tones realises this and turns to Reithy.]

Tones: Righto, Reithy...tuck them into their coffins...erm...bunks...and I’ll be along in a jiff...gotta renew my blood pledge somehow...heh...heh...

[Just as Tones is leading Barack past the Cabin, they come across, seated in their rocking-chairs on the veranda, Grandpappies John Howard and Rupert Murdoch.]

Johnny: Hey, stranger...don’t I knows you from somewhere...you look mighty familiar...

[Tones ignores the old codger and walks Barack down towards the nearest cotton field for an inspection. By this time, the sun is well and truly up and the extent of the plantation is clearly visible.

However, despite its size, the quality of its crop doesn’t look, to Barack, the best, confirming his earlier advice that it is infected with boll weevil.

In this particular section, moreover, they come across a sight, which for Barack, is very alarming. A cowed and subservient group of labourers is frantically trying to pick as much cotton as is physically possible, whilst a crazed overseer is barking orders and cracking a bull-whip over their heads.]

Tones (loudly): That’s it, Jonesie – give the lazy bastards heaps...make sure they maintain their daily quotas and more besides...heh...heh...

Jonesie: Right, you lazy buggers...fill up all these chaff bags I’ve brought along...and if you don’t, it’ll be your mangy carcases that will be stuffed inside and chucked into the lake...haw...haw...

[Barack is appalled by what he is witnessing.]

Barack: Jeanie Mac! He’s far from being the ideal supervisor, I reckon!

Tones: Well, a bad boss is better than no boss, I always say...hee...hee...

[Further on into the tour of the plantation, Tones invites Barack to view the assault course, which is designed to make the field-hands fitter, so that they can work longer hours in the cotton fields. There is a commando-like Bottom Field, with water obstacles, rope climbs, a huge wall and a climbing-net for good measure. The overseer, Paul Kelly, with copious amounts of gravitas, is busily putting an exhausted group through their paces.]

Barack: Good lordy, Tones...this is a bit rough, isn’t it?

Tones: Nah... it’s good for them..Actually, Paul designed it for the Gillard management team bonding exercise – he reckoned they needed to face regular tests...

[And speaking of Paul, he spots Tones and Barack out of the corner of his eye.]

Paul: G’day Tones...Isn’t it about time you took the test...when will we fit you in for an appointment...heh...heh...

[Tones gives Paul the Mark Riley “stare and nod” treatment. This puts him back in his box, and he turns his attention back on the hapless victims on the assault course. Meanwhile, Tones makes a mental note to tell the plantation Matron, Bronnie Bishop, to wash Paul’s mouth out with kero at the earliest opportunity.

The next place on the plantation property they come to is the company airfield. Barack reckons, however, that it hasn’t got much going for it. All he can see is a couple of old, dilapidated crop-dusters, which appear to be in such bad nick, Joe Hockey has a better chance than them of getting airborne. Moreover, they are enclosed by a 3-metre-high electrified fence, which is preventing a few protesting hands, dressed in pilots’ uniforms, from getting access to the planes. And, inside the fence, is a little bloke with glasses, making faces at the protesters, and sticking his tongue out at them.]

Barack: Wow...this is surreal, Tones...what’s going on with your planes and who are these guys?

Tones: Oh, the little guy behind the fence is our pilots’ overseer, Alan “James” Joyce – a vicious operator – flies like a Ulysses butterfly, but stings like a right old b....heh...heh...

Joycey: Tones! Top o’ the mornin’ to ye! Don’t worry, I’ll beat these bastards yet...I’ll have their wages down to New Zealand levels in two shakes of a lamb’s tail, so I will...so help me god...to be sure...to be sure...They’ll all soon be fit to be tied, and red ones at that, so they will...hee...hee...

Tones (muttering): Heh...he’ll not be so chirpy when we pay him his $2 million pay rise in Confederate dollars...heh...heh...

Barack: Hmmm...Tones, I heard your cotton crop was infested with boll weevil, and now I see why – you allowed that clown to ground your crop-dusting planes!

[Tones ignores what Barack has just said and walks away, press-conference-style. Barack has no option but to follow, so, after another short walk, they come across a group of labourers who are digging guano from a pit. The overseer, wielding the lash over them, is Scott Morrison.]

Barack: Hmmm...Tones...I hope you’re paying these guys a heap of money – this work is so arduous and smelly...Oh, and by the way, I didn’t realise we had deposits of guano in this part of Louisiana...

Tones: Nah...we didn’t until recently...not until the crony government of Nauru chucked it in and we decided to move the whole place over here...Now we’ve got all those pesky Mexican boat-people coming up here via the Mississippi shovelling it into chaff bags for us...heh...heh...

Barack (incredulously): So...you’re saying that Nauru doesn’t exist anymore? You’ve carted it all over here, so that you can exploit it more easily for your own selfish commercial gain? What about the Nauruans, for crissakes?

Tones (superciliously): Oh them! I wouldn’t worry about them, mate – we offered their best rugby players to the Wallabies, but, as for the rest...well, shit happens...

[Tones then takes Barack past the oldie employees’ paddock and the supervisor, Sophie Mirabella, is gleefully working them to death. And, as they later pass by the children’s cotton field, a youngster escapes the clutches of the slave-driver, John Alexander, and begs to Tones, “please, sir...can I have some more – they’ve taken away my penalty rates...”

Anyhow, Tones and Barack have done the full circle of the plantation. Barack can’t hold in his contempt any longer. He turns in disgust to Tones.]

Barack: Look, buddy...your outfit here resembles something from the pre-Civil War era...It looks like you and your “WorkChoices’ Way” couldn’t give a hill of beans about freedom...

Tones: But...but...but...we do! However, we only support freedom in a particular social context...heh...heh...

Then, back at Uncle Tones’ Cabin, they witness the jolting sight of Grandpappy Rupert being led away by the FBI. But, still in the other rocking chair on the veranda, is Grandpappy John Howard. Upon seeing Barack again, he suddenly sits bolt upright.]

Johnny: I remember now! I know who this turkey is! He’s that bloody Al Qaeda guy! Quick, Tones, fetch me my shotgun...

[Barack realises that discretion is the better part of valour, so he immediately shoots through, before this mad old coot shoots through him. He jumps into his armoured limo and the driver takes off like a bat out of hell. Later, a few dozen clicks down the bitumen, Barack begins to relax a bit. He has been at Uncle Tones’ Cabin all day, and by now darkness has well and truly set in. He addresses his driver.]

Barack: Phewww! That was close! What a shower of losers that lot are...Before the marines get posted to Darwin, remind me to send them to that place and close it down...with its “WorkChoices’ Way”, it’s an abomination and an industrial relations nightmare...

Driver: Erm...can I remind you, Sir, that your next appointment is to view another Australian-owned business – the “Fair Work Ranch”...However, they are expecting us for supper, but, because we spent so much time at that other joint, I don’t think we will make it in time...

Barack: You know, I haven’t asked you your name...excuse my bad manners...

Driver: It’s Tom, sir...everybody just calls me Tom...

Barack: Well, Tom...as for making it to the other Aussie place in time, YES WE CAN, Tom! So, step on it, and have no fear...The Fair Work place is due north – just follow the Drinking Gourd...

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Michael

18/11/2011AC, apologies for gazzumping first comment on your piece, but here is a response to AA's request for access to the Prime Minister's speech of welcome to Barack Obama in the House of Reps. I've included Shouldabeen's 'speech' and President Obama's address to the collected parliamentarians in the interest of a one-place compare and contrast opportunity. Ms GILLARD (Lalor—Prime Minister) (10:28): Mr Harry Jenkins, Speaker of the House of Representatives; Senator John Hogg, President of the Senate; the Hon. Tony Abbott, Leader of the Opposition; honourable members of the Australian parliament; distinguished guests one and all. Mr President, in March this year I was the fourth Australian Prime Minister to speak in your people's representative house—like Prime Ministers Menzies, Hawke and Howard, each of us received as an ally and a friend. Today you are the fourth American President to speak here. Like each of your predecessors, you come here as a friend and as an ally as well. Mr President, welcome to our parliament. You meet us as your predecessors did: a people enlivened by a spirit of confidence and resolve. As friends we recognise the same spirit in the nation you lead—one you would no doubt express in those famous words, 'Yes, we can.' As allies in this year of anniversaries we recall that spirit in so much we have done together in the years we have shared: a spirit we showed in 1941, when a terrible Pacific war began which tested us both deeply and cost us both so much but in which we ultimately prevailed; a spirit we shared in 1951, when leaders from both our nations imagined and then brought about a new future for us in the world as allies, not just as friends; and a spirit we felt deeply on September 11, when we began our fight together to deny terrorism a safe haven and to bring justice for terrorism's victims—justice, Mr President, which was delayed but which this year could not be denied. Mr President, as allies we look forward always, and this is the year in which we have made plans for a future just as great, a year in which we have drawn on the confidence and resolve we share, knowing that together we can prevail. Confident we can secure our own nations and cooperate for peace in Afghanistan, where together we are seeing the mission through to transition; in our region, where the expanded cooperation we have announced will see our alliance remain a stabilising influence in a new century of regional change—a new step agreed on your visit here. But, more than a new step for our two nations, it is a renewal of our alliance itself. And, Mr President, confident we can create jobs and restore global growth at the G20 and APEC in our decisions to forge an ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership, in our discussions here on the prospects for trade and at the East Asia Summit this weekend, where we will work together to keep the doors of trade open so the whole of the world's economy grows, creating jobs for all of the world's people, including our own. Confident we can secure clean energy and combat climate change too, working together, taking our part in global action, encouraging tariff cuts in environmental goods, promoting energy efficiency and sharing plans for low- emission technologies, and each of us driving change at home. Mr President, the resolve and confidence of our two nations has always served a high purpose. Since its founding in 1951, ours has been an alliance for a secure future but it has always been more. Our alliance was anticipated a decade earlier in the judgments of an Australian Prime Minister and the resolve of an American President, and the partnership between us is still deeply imprinted with the personal character and public ideals of those two great men—for it has never been simply a treaty to defend our interests or to protect our territory; it was then and it is now a friendship dedicated to the values we share in the life of the world. Mr President, in Perth there is a library dedicated to the memory of my great predecessor John Curtin, our great wartime leader, the man who looked to America without any pangs. There you find a book given to him during his visit to the United States in 1944. Prime Minister Curtin and President Roosevelt met as leaders of two great nations at war, but as two great leaders they looked ahead to the peace. Curtin returned to his country with much more than a plan for security; he brought back and kept as a treasure an illustrated book, an edition dedicated to President Roosevelt's four essential human freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom to worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear—freedoms for which so many diggers and GIs died, freedoms for which Curtin and Roosevelt were each still working on on their own final day. And in our work together in the world now, we are true to that great charter still — to peace and security, for jobs and growth, with a clean environment and clean energy. Mr President, we welcome you here as you come: as an ally, a partner and a friend. Mr President, welcome to our parliament. Mr ABBOTT (Warringah—Leader of the Opposition) (10:34): It was once said that is what is good for General Motors is good for America. With rather more confidence it could be said that what is good for America is likely to be good for the wider world, because the United States is the most benign and the least self-interested superpower the world has ever seen. America is great, said de Tocqueville, because America is good, and, if America ever ceased to be good, she would also cease to be great. America was the first, and so far the greatest, nation to be founded on the dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all its citizens. One of our Prime Ministers, Ben Chifley, had something like this in mind when he said that government's light on the hill should be working for the betterment of mankind, not just here but wherever we can lend a helping hand. No country on earth has done more for the world: first, in being that shining city on a hill that President Reagan so often spoke of; second, for the Marshall Plan, the Peace Corps, the Gates Foundation, and so many other humanitarian and high-minded ventures in every corner of the globe; third, and most crucially, in its readiness to defend the universal decencies where they are gratuitously threatened. In the last century it was the United States that saw off the totalitarian threat; in the present century it is the United States that will see off the terrorist threat. Others will shoulder some of the burden but it is America, inevitably, that will do the heaviest lifting. Not for nothing did Graham Greene say of his 'quiet American' that he had never met a man with such good intentions for all the trouble he caused. Still, Reagan was onto something when he described America as the last best hope for mankind. Freedom under the law, representative government and the right to the greatest possible liberty consistent with like liberty for others were not invented in America but have been improved there. Liberal pluralisms spread from England to America and thence to the wider world, showing that these are not just our values but, potentially at least, everyone's values. The US, Britain, Australia and our other allies did not wage war in Iraq and Afghanistan merely to remove a threat to peace but in the confidence that, given a chance, almost everyone would prefer a life in which you treated others as you would have them treat you. The US has led the first army ever to enter Afghanistan to liberate rather than to conquer. Given the history, it is a monumental task, but it is vital for the welfare of the Afghan people, the stability of a dangerous region and the safety of the wider world. I know, sir, that the Australian forces serving in Afghanistan are grateful for the American logistical assistance that sustains our commitment. They are proud to be fighting and building alongside their US comrades in the Uruzgan Provincial Reconstruction Team. As well, they hope that their mission is continued until their task is done—the establishment of a stable, effective and humane government, at least by Afghan standards, backed by reliable security forces. They know that victory in Afghanistan will not resemble the unequivocal resolution of World War II. It will be more like success in Northern Ireland; it will involve a process as much as an outcome. Our soldiers in Afghanistan also understand that giving up prematurely would be a defeat, and no less disastrous for not being sustained on the battlefield. To the Liberal-National coalition, the American alliance is the cornerstone of Australian security, as it has been since we first looked to America in anticipation of the fall of Singapore and Prime Minister Menzies and President Truman subsequently concluded the ANZUS Treaty. The coalition welcomes the presence of up to 2,500 US Marines in Darwin and would be happy to see the establishment of another joint facility so that these arrangements could become more permanent. But the US alliance exists to promote values, not to threaten other countries. As Prime Minister Howard demonstrated, it is possible to deepen Australia's military alliance with America and simultaneously build our trade and cultural links with other countries such as China. As John Howard also demonstrated, it was possible to establish a quadrilateral security dialogue involving India and to sell uranium to India without prejudicing other relationships. On selling uranium to India, President Obama had the good sense never to change President Bush's policy. In this country, on this policy, the transition from the former government to the current one has been—how shall I say?—less seamless, but I welcome the government's conversion on this subject. As Britain discovered in 1940 and again in 1956, military strength is illusory if it is not founded on economic strength. A country that borrows from foreigners, even from friendly ones, to fight its wars is at risk of the debt being called in at the worst possible time. The lesson of the eurozone crisis is that a terrible judgment is eventually pronounced against countries whose governments have spent and borrowed beyond their means. But the underlying economic position of both Australia and America is strong. Australia's danger is complacency: the feeling that the world has no choice but to buy our minerals, so new taxes can painlessly fix our fiscal problems. America's could be political gridlock, with congress a permanent hung parliament where everyone accepts the need for lower spending except on their favourite project. If, as many predict, this turns out to be the Pacific century, it will be the entrepreneurial spirit and the superior willingness to face facts of the Pacific's peoples rather than anything in the water that naturally makes it so. Both Australia and America are determined to be good international citizens on the environment no less than on security. Differences are less about the seriousness of the challenge than about the best means of tackling it, because all of us want to give the planet the benefit of the doubt. American world leadership may only truly be appreciated after it has gone. None of us should want to find out the hard way what a shrunken America might be. So, Mr President, everyone in this parliament is a friend of the United States. For all the political differences between us on so many points, we are all willing you and your country to succeed, because a strong America means a safer world. I hope that in this visit to Australia you are buoyed by our support, because no leader on earth has heavier responsibilities. May God bless you. May God bless all of us as we rise to the challenges of these times. The SPEAKER: Mr President, it gives me great pleasure to invite you to address the House. The HONOURABLE BARACK OBAMA (10:43): Prime Minister Gillard, Leader Abbott, thank you both for your very warm welcome. Mr Speaker, Mr President, members of the House and Senate, ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for the honour of standing in this great chamber to reaffirm the bonds between the United States and the Commonwealth of Australia, two of the world's oldest democracies and two of the world's oldest friends. To you and the people of Australia, thank you for your extraordinary hospitality. Here in this city, this ancient meeting place, I want to acknowledge the original inhabitants of this land and one of the world's oldest continuous cultures, the first Australians. I first came to Australia as a child, travelling between my birthplace of Hawaii and Indonesia, where I would live for four years. As an eight-year-old, I could not always understand your foreign language. Last night I did try to talk some Strine. Today I do not want to subject you to any earbashing—I really do love that one and I will be introducing that into the vernacular in Washington. But, to a young American boy, Australia and its people—your optimism, your easygoing ways, your irreverent sense of humour—all felt so familiar. It felt like home. I have always wanted to return. I tried last year, twice. But this is a lucky country, and today I feel lucky to be here as we mark the 60th anniversary of our unbreakable alliance. The bonds between us run deep. In each other's story, we see so much of ourselves: ancestors who crossed vast oceans, some by choice, some in chains; settlers who pushed west across sweeping plains; dreamers who toiled with hearts and hands to lay railroads and to build cities; generations of immigrants who, with each new arrival, add a new thread to the brilliant tapestry of our nations. And we are citizens who live by a common creed: no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, everyone deserves a fair chance. Everyone deserves a fair go. Of course, progress in our society has not always come without tensions or struggles to overcome a painful past. But we are countries with a willingness to face our imperfections and to keep reaching for our ideals. That is the spirit we saw in this chamber three years ago, as this nation inspired the world with a historic gesture of reconciliation with Indigenous Australians; it is the spirit of progress in America which allows me to stand before you today as President of the United States; and it is the spirit I will see later today, when I become the first US President to visit the Northern Territory, where I will meet the traditional owners of the land. Nor has our progress come without great sacrifice. This morning, I was humbled and deeply moved by a visit to your War Memorial to pay my respects to Australia's fallen sons and daughters. Later today, in Darwin, I will join the Prime Minister in saluting our brave men and women in uniform. It will be a reminder that, from the trenches of the First World War to the mountains of Afghanistan, Aussies and Americans have stood together, we have fought together and we have given lives together in every single major conflict of the past 100 years—every single one. This solidarity has sustained us through a difficult decade. We will never forget the attacks of 9-11 that took the lives of not only Americans but people from many nations, including Australia. In the United States, we will never forget how Australia invoked the ANZUS Treaty for the first time ever, showing that our two nations stood as one; and none of us will ever forget those we have lost to al-Qaeda's terror in the years since, including innocent Australians. That is why, as both the Prime Minister and the opposition leader indicated, we are determined to succeed in Afghanistan. It is why I salute Australia—outside of NATO, the largest contributor of troops to this vital mission. It is why we honour all those who have served there for our security, including 32 Australian patriots who gave their lives, among them Captain Bryce Duffy, Corporal Ashley Birt and Lance Corporal Luke Gavin. We will honour their sacrifice by making sure that Afghanistan is never again used as a source for attacks against our people — never again. As two global partners we stand up for the security and the dignity of people around the world. We see it when our rescue workers rush to help others in times of fire and drought and flooding rains. We see it when we partner to keep the peace, from East Timor to the Balkans, and when we pursue our shared vision: a world without nuclear weapons. We see it in the development that lifts up a child in Africa and the assistance that saves a family from famine and when we extend our support to the people of the Middle East and North Africa, who deserve the same liberty that allows us to gather in this great hall of democracy. This is the alliance we reaffirm today, rooted in our values and renewed by every generation. This is the partnership we have worked to deepen over the past three years. Today I can stand before you and say with confidence that the alliance between the United States and Australia has never been stronger. As it has been to our past, our alliance continues to be indispensable to our future. Here among close friends I would like to address the larger purpose of my visit to this region: our efforts to advance security, prosperity and human dignity across the Asia-Pacific. For the United States, this reflects a broader shift. After a decade in which we fought two wars that cost us dearly in blood and treasure, we in the United States are turning our attention to the vast potential of the Asia-Pacific region. In just a few weeks, after nearly nine years, the last American troops will leave Iraq and our war there will be over. In Afghanistan, we have begun a responsible transition so Afghans can take responsibility for their future and so coalition forces can begin to draw down. With partners like Australia, we have struck major blows against al- Qaeda and put that terrorist organisation on the path to defeat, including delivering justice to Osama bin Laden. Make no mistake: the tide of war is receding and America is looking ahead to the future that we must build. From Europe to the Americas, we have strengthened alliances and partnerships. At home we are investing in the sources of our long-term economic strength: the education of our children, the training of our workers, the infrastructure that fuels commerce, and the science and the research that lead to new breakthroughs. We have made hard decisions to cut our deficit and put our fiscal house in order and we will continue to do more, because our economic strength at home is the foundation of our leadership in the world, including here in the Asia-Pacific. Our new focus on this region reflects a fundamental truth: the United States has been and always will be a Pacific nation. Asian immigrants helped build America, and millions of American families, including my own, cherish our ties to this region. From the bombing of Darwin to the liberation of Pacific islands, from the rice paddies of South-East Asia to a cold Korean peninsula, generations of Americans have served here and died here so that democracies could take root and so economic miracles could lift hundreds of millions to prosperity. Americans have bled with you for this progress and we will never allow it to be reversed. Here we see the future. As the world's fastest growing region and home to more than half of the global economy, the Asia-Pacific is critical to achieving my highest priority, and that is creating jobs and opportunity for the American people. With most of the world's nuclear power and some half of humanity, Asia will largely define whether the century ahead will be marked by conflict or cooperation, needless suffering or human progress. As President, I have therefore made a deliberate and strategic decision: as a Pacific nation, the United States will play a larger and long-term role in shaping this region and its future by upholding core principles and in close partnership with our allies and friends. Let me tell you what this means. First, we seek security, which is the foundation of peace and prosperity. We stand for an international order in which the rights and responsibilities of all nations and all people are upheld, where international law and norms are enforced, where commerce and freedom of navigation are not impeded, where emerging powers contribute to regional security and where disagreements are resolved peacefully. That is the future that we seek. I know that some in this region have wondered about America's commitment to upholding these principles, so let me address that directly. As we in the United States put our fiscal house in order, we are reducing our spending and, yes, after a decade of extraordinary growth in our military budgets and as we definitively end the war in Iraq and begin to wind down the war in Afghanistan, we will make some reductions in defence spending. As we consider the future of our armed forces, we have begun a review that will identify our most important strategic interests and guide our defence priorities and spending over the coming decade. So here is what this region must know. As we end today's wars, I have directed my national security team to make our presence and mission in the Asia-Pacific a top priority. As a result, reductions in US defence spending will not—I repeat, will not—come at the expense of the Asia-Pacific. My guidance is clear. As we plan and budget for the future, we will allocate the resources necessary to maintain our strong military presence in this region; we will preserve our unique ability to project power and deter threats to peace; we will keep our commitments, including our treaty obligations to allies like Australia; and we will constantly strengthen our capabilities to meet the needs of the 21st century. Our enduring interests in the region demand our enduring presence in the region. The United States is a Pacific power and we are here to stay. Indeed, we are already modernising America's defence posture across the Asia-Pacific. It will be more broadly distributed, maintaining our strong presence in Japan and the Korean peninsula while enhancing our presence in South-East Asia. Our posture will be more flexible, with new capabilities to ensure that our forces can operate freely, and our posture will be more sustainable, by helping allies and partners build their capacity with more training and exercises. We see our new posture here in Australia. The initiatives that the Prime Minister and I announced yesterday will bring our two militaries even closer together. We will have new opportunities to train with other allies and partners from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean, and it will allow us to respond faster to the full range of challenges, including humanitarian crises and disaster relief. Since World War II, Australians have warmly welcomed American service members who have passed through. On behalf of the American people, I thank you for welcoming those who will come next, as they ensure that our alliance stays strong and ready for the tests of our time. We see America's enhanced presence in the alliance that we have strengthened—in Japan, where our alliance remains a cornerstone of regional security; in Thailand, where we are partnering for disaster relief; in the Philippines, where we are increasing ship visits and training; and in South Korea, where our commitment to the security of the Republic of Korea will never waver. Indeed, we also reiterate our resolve to act firmly against any proliferation activities by North Korea. The transfer of nuclear materials or materiel by North Korea to states or non-state entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States and our allies, and we would hold North Korea fully accountable for the consequences of such action. We see America's enhanced presence across South- East Asia—in our partnership with Indonesia against piracy and violent extremism and in our work with Malaysia to prevent proliferation; in the ships we will deploy to Singapore; in our closer cooperation with Vietnam and Cambodia; and in our welcome of India as it looks east and plays a larger role as an Asian power. At the same time, we are re-engaged with our regional organisations. Our work in Bali this week will mark my third meeting with ASEAN leaders, and I will be proud to be the first American President to attend the East Asia Summit. Together I believe we can address shared challenges, such as proliferation and maritime security, including cooperation in the South China Sea. Meanwhile, the United States will continue our effort to build a cooperative relationship with China. Australia and the United States—all of our nations— have a profound interest in the rise of a peaceful and prosperous China. That is why the United States welcomes it. We have seen that China can be a partner, from reducing tensions on the Korean peninsula to preventing proliferation. And we will seek more opportunities for cooperation with Beijing, including greater communication between our militaries to promote understanding and avoid miscalculation. We will do this even as we continue to speak candidly to Beijing about the importance of upholding international norms and respecting the universal human rights of the Chinese people. A secure and peaceful Asia is the foundation for the second area in which America is leading again, and that is advancing our shared prosperity. History teaches us the greatest force the world has ever known for creating wealth and opportunity is free markets, so we seek economies that are open and transparent, we seek trade that is free and fair and we seek an open international economic system where rules are clear and every nation plays by them. In Australia and America, we understand these principles. We are among the most open economies on earth. Six years into our landmark trade agreement, commerce between us has soared. Our workers are creating new partnerships and new products, like the advanced aircraft technologies we build together in Victoria. We are the leading investor in Australia, and you invest more in America than you do in any other nation, creating good jobs in both countries. We recognise that economic partnerships cannot just be about one nation extracting another's resources. We understand that no long-term strategy for growth can be imposed from above. Real prosperity — prosperity that fosters innovation and prosperity that endures — comes from unleashing our greatest economic resource, and that is the entrepreneurial spirit, the talents of our people. So, even as America competes aggressively in Asian markets, we are forging the economic partnerships that create opportunity for all. Building on our historic trade agreement with South Korea, we are working with Australia and our other APEC partners to create a seamless regional economy, and with Australia and other partners we are on track to achieve our most ambitious trade agreement yet and a potential model for the entire region, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The United States remains the world's largest and most dynamic economy, but in an interconnected world we all rise and fall together. That is why I pushed so hard to put the G20 at the front and centre of global economic decision making, to give more nations a leadership role in managing the international economy, including Australia. Together we saved the world economy from a depression, and now our urgent challenge is to create the growth that puts people to work. We need growth that is fair, where every nation plays by the rules, where workers' rights are respected and our businesses can compete on a level playing field, where the intellectual property and new technologies that fuel innovation are protected and where currencies are market driven so no nation has an unfair advantage. We also need growth that is broad—not just for the few but for the many—with reforms that protect consumers from abuse and a global commitment to end the corruption that stifles growth. We need growth that is balanced, because we will all prosper more when countries with large surpluses take action to boost demand at home. And we need growth that is sustainable. This includes the clean energy that creates green jobs and combats climate change, which cannot be denied. We see it in the stronger fires, the devastating floods and the Pacific islands confronting rising seas. As countries with large carbon footprints, the United States and Australia have a special responsibility to lead. Every nation will contribute to the solution in its own way. I know this issue is not without controversy in both our countries, but what we can do and what we are doing is to work together to make unprecedented investments in clean energy, to increase energy efficiency and to meet the commitments we made at Copenhagen and Cancun. We can do this and we will. As we grow our economies, we will also remember the link between growth and good governance, the rule of law, transparent institutions and the equal administration of justice, because history shows that, over the long run, democracy and economic growth go hand in hand, and prosperity without freedom is just another form of poverty. This brings me to the final area where we are leading: our support for the fundamental rights of every human being. Every nation will chart its own course, yet it is also true that certain rights are universal — among them, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion and the freedom of citizens to choose their own leaders. These are not American rights, Australian rights or Western rights; these are human rights. They stir in every soul, as we have seen in the democracies that have succeeded here in Asia. Other models have been tried and they have failed — fascism and communism, rule by one man and rule by a committee. They failed for the same simple reason: they ignored the ultimate source of power and legitimacy—the will of the people. Yes, democracy can be messy and rough. I understand you mix it up quite well during question time! But, whatever our differences of party or of ideology, we know in our democracies we are blessed with the greatest form of government ever known to man. So as two great democracies we speak up for those freedoms when they are threatened. We partner with emerging democracies like Indonesia to help strengthen the institutions upon which good governance depends. We encourage open government because democracies depend on an informed and active citizenry. We help strengthen civil societies because they empower our citizens to hold their governments accountable. We advance the rights of all people — women, minorities and indigenous cultures — because when societies harness the potential of all their citizens these societies are more successful, they are more prosperous and they are more just. These principles have guided our approach to Burma, with a combination of sanctions and engagement. Today Aung San Suu Kyi is free from house arrest, some political prisoners have been released and the government has begun a dialogue. Still, violations of human rights persist, so we will continue to speak clearly about the steps that must be taken for the government of Burma to have a better relationship with the United States. This is the future we seek in the Asia-Pacific: security, prosperity and dignity for all. That is what we stand for; that is who we are. That is the future we will pursue in partnership with allies and friends and with every element of American power. So let there be no doubt: in the Asia-Pacific in the 21st century, the United States of America is all in. Still, in times of great change and uncertainty, the future can seem unsettling. Across a vast ocean it is impossible to know what lies beyond the horizon. But if this vast region and its people teach us anything it is that the yearning for liberty and progress will not be denied. It is why women in this country demanded that their voices be heard, making Australia the first nation to let women vote, run for parliament and one day become Prime Minister. It is why the people took to the streets from Delhi to Seoul, from Manila to Jakarta, to throw off colonialism and dictatorship and build some of the world's largest democracies. It is why a soldier in a watchtower along the DMZ defends a free people in the south, why a man from the north risks his life to escape across the border, why soldiers in blue helmets keep the peace in a new nation and why women of courage go into brothels to save young girls from modern-day slavery, which must come to an end. It is why men of peace in saffron robes face beatings and bullets and why every day in some of the world's largest cities or dusty rural towns, in small acts of courage the world may never see, a student posts a blog, a citizen signs a charter, an activist remains unbowed, imprisoned in his home — just to have the same rights that we cherish here today. Men and women like these know what the world must never forget. The currents of history may ebb and flow, but over time they move decisively in a single direction. History is on the side of the free—free societies, free governments, free economies, free people. The future belongs to those who stand firm for those ideals, in this region and around the world. This is the story of the alliance we celebrate today. This is the essence of America's leadership. It is the essence of our partnership. This is the work we will carry on together for the security, prosperity and dignity of all people. God bless Australia. God bless America. And God bless the friendship between our two peoples. Thank you very much.

Ad astra reply

18/11/2011Michael Many thanks.

BSA Bob

18/11/2011Hadn't seen the transcripts of the speeches. Not sure where the "masterpiece" tag fits for Abbott's effort, but I am wearing thick socks at the moment. If Obama was poker faced during it he may have been thinking "I'm here having to listen to the number one fan & chief head kicker of the guy who said I was BinLaden's best bet"

Ad astra reply

19/11/2011AC Thank you for yet another witty piece of satire, and so timely following the visit of Barack Obama. You were prescient in your description of Grandpappy John Howard who is reported as sitting in the gallery of the House but not clapping through the Obama speech. Tones, as is his unfortunate habit on such auspicious occasions when decorum is expected, makes his usual partisan comments, as your piece hinted.

Feral Skeleton

19/11/2011NormanK and 2353, What gives with Queenslanders? Do most of them have a Martyr Pater Complex? They adore Bob 'Krazy' Katter, want Kevin back real bad, and would even prefer Stephen Smith to Julia??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????: http://www.couriermail.com.au/ipad/labor-party-rebounds-from-rock-bottom/story-fn6ck51p-1226199507810

Ad astra reply

19/11/2011Hi Lyn Do you have the link to Julia Gillard's Bali speech?

Lyn

19/11/2011Good Morning my friend Ad Astra Some links for you" beautiful Picture of Julia There doesn't seem to be a transcript available yet. Julia Gillard arrives in Bali for Asia Pacific talks at ASEAN business and investment summit , Simon Benson, The Telegraph JULIA Gillard has urged Asian leaders not to withdraw into economic protectionism claiming the economic history of the 21st century would be written in this region. Warning that the global financial crisis was not over, the Prime Minister said the Asia Pacific should not wait for the rest of the world to move on free trade and economic openness, The Daily Telegraph reported. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/national/julia-gillard-arrives-in-bali-for-asia-pacific-talks-at-asean-business-and-investment-summit/story-e6freuzr-1226199517273 PM delivers keynote address in Bali, ABC video Lateline George Roberts joins Lateline from Bali to discuss Julia Gillard's keynote address to the ASEAN business forum http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-11-18/pm-delivers-keynote-address-in-bali/3681386 I can't get over this story:- Abbott says for the good of the Country:- [b]Abbott urges wavering Bolt to fight on 'for good of the country' [/b] The Age an impromptu visit to his home by the [b]Opposition Leader, who told Bolt that the country needed him, had restored his resolve[/b]. "[He] made me realise it's not just about me," Bolt says. "There are others to think about." [b]Mr Abbott dined with Bolt and his wife [/b]a week after the judgment, on the same day that a right-wing think-tank run by Bolt's friend, John Roskam, published full-page advertisements proclaiming "support of free speech for Andrew Bolt and every Australian". At the time it had become clear that Bolt's employer, the Herald Sun, would not be appealing the verdict. http://www.theage.com.au/national/abbott-urges-wavering-bolt-to-fight-on-for-good-of-the-country-20111118-1nng0.html#ixzz1e6IrwTp9 Cheers:):):)

Ad astra reply

19/11/2011Hi Lyn You are a gem. Thank you so much. If you come across the transcript later, please post it. I'm working on my last piece for the year, inspired by a comment NormanK made on my last piece. This one is titled [i]Julia Gillard's Vision for the Asian Century[/i]. The links you posted yesterday and this morning all feed into that piece. Have a great weekend.

Gravel

19/11/2011Acerbic Conehead That was another one of your brilliant satires. Unfortunately again almost too close to the truth. Thanks. Nas From the last topic, thanks for clarifying what I was trying to say. Also, I think you may have hit on something with your saying that there are many diverse views being put forward (about the military stuff), is it because Labor are encouraging debate as opposed to when Howard was in and unless you agree with him you were denigrated and or not reported. Okay, I know it's a long straw, but that is the thought that went through my grey cells.

NormanK

19/11/2011Feral Skeleton Some time ago I put up a list of who owns the vast majority of regional newspapers - no prize for guessing which media house dominates by a significant margin. Give the local papers a miss and go to the Big Smoke and we have a choice of one balanced daily or a Murdoch rag. The national paper which is fairly widely read by people that I know (and they rely on it for 'the big picture') provides more of News Ltd's poison. Regional commercial networks up here are by-and-large conservative with news-readers more often than not putting a note of derision or sarcasm in their voice when speaking of Anna Bligh or federal Labor. We are the legendary home of Pauline Hanson and that tells you a great deal. In country Queensland we are often portrayed as ignorant red-necks and that is because we are just that. Ill-informed (mining tax closing down mines), conservative in the sense of hating change (nutrient run-off - what's that?), disparaging of that institution called 'government' (from which we only wish to hear when it is offering to give us something and we blame it for every other perceived ill that befalls us), and street conversations dominated by local megaphones and there is no better example of a 'tell-it-like-it-is' megaphone than Bob Katter. To be quite honest it is a marvel that Labor has held power in the state legislature here for as long as it has. Possibly further evidence of the theory that people say one thing in a poll and vote in another way. So that's the long answer with regard to the regions - basically people don't bother to inform themselves with the facts, they just rely on gossip from the megaphones and watch commercial news broadcasts. 2353 might have some insights into what makes the larger part of Queensland's population tick.

2353

19/11/2011AC - Clever satire again (although in my mind Obhama sat there and wondered who the tosser was!) FS - In response to Katter & Rudd - buggered if I know. Don't forget however that Katter's have been a part of the conservative political landscape in Northern Queensland for decades - and he does "speak up" for his area - which is enormous - it runs from the QLD/NT border to Innisfail! I suspect part of the Rudd thing is that yet another Queenslander was "rolled" by a Victorian (and up here - we all "know" Victorians think themselves SO superior). There is a well known beer and large Australian "regional" bank that for years successfully traded on being Queenslanders - so there is form in that area. The interesting thing about the bank is when it went national it changed its brand to a TLA (three letter acronym) of its name.

Patricia WA

19/11/2011AC, Yes! Great post, as always, but I have to agree with Gravel. Almost too close to the truth. Brilliant satire - Uncle'Tone's Cabin! You had me thinking.......if the Americans can do with ideals of freedom and equality what they did to themselves by electing a Bush jr. and Australians to a different extent with a John Howard (even Joh Bjelke-petersen!) what next for democracy if they don't re-elect Obama or we here in Australia go on preferring Tony Abbott as our next PM? Optimists like you and AA will say there is always 'hope' - the Gourd, the Light on the Hill. But too often their promise and achievements are obscured from the many by a powerful few, like Murdoch and News. A powerful few who exploit and abuse democratic ideals like 'freedom of the press' to serve their own ends. Sorry. Not laughing this morning. Feeling flat. Maybe in reaction to all the excitement, and yes, real joy at having a glimpse of how the world can be with a black President and woman Prime Minister together here in our Parliament and greeting our children, representing governments which are working for their future and not themselves. But always there's the shadow of Uncle Tone there. He's no joke, really. What if we can't laugh him away?

Lyn

19/11/2011Hi Ad Bushfire Bill at work still and again:- Leroy_LynchLeroy Great take down of Shaun Carney's article #auspol #mediafail "opinionistas sour-pussing their way through the columns" http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2011/11/19/galaxy-58-42-to-federal-coalition-in-queensland/comment-page-2/#comment-1090509 7 minutes agoFavoriteRetweetReply Bushfire Bill Posted Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 10:30 am | comment 76 Carney, usually a serial complainer and knocker of Labor’s focus group “obsession”, finds himself urging Labor to go for spin, a quick slosh with the mop and, fingers crossed, no-one will notice once the guests start arriving and the grog starts flowing. What Carney fails to appreciate is that no matter what she does the shock jocks, the rampants in the Murdoch poison network and the professional arm-chair generals will invent imaginary tests and then tell us, a column or two later, Gillard failed them. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2011/11/19/galaxy-58-42-to-federal-coalition-in-queensland/comment-page-2/#comment-1090509 Cheers:):):):)

TalkTurkey

19/11/2011Good Morning Swordsfolks Can you believe it was just three weeks ago that QANTAS did its thing? In that time the ruling perceptions have reversed, it took a little longer than I expected for that to happen but who could have anticipated the extremity of the Murdoch media in huffing and puffing and keeping the empty Coalons blown up like those fake army tanks the Allies used as decoys for Luftwaffe air strikes during WWII. But Murdochs have taken an ongoing big hit, they got problems of their own. Bolt has had a fine comeuppance with his conviction for racism, he seems wonderfully wounded and hurting horribly, poor petal. The Government has passed more than half of its promised legislation and it is looking very competent, that's an understatement, and it has achieved this appearance against the unrelenting and extreme worst that the MSM and fool Abbortt can throw at them, like Horatio Hornblower they're reduced to firing cannon-cheeses instead of cannonballs, and it's yummy soft Bree at that to us eh. We can afford to make a meal off their weak broadsides. They must be really panicked now, those behind crying [i]Forward![/i] and those before crying [i]BACK![/i] ?Stick with Abbortt? ?Roll him asap? ?Replace him with WT#? People seem to wonder why I have remained upbeat all through the darkest days which now are a fading fact. No mystery, Abbortt is hollow and I knew it, and I have always believed he would be seen through long before the next election. And I have growing faith that sites such as TPS, affording instant communications at all levels, we can directly influence the political and journalistic situation at all levels. When such as Bushfire Bill and Mr Denmore and Ad astra and Greg Jericho can and do write the pants off almost everybody in the MSM, it has to sting! And when the best of the MSM, as in Laura Tingle and Lenore Taylor, are prepared staunchly to speak their minds concerning Abbortt, and the heaviest duty of the lot in the person of the redoubtable, (if snide and self-important) Laurie Oakes, is at last putting the boot into him good and proper (where it should've been since well before the 2010 election), you may be sure Abbortt is preparing to be hung out to dry. Not that he's a Wet, (noun, vernacular, meaning tender-minded right), indeed he is a hard Dry, but he sure is [i]wet[/i], (adjective, vernacular, meaning wimpish, boring, effete.) This session of Parliament will see Abbortt on the ropes, ridiculed, pounded, bruised and losing it. Dontcha just love it? Chick-a-Boom!

Patricia WA

19/11/2011Chick-a-Boom! Indeed! Thanks for the lift, TT! Just remembering POTUS and our PM together talking to those kids should have done it for me, but we all falter in our faith at times. Particularly early in the morning before that first coffee!

Lyn

19/11/2011Hi Ad This is the Bali transcript:- Address to the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, Bali FRI 18 NOVEMBER 2011 http://www.pm.gov.au/press-office/address-asean-business-and-investment-summit-bali Pictures Beautiful pictures slide show of Julia: Prime Minister Julia Gillard talks with Australian tourists at the 2002 Bali bombing memorial in Kuta, Bali, Indonesia, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011. Ms Gillard also met with Bali Governor Made Pastika who also led the investigation into the bombings which killed 202 people including 88 Australians. (AAP Image/Karlis Salna) NO ARCHIVING http://www.aapone.com.au/Search.aspx?search=julia+gillard Cheers :):):):)

Lyn

19/11/2011Hi Acerbic Conehead Thankyou for your fabulous article once again, to bring us weekend delight. You are our gift that just keeps giving. Cheers:):):):):)

Lyn

19/11/2011Hi Talk Turkey Here you are waving your magic all over us, creating enjoyment and confidence for us all. TPS readers [i]Dontcha just love it? Chick-a-Boom![/i] Thankyou Talk Turkey: [i] if snide and self-important) Laurie Oakes, is at last putting the boot into him good and proper (where it should've been since well before the 2010 election[/i]), And again today from Laurie Oakes:- [quote]Rudd inspired Obama, Laurie Oakes, Perth [/quote] [b]EVEN his strongest supporters must wonder what gets into Tony Abbott [/b]at times. Surely they were embarrassed by his injection of partisan domestic politics into the occasion of President Obama's address to the Australian Parliament. Here was a big, bipartisan event one so important it should have been above party politics. But Abbott could not resist sniping at the Government over uranium sales and the mining tax in his speech welcoming the President. [b]It was the political equivalent of breaking wind in church. A US official was quoted as commenting: "Pettiness of the worst type."[/b] http://www.perthnow.com.au/rudd-inspired-obama/story-fn6cmyjj-1226199383012?sv=e2b6760bdc9507c2c7794f1dd94045aa Cheers:):):):)

NormanK

19/11/2011Acerbic Conehead Absolutely superb! I don't know how you keep finding fresh ideas every week but may your well never run dry.

Feral Skeleton

19/11/2011PatriciaWA, I empathise with your feelings du flatness. I'm almost all politicked out, and can't wait till parliament has risen for the year, quite frankly. I just don't know how others keep their enthusiasm and energy up. Still, I guess if I was PM I'd find a way! :)

Feral Skeleton

19/11/2011Did you know that the Oppositiion, should they inflict themselves upon us poor souls as the government, will be proscribing our 'Values' and telling us what's right & wrong, and how we should think, and that we should be a Christian Nation under God? According to Scott Morrison, that's how we will be 'guided' in Abbott's 'Guided Democracy': http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/coalitions-scott-morrision-vows-to-protect-values-borders/story-fn59niix-1226198898654

Feral Skeleton

19/11/2011NormanK, OK, so what happened to all the Hippies and Counter Culturalists that flooded into Queensland in the 70s and 80s? Did they catch the 'Queensland Disease' and become Conservative too? ;-)

Ad astra reply

19/11/2011Hi Lyn Thank you for the links. They are very helpful. I hope jj reads the end of Laurie Oakes column, although i expect he will prefer to go along with Phillipa Martyr's comments in [i]Quadrant Online[/i] that Abbott's speech was a 'masterpiece', 'brilliant', and 'noble'. Well, apart from a few of Abbott's colleagues defending him on the record, he's getting precious little support from anyone else. Laurie says his colleagues must wonder what gets into Abbott at times. But it really is no mystery - his behaviour was quite predictable. He's done the same before. He is uncouth and keen to thumb his nose at convention. If this is the sort of man jj wants for his PM, that tells us a lot about jj. Contrast Abbott's speech with those offered by PM Gillard and the stark difference emerges. Hers are full of forward looking visionary ideas; his are almost devoid of ideas, or plans, or initiatives.

NormanK

19/11/2011Feral Skeleton They were airbrushed out [i]Penthouse[/i] style or had nice little labels stuck across their naughty bits. As a consequence all of those 'losers' who couldn't hack the censorship settled in northern NSW and infected the culture down there. No pot-smokin', so-called 'liberals' are going to dilute the fine traditions set up by Sir Joh & Co while there is political life left in us rednecks. And that's a blood oath. As I mentioned, there is a strange contradiction in the current polls (for what they are worth i.e. not much) and the recent history of long-serving Labor governments. As with federal Labor, all of the high-profile pundits are giving Anna Bligh no chance of success at the next election but I suspect it will be a close-run thing because the LNP is dysfunctional and if CanDo comes unstuck in any way their fortunes will crash with him. Every morning while brushing our teeth we need to remind ourselves: opinion polls are almost completely meaningless, opinion polls are almost completely meaningless, opinion polls are almost completely meaningless.

Ad astra reply

19/11/2011Hi Lyn Thank you for the link to BB's comment about Shaun Carney's article on [i]Poll Bludger[/i] - as usual, brilliant. After reading Shaun Carney's article I wondered what point he was trying to make. Perhaps there wasn't a point; rather it seemed to be an excuse to regurgitate what we already know. Sloppy space-filling journalism, for which Shaun is establishing a reputation.

Feral Skeleton

19/11/2011Ad Astra, I think the answer to your question: 'What's happening to Shaun Carney?', is, as has been mentioned elsewhere increasingly lately, the need to file, combined with an over-inflated opinion of oneself when one has been put up on a pedestal as having 'Political Pundit' status. Hence, while their engine might be running short of fuel, they are using what they have left to keep their ego inflated as they churn out their work.

Gravel

19/11/2011Patricia I can empathize with feeling down, it happens to me occasionally. I wonder if it is because we have spent so much emotion on worrying about abbott getting in, that now that things are looking a bit brighter, we've stopped panicking so much. As Feral has just said maybe we are all a bit politicaled out and need to refresh for next year. Lyn You just keep coming up with more fantastic links, I love the ones that have great photo's of Julia, it has been a long wait to see good ones.

Feral Skeleton

19/11/2011NormanK, Actually you might be very close to the mark about the Hippies being scared away from the Glasshouse Mountains and Caboolture(which is where I heard they went, and the Surfies to Noosa), as I remember a strory my late husband told to me once about a Hitch-hiking trip he once took all the way up the East Coast, from Mosman, NSW to Mosman, FNQ. He told the story of how he had just crossed the border into Queensland, and was outside of the Twin Towns going North, when he was picked up by a couple of normal-looking guys(which means they looked incredibly straight). At the time he had accumulated a certain degree of infamy as one of the leaders of the 'Hair Strikes' in NSW, wherein he had the audacity to grow his hair longer than collar-length, and refuse to get it cut when ordered to do so by the Head Master. So, you can imagine how radical he was to the average Queenslander at the time. Still, these guys gave him a lift. Which he appreciated because it was a very wet day in Queensland(starnge, I know), and he was facing the prospect of sleeping out in it beside the road, until the next morning. So, he got into the car, and thanked the guys profusely for picking him up. They asked him where he was going, and he told them he was trying to get up to Mosman, FNQ. "OK" they said, "We'll take you as far as Ayr. We've got some business we've got to attend to up there. Then we're heading back down South." "Great! Thank you! That'll help a lot!" my OH said. "Oh, and by-the-way", one of them said back to him, "I'm Detective So & So, and this is Detective Such & Such, and we know who you are, and we'd just like to let you know, if you keep your nose clean while you're in Queensland, there'll be no problems. However, if you cause any trouble you'll be turned around and sent back home so fast your head will spin." Suffice to say, all my late husband could let out after that was a squeaky, "OK". However, once the detectives had laid out their ultimatum to him, they were fine and friendly for the rest of the trip to Ayr. And my husband made it to Mosman(or, is it Mossman?), FNQ in one piece, and had a happy and incident-free holiday. :D

Feral Skeleton

19/11/2011As this is a lyn's Links-free period, I am taking it upon myself to put this interesting yarn up: http://www.vexnews.com/2011/11/hear-them-scream-the-age-of-pain-cant-hack-waiting-for-the-axe-to-fall/#comment-60014

Feral Skeleton

19/11/2011Here's a yarn about the modern Right Wing Town Gossip/Rumour-Mongering machine: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/when-it-comes-to-e-mailed-political-rumors-conservatives-beat-liberals/2011/11/17/gIQAyycZWN_story.html?hpid=z2&wpisrc=nl_pmpolitihttp://wwhttp://www.washingtonpost.com:80/ac2/wp-dyn?node=admin/registration/register&sub=AR

Feral Skeleton

19/11/2011Here's another good blog from An Onymous Lefty: http://anonymouslefty.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/next-for-work-for-the-dole-full-taxpayer-funded-slavery/

TalkTurkey

19/11/2011FS said "PatriciaWA, I empathise with your feelings du flatness. I'm almost all politicked out . . . " And Gravel empathised: " . . . I wonder if it is because we have spent so much emotion on worrying about abbott getting in, that now that things are looking a bit brighter, we've stopped panicking so much." Me thinks it has to do with the feeling that we have done what we can so far, like the feeling you get after push-starting someone's car, having first had to get it over a rise . . . We have [i]all[/i] pushed, FS no-one harder than you, we have the feeling that the car can roll by itself now or at least we've done what we can for now, and we need a bit of a breather. You get the same feeling after your last exam at uni, you sort of implode for a few days. I imagine that's a lot to do with post-partum blues too. You wouldn't feel this way if you felt we were still so desperately backs-to-the-wall, I think, so in a way it's a good sign. The Coalons are anyway feeling much flatter than we. They are thinking [i]Ah #*ck, what's the #*cking use, we're #*cked anyway![/i] (And they're [b]right! :)[/b]) They are starting to realize that now, so far out to the Right and with no policy position whatsoever, they couldn't run the country except down anyway. They have a long and hugely difficult road back to credibility, and no talent to achieve it with. All they have left is worn-out fury, and that's only from a pretty small far-right section of their supporters. They must know by now that Abbortt will not get them home, and they have no idea what to do. Labor has stolen their more-temperate support base (we've half-lost some of our own Left to the Greens, but they're lost to the Coalons anyway) and even if they get some rational policy together (as if) [i]we're already there![/i] Sad, ain't it. (Sarky, but it's actually true. Labor in Opposition tries to come up with viable alternatives, even [i]agrees[/i] sometimes, not just NO NO NO, and in doing so stimulates itself and the rival government, and helps promote good governance. The Coalons have dug a deep hole for themselves by merely opposing. But next year will do for us to push their dirt down on top of them, Ooohhh I like that image.:) ) I'm saying FS and Gravel, the feeling you have, and I too btw, is to do with having done a job as best we could. *J*U*L*I*A* has her legendary tail up, now we take a deep breath or two at last, it's all good! But Ad astra if you think to shut the Sword down over Crispmess, please don't, we done good last year remember, let not the Sword cool in the sheath. We will rattle and crunch, gobble and growl, chirp and bloom, bark and smoke and glow and shine all the way to the next election in 2013. But just for now we don't need to feel so paranoid. Hooray for Us. Heh heh. When things go a bit quiet, the Coalons who wanted instant gratification are gonna start bouncing off the walls! Oh what a lovely picture, there's us in the stands with our thumbs at the ready, the Christians like Barnasty and Morriscum and Poopoo fighting each other all-onto-all in the arena! Abbortt like a pincushion with short swords sticking out of him . . . Mesma, her deathstare fixed forevermore on a distant point in the heavens . . . Snotty Joe, punctured and exploded in a huge circle of eviscerated viscera . . . Turdball having stabbed himself to death in a fit of narcissism-gone-wrong . . . Vampirella pinned down with an old man's naked body lying across her . . . OMD it's Rupert Merdeoch! Oh and Look, there's Piggy Twiggy Forrest, Gina Rindlard and Clive Palmgrease locked in a death triangle, each having accounted for one rival while being accounted for h/self by the third . . . And here comes a contingent of Shock Media, a flying wedge led by Pigs Ackerman, Andy BumBolt and Anal Jones, to set upon the remaining failed Coalons, little knowing that the Lions from the Media Enquiry are about to come slavering into the arena and rip [i]them[/i] limb from limb . . . I swear I get more fun from the Coalons' pain than I do from Labor's pleasures. They are bloody evil, a word that they know all about, it's their bloody concept and they make it a living reality. This next session of Parliament is going to be FUN FUN FUN like it says in the song. (This is an awful version but it at least downloads.) http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=fun%20fun%20fun%20till%20her%20daddy%20takes%20the%20t%20bird%20away&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CCoQtwIwAg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DzC-h_r8KzQM&ei=z2PHTrTDIdGwiQfy47TmDw&usg=AFQjCNGbcKKtoTi_wCATikztNPRVwE-Iog

Catey

19/11/2011AC Another piece of entertaining satire....that Tones is a constant source of inspiration. Lyn Thank you for the tweets you shared re the PMs Darwin speech. I have been trying to add a comment since then, but haven't been able to even though I have been able to read everyone else's comments. Not sure why. Thanks also to everyone else for the interesting links. This site makes for excellent reading.

Jason

19/11/2011AlboMP | 51 minutes ago RT @wrb330: Anthony Albanese sums up Abbott --"There's no event too big in which he doesn't show himself to be too small,"

Lyn

19/11/2011 Hi Everybody Some results for clarence by-Election , live from William Bowe Clarence by-election live abcnewsABC News Results trickle in from #Clarence by-election. Early swing to Labor, Nationals likely to retain. Live results at http://bit.ly/u7Ur8s 17 seconds agoFavoriteRetweetReply PollBludgerWilliam Bowe [b]Projecting ALP swing of about 15% in Clarence by-election with a solid 15% of vote counted #nswpol [/b]http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2011/11/19/clarence-by-election-live/ Saturday, November 19, 2011 – 6:02 pm, by William Bowe http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2011/11/19/clarence-by-election-live/ # % Swing 2PP Swing 2PP Swing Walker 133 1.8% [b]Ellem (ALP) 1958 26.6% 16.4% 33.4% 14.8% [/b] Scott-Irving 63 0.9% Robinson (DEM) 54 0.7% Camac (CDP) 160 2.2% -0.1% Gulaptis (NAT) 4236 57.6% -6.3% 66.6% -14.8% Mead (ORP) 185 2.5% Cavanaugh (GRN) 562 7.6% 0.6% TOTAL 7351 Booths counted 15 out of 44 Votes counted 14.6% of enrolled voters http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2011/11/19/clarence-by-election-live/ Cheers:):):):):)

Jaeger

19/11/2011Let me get this straight: a swing to the ALP of 18.5% (as at time of posting) is "their 2nd worst result ever"??! O_o If that's true, the "worst government in our history" should romp it in at the next federal election! :-D

Feral Skeleton

19/11/2011Here's the booth by booth results for the Clarence By-Election: http://www.abc.net.au/elections/nsw/2011/clarence/result.htm I was having a look through them and I noticed that The Greens candidate actually one a booth at Nymboida Hall! So that's where all the Hippies from Queensland went, I suppose. :) Anyway, I wouldn't get too excited about the Clarence result because it seems that all the electors who would never vote National in a pink fit, and who wanted to give the ALP a kick in the last State Election, voted for the Mayor of Coffs Harbour, who didn't run this time. Which is the Independant vote that has a big negative number against it in the results. He's also pretty popular in his own right so I hear. Still, the Nationals vote did go down from the State Election. Though that may have been due to the personal following of the exiting former Member. I'd prefer to think it was due to the common sense reaction of the electorate to the revelations of 'favours' promised to one of the new National's candidate's biggest donors.

Lyn

19/11/2011Hi Jaeger and Everybody Labor is to be congratulated and if this is the trend in every seat, in the future then the Coalition's newspoll will be wrong. Tweets talking about the by-election result:- RT @samdastyari: [b]Labor set to achieve the largest EVER 2pp swing against the NSW Nats. #Clarence[/b] ryanmoore3Ryan Reminder that a swing of 16.3% replicated across NSW would reduce Coalition to 40 seats and put the ALP into Govt with 49 seats. #Clarence 53 seconds agoFavoriteRetweetReply samdastyariSam Dastyari WOW. Labor looking at over 17% swing towards it.[b] [b]Congrats to the Labor Clarence team and John Robertson! [/b]#Clarence[/b] 20 minutes agoFavoriteRetweetReply ryanmoore3Ryan Taking away the average by election swing of 6.5%, a 10.3% swing (replicated state wide) [b]would take 19 seats from Barry O'Farrell[/b]. #Clarence samdastyariSam Dastyari by Schtang WOW. Labor looking at over 17% swing towards it. [b]Congrats to the Labor Clarence team and John Robertson![/b] "[quote]worst government in our history" should romp it in at the next federal election! [/quote] Cheers :):):):):):)

Ad astra reply

19/11/2011Folks That looks like quite a good result for Labor. Time for bed.

Feral Skeleton

19/11/2011Talk Turkey, Thank you for the eloquent reply. However, there are 1 or 2 points that I beg to differ with you over. But not in a cantankerous way. :) Firstly, you said: [quote]They are starting to realize that now, so far out to the Right and with no policy position whatsoever, they couldn't run the country except down anyway. [/quote] Now, far be it from me to naysay the fact that the Abbott Coalition are bereft of policy. However, that is now, but what about then? As in 2012? What I hear is that next year, in an attempt to counteract the perceived image of himself abroad in the electorate that he is the Mother Hubbard of Policy, Tony Abbott is preparing to do a 1995-era Howard move, and give a series of 'Headland Speeches', in quasi-Prime Ministerial mode, in order to paint some broad-brush outlines of his policy 'directions'. Now, knowing as I do how the media hang off his every utterance, as if they are Sermons from the Mount(a fact he is not wont to disabuse them of), then I can only imagine that these speeches will be heralded as Abbott finally getting his policy act together. And all will be forgiven by the one or two Doubting Thomases in the media. Mr Abbott will have laid out his credentials for the 'Top Job', and the media will thus feel free to fulsomely get behind him again in the run-up to the 2013 federal election, and all his policy hollowness will be forgiven and forgotten. However, I can't wait until he does give those speeches because I am going to tear them limb from metaphorical limb, as no doubt they will be full of 'soaring' rhetoric, signifying nothing much, or coded nods and winks to the Coalition's biggest supporters, which need to be decoded. Also, you said: [quote]They have a long and hugely difficult road back to credibility, and no talent to achieve it with. All they have left is worn-out fury, and that's only from a pretty small far-right section of their supporters. They must know by now that Abbortt will not get them home, and they have no idea what to do. [/quote] Now, as far as the electorate thinks, if you can take the weighted mean of the polls seriously, and they do have some validity, the Opposition ARE credible. This may change in the months and years to come, but, as I see it, the numbers are remaining stubbornly low for the ALP, no matter how many gormless stunts and faux pas Abbott and his Shadow Frontbench makes. Which means Abbott will continue to lead them to the election, and possibly to victory. He couldn't get much worse, and all his faults are on show now for the electorate to see, but the electorate itself is becoming more naturally conservative as I see things, so the Coalition are their more natural home. Which isn't to say, however, that Julia and her team don't realise this already, which may be behind some of the more queer decisions wrt Same Sex marriage etc., if you'll pardon the pun. Anyway, all's I'm saying is, don't write the Coalition off so easily. I'm not.

Feral Skeleton

19/11/2011Paul Keating calls Tony Abbott, 'Little John Howard'. :D

Feral Skeleton

19/11/2011I think the truth is, in the Clarence By-Election, that the electorate are starting to realise that the NSW Coalition government are essentially incompetent, beholden to Private Industry, and that Barry O'Farrell is a mean and nasty man.

Feral Skeleton

19/11/2011GhostWhoVotes GhostWhoVotes #Clarence NAT Primary after 30 booths: 57.8 (-5.0) #nswpol #auspol 1 minute ago Favorite Retweet Reply

Feral Skeleton

19/11/2011Here's Antony Green's Commentary page for the Clarence By-Election in NSW(for all the political tragics out there): http://www.abc.net.au/elections/nsw/2011/clarence/commentary.htm

BSA Bob

19/11/2011Just looking at the ABC's news website. It says of the by election "a swing of 16% to Labor not enough for victory." This would have to be some sort of record for damning with faint praise. It tends to tie in with what F.S. mentioned above, that the media begrudges any favourable comment to Labor & will be eager to jump on Abbott's "policy" bandwagon when or if it arrives. I'm still fairly pessimistic about our chances I'm afraid, as F.S. says Abbott with all his faults is on continuous display & the electorate seems to like it. Still things are undeniably looking better. It'll be interesting to see how the by election result is reported. I wouldn't be surprised to find that it isn't. Hope I haven't misrepresented F.S.

Feral Skeleton

19/11/2011BSA Bob, What is being reported is Andrew Stoner's Great Big Fat Lie about this being the '2nd worst result ever' in Clarence. Have a read of pollbludgers' comments and analysis to see why he is dressing up a turkey of a result for the Nats, actually. Well, put it this way, it has not been a ringing endorsement of the first 6 months of the O'Farell government in NSW: http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2011/11/19/clarence-by-election-live/#comments

NormanK

19/11/2011We all enjoy a nice little narrative, don't we? :) Here's one unfolding on the Sunshine Coast. [b]Rudd given rockstar welcome[/b] by Owen Jacques Sunshine Coast Daily [quote]Foreign Minister and former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd brought Kawana Waters State College to a halt when he visited with Member for Fisher Peter Slipper.[/quote] http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/story/2011/11/18/kawana-gives-rudd-rockstar-welcome/ [b]Rudd takes win in LNP heartland[/b] by Owen Jacques Sunshine Coast Daily [quote]Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd must have felt like he was in a politician's heaven. 

Invited deep into Liberal territory by member for Fisher Peter Slipper, it was a feel-good event for the former Prime Minister .....
 After being treated like visiting royalty, he was then able to slam Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in front of a solemn Mr Slipper.
 Mr Rudd told Mr Slipper to "close his ears" - he obliged - and the ALP minister attacked Mr Abbott for airing domestic issues in front of United States president Barack Obama. 
Journalists then asked Mr Slipper why he appeared closer to an ALP minister than his Liberal colleague Alex Somlyay.
 As Mr Slipper answered, Mr Rudd could scarcely conceal his joy.
 "I think Alex every morning consumes a bag of lemons. He has a sour outlook on life," Mr Slipper said.[/quote] http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/story/2011/11/19/rudd-takes-win-lnp-heartland/ [b]Slipper, Somlyay come out fighting[/b] by Bill Hoffman Sunshine Coast Daily [quote]PETER Slipper has been told it is time he got out of politics as LNP internal relations turned toxic yesterday. Fellow LNP member for Fairfax Alex Somlyay turned up the heat on the embattled MP saying he believed Mr Slipper needed professional counselling. Party members are furious the Fisher MP invited Labor Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd to his electorate today on the same day former Liberal Prime Minister John Howard launches John Connolly's campaign for the state seat of Nambour, ahead of elections due early next year. The date clash comes as details were leaked of letters Mr Slipper has written to LNP state president Bruce McIver demanding the party expel former Howard minister Mal Brough. Mr Slipper is furious Mr Brough organised a business forum held in Maroochydore last night which attracted a full house and a branch Christmas party for December 9 without consulting him. In letters to Mr McIver he expressed his outrage that invitations to the forum were from "Mal Brough on behalf of the Fisher LNP" and the Christmas drinks from "Mal Brough and the Fisher FDC". Mr Brough ..... has announced he will stand against Mr Slipper to be the LNP candidate for Fisher at the next federal election. Mr Somlyay said any claim by Mr Slipper that Mr Brough was bringing the party into disrepute was clearly a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Mr McIver said last night ..... "Party members will have the opportunity at pre-selection to make a judgment on whether parliamentary representatives have carried out their duties correctly," he said.[/quote] http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/story/2011/11/18/slipper-and-somlyay-come-out-fighting/ 
[b]Howard chips in as LNP rows[/b] by Mark Furler Sunshine Coast Daily [quote]Former Prime Minister John Howard gave a glowing endorsement of Mal Brough's return to politics as LNP members slammed Peter Slipper's decision to host Kevin Rudd at Kawana yesterday. Mr Howard told more than 450 people at a campaign launch for state candidate John Connolly that he wanted to see Mr Brough back in Canberra representing the Coast. The comment was met with huge applause in what was seen by many as support for Mr Brough in his battle for pre-selection for the seat of Fisher, held by Mr Slipper. Mr Howard said Mr Brough was a great minister in his government who made some of the most courageous decisions he had seen. Mr Howard took a veiled swipe at Mr Slipper, pointing out he was the deputy speaker in a Labor government. "He's the bloke that took the votes for the Labor Party,'' Mr Howard told a press conference. When asked what he thought about Mr Slipper inviting Kevin Rudd to town on the same day that the LNP was staging one of their biggest campaign launches, Mr Howard said: "It's a free country.''[/quote] http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/story/2011/11/19/john-howard-chips-in-as-lnp-rows-mal-brough/ To quote my wise old grandmother: "Somebody's playing silly buggers."

BSA Bob

20/11/2011F.S. Yes, I see what you mean. Just popped over to the Telegraph which was running an "easy victory" line although they did allow some quotes from Labor. I should have been more specific when I said the result might not be reported, I was thinking of the coverage it may get in such far flung places as where I live & the like. At most, I think we'll get the "easily retained" line too. But 16% is 16%, as you say not a great look for Bazza & his mob. G'night.

jane

20/11/2011Uncle Tones' Cabin. A glimpse of the country in the clutches of the Liars Party. You've done it again, AC. Funny, but frightening look at what could be our fate if Liealot wins the next election. Looks like the voters are already delivering a decision on the O'Farrell government after only 6 months. It would be interesting to see what sort of judgement Victorians would deliver if a by-election was held now. Peter Slipper is sure sticking it to the Liars Party. He must be sure he'll be dumped for Mal Brough at the next pre-selection, so he's having some fun while he can. FS, I wouldn't worry too much about a series of Liealot [i]Headland Speeches.[/i] He won't be able to help himself. Given a choice between saying something positive and something negative, he'll go for negativity every time. I think he's set himself on this path and is unable and/or unwilling to explore other paths. Bashing his head against a brick wall seems to be his default position atm. Long may it be so!

jane

20/11/2011I wouldn't call a 16% swing against an easy victory. I'd call it a wake up call, which is what the msm would be calling it if it was an ALP seat! Just can't break those bad habits, no matter what, can they? And that idiot Hartigan thinks he's fooling who with his spiteful whinging.

Lyn

20/11/2011 Good morning Ad and Everybody Seems that Abbott has exhausted every dress up outfit, every stunt, poor petal has been overshadowed, Julia is pinching all the cameras, so they have to resort to a TV Ad attacking the Government. Wayne Swan breaking a glass, oh and how original Pink Batts. [i]Liberals go for Labor jugular with ads , Samatha Maiden, Herald Sun[/i] [i]Targeting Labor's alliance with the Greens, the coup against Mr [/i]Rudd, the Budget deficit, the pink batts fiasco and waste in the school-building program, the new Liberal ads are billed as "Four Years of Labor disasters Treasurer Wayne Swan is depicted as a bumbling fool, with a replay of television images when he accidentally smashed a glass during a live television advertisement and said "oops" as the glass shattered. Australians are paying a high price for four years of Labor's reckless spending, broken promises, waste, drift, deficit and debt," Liberal Party director Brian Loughnane said http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/liberals-go-for-labor-jugular-with-ads/story-fn7x8me2-1226200092085 Cheers:):):):):):):):)

Gravel

20/11/2011Jane Thank you, after reading Feral Skeleton I go a bit worried about the headland speaches. I hate this confusion sometimes. But hey it was a good comeback for Labor in that by election. Talk Turkey I am glad you have cleaned up what I was trying to say. I like your 'pushing a car uphill to get it going' analogy.

Gravel

20/11/2011Catey Sometimes when submitting a comment, I get the recaptcha wrong and wonder why it won't send then I see red writing just under the 'notify me....' saying I did it wrong and it gives a new one. I type that in and it works. Hope this is all that is causing your comments not being accepted as we all look forward to your wise words.

janice

20/11/2011Good morning all. [quote]Seems that Abbott has exhausted every dress up outfit, every stunt, poor petal has been overshadowed, Julia is pinching all the cameras, so they have to resort to a TV Ad attacking the Government. [/quote] It is desperation writ large me thinks Lyn. The LOTO and his mob see the writing on the wall and hope to resurrect the perception they created that this is a "bad" government. I wonder if it has dawned on them yet that the current LOTO will not get the keys to the Lodge and the bald-headed old swell and Hyacinth will not be swanning around in Yarralumla.

janice

20/11/2011FS, [quote]Paul Keating calls Tony Abbott, 'Little John Howard'[/quote] Well, the bald-headed old swell is certainly pulling Abbott's strings to make him dance but so far hasn't been able to control his big mouth. There are times I'd love to be a fly on the lOTO's back when he's being 'counselled'.

Acerbic Conehead 2

20/11/2011AA, Yes, Tones’ incursions onto the national and international stages have been cringe-worthy. He’s like an embarrassing relative giving a dodgy speech at a wedding. Everybody can’t wait til he sits down again. Gravel, Great to hear from you again. Yes, the truth about what could be in store again can indeed hurt, but let’s keep up the struggle to prevent it from coming to pass. 2353, Thank you for the encouraging words. Yes, it must have been going through Obama’s head, “who on earth is this turkey?” PatriciaWA, How insightful of you to identify the Drinking Gourd as a symbol of hope. It certainly was for the slaves during the oppressive days when they were travelling the “Underground Railway”. Hope and optimism in the struggle are essential, so keep promoting them in your wonderful pomes. Lyn, And thank you for your supportive comments and for the ongoing bank of links you are continuing to provide for us. Enjoy the rest of the weekend. NormanK, Tony Abbott provides lots of grist to the mill. He is turning more and more into a cartoon character and I am only too happy to push him along this path. Keep up the very interesting and insightful posts. Catey, Nice to hear from you again. As I was saying to NormanK, Tones is a piss-taker’s walking treasure-trove. I’m glad you enjoy visiting the site. Keep your comments coming. Jane, Yes, even though Tones said WorkChoices is, “dead, buried and cremated”, I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him. After all, there are plenty of his backers and cronies who aren’t afraid to publicly support it. It looks like they are playing the old, “good cop, bad cop”, routine. Hopefully (there’s that word, “hope”, again!), enough voters will wake up to the charlatan and dispatch him and his scurvy crew to the rubbish dump where they belong.

TalkTurkey

20/11/2011Gravel, I don't get the bit about 'cleaning up' your post . . ? What was dirty? I don't know. I'm glad you liked it though, not the reverse. Watching Paul Keating on Big Ideas. My o my o my. FS, BSA Bob, PJK is just one of the several very good reasons that I say I am very confident of winning the next election. We have [i]him.[/i] The first and [i]absolute[/i] reason I say that, though, even beyond the fact that I believe it to be true for all the rest of the reasons in the Labor treasury, is that [i]I never talk down or even gainsay the chances of Labor winning[/i]. Why would I? What possible benefit could there be? If there be anything to talk up I do that as a matter of personal joy and as a matter of practical politics, nothing succeeds like success. But there seems to me no point fearing shadows, that fear rubs off on others so I try to skirt it and [i]accentuate the positive[/i]. FS there are two full years yet if *J*U*L*I*A* wishes, and by the end of this year most of the Government's legislative agenda will be in place. Not bloody bad eh for a bit over a year of constant harassment! How many bills? Two hundred and something! Some of them HUGE! NBN! Carbon Price benefits! BER! [i]Pokies[/i], (I wonder what the future holds?) MRRT, bring it on! So by early next year the game will have changed. How will Abbortt keep rousing the hysteria when all that's happening is bedding down the beneficial changes, him getting nowhere? He will try to create some policy? . . . OK imagine his headaches trying to please the moderates, where he MUST head if he is to hope to rule, AND placate the Rabid Right, AND come up with anything new that is not immediately ridiculed by the Labor front bench AND the IndependAnts, who will get a great deal more attention from the Media next time round btw, which will have Australia-wide resonance, not just in their own electorates. How the hell will he ever be able to plug the $70 billion and a-counting black hole in his budgeting? (Well it's only a nice round ten bucks for every living human on the planet I s'pose . . . ) How will he convince people by then that he will unplug the NBN, de-tax carbon, [i]what rubbish![/i] We will do him and his stupid party like the headless gooses they are. Go Albo! Conroy! Wong! Swan! Whack-whack-whack-whack-whack! That is the way you put down a street fighter, and the Media even if they make Tony the victim wherever possible, poor petal, they will anyway have to report our attacks on him first. Abbortt is doomed to failure, even if by some excess stupidity on his stupid Party's part he is still leading them. Huh, two years, I'm smirking as I write. "Don't write crap" is having a lot of effect on the MSM. The degree to which the media gaggle hate being called on it by the PM is directly related to the degree of guilt they feel knowing it to be all too apposite. I think that Laurie Oakes was a major part of leading the media pack into thinking that attacking the government was the way to go, they have followed blindly and now the old slobbery bulldog has let go of the government and latched on to Abbortt and the Coalons, they have no idea of what to do, having neither Oakes' sources nor his wit, and certainly they still mostly hate Labor, especially now they have been proved wrong wrong wrong in their stupid prognostications. They're STUPID. [Abbortt's as Stupid as George Dubya Bush, good line!] They failed to make any headway on *J*U*L*I*A* after the most sustained hate campaign ever seen in this country, and what did they get, [i]Don't write crap [/i]and an Independent Media Enquiry, har bloody har bloody har har har, all their own doing. Swordsfolks and all our ilk on the blogosphere all sport a new Eagle Feather for our little parts in helping to bring this about, and our full feather chief Ad astra now has to wear a longer one down to his waist. The Media has taken a big hit too because of Murdochratic indiscretion, they are under scrutiny now and things what's different ain't the same. FS, everybody, for Dog's sake, remember [u][b][i[u]]*Accentuate the Positive!*[/u][/i][/b][/u] Labor has so much to be proud of, so much information to impart to make people realise which side is buttering their bread, Cripes I know that the Australian people are on average pretty self-interested, well OK it is [i]Labor[/i] who gives them the things they are interested in, Liberals keep it for the favoured few. Really low rate of unemployment. Healthy economy in a sea of woes by most. People being treated decently. Ministers across their portfolios. So many aspects of this beseiged Government are bloody wonderful. As we make people aware of what Labor has done for them they will in sufficient numbers value this Government, DYWAT! So let us DOB to make them aware, that's what we must do. Talk us up, Folks, we are good and worth it. I could say heaps more on this subject, 'fact I inadvertently deleted a fair bit more of positives, but I gotta go now. [i]VENCEREMOS![/i]:)

Lyn

20/11/2011Hi Ad Astra Here is copy of the Liberal Ad: [quote]The high price of Labor's four years of failure [/quote] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpbgmV0J2dg Cheers :):):):)

BSA Bob

20/11/2011Talk Turkey Thanks for the pep talk, one shouldn't despair. About the coalition attack ad, on one level I think a devastating response would be to play Tony's Riley head wobble moment in its entirety with superimposed figures % quotes from those numerous sources that praise this Government. But on another level I can't see that working. People don't seem to be all that interested in numbers & stuff. Nonetheless the opposition's provided lots of ammunition for some sort of response. Perhaps with this ad the coalition are fighting the last war.

Lyn

20/11/2011Hi Talk Turkey Your encouragement is wonderful again today, thankyou, you inspire with your confidence: For that you are awarded a special present from TPS:- [b]Something to be thankful for: Real turkeys make a comeback45[/b] Indeed, Benjamin Franklin wanted to designate the turkey—indigenous to North and South America—as our national symbol instead of the eagle.' http://www.grist.org/sustainable-food/2011-11-14-something-to-be-thankful-for-real-turkeys-make-a-comeback?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=gristacct :):):):):):):):):):):)

TalkTurkey

20/11/2011Acerbic Conehead said "But, still in the other rocking chair on the veranda, is Grandpappy John Howard. Upon seeing Barack again, he suddenly sits bolt upright.] Johnny: I remember now! I know who this turkey is! He’s that bloody Al Qaeda guy! Quick, Tones, fetch me my shotgun... " and later this 2353, Thank you for the encouraging words. Yes, it must have been going through Obama’s head, “who on earth is this turkey?” AC what is this campaign of yours to bring my rellies into disrepute? Are you are just stirring the population up for the Great Annual Crispmess Turkey Persecution? Never mind the poor white cotton-field workers, just last night I saw on TV [i]my[/i] poor white brothers and sisters rounded up, gobbling piteously for mercy, about to be sent to the [i]gas ovens [/i]. . . First they undress the poor Turkeys completely (they call it [i]dressing[/i] them, how's that for Abbortt B-is-W logic!), then they tell them they're just going for a shower . . . Just when they should be yahooin' it up doing Turkey in the Straw, they are being forced to perform the March of the Dead . . . I'll never be a cannibal, never! [i]Never![/i] Well unless there's cranberry sauce.

Lyn

20/11/2011Hi Ad and Everybody So the Liberals think they have a good Advert. but Labor can do better: [i]Mr Negativity: Day in the Life of Tony Abbott [/i] Without a doubt Tony Abbott is the most mindlessly negative opposition leader in history. Sure people expect oppositions to oppose, but Tony Abbott has taken this to the point of ridiculousness. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdqklZ7-eu8 Cheers:):):):):):):):)

TalkTurkey

20/11/2011BSA Bob, Snap on the Nodding-head Abbortt video notion. "Mr Abbortt what do you you think of the response to your introducing domestic politics to your speech to Obama? . . . . (nod nod nod nod nod) . . . "Mr Abbortt what do you say about people calling you a moron for your stupid stunts?" . . . Nod nod nod nod nod . . . I have a little nodding head pink piggy with wings. How'd'ya dig on a hairy noddinghead Abbortt in budgie smugglers eh! And those poor white Turkeys are being rounded up and killed and I'm seeing their poor un/dressed bodies right as we speak! And now they're cutting the babies' beaks! And the bloke raising them reckons Sheep are Einsteins compared to us!!! Recaptcha: havaOth Fick, . . . I reckon!

Acerbic Conehead 2

20/11/2011TT, Grovelling apologies for my turkeyist remarks against your fine species. And yes I agree that turkey can only be consumed with the soothing balm of cranberry sauce. And speaking of cranberries, here they are with their dig at Tones and the likes of him who get a kick out of pretending they are tough macho-men. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIRK0nMD1Lw&feature=related

D Mick Weir

20/11/2011Good Afternoon Swordsfolk I had a much needed sleep in this morning. Damn, bu@@er and blast; I missed Insiders - again. Obviously I remain ill informed and an Outsider. During the last week I heard some bits (on Radio National - can't recall which programme/s) about the young Indonesian fisherman in Australia's jails and the use by the AFP of the (apparently) totally discredited wrist X-Rays to determine age. This morning I read this: [b]PM resists call to dump X-ray test[/b] Tom Allard, in Bali for The Age http://www.theage.com.au/national/pm-resists-call-to-dump-xray-test-20111119-1nomd.html#ixzz1eCtX5LeX Our incaceration of children in adult detention facilities is a great big blot on our copybook and our PM is not 'one for turning' on the matter. You just have to have deep admiration for a leader that sticks by her guns come hell or highwater. Speaking of guns, it seems to me there is a very unfortunate pattern (flaw?) in our esteemed Prime Minister's modus operandi: [i]Shoot first, ask questions later[/i] It seems to me that the [i]'announceable'[/i] about changing the policy on export of uranium to India was [i]'half cocked'[/i]. Is this another case of making an announcement first, sorting out the details later and, possibly, seeing it all unravel before our eyes? So with all the good work (and press/commentary) around the Obamarama Show and other Foreign Affairs giving the PM a boost there are signs (for me) that this is still a [i]crash or crash through[/i] administration. At the moment crash still seems the more likely, however, [i]a week is a long time in politics[/i]

TalkTurkey

20/11/2011Cool AC, I'm not realy a Turkey as I've said before, I'm really a LiarBird see, believe me if you will, but I do feel empathy for my feathered rellies even across species. Incidentally those Eagle feathers I mentioned, they're really dyed Turkey feathers, Ad astra needn't feel his headdress is threatening any native birds . . .

Feral Skeleton

20/11/2011The Liberals are up to their necks in Dollar Sweets/HR Nicholls Society/WorkChoices IR moves again: http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/11/17/liberals-exposed-as-kingmakers-in-bitter-chicken-spat/

Feral Skeleton

20/11/2011Talk Turkey, You want to go down the Relentless Positivity line. Fine. I prefer to have a degree of healthy scepticism about the chances of the Coalition winning the next federal election. No General ever won a war believing he had won the war already, simply because he believed he had the superior force. Maybe I am fighting the rearguard action by looking over my shoulder to see if the Coalition are bringing up the rear. It just seems sensible to me. Maybe it's because I am a Realist and not a Red Rose-coloured glasses wearer. I fight in the trenches. I do not write the poetry about the war from afar.

Feral Skeleton

20/11/2011Here's another example of the Coalition adopting Conservative UK government policies involving deals to provide Private and State Enterprises with free labour: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/new-drivers-to-work-free-20111119-1nocz.html

Ad astra reply

20/11/2011Hi Lyn The Liberal ad shows the paucity of their policies. It is all anti-Government, with no mention of what they are offering. I believe the swinging voters will find it boring, and the photo of Tony Abbott at the end unattractive – he looks likes a con man, which of course he is. The Abbott No, No, No piece is amusing, but I hope Labor doesn’t run anything like that, but instead its vision of the future. [i]Insiders[/i] was a disappointment this morning with a cantankerous Gerard Henderson taking up far too much time defending the Liberal’s past record on the US alliance (which in fact was not contested), and defending Tony Abbott’s partisan remarks in parliament. The session spent almost no time evaluating the effect of the Obama visit of the Government’s fortunes and little mention of Julia Gillard’s strong performance over the last few weeks. There was begrudging acknowledgement from Phil Coorey of the Government’s considerable achievements, and almost no mention of Tony Abbott’s flagging support and the fact that he thought he was running a sprint to a new election in a year, but finds he’s in a marathon, and has made his run too early. The program is tired and in need of the end-of-year break.

NormanK

20/11/2011D Mick Weir Got up on the wrong side of the bed, did we? :D For the Prime Minister to offer directives to the AFP would be a huge step and set a very poor precedent. Let's not go off half-cocked. Presumably x-rays are done as the first step in establishing age and then tedious time-consuming investigations begin back in the young men's villages to verify their age. Some sort of compromise needs to be found whereby 'suspected adults' who claim to be children are held in a low risk environment but the article you linked to suggests that they are "sharing the facilities with hardened criminals and sex offenders". That's a pretty broad brush. Are they actually in contact with hardened criminals and sex offenders or just under the same roof? What is also never mentioned in the press coverage is just how many of these individuals who declare themselves to be children are subsequently proven to be adults? Nothing wrong with that - I'd probably try it on if I were in their situation but it might help explain the AFP's level of scepticism regarding such claims. However, why the AFP persist with using this x-ray technique is a mystery to me since it has been widely discredited by a lot of overseas experts. Perhaps there is no better technique with which to replace it. On the uranium issue, bear in mind that this is only the PM raising the subject so that it can be debated at the National Conference in a couple of weeks. It is not policy. Gillard (or someone) needed to raise the subject publicly so that there can be at least a measure of community debate prior to the conference. Quite a few pundits have suggested that if the policy is adopted it will make no difference to our exports or India's imports in the very short-term. India has plenty of other sources and we have plenty of customers for the amount we are currently able to supply. It was in the first instance symbolic or if you like a diplomatic gesture and only in a few years' time will we see it impact on actual sales. Plenty of time to sort out the nitty-gritty of any new agreement that puts constraints on the uses to which Australian uranium can be put. In the mean time relations with India are likely to improve, especially in terms of trade negotiations. I hope your roses are bloomin' lovely.

Ad astra reply

20/11/2011TT I think a positive attitude to the Government’s prospects is warranted always, but more so in the last few weeks when Julia Gillard has done so well, and the Government’s performance in public opinion polls is trending upwards with still two years to go to the scheduled election, while Tony Abbott’s performance is on the decline and this is showing up in MSM articles and opinion polls. This minority Government’s achievements in the face of trenchant opposition are outstanding, notwithstanding the MSM’s unwillingness to acknowledge them. It may be naive, but I have always believed the truth will eventually prevail against all the malevolent forces that seek to hide it. If Julia Gillard and her Government can finish the parliamentary year with a strong performance, we can go into the end-of-year break confident that 2012 will be a positive year for Labor and set it up for a successful election result in 2013.

Patricia WA

20/11/2011I didn't think Insiders was too bad, AA. Gerard Henderson was predictable, of course, and ridiculously partisan and defensive over Phil Khoury's comment on Abbott's poor form in his speeches, and Cassidy agreed with Khoury - you don't fight in front of visitors - poor manners. Talking Pictures was really good, for once! Andrew Meares of Fairfax was almost ecstatic about Obama's visit and the positive pictures of him and the Prime Minister. No knocking at all. http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/content/2011/s3371224.htm

D Mick Weir

20/11/2011HI NormanK, [i]Got up on the wrong side of the bed, did we?[/i] That makes an assumption, disscussion of which, like disscussions on one's attire when commenting, is best left alone :) It would be fair to assume that I wasn't entirely clear headed when I tapped out my earlier comment and I am still attempting to pull at the various strings to get a better understanding of what is going with 'the kids in jail' thing. In part, when taken with the memory of the PM having a friendly chat with an aussie kid in a Bali jail and showing all sorts of concern, it all smacks of hypocrisy and double standards to me. Mind you I find it difficult when my hypocrisies and double standards are pointed out to me so I guess I will have to give the PM some benefit of doubt or something. The uranium thing has a sense of [i]deja vu[/i] coming back again. (Sorry couldn't help myself). There is the whole thing about India not being a signatory to a convention (more ammunition for a feckless political operator), and it coming 'out of the blue'. Surely there are some hard heads still in the government who could advise the PM that part of the art of getting what you want is to nudge opinion towards yor point of view. Looking back, pArticularly to the Hawke/Keating administration, they were able to impement a lot of policy which appeared to be at odds with Labor 'policy' by discussing it widely and eventually winning around the sceptics and naysayers. Maybe it is a reflection on the 'speed of politics' these days that this doesn't happen but it seems to me that often more about shooting from the hip and 'quick fixes' than well thought out and reasoned policy. The Rose are starting to look good but there is some disappointment in the bosses heart, the one she bought last year that had a vey white flower and a very rich dark red on the one bush is only showing white ones so far. They still looking good tough. I apolgise if I have fallen into the trap of perissology* with my comments as I do have a tendency to let my fingers run off at the keyboard * see: http://matadornetwork.com/abroad/20-obsolete-english-words-that-should-make-a-comeback/?all_pages I think the post will be right up your alley NK. HatTip @Drag0nista

Gravel

20/11/2011Talk Turkey Thanks for the pep talk. I remembered your really a lyre bird so didn't think about you when AC referred to turkeys. I half watched insiders. Very disappointed that they didn't give Julia the recognition she really deserved for CHOGM or Obama's visit. It seems like there is a rule that says, 'Do not praise Julia or the Government under any circumstances.' I deliberately watched Riley's diarys and had a good chuckle, he was actually nice to Julia. I was a bit disgruntled with his take on Kevin, showing footage of when Kevin stood down, he was mocking Kevin and I thought it very unkind.

D Mick Weir

20/11/2011This is for those that like to point out that more than 180 pieces of legislation have gone successfully through the House of Representatives. [b]The less Parliament sits, the better off we all will be[/b] Chris Berg @ The National Times. http://www.nationaltimes.com.au/opinion/politics/the-less-parliament-sits-the-better-off-we-all-will-be-20111119-1nohw.html [i]Commentators have recently complained that governments no longer have an appetite for big reform. At least, not like Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and John Howard did. ... The Parliament and the press gallery are predisposed to like active governments. A great politician is one who changes the country. A great parliament is one that maximises its opportunity to write and pass new laws. Australian political history is one long game of one-upmanship. Poor old Kevin Rudd took this bias to its logical conclusion. He spun so many government wheels in motion that his successor is only now starting to control its oversized chassis.[/i] When you become aware of the exponential growth in the number of pages in the Tax Act/s and various other acts and the number of legal disputes that arise because of this it becomes easier to be of the view that the success of government should be measured by the number of laws they repeal rather than the new ones they pass.

D Mick Weir

20/11/2011Hey FS, did Peter Fitzsimmons think of you before he gave us this Joke of the week A skeleton walks into a bar. He asks for a beer and a mop. http://www.nationaltimes.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/go-queasy-on-the-tweet-talk-20111119-1no60.html Despite that, Fitz sometimes has (some) class and some good laughs and some interesgting thoughts on politics and religion.

D Mick Weir

20/11/2011For all Swordsters that are tweeps (or is that twitterers) I am about to start a campaign: I have found @normank who has 0 Tweets, 0 Following and only one follower. Wondering who it might be and if we might be able to 'flush' them out

jane

20/11/2011WRT the Liars Party ads depicting Swan as a bumbling fool, a good counter ad would be swan's best treasurer award and some of his Parliamentary performances demolishing Liealot, Hockey and co.

NormanK

20/11/2011DMW Dog, barking, tree, wrong. You may be suffering from widdendream brought on by bibsey. This particular hoddypeak does not find Twitter illecebrous or perhaps I am afraid of falling into the trap of scriptitation in my twitter-light years. I have no wish to brabble but if you quagswag that particular tree I am likely to kench at your folly. Not that I would deliciate in your malagrugrous failure for I'm sure I could corrade some empathy for your endeavours. No doubt this will have jargogled a few Swordians and since I don't suffer from sanguinolency I will take my not so jollux self down to play with the Little Gem. You should see her freck after the ball.

D Mick Weir

20/11/2011As translator for NormanK he wrote @ 5:02 PM (in part) DMW may be suffering from a state of mental disturbance or confusion bought on by a too earnest desire after drink. This particular fool, simpleton, noodle and/or blockhead (NK) does not find twitter alluring, enticing or attractive and is afraid of falling into the trap of continual writing in his twilight years (you don't look old to me NK). Phew, suffice it to say that NormanK has shown an uncunny ability to freck towards being ludibrious

Feral Skeleton

20/11/2011D Mick Weir, They're good, aren't they, DragOnista and Chris Berg, warm and cuddly Righties who ineluctably suck you into their vortex without any pain. :)

D Mick Weir

20/11/2011Because it is sinical sunday this has peeked my malagrugorous and world-wearied self [b]Political parties deliver village idiots not village elders[/b] David Donovan @ Independent Australia http://www.independentaustralia.net/2011/politics/political-parties-deliver-village-idiots-not-village-elders/ [i]IN AUSTRALIA, like many other western nations, we have a system of representative democracy in which we vote to elect a candidate who is meant to best represent our local community. In theory, it means that Parliament should be made up of “village elders”, who meet in Canberra periodically and use their experience and wisdom to respond to the needs of the nation. And with each community having their own designate representing their interests and their interests alone, every part of the nation should have an equal say. In truth, our representatives seldom, if ever, put their constituents first. ... You only need to look at the sort of buffoons typically served up in state parliaments around our nation to know that something is not right. ... This is our body politic — detached from reality, disengaged from society and, sadly, rotten to its very core.[/i] Ouch, while I don't think all of our pollies are village idiots rather than elders Donovan makes some interesting points about the dearth of quality amongst many of our elected representatives across all spheres.

TalkTurkey

20/11/2011[i]Ferrr-rrrrllll![/i] You done said, "Talk Turkey, You want to go down the Relentless Positivity line. Fine. I prefer to have a degree of healthy scepticism about the chances of the Coalition winning the next federal election." Me [i]Pol·ly·an·na ![/i] A person regarded as being foolishly or blindly optimistic. You [i]Cas. san. dra ![/i] Greek girl name. The meaning of the name is 'prophet of doom'. "No General ever won a war believing he had won the war already, simply because he believed he had the superior force." I'd be pretty sure you're wrong there, whenever in fact such general was right in his belief. Might sound trite but might is right, right, Myte? "Maybe I am fighting the rearguard action by looking over my shoulder to see if the Coalition are bringing up the rear. It just seems sensible to me." Well maybe you are but that is not where the future lies. There was never a better time to be full-on positive, YT# not? "Maybe it's because I am a Realist and not a Red Rose-coloured glasses wearer." Neither am I. Mine are bifocals that go mid grey-green in bright sun. "I fight in the trenches." Wow. ... ? Could you post some photos? ;-) FS FFS I haven't actually done that but I've fought physically to stop fascist provocatorial thugs in the streets of Adelaide from bashing girls marching in anti-Vietnam-War protests since what, 1966? Been arrested for "Throw fireworks in a manner calculated to damage injure or annoy" the Springboks when their racist apartheid-selected tour was brought here as an act of divisive bastardry by Holt and Bjelke-Petersen. Climbed so many Stobie poles and hung over so many bridges putting up Corflute signs,(I reckon we introduced Corflute signs to Oz in this seat aamof), I reckon that counts. I don't really wear rosy specs Feral. I just think that attack is the best means of defence, faint heart never helps, I did lose heart for a few days while the election outcome got sorted, well *J*U*L*I*A* never did, she fought on and that's why I put her name in stars.

psyclaw

20/11/2011AA and TT I'm with you regarding optimism. If it is to be JG v Abbott the fool in 2013 I don't think he'll be able to lay a glove on her. 1) They'll try the Rudd v JG factor again, but this time it'll have minimal effect...too tiresome, and there will be no more pics of the two of them studying a map and not speaking. 2) Latham even now gets little publicity so he won't deliver any king hit next time. He and the fat cat from Hamster Wheel will try to throw crap on their former colleagues, but I think without too much effect. 3) IMO the 2013 election will be more policy focused and I don't see Abbott up to it. Proof of the pudding is that even now Credlin has him under tight wraps because he can't be trusted not to shoot himself in the foot. Note that he has not done a proper I/V with anyone for about 14+ months. 4) Their costings are very rubbery. Doubt they'll get away with avoiding Treasury costing next time, and what happened last time (found out, because the Indies wanted a Treasury costing) will be a big stick for JG to beat them with. 5) L Oakes added to the campaign damage very much last time. I think he and many more of his ilk are now gaining a more accurate view of Abbott as an embarrassment. 6) Abbott had a clear run at the Lodge last time and couldn't get there. I don't think his run in 2013 will be so easy, and supported by a terrible Labor campaign as it was in 2010. 7) Reith and Sloan are intent on raising IR as an election issue. IMO this favours JG and is a threat to Abbott the fool. All of this is highly speculative ..... I don't give Abbott more than about a 10% chance to be leader after mid 2013. If this is so and it's JG v someone else, assuming that next time the Colonition elects a half reasonable and intelligent person the campaign might be a true debate about policy, and on that score I'll back what the JG government has doen and will be doing at that time. I earned my stripes as a true believer in the sweetest victory of all. On that night I was at a party ....about 30 Laborites and 10 scaredy cat conservos. In all only 2 of us gave PJK any chance and of course revelled in the result. My intention is to be 100% positive from here on in. But having said that, I'll take the fight strongly to the ill informed fools I meet daily, in person and on the www.

Patricia WA

20/11/2011Haven't had time to read you all yet so don't know if anyone has seen this genuine expression of support for the PM from a nice woman, which I think reflects the sort of thing a lot of people out there are starting to say. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/why-i-like-our-ranga-pm-and-her-trendy-lwj/story-e6frfhqf-1226200065158?sv=9a4a4e347e4480dbdac79dd86106a55b I think all of us in the Julia Gillard cheer squad should get over there and do our bit by leaving a comment!

Feral Skeleton

20/11/2011Talk Turkey, You are not the only one who has fought the sort of battles you describe. Did you have an ASIO file when you were in Year 10? I did. My late husband had his nose smeared across his face by Robert Askin's paid thugs in the NSW Police Force, back in the days when they could get away with taking off their badges and wailing into the crowd of Anti Vietnam War Marchers. Not that he overtly marched, he watched from the sidelines, but he did wade into the melee to help an elderly couple who had been thrown into a plate glass DJs window by the Cops. Also, he was eventually able to get the Police to drop the charges THEY had brought against HIM for Assault! He was that canny. He also worked with Jack Mundey at The Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority in the glory days of the Green Bans. His parents were also vocal and active supporters of the Far Left of politics back in Menzies' day, when it was heavily frowned upon. However, we both eventually decided, after both being the subject of unwarranted attention in our younger days, that the best path to take was to know thine enemies and fight them using the tools that they use to fight against us. Which is why I am where I am now, keeping a wary eye out for the enemy, and using the modern tools at my disposal to expose the deviousness and duplicity of the same crew that I have been fighting for many a decade. I know I am on the side of what is righteous and good. I just don't feel the need to constantly affirm it to the world. That is for others, and it is right and proper for 'our side' to have our Cheerleaders. Who would appreciate our successes without them? However, I prefer to still be down in the aetherial trenches fighting the good fight, more like an internet Boadicea than a Cassandra or Pollyanna. We are a Broad Church in the Labor Movement, and we need all types of members in our team. What I have defined is simply my position on the field of play. :)

Feral Skeleton

20/11/2011TT, Or, more correctly, the Field of Battle. As we haven't won the war until a particular Saturday night in 2013. :)

D Mick Weir

20/11/2011Hi FS, [i]... warm and cuddly Righties[/i] To me it doesn't matter if they are 'righties' or 'lefties' or any of the pejorative lables that could be stuck onto any and all of us. What matters is that someone is able to put a coherent and reasonable argument for their point of view and is prepared to engage in a reasonable discussion on it. On that, some US journalism academic has written [i]The World’s Political Bloggers Share the Secrets to Success.[/i] which I haven't read. A comment from Kevin Drum [i]When I started out, there was much more of a tendency to engage with the other side. Liberals and conservatives would attack each other, but we’d also engage with each other in at least a moderately serious way. Today, you get almost none of that. There’s very little engagement between left and right. And what engagement there is tends to be pure attack. There’s no real conversation at all. That’s a difference that I think professionalization has brought about. The political blogosphere has become more tribal.[/i] Tyler Cowen @ Marginal Revolution: [b]Making it in the Political Blogosphere[/b] http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2011/11/making-it-in-the-political-blogosphere.html and Ken Parish @ Club Troppo [b]The inevitability of blog tribalism?[/b] http://clubtroppo.com.au/2011/11/19/the-inevitabilty-of-blog-tribalism/ both riff off the Kevin Drum comment around tribalism. To me the red/blue, left/right [i]I am right they are wrong[/i] 'debate' demeans us all. ... and besides all that Drag0nista likes cats so she can't be all bad :)

Lyn

20/11/2011Hi DM Weir Re your post above to Club Troppo, different opinions are fine, debate is fine, but it's a bit insulting when other bloggs call us all [b] The entire silly brigade[/b] Prominent local left-leaning equivalents are harder to name (although maybe I’m just exposing my own biases), but bloggers like Antony Lowenstein [b]and the entire silly brigade at “The Political Sword” spring to mind.[/b] http://clubtroppo.com.au/2011/11/19/the-inevitabilty-of-blog-tribalism/ Cheers:):):):)

D Mick Weir

20/11/2011Hi Lyn, should have known you would have been on top of it and had a 'link in' to the discussion. I have had a good, lazy day, sunday commenting away. One thing I missed tho' was a bunch of your links to follow. Oh well I will be squeezing in following your links tomorrow even tho' I have to put the nose back on the wheel early in the morning.

2353

20/11/2011If being part of the "silly brigade" at TPS is the worst thing I'm ever accused of - I've had a pretty good time.

Sir Ian Crisp

20/11/2011I’ve just seen the TV coverage of the PM waddling around Indonesia and I must ask: What the hell are they feeding the PM? She looks rather corpulent and I was thinking the best thing she could do would be to get hold of a lycra outfit (if size 26 is available) and join Tony Um-Err-Ahh in a daily bike ride. She looks like a fat tub of lard. If during question time she asks: “Does my bum look big in this dress?” the MPs present will have to say ‘yes’ without exception. Are there any bariatricians in Canberra?

Jason

20/11/2011Sir Ian, Well may you say the "PM" looks like "a fat tub of lard" I guess it's easy when we don't know what you look like, however I would say that anyone who would want to have an intimate relationship with you is to lazy to mastabate!

Feral Skeleton

20/11/2011My goodness, 'Mr Serioso', Ken Parrish has approximately what to recommend his blog over ours? A Po-faced pompous sense of self-importance? A gaggle of regular posters who take themselves way too seriously? New and fresh ways of thinking about the issues? Surely then, even if that last thing may be so, it isn't limited to that blog only, and ours should not be dismissed so casually, as they have done(or so it appears, because I ain't gonna waste my precious time going there to find out, I'll just take it as read from DMW). Actually, to tell you the truth, I have less than zero time for commentators who will not let their work sink or swim on the merits, but instead resort to demeaning the 'competition'(not that I see us as such, however it appears the Club Troppo Dr Dementos do). It speaks to me of nothing so much as the facile competitiveness, instead of co-operation, which infects many of our Tertiary Institutions, from where many of them hail. A sort of an Intellectuals' Pissing Contest, whereby you are judged by the totemic notches on your belt signified by how many obscure references you can cite as influencing your 'opinion', how many letters you have after your name, and how many awards you have achieved. No wonder Dr Andrew Leigh left them behind in a cloud of dust for the Labor Party(something they still haven't forgiven him for. "Why?", they say, "Why did he want to leave Academia for politics?". Anyway, their Curriculum Vitae and their exalted academic positions suggests to me nothing so much as an accumulation of books you can stand on while you condescendingly sneer at the lesser mortals not possessed of your 'erudition'. I mean, I don't know why Ad Astra, Acerbic Conehead and myself bother. We are but mere mortals, a 'silly' Brigate Rosse. Especially in comparison to those Olympian intellects in their Ivory Towers(without even one erg of creativity to inject into changing, at the very least, their boring banner and blog layout. Oh, but it's the ideas, dahling). Tossers.

Feral Skeleton

20/11/2011Now for a bit of light relief: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/30835791@N07/sets/72157614241935013/detail/

Ad astra reply

20/11/2011Sir Ian What a nasty person you are. Instead of hiding behind your Gravatar, why don't you use a recent photo so we can observe your appearance and comment on it? Would that be too threatening for you?

D Mick Weir

20/11/2011Hi 2353, I suspect you have nailed it. Just because one person has a warped and misguided take on what goes on here doesn't mean we have to fall into the trap of having another 'flame war' Scratches head, was it Voltaire who said something like [i]I will defend to the death your right to type utterly stupid things on the interweeby thingo but that doesn't mean I have to agree with you'[/i]?

jane

20/11/2011PatriciaWA, thanks for the link. I have added a comment and am considering a LWJ. lol

Sir Ian Crisp

20/11/2011Hang on there Ad Astra. We've had reference to Julie Bishop's eyes; Tony Um-Err-Ahhh's budgie smugglers etc. Are you now saying that members of the government are off limits with regard to their appearance? J Guy, only facts will do it. Check out this: http://www.moolf.com/interesting/interesting-stylish-hats.html

D Mick Weir

20/11/2011... and case in point between typing my previous and refreshing in rides Sir Ian and another completely stupid comment. SIC I will defend your right to drop by and brabble with bibesy and prove yourself to be the complete hoddypeak.

Jason

20/11/2011Sir Ian, As you know I'm a helpful sort of fellow, It would be most helpful if in the future you gave the following warning This post may/could contain traces of fact!

Ad astra reply

20/11/2011Sir Ian Please explain to us what value there was in making your comment about our PM. It read like malicious nastiness. But you may have had a supremely virtuous purpose. If so, please enlighten us.

psyclaw

20/11/2011Ian Crisp You seem to be suffering significant memory loss when you ask is JG off limits. For 18 months she has endured frequent derogatory personal comments about her hair, nose, bum, legs, make-up, partner, voice, clothing, complexion, jewellery etc etc and bloody etc from all forms of media. Several of the comments have come from your Nickoff Savva, herself obviously a beauty beyond measure!!!! Your own insults are rather lightweight and indeed suggest that you are in reality a 14 year old lad.I suspect you are one of those youngsters who gets a thrill out of writing the size of their equipment on the walls of public toilets.

TalkTurkey

20/11/2011Lyn, and "the entire silly brigade on TPS", Something up Ken Parish's ( * ) ? Pretty hard to support that sour comment. . . Lyn day after year scouring the blogosphere and the rest of us reading what she links to, plus the other blogs that others of us link to . . . If we are tribal it is the tribe that reads the other blogs as a matter of habit due to Lyn, and TPS has stayed true to Ad astra's stated aim from Day 1, it wears its orientation on its sleeve, so what's biting KP, don't worry I don't really care. We do not claim nor pretend to be "balanced". It is a nonsense notion. Don't let anybody start you doubting the intellectual defensibility of our position Lyn. There is an honesty and directness of purpose here. Others can suit themselves. Tee Hee.

nasking

20/11/2011Ac, thnx for another entertainin' piece. I found this to be an extremely useful & enlightenin' article: Weekend Edition November 18-20, 2011, Counterpunch What is to be Done? Since You Ask… [b]First Steps in Reforming the U.S. Financial and Tax System[/b] by MICHAEL HUDSON The Occupy Wall Street movement has many similarities with what used to be called the Great Awakening periods in America. Such periods always begin by realizing how serious the problem is. So diagnosis is the most important tactic. Diagnosing the problem mobilizes power for a solution. Otherwise, solutions will seem to come out of thin air and people won’t understand why they are needed, or even the problems that solutions are intended to cure. The basic problem today is that nearly everyone is in debt. This is the problem in Europe too. There are Occupy Berlin meetings, the Greek and Icelandic protests, Spain’s “Indignant” demonstrations and similar ones throughout the world. When debts reach today’s proportions, a basic economic principle is at work: Debts that can’t be paid; won’t be. The question is, just how are they not going to be paid? People with student loans are not permitted to declare bankruptcy to get a fresh start. The government or collection agencies dock their salaries and go after whatever property they have. Many people’s revenue over and above basic needs is earmarked to pay the bankers... Many people thought that the way to get rich faster was to borrow money to buy homes and stocks they expected to rise in price. But this has left the economy financially strapped. People are feeling depressed. The tendency is to blame themselves. I think that the Occupy Wall Street movement, at least here in New York, is like what has occurred in Greece and also in the Arab Spring. People are coming together, and at first they may simply watch what’s going on. Onlookers may come by to see what it’s all about. But then they think, “Wait a minute! Other people are having the same problem I’m having. Maybe it is not really my fault.” So they begin to see that all these other people who have a similar problem in not being able to pay their debts; they realize that they have been financially crippled by the banks. It is not that they have done something wrong or are sore losers, as Herman Cain says. There’s something radically wrong with the system. Fifty years ago an old socialist told me that revolutions happen when people just get tired of being afraid. In today’s case the revolution may grow nearer when people get over being depressed and stop blaming themselves. They come to think that we are all in this together – and if this is the case, there must be something wrong with the way the economy is organized. Gradually, observers of Occupy Wall Street begin to feel stronger. There is positive peer pressure to reinforce their self-confidence. What they intuitively feel is that the Reagan-Clinton-Bush-Obama presidencies have squeezed their lives. The economy has become untracked. What’s basically wrong is that the financial system is running the government. For years, Republicans and Democrats have both said that a strong government, careful regulation and progressive taxation are markers on the road to serfdom. The politicians and neoliberal economists who write their patter say, “Let’s take planning out of the hands of government and put it in the ‘free market.’” But every market is planned by someone or other. If governments step aside, then planning passes into the hands of the bankers, because of their key role in allocating credit. The problem is that they have not created credit to finance industrial investment and employment. They have lent for speculation on asset price inflation, using debt leveraging to bid up housing prices, stock and bond prices, and foreign exchange rates. They have convinced borrowers that they can get rich on rising housing prices. But this merely makes new homebuyers go deeper into debt to buy a home. And when banks say that rising stock and bond prices are good for the economy, this price rise lowers the dividend or interest yield. This means that pension funds and individuals have to save much more for retirement. Instead of improving their life, it makes them work harder and borrow more just to stay in place. The banking system’s alternative to “the road to serfdom” thus turns out to be a road to debt peonage. This financial engineering turns out to be worse than government planning. The banks have taken over the Federal Reserve and Treasury and put their lobbyists in charge – men such as Tim Geithner and the others with ties to Rubinomics dating from the Clinton administration, and especially to Goldman Sachs and other giant Wall Street firms.... People see that law enforcement is missing when it comes to the banks and Wall Street. So simply restoring the criminal justice system would be progress. It used to be that if you ran a fraud, if you cheated people, if you lied on your income tax and falsified statistics, then you would be sent to jail. But the Obama administration has appointed Eric Holder to represent Wall Street. He has not thrown any bankers in jail, recognizing that they are the major campaign contributors of the party, after all... Suppose you were going to design a society from scratch. Would you create what we have now? Or would you start, for instance, by reforming the most egregious distortions of campaign finance? As matters stand, Goldman Sachs has been able to buy the right to name who is going to be Treasury Secretary. They selected Geithner, who gave them $29 billion from A.I.G. just before he was appointed. It’s like that all down the line – in both parties. Every Democratic congressional committee chairman has to pay to the Party $150,000 to buy the chairmanship. This means that the campaign donors get to determine who gets committee chairmanships. This is oligarchy, not democracy. So the system is geared to favor whoever can grab the most money. Wall Street does it by financial siphoning and asset stripping. Politicians do it by getting money from the beneficiaries – the 1%. Once people realize that they’re being screwed, that’s a pre-revolutionary situation. It’s a situation where they can get a lot of sympathy and support, precisely by not doing what The New York Times and the other papers say they should do: come up with some neat solutions. They don’t have to propose a solution because right now there isn’t one – without rebuildingthe system with many, many changes. So many that it would be like a new Constitution. Politics as well as the economy need to be restructured. What’s developing now is how to think about the economic and political problems that are bothering people. It is not radical to realize that the economy isn’t working. That is the first stage to realizing that a real alternative is needed... The most important message is that all this impoverishment and indebtedness is unnecessary. There is no inherent economic reason for things to be this way. It is not really the way that “markets” need to work. There are many kinds of markets, with many different sets of rules. So the important task is to explain to people how many possibilities there are to make things better. And of course, this is what frightens politicians, Wall Street lobbyists and the other members of the pro-oligarchic army of financial raiders. So how do we transform the American economy in ways that would produce policies that would at least start to help break the grip that the financial sector has had in devastating the economy in terms of its performance for average households? There are two stages to any kind of a transformation. The first stage is simply to start re-applying the laws and the taxes that the Bush and Obama administrations have stopped applying. You don’t want Wall Street to be able to put its industry lobbyists in charge of making policy. So the first task is to get rid of Geithner, Holder and the similar pro-financial administrators whom Obama has appointed to his cabinet and in key regulatory positions. This kind of clean-up requires election reform – including a reversal of the Supreme Court’s recent Citizens United ruling that enables a financial oligarchy to lock in its control of American politics. Prevent monopoly price gouging. Bring bank charges in line with the real cost of doing business. What is needed today is more than just going back to past ideals. After all, good old class warfare was not so rosy either. But at least the Progressive Era had a program to subordinate finance to serve industry and the rest of the economy. The problem is that its reformers never really had a chance to carry out the ideas that classical economists outlined. The classical idea of a free market economy was radical in its way – precisely by being natural and thus getting rid of unnatural warping by special privileges for absentee landlords and banks. This led logically to socialism, which is why the history of economic thought has been dropped – indeed, excluded – from today’s academic curriculum. What is needed is to complete the direction of change that World War I interrupted and that the Cold War further untracked. After 1945 you didn’t hear anything any more about what John Maynard Keynes called for at the end of his General Theory in 1936: “euthanasia of the rentier.” But this was the great fight for many centuries of European reform, and it even was the path along which industrial capitalism was expected to evolve. So let me begin with what was discussed back in the 1930s, trying to recover the Progressive Era reforms. Setting up a more fair banking and financial system requires changing tax favoritism as well, which I will discuss below. There are a number of good proposals for reform. One of the easiest and least radical is set up a public option for banking. Instead of relying on Bank of America or Citibank for credit cards, the government would set up a bank and offer credit cards, check clearing and bank transfers at cost. The idea throughout the nineteenth century was to create this kind of public option. There was a Post Office bank, and that could still be elaborated to provide banking services at cost or at a subsidized price. After all, in Russia and Japan the post office banks are the largest of all. Providing a public option would limit the ability of banks to charge monopoly prices for credit cards and loans. It also would not engage in the kind of gambling that has made today’s financial system so unstable and put depositors’ money at risk. Ideally, I would like to see banks act more like the old savings banks and S&Ls. In fact, the most radical regulatory proposal I would like to see is the Chicago Plan promoted in the 1930s by the free marketer Herbert Simon. This is what Dennis Kucinich recently proposed in his National Emergency Employment Defense Act of 2011 (NEED). This may seem radical at first glance, but how else are you going to stop the banks from their mad computerized gambling, political lobbying and credit creation for corporate raiders to borrow and pay their financial backers by emptying out pension funds and cutting back long-term investment, research and development? The guiding idea is to take away the banks’ privilege of creating credit electronically on their computer keyboards. You make banks do what textbooks say they are supposed to do: take deposits and lend them out in a productive way... Tax reform needs to back up and reinforce financial reform Today’s economic problem is systemic. This is what makes any solution so inherently radical. In changing part of the economic system, you have to adjust everything, just as when a doctor operates on a human body. Financial reform requires tax reform, because much of the financial problem stems from the tax shift off real estate and finance onto labor and industry. The most obvious fiscal task that most people understand – and support – is to restore the progressive tax system that existed before 1980, and especially before the Clinton and Bush tax cuts. It used to be that the rich paid taxes. Now they don’t. But the key isn’t just income-tax rates as such. What needs to be recognized is the kind of taxes that should be levied – or how to shift them back off labor onto property where they were before the 1980s. You need to restore the land taxes to collect the “free lunch” that is not really “free” if it is pledged to pay the banks in the form of mortgage interest. Over the past few decades the tax system has been warped more and more by bank lobbyists to promote debt financing. Debt is their “product,” after all. As matters now stand, earnings and dividends on equity financing must pay much higher tax rates than cash flow financed with debt. This distortion needs to be reversed. It not only taxes the top 1% at a much lower rate than the bottom 99%, but it also encourages them to make money by lending to the bottom 99%. The result is that the bottom 99% have become increasingly indebted to the top 1%. The enormous bank debt attached to real estate does not reflect rising rents as much as it reflects the tax cuts on property. Wall Street lobbyists have backed Congressional leaders who have shifted taxes onto consumers via sales taxes and income taxes, as well as FICA payroll withholding. This ploy treats Social Security and Medicare as “user fees” rather than paying them out of the overall budget – and financed out of progressive taxation on the top 1%. If wage earners pay more in FICA, you can be sure that the wealthy get a tax cut. This anti-progressive tax shift is largely responsible for the richest 1% doubling their share of income. It also has led to the 99% having to pay banks what they used to pay the tax collector. They pay interest rather than taxes. If I were economic advisor, I would explain just how this works – which is what I already try to do on my website. In a nutshell, the tax shifts since World War II have left more and more of the land’s site value to be capitalized into interest payments on bank loans. So the banks have ended up with what used to be taken by landowners. There is no inherent need for this. It doesn’t help the economy; it merely inflates a real estate bubble. Economic growth and employment would be much stronger if income tax rates were lowered for most people. Property owners and speculators would pay. There would be less free lunch and more “earned” income. Tax reform needs to back up and reinforce financial reform Today’s economic problem is systemic. This is what makes any solution so inherently radical. In changing part of the economic system, you have to adjust everything, just as when a doctor operates on a human body. Financial reform requires tax reform, because much of the financial problem stems from the tax shift off real estate and finance onto labor and industry. The most obvious fiscal task that most people understand – and support – is to restore the progressive tax system that existed before 1980, and especially before the Clinton and Bush tax cuts. It used to be that the rich paid taxes. Now they don’t. But the key isn’t just income-tax rates as such. What needs to be recognized is the kind of taxes that should be levied – or how to shift them back off labor onto property where they were before the 1980s. You need to restore the land taxes to collect the “free lunch” that is not really “free” if it is pledged to pay the banks in the form of mortgage interest. Over the past few decades the tax system has been warped more and more by bank lobbyists to promote debt financing. Debt is their “product,” after all. As matters now stand, earnings and dividends on equity financing must pay much higher tax rates than cash flow financed with debt. This distortion needs to be reversed. It not only taxes the top 1% at a much lower rate than the bottom 99%, but it also encourages them to make money by lending to the bottom 99%. The result is that the bottom 99% have become increasingly indebted to the top 1%. The enormous bank debt attached to real estate does not reflect rising rents as much as it reflects the tax cuts on property. Wall Street lobbyists have backed Congressional leaders who have shifted taxes onto consumers via sales taxes and income taxes, as well as FICA payroll withholding. This ploy treats Social Security and Medicare as “user fees” rather than paying them out of the overall budget – and financed out of progressive taxation on the top 1%. If wage earners pay more in FICA, you can be sure that the wealthy get a tax cut. This anti-progressive tax shift is largely responsible for the richest 1% doubling their share of income. It also has led to the 99% having to pay banks what they used to pay the tax collector. They pay interest rather than taxes. If I were economic advisor, I would explain just how this works – which is what I already try to do on my website. In a nutshell, the tax shifts since World War II have left more and more of the land’s site value to be capitalized into interest payments on bank loans. So the banks have ended up with what used to be taken by landowners. There is no inherent need for this. It doesn’t help the economy; it merely inflates a real estate bubble. Economic growth and employment would be much stronger if income tax rates were lowered for most people. Property owners and speculators would pay. There would be less free lunch and more “earned” income. Speculators have borrowed largely to make capital gains. They originally were taxed as normal income in the 1913 income tax. The logic was that capital gains build up a person’s savings, just as earning an income does. But the financial and real estate interests fought back, and today there is only a tiny tax on capital gains – a tax that sellers don’t have to pay if they plow their money into another property or investment to make yet more gains! So when Wall Street firms, hedge funds, and other speculators avoid paying normal taxes by saying that they don’t “earn” money but simply make capital gains, this is where a large part of today’s economic inequality lies. I would tax these asset-price gains (mainly land prices) either at the full income-tax rate or even higher. The wealthy 1% make their gains in this way, claiming that they don’t really “earn” income, so they shouldn’t have to pay taxes as if they are wages or profits. But that’s precisely the problem: Why would you want to subsidize not earning income, but merely making money by speculating – and then demanding that the government bail you out if you make a capital loss when your speculations go bad, on the logic that you have tied up most peoples’ normal bank deposits in these gambles? This is what exists today. And it is why people think the system is so unfair. Most of the super-rich families have made their fortunes by insider dealing and financial extraction, not by being productive. They are not “job creators” these days. They have become job destroyers by demanding austerity to squeeze out more money from a shrinking economy to pay themselves. Many people – especially homeowners – are sucked into thinking that low capital gains taxes make them rich, and that high property prices leave them with less to spend. But this turns out not to be the case once the process works its way through the economy. These workings need to be more widely explained. For many years families got rich as the price of their home rose. But they also got much deeper in debt. The real estate bubble was debt-financed. A property is worth whatever a bank will lend against it. The end result of “easy lending” and tax distortions to favor interest-bearing debt is that most families own a smaller and smaller proportion of their homes’ value – and have to pay rising mortgage debt service. This doesn’t really make them better off. The job of a president or economic advisor should be to explain how this game works, so people can get off the debt treadmill. The economy will shrink if it doesn’t lower its debt overhead. I would close down tax avoidance in offshore banking centers by treating offshore deposits by Americans as “earned but hoarded” income and tax it at 90%. You restore the rates of the Eisenhower administration when the country had the most rapid debt growth that it had. You reinstate criminal penalties for financial fraud and tax evasion by misrepresentation. But the tax avoiders are asking the Obama administration to do just the opposite: to declare a “tax holiday” to “induce” them bring this offshore money home – by not taxing it at all! This kind of giveaway should be blocked. Tax avoiders among the top 1% should be penalized, not rewarded. The Bush-Obama administration has promoted “neoliberal” tax and financial policies that have reversed a century of Progressive Era reforms. The past 30 years have suffered a radical transformation of tax policy and financial policy. So it takes an equally deep response to undo their distortions and put the American economy back on track. The guiding idea is simply to restore normalcy... A financial Clean Slate To restore the kind of normalcy that made America rich, the most important long-term policy would be to recognize what is going to be inevitable for every economy. Debts need to be written down – and the politically easiest way to cut through the tangle is to write them off altogether. That would free the bottom 99% from their debt bondage to the top 1%. It would be a Clean Slate, starting over – and trying to do things right this time around. The creditors have not used the banking system to make America more productive and richer. They have used it as a vehicle to reduce the population to debt serfdom. A debt write-down sounds radical and unworkable, but it’s been done since World War II with great success. It is the program the Allies carried out in the German economy in that country’s 1947 currency reform. This was the policy that created Germany’s Economic Miracle. And America could experience a similar miracle. Any economy would benefit from cancelling the bad debts that have been built up. Keeping them on the books will handcuff the economy and cause debt deflation by diverting income to pay debt service rather than to spend on goods and services. We are going into a new economic depression – not just a “Great Recession” – because most spending is now on finance, insurance and real estate, not on goods and basic services. So markets are shrinking, and unemployment is rising. That is what will happen if debts are not written down. This can be done either by a Clean Slate across the board, or it can be done more selectively, by applying what’s been New York State law since before the Revolution, going back to when New York was still a colony. I’m referring to the law of fraudulent conveyance. This law says that if a creditor lends to a borrower without having any idea how the debtor can pay in the normal course of business, without losing property, the loan is deemed to be fraudulent and declared null and void. Applying this law to defaulting homeowners would free the homes that are in negative equity throughout the country. It would undo the fraudulent loans that banks have made, the trick loans with exploding interest rates, balloon mortgages and so forth. It also would free debt-strapped companies from being forced to sell off their parts to make their corporate raiders rich... The government itself has become more indebted, most recently by the $13 trillion in new debt printed and given to the banks to make sure that no financial gambler need surfer a loss. At the same time the Obama administration did this, it claimed that a generation in the future, the Social Security system may be $1 trillion in deficit. And that, Obama says, would cause a crisis – and not leave enough to continue subsidizing his leading campaign contributors. So in view of this new debt creation – while moving debts to consumers and Social Security contributors to the bottom of the list – if you are going to reverse the bad-debt polarization that we’ve reached today, it is necessary to do more than simply reinstate progressive taxation and shift the tax system so that you collect predatory unearned income – what the classical economists call economic rent. The burdensome debts need to be written off. This probably will take half a year to get most people to realize and accept the idea is to reconstitute the system by lending for productive purposes, not speculation and rent-seeking opportunities. You want to stop the banks from lobbying for monopolies to create a market for leveraged buy-outs of these opportunities – and of course also for real estate speculation and outright gambling. Wall Street has orchestrated and lobbied for a rentier alliance whose wealth is growing at the expense of the economy at large. It is extractive, not productive. But this fact is concealed by the national income and product accounts reporting financial and other FIRE sector takings as “earnings” rather than as a transfer payment from the economy at large – from the 99% – to the 1% of Americans who have got rich by making money off finance, monopolies and absentee real estate rent-seeking. It is not really radical to resist Wall Street’s financial attack on America. Resistance is natural – and so is a reversal of the savings they have built up by indebting the rest of the economy to themselves. They took their money and ran with it, stashing it offshore in tax-avoidance islands, in Switzerland, Britain and other havens. Shame on the political hacks who defend this and who attack Occupy Wall Street simply for resisting the financial sector’s own radical power grab and shifted taxes off themselves onto the bottom 99%. Privatization is an asset grab masquerading as full employment policy What about government employment projects to guarantee full employment? My first caveat is to warn against letting the Obama administration turn these projects into a military giveaway. My second caveat is to prevent this full-employment program from creating a later privatization giveaway to Wall Street – that is, infrastructure that the government will sell off to the ruling party’s major campaign contributors for pennies on the dollar. This is what Public/Private Partnerships have become, as pioneered in England under Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair. Wall Street is rubbing its hands and saying, “That’s a great idea! Let the government pay for infrastructure and spend a billion dollars on a bridge – and then sell it to us for a dollar.” The “us” may not be the banks themselves, but their customers, who will borrow the money and pay the banks an underwriting commission as well as interest on the money they use to buy what the government is privatizing. The pretense is that privatization is more efficient. But privatizers add on interest and financial fees, high executive salaries and bonuses, and turn the roads into toll roads and other infrastructure into neofeudal fiefdoms to charge monopolistic access fees for people to use. This is what has happened in Chicago when it sold off its sidewalks to let bankers finance parking meters in exchange for a loan. Chicago needed this loan because the financial lobbyists demanded that it cut taxes on commercial real estate and on the rich. So the financial sector first creates a problem by loading the economy down with debt, and then “solves” it by demanding privatization sell-offs under distress conditions. This is happening not only in America, but in Greece and other countries under the insistence of Europe’s bank lobbying organization, the European Central Bank. That’s why there are riots in Athens. The financial war against society is not only being waged here, but throughout the world. In promoting full employment, the aim should be to invest public money in a way that the Republicans and Democrats cannot later turn around and privatize the capital investment at a giveaway price. So I am all on favor of public infrastructure spending as long as you have safeguards against the financial fraud and giveaways to insiders of the sort that that the current administration is sponsoring. The privatizers and their banks would like to install tollbooths on new bridges and get a free ride to turn America into a tollbooth economy. more here: http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/11/18/first-steps-in-reforming-the-u-s-financial-and-tax-system/ It's time for more Americans to start thinkin' outside of THE BOX. As for Aussies...NO LATER PRIVATISATION OF THE NBN. N'

Lyn

21/11/2011 [b]TODAY’S LINKS[/b] I[i] think it’s time for my Beautiful Set of Numbers again:, The Finnigans, November 20, 2011 at 10:02 pm[/i] 0. [b]Labor is still the Australian Govt & PM Gillard for another 2 years, 104 weeks, 730 days, 17520 hours, 1,051,200 minutes and 63,072,000 secs and the Gillard Govt has passed 230 bills through HoR so far.[/b]http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2011/11/19/galaxy-58-42-to-federal-coalition-in-queensland/comment-page-18/#comment-1091450 [i]Dysfunctional Congress damns free trade, Crispin Hull[/i] If the US was really concerned about peace and security it would not be wasting ever more money on war, foreign bases and military build-up, but use the money to repay its prodigious foreign debt. That poses a greater threat to US supremacy over China than any military posture. But Congress seems blind to it. http://www.crispinhull.com.au/2011/11/19/dysfunctional-congress-damns-free-trade/ [i]Political parties deliver village idiots not village elders, David Donovan, Independent Australia[/i] The routine goes as follows: join a party, bide your time, hand out some how-to-vote cards, get someone’s patronage, get preselected in a winnable seat, get elected, sit on the back bench, say nothing, vote along party lines, get kicked out by the voters, get paid inordinately generous superannuation for the rest of your life. http://www.independentaustralia.net/2011/politics/political-parties-deliver-village-idiots-not-village-elders/ [i]How will Andrew Bolt respond to his GW profile?, Stephen Mayne, Crikey[/i] It was an unbelievable performance. So what will Bolt do on reading the Good Weekend profile?You wouldn’t want to be the Herald Sun sub moderating Bolt’s blog this weekend …http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/11/18/how-will-andrew-bolt-respond-to-his-gw-profile/ [i]Abbott Says No To Superannuation Levy Increase But Won’t Repeal In Government, Malcolm Farnsworth, Australian Politics[/i] We aren’t going to support it in the Parliament but if it goes through we will not try to rescind it. We do accept that it is very important that people have adequate retirement incomes, particularly with an ageing population.” http://australianpolitics.com/2011/11/18/abbott-says-no-to-superannuation-levy-increase.html [i]Greg Ansley: Abbott's swipe during Obama welcome yet another black mark, NZ Herald. Co. NZ[/i] Abbott has clashed publicly and angrily with his deputy and Shadow Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, with Turnbull, and with former Liberal heavyweights Peter Costello and Peter Reith.He has been accused from within the party of squandering goodwill by opposing good policy for the sake of it. None of this yet spells Abbott's doom by any means - but the warning bells are starting to sound. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10767131 [i]Going down together, The Piping Shrike[/i] The political chit-chat is on how helpful the Obama visit will be for Gillard’s flagging popularity. Probably some, but that’s not really the point. Are there grounds for anything more lasting such as Howard received for a while from the War on Terror and Rudd from climate change? Unlikely. http://www.pipingshrike.com/2011/11/going-down-together.html [i]Better the devil you know: News Limited tells Media Inquiry they’ll pay more to the Press Council,Fiona Martin, The Conversation[/i] Hartigan rejected the idea, put to him by Justice Finkelstein that the government might chip in. That would be “totally inappropriate”. An industry levy would be difficult to support, although he claimed he “hadn’t thought it through”.Indeed by the end of the days jousting about who might pay to monitor the media and how, Hartigan’s opening promise to rethink the Council’s allowance seemed like gold. http://theconversation.edu.au/better-the-devil-you-know-news-limited-tells-media-inquiry-theyll-pay-more-to-the-press-council-4321?utm_source= [i]Why Does labor Exist, Frank Bongiorno , Inside Story[/i] [b]Looking for the Light on the Hill- Modern Labor’s Challenges[/b], Bramston nonetheless offers an astute diagnosis of the ills afflicting the modern Labor Party, as well as some ways in which the party might set about trying to resolve its problems. On some matters, such as his advocacy of a parliamentary leader elected by rank-and-file members (along the lines of arrangements in the British Labour Party I discussed in Inside Story in August 2010), http://inside.org.au/why-does-labor-exist/ [i]Twenty powerful people in lobbying, Matthew Knott, The Power Index[/i] Who are the people most effective at lobbying politcians to get their way? Next week, we start counting down the Top 10 Most Powerful Lobbyists. Here, Matthew Knott presents the shortlist. http://www.thepowerindex.com.au/contenders/twenty-powerful-people-in-lobbying?utm_source=The+Power+Index&utm_campaign=l [i]Our great and powerful friends, Ben Eltham, The Drum[/i] Chinese growth means that at some point in the next decade or two, China will become the largest economic power in the world. That wealth will allow China to quickly and easily acquire military power of at least comparable weight to that of the United States, which means that at some point after 2030, China will become a superpower rival to America. http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3677928.html [i]Ensuring China’s Peaceful Rise, Robert C. O'Brien, The Diplomat[/i] China’s naval buildup will soon give Beijing the means to use military force to back up its expansive territorially claims to essentially the entire Yellow Sea, East China Sea and South China Sea. In response, Southeast Asian nations, Japan, India and Australia have all embarked on significant defense force modernization programs of their own, increasing their budgets for major air and naval platforms. Submarines are in particular demand. http://the-diplomat.com/2011/11/18/ensuring-china%E2%80%99s-peaceful-rise/?utm_source=The+Diplomat+List&utm_l [i]The race for ‘first gas’, Rumplestatskin, Macro Business[/i] personally believe CSG development can be a great benefit to Queensland and Australia over the next quarter of a century, but the political class being targeted by industry lobbying needs to be aware that their hard hat photo opportunities and premature approvals are inherently trading off benefits between external stakeholders and late entrants, and the industry’s first mover(s http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2011/11/the-race-for-%e2%80%98first-gas%e2%80%99/?utm_source=Media+List&utm_ [i]Obamarama: he came, he saw, he left quickly, Amber Jamieson, Crikey[/i] an embarrassing security breach could have threatened the trip. Yesterday morning Age journalist Dylan Welch stumbled across an interesting scoop: lying in the gutter of a street just 100 metres from Parliament House was a folder containing highly classified details of Obama’s Australian visit. It revealed step-by-step details of security surrounding the entire trip, reports Welch: http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/11/18/obama-he-came-he-saw-he-conquered-he-left-quickly/ [i]HEAR THEM SCREAM: The Age of pain can’t hack waiting for the axe to fall, Vex News[/i] It’s been a beautiful thing to behold watching The Age spend all week writhing in hypocritical pain about it. The boot of judging others so very harshly is on the other foot and they don’t like it, there’ve been frantic meetings, hushed phone calls, lawyers called in at Media House, it can’t be pleasant. It’s scary, http://www.vexnews.com/2011/11/hear-them-scream-the-age-of-pain-cant-hack-waiting-for-the-axe-to-fall/ [i]End times for democracy- How the 1% staged a coup & why worse is yet to come, Dr Tad, Left Flank[/i] ordinary people to resist the effects of the crisis but about what sort of politics are needed to give them the best chance of pointing a way out. Any such approach must start from a position of refusal to surrender to “the dictatorship of the markets”, to stand with every social struggle against the austerity measures being demanded http://left-flank.blogspot.com/2011/11/end-times-for-democracy-how-1-staged.html [i]Train Long-Suffering, Wixxy’s Blog[/i] Kristina Keneally couldn’t save them, despite being incredibly popular in her own right, and having the strength of character, and the brains to be one of the greatest Premiers this country, let alone state, has ever seen. Despite Labor being unpopular, Kristina was preferred Premier in all the polls until right near the end, showing just how little people thought of Barry, despite their despising Labor. http://wixxy.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/train-long-suffering/ [i]To CSG or not to CSG, that is the question for NSW, Derek Barry, Woolly Days[/i] "Ongoing exploration activity provides the additional scientific data and knowledge of the geology and water resource that everyone agrees is needed." Barry O'Farrell will have to decide come April, if as is likely, the Government doesn't support the private member's bill. http://nebuchadnezzarwoollyd.blogspot.com/ I[i]s this the Truth about Greece?, Gerard Oosterman, Pig & Whistle[/i] Ridiculously, Greek pastry chefs, radio announcers, hairdressers and masseurs in steam baths are among more than 600 professions allowed to retire at 50 (with a state pension of 95 per cent of their last working year’s earnings) — on account of the ‘arduous and perilous’ nature of their work. Take a short trip on the metro to the city’s cooler northern suburbs, and you will find an enclave of staggering opulence. http://pigsarms.com.au/2011/11/18/is-this-the-truth-about-greece/ [i]Sleeping With The Enemy! In Fremantle, WA!, Patricia WA, Café Whispers[/i] Today’s big story in “Perth Now” is that ABC gardening guru Josh Byrne is the candidate the ALP are hoping will recover the state seat of Fremantle for them. Fremantle, the heartbeat of WA Labor was lost at the May, 2009, by-election to the Greens candidate, Adele Carles. http://cafewhispers.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/sleeping-with-the-enemy-in-fremantle-wa/ [i]Next for Work For The Dole: full taxpayer-funded slavery, Jeremy Sear, Anonymous Lefty[/i] Britain’s jobless young people are being sent to work for supermarkets and budget stores for up to two months for no pay and no guarantee of a job, the Guardian can reveal http://anonymouslefty.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/next-for-work-for-the-dole-full-taxpayer-funded-slavery/ [i]Science and its Left-wing Bias, Mitchell Goff , The Body Politic – Australia[/i] the wolves of the Murdoch press are already beginning to circle, desperately hoping that if they smash their collective faces against their keyboards often and hard enough, their fickle, vapid words will make one ounce of difference to the progress our country has made.Journalists, or perhaps more accurately opinions columnists, from the country’s firebrand Right http://bodypoliticaus.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/science-and-its-left-wing-bias/ [i]Media Ownership Regulation in Australia new E-Brief , Parliamentary Library[/i] News Ltd is an Australian subsidiary of News Corporation (Chairman, Mr Rupert Murdoch). It has interests in more than one hundred national, metropolitan, regional and suburban newspapers throughout Australia, 68 per cent of the capital city and national newspaper market; 77 per cent of the Sunday newspaper market; 62 per cent of the suburban newspaper market; 18 per cent of the regional newspaper market http://www.aph.gov.au/library/INTGUIDE/SP/media_regulations.htm#Major_Media_Companies [i]The Sunday Sandwich, Take Your New Paradigm And........[/i] No doubt also, the Prime Minister will be a little bit buoyed, if not by the continuing ordinary results for her party, but for the equal footing in the Preferred Prime Minister measure in the latest Nielsen Poll. Whilst only a one-off it will still likely put a spring in her step. http://takeyournewparadigmand.blogspot.com/2011/11/sunday-sandwich-thats-wrap_20.html?spref=tw [i]The dots linking us to Europe's woes don't join, Ross Gittins[/i] There's just one problem: when you examine the facts, they don't fit the sense-making narrative people have woven them into. The first point is that, despite the downward revisions to the Reserve's forecasts - which are unlikely to be very different from Treasury's revised forecasts http://www.rossgittins.com/2011/11/dots-linking-us-to-europes-woes-dont.html [i]Faster than the speed of light?,Jim Al-Khalili, [/i] neutrinos are tiny elementary particles that are almost weightless and which pretty much ignore the presence of all other matter. We all have millions of neutrinos streaming through our bodies that arrive from space, mainly from the Sun. And they do this even at night because those neutrinos can pass right through the whole of the earth (when the sun is on the other side) before coming up through the ground, up our feet and leaving to continue through space http://www.jimal-khalili.com/blog/faster-than-the-speed-of-light.html [i]Faster than light neutrinos get a bit more convincing, The Guardian, UK[/i] There are other tests which need doing, and to be honest this is such a remarkable result, with such profound implications if it is correct, that we need at least one completely independent experiment to check it. There are experiments – MINOS in the USA and T2K in Japan – which could do this http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/life-and-physics/2011/nov/18/1 [b]Newspapers[/b] [i]How Murdoch got his biggest scoop , SMH[/i] Most seriously for Murdoch, Fischer left London to fly back to Australia, only to disappear in Singapore and not resurface until years later as a far-right political operative in California.Murdoch was forced to settle Whitlam's defamation action. The terms of the settlement, negotiated personally by the media magnate and the Labor leader, have never been revealed but are understood to have included a six-figure payout. http://www.smh.com.au/national/how-murdoch-got-his-biggest-scoop-20111118-1nnar.html#ixzz1e7llfmBP [i]The plot to get Gough , Phillip Dorling, The Age[/i] MEDIA baron Rupert Murdoch and former prime minister Malcolm Fraser exchanged secrets, including intelligence information, in efforts to politically destroy Labor leader Gough Whitlam.Documents released by the National Archives, including a personal file compiled by Murdoch and notes of Fraser's attorney-general, Bob Ellicott, show that the media magnate and prime minister worked together on Murdoch's biggest personal scoop - a front page revelation in The Australian of February 25, 1976, http://www.theage.com.au/national/the-plot-to-get-gough-20111118-1nnia.html#ixzz1e8rjhgYv :):):):):):):):):):)

TalkTurkey

21/11/2011Psyclaw You have caused pleasure shivers along my spine with your post of 6.44 PM yesty. THAT's the sort of talk I want to hear! PatriciaWA the woman you linked to, HOORAY for someone NOT gainsaying every success of the ALP. FS I know you're a down-&-dirty fighter, I really respect that, Cripes I'd like to have a video of some of the stuff I've done over many years too. heh heh. Nothing illegal, well not very, (e.g. I never steal or obscure other Parties' signs as the Rightists do) but I do like to get our signs more prominent than theirs every time. We will fight them in the trenches - we will fight them up Stobie Poles - and we will win by our combined resolve and action. This week will be a triumph for Labor in Parliament. And it is because of *J*U*L*I*A*'s negotiating skills that I feel so very confident. As she said, you don't just give up because there's obstacles, you find alternative routes, and I think she herself is the best there is at it. What is Abbortt to do over the long break? In a word: [i]Deflate![/i] [i]Nobody strike a light![/i] :)

Ad astra reply

21/11/2011LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/LYNS-DAILY-LINKS.aspx

Jaeger

21/11/2011Thanks for the wonderful (as always) links, Lyn, particularly (Prof.) Jim Al-Khalili's comments on the neutrino experiment. I think Jim is a much better presenter than (Prof.) Brian Cox, who reminds me of what Neil (The Young Ones) might have become if he ever graduated... Hopefully the ABC will screen more of his documentaries in the future.

Michael

21/11/2011You may not want to gaze at Judith Sloan's navel. I suspect she hasn't seen it herself for years. However, for a glance at her woolly mind, go here: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3682978.html (When is a Carbon Tax an Economic Reform?) where you will find respondent comments debunking her (defluffing her navel??) along with the usual anti-future survival types, Barnaby Joyce quoters, Henry Ergas regurgitators, and me (hopefully): "There can be no economy in a dead ecology. Reform enough for you? It will be for your descendants."

Sir Ian Crisp

21/11/2011Hey J guy, if it's facts you want check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ant_colony psyclaw, your crystal ball needs new batteries.

Feral Skeleton

21/11/2011I'd rather be 'silly' than a stuffed shirt with an over-inflated opinion of oneself. I wonder how you say 'silly' in Italian? I want to be part of the Australian 'Silly Red Brigade', blowing up people's over-estimation of their worth with our work! The Monty Pythons of the Internet Blogging medium. Who's going to be our Minister for Silly Walks? :) Our motto can be 'Words Not Bombs!' Words have always been more devastating than bombs, anyway. Why do you think the Right put so much effort into them and fill their media puppets' mouths with them, day in, day out? Talk Turkey, What's 'Venceremos!' in Italian? Spain has been conned by the Right again. :(

Feral Skeleton

21/11/2011SIC, Your commentary is as weighty as this: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2396633,00.asp But just as resilient. We'll always be able to count on your 'Gesture political comment', won't we?

nasking

21/11/2011Many sports fans use the Murdoch empire's payTV & tabloids to follow sports, including Fox Sports & The Sun (UK)... but as the Melbourne Storm episode & the followin' show...they're bein' taken for a ride by a bunch of mobsters who will do anythin' to make a buck & expand...lookin' out for the family jewels: [b]MP doubts Murdoch's Sun apology will help[/b] By Katie Upton, JMU Journalism Liverpool Life Liverpool MP Steve Rotheram has told JMU Journalism that he doubts the apology offered by James Murdoch for The Sun’s coverage of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 will be of comfort to families of the victims. Rotheram questioned Mr Murdoch in front of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee recently, which led to the apology from the son of billionaire News International owner Rupert Murdoch. “I would like to add my full apology for the wrong coverage of that affair. I would like to add my voice to the successive editors of The Sun and chief executives of News International who since that incident have apologised,” said Murdoch, the chairman of News International in Europe. He accepted that it was “wrong” for The Sun to have printed allegations that were “deeply upsetting” for families of the 96 who died at Hillsborough as well as survivors. In April 1989, under the headline ’The Truth’ the paper claimed incorrectly that Liverpool fans had pick pocketed and urinated on victims. Responding to Murdoch’s apology Rotheram told JMU Journalism: “I can only take Mr Murdoch's comments on face value, but he appeared to be sincere when he apologised about The Sun’s coverage over Hillsborough. “You would need to ask the families about whether they derived comfort from what he said, but I would doubt it.” Murdoch told the committee: “I am aware of the concerns and the hurt it caused and it is something we are very sorry for, and I am as well.” The apology came as Murdoch was facing difficult questions regarding allegations of phone hacking at the now defunct News Of The World and other News International owned newspapers. Mr Rotheram, a long time supporter of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, asked had the lack of repercussions following its Hillsborough story in 1989 created a culture of The Sun considering itself “untouchable”. The Labour MP also pressed for Mr Murdoch to say whether The Sun would also be closed down should the allegations of phone hacking by its journalists be substantiated. Murdoch did not rule out such a possibility. On the phone hacking saga, Rotheram added: “In regard to News International, it is a 'watch this space' situation as there appear to be more and more revelations by the day.” http://www.jmu-journalism.org.uk/#/news-523/4554607967 ----- Anythin' to be [i]on top of the world.[/i] Anythin' to get [i]attention[/i]...[i]hook-in the readers/viewers[/i] Anythin' to get [i]the scoop[/i]..even if ya make it up Anythin' to beat [i]the competition[/i] Anythin' to bring in [i]the advertisers[/i] Anythin' to expand [i]the empire[/i] Anythin' to protect [i]the family[/i] [quote]The winner takes it all[/quote]...not this time. [b]RUPERT: Look At Me Ma! I'm On Top Of The World![/b] N'

Lyn

21/11/2011 Good Morning Ad & Everybody Another brilliant comment by Bushfire Bill, compliments of Mark: @markjs1Mark Shove Bushfire Bill gives the SMH some sound advice on how to facilitate their move to quality journalism: http://bit.ly/tPREUw #auspol #mediafail [i] Bushfire Bill Posted Monday, November 21, 2011 at 9:06 am comment 1202[/i] Get rid of Hartcher, Grattan, Henderson, Carney and Murphy for a start Their concocted, straw-man “tests” (which the government always “fails”) are becoming tiresome, as is their vanity, borne of their certain knowledge that they know better how to run a country than the government elected to do so under trying circumstances. Take the corks out of your arses… … get competitive, be fair, stop opinionating and get over yourselves and the pin-stripe image you have of yourselves. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2011/11/19/galaxy-58-42-to-federal-coalition-in-queensland/comment-page-25/#comment-1091774 Cheers:):):):):):)

Feral Skeleton

21/11/2011Michael, It's a funny phenomenon, that of the anti-airhead Platinum Blonde? As if the media cast around for Blondes to disprove the myth. Fox is full of them. Trouble is, they're still empty-headed airheads spouting ugly people's lines for the camera, or in other forms of media. Or, like Megyn Kelly on Fox News in America, and Judith Sloan here, women smart enough to have figured out that their meal-ticket can come from spouting positions which are antithetical to the majority of women in society.

Sir Ian Crisp

21/11/2011AA, I went fishing and found this: [quote] I see Abbott more as a dope who has been roped than a King Canute. One of the segments was on a study into psychopaths. I listened for a while inattentively. Then it started to dawn on me they could be describing Tony Abbott. Etc, etc, etc. [/quote] Toss in the various pollies and journos who earn the ire of the TPS crowd and you get the general idea that having a shot at public figures is OK. AA, none of the above comments drew any chiding from you nor should they because the people mentioned are public figures. But when I have a shot at Gillard the Blimp you get upset. That’s poor form AA. FS, that's pretty mild by your standards. psyclaw, be careful what you say about Niki Savva because she did earn AA's praise. [quote] Bill Shorten was good; Lenore Taylor was sensible as usual, Mark Kenny was too, and Niki Savva made some positive statements about Julia Gillard, and at least supported her in the stupid debate over the ‘Royal curtsy’. [/quote] psyclaw, it may earn you a rebuke if you take a shot at any journo once that journo is placed on the AA Approved Reading List.

D Mick Weir

21/11/2011In for a drop of mporning tea. A silly question, maybe, has scholl wound up for the year? as there seems to be a sudden increase in juvenile commenting.

Patricia WA

21/11/2011What great news for the Gillard government from China! They are introducing a resources tax! Did Julia put Premier Wen up to it? Did she persuade him to announce it this week of all weeks? http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-11-21/china-begins-taxing-oil-and-gas-giants/3683454

Feral Skeleton

21/11/2011D Mick Weir, Close. School(and you need to do some Spelling practice! :) ), is just about to wind up for the year. So, we parents, and our kids too, are just about at our wit's end. In NSW, I personally have gone through Year 10 and Year 12 Final Exams, and tonight is the Year 12 Formal. Plus Mst Year 10 is doing 2 weeks of Work Experience, which is causing shedloads of existential angst due to the shock to his system. So, a bit of wall bouncing is going on. Then, it's onwards to Christmas, which I am none too fond of, not having much in the way of a Bank Balance to supply the latest 'must have' baubles. Sheesh! So, please excuse at least I, for the immediate future. I am all everythinged out! :)

Feral Skeleton

21/11/2011Sir Ian Crisp, Typical elitist, that you should take it upon yourself to be the arbiter of the 'Silly' Brigate Rosse's commentary. Still, we all politely tolerate you. Some, a bit more impolitely than others. As is the nature of the generosity of spirit inherant in our side of politics. Have a nice day! And don't get into the Sherry too early. It seems to prompt your nastier side to come out of the closet. :) ps And thank you for noticing that I am maintaining my beatific rage against the Barbarians.

jane

21/11/2011No comment about the sound of Slagbella's gargantuan thighs rubbing together as [b]she[/b] waddles around the chamber, or her jowls resting on her corpulent shoulders as she peered between the folds of fat around her eyes during the POTUUS's address to Parliament? The PM is a pouter pigeon and has an ample bottom. However, carrying an extra kilo or two has not blunted her intellect, nor her ability to negotiate with disparate personalities and achieve positive outcomes from those negotiations. Nor does she resort to the disgusting foul mouthed rantings of her detractors. And neither does she feel the need to look and dress like an underfed clothes horse. Nikki Sava has been sniffing Liealot's bicycle seat forever. Despite this, AA has very decently acknowledged the one positive ripple in her ocean of negativity. To butcher the Bard; one positive comment doth not endorsement make. She will no doubt return to her usual form aglow after a good, long sniff of a certain bicycle seat. FWIW, AA would also acknowledge anything positive in your comments. so far his search has been in vain. Nasking, the empire is tottering. The last bastion in the form of Hartigan is attempting to shore up the defences, but he's running out of twigs and cardboard. Hope all is well on the health front for "S. FS, "silly" in Italian - sciocco. Sir Ian could now be abbreviated to SSIC. Has a nice Renaissance ring to it, doesn't it? :D DMW, school's not out for summer. However, schoolboy nonsense is most certainly out and about. PatriciaWA, interesting news from China. Do you think Twiggy, Gina and Clive will tear over there in hard hats and high vis vests to give Premier Wen a good talking to, interspersed with threats to take their business elsewhere?

Ad astra reply

21/11/2011Sir Ian You give the impression of being a mature person, but maybe that is not so. In any case, if you are mature, you seem to be unaware of a fundamental tenet of balanced criticism, namely that a distinction needs to be made between criticism of a person’s physical features, and criticism of the person’s behaviour. In giving feedback, educators know that it is not acceptable to say to, a person: “You are fat slob”; yet it is acceptable to say: ‘Your behaviour (specify the behaviour) is unacceptable, because (state the reasons). As you seem to have the time to trawl back over past posts, try checking this out. I think you will find that most of the criticism of politicians has focused on their behaviour rather than their physical defects. I know cartoonists don’t follow that rule; they seem to think they are entitled to be rude about physical attributes, but even when they are, that is not the point of their cartoon, which characteristically criticizes behaviour. But we are not cartoonists and have no need to refer to physical defects when commenting on behaviour. Which leads me to question why you posted your comments about our PM’s physical appearance in such disparaging terms. What was your purpose? What was your comment intended to achieve, other than annoying other bloggers here. If that was the purpose of your comment, just say so and we’ll all understand your motive. Please answer this question, rather than trawling up some instances of demeaning references by others to physical defects. Even if in your opinion others have made such references here, do you regard that as licence for you to embark on rude and demeaning remarks about the physical appearance of our nation’s leader, as you percieve it? It is not acceptable; please desist. I would add ‘grow up’ if I thought your were young and immature. Perhaps you are – if so, please ‘grow up’.

Gravel

21/11/2011Just got home from shopping to find our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, giving a ministerial statement on Afganistan. Now I must say, I'd rather have our military people here on our shores, but after listening to her speech just then, she has convinced me that we cannot leave just now, but will be leaving the fighting bit at the end of 2014, and have some group staying to help after that. It was a very clear and understandable speech. It is good news that China is introducing an MRRT. I wonder how the miners here will react. I sort of takes away their argument a bit, or maybe that should be a lot. I bet they are just the first of many that will do this, like the Clean Energy thing.

Gravel

21/11/2011Patricia Thanks for the link to LWJ, I was going to comment but there are no comment up. Is it because there were too many good comments? What rotters they are. Why put a comment section when they don't allow comments to go through. I didn't bother trying when I couldn't see any one else's comment. I only really like commenting here anyway.

Ad astra reply

21/11/2011Folks Posted on [i]TPS: You Can Never Keep A Devil Down - Part 2 of 'The Devil's Dictionary' by Ambrose Bierce - E-M[/i] by Hillbilly Skeleton. http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2011/11/21/You-Can-Never-Keep-A-Devil-Down-Part-2-of-The-Devils-Dictionary-by-Ambrose-Bierce-E-M.aspx

Patricia WA

21/11/2011'N - re News and the Hillsborough Disaster [i]'Truth!'[/i] Just refreshing my recollection of Hillsborough via Wiki has be sobbing which shock, horror and sadness. How could any self respecting journalist write that up again no matter how many years later with a new angle as a scoop? How could any self respecting editor print it? How could any self respecting newspaper management exploit it for sales? How could any self respecting shareholder stay with a company that distributed profits derived from a story like that?

jane

21/11/2011Gravel, re LWJ, I posted a comment but there was no button to click in to read other comments. Patricia WA, the operative words here are "self respecting" and News Ltd. I rest my case.
How many umbrellas are there if I start with two and take 2 away?