Wednesday, April 12, 2006

 

AWB, Politics and the Brilliance of Consistently Lying


The AWB scandal hit fever pitch this week as the Cole inquiry summoned the Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, and most importantly Prime Minister John Howard. For those not familiar with the whole fiasco, this would be a good place to bone up on it.

While the omnipresent media's negativity about the whole affair will result in a temporary political hit to the Government, John Howard will remain rock solid as ever. These sort of scandals are his raison d'etre, it's an essential part of his political character.

You see, during each term he spends in office, he needs a major case of his political dishonesty to be unconvered.

During his first term it was his revelation that he would be taking a tax reform platform including a GST as its centrepiece to the election. This was notwithstanding the fact he had said earlier that decade in what I would feel safe in calling emphatic terms that, "There would NEVER EVER be a GST". He also coined the brilliant new concept of 'core' and 'non-core' promises: ie promises you might keep, and promises you have no intention of keeping.

His second term was mired again by his shady dealing with the Children Overboard affair: he presented an interpretation of video involving boat people which was deeply misleading and later it was revealed that he had knowledge prior to this declaration that the boat people were "throwing their children overboard" was false.

Thirdly, he and his Government saw fit to champion the fortunes of the Telstra company, saying it was in 'great shape', when this story was in complete contradiction to what the Telsra bosses themselves were directly telling the Government.

And now this the AWB scandal and the Government's convenient lack of knowledge of everything pertinent to the case. It seems the ministers involved are cornered so badly that they could only choose from guilt or incompetence. Vaile and Downer chose the latter option. Howard will too and here is why:

His masterful track record of blatant dishonesty, coupled with emphatic election wins has blown out of the water Government responsibility. After these carefully timed preposterous lies, Howard has deliberately sullied the standards expected of politicians: people have become so used to politicians lying to them that they no longer care and for most people it is not a factor they consider anymore when voting. Howard has cleverly reduced the elections to a decision on which of the lying bastards do we think will run the economy better. The conservatives (although this perception is false in my view) always win on this count.

So although his evidence at the Cole inquiry will seem like an admission of incompetence, peoples perceptions will be that he is merely lying once again and so therefore his own track record of dishonesty will protect his reputation as a competent politician. Brilliantly, Howard has changed peoples perceptions of politicans such that dishonesty is now an essential part of a politician's character if he is to be taken seriously by the populace.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

 

Political Cartoons and Why Kevin Rudd Needs a Dingo Rodgering


It is high time that this nonsense regarding standards is thoroughly debunked. I read with dismay about the backlash regarding certain cartoons published in a Danish newspaper depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammed in an apparently offensive way (I say apparently because I have not myself seen the cartoons). Adding fuel to my rapidly growing fire, I saw comments the other day from ALP Foreign Affairs spokesperson Kevin Rudd, lambasting an Indonesian newspaper for wickedly failing to meet decency standards with the publishing of a rather bizarre cartoon of our Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. The cartoon (depicted here) is of Little Johnny as a small canine, vigorously fornicating with another canine who had the misfortune of having a head which looked like Alexander Downer's.

My first point is this: Cartoons are just that - cartoons. They are drawings designed to convey messages; often humorous, sometimes political, other times insightful, and ideally all of the above. A drawing is not meant to have power over anyone itself, it is meant to reflect power and often lampoon it in ways which make the common man have a chuckle and feel better about their general lack of power and control. Yet the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed and the recent Indonesian work of art seem to have gotten under the skin of many. The Muslims who were violently outraged by the cartoons take note (and again I most likely only speak to a tiny minority of Muslims worldwide when I say this), get a fucking life! It's only a cartoon! If a stupid drawing has that much power over you, then perhaps your own faith is far more shakeable than you would like to claim.
To Kevin Rudd and others who were "outraged" by the fornicating dingoes need to get their head out of the clouds. Rudd made a tactical error in being so critical of these cartoons. Not only did he come off as another ALP huffer and puffer, whilst the targets of the cartoon casually dismissed it as irrelevant, he also positioned himself further down the track as an anally retentive private school boy with no sense of humour. Rudd is one of the ALP's better talents but he seriously needs to think about who Australian's are and whether he is cut out to represent them. No one is asking him to laugh and condone the cartoons but this reactionary brow beating is certainly not the way to go. Our PM, to his credit has laughed off the cartoons. They have no power over him - he's won four elections, is Australia's second longest serving Prime Minister in this country's history and he knows whoever drew those cartoons is nothing more than a puff of wind compared to the tempest which is his life. I'm sick and tired of this concept of 'decency'. If that cartoon is the worst you have ever seen then you obviously haven't read the walls of every male toilet in this country.
The worst criticism that I can come up with regarding these controversial cartoons was highlighted by Seaman Sprays on this website's discussion board: they are simply not funny. This is a far worse crime on behalf of the cartoonist than are their "affronts to political correctness and common decency". The funniest thing about them is their ability to upset certain idiots in our society. Instead of laughing at the cartoon, I laugh instead at them, that is before the pity sets in.
I consequently call on all cartoonists of this world to draw cartoons which depict fornicating animals. If people don't like it I'm always inclined to give them more. Hope you enjoy my addition to this exclusive body of work.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

 

Phillip Adams the Judas



I feel compelled to express my dismay over a recent Phillip Adams article in The Australian where he saw fit to lambast Kym Beazely's credibility and ability as leader of the Federal ALP. With friends like Adams and Julia Gillard (with her charming comments about her leader on Australian Story) siding with the ALP, who bloody well needs enemies???

I disagree with Adams' assertion that Beazely huffs and puffs and it comes across as, not to mince words, inneffectual and slightly pathetic. Perceptions are everything in politics and it is amazing how bad you can look when you don't have the luxury of being in power. Did John Howard look like a superstar in 1996? No! He was a two time loser burger (just like Kym Beazely), who was being recycled by a desperate coalition because they didn't have anyone else (just like Kym Beazely). Kym Beazely is right in saying that navel gazing is political suicide. When he was trying to cut through the media mire about pre-selection rows with interesting policy on climate change, his colleagues were making it worse by providing spiteful sniping which was making much better copy to the media.

I do agree that Beazely needs to be less safe. He needs to dumb down his language and engage in a dialogue with the Australian people. This is condescending, sure, but Howard does it to perfection. When baffled by the repartee of Keating, the public went for the simpler "Honest John".

I believe that given a chance at office Beazely could be forged into a scarily good leader, perhaps one to make an indelible mark on the political world in the 21st century. It seems such a shame that he probably won't get that chance, with the party in its arrogance, preferring self destruction over honourable defeat.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

 

Van is Driving me Crazy

This hoopla about Van Nguyen is driving me bananas. Now John Howard is copping it because Singapore chose to hang Nguyen on the same day that the PM is to attend a cricket match. Now I am not Howard's biggest fan but this self righteous posteuring does not impress me in the slightest. I mean, a convicted HEROIN TRAFFICKER is sentenced to hang under the laws of the land in which he was caught. The Australian Government requests that Singapore reduce the sentence to a non-capital punishment, which is refused. A massive media-beat-up capaign ensues for the Government to bend over backwards for Mr. Nguyen. Here are my points of contention:

1) Without being sanctimonious and judgmental, Mr. Nguyen knowingly broke a law of Singapore which universally carries a hefty penalty. Singapore happens to be one of the countries that applies the death penalty for this crime. Nevertheless it is a serious crime no matter where you are caught.

2) Heroin kills people and ruins the lives of many close to those killed. I spoke to a woman who lost her son to Heroin. Let me just say that she did not have a lot of sympathy for Van Nguyen. From a utilitarian perspective, hanging Van Nguyen is probably the right thing to do, as it serves as a significant and well publicised deterrent to others who may make the mistake of trafficking dangerous narcotics.

3) The people who are protesting this because Van Nguyen is an Australian citizen and therefore should be spared execution have it all wrong. International law is clear that you must respect and accept being subject to, the laws of the country you find yourself in. By carrying heroin in Singapore, Van Nguyen assumed the risk of being caught and tried according to Singaporean Law.

4) The people who are protesting because the death penalty is wrong need to take a reality check. Many countries use the death penalty as a form of punishment. Australia, until a few short decades ago, also exhibited the death penalty in its justice system. Who are we to judge another country's decision to use this method of punishment? And where were all these protesters when Timothy McViegh was being executed in the United States? It is because these protesters implicitly indulge in a sense of superiority over certain countries, such as Singapore and Bali. There's a little thought of assumption within many of these people, that "We know better". Unfortunately this goes out the window when dealing with a country we look up to, such as the USA.

So get with reality and devote your energy to something that actually matters. The State of Singapore is hanging a convicted Heroin Trafficker. This seems to me to be a lot less worthy of our attention than does the Coalition of the Willing's unjustified invasion of Iraq and the consequential killing of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians.

 

The Birth of the Blog

The original concept of Bark was to create an online environment for individuals to express themselves about the issues in and throughout society that concern them. This was to be achieved through the submission of articles and other media (such as cartoons) for publication on the website. For the less involved participant, voting on polls, a chat room and a discussion board was added. While the latter additions to the site have met with moderate success, the original concept of an interesting and varied forum for articles written by a wide variety of people on a wide variety of issues has not taken off (yet). Apart from the select few, I have been unable to inspire people to make them want to have their articles published on this website. Eventually it started to look just like my own private little rant site. I have refrained from writing too many articles of my own because I did not want to give the visitors of this site this impression, as it would both marginalise me and the Bark Network to irrelevancy. Who wants to go to yet another blog site full of one person's opinions? The strength of Bark is meant to be in its numbers - their is nothing quite so divine as the unique quality of a different person's point of view. We have all walked down different roads, and we all have different stories to tell, and it is in this variety, this furnace of debate, that gives us the best opportunity to forge some sort of semblance of truth.
On the other hand, I also didn't want Bark to go stale due to a lack of fresh content. Therefore I have added this blog page. The blog will give me the freedom to add to the site regularly (for those who are interested in regularly reading my opinions), without detracting from the special attention deserved by the latest article that has been submitted. I sincerely hope you all find this a worthwhile addition to the Bark Network!

 

Welcome!

Introductions are in order:

The writer is Andrew Lacy, and I am a mere dot in the digital ocean, keenly interested in the nature of education, and its relation to politics, freedom and liberation heading into what looks to be a very interesting 21st century.

My website on these themes is www.bark.net.au and is inclusive of all who wish to contribute. Head over and have a look!

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