Sunday, June 27, 2010

Morrissey is all Kevin has left now

“I’ve been stabbed in the back so many, many times I don’t have any skin. But that’s just the way it goes.” Morrissey sings Kevin Rudd’s life.

Yes, Morrissey’s Why Don’t You Find Out For Yourself is actually about the music industry.

But Hunter S. Thompson once summed up the Australian Labor Party perfectly when he said: “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs.

“There’s also a negative side.”

It may be about Morrissey’s own experiences, but this song from the master of misery’s 1994 album Vauxhall and I is the lament of fallen Labor leaders everywhere with its chorus: “You’ll never believe me so — why don’t you find out for yourself? Then you’ll see the glass hidden in the grass.”

Mark Latham wrote an entire, vitriolic book with that simple message — he could have saved some trees and a lot of time and just posted a link to “Why Don’t You Find Out For Yourself” on YouTube to his Facebook page.

Former NSW premier Morris Iemma is now wondering the streets of Sydney shouting to to all and sundry about Mark Arbib: “I told you all! He knifed me, now he’s knifed Kevin! I told you all but you wouldn’t listen!”

This was the very clear message from the man who took over from Iemma, Nathan Rees, when the factional headkickers that run NSW Labor did him in last year. They did him in and his replacement, Kristina Keneally, would be their puppet.

Then they'd do her in too — we’ll find out for ourselves.

Of course, this is what cynically brutal hatchetmen with no loyalty to anything accept power and their own petty careers do. They sit in Vietnamese restaurants in Kingston with two phones and a list of names and they stay there until they have the numbers to bury the hatchet into your back.

Which in Rudd’s case was before the entreas arrived.

Each of the whining Labor leaders knows this full well because that’s how they got the job themselves. Installed by number-crunching headkickers, they never seemed to believe it would happen to them.

Then they found out for themselves.

Julia Gillard’s turn will come, as it must to all.

Thats what you get for being a greedy, power-mad puppet with no principles, willing to serve any cause and argue any case in pursuit of feeding your own bloated ego with delusions of a grand chapter awaiting you in the history books.

When, in fact, you are nothing but a jumped-up petty salesperson for the rancid oligarchy that the actually rules this fucked-up country. Whose interests are actually administered in government by overpaid, faceless, unelected bureaucrats while the politicians keep themselves busy with grandstanding, press conferences and knifing each other.

Therefore, while we are on the topic on whining rock music, Radiohead kindly provides the right response.

“You do it to yourself, just you, you and no-one else. You do it to yourself.”

Don’t forget to check out the array of google ads at the top of the page.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Songs for Kevin (or: let's save money and just let Clive Palmer elect our leaders)

“I've never seen a night so long, when time goes crawling by ... The silence of a falling star, lights up a purple sky ... And I'm so lonesome I could cry.” Seasick Steve gives his rendition of the Hank Williams' classic, looking just like our fallen PM will after a decade of drinkin' to forget, with a chaser to kill the pain.

Christ, it was a sad sight that press conference. Kevin Rudd in tears after getting dumped as Dear Leader before his first term even finished after enjoying record approval ratings for almost the whole time since we threw out that other fascist Johnny Someone.

It was hard not to feel sorry for the little guy. He got brutally knifed by a political machine uglier than a local council-commissioned public sculpture on the theme of “Harmony”, and more brutal than a Mafia gang that’s just discovered a snitch who not only ratted to the Feds but also claimed the Don’s breath smelt.

Then I remembered that not only did Mr Rudd utterly fail to confront the somewhat urgent threat of runaway climate change, despite calling it the “greatest moral challenge of our time” and the mounting evidence of impending catastrophe.

No, much worse — he also declared war on booze.

The little fucking weasel.

Now I don’t like to boast, but I gotta say: Carlo Sands called it.

Hell, I called this one two years ago with an insightful, razor-sharp comment piece entitled Rudd’s honeymoon over? Let’s ask Tex Perkins.

Now, it goes without saying that Carlo Sands is never wrong. Sometimes, however, I am ahead of my time.

Some may argue that my call that Rudd’s “honeymoon” with the Australian people was over, coming more than a year-and-a-half before his record-levels of popular support began to seriously erode, was a little hasty.

I, however, prefer to call it prescient.

So what went wrong? How did Rudd go from record popularity to being the first Labor PM ever dumped by his own party before his first term even ended?

I think the history books will clearly record the seeds of Rudd’s destruction lay in the ill-fated decision in his first year in office to run a campaign declaring four standards drinks (that’s less than three stubbies!) to be “binge drinking”.

This alienated him from both the public at large and the Labor party machine. I mean, have you seen how much those factional headkickers drink? No wonder they knifed him with such glee.

But there were clearly some other, if secondary, factors at work.

Rudd basically continued the same policies as the former Howard government in all key areas. But most of all, his failures on climate change cost him big.

The serious slide in Rudd’s popularity coincided with his government’s decision to dump its proposed “emissions trading scheme”, which it had been touting as the solution to the threat of total eco-destruction.

Environmentalists actually pointed out the ETS itself was just political window dressing that not only would not reduce carbon emissions, but would actually make the problem worse.

But that is neither here nor there. The decision to dump it as soon as it became a “hard sell” revealed Rudd for the unprincipled, power-hungry weasel he is. It made him look cynical, hypocritical and totally untrustworthy.

Plus, the climate issue is kinda urgent.

But worse was to come for our wowser PM.

Desperate to make up lost ground and searching for an issue that would prove popular and make him seem like he actually stood for something more than his own career, Rudd made the ill-fated decision to seek to impose a quite modest “supertax” on the extremely wealthy large mining corporations currently enjoying record profits.

The 40% tax only kicked in once the profit rate exceed 6%, was bound up with continuing subsidies to the sector, was full of loopholes and was going to be used to cut the corporate tax rate overall from 32% to 28%.

But my god did the billionaire shriek like a three-year-old whose favourite teddy got washed down a sewer.

These principled men, who like to whine about “economic blackmail” should any of their workforce dare engage in industrial action, immediately threatened to bring the country to its knees with a coordinated “capital strike”.

They went on telly to deliver their snarling threat: Dump the mining tax or thousands of jobs get it!

They immediately embarked on a well-funded media campaign, with attack ads promising all life on Earth would come to a screeching halt if Rudd wasn’t stopped.

Seeing a chance to get the Liberals back in, the Murdoch media and shock jocks jumped on the bandwagon.

Suddenly it was 1951 all over again and the Communists were coming to eat our babies.

Rudd, weakened by his “binge drinking” and climate disasters, was in no position to withstand the assault.

Even if the multi-national corporations failed to exactly win public sympathy for their plight, they caused enough unease and fear to ensure Rudd’s poll slide worsened.

With an election just months away, the Labor machine didn’t need to be told twice. Rudd was dumped and the mining shares rose at once. Gillard’s first move was to sue for peace.

As the saying goes, it's all fun and games until someone tries to tax the mining giants.

I must admit, it does make me wonder whether all the effort of getting 20 million people to vote is just an inefficient waste of our time and hard-earned taxpayers money.

Surely it would be much cheaper and time-efficient to just get the Business Council of Australia to hold a straw poll on who should hold the keys to the Lodge. Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt could be granted a vote at the council when the question arises, just so all key stakeholders have a say.

That way, the rest of us wont lose an hour of valuable drinking time one Saturday every three years and the good businessfolk can ensure the corporate tax rate is set at the responsible, investor-friendly level of -75%.

In the end, Rudd managed to alienate both his own social base and the extremely powerful forces that actually govern this godforsaken country. The generals moved in for the kill and the coup was quick — if disappointingly bloodless.

It is a shame the our new Dear leader wants to suck up to the Evil Forces Threatened All Life on Earth (known as “miners” in the press for some inexplicable reason, despite never having fossicked for anything more than a hors d’oeuvre that fell under the table at a cocktail party to celebrate another record breaking profit return).

But, to date, she is yet to announce her policy on booze. Therefore, Carlo Sands withholds his judgment.

As for Mr Rudd, all that’s left for him is to redeem himself in true country music style. He must now take his guidance from Merle Haggard.

“I got swingin' doors, a jukebox and a bar stool. My new home has a flashin' neon sign. Stop by and see me anytime you want to, coz I'm, always here at home till closing time...”

If Kevin Rudd had any dignity or self-respect, this is how he would spend his declining years.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

An outrageous slander involving Israel

I have been shocked by the events of last week and their aftermath.

I mean, holy shit. You know, holy shit. I mean shit, you know, that has *actually been* fucking *blessed* by someone holy. Whoever — Moses, Buddha, Tom Cruise, I mean whoever you consider holy, I am telling you, they have blessed this shit.

That is how holy this holy shit is.

Yes, I am talking about Israel and the events involving the Freedom Flotilla.

These events have been the cause of much mystification, lies and outright slander from all the usual suspects.

One of the most common allegations directed by bigots the world over is that Israel committed an "act of piracy".

Such hate-filled ignorance. What an outrageous, slanderous analogy. Pirates may be thieves, but they are not cold-blooded mass murderers.

Israel's actions were a crime against humanity and an act of war against Turkey at least. But what has it got to do with pirates?

There is no record of any pirate massacring 1400 people over a few weeks of sustained slaughter in a giant prison and then maintaining a crippling siege that condemns the lives of 1.5 million people to utter misery.

And then, when badly needed humanitarian aid comes in boats, boarding those boats heavily armed, using stun grenades, tear gas rubber and live bullets on the unarmed passengers, killing at least nine people and stealing the humanitarian aid to ensure 1.5 million people stay starving.

I mean, the sadism of Israel's siege takes on surreal proportions. You can view a partial list of banned and allowed items here.

The banned list includes A4-sized writing paper. Nothing is mentioned about A5 paper, so we can only assume Israel is confident A5 is too small to build paper planes big and strong enough to fly over the wall and cause significant destruction inside Israel.

Goats and chickens are banned — and it isn't hard to see why. Israel no doubts fears Hamas would not hesitate to sacrifice them in voodoo rituals to place evil curses on God’s Chosen People.

They have been kind enough to allow in fabric softner, so the ordinary Gazans don’t have to be subjected to the horror of starchy clothes. Also, toothpaste and shampoo are in.

You might think this shows some serious consideration for the importance of clear hair and teeth — until you realise there is a serious fucking water shortage. So the Gazans can stare at the shampoo, then stare at the sky and realise with growing horror they will have to put up with greasy hair until the next time it rains.

Coriander is banned, as is chocolate, ginger and cumin. However, Israel has been kind enough to allow in cinnamon, black pepper and seasame paste.

It is almost as if they chopped up all the words in a cooking book, dropped them in a hat and pulled them out one by one applying an alternating "in-out" ruling.

It may seem utterly irrational, but you can imagine a US spokesperson responding: “We are of course very concerned with the plight of the Gazans and hope the situation can improve in the near future, but we have to understand Israel’s legitimate security concerns.

“There are a small percentage of the world’s population that suffer an unfortunate allergy to coriander that can cause discomfort, including the break out of an itchy rash. If Hamas were to build a coriander-filled homemade rocket and fire it into Israel, there is a small chance an Israeli citizen with just such an allergy may accidently eat the rocket.

“It is a risk too great for Israel to run and we demand Hamas pledge to fully dismantle all coriander rockets before Israel can be expected to lift the siege.”

Israeli government spokespeople could chime in to condemn the anti-semetic plot to fire rockets filled with chocolates into Israel in the hope the unguided missiles land somewhere near a primary school, thus enticing Israeli children to eat so many of the sweets they become too fat and diabetic to defend themselves from the inevitable mass invasion.

That, dear reader, is Israel. On the other hand we have pirates.

Pirates, the old style pirates, the sort that go "Aaaarrrgggh, me hearties" and drink rum, have nothing in common with this sort of cruel, genocidal madness.

These pirates generally stole from the rich and were a thorn in the side of the powerful. They were often escaped slaves or others fleeing tyranny of one sort or another. They would often share their wealth and practice a sort of popular democracy on board.

And they drank lots and lots and lots of rum.

Pirates are cool. Everyone likes pirates. There is even a "Talk like a Pirate" day.

No one has yet proposed a "Talk like the Israeli government" day, where you go around stabbing people in the eye then saying "We condemn the spurting of blood from the eyeball onto our new shoes. We will not stand for such terror, the eyeball was funded by Iran.

“If it doesn't stop spurting there will be serious consequences."

People like to dress up as pirates. They like to go and watch pirate films starring Johnny Depp where he delivers witty one liners in a strange mongrel accent while staggering around wearing lots of eyeliner and swigging rum

And yet, at this moment, when pirates are subjected to an unprecedented torrent of hate and slander, these same people are silent! It is shameful.

Carlo Sands is not afraid to speak up! And I say to all who hear me: leave the fucking pirates alone!

Sources close to Captain Jack Sparrow say the pirate is “deeply disturbed” by the comparisons with Israel, whose crimes he “unconditionally condemns”. A spokesperson said in a statement: “Cpt. Sparrow wishes to emphasise that, in his line of work, you get your fair share of ‘scurvy dogs’, but that pirates have no tolerance for the rabid variety.”

This is not just a historical question.

Swedish crime novelist Henning Mankell who took part on the Freedom Flotilla, makes the following outrageous slander in his diary of the trip: “The Israelis have behaved like pirates, no better than those who operate off the coast of Somalia.”

I understand Mankell is furious and possibly traumatised by his experience. But that is no reason for this slander to go unanswered.

Actually, the Somali pirates are true descendants of the dispossessed that, hundreds of years earlier, took to the seas, flew the Jolly Roger and nicked what they could from the ships of the European empires.

They are a product of the disintegration of Somali society and a means of the local community both earning a living and defending their seas from pillaging. Like the pirates of past centuries, they steal from the rich.

Said Green Left Weekly: “Like the piracy of the ‘golden age’, contemporary Somali piracy is a response of the downtrodden to the devastating effects of globalising capitalism.

“Today's Somali pirates have been victims of the destruction of local fisheries by industrial fishing and the dumping of the first world's toxic and nuclear waste in Third World locations ...

“Like 18th century pirates, Somali pirates see themselves as fighting for justice. As Sugale Ali told the October 1 NYT: ‘We don't consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits those who illegally fish in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas. We are simply patrolling our seas.’”

You can get your T-shirt here.

The obvious question is: what has any of this got to do with god damn Israel?

To those having trouble discerning the difference between the two, we can go back many centuries for a simple anecdote:

“In the ‘City of God,’ St. Augustine tells the story of a pirate captured by Alexander the Great. The Emperor angrily demanded of him, ‘How dare you molest the seas?’ To which the pirate replied, ‘How dare you molest the whole world? Because I do it with a small boat, I am called a pirate and a thief. You, with a great navy, molest the world and are called an emperor.’”

The powerful murder and steal because they think they can. The powerless do so as a last resort. To confuse the two is deeply unfair, so I hereby appeal to the world: stop blackening the noble art of piracy!

"Anarchy, the scourge of every sea! The anti-christ aboard a rig, with us your cuthroat thieves!" Pirates are cool and Israel isn't. End of fucking story.