The Dog’s Bollocks

Truth is like a dog’s bollocks – pretty obvious if you care to look.

Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See

This YouTube video is doing the rounds at the moment – it’s had nearly 1.5 million viewings so far. It’s a compelling variation on the “If you act as if it matters and it doesn’t, then it doesn’t matter, but if you act as if it doesn’t matter and it does, then it does matter” argument designed to win support for the only rational conclusion concerning climate change – we must act.

I dedicate this post to Jennifer Marohasey and the good folks at the IPA.

Filed under: Big Picture, Environment

Day 15 – Over-heating Climate Change

DysonHoward declares that Costello ‘creamed’ Swan in The Great Economic Debate although The Worm gives it Swan and most economics commentators call it a draw. The Worm continues to show that Work Choices remains a big negative for Team Howard.

Malcolm in the Muddle enters his third day of not taking calls or giving interviews concerning his support for signing the Kyoto agreement, while Howard tries to gain ground by claiming Kevin07 has backed-down on Peter Garrett’s commitment to a post-Kyoto agreement. We’re certainly getting into the Twilight Zone here as this will not be a matter for decision until after the next election. Team Howard are now claiming there is no difference between them and Kevin07 on Climate Change. Not that anyone is actually listening. Meanwhile the fact remains that Kevin07 will ratify Kyoto for 2008-2012 and Team Howard won’t. Kevin07 promises a mandatory 20% target for renewables by 2015 and a 60% greenhouse emission reduction by 2050, with interim targets to be set after its report due next year. These are the climate debate facts that the electorate will understand. For team Howard to argue otherwise simply confirms electoral skepticism of Team Howard’s new-found commitment to climate change.

Cranky John has become Happy John after yesterday’s improvement in Newspoll. Was there anything else? More mind-numbing barreling of pork around marginal electorates. Apparently the bill for road works in marginal electorates now exceeds $15 billion. Remember that next time you take out a shock absorber on one our fine country roads and wonder why we’ve had to wait until now.

The Four Corners salutary tale about the dangers of starry-eyed hayseeds Howard and Nelson wining and dining with US hucksters in Washington who sold them a jet-fighter pup for $6 billion will put a damper on any discussions about which team is better equipped to defend the nation and support US Military Adventurism. $6 billion without a competitive tender process and against the wishes of the ADF and RAAF top brass while the rest of the Public Service has to tender out jobs in excess of $80,000 yet again underscores what brilliant and responsible economic managers Team Howard really are.

Only an eternity to go with yesterday’s play a confusion of mind-numbing policy trivia of he said, she said. One for Kevin07 for the renewables initiative.

Cross posted at Blogotariat.

Filed under: Environment, Federal Election 2007, Politics

Day 14 – The Narrowing

TandbergTeam Howard’s Generals regrouped in Melbourne yesterday for what they hope was a productive if not decisive reframing of the election narrative ahead of encouraging polling figures from HQ’s preferred Newspoll showing a narrowing billed by the Government Gazette as a halving of Kevin07’s 2PP vote. Team Howard are back in The Game! Inveterate Spin Master Andrew Robb appeared on Lateline, amidst awkward questions on interest rates, leadership and climate change, to explain the new narrative.

Unlike previous Narrowings and False Dawns this one is For Real. Apparently it’s like the Republic debate where 80% of voters were in favour of a change until the actual referendum when it dropped back to 45%. No mention of the fact that Howard sabotaged the referendum by ensuring that it asked the wrong questions for the non-preferred model designed to derail support. People are now starting to weigh up the important question – who is best equipped to manage our Trillion Dollar Economy – and come election day they will choose the experienced and proven Team Howard to continue on the path to prosperity for the next say 10-20 years. Never mind that the new poll figures suggest that the movement is coming from a 10% reduction in minor party voting intentions rather than any severe dent in major party preference.

Team Howard announced a $2 billion plan to recreate the Technical School System, although only $270 million will actually be spent in the next term of office. These will be Proper Technical Schools for Working Families, just like we had back in the 50s and 60s, not just add-ons at the back of Academic High Schools. Presumably Proper Academic High Schools (with Proper RRRs and Proper Po-Mo-Free History) and Universities will continue to be the preferred means of education for privately funded Professional and Business Families.

A good day for Team Howard, sufficient for them resist the urge to start eating their own. Full points for encouragement. And so on to The Great Economic Debate debate and the next set of polls.

Cross posted at Blogotariat.

Filed under: Education, Federal Election 2007, Politics

Day 13 – Now where were we again?

TandburgWhat happened to day 12? Slipped by in a flurry of real world activity to the background noise of an election campaign mired in a myriad of spending announcements in marginal seats around the nation. Unions and interest rates dominates discussion in another week decisively won by Kevin07. An unshakable reality that even the MSM Commentariat are slowly coming to terms with as they begin circling Howard’s dying carcass.

A year ago, on returning from the Maldon Folk Festival I wrote a post called I Hear that train ‘a comin’ and observed:

In my travels at Maldon I was trying not to mention politics, although the subject of John Howard came up a few times. The response was always one of simmering resentment and anger, tempered with the bitter frustration of despair.

I sense that people are thinking it’s time for change. I certainly hope so.

It seems increasingly likely that the apparent immunity of polling intention to everything Team Howard can throw at it is because the people of Australia abandoned Howard long ago. They are being bored senseless by a glut of pork-barrel largess whilst being reminded of the reasons why they are over Howard. Team Howard have starved public investment, accumulating vast budget surpluses to used as voter bribes when the election comes around. The people are wise to the trick and aren’t buying it. Meanwhile every mention of unions reminds us of WorkChoices and every other policy area becomes a discussion of the many ways that Team Howard has failed to deal with them in any cohesive manner and are still clueless about. Apart from a cultural agenda exploiting fear and division to promote an inward-looking, self-centred consumerism, Team Howard have no coherent policy platform to see to the sensible expenditure of budget surpluses sufficient to ensure the ongoing health, well-being and prosperity of the nation and its people.

The voters are just counting the days until the election. Media vultures are circling, waiting to move in for the kill, and rewriting the narrative to more closely align it with the growing reality that the party really is over. After all they have to continue to do business with a new government. Kent Brockman voice over, “I, for one, welcome our new Over Lords!”

Cross posted at Blogotariat.

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Filed under: Federal Election 2007, Politics

Day 11 – Unions, Interest Rates and Unions

The AgeAs exciting as this election campaign is, it’s hard to believe that there are only 4 more weeks to go! Yay! Media fatigue has set in at the end of the second week with most election stories running after the headline news. With relentless daily pork-barreling, one announcement seems much like another.

Day 11 play was preoccupied with interest rates and union bashing. The World’s Second Greatest Treasurer Peter Costello is warning of an impending economic armageddon and possible global meltdown if Labor is elected and all those anti-business union thugs have their evil way. Meanwhile the banks are telling Costello to butt out – determining interest rates is none of his business, even though they would always be lower under a Coalition government (it’s some kind of law of nature).

Union bashing was one of the few issues that The Worm gave a positive response to Team Howard so no doubt this will continue right up until the final siren sound. I think is time Kevin07 ran some ads mirroring the theme that a Coalition government would be dominated by lawyers with links to anti-working-family Merchant Bankers and Big Business. What harm could it do?

With much of the Commentariat speculating that an interest rate rise will be a nail in the coffin for Team Howard, another point for Kevin07.

add to kwoff

Cross posted at Blogotariat.

Filed under: Federal Election 2007, Media, Politics

Day 10 – Interest Rates – the New Tampa?

The AgeNapoleon Bonaparte may well have said “There are two levers for moving men – interest [rates] and fear.” With Day 10 dominated by debate about the latest inflation figures and a widely tipped interest rate rise Team Howard are doing their best to frighten the punters with the narrative that a Rudd Labor government would cause a recession in the Australian Economy, because Interest Rates will always be lower under a Coalition Government.

In delaying the election, many in the Commentariat opined that Team Howard were taking a huge risk of having an interest rate rise during the campaign. But maybe the Machiavellian Team Howard strategists wanted this all along as it would provide the basis for a familiar and proven scare campaign, tying in nicely with the notion that a union dominated Labor government would fuel wage rise driven inflation, further interest rate rises and the destruction of the world as we know it. Desperate tactics to be sure, but worth a try if you are on a hiding to nothing, and it just might work if the electorate doesn’t think too deeply about it – given that the current inflation is being caused by capacity constraints exacerbated by Howard’s strategy of underfunding public spending to generate excessive surpluses to be used in tax cuts and pork-barreling election campaigns.

The headline inflation figure is apparently very low, but hardly credible to anyone who frequents a supermarket on a regular basis (where prices rise before your eyes on a weekly basis) or pays regular household bills such as car insurance. The falling cost of imported goods (including oil) is keeping the CPI figures low, while the cost of household bills is escalating every which way.

Meanwhile, election spending in marginal seats continues at a pace sufficient to embarrass a drunken sailor. The message from Team Howard may well be that although we may be causing inflation and interest rate rises, it would only be worse under Labor. A risky strategy to be sure, but it does play to Howard’s proven strength as a fear-monger.

So how will Team Howard’s old tricks play out against the turning tide in the Australian political landscape? Young Peregrine displays insight beyond his years in Battle of the ages, with his analysis that Rudd is the New Menzies, drawing support from the forgotten people (working families) as Howard is wedged by his own undying commitment to a neo-liberal market fundamentalism which chains all aspects of life to the economy.

Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop found herself in an awkward position today when she arrived at a Queensland school which was not expecting her. No-one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition. Classic.

Despite the anxiety over inflation and interest rate rises, the debate is back with Team Howard, so for no other reason they get the day’s point.

Cross posted at Blogotariat.

Filed under: Federal Election 2007, Politics

Keelty. Rat. Ship. Sinking.

Nicholson CartoonsAFP Commissioner Mick Keelty is obviously keen on keeping his job with his new masters after the election. After singing in unison with Kevin Andrew’s clumsy attempts to vilify Dr. Mohamed Haneef, he has said:

In an interview with The Bulletin published this week, Mr Keelty said he warned the DPP the evidence against the Indian national was thin.

“Mine was an opinion that I expressed to the DPP, but I understood all the time that the prosecutor was independent of me and independent of the investigation and needed to come up with a view for himself,” Mr Keelty told the magazine.

Dr Haneef’s lawyer, Peter Russo, said today he was surprised by Mr Keelty’s comments.

“I’m surprised because that is totally contrary to everything he has said up to date,” Mr Russo told ABC radio.

Filed under: Federal Election 2007, Law, Politics

Day 9 – Spin to burn

California BurningArgument about the merits of the Great Debate continued today with a depressing News Poll for Team Howard. Kevin07 primary vote is up, Rudd as Preferred PM is up and 2PP is up. The salt in the wound is that the gap between the teams on economic credibility and trust has further narrowed.

A News Pollster was speculating on 774 that Kevin07 cunningly planned the release of their tax policy for Friday in order to get a quick jump in the weekend’s survey for Newspoll and make Team Howard look bad. These people get paid for making this shit up? After Team Howard’s surprise tax announcement last Monday (apparently catching their own campaign team ill-prepared to make hay with it) Team Howard were saying to anyone who would listen “We’ve got a tax plan! Has Kevin got a tax plan? No! He’s too chicken!”. The MSM commentariat’s collective opinion was that Kevin better get a tax plan announced before The Great Debate or the sky will fall in. So Kevin gives them a tax policy earlier than he would have liked, and now it’s all a fiendishly clever ploy to manipulate the polls!

The MSM narrative continues that the poll results are not real, they couldn’t be. The Labor vote is soft, the latest poll is consistent with previous ones, Margin of Error, Noise, blah, blah. Ockam’s Razer says the simplest explanation is usually the best. The electorate just don’t like the Coalition anymore and are going to kick their sorry arses out of government. The Nielson pollster says if the polls are still like this in two weeks they’re stuffed.

Both teams were out and about handing out money to all kinds of regional and minor funding schemes. The big announcement of the day is Howard’s gesture towards the gray vote – if you are a pensioner you can now claim up to $500 for utility payments per year. That’s right, everyone else gets at least a grand through tax and the old diggers get $9 a week, but only if it’s spent on gas and electricity. In The Great Debate, Howard criticised Kevin’s childcare tax rebate by saying it’s always better to give the money back through taxation and let people decide what they need to spend it on. The government has no business interfering with how people spend money. Except if you are a pensioner. What if you are self-sufficient in utilities and would rather have the extra money to buy some extra cans of cat food?

Costello reckons the Child Care rebate will push child care prices up. Like the time he handed out $3,500 to parents for each child only to see it instantly absorbed into ABC Learning’s shareholder’s dividends in a classic text-book demonstration of the laws of supply and demand. Brilliant ‘economic management’ that one – especially if you thought to buy shares.

David Hick returned with a new story implicating US VP Cheney and PM Howard in cooking up a solution to the ‘Hicks problem’ before the election. And for good measure they offered to throw in a free Federal control-order for him on release.

While half of Southern California is engulfed in the firestorm from hell, background debate continues aplenty with much grumbling and hand-wringing over nuclear energy and water management, keeping climate change burning in everyone’s mind.

Costello’s planning to take on Swan and The Worm next week to debate The Economy. Despite Team Howard’s carefully cultivated narrative that Swan’s stupidity is exceeded only by his ignorance, Swan, a former academic, is a smooth and articulate operator. It can only end in tears for Team Howard as Swan will be briefed by the best brains in the country. Costello will still sound like a smarmy university student politician with lousy debating skills beyond sledging and ad hominems.

The pensioners will be less than impressed with Howard’s largess, Kevin07 won the debate about the debate and look like continuing to climb in the polls. Atmospherically, the ball was still with Kevin07.

Cross posted from Blogotariat

Filed under: Federal Election 2007, Politics

Day 8 – Agile Analid Antics

LOL POLSAll attention today was focussed on The Great Debate with The Worm the clear winner. So who pulled the live feed to Channel 9? Channel 9 blamed the Coalition. The Coalition blamed The ABC who blamed The Press Club. Meanwhile Tony Abbott reckons the audience and The Worm were rigged because The Worm gave Rudd an enthusiastic blue-liner by his mere appearance, while Howard received a red-liner before he even opened his mouth. Of course a simpler explanation is The Worm is portraying exactly what the electorate is thinking. Team Howard is deludedly claiming victory in the debate despite all evidence to the contrary while the MSM is keeping the narrative alive – Howard has lost every debate and won every election and so therefore…

There was much bizarre incantation about marginal tax thresholds in 2 years outside of Treasury projections. Kevin07 comes out looking less foolish than Team Howard and Costello who kicked an own-goal by giving Shadow Treasurer Wayne Swan the opportunity to look and sound intelligent on the 7.30 Report after Costello declined to appear.

Kevin07 announced some road upgrades and a commercial fishing licence buy-back scheme while Team Howard sympathised with Murray-Darling farmers and promised assistance to ensure Adelaide’s water supplies.

So now the economy has been neutralised in a haze of excessive tax cuts and thresholds we begin the climate change debate – hardly surprising given Rudd was repeatedly blue-line maxed by The Worm whenever he spoke about it. Kevin07 has started running its climate change TV ads while Malcolm Turnbull reckons we might never need to have Nuclear Power Plants after all, even though Team Howard was bullishly enthusiastic about them a few months ago.

The day was clearly seized by Kevin07 thanks to a comfortable win in The Great Debate. For as long as environment remains the story in coming days Kevin07 will be in control of the ball. Expect Team Howard to announce a dramatic circuit-breaker.

Cross-posted at Blogotariat.

Filed under: Federal Election 2007, Media, Politics

Day 7 – The Worm Squirmed

The AgeUnsurprisingly, John Howard is deemed by all rational observers to have comprehensively lost the TV debate with Kevin Rudd. I watched Channel 9’s telecast to a 60 Minutes audience with their own Worm. 69% to Rudd and 35% to Howard was the official calculated Worm Squirm.

According to Blogotariat’s Worm Analysis, Howard’s positives were on the theme of the of Labor’s Union domination and the prospect of wall-to-wall Labor governments, his determination to fight terrorism and the prospect of a new approach to indigenous issues (although less favorable on the NT intervention), but on matters of trust (with further changes to Work Choices, troop levels and ‘going the distance’ in Iraq, for example) the Worm was decidedly negative.

Rudd’s Worm was overwhelmingly positive on Childcare, no tax cuts for the Top End of Town, building capacity infrastructure and education, changes to Work Choices, climate change management, leadership in solar energy development, Iraq as Howard’s biggest foreign policy failure, the need for proactive assistance to combat terrorism in South East Asia, the importance of an apology to indigenous Australia to create a bridge for reconciliation, and withdrawing of combat troops (as opposed to security and advisory troops )from Iraq.

Howard was fudging too much during the Leaders’ questions and foolishly set up Rudd for some clear and definitive answers.

Rudd scored well in the closing statements with his argument that Australia needs a plan for the future, not just a hope that things will turn out all right. In contrast Howard received lukewarm response to his Back to the Future vision of schools returning to the basics of the The Three Rs and trade schools, and his contention that History needs to be taught as a ‘proper’ balanced narrative.

Together with Kevin07’s childcare rebate policy announcement, the day’s play clearly belonged to Rudd. Don’t expect the Liberal Ad campaign about Unions to abate anytime soon. Oh, and maybe some about the need to be strong on Terror.

Cross posted at Blogotariat

Filed under: Federal Election 2007, Media, Politics

The Dog’s Bollocks

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The Dog's Bollocks: "Bollocks" is one of my favourite words, and this is now one of my favourite blogs and I've only been reading it for five minutes. – John Surname

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