The Dog’s Bollocks

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

Limits of Power

Background Briefing – 9 August 2009 – Limits of power

Retired colonel in the US army and historian of international relations, Professor Andrew Bacevich argues that the US should get out of Afghanistan.

I caught this on the way to the shop this evening. An entertaining and erudite lecture and discussion on US foreign policy from a rational conservative.

Filed under: Big Picture, History, Iraq

How to defeat Germaine Greer

Germaine Greer will speak at the Sydney Writers Festival tonight. Here’s a handy tip for those reactionary commentators, bloggers and letter-writers: anything she has to say about Australia is automatically dismissible and lacking in all credibility because she doesn’t actually live here. QED.

Oh, and she also likes younger men! Take that Germaine!

Filed under: Australian values, History, Humour, Media, Politics

Pilot shortage – the product of free markets

ABC Online“Australia is suffering from a pilot shortage causing the suspension of services around the country. The global demand for pilots is high and many Australian trained pilots are being lured overseas.” The 7.30 Report

Australia once had an abundant supply of the mostly highly trained and highly paid pilots in the world. We also once had a pilot’s union and a more regulated aviation industry.

Well that’s life in the free market for you.

Individual gain at the expense of common good.

Ah, the irony.

Filed under: Australian values, Economics, History, Ideology, Politics

The dogs bark and the caravan moves on

Tandberg - The Age

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s eloquent and moving apology to the Stolen Generations marks a momentous day in Australian history. It was received with overwhelming consensus by the Australian people, drawing a line in the sand after 11 years of stubborn refusal by the Howard government. At Parliament House and around the country were many moving and emotional scenes of relief and gratitude that the moment dreamed of by so many had finally arrived. Kevin Rudd established himself as one who is prepared to show national leadership and extend the hand of bipartisan cooperation.

The only sour note was Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson’s inappropriate litany of sexual abuse offered as some kind of justification for Howard’s ill-considered Intervention, and the intemperate tantrums of some parliamentary hard-liners. Nelson’s speech started out well enough but became confused as he rambled on about fallen diggers , moral high ground and good intentions, presumably playing to the dissident among his own party, and ended up saying words to the effect that we are sorry that some bad things unintentionally happened, but we’re not sorry we did it.

In the blogosphere the usual suspects were yapping and complaining about the indignity and futility of it all, how it was all a sop to the bleeding heart lefty elites. After all, the Stolen Generations is just a myth. By today, the standard no-sorry narrative had become that Sorry will change nothing. They are wrong – if nothing else, the apology has pleased the vast majority of Indigenous Australians who have been calling for this day for more than decade for white Australia to recognise the pain and suffering they have endured. One obstacle has been removed on the path toward a meaningful reconciliation. Anyone with a shred of compassion could not help but be moved by the emotional outpouring witnessed at yesterday’s ceremony.

I’ve seen Archie Roach perform a number of times over the years – most recently at a local event late last year. There was hardly a dry eye in the white audience. Archie’s powerful and heartfelt singing conveys something of the depth of pain the stolen generations have suffered and the profound attachment Indigenous people have for the land, their families and people – something so deeply cultural that the rest of us can at best hope to appreciate and respect it, let alone fully understand.

In Federation Square, singer-songwriter Archie Roach, one of the best-known members of the stolen generations, dedicated his performance to the mother he was separated from, and to his own children. “This brings a new start in life for us, the way it should have been,” he said.

It was a joyous and unique day in Australian history, marking the beginning of a new era in which ordinary Australians no longer have to feel the shame for our government’s unwillingness to acknowledge the harm we have inflicted on successive generations of our Indigenous brothers and sisters. The dogs may bark – the stone-hearted, the curmudgeonly misanthropes who believe only in wealth and personal vanity – but the caravan is well and truly moving on.

But where was John Howard? Watching the proceedings from the comfort of Wollenscroft, wistfully regretting that he didn’t do what Rudd did yesterday? A man so concerned with his legacy can now add the epithet – the man who couldn’t say sorry.

Filed under: Australian values, Big Picture, History, Indigenous, Politics

Yellowcake, Pig Iron and Strippers

Yellowcake JohnnieMy earliest political memory was my father railing against Prime Minister Menzies. He often referred to him as Pig Iron Bob in honour of him providing Imperial Japan with iron and steel, even while knowing they were bent on military expansion. And now we have our very own Yellowcake Johnnie planning to sell uranium to nuclear rogue states. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

My father gave me the impression that the Liberal Party’s fundamental principle is looking after your business mates – everything else is secondary. Howard and Downer supported the invasion of Iraq on the merest suggestion that Hussein was planning to make nuclear weapons, and yet here they are planning to sell uranium to India and Russia, who both have form, under circumstances which make it likely that Aussie yellowcake will one day end in the hands of Rogue States and The Axis of Evil. But hey, no problem, we’re making a buck out of it in the finest of Menziean traditions. Or maybe it’s just Howard’s way of ensuring that we’ll always have terrorists to fight, say in ten years time when the Liberals are back in power. Nothing like long-term planning and forward thinking.

So what better timing in the news cycle to distract the punters’ concern for the latest of Howard’s shonky deals than the news that four years ago a journalist dined and wined Kevvy and lured him to a New York strip club. You gotta give it to the Liberal media machine – it’s a class act.

Sub-prime lending pyramidMeanwhile the world’s greatest Treasurer Peter Costello threatens that if the States can’t regulate the shonky practices of sub-prime lending he will take over. And do what, exactly? Sub-prime lending is a result of global private equity looking for a quick and easy buck. Since when has it been the business of a free-market Treasurer to propose regulating the affairs of bankers? As if he could anyway. Just like he can control interest rates, I suppose. Since when has Liberal Party had any interest in getting in the way of hucksters and their constitutional right to never give a sucker an even break? I would have thought sub-prime lending was the kind of entrepreneurial spirit much admired by the Liberals.

Fraudulent, morally corrupt shysters the lot of ’em. Election now, please.

Filed under: Australian values, History, Politics

Happy ‘It’s The Economy Day’

Peter van Vliet writes in a Queen’s Birthday op-ed in The Age: “We changed our national anthem from God Save the Queen to Advance Australia Fair several decades ago but despite our growing republican leanings we have stalled at renaming today’s holiday. Our nation seems stuck in an imperial time warp following the 1999 republican referendum with all its unresolved issues. A new name for today might be a good first step in beginning to unstick ourselves from this unfortunate scenario.”

The great thing about a republic is it can lift us above our inevitable cultural and religious (and even sporting) differences that are common to any large nation. It can unite Australians in all their diversity around a core citizenship that is based unequivocally on the universal values of democracy, equality and inclusion.

Well that’s your basic problem right there – the universal values of democracy, equality and inclusion?? Beyond some perfunctory lip-service, I’d argue that Australian power elites are not all that keen on democracy, and as for equality and inclusion – that’s just so much discredited loony leftist coercive ideology. We now know that promoting equality and inclusiveness actually cause inequality and exclusion. Only globalised free-market economics can fix the things that ail society.

I suggest that in honour of this universal truth and the endless bounty it provides we abandon all notions of monarchy and republicanism and rename today’s public holiday “The Economy Day”, or in the interests of economy, the thirty percent more efficient “Economy Day”.

Betty Windsor’s Birthday doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

Filed under: Australian values, Economics, History, Ideology, Politics

Thought for the Day…

…the free traders, lost in a religious conviction that they were going down the only possible road to progress, missed how social policies and regulations might have helped their cause, missed the great advancing political force of the working class, scarcely noticed the rise of populism, socialism, communism, false populism, fascism, all rolling up behind them. They even missed the simultaneous rise and formalisation of modern racism. The accumulation of these forces couldn’t help but catch free trade up in its dynamism and dash it on the rocks of nationalism.

John Ralston Saul, The Collapse of Globalism and the Reinvention of the Modern World, on the fate of 19th century free-trade movement in the first half of the 20th century.

Filed under: Big Picture, Economics, History

The Dog’s Bollocks

What they say

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

This is the person who tried to analyse Hayek. This is actually a person who needs a shrink. – JC

Shut up slim. You’re an idiot.
Just you stay honest and keep that thinking cap on. – GMB

Insightful perspectives on politics and discussion of matters epistemological? I’m sold! - Bruce

Add to Technorati Favorites

Flickr Photos