Wednesday, June 27, 2012

You reap what you sow, and what you break you own ...

(Above: well at least Europe's the same, and on the same site you'll find Yanko Tsvetkos' European maps).

This blog is above all a stress release valve, so please block your ears and avert your eyes ...

It seems, according to reports, that the people caught in recent boating disasters to the north of Australia have been fleeing Afghanistan.

And yet people think this is somehow improper, unusual or peculiar.

We've spent the past decade in cohort with a bunch of allies bombing the shit out of the place, on a scale even the Russians couldn't manage.

Billions have been lost and wasted propping up a corrupt government, and after the decade of fighting, death and destruction, little has got better, with the possible exception of the death of a couple of Al Qaeda leaders ... in Pakistan.

And yet people wonder why someone might buy a ticket and try to get the hell out of the place.

This reality seems to have utterly escaped the moral gnats who currently inhabit the Federal Parliament, with their weeping and their moaning. Almost two thousand Americans have died, and a thousand coalition partners, and in the period 2007-2011 - when the UN decided someone should note the civilians being killed - some 11,864 civilians had been knocked off (full data here in pdf so you can tote up the wounded as well).

... the Coalition’s current stance on asylum seekers is the clearest example of outright evil that I’ve ever seen from a political party at the federal level.

... and in its own way, that's fair enough, except that the post-colonial adventurism in Afghanistan, supported unequivocally by both major Australian parties, is surely the clearest example of outright evil since we experienced the outright evil of the war in Iraq.

Imagine you're an Afghani rich enough to afford a ticket on a boat, and you're surrounded by war and chaos, and in some cases, depending on your sect or your religion or your status, persecution of the cruellest kind, and meanwhile the propagandists have been pumping up Australia as a democratic land of milk and honey ...

What would you do?

The way to avoid refugees is to avoid turning a country into a killing field ... but can anyone in government or opposition understand the simplest concepts of cause and effect, as opposed to the the easy sensationalism of a boat in trouble?

The stench of the government's righteous hypocrisy, and in equal measure the stench of hypocrisy emanating from Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott is a bit like coming across a dead cow rotting in the sun. The idea that they're caring and sharing about refugees is nauseating ... or that Nauru is a noble enterprise and a solution ...

Oh pull the other one, and go spend a week in a Howard internment camp of your choice.

The forty odd MPs who broke from the ranks did their best, but it shows how moderation leads to impotence in the world of Abbott and Gillard.

Truly what you sow you reap.

In a sane world, the rule of the homewares store would apply. If you break it, consider it sold and consider it yours. To his credit, Malcolm Fraser understood this in relation to the boat people who turned up fleeing Vietnam.

What next? Will we join in a war on Yemen with the United States, as Al Qaeda strengthens its activities there? (As Al Qaeda Loses a Leader, Its Power Shifts From Pakistan).

Not that words will fix the mess, but do Federal politicians have any idea of the contempt they produce with these impotent blather fests and argy bargy, supposedly in the name of principle as they pause at the same time to indulge in a mid-winter ball without having reached a conclusion ... because of pride and negativity of a loathsome kind.


Time to change topics before apoplexy intervenes...

The best idea in relation to the Gina Rinehart Fairfax matter to hit the pond was floated by Paul Barry in News Corp split signals big changes for Murdoch papers.

Now that Murdoch is likely to hive off his papers, and the pathetic financial position of The Australian is also likely to become much more apparent, why doesn't Rinehart make an offer for the rag?

... (cutting the papers adrift) looks like a defeat for the old tycoon. And it looks like being another bad day for journalists and journalism.
However, we do know of someone who might like to buy The Australian. Lachlan Murdoch knows her too. In fact, she’s one of his fellow shareholders and directors at Network Ten. Yes, Gina Rinehart. Come on madam, now is your chance.

Even better, there'd be no reason to change the editorial team or the rabid pack of right wing commentariat columnists, already trained to serve a master like attack dogs, and already right on board with the Rinehart agenda.

How piquant it would be to see The Australian put to the service of Rinehart. How pleasant to see the columnists servile and serving.

True, no one would be likely to see any change in behaviour or content, but how splendid to see them act as yapping lap poodles for their new mistress, who clearly knows a thing or two about being a domme.

Meanwhile, you have to wonder who's advising Rinehart in the matter of her bid for Fairfax.

The language demanding three board seats was both indiscreet and predictable. It was fractious and confrontational, slagging off the current chair for his .004% share holding, and muttering how Hancock Prospecting might agree to an "effective" charter of independence "assuming one can be agreed."

Any sane board member reading it would know they'd be heading into board room meetings from hell with Rinehart trying to run the show with three board seats (instead of the two her holdings suggest) and without the bother of splashing the cash to make a full takeover.

The capper came in this sentence about the Fairfax Media Board Governance Principles:

... the FMBGP has been repeatedly overridden in the past – for example by ordering journalists to support Earth Hour, when Fairfax was involved with part of Earth Hour, and again when the Age was losing circulation the Fairfax Media board gave editorial direction. (here)

This immediately produced a flurry of denials in relation to "repeatedly overridden" but the real clue is in the mention of Earth Hour.

This bit of foolish Fairfax window dressing was a marketing ploy of the most simplistic kind - switch off your lights for an hour and spend the rest of the year pissing energy against the wall at your whim - and the marketing-led support for it produced a miniature editorial rebellion back in the day.

But dredging it up is evocative of everything about the Rinehart approach.

A parallel would be discussing climate science, and getting the usual flurry of denialist obsessions, including hockey sticks, look you can drink carbon dioxide, look plants breathe it in and we breathe it out, emailgate, the world is cooling, it's the sun or the volcanoes what did it, and so on, and so forth ...

To single out Earth Hour is to suggest the rhetoric that Rinehart is a white knight riding to the rescue of Fairfax, to save it from inner city chardonnay swilling latte swallowing professional Earth Hour loving warmista wanker elites.

Which just happens to be a key demographic for the two major rags.

The market couldn't sustain all the media swinging to the right, with the Fairfax rags joining the Murdoch tabloids and The Australian in a cluster of brutish right-wing Yahooism.

Wouldn't Rinehart just be happier amongst her jolly chums at The Australian?

And they might just need her sooner than they think ...

Finally, as the Slipper affair continues, and The Australian goes about the business of burying Mal Brough (and never mind what News Ltd j0urnalist Steve Lewis might have got up to in a Broughian way), here's a reading from Albert Camus in an article dated November 25th 1939 for his Algerian newspaper Le soir r├ępublicaine (as found in Harpers, sorry, behind the paywall):

Faced with the rising tide of foolishness, one must likewise be prepared to issue a few refusals. All the pressure in the world can't make a mind with a modicum of integrity consent to dishonesty. Now, if you know even a little about the mechanism of the news, it's easy to verify an item's authenticity. That's the task to which a free journalist must devote his entire attention, for though he may not be able to say all he thinks, it's still possible for him not to say what he doesn't think or what he believes to be false. A free newspaper can be assessed by what it says but also and equally by what it doesn't say. This completely negative freedom, if it can be maintained, is by far the most important of all, for it prepares the way for the arrival of true freedom. Accordingly, an independent newspaper gives the sources of its news, helps its readers evaluate what it reports, rejects brainwashing, suppresses invective, augments the standardized presentation of news with commentaries, and, in short, serves the truth within the limited of its possibilities. However relative those limits may be, they will at least allow such a publication to refuse to do what no power on earth can make it accept: to serve lies.

Foolish utopian French existentialist.

How little he understood the spirit and power of myrmidon Murdochianism ...

Here's The Australian tacking windward today:

And here's the Daily Terror, bemoaning a public circus.

The ringmaster getting agitated about a three ring circus?

No mention of the appalling cynical behaviour of News Ltd?

No link, why bother to head off to a rag in the service of lies ...


  1. So far I've read down to here:
    "Time to change topics before apoplexy intervenes."
    I didn't block my eyes or avert my ears because what you so simply yet fluently wrote needed, absolutely demanded, to be said.
    Thank you.

    Now I'll go read the rest.


  2. Thanks Fred, but First Dog said it better.

    Inside the paywall at the moment, but I might give it a run when it's done its commercial duty. He measures the racism in Hansons, and notes the irony of an opposition which can oppose the Malaysian solution because Malaysia isn't a signatory to the UN Convention on refugees, while happily planning to turn back boats to Indonesia ... which also isn't a signatory.

    In the end the Hypocrisometer is broken by a flood of crocodile tears.

    You'd laugh unless you might rage or cry ...


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