Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The pond is at war ... with the commentariat. Waiter, a VB please ...

The time, it seems, has come for blunt talking.

A man who has acted as a pawn for the alcohol industry is in line to become the next gee gee. And the culture wars are back on.

And it's that dodo, that wet behind the ears Adelaide prat (the pond has no evidence he's an Adelaide hills prat), Christopher Pyne, who is once again front and centre digging the black armband out of the garbage can. 

That seems to be the lesson contained in Libs reignite culture wars over Anzac Day teaching.

Now the pond scoured Pyne's wiki here for a sign of his war record but it turns out he did his tour of duty by valiantly rooting files out of solicitors' filing cabinets before heading off to parliament. 

It's the sort of record people are fond of yabbering about when they complain about Labor party apparatchiks and faceless men being removed from reality by their work experience. Pyne was a mere 25 when he got called up ... to stick his bum on a cushy seat in parliament.

As for Cosgrove, the pond reserves a special contempt for him but pleads extenuating circumstances. You see, the pond's grandfather came back from service at the Somme in the great war, took to the drink in a big way - he'd been quietly sober before heading off to be a machine gunner in the freezing mud - and by the time the pond came to know him, he was a hopeless alcoholic, occasional wife-beater, and when drunk, maker of misery for everyone ...

Cosgrove has been out and about flogging VB like a professional harlot these past few years, ostensibly as a way of raising money for charity but in reality as a way of ensuring people stay on the piss and think somehow it's part of doing a good deed.

Now the pond isn't the first to observe this. Back on April 28th last year Suzy Freeman-Greene scribbled Heroes and booze: the unhealthy mix at the core of our culture. Freeman-Greene ended her piece this way:

On the one hand, tough new laws ban adults from offering even one drink to a child at home without parental consent. On the other, we let cricketing heroes be plastered with beer logos and barely raise an eyebrow as VB welds itself to the Anzac story.

Indeed. And this year there's more of the same, a sickly mix of sentimentality and hops, and together with it a rich serve of hypocrisy, as VB defends their 'raise a glass' campaign.

The General Manager of Victoria Bitter says that the brand's 'raise a glass campaign' is not about promoting the sale or consumption of alcohol on Anzac Day.

Uh huh. After you're picked up all the jaffas rolling around in the aisle - what fun you'll have reading the hypocritical dissembling and ingenuous bullshit about the VB branding exercise - you'll no doubt notice that the ads in no way feature the VB label ... in your bloody dreams.

Now the RSL is slowly coming to realise that if you do evil to do good, the doing of the evil prevents the good from being of much use, and there's been much fuss as NSW RSL branch pushes for split from iconic clubs.

You see, all they seem to care about is the money, and the gambling and the drinking and the turnover.

And so on and on, but no doubt it all helps explain why the Libs just love Peter Cosgrove.

Why he's way better than Willy Loman at pushing legal drugs on the young ... he gives getting on the piss a real gravitas and style ... a man's pissed as a parrot man, don't ya know, for a decent bloody charitable purpose ...

But look that's not the reason the pond has decided on blunt talking.

The pond is merely echoing Gerard Henderson's The time has come for blunt talking, so let's endorse his sentiments.

The time has come to call Gerard Henderson a dickhead, along with Alan Jones, and Bob Ellis ...

I mean, what sort of fool could write a line like this, ostensibly in support of Alan Jones, and denying he was a dickhead for shooting his mouth off and blaming the Boston matter on left-wing students.

Jones' prophecy was inaccurate. But it turned out he was not far off the mark.

That's right, he was wrong, but he was right. And welcome to Alice in Wonderland.

Now in the pond's world, a miss is as good as a mile, and it takes a real dickhead to try to turn around Alan Jones and give him some semblance of respectability.

No one would bother to try with the senile thoughts of Bob Ellis, and it makes it just as reprehensible that Henderson tries to rehabilitate Jones for being loose of lip and brain.

The way that Henderson goes about the business of defending Jones is to parade all the other geese that got it wrong, those who talked of extreme right wingers, though strangely he doesn't get on to the business of Ellis and the NRA.

But just because other people are dickheads doesn't stop Jones being a dickhead, or Henderson being a dickhead for defending him.

We're all wise after the event, and the truth is unveiled, though some of course are determined to go on being a dickhead. Like Henderson ... I mean, what sort of loon would write this?

It turns out that many commentators in the West were hoping that the Boston culprits were home-grown so-called "patriots". Like Timothy McVeigh, whose terrorist attack on Oklahoma City in April 1995 murdered more than a hundred. For understandable reasons, there was a hope that the Boston terrorists had not embraced the Jihadist cause. But they had.

Say what? People in the United Sttes wanted to know that they had a serious problem with seriously deranged right wing loons? But they already know that ... right wing extremists and white supremacists have been active for decades, way back beyond the glory days of the KKK, as with the attack on the Sikh temple (Right-wing extremist terrorism as deadly a threat as al Qaeda?)

And over the years left wing extremists have also been active ...

But Henderson is determined to have a war, and we're not talking about the war on drugs, the war on guns, the war on the car killing fields, or the war on soda and obesity ...

We're talking about that old paranoid favourite, the Islamic, the new and the foreign ...

Most of the Jihadist attacks on the US have been conducted by foreigners or new citizens.

The list includes the "underwear bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab who attempted to bring down a plane over Detroit in 2009 and Faisal Shahzad who attempted to explode a bomb in Times Square the following year. The former was Nigerian, the latter a Pakistani-American citizen. 

Uh huh. Two failed and pathetic attempts at terrorism. That's the best he can come up with to crank up that war and get things going. Thank the lord he clearly doesn't head off to the movie theatre at a time when Batman's showing, and finds himself in a real war zone.

But it's enough to get him into rhetorical overdrive.

The time has come for blunt talking. 

Which is of course code for the time has come for dickhead talking.

But first we have the usual washing of the hands:

The overwhelming majority of Muslim resident in the West are law-abiding citizens. Moreover, the majority of Muslims who currently die violent deaths are killed by other Muslims. 

Oh yes, we luvs our Muslims, except of course we must hate and fear our Muslims:

Yet the fact remains that the West, including Australia, is under attack from a few jihadists who hate us so much that they are even prepared to murder children watching a marathon. 

Indeed and the fact remains that you'd be most unwise to attend a wedding party in Afghanistan, for fear the drones took out the children watching the wedding ceremony.

Yes, that's the way cheap pathetic paranoid rhetoric works.

But it turns out Henderson has another bee in his bonnet, as he seeks to justify the infringement of civil liberties. Suddenly you see, there are enemies all around:

In Australia, after the terrorist attacks on the US on September 11, 2001, it was the civil liberties lobby on the left which railed against the national security legislation which John Howard introduced when prime minister with the support of opposition leader Kim Beazley. Today, however, the critics are somewhat bipartisan. 
John Roskam is a fine leader of the conservative Institute of Public Affairs. But in recent times the IPA has grown a libertarian faction headed by Christopher Berg and Stephen Breheny. Their attitude to surveillance by such security organisations ASIO and ASIS is not dissimilar to that of such left-wing lawyers as Rob Stary. 

Oh dear, the extremists defending civil liberties, right, left and centre are on the march, attacking John's and Bomber Beazley's heroic legacy. Where will it all end?

The Berg/Breheny libertarian position has been properly criticised by Labor parliamentary secretary Michael Danby and by the conservative commentator Colin Rubenstein, who heads the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council. 
The fact is that the Boston terrorists were detected by CCTV footage. What's more, the evidence suggests that if the FBI surveillance had been more thorough the attacks may not have taken place. Freedom invariably has to be curtailed at a time of war.

Freedom has to be curtailed at a time of war!

Does that mean we have to give up our freedoms to fight those other deadly and far more effective than jihadist killer wars, the war on drugs, the war on killer cars, the war on killer gun culture, and the war on soda pop and obesity?

The rhetoric is however a handy insight into the paranoid foam-flecked mind that lurks just beneath Henderson's authoritarian surface. Yep, he's authoritarian all the way down, deep into his surveillance-orientated spying bowels.

Presumably Henderson won't be happy until we reach the level of surveillance that East Germany once achieved, though it seems we might be getting there when it comes to the use of drugs in sport ...

Presumably amongst Hendo's heroes are Beria, Franco, the apartheid regime (well they did good business with Israel), Pinochet, the Chinese communist party - such an effective intertubes surveillance regime - and all the other repressive heroes of history who want to keep their citizenry on a leash and under control.

But actually at the moment, the one war in which Australian is involved - the occupation of Afghanistan - is the real problem, cheered on by these armchair chocolate soldiers who can't live without war and the rhetoric of war.

At which point, by golly the pond feels like a VB to slake its thirst ... come on down Peter Cosgrove and let's get drunks as skunks, because it's the dinky di Aussie thing to do, especially when contemplating the sacred day of piss-ups and two up ...

(Below: and now just for fun, because Crikey yesterday reminded the pond of one of its favourite Simpsons' jokes, in which Homer Simpson snatches a tot in the style of The Birds. You can see the moment here. Think jihadist tots and you too can experience Gerard Henderson's world view).


  1. I will never forget him stating in the lead up to the Iraq Invasion that "this was something that was well over due".

    Is it right that a military figure should stray into political statements?

    Isn't his role to simply do the job without comment?

    Savvas Tzionis

  2. Interesting that Hendo has a spit at the IPA at this time. I'm guessing he and Anne didn't get an invite to the recent love-fest attended by his betters like a certain R.Murdoch.

  3. Pyne is the archetypal Adelaide *eastern* suburbs Liberal. I'm embarrassed that prats like him come from the same city as me. It seems the majority of his own party can't stand him either - Andrew Robb received 7 more votes than his 18 in the vote for Deputy Oppn Leader in 2010.

    Lord Downer of the Order of the Stocking, (he really hates that ref so I put it in every comment about him) is as much "from Adelaide" as someone from Katoomba can be said to be "from Sydney".

    At least the Anzac Day VB ads have given me another reason to not drink their brew.

    Thanks again for being brave enough to swim amongst the loons so that I don't have to. At the going down of the sun, I shall remember you.

  4. Interesting thought GlenH, Hendo does carry his grudges and his spite at the sense of a slight. What fun to see a showdown between the IPA and the Sydney Institute, guns drawn and blazing ...

    As for Cosgrove, he's always been a first class suck with an awareness of which side his bread and VB were buttered on, Savvas. The number of times he's made political statements which were subsequently retracted are too many to count, but here's one:

    Former Defence chief General Peter Cosgrove has apologised to Federal Police boss Mick Keelty and now admits that the Iraq war has boosted global terrorism.


  5. I often think, when I listen to pasty war mongers like JWH or Pyne, of Napoleon. The little Corporal said it best when he spoke of the belligerency of the non combatant.


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