Friday, August 02, 2013
The fog settles in the mind ...
The deep theory behind the pond was that it was a way of avoiding the onrush of senility, the lurking arrival of Alzheimer's ... engage with bright, sparkling minds, and all would be well ...
Patricia Marx explained the theory in The New Yorker in Mentally Fit Workouts at the brain gym (behind the paywall so that's poor people's brains stuffed):
... a study of sxi hundred and seventy-eight elderly nuns analysed essays they'd written in their twenties and found that the sisters who had used the most linguistically complex sentences tended to have the lowest incident of Alzheimer's, which is why I've added this unnecessary subordinate clause even though it's been a long time since I was in my twenties ..
Which is why the pond also indulges in long rambling sentences which seemingly form metaphorical paths without end, dodging here and there through the thickets of the modern media, scrambling to avoid the thorns of the blackberry bushes in the briar patch, and routinely quoting Humpty Dumpty on how much to pay for pretentious arcane words ...
Well that was the theory, or at least the pond thinks it was the theory, because a deep yelllow fog sometimes licks and curls its way around the etherized patient on the table and slides along the window panes of the mind:
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea. (the rest here)
Well we've had the toast and tea, and also a dash of deep brown sugar'd porritch, and it's a measure of the encroaching darkness that the pond has come to realise that the problem lay in the pond's job description.
Read the commentariat and comment on them and the cut and thrust would stimulate the neurons and the senses ...
Bright, sparkling minds? More like doddery nuns being poked and prodded by researchers ...
What to say, for example, about the preening righteousness of Graham 'Gra Gra' Richardson lurking amongst the reptiles at the lizard Oz?
Does Richardson think that all is forgiven and forgotten and that now bunkering down with the Murdoch hacks somehow cleanses the soul?
Happily Richardson's wiki, here, is relatively undiluted and unscrubbed - unlike, say, many wiki entries on the Catholic church - and it makes for much more amusing reading about a sordid NSW Labor political career than bothering to google to get to his current offering, Labor Party drowning in guilt by association thanks to ICAC finding.
Never mind, the pond did it anyway, to hell with Alzheimer's, just to get to this taste treat, a real XXXX peppermint sensation:
A very senior person at this newspaper put to me yesterday that I and other members of the party should have known what was going on in the parliament and the Health Services Union.
Stop right there! If the very senior person at that newspaper knew that Richardson should have known about the state of NSW Labor party, why is the wretched rag still publishing him?
Surely this is disgraceful, surely there's a clear case of guilt by association?
Oh forget it, let's get back to the special pleading:
The standard of care inherent in that claim could never be realistically met. I've been associated with Obeid for more than 30 years. We have been friends throughout that period and while I may not have seen him so often in the past decade, we do speak on the phone.
Yes, therefore I am guilty by association. I did not buy a farm in the Bylong Valley because I had never heard of it until this fiasco turned up on the front pages. I was vaguely aware that he had bought a farm somewhere, but I never visited it and never bothered to find out its location. Why would I?
I was the person who sponsored Obeid in the NSW upper house. It was more than two decades ago, and he was a successful businessman. The Labor Party just didn't have too many people in that category.
So there it is! Look no further - I am to blame. The buck stops here.
Oh it's a splendid confession and a defence, and it makes as much of an impression as did a favourite fable when the pond was young:
When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this party’s blood and its complete failure to deal with NSW infrastructure including but not limited to a second airport, even though I was once a Minister for Transport; see to that yourselves.”
Or some such thing. The fog! The fog of memory loss and the forgetting ...
Do you remember an Inn,
Do you remember an Inn?
And the tedding and the spreading
Of the straw for a bedding,
And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees,
And the wine that tasted of tar?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
(Under the vine of the dark verandah)?
Do you remember an Inn, Gra Gra,
Do you remember an Inn? (the rest in unmutilated form here)
It turns out of course that Richardson can't remember much of anything, knows not much about anyone, knew only of their good reputation and what excellent chaps they were, and therefore must be singularly useless both as a correspondent and as the insider's insider. This insider doesn't know where the bodies were buried, even worse he didn't know there were bodies that needed to be buried ...
And now, we know you've been waiting for the special pleading, and sure enough here it comes:
I grew up in a household where both my parents were employed by the Amalgamated Postal Workers Union. They would never have taken a dollar to which they were not entitled. In the four decades since my father died thousands of dedicated people worked for trade unions and were scrupulously honest. Sure there were a few crooks, as there always will be because union officials, politicians and company directors are all just human beings. We should not condemn all for the actions of a tiny few no matter how vigilant we may be. Some bad apples will always sneak through.
Do the bad apples include politicians who espoused and followed the rule, Whatever it takes ...?
Whatever it takes ...
The pond could of course go misty-eyed because the pond's father paid his dues for decades to the Amalgamated Postal Workers Union, and in due course died in genteel poverty ...
But that's got nothing to do with anything, and it certainly doesn't excuse recent behaviour by Labor party officials who wouldn't know policy if it bit them on the bum.
Instead there's another tactic at work. It's called spreading the guilt:
Senator Doug Cameron raised an interesting point in an interview he gave yesterday. Cameron queried whether the media would be harassing friends and associates of the five businessmen whom ICAC recommended be charged with gaining a financial advantage by deception.
Will those friends and associates be asked to "come clean" about what they knew of the tangled web of intrigue and secrecy surrounding the question of who owned what in Cascade Coal and who informed or failed to inform White Energy about those holdings? The answer of course is no, as it would not be reasonable to do so. The question of whether they should remain directors of public companies, while the corruption filing has been made against them, should be taken up with those five men.
Actually it would be perfectly reasonable, in the course of a criminal investigation, to ask friends and associates to come clean and reveal what they know, especially if one of the associates happened to be the wife where a rogue director had parked his assets ...
It's simply bizarre and extraordinary that the notion of guilt should only be taken up with the men alleged to be directly involved.
And then there's more special pleading, in the form of Eric Roozendaal, a plucked rooster in search of a deal, and then a swipe at ICAC:
It is also worth noting ICAC has a particularly poor record for seeing those who go before it finish up in jail, or even charged. Conspiracy is the charge of last resort when there is not enough evidence for a specific complaint. You don't read about many conspiracy trials because directors of public prosecutions are aware of how big a leap is required to satisfy the burden of proof. At ICAC, hearsay is the order of the day. Hearsay cannot be used in a court of law where the rules of evidence prevent it.
Yes, it's all just hearsay ... And now for the ultimate defence ...
Short of appointing an internal affairs bureau to monitor the bank accounts and assets of MPs, no party can guarantee that this will not happen again. A couple of findings of corruption and revelations about a couple of crooks in the union movement do not add up to a culture of corruption.
Says it all really. Just a couple of crooks, and just a couple of others standing around letting it happen ...
The only failure in Gra Gra's piece was to use as a defence the way that misbehaviour happens on both sides of the aisle. Gra Gra could have led with the indecent, bizarre and remarkable behaviour of NSW Finance minister, which led to his sacking (Greg Pearce sacked from NSW cabinet over conflict of interest).
But perhaps what's most disappointing in Gra Gra's patented "bowl of water" defence is that at no point does he address the betrayal of the rhetoric.
The average Joe and Josephine Blow expects corruption on the right wing side. It goes with the turf, it's the Robert Askin, Joe Bjelke-Petersen thing to do. Deals with property developers, corrupt businessmen, favourable treatment of the Packer family, a casino here, a casino there ...
But the Labor party posed as the light on the hill, with a sacred trust and a sacred duty ...
And in NSW it turned into the party of whatever it takes, and whatever it can take ...
What a shame.
Perhaps there's some advantage to the fog settling in the mind ...
(Below: memory loss part two. Click to enlarge)
Posted by dorothy parker at 8/02/2013 08:54:00 AM