Monday, September 22, 2014

In which one per cent of one per cent can trash the Fairfax brand ...

(Above: and source more Tom Tomorrow via the links here).

So there was the pond waking up to the depressing sounds of RN's Rear Vision and a repeat of Iraq - whatever happened to mission accomplished?

The unnerving tale of ideology, stupidity, folly and mistakes was informed by Ned Parker, Feisal Istrabadi - who participated in the construction of a failed constitution - and Hugh Sykes, who made a prediction about the world not seeing nothing yet, just as that 'nothing yet' now unfolds ...

And what do you know? Immediately after that came a sound bite of John Howard saying he was embarrassed about the matter of WMD.

Tens of thousands dead and a country in more misery and chaos and death and destruction than that managed by a brutal, vicious dictator, and he's embarrassed?

In the same sound bite, Howard drew a specious distinction between the intelligence being made up and erroneous, assuring any who cared to listen that it was erroneous rather than made up.

Well that's a whole lot of useful - an erroneous fuck up of enormous proportions rather than a made up fuck up ...

Howard turned up on the Seven network to explain how he was 'embarrassed' rather than ashamed and mortified at his criminal deeds, and that's how it seems to go in Australian politics ...

And what do you know? Immediately after Howard came Abbott, explaining how he wasn't targeting a community, or a religion or what people wear or suchlike things, but was instead targeting criminals, which is a specious nonsense, since everyone knows he's targeting Muslims and if you wear clothes or otherwise have a Middle Eastern appearance, you will be routinely targeted at airports and such like places, and elsewhere and certainly if Jacqui Lambie and Pauline Hanson are in the room, and the likely result of all the paranoia and fear will be the disempowerment of moderates and the encouraging of rabid fundamentalists ...

And then came the perfect visual metaphor for Abbott's government:


And then what do you know?

Up popped Julia Gillard to admit that appointing Bob Carr, dragging him out of his comfortable retirement, might have been a mistake.

Uh huh. You'd have thought Gillard might have worked out what NSW voters already knew, that appointing Carr Premier of the state was a profound mistake, and we, with stuffed infrastructure, and the Labor party, in corrupt disarray ever since, knew long ago ...

There are consequences for policy failures, but the joy for Australian politicians is that they just write a confessional tome or two, hit the talk and media circuit, and sometimes sound a little contrite, apparently based on the notion that contrition produces forgiveness, and forgives produces book sales ... and what's a little embarrassment compared to keeping books away from the remainders section ...

Well the pond wouldn't spit on the war criminal Howard if he was on fire, and the pond reserves much the same attitude for all the commentariat who fell into line and encouraged the war crimes and the devastation of a country, while right here, right now, in this country, the pigs have begun to fortify their Animal Farm and make sure no stray animals can get into their fortress of power ...

All this before getting out of bed, and contemplating Paul Sheehan's It only takes one drop to swell the tide of terrorism.

Don't ya just love the illustration?



Is there any better example, any better evocation of the distilled perfumed essence of fear-mongering? A drop behind the ears, and the scent will last a week or a year or a decade ...

Was it only last week that Sheehan was getting hysterical about the new torture laws and looking to David Leyonhjelm for help, and before that celebrating Helen Dale joining Leyonhjelm to fight the good anti-torture anti-fear-mongering fight?

Well that was last week, and the fickle Sheehan - who has the consistency and strength of a mindless blob of jelly - was back on song, pounding on the drums of fear and paranoia, doing his very best to create panic and alarm.

Part of it is because Sheehan is an inherently lazy member of the commentariat. He got lots of easy yards and verbal sludge and hysteria and fear by recounting the story of the Washington snipers:

The point is, it only takes a handful of people, or a single determined gunman, to strike terror into a city, even a city as loaded with security as Washington. It takes only a small cadre of killers to move an entire nation to fear.

Uh huh:

The point is, it only takes a handful of reptiles at the lizard Oz, doing the bidding of their master, or a single determined columnist at Fairfax, to strike terror into a city, even a city as loaded with security as Canberra. It takes only a small cadre of scribblers to move an entire nation to fear.

On and on Sheehan banged, breaking every known rule of rational discourse - the Communists wresting control of Russia, the Nazis taking over Germany, Mao Tse Tung doing it in China, the Khmer Rouge, the Shining Path, and so on, and so Godwin's Law forth ...

Conclusion?

One per cent of any population, if armed and willing to kill its fellow citizens, can take control of any society because most people are not killers.

Yep, it seems Australia is so fragile and inherently weak, that a few determined Islamics could bring it to its knees and the next thing you know we'd be part of the caliphate. You know, like Russia or Germany or China or Peru or Cambodia or all over the world.

We're doomed, we're doomed.

How simple minded, how mind numbingly reductionist is Sheehan?

Now it is Islamists who have replaced Communists and Fascists and Maoists as the practitioners of the one per cent principle, leveraging murder for political control. But the emergence of the psychopathic Islamic State is not some sudden pivot. It is a ratcheting up of the intensity that has been coming to a boil in the Middle East ever since the Iranian revolution in 1979. That was the point when Islamic fundamentalists took control of a large nation state. The massacres began immediately, and Iran began to ferment the Sunni-Shiite schism. 

Uh huh. You'll search long and hard to find Sheehan mentioning Saudi Arabia or their cultivation of fundamentalist Wahhabism around the world, or the Bush family making out like bandits in their dealings with the Wahhabists.

Instead you'll get a child-like distortion of history, along with child-like dollops of fear-mongering and paranoia:

Twenty-five years later, that schism has become a bloodbath. The one per cent factor is working with a vengeance. Muslims are killing Muslims on a large scale in Syria and Iraq, and on a lesser scale in Libya, Afghanistan, Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan and Gaza. Muslim fundamentalists are killing non-believers in Nigeria, Chad and elsewhere, with outbreaks of violence in Europe. 

Uh huh. So what's the point and intent of Sheehan's scribbling?

Well it's to absolve the west of having anything to do with anything. It's all the fault of brutal Islamics doing brutal things, and the innocent west have had nothing to do with it:

Over the past 50 years, Muslims have been killed by other Muslims in enormous numbers as colonialism gave way to nation states. In 1971, more than a million Muslims were killed by Muslims in East Pakistan alone (now Bangladesh). More brutal civil wars followed in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere. The Syrian civil war has seen about 200,000 killed. Iraq has broken apart along the Sunni-Shiite divide. The cumulative death toll is measured in the millions.

Sssh, don't mention the British in the sub-continent.

And who broke up Iraq and on what basis and just how did the west fuck up the country? Why that's merely an embarrassing aside.

Let's face it, there's no point dumping on John Howard or John Bush, not when you can dump on the Islamics:

The Muslim world has about 1.5 billion adherents. If just one tenth of one per cent interpret the Koran as a command to perform unforgiving jihad, then 150,000 people will engage in violent war. That is what we are seeing. One per cent of one per cent.

Uh huh:

The world still has quite a number of journalists and opinion writers. If just one tenth of one per cent interpret their job as a command to perform unforgiving paranoid scribbling, then the quickly reducing number of people who can produce sensible journalism at Fairfax will soon be out of work. That is what we are seeing. One per cent of one per cent, a raving ratbag like Sheehan making a mockery of the Fairfax brand as it goes about the business of click bait trolling ...


By golly those joy of food and office lunch theft stories look tempting. At least when juxtaposed with an hysteric ...

But do go on:

It is a statistic we must not forget. Those who engage in terror seek to cast a much larger shadow than their real numbers. We are not at war. We are not confronting a monolith. We are seeing the one per cent of one per cent at work. In Australia, in the past few days, we have rolled up a dozen sub-bogans invoking "jihad" to obtain notoriety. 

Say what? All that talk of Maoists and the Bader-Meinhof gang and Nazis and the Bolsheviks and all the rest, and suddenly we're reduced to talk about a dozen sub-bogans in search of notoriety?

Well in Australia in the past few days we have rolled out a few shrieking parrots of the barking mad Paul Sheehan kind, always desperate for a place in the sun, and notoriety has hard liners, but buggered if the pond will provide one cent towards the platforms that offer these ratbags their sub-bogan place in the sun ...

Meanwhile, there is a real war about to go down, involving climate change. And where was Sheehan when that began to roll out?

Why off with Lord Haw-Haw, otherwise known as Lord Monckton ...

Ten anti-anti-commandments and Lord Monckton's verbal bombs.

The end result of all Sheehan's fruitful endeavours to trash the Fairfax brand over the years?

Well no doubt will in due course he will have reduced the opportunities for alternative views of the world:


Sorry Leunig you left out a meal.

The full triple Paul roasted chicken little terror alert with a side serve of Nazi salad and Bolshevik beans, Bader-Meinhof lentils, along with tasty wedgies of Washington snipers and a light drizzle of Mao. (More Leunig here).

12 comments:

  1. "So there was the pond waking up to the depressing sounds of RN's Rear Vision and a repeat of Iraq - whatever happened to mission accomplished?
    "

    Slept through the waffler Jonathan Green and "Outsiders" on RN Sunday Extra then did we Dot? You didn't miss much - mostly Green and that media tart neocon arse ABC fixture Professor Jim Allan talking over the other two on the "team" who actually had something of interest to say, and fact based.

    My ears pricked up at Abbas El-Zein detailing the relative spending on health and armaments of Arab states across North Africa and in the Middle East, particularly those bordering the Gulf (presumably the members of the gulf Cooperation Council - GCC) The figure that caught my attention before Dr Abbas El-Zein was cut off at one point by that arsehole Allan was that Arab states spent four times as much on militarisation as they spent on health! I wondered where that figure came from, and tracked it down thanks to google.

    Dr Abbas El-Zein is lead author of a Lancet paper published earlier this year titled Health and ecological sustainability in the Arab world: a matter of survival. This paper is paert of a Lancet series Health in the Arab world: a view from within

    To avoid signing in to the Lancet, the full paper can be accessed via a link back at the bottom of this SciDevNet article.

    Here is that link to the full paper in pdf. (1.3Mb)

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    1. Dr Abbas El-Zein was cut off as he was about to elaborate on how that disgustingly vast and vilely disproportionate amount Arab military spending was structured to flow back to defence industry jobs in the United States of North America (as distinct from the United states of Mexico).

      And here's a few extracts from the paper (the bar graphs contained in the mentioned figures are well worth a look!):

      Health and ecological sustainability in the Arab world: a matter of survival

      Abbas El-Zein, Samer Jabbour, Belgin Tekce, Huda Zurayk, Iman Nuwayhid, Marwan Khawaja, Tariq Tell, Yusuf Al Mooji, Jocelyn De-Jong, Nasser Yassin, Dennis Hogan

      ...Evidence of a war-associated rise in birth defects in Iraq is an example of the more insidious effects of war.85,86 Another striking example is the excess infant mortality as a result of conflict, estimated to be 1%, and equivalent to all battle deaths, using mean durations of conflict.83 (see pp 6 - 8)

      ...Two statistics show the kind of empirical reality that these discourses do not capture. Consistently, between 2001 and 2011, the Arab world ranked first for military expenditure as a percentage of GDP (5·5%, more than double the world’s mean of 2·5%; figure 8A) and second to last on total health expenditure as a percentage of GDP (4·2%, only just ahead of South Asia’s 4·1%, and at less than half the world’s 10%; figure 8A). The Arab world is the only region to spend more on armament than on health. Except for Tunisia, even countries whose health expenditure exceeds military expenditure (figure 8B) have ratios of health to military spending that are substantially lower than that for the world. Recent trends are more disturbing: trebling of US conventional weapon export agreements, from $21·4 billion in 2010 to $66·3 billion in 2011, is largely accounted for by an increase in Arab military spending, with purchases by the top five Arab importers—Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Oman, and Algeria—amounting to $42·3 billion.132 Ironically, this figure is close to one and a half times the entire 2011 US foreign assistance budget of $30·7 billion.133

      Aside from the direct effect of armaments on health and wellbeing when used, these data raise several questions that are cause for concern. Would even a small shift in public spending from military to health, education, and environmental protection have a far greater effect on sustainable development than the kind of actions generally advocated in the reports about sustainable development— ie, would a substantial injection of capital generate a whole new set of possibilities in these three sectors? To what extent do actual security threats justify the vast defence budgets and where should the line be drawn between different security and social priorities? What role does and should the military establishment in different Arab countries play in civilian life? Who should make those decisions, and who does make them? Are the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in a position to advise Arab governments against excessive military expenditure if that advice goes against a major donor’s interests? These questions remain outside the boundaries of the debate set by the prevalent discourse on health and the environment. In fact, the political economy of military expenditure in the region remains woefully under-researched, not least because of the secrecy surrounding military contracts and military budgets. Nor is this a shortcoming on the part of the buyers only: results of a recent study of 129 major military suppliers—mostly US and European and accounting for most weapon sales worldwide—showed that two-thirds do not have adequate levels of transparency and almost half lack even the most basic systems for preventing corruption.134

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    2. (cont.)
      The foundations of the current regional geopolitical order were laid at the end of World War 1, and were further affected by the upheavals of World War 2 and the nationalist military coups of the 1950s and 1960s. Additionally, the creation of the state of Israel has triggered heavy militarisation in the region, which was then taken up by Arab regimes. This order clearly benefits the military industries of the west allied to Arab autocratic governments. It inflicts, at the very least, hefty opportunity costs on the people of the region, with untold environmental, developmental, and health implications. (pp 9 - 10)

      ...First, the Lancet Series about health in the Arab world has pointed to specific actions towards good governance and accountability,78 prevention of avoidable ill health,94 strengthening of health systems, provision of universal health coverage,77 and addressing of the health effects of war.84 However, this agenda has not yet been considered seriously in public health discussions in the region and has not been integrated into public health work or education. We believe that health practitioners should engage with and push for change with this agenda. Additionally, some of these issues—effects of war, health systems, and health coverage—provide excellent platforms for regional collaboration in health research, education, and evidence-based policy. (p 14)

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    3. Abbas El-Zein et al, Health and ecological sustainability in the Arab world: a matter of survival

      "...Evidence of a war-associated rise in birth defects in Iraq is an example of the more insidious effects of war.85,86 Another striking example is the excess infant mortality as a result of conflict, estimated to be 1%, and equivalent to all battle deaths, using mean durations of conflict.83 (see pp 6 - 8)"

      "We don't do body counts" - General Tommy Franks

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  2. Typical Sheehanism from the ignorant one. Nothing wrong with us angels in the west, it's all those nasties living ... where ever they live, who want to intervene and .. and ..harm us... blah blaah blah ..
    http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/interventions.html

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  3. "Well in Australia in the past few days we have rolled out a few shrieking parrots of the barking mad Paul Sheehan kind .."

    So, .. you watched insider jack on the drum trying his best to protect his master from an attack from an articulate ex-Green who seemed to make more sense in one sentence than any of the koolaid drinkers could in the whole show. Have they not learned anything from history.

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  4. Ignorant and apparently innumerate with it as well. One tenth of one per cent does not equal one per cent of one per cent.

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  5. "Well the pond wouldn't spit on the war criminal Howard if he was on fire".
    If I had a glass of water and Howard was on fire, I'd glass him.

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    1. Perhaps drink the glass of water slowly first?

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  6. "On and on Sheehan banged, breaking every known rule of rational discourse - the Communists wresting control of Russia, the Nazis taking over Germany, Mao Tse Tung doing it in China, the Khmer Rouge, the Shining Path, and so on, and so Godwin's Law forth ..."

    Evoking a past conflagration is not helping - Abbas El-Zein

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  7. War Is a Racket is the title of two works, a speech and a booklet, by retired United States Marine Corps Major General (the highest rank authorized at the time) Smedley D. Butler. In them, Butler frankly discusses from his experience as a career military officer how business interests commercially benefit (including war profiteering) from warfare. At the time of his death he was the most decorated Marine in U.S. history, a two time Medal of Honor recipient.

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