Sunday, August 30, 2015

Talking of the Bolter, fake scandals, Freedom Boy and off to Syria for the by-election, as you do on a meditative Sunday ...

And so to the Bolter this meditative Sunday:

Isn't he wonderful?

So many fake scandals to explode - the Border Force one ...

And that's how forelock tugging, servile fellow travellers serve their masters ...

No, the pond won't be watching/didn't watch, not with that sort of pitch, but look, Freedom Boy himself was on the march, and saw it as a scandal in Border Force: Freedom doesn't sit with governments:

The increasing paramilitarisation of wandering bureaucrats was always going to lead to overreach that united everyone in favour of defending civil liberties. 
On Friday, the government's rebranded immigration enforcement agency, Border Force, was supposed to have its first outing working with Victoria Police. In the clear light of day, Operation Fortitude was relatively routine. Victoria Police was going to do its job and provide a visible police presence to enforce the law. Officers were also to work with other agencies to promote inter-agency co-operation. It has been done before. 
But that wasn't how Border Force presented it. In a chilling statement the force said "ABF officers will be positioned at various locations around the CBD speaking with any individual we cross paths with". I read this in news reports and thought ABF had been selectively quoted. Instead the original press release was accurate. Such statements are antithetical in a liberal democracy. 
Logic said Border Force could only match its actions with its words by stopping people when they had no reasonable grounds of suspicion, or engage in racial profiling. Neither are acceptable. It is also absurd that any of us walk around with our passport, or that we should be expected to do so. 
Horrified in response I called the minister's office seeking an explanation. 
Later, the agency issued a clarifying statement that "the ABF does not and will not stop people at random in the streets and does not target on the basis of race, religion or ethnicity". 
By that stage the damage was done. 
Regardless of Border Force's intentions, it raises serious questions about the culture of an agency where anyone thought such statements could be publicly released. It also raises questions about the increasing paramilitarisation of bureaucrats. 
No one has an issue with the law being enforced. We expect it. It's necessary. But it's the job of the police to enforce the law. Increasingly governments are giving more powers to bureaucrats to actively seek out compliance with laws and regulations, rather than simply processing paperwork. That only leads to those unskilled and untrained to overstep the mark and risk infringing our civil liberties... 

And so on. Freedom Boy vs. the Bolter.

Well now we know that at least one can pick the difference between a fake scandal and a genuine one ... and see past the humbug of "it was a mistake", "it was just a press release", "it doesn't have any more implications than a typo or a grammatical error" ...

He mentions agency culture, the increasing paramilitarisation of bureaucrats ... and we all know how that started, and who oversaw the uniforms and the funding ... as Lenore Taylor noted on The Insiders (yes, the pond did watch that one), without any coherent definition of their responsibilities, duties and powers in a domestic context.

Anyone with half an eye would have long ago noticed the militarisation of American policing, with left over military gear and a gung ho shoot first attitude.

But apparently not the Bolter.

Which helps explain why Freedom Boy gets one thing badly wrong, as he worries about where freedom dwells and whether it solely lives in the law:

It sits in the hearts and minds of the body politic. On Friday, it didn't matter where you were on the political spectrum. Every Melburnian understood in a free and pluralist society it was their responsibility to defend freedoms and basic decency for all.

A responsibility?

Wrong Freedom Boy. Not every Melburnian understood. It did matter where you were on the political spectrum.

It particularly mattered if you were of the extremist hard right, who possibly fancy themselves in decent black leather.

Most notably the dark hearted Melburnian Bolter, ready to try out for the role of Scarpia yet again, didn't understand and preferred to blather about fake scandals ...

As for Abbott taking any sort of responsibility for what he set in motion, remember this?

Sorry, lickspittle lackey who compiled the press release, the buck stops with you, as senior management and the pollies run a mile.

We should be a little ashamed of ourselves?


There's a rogue with absolutely no sense of responsibility, shame or adult government.

It's not the press release, you doofus, it's the paramilitary pomp proposing to go on parade in the streets...

What next? Well here's what sent the Bolter into a foaming frenzy:

Shame, Mr Windsor, it's certain to be the fault of a clumsily worded press release.

And while on the subject of national security, why not drop in on Syria strikes: Top expert questions Tony Abbott's motivations for air strikes in Syria (with forced video):

The Lowy Institute's Rodger Shanahan, a former army officer turned Middle East expert, has questioned the wisdom of the expansion. 

"It's not going to have any real operational impact given the weight of sorties that we will be able to bring to bear," Dr Shanahan said. "So if it's not operationally significant the question is why do it? "Therefore there must be a political reason for doing it, best known only to the government." 
Still trailing in the polls, the government has in recent weeks sought to shift the agenda to national security. 
There have also been claims that the National Security Committee of Cabinet asked for a list of weekly security-related announcements it can make between now and the next election. 
Mr Abbott has denied that claim but it has cast a cloud over the government's motivations for suddenly focusing on Syria.

And so on and on, but at least there was a cartoon to relieve the gloom. Or provoke more gloom, depending how you feel about the way the country's heading:

And there's just time for a Kudelka cartoon, and more Kudelka here:


  1. So, DP, what is top billing on ABC news today? Maybe Egypt locking up journalists? Nope, after all, they were only doing their jobs. More, can you see Jiggy Bish going to Cairo to vent her umbrage, and shake her tight glutei? Nope, not unless there's a coincidental photo-shoot for GQ and she can drape her bikini-clad torso over a hulk.
    No, first item, all morning, is about a dead horse trainer. But, Bart's family had already broadcast their loss - via a tweet! That's the useless ABC for you - reading Twitter for the News.

  2. On RN today after the seriously intelligent Dog on the Moon piece.

    Jonathan Green referring to his guest from the IPA as being from the Institute of Public Affairs. When did they cease to be an acronym that we all associate with chinless libertarians and young fogeys?

    And then OMG on Tom Switzer's show, the great old white male John Stone, who "according to John Howard, was the brightest public servant with whom he ever dealt. During his decades in the commonwealth treasury; most notably from 1979 to 84 when he was Secretary of the department. "

    Apparently "Stone held resolutely to all of the conclusions he reached." and that is supposed to be a good thing.

    WTF! The man is stupid! An almost complete fool, and if Howard thought this man was the smartest guy in the room he must have lived on a planet populated with men who stare at goats and tea ladies who put the right amount of sugar in their tea.

    1. John Stone - a man so brilliant that he became one of the main boosters of the "Joh For PM" movement.

      He ended up serving briefly as a National Party Senator for Queensland. I suppose that if you're in the same room as the likes of Ron Boswell and Flo B-P then you probably seem pretty smart.

    2. Please, no slandering of pumpkin scone recipes on a serious blog! Remember, soak the scone alongside a Stone for several hours, and once the Stone is soft, you may eat it or the galah ...

    3. No slandering of the beloved scone was intended, DP! However, I most point out that my late maternal grandmother, who made wonderful pumpkin scones, once tried Flo's recipe; it was set out on a souvenir teatowel she'd been sent by a National Party-supporting Queensland relative. The results were a great disappointment - compared to Gran's own recipe, the Flo scones were dry, gritty and unappetising - rather like the Queensland National Party itself.

  3. At least the cousins had the foresight to pass the Posse Comitatus Act, but the righties got around that with the National Guard.

  4. You can't fool me, DP. I know that underneath you are a serious person, one who is being driven nuts by the nonsense. So, to follow on from Dog's revelations about the hunt for treacherous wombats, here's a catalogue of the kinds of devices being sought by our "protective services".
    Armed Drones and the Influence of Big Business on Police Surveillance Technology.
    Can you see Barnaby's (Tom, John or Joyce) pupils glitter at the prospects? Tongue-flicking good stuff!

    1. Great link UC. Can see Australia Post subsidiaries working with Border Force very nicely.

  5. This country is half way down the drain and it's all the fault of them bloody hipsters.

  6. This country is half way down the drain and it's all the fault of them bloody hipsters.

  7. Pinker - more blanks drawn...

    1. Most enjoyable and appreciated links to a book and a writer long banished from the bathroom for his generalist crimes against ideas and y'artz.

      It's a pity that the NYRB's review is behind the paywall for the most part, except to us subscribers, but we should also link to the anguished shrieks and howls by Pinker that are outside the paywall, showing that at least it can be scientifically proven that all writers have a paranoia gene.

      None of it has anything to do with the pond's contention that Pinker wouldn't know art, good or bad, if it bit him on the bum, but it's all huge fun.

  8. State police forces in the past have over reached in response to the election of conservative governments after campaigns heavy with 'law and order' rhetoric. Think of the police shootings soon after after the election of Greiner in NSW and Kennet in Victoria.
    Also, nice opera reference, Dot.

    1. The trouble, of course, is that once the over-reach is made, there might be a little bit of a retreat, but there's also a little bracket creep, especially as it's not just conservative governments that fall in rhetorical line with laura norder. So yes, before you know it, you have Victorian coppers going around dishing out justice with a gun, and you have NSW coppers also generating oodles of storylines for Underbelly, and soon enough, we'll have Border Farce The Trams Ultimatum, a mini-series in six parts ...

  9. Hi Dorothy,

    It's a shame that we missed the opportunity to see the newly minted "Border Force" parade their snazzy new uniforms in Melbourne CBD especially as Abbott appears to be angling for a Khaki Election in Canning.

    With all things Martial currently en vogue I was suddenly put in mind of this wonderfully stirring piece by Greg Sheridan from ten years ago.

    "Future conflict, peace-keeping operations and certainly terrorist and disaster response are going to occur increasingly in urban and populated areas. So here is a simple proposition: bring the army and navy back to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane where they belong, with suitable presences in Adelaide, Perth and Hobart. They are just as readily deployed overseas from these centres and, if you're talking about defending Australia directly, you're going to need to defend it where its people live."

    Not only will the inner city leets feel protected, they will also be able to share in the Bromancers love of a man in uniform.

    "Siting the army in northern Australia is also a kind of socialist folly, regional development by diktat, but it imposes absurd costs on the army. Similarly, the lack of professional soldiers in our cities is a real loss. We never see a uniform. This is a minor tragedy because a military uniform makes you proud; you know it's being worn by someone who thinks life has a purpose beyond themselves"

    If you are in a masochistic frame of mind the rest of Abbott's fanboys' fantasies can be read here;


    1. Enormously wonderful stuff DW, the pond is profoundly in your debt. Strategic and sensible, a brand new Brisbane line, and with a great chance to introduce the military dictatorship this unruly country clearly needs ... why, with a military commander like that, the country would be at peace for a thousand years ...

      The pond commends your discovery and your link to the world ...

    2. I've always liked the derisive term "Chicken Hawks", which the Americans apply to gung ho military action enthusiasts who somehow neglected to serve in the armed forces themselves - recent notable CHs include both Dubya and Dick Chaney, but conservative American politics is chock full of them. We seem to have no shortage of such characters ourselves these days, but I think we need an Australian term for them - "Wedge-Tailed Galahs", perhaps? Any other suggestions?

    3. Hmmm, Abbott and Hendo and Sheridan and the like as wedge-tailed galahs? Kind of unfair to the galah, isn't it? The pond has always had a soft spot for the pink and grey ones, but can't discover a soft spot for the khaki brigade pounding the drums of war. Perhaps, being deeply capitalist, the pond needs a competition.

  10. Hi Anon,

    There's the White-Bellied Sea-Eagle or just maybe the Yellow Necked Cassowary....


  11. Given that Abbott's local Rugby League team is the Manly Sea-Eagles, perhaps the Yellow-Bellied Sea-Eagle?


Comments older than two days are moderated and there will be a delay in publishing them.