Pure Rodent: Fear & Loathing in Surrealia
“Those that can give up essential Liberty to obtain a little temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”– Benjamin Franklin
Like a geriatric Bart Simpson, he brazenly repeats his mantra of “I didn’t do it!” in the face of mounting and irrefutable evidence that he DID bloody well “do it”. Indeed, he points the finger of blame in every direction except the mirror of his mean and tricky pattern of behaviour.
Those of us with memories even longer than the PM’s nose recall how the Rodent gnawed his way into the big chair after slipping around undermining the then Party Leader Malcolm Fraser – all the while maintaining that goofy grimace of sanctimonious sincerity and guile.
Puffing out his chest and tightening his sphincter, Howard enjoys proclaiming that voters know what he stands for, and we most certainly do: Howard stands for running down public assets and shifting them across to his colleagues in the private sector.
When the Mendacious Midget officially launched his re-election campaign (as opposed to the one he’s been pork-barrelling for the past 12 months), he boldly stated "Australia should never be a nation defined by class or envy, but rather a nation united by mateship and achievement." Cute! But it was he who declared class warfare in 2000 by showering the nation's most elite private schools with a massive funding boost. Class warfare, Johnny? You fired the first shot and you’ve been carpet-bombing us bottom-feeders ever since.
Figure this out. Howard reckons when parents take their kids out of government schools and place them into private institutions they are saving taxpayers’ money. This is the same logic he applies to public and private hospitals. Since he is so keen to save taxpayers money, no doubt he means to shut down public education and health altogether. What a saving! Meanwhile, exclusive private schools like King’s recently received government largesse on a scale your local state school – if you still have one - can only dream of. On top of the fees, endowments, fund-raisers, and donations from its old boys, Kings got a 215 per cent increase over the past three years from the Howard Government. The same goes with the other “top” schools. Pure Rodent!
Labor’s tap-dancing maverick Mark Latham’s plan (try saying that six times quickly) to redistribute from the top down is a belated but urgently needed move to bring some equity back into the education system.
When Latham announced that patients aged 75 and over will receive a free hospital bed, public or private, "straight away", under a Labor plan to expand Medicare, Howard scrambled to defend his constituency: not the so-called “grey vote” but the private health insurance industry that so desperately needs government subsidies to maintain its lofty profits at the expense of the broader public health system.
As for Howard’s Medicare "safety net" to offset large medical bills, that brilliant scheme is set to double to more than $1 billion over four years after a dramatic underestimate of soaring doctors' gap charges. Everyone knows that if Medicare was properly funded and resourced, there would be no need for Johnny’s pathetic safety net.
As for the so-called budget “surplus”, so bloody what! What is it with this fetish the Libs and Labs both have while essential services crumble around us? And where does the magical budget surplus come from? Treasury’s Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook (PEFO) PEFO's forecasts apparently have never been checked for accuracy – not in government, not by financial markets, the private sector or the political parties. According to Tim Colebatch, a simple perusal of Treasury’s own published figures show that since 1998 Treasury “forecasts have been repeatedly, massively, wrong”. Not a good basis on which to splurge $6 billion all in one speech, even for a brilliant fiscal manager like the Rodent!
Howard claims the “surplus” is due to is his unique economic management skills, but clearly – whatever the actual surplus figure is or turns out to be - it derives from the reduction and removal of critical funding for health, education, job training, research and development, and welfare support. To the tiny, tight-arsed tory mind, these things are not investments in valuable human capital, in the nation’s development, in our future as a civilized society, but a waste of taxpayers’ money! Pure Rodent!
While the Howard feigns outrage at Latham’s “cynical, grubby preference deal” with the Greens, he conveniently overlooks his own far more furtive, back-door deal that he personally arranged, with the crackpot Family First Party, linked as it is with the Assemblies of God church – that commercialised, American-style version of evangelical christianity - and Pentecostal nutters. Then of course, there was that infamous preference swap Howard arranged with Pauline Hanson’s one Nation party, which in pure Howard style he managed to then subvert by assuming Hanson’s misogynistic policies. That’s Johnny’s genius!
Howard accuses Latham of “inexperience”. Too bloody right: Latham does not have Howard’s history of deceit, manipulation and outright lying. Nor does Latham have Howard’s glowing record of deceiving Australians and blaming others for “poor advice”. After all it is the Howard government which has politicised and intimidated the bureaucracy all governments traditionally rely on for “frank and fearless advice”… No more, not in John Howard’s fraudulent Fortress Australia. Just ask our hard-working Federal Police Chief Mick Keelty, who remarked that invading Iraq had made us a bigger terrorist target, and promptly got his head kicked in by Howard and his stooges! Pure Rodent!
The Howard Dirt Machine’s attempts to smear Latham as autocratic, deceptive, and financially irresponsible, sound pretty lame coming from “never ever” “Honest John”, the “Six Billion Dollar Man” who single-handedly decides what Cabinet will think, and who stood idly by while Australia’s foreign debt blew out from $186 billion in 1995 to $393 billion as of last month (September 2004).
Yup! The Rodent’s pre-election spending spree is such a blatant, last-ditch attempt to buy votes, that you know only someone as shameless, mean and tricky as “Honest John” would even try it on! Market analysts are not alone in warning that such an unfunded splurge will place upward pressure on rates. And speaking of warnings…
In August 2001, immediately after reading a memo entitled "Bin Laden determined to strike in US", President George Bush went bass fishing - and never called a meeting to discuss the issue. A month later, on September 11, when he was told that the terrorists had attacked, Bush spent the next seven minutes reading a children's book, The Pet Goat, with a group of schoolchildren.
What was the Shrub thinking – if anything – as he sat there with the usual glazed look in his beady little eyes? Was he thinking, “Gee, I wish I’d followed up on all those terrorist threat reports I kept forgetting to read”? Was he thinking “Golly, those varmints finally accomplished what they set out to do in 1993 when that bomb went off in the WTC car park”? Or was he thinking “Gosh durn it, I wish I had a pet goat”? But Bush soon recovered his wits (?!) with the considerable help of a pack of raving neo-CON nutters hell-bent on ruling the world. In their cuckoo company, Dr Evil would not be out of place.
Like his dangerous and incompetent mentor in Washingtoon, the Rodent seized the golden opportunity presented by the 2001 World Trade Centre atrocities with eager tory claws. He masterminded the manipulation of the issue of terror and the incarceration of helpless asylum seekers that became Johnny’s re-election theme song. As every expert in the field has noted before and since, terrorists prefer to travel by first-class airfares with impeccably forged documents, they do not risk life, limb and mission by boarding leaking fishing boats packed with frightened refugees. Indeed, the Howard government has endangered Australians by playing politics with national security issues. Are we “safer” or just misled?
Like the Bush regime, the Howard government can be relied upon to release all terrorist warnings as soon as they are received, especially after an attack and the information is proved wrong. But please, don’t mention THE WAR!
Remember Johnny’s pre-invasion declaration that he could not justify invading Iraq just to depose a dictator? No, it was all about WMD, ready, aimed and about to fire at YOU! Yes YOU, quaking in your floral-patterned armchair watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire! Not WMD programs, mind you, but actual fair dinkum stockpiles of ille
gal chemical, biological and – wait for it – NUCLEAR weapons! Sound the alarm! Put out more flags! Lock up more asylum seekers! We know now – as we knew then – that in his salivating rush to join the Bush Regime’s bloodbath in Iraq, Howard ignored or dismissed contrary intelligence reports. His continuing deception about intentions and motives are pure Rodent!
And this week, adding to a veritable procession of professional stakeholders and experts in the intelligence assessment field that have debunked the Rodent’s WMD claims, more of Emperor Johnny’s foreign policy nakedness was exposed. Until retirement in 1997, Hugh Crone headed research into defence against nuclear, biological and chemical weapons within the Defence Science and Technology Organisation. In Monday’s Age he explained how Australia’s own resource of expertise was not at all dependent upon US or British intelligence.
Crone asserts that our own intelligence had concluded that Iraq had no military capability in WMD in 1998. He adds, “from 1998 until late 2002, when there were no UN inspectors in Iraq, it would have been virtually impossible to produce such weaponry, given intense external scrutiny.” According to Crone, the “intelligence that was supplied to Australia by the US and Britain in 2002 became more and more emphatic in its conclusions but increasingly short on factual support”.
Howard refuses to admit he was “wrong” about Iraq’s purported WMD threat because – as he protests in is usual weasel-word, legal-eagle fashion – he was acting genuinely but on information supplied of those naughty, nincompoop advises he seems to be surrounded by. Not Johnny’s fault! He maintains this lame excuse despite ample evidence demonstrating that Howard cherry-picked intelligence that met his – that is, the Bush Regime’s – criteria for invading Iraq. War was wanted, War was had.
The cost of invading Iraq has now exceeded the cost of the Vietnam War. That’s about $US151 billion ($A207 billion)." So far.
U.S. Presidense Bush and his many maniacal mouth-pieces repeat ad infinitum that their unilateral “war on terror” was declared in order to “defend our way of life”. And it’s all true: they are trying to defend THEIR way of life, and that is why the Bush Regime has linked up with crony capitalists, frothing-at-the-mouth evangelist groups, and other right-wing fanatics in dismantling the American Constitution and judicial system. In doing so, however, they are doing to the USA what terrorists like Osama Bin Laden alone could not possibly hope to do: destroy American democracy. Bush rhetorically speaks of “defending freedom” but has removed and reduced domestic human rights and freedoms. The democratic principles that America’s founding fathers struggled to establish as the basis for a better, more civilised society have been warped, twisted and cast aside by the deranged fanatics currently occupying the White House. They are destroying the village in order to save it!
As for invading Iraq to avert the purportedly imminent threat posed by Weapons of Mass Destruction that Saddam didn’t have, surely if 9/11 proved anything it is this: who needs WMD if all you need is a few cheap box-cutters and a group of suicidal basket cases willing to crash passenger planes into skyscrapers! That, I believe, is what the military gurus call “asymmetrical warfare” and no amount of wild spending on smart bombs and “star wars” defence shields will defend us from it. But don’t expect a sycophant like the Rodent to question the warped wisdom of his Washingtoon masters.
While facts regarding the Iraq war intelligence/Abu Ghraib/Tampa/Bali, etc, controversies come increasingly to light, Howard ducks, weaves and weasel-words his way through to D-Day on 9 October. His stonewalling tactic employs a dog turd of political wisdom bestowed upon him by his tory idol, Mad Maggie Thatcher the Hatchet.
Howard got the standard Thatcherite lecture on a visit in 1988: never retreat; always stand your ground. He has used it to great effect ever since.
Not an interview goes by with one of his supplicant radio “talk show” mates without Howard dredging up one of Maggie's credos: "I don't resile from that in any way", "I don't apologise for that", "I don't walk away", "I don't step back from it" or "I don't retreat from the decision we took". Yup, Stonewall Johnny! Especially when he has been proven demonstrably WRONG. Pure Rodent!
And wasn’t it fascinating to read this week that the sneaky Howard government offered a $36.4 million bribe to shale oil company Southern Pacific Petroleum in exchange for the company dragging Greenpeace to court. Greenpeace had raised issues regarding greenhouse emissions with the company. Apparently a departmental email refers to a 2002 cabinet decision to provide SPP with the “subsidy” each year if it took legal action against the group. SPP was placed in receivership last December after it failed to raise enough cash to keep its controversial Queensland shale oil project operating.
And so, as I deftly flick another longneck into the underbrush, I watch Saturday’s crucial poll loom ever closer, like a big black dog that will either bark, bite or shit on my lawn. Oh, which will it be! once thing’s certain: it’s going to be a long, liquid weekend, especially if the numbers are as close as the pre-election polling suggests.
And that’s what sickens me as much as a warm fucking beer! The fact that this critical election seems to be a close-run thing, with a wafer thin after-dinner mint separating the two major parties in the polls. Bring me a bigger bucket to chunder into! Australia, Johnny has your pathetic, timid, ass-pirational number!
As John Button observed, the campaign agenda has been “narrow and predictable, dominated more by fear of putting a foot wrong than the idea of putting a foot forward”. Depressing, ain’t it, given the sickening, small-minded direction Howard has dragged this fallen nation of ours. And Terry Lane was spot on when he recently remarked, “Is it any wonder that we have developed a form of democracy based on three self-evident truths: in the ideal nation negative gearing is sacred, income tax is evil and votes are for sale”. And if you happen to be a Koori, you may as well not even exist!
In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king! But I’m not voting FOR Latham, I’m voting AGAINST Howard. I suggest all civilised Australians do the same or watch Australia continue to shrivel into a horrible, greasy stain on the kitchen floor of the global community, not a Deputy Sheriff but a nasty little cockroach.
Still undecided? Then vote for Cthulhu!