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APEC protests: David's bad day

It's been a bad day.

There is an R.E.M song I am reminded of today and it's called Bad Day.  The chorus is, "It's been a bad day, please don't take your pictures".  I did that though today.  I took my pictures but it seemed like a bad day.  The weather was mixed and I ended up feeling the same way - mixed. 

Was it good or not? Probably not.   I am glad people expressed their views on the streets of Sydney.  I am relieved that the protests were mainly peaceful. To see so many police and such extreme equipment though left a bad taste.  I don't blame the police. Had I been in charge I would have also ordered overwhelming force.  Taking risks with such an important event in 2007 is not part of the way we operate.

I wasn't the only well dressed "normal person" taking pictures.  In 2007, everyone takes pictures.  We have mobiles and we have digital cameras so every moment of every public event is recorded.  I held my camera up to police officers faces today.

There were a couple of moments when police were in tense situations.  They must have noticed that every aspect was being recorded on mobile phones and digital cameras.  I saw one person with a laptop blogging and posting his pictures live.  I took a picture of him. I posted to a mini-site I created for the day.

For a while it seemed to me like the protesters were like entertainment.  They were not large in number for a major city like Sydney.  It was a few thousand at best.  It was a strange collection of communists, socialists, unionists and a few more ordinary people.  The atmosphere was largely positive but I thnk many would have left like I did - feeling that the police presence was overwhelming.

At the start of the march some gay and lesbian activists sat in the middle of Park and Pitt delaying all progress.  They were saying something about condoms and AIDS.  Meanwhile Burma people were watching on.  It was that sort of day. Firefighters unions, a grab bag of greenies and niche youth groups were all part of an ecclectic mix.

Part way through I went to David Jones and got my hair cut at the mens salon overlooking Market Street.  An old lady could be seen below waiting for a taxi that would never arrive. I am sure she did not realise that she was in a declared APEC clearway.  The taxi rank she had been used to was illegal during APEC.  Meanwhile a bride's wedding car was being towed at St Marys.  APEC clearway traps lots of Sydneysiders.  The barber at David Jones said someone should go down and tell the old lady that the cab would never arrive.

Later I saw another old lady asking police if she could go to David Jones.  They told her it would be always there and it would be best if she went home. Kindly old ladies being discouraged from David Jones?  That's not the Australia I grew up in!  I saw the reassuring sign that "it costs no more to shop at David Jones" but security guards blocked me from leaving via the Elizabeth Street doors.  How bizarre.

The highlight was the atmosphere in Hyde Park.  That was more like a carnival. There was music and people were dancing.  Sky News tried to hype it up as the media is inclined to do.  I had a chat with a woman who insisted that there is a conspiracy against nuclear fusion.  Coffee was popular and being Sydney, most people who chose to drink coffee got a good one.

There was a "person of interest" near the cafe at St James in Hyde Park.  Police surrounded him and there was a tense atmosphere for a while.  I was wearing a navy blazer from Boston and a fine cotton shirt from Brooks Brothers of New York.  I don't think at any point I looked like a protester.  It must be disconcerting for some when people like me go into the group and take pictures.I was not alone though.  Everyone was taking pictures.  Cameras are the new weapon. Everyone knows that every aspect is recorded.  If anyone does anything wrong that will also be recorded.

Was it a bad day?  On balance, yes it was.  It was sad to see the point we have reached.  There was a carnival aspect I liked but there was also a menacing atmosphere.  It was strange, it was uncomfortable and a reminder, as if we needed one,  that all is not well. 

I am left in a difficult position. I support police and indeed have one friend who is of the police.  That said, as a person who values freedom, I did feel uncomfortable about the overwhelming demonstration of the force of the state.  I am sure they had to do it and I would have ordered the same but it does show how much we have lost.

A city of more than four million people and what we had today was a collection of a few thousand people representing a strange grab bag of interests being photographed by tourists and locals like me and being watched by police in greater numbers.  What's it all about?

R.E.M Bad Day lyrics

A public service announcement followed me home the other day.
I paid it nevermind. Go Away.
Shits so thick you could stir it with a stick-free Teflon whitewashed presidency.
We're sick of being jerked around.
Wear that on your sleeve.

Broadcast me a joyful noise unto the times, lord,
Count your blessings.
We're sick of being jerked around.
We all fall down.

Have you ever seen the televised St. vitus subcommittee prize
Investigation dance? Those ants in pants glances.
Well,look behind the eyes.
It's a hallowed hollow anesthetized
"save my own ass, screw these guys"
smoke and mirror lock down.

Broadcast me a joyful noise unto the times, lord,
Count your blessings.
The Papers wouldn't lie!
I sigh, Not one more.

It's been a bad day.
Please don't take a picture.
It's been a bad day.

We're dug in deep the price is steep.
The auctioneer is such a creep.

The lights went out, the oil ran dry
We blamed it on the other guy
Sure, all men are created equal.
Heres the church, heres the steeple
Please stay tuned-we cut to sequel
ashes, ashes, we all fall down.

Broadcast me a joyful noise unto the times, lord,
Count your blessings.
Ignore the lower fear
Ugh, this means war.

It's been a bad day.
Please don't take a picture.
It's been a bad day.

Broadcast me a joyful noise unto the times, lord,
Count your blessings.
We're sick of being jerked around.
We all fall down.

It's been a bad day...


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Chaser team

Mary j Shepherd says

As for the Chaser team - I am still howling with laughter at the stupidity of the PM asking the police one day to hold off on harrassing motorcades and the Chaser lads turning themselves in. 

Then you'll love this one...

Tomato sauce and The Summer of Love

Geoff Pahoff says:

I suspect Angela was confusing Dali with Picasso. And as it happens Orwell hated Dali.

I bet he did. Just getting back to the guy Marilyn describes throwing tomato-sauce at the pro-American demonstrator, it seems he might be part of a long tradition on the Left.

By coincidence, I was just reading this memoir by Tzvetan Todorov:

During the years 1968-1969, the Vincennes campus of the University of Paris became the base of activity for a group of Maoists, veterans of the events of May 1968. The leaders of this group were two brilliant Parisian intellectuals, both of whom I had once known. As I left class one day, I was brought up short by a strange procession: a completely naked man, hairy and bearded, was trying to push his way out of a small but hostile crowd that was being led by my two old friends. Before he was let go, someone smeared tomato sauce or some other coloured liquid on him: it was a symbolic lynching. The victim, I subsequently learned, was Francois Duprat, a militant right wing ideologue who would be killed several years later in an explosion, the origin of which has never been determined….Whatever the facts, the sight of this naked man surrounded by a hissing crowd made me feel profoundly ashamed. ‘This makes you fascists!’ I blurted out to the friend I knew best. ‘No,’ he said smiling calmly, ‘he’s the fascist.’

- Tzvetan Todorov, Facing the Extreme: Moral life in the concentration camps, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, London 1999, p 219

So, maybe the 'anti-APEC' tomato sauce guy was merely nostalgic for the summer of love?

Say NO! to Salvador Dali

Okay, I think maybe that it's possible we can all agree that any APEC protestors who are connected in any way with Salvador Dali (or his latter day supporters/boosters/urgers) are the kind of people for whom pepper spray is too good.

Hat tip to Eliot

Well, Richard, I guess you've lost the argument, because here it is in black and white: APEC demonstrators are the thin end of the wedge that culminates in the horrors of Torrejón de Ardoz.

As Orwell was wont to say:

Vanity of vanities, all is vanity. The Kingdom of Earth is forever unattainable. Every attempt to establish liberty leads directly to tyranny. One tyrant takes over from another, the captain of industry from the robber baron, the Nazi gauleiter from the captain of industry, the sword gives way to the cheque book and the cheque book to the machine-gun, the Tower of Babel perpetually rises and falls.

- The Collected Essays Journalism & Letters of George Orwell, Vol 1, p. 584.

So folks, the next time you're tempted to utter a dissenting phrase or pick up a placard, please, please, please, think of what it will lead to.

Better yet, just shut up and shop, while genuflecting in the direction of your betters — you know, the folks who brought us the last 4+ years of success in Iraq.

The Benefit Of Clergy - 1944

Actually it was Angela who first raised the subject of Salvador Dali and the Spanish Civil War:

It is from thelikes of Dali that we get the most memorable images of the Spanish civil war...

I suspect Angela was confusing Dali with Picasso. And as it happens Orwell hated Dali.

From Orwell's essay on Dali's autobiography:

Of course, in this long book of 400 quarto pages there is more than I have indicated, but I do not think that I have given an unfair account of his moral atmosphere and mental scenery. It is a book that stinks. If it were possible for a book to give a physical stink off its pages, this one would—a thought that might please Dali, who before wooing his future wife for the first time rubbed himself all over with an ointment made of goat’s dung boiled up in fish glue. But against this has to be set the fact that Dali is a draughtsman of very exceptional gifts. ...


The point is that you have here a direct, unmistakable assault on sanity and decency; and even—since some of Dali’s pictures would tend to poison the imagination like a pornographic postcard—on life itself. What Dali has done and what he has imagined is debatable, but in his outlook, his character, the bedrock decency of a human being does not exist. He is as anti-social as a flea. Clearly, such people are undesirable, and a society in which they can flourish has something wrong with it.

Read this essay if you haven't already. It is one of the best on the subject of art, politics and morality published last century.

a nice gazpacho for me, low fat, no oil

Ah, Geoff, it a shame that so few know their artists. Artists reflect a history that is immutable even as the words change.

How could anyone confuse Pablo with Salvador? Different in final style (although I grant the latter had a fascination with the great Pablo after meeting him, and a cubist period of sorts), and so very different in personal character and the ability to even have a political persuasion. Those who speak of M. Dali describe how he followed the money and the power, and his wheedling letters to Franco et al are for history to read now. Sorry Eliot, your history is a little bunk if you wish to lump him as a passionate leftist/communist etc or however you seem to divide the world. But bunk can be a fun non-threatening world in which to immerse.

Perhaps the best way to divide the present groups, not left and right any more but further simplified for Eliot's benefit, is those who use tomato sauce for impact and those whose impact makes far worse than tomato sauce. Your AEI mates are, of course, the latter.

Naturally Pablo, being of la tomato sauce, despised Dali’s sucking up to fascist dictators and hence the latter had plenty of pigment for his paintings - of which there are indeed plenty about the war periods from 1936 onwards, dear Geoff. How else can one make a giraffe burn? Tomato sauce just aint bright enough.

And as for Mr Blair, AKA Mr Orwell, well, I suspect his initial left leanings from his Bohemian and Paris days which first earned him his diary writings in MI5's books were then transformed as the realities of totalitarianism became clear in the Soviet Union under Stalin and even more so as various coups were attempted against him. The Bolsheviks were bolsheviked. I think 1984 was written in the late 40s and I think his words about his writing in his preface "why do I write" say "written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism". I like that, Democratic socialism. That was Orwell's political persuasion until he died, it appears.

Oh and Eliot, have you not yet worked out that war is hell, atrocities are plentiful on both sides, and the wise avoid it while the rich profit from it and the poor die and are maimed in it while the survivors scavenge the rubble afterwards to survive. Oh, yes, and the victors write the history to be used in the next atrocity. Funny how the veterans are the most vitriolic and against war, and the lounge room chicken hawks the most eager for it.

War is the armour of fascism. Fascism is to be condemned in all its forms. It is the antithesis of all freedoms, of all compassion, of all colour and life. It is cruel and vicious and ruthless. It uses false religion, false promises, lures with desires, tempts with greed and pays with death.

While you play the fascist drum Eliot, for whatever your reason, whether it be the innocence of ignorance or the ignominy of idealising such, drumming the beat of the AEI and all their kind, the Pancetta the creators of war in Iraq, the profiteers of death, and planners of War in Iran and in Israel and in Lebanon, and in Somalia, and in Haiti, and in Afghanistan and in Sudan and in Western Sahara and in Rwanda and Kosovo and … do not expect all to dance to your beat. Some may actually find what you do as shameful... But heck, isn’t it lovely to have the freedom to do it? :)

Anti war symbolic tomato sauce or Eliot's mates' blood spilling recipes, tossed in oil delivered by choice seasonal fresh, the latest, ACM AGM payload, Raytheon’s best at pre-dollar freefall prices to you the taxpayer, with stealth!

A choice of menu..


Fiona: I presume that’s a soy gazpacho…?

Hi Fiona, fear not soy is allowed if you say and I am still at.

Now my recipe has not Soy in it, but, not being in your league amongst the blue Cordons I bow to your discretion in such matters.

Watz up, btw? My email is still the same as when I started with Webdiary.


Soy gazpacho

On further reflection, I don't think soy and gazpacho would be a successful mix. Au contraire...

I've tried your listed email twice: each time have received a "Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently" message.

It's nothing desperate - just a couple of clarification matters that IMO would be more appropriately handled off-Diary, so to speak. A decision entirely for you, and you have my email address if you feel like getting in touch.

Meanwhile, must go and stir the Vlaamse Stovery.


Why the Commies hated George Orwell so much...

Richard Tonkin says

"This is the point I was trying to make to Geoff."

It wasn't a 'Stop APEC Collective', was it, Richard? Or even a 'Stop Putin, Hu and Bush Collective' was it?

And the tomato-sauce guy Marilyn refers to? He was arrested for attacking a 'pro-American' demonstrator, not a 'pro-APEC' demonstrator. Is that right?

Anyway, Angela, just getting back to the Left's fanciful accounts of their heroic conduct during the Spanish Civil War, the role in that of artists like Dali and Picasso (millionaires both) was to conceal the crimes of the Republican leadership behind a sentimental, lying fog of propaganda which allowed other artists to portray the Communist-run armies, police and execution squads as ardent, well-meaning young Komsomols heroicly struggling for justice and the dignity of the Spanish people against the perfidious Jesuits and Fascists and (later) Trotskyists, etc, etc, etc.

In fact, they were working for Stalin.

The extent to which people like Morton, Dali, Picasso, etc, etc, were criminal accomplices to mass-murderers like the 'Pacifist' Carrillo or were merely gullible dupes is the kind of topic Orwell explored. At length.

So the Left heaped excoriating abuse on Orwell until he died - and then they expropriated his legacy for themselves.

Quod Erats (sic) Demonstratum

Eliot: And, gosh, who in the anti-APEC group (actually merely anti-American it turned out).....

This is the point I was trying to make to Geoff.  Thanks for elucidating.  It's this sort of stuff (a button that once pushed would create a lenghty response, but for some reason is turned off) in areas I'm familiar with that make me unable to trust your judgements in fields where I'm not.

Angela, we're in agreement.  I'm still pleasantly gobsmacked by the passiveness of the crowd.

Why the Left supported the Spanish Republic

Angela Ryan says:

"It is from the likes of Dali that we get the most memorable images of the Spanish civil war, and from innocnet writers and observers like Anne Frank that we learn to personalise the horrors of fascism."

Unlike the Left historians of the Spanish Civil War, who consistently glossed over the brutality, cowardice and incompetence of the Republican leadership, Anne Frank most likely told the truth about what she saw.

Why do you think George Orwell was the butt of so much hatred on the left, Angela? He was in Spain during the Civil War, after all.

Here one of my favourites:

"What Orwell does do with great skill is to play upon the lowest fears and prejudices engendered by bourgeois society in dissolution. His object is not to argue a case but to induce an irrational conviction in the minds of his readers that any attempt to realise socialism must lead to a world of corruption, torture and insecurity. To accomplish this no slander is too gross, no device too filthy: Nineteen Eighty-Four is, for this country at least, the last word to date in counter-revolutionary apologetics."

- AL Morton, The English Utopia,  Lawrence & Wishart, London, 1978

Morton was, of course, a Marxist and his works are still on university reading lists.

And here's someone Dali would have known, and supported.

Santiago Carrillo Solares (born January 18, 1915), Spanish politician, was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) from 1960 to 1982.

He was a prominent EuroRed and "pacifist".

In fact, he was in fact a butcher of the first order who worked for years on orders from Moscow.

In November 17, 1937 Carrillo was elected Councilor for Public Order in the Defense Council of Madrid, as part of a provisional government.

During his term, thousands of civilians, including many women and children, were executed in Paracuellos del Jarama and Torrejón de Ardoz (the biggest massacre performed by the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War), where the dead were buried in common graves.

Anthony Beevor in his book, The Struggle for Spain (2006), documents Santiago Carrillo Solares giving express orders for the executions of over 1,000 unarmed prisoners of war.

No Guernica paintings by Picasso commemorating that little episode, hey?


Yesterday afternoon I published a comment from a new Webdiarist, Susan Moy. I did so after checking the email address that had been provided: it was one from an organisation that I knew existed. In particular, it was one associated with the arts, and entirely consistent with Susan Moy's expressed interest in Sydney-based artist Peter Kingston. I also double-checked by searching the internet and found that, yes, a person named Susan Moy was definitely associated with the named organisation.

This morning, for various reasons not unconnected with the "Nurse Eliot" comment, I telephoned Ms Moy. She told me she had never registered as a Webdiary user, and expressed deep concern at the use of her name without authorisation.

On behalf of Webdiary, I apologise to Susan for any embarrassment that this incident may have caused her.

Negative thinking

Richard Tonkin says:

I don't think it does harm to question someone's actions when they continually portray people and causes in a negative way.

So long as its a nurse taking the piss out of some artist living the high-life in Mosman off the backs of tax-paying workers.

And, gosh, who in the anti-APEC group (actually merely anti-American it turned out) would ever "continually portray people and causes in a negative way"

Sects in the City

Susan Moy, hello! You seem like a nice person.

If it's inappropriate for a nurse to speculate on the motivations of artists in Australia, why is it appropriate for artists to speculate on the motivations of anyone at all? Let alone those of trained security experts and foreign diplomats?

At least I have had some training in human motivation. What would an artist from Sydney's plush north shore know about? Other than the price his works are likely to get at auction? Or how to grind lapis lazuli in a pestle?

Why on earth would anyone, or should anyone care about the opinions of Peter Kingston on anything other than painting pictures?

And yet there he is able to command the front page of a Murdoch-owned newspaper with a circulation in excess of 50,000 and portray himself as entitled to offer his exclusive opinions on everything from the vibrations of incarnate evil in the city through to the practical techniques of crowd control?

Puts me in mind of that episode in South Park where George Clooney's 'smug' cloud engulfed San Francisco.

The lady who cleans Mr Kingston's toilet or the bloke who mows his Mosman lawn would as likely have an opinion as Mr Kingston - and with as much root in experience and education when it comes to international politics, wouldn't they?

But they wouldn't appoint themselves as experts on things they know nothing about? Though it might be nice to hear what they say in the Mosman Daily, too, though there's little chance of that.

Artists have since the middle of the 19th century gulled themselves into thinking they are a specially anointed class of philosopher gifted with exquisite sensitivity to everything going on in the universe. Just ask them, and they'll tell you that themselves. They go on and on about it.

But what would they know, really?

Home Sweet Home

Good morning all ! Just thought I'd drop by to see what's going on at my favourite website. Now let's see:

 I must say it is remarkable that "a nurse working in community health" seems to think of himself as having such "enhanced insight" into the motivations ... 

 ...taking the extraordinary step of doing a google search on that artist's name in order to write about him here.

Can we consider your "enhanced insight" to be a figment of an "over-active imagination...

You only found your fresh piece of meat after the march, Eliot, and I suspect that your gleeful approach has something to do witht the name of Kingston being involved. 

You villified those that would attend the march, and you were unjustified in doing so.  Why not admit you were sensationally wrong...

and  so on...

Ah yes. The usual fistful of personal slings at a commenter who for his part has kept his eye right on the topic. With just that right amount of superciliousness and outright class snobbishness mixed in.  Good thing the target-commenter has an eye only for the ball though. Had he responded to the defenders of the public critics in the streets and art galleries in anything like the tone they use with him... well there are limits aren't there?

Always a pleasure to call in. Nothing ever changes much here.  It's like a homecoming.

Fiona: It's good to have you commenting again, Geoff.

Are we talking about the same Eliot?

Oh well, Geoff, none of us are saints.  I don't think it does harm to question someone's actions when they continually portray people and causes in a negative way.  I went to great lengths to help out with the protest while Eliot insinuated that all involved were would-be criminals with suspicious motives, and now that he's changed tack to hold up an example of chardonnay set complainers it seems like another smear attempt.  I don't think I'm out of line wondering why he does it  He's certainly kept me on my toes over the past few months.  Fine if  it's quid pro quo.

On the thread below my piece I've just had to defend the group I volunteered for from Eliot's accusation that it was organised by the protesters.  I took it personally, had every right to, as I did the implications of being a terrorist sympathiser while discussing Haneef.    If that's your idea of keeping your eye on the ball, I don't have a problem.  But it's not mine. 

Curriculum vitae

Susan Moy says:

Actually, I found Peter to be a rather humble individual when I met him. Are you involved in the Arts, Eliot?

Er, no. I'm a nurse working in community health. Are you an artist?

Nurse Eliot

Mmmm ... Nurse Eliot ... like in Lovely Bones?

I must say it is remarkable that "a nurse working in community health" seems to think of himself as having such "enhanced insight" into the motivations of artists in Australia, let alone those of one individual artist he'd never heard of until happening to read a letter by that artist to a small circulation community newspaper and then taking the extraordinary step of doing a google search on that artist's name in order to write about him here.

Can we consider your "enhanced insight" to be a figment of an "over-active imagination" and some strange bias against artists residing on Sydney's lower north shore?

On nursing and arts and violence

Easy to forget for some that keeping up with current affairs merely requires reading newspapers (other than the Telegraph) regularly or listening to the radio news or, if one really wishes, doing a few searches on the international media sources via the internet. I think even north shore wealthy artists and those sponging of taxpayers, as Eliot seems to broadly brush the whole profession, usually have these basic English Comprehension skills, and with their ability to view figuratively from many angles, perhaps they do indeed make a poignant analysis group.

It is from the likes of Dali that we get the most memorable images of the Spanish civil war, and from innocnet writers and observers like Anne Frank that we learn to personalise the horrors of fascism.

Now Eliot, it is not hard to understand why so many might be anti-American policy/Bush when we have just been dragged in by his stooge to an illegal war resulting in the horrors and harm. We should have learned about the need to prevent war from the above two artists. Even the Chief of Staff of a Federal Liberal Minister calls the war a Hitler act and likens our soldiers to Nazi types. Rather unfair, really, as it was our Aifrforce who refused to bomb the civilians of Bagdad. Our true heroes. All the same, our SAS knew they were illegally in there, and may be war criminals, I do not know. No-one knows what they did as it is classified. Did they kill children, civilians, anyone who discovered them behind the lines? I do not know and it is classified. Does the Nuremberg responsiblity of a soldier’s individual action apply to victors? I doubt it: who would enforce it?

The Iraq invasion, a war of aggression, like the Nuremberg trials, ... over a million dead, five to ten times than killed by bombs are mutilated and maimed and the infrastructure of an entire nation has been destroyed. And the same lying cabal with no accountability for the forgeries and deceptions that led to that war are again trying to use miltiary threats against another nation, Iran, with people like Eliot and other Neocon sympathisers behind them. Lord Haw Haw lives.

Such figures of death and maiming are above the latest Chinese atrocities and involved us as accomplices, as Mussolini was involved by Hitler's war waging. It is little wonder that being forced into such a war, with such a majority against it at the time, should bring out anger in the people here and protests, just as it in the USA and Britain, and everywhere Bush goes, when they are not stealing his watch.. :)

Perhaps if our troops were sent with HU by Johnny to wage war and destroy a country then we would also be angered there. Perhaps we are not looking closely enoguh at the local environment and our assistance of Indonesian ethnic cleansing atrocites, and I presume that you, Eliot, as a compassionate community nurse with a public holiday, voiced your compassion for the Tibetan and NE Chinese residents currently undergoing ethnic cleansing by registering protest somehow at the APEC visit of the Premier?

Well done if you did, Eliot! That is the right of a democracy, isn't it, to have the right of association and gathering and protest and free speech. This has recently been taken away again in China. I do suspect we are nearing another rather difficult time internally for that manufacturer of our debt imbalance.

Once again I admire all who braved the threatened violence by the police and their water cannon and "shoot to kill" mentality and turned up for the protest and did so with such restraint in the face of police provocation. The organisers did very very well and the bravery of the citoyens is to be commended.



Dear Angela,

I (Webdiary that is) need to talk with you urgently. Could you please email me asap on fjr.work@gmail.com ?

Look forward to hearing from you v soon.



The cutting edge

Susan Moy says

"I know Peter comes for a graphics tradition and I appreciate the way in which he uses whimsy, satire and irony in his work."

Well, undoubtedly there was a lot of whimsy, satire and irony in his front page newspaper comments. Mostly unitentional, I grant you.

Like rock singers and Hollywood actors, artists in Australia seem to think of  themselves as having enhanced insight into contemporary values and beliefs and invariably believe they are gifted with exceptional intellectual abilities, too.

This is a consolatory myth designed to off-set the creeping suspicion that what they do is mostly meaningless in the lives of others and usually at tax-payer expense.

Go a bit stir crazy in the garret, I expect.

Gifted with exceptional intellectual abilities?

Actually, I found Peter to be a rather humble individual when I met him. Are you involved in the Arts, Eliot?

Eliot what in god's name are you drinking?

Or smoking what ever the case may be. The cops in NSW rambled on and on for weeks prior to the APEC rally claiming they had "intelligence' that there would be violence.

I suspect that like the Baxter rally a few years ago they were reading the websites of the protestors. In Baxter, you might remember, all they managed to do was prick some red balloons and stop some kites from being flown. Pretty tuff hey?

As for the Chaser team - I am still howling with laughter at the stupidity of the PM asking the police one day to hold off on harrassing motorcades and the Chaser lads turning themselves in. Not to mention the stupid cops arresting Julian Morrow and ignoring the "Bin Laden" character.

You either need a sense of humour transplant or stop pretending to be a clone of Howard.

laughing through a chardonnay haze

Richard Tonkin says:

You only found your fresh piece of meat after the march, Eliot, and I suspect that your gleeful approach has something to do witht the name of Kingston being involved.

With respect, Richard, it was highly predictable that a person like Peter Kingston would be a conspicuous element within the 'protest'.

And I didn't have to go looking for him. He went looking for us, remember?

Without meaning to be unkind, people like him and their high-profile involvement in such things as the anti-APEC rant have been the butt of gentle ridicule since before George Orwell's time.

And I'm the first to admit that well-heeled bourgeois bohemians, raging at the world through a chardonnay haze are for the most part harmless and certainly shouldn't be compared with the guy in the balaclava running amok in Pitt Street with a crow bar and darts.

That they make up the backbone of the Left Intelligentsia, however, perhaps helps explain Paul's observation about failed ideologies and why they never recover.

Point scoring

You only found your fresh piece of meat after the march, Eliot, and I suspect that your gleeful approach has something to do witht the name of Kingston being involved.  I simply can't be bothered playing your point scoring games any more. Any more that I might say at this instant would be a long way outside of Webdiary editorial guidelines, so I will now shut up.  I wish you could read my thoughts though.

Clumsy grab for the dollar. And here's laughing at you.

Richard Tonkin says:

 You villified those that would attend the march, and you were unjustified in doing so.

Who villiified anyone attending the march? Are you suggesting that merely by quoting excerpts from an interview in a Sydney newspaper freely given by a "well known" protester I'm 'villifying' him?

Anyway, intrigued as to who the "well known artist" Peter Kingston of filthy-rich Mosman might be, I Googled him.

And voila!

""What is happening at Hinchinbrook typifies what is going on all round the coast of Australia - an ignorant, clumsy grab for the dollar without thinking of the implications for future generations," says Kingston. "Artists are prepared to donate their work to show their resistance to ghastly development."

Oh, yes. The ignorant. clumsy grab for the dollar.

Prices for Mr Kingston's own works, however, are available only on application to his agent.

Mind you, his artworks are in publicly funded galleries across Australia and even, cough, cough, the evil United States of America.

I'm very conscious, however, of the manner in which that particular protester's opinions are being repressed.

Apart from exclusive access to the front pages Mudoch-owned newspapers in Sydney, he has it seems only 124 interviews and articles about himself to his credit in his Curriculum Vitae here.

Life's tough on the Mosman barricades, isn't it?

Richard Tonkin says:

A large proportion of Australians now think APEC security was laughable.  Compared to the extreme measures to ensure that President Hu's Sheraton-suite view of Hyde Park was unobscured by democracy, it is indeed a complete joke.

Perhaps had there been a 'Coalition to Stop President Hu', people would have stopped laughing?

You only need a brain

Anyone with a brain would accept the security for APEC was not only a joke, but like watching Monty Python, the Goodies and Fawlty Towers all in one. The venomous rantings of the politicians, police minister, and his fascist police commissioner, revealed the incompetence and agenda of those who conned the people and want a totalitarian state.

APEC panic stirred up in Mosman by Murdoch media. Again.

Richard Tonkin says:

Oh, I've worked it out. You're still looking for 10,000 converging militants.  I've news for you- they were never there.

Rupert Murdoch's Sydney-based weekly satirical newspaper The Mosman Daily has a front page story this week giving further indication to the horrifying ordeals endured by anti-APEC protestors.

Under a four-centimetre deep headline shouting 'APEC fallout', today's edition reports:

"LOWER north shore residents have criticised police action against APEC protesters on the weekend, accusing officers of using excessive force.

The Daily has received several letters from residents who either attended the protest in the city or watched it on TV, many saying the use of force by police was unreasonable."

Several letters? From residents who attended the protest? Or watched it on TV?

It then goes on to quote extensively the terrifying experiences of "Well-known North Sydney artist Peter Kingston" (never heard of him)who says this:

"We are all glad George Bush has left our wonderful city and taken his bad vibes with him,'' he said.

``But we all feel diminished by a police-state culture he has left behind.''

Mosman is an blue ribbon Liberal seat, one of the poshest in Sydney.

The Mosman Daily, according to the ACB data published inside it's front cover, has a readership of 51,000.

Of which "several" wrote letters from residents complaining about the "excessive force" they witnessed "on television". 

Of which precisely two, including the "diminished" Peter Kingston, can be quoted.

So, you are right, Richard, much of what was being reported was a figment of over-active imaginations.

And today's Mosman Daily front page article is further evidence of how "dissent" was "put down" by the Murdoch press.

Peter Kingston

I happen to have enjoyed an exhibition staged a few years ago "HARBOURLIGHTS: The Art and Times of Peter Kingston".  I know Peter comes for a graphics tradition and I appreciate the way in which he uses whimsy, satire and irony in his work.

Three Million Laugh At APEC Security

 A large proportion of Australians now think APEC security was laughable.  Compared to the extreme measures to ensure that President Hu's Sheraton-suite view of Hyde Park was unobscured by democracy, it is indeed a complete joke.

A week later, I'm still not doing a lot of laughing.

Eliot, if that's the best you can do, you're clutching at straws.  You villified those that would attend the march, and you were unjustified in doing so.  Why not admit you were sensationally wrong?

Silly all round

Michael de Angelos says:

Stopping a busload of young people with a search warrant - what appalling behaviour. Good on The Chaser team for showing up the cretinous behaviour of the NSW state Labor government.

The Chaser Team themselves have described their behaviour as "a silly gag gone wrong".

And yes, it was silly stopping the bus-load of young people. But not as silly as denying there ever was a busload.

Busloads of..

I thought the one-hour roadworthiness inspection on an obviously commercially hired vehicle sounded a tad intimidatory.  And the sniffer dog.

Eliot, why the fixation on busloads?  I still haven't heard of any other "busloads" at all, and this one was only a minibus anyway. 

Oh, I've worked it out.  You're still looking for 10,000 converging militants.  I've news for you- they were never there.

Instant Communication

David, do you think that all the technology may have been at least partially responsible for the averting of most violence?  I do.

I didn't see that laptop blogger, but love the idea.  The cameras, the mobiles, potential acces to YouTube, websites,  talkback radio stations, all of these must surely have warned police how far vision of such misbehaviour could be sent.

We now have the ability to bring eyes around the world instantly to any spot on the globe.  I still find the concept amazing, as well as exciting and inspiring.

Of course, any ongoing results depend on the reaction of the "viewers."

I too dressed up a bit for the occasion, figuring that a bloke in a suit and tie was less likely to get thumped by an overexcited copper.  It would have made bad TV.

Alga's comments and pessimism...

Well, it was an ugly day in many ways ... but one can always play with the situation.  My daughter and I left Hyde Park and wandered down to view the fence and then tried to return to Hyde Park only to find ourselves captive outside David Jones in Elizabeth St and unable to re-enter the park. I engaged in a pointed and loud conversation with a couple of elderly demonstrators, suggesting they were clearly a major threat, before being joined by another elderly couple who were outraged at the way that their right to shop had been interfered with.  The looks on the faces of the coppers said it all. 

Several of us then pointed out, politely, to the coppers that we were of the class who actually pay taxes and that they ought to keep in mind that this meant that they were on our payroll.  Not Howard's, not Iemma's, ours. And so on.  There is always opportunity for engagement. 

By this point we had managed to make a 'mini meeting' on the DJ's side of Elizabeth St and the openly expressed common view was that the whole Police Op was a Howard wind up and that a peaceful demonstration was a massive repudiation of Howard's politics of fear and loathing.

Don't let the pessimists undermine you.  One life ... live it on your own terms.

Alga, beleive me, we

Must respond to Alga and others

  The significant thing with  David  Davis'contrib was the pessimism from someone of a probably different political colour who  also feels he's  "seen it all before". People expecting big changes from a prospective change of government are perhaps not being encouraged to expect too much, too soon. And that's great as far as  I am concerned, if that's the case.   And secondly,  the viewpoint. Probably the sort of stuff we wouldn't notice, or would notice, but in a different way.

Davis is of a different background and is the"other side" for many who contribute here. All the more  reason for him to be read. When he offers up a mood of pessimism  that strikes a chord with those of us who see things in a different order to him, that becomes interesting.


David reckoned the cops were "just doing their job". But  that's a bit too reductionist for me. I decode this as saying:" The police were psyched up as attack dogs to put down dissent".  Through this lens, the" doing their job"comment assumes a relevant meaning,  in the way we conceive of a growling rottweiler at a warehouse unthinkingly "doing  a job".

 Also we discover that "property must be protected". Yes,  I know.  It's a bait.  But will ask the following, anyway.

Whose "property"?

As for "terrorism", there is always an off-chance of it, but  David hardly puts the "terrorism" thing in perspective in hinting of insurgents roles  in life exclusively in terms of  party-pooping.  An uneducated reader might be prone to think of "terrorism" only as the villainy of "evil others" we are "protected" from by  Howard;  short of a historical perspective that explains "our" provocative role in its rise ( or  laziness, if you are a realist ).  "Consequence" for "us" and "resistance" from "their" point of view ( you mean, they might have one! ) .

 In short, $300million wasted as much because of  Bush and  Howard as the naughtiness of Swarthy mid-easteners or disruptive demonstrator thugs, who still receive the implicit exclusive blame for resulting"terrorism" such as scaring (comparatively deserving) little old ladies away from  David  Jones out for an afternoon's scavenging.

"long dead socialist causes...". Since when is Democracy "long  dead"?  It lives on only in "our democracy ( club?)", because the "Other" fools are too inferior to conceive of it?  Please spare me Huntingdon's racialist Chorrea, if that's what's up.

"...sad old communists...grab bag of weirdos...circus animals...for many of the demonstrators the thing was rather  pointless..." and so on. We are arguably invited to think if even the lowest could find it "pointless", what would the geniuses sent scuttling from DJ's ( by implication poor, put-out "us", denied our chance to swan about while half the world starves ) make of it.  Nonetheless, David does us all a big favour identifying all the nicer things about the demonstrators whilst being so kind as to avoid any inclusion of their nastier points...

Earlier,  David mentioned those contrastingly admirable people  the old ladies, as  "Canaries". But I would say if the demonstrators were not "up to 2003 standards" by   David's own perhaps subjective analysis of them,  they might be the real "Canaries", demonstrating how low on "oxygen" a policed-out democracy has become. The freaks are  the only ones in a city of four millions who can  get of their arses for five minutes to question the fraud of so-called Globalisation as practised by the sinister coots invited to APAC?  

 But then maybe  David is saying this himself. Or maybe he is just making a comment about the outworkings of life and history from a more Doestoyevskian point of view. You know, sort of like, "if rape inevivitable better to lie back and enjoy it", or that life is a journey to be enjoyed rather a process to be endured.  And for my part,  I don't hate little old commodified ladies and  I don't think all demonstrators are heroic. We are all both ridiculous and worthy.

  Alga, I think,  said darkly,  "we are all here to do our bit", or words to that effect in a reificatory sense. And  I think that is true in Stalinist or old industrial capitalist societies and therefore why not the current "global" one as to, at least,  homogeneity and hegemonics?   I am well aware that  I am lucky to live here rather than in a third world slum somewhere, so  I can restate my appreciation of David's " take" as adding to my personal sum total of appreciation, without necesarily accepting all of his arguments and claims, or being in denial as to my own complicity, or not being able to want enjoy my life like a normal person, also.

I accept that David and  Alga would dearly love to see the third world's misery alleviated, other wise why would they bother contributing. The question is, then,  what is the order of process, unless we accept the world order as the normal state of affairs and "get on with the party". For me what was the point of something costing up to$300 million in a world full of poor people, when surely the organisers could have had the imagination to develop something for a fraction of that cost?  Sorry,  David,  I just can't see that as the sign of a sane society. btw,  mentioning  REM made me think of the story in terms of the old Lou Reed song, "Perfect Day".

 Now, grabbing my catalogue and "off", possums!

And So Ladies And Gentlemen

You now see what our democracies mean, sweet FA! The government says "We must do and you must obey" and so be it. 

On 60 Minutes the police commander responsible for all this APEC "security"  proudly acknowledged that he had absolute power. His power could not be reviewed by a higher power was the clear message.

As Daniel is so fond of saying when speaking of religion, its back to the 'warm fuzzy teat' you democracy babies. You have been forewarned, unequivocally and brutally, that Australia can be a police state run by a dictator anytime those in power want it to be so. Every opportunity that the police have to trample democractic ideals is an opportunity closer to the day that this country will no longer be a democracy. Hitler changed Germany one sneaky, lying step at a time.

Out of their depth more likely

The old adage goes "when it comes down to conspiracy or cock-up, cock-up always wins".  Here in inner Sydney I've been living with the APEC run-up for a few weeks now, and all I get is a profound sense of a law enforcement presence severely stretched, and frankly out of its depth in the face of a supposed risk that is likely blown out of all proportion in any case.  They all look pretty amateurish to me.  If that's true there will be plenty of inappropriate, but relatively innocent knee-jerk reactions during the course of the event and its protests.  Our Police and other enforcement functions don't have do this sort of stuff much, thankfully.  NSW Commissioner Scipione hinted so in the wake of the Chaser Bin-Laden stunt, implying that there was a real risk that a Police sniper stationed on a building somewhere might panic atteh sight of something untoward happening on the street and someone might get hurt as a result.  That is scary, but understandable.

Margo: Hello David. How are you? 

New thread?

Margo, was contemplating where to put a Chris Floyd piece about the death of the US Republic and was a bit stumped. So perhaps it could form the basis of a new thread a new thread. Just seen your new thread - a sort of sister piece.

Death of the Republic?

Recently I made the comment in response to some kind words from Kerryn Higgs about the Irises thread "So, one little conviction came of the Plame issue, but we did get a look at how corrupt the Bush Administration is." The "one little conviction" referred to that of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and the case prosecuted by Patrick J. Fitzgerald in what became known as Plamegate.

However, readers of Irises will be aware that material was provided that the corruption referred to above went much further and much deeper.  So much so that there are those who are concerned for the health of the Republic. Some have, such as in the article that is the basis of this thread, read it the Last Rites.

The article is
Post-Mortem America: Bush's Year of Triumph and the Hard Way Ahead
by Chris Floyd.

Tomorrow is here.
The game is over. The crisis has passed -- and the patient is dead.
Whatever dream you had about what America is, it isn't that anymore.
It's gone. And not just in some abstract sense, some metaphorical or
mythological sense, but down in the nitty-gritty, in the concrete
realities of institutional structures and legal frameworks, of policy
and process, even down to the physical nature of the landscape and the
way that people live.

Republic you wanted -- and at one time might have had the power to take
back -- is finished. You no longer have the power to keep it; it's not
there. It was kidnapped in December 2000, raped by the primed and ready
exploiters of 9/11, whored by the war pimps of the 2003 aggression,
gut-knifed by the corrupters of the 2004 vote, and raped again by its
"rescuers" after the 2006 election. Beaten, abused, diseased and
abandoned, it finally died. We are living in its grave.

Floyd quotes the "paper of record":

…Bush administration
officials have already signaled that, in their view, the president
retains his constitutional authority to do whatever it takes to protect
the country, regardless of any action Congress takes. At a tense
meeting last week with lawyers from a range of private groups active in
the wiretapping issue, senior Justice Department officials refused to
commit the administration to adhering to the limits laid out in the new
legislation and left open the possibility that the president could once
again use what they have said in other instances is his constitutional
authority to act outside the regulations set by Congress.

the meeting, Bruce Fein, a Justice Department lawyer in the Reagan
administration, along with other critics of the legislation, pressed
Justice Department officials repeatedly for an assurance that the
administration considered itself bound by the restrictions imposed by
Congress. The Justice Department, led by Ken Wainstein, the assistant
attorney general for national security, refused to do so, according to
three participants in the meeting. That stance angered Mr. Fein and
others. It sent the message, Mr. Fein said in an interview, that the
new legislation, though it is already broadly worded, “is just
advisory. The president can still do whatever he wants to do. They have
not changed their position that the president’s Article II powers trump
any ability by Congress to regulate the collection of foreign

Floyd's assessment:

Thus the
Administration's own spokesmen are now saying openly, in plain English,
what they once only insinuated beneath layers of legal jargon: that the
president of the United States does not have to obey the law of the
land. He does not have to obey acts passed by Congress. He is free to
act arbitrarily, to do anything whatsoever that he claims is necessary
to "defend national security," in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of
the armed forces. There is literally nothing anyone can do – not
Congress, not the courts – to stop him.

There is much more in this article including answers to some of the common objections:

Those who insist on
seeing the current situation as "politics as usual" (even if an extreme
version of it) will point to peripheral elements that still retain some
of the flavor of the old order: such as the Justice Department scandal,
with its forced resignations and Congressional probes, or the
occasional criminal trial of Bush Regime minions like Scooter Libby.
Some will say such things are proof that we don't really live under
tyranny, that deep down, the "system works."

But all of this is indeed "politics as usual" -- the kind of politics that occurs under every system
of rule. Even the Caesars were subject to such pressures, forced to
remove (and sometimes execute) officials who had become too
controversial due to scandal, crime, corruption or factional
opposition, or even unpopularity with "the rabble." Sometimes the
Caesars themselves were removed for such causes -- but the tyrannical
system went on. Likewise, the kings and queens of England in their
autocratic heyday were forced to give up ministers -- even court
favorites -- due to similar pressures. And so too the Russian czars,
the Chinese emperors, the Persian monarchs, the Muslim Caliphs, the
Egyptian pharaohs, etc. Even Hitler was sometimes thwarted or hampered
in his polices by factional strife or public displeasure. "Politics"
does not disappear in undemocratic regimes. It is a function of human
relations, and carries on regardless of the political system imposed on
a society.

And concern is not for the US alone, as Webdiarist Alga Kavanagh reminds us

Our fate is sealed, we
will be forced into complete capitulation of what freedoms we have,
in the name of security after this federal election, if the lib/lab
coalition holds all the power. To enhance control we will have
religious morals thrust upon us, then they will introduce religious
conflict to increase the reasons to suppress even further. Rudd is a
joke and will water down all policies once in power, as we are seeing
now. So it matters not which faction is in control, all we will see
is escalation of the present directions and more APEC type controls.
After all, the politicians and security forces have now tasted blood
and they didn't accumulate all that heavy equipment, just for show.
They intend using it under any guise when its suits theirs and their
corporate masters purpose.

Alga is just the latest in a list of 'Diarists who have expressed such concerns. "To enhance control ...", yes, it might well be the objective. Is it merely the fulfillment of Lord Acton's observation or preparation for dealing with disruptions that might well lie ahead through climate change and resource depletion?

I referred in a post  on Irises to the last words spoken in the film Easy Rider by Wyatt, aka Captain America:

We blew it.

Have they? Have we?

Margo: hi Bob. Let's leave it for now. we've got a lot of threads going and this piece fits in with a few of them, yes? 

Ideological positions make no difference

Paul, I would say my position would be in the extreme minority. Just about everyone is obligated under their programming to support the system status quo, including all ideological positions. People spent their entire time running round in circles trying to change things, using the same failed methods. The difference only boils down to, how they see themselves in their illusional, indoctrinated stupefying sociological material programming.

Until people start to use lateral change instead of revolving door hope, we will only see one outcome for this country and the world. Right or left wing, they all us the same method, system and approach, so failure and further suppression are the ultimate outcomes.

Our fate is sealed, we will be forced into complete capitulation of what freedoms we have, in the name of security after this federal election, if the lib/lab coalition holds all the power. To enhance control we will have religious morals thrust upon us, then they will introduce religious conflict to increase the reasons to suppress even further. Rudd is a joke and will water down all policies once in power, as we are seeing now. So it matters not which faction is in control, all we will see is escalation of the present directions and more APEC type controls. After all, the politicians and security forces have now tasted blood and they didn't accumulate all that heavy equipment, just for show. They intend using it under any guise when its suits theirs and their corporate masters purpose.


Blue-Green Alga: Rudd is a joke and will water down all policies once in power, as we are seeing now.

Making him a Time-Lord, one suspects. Readying us all to vote Green-Blue in Wentworth, then saying it wasn’t our fault on election night when Kirribilli scrapes in with a smirk and a snarl about governing “for all of the US”.

Well, it’s OK, because there’s no difference between him and Kevin Rudd, and all the Kombat Truppen in Irak.

Not to mention Noel Pearson and Gary Johns and Jack Ah Kit and Poo Ling Hang Soon of Isk, Queensland and whoever else we chooses. Perhaps Luciano Pasquarotti, who may yet have a bit of singing to do. Or Rabid David Oldfield, MLC. How about the squalid Family Fist? Is it OK to park my vote up their dank cloacae? I mean, there's no difference between them and Lindsay Tanner, after all.

Wouldn’t it be better to say: “Rudd is a joke and will water down all policies once in power, as we are seeing now, and appoint hundreds of trade union thug bosses to positions of power throughout the Commonwealth, including the High Court, Federal Court, Federal Magistracy and numerous tribunals?

And also the Scouting movement, Rotary, the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Chaser , the Canadian High Commission and the West Australian Greens?” And Stephen Mayne's Well f*ck me.com/mate!?

One can't see a problem, really

“Rudd is a joke” is straight out of Akkimoto-san’s Official Little Faded Green Occupation Handbook, complete with the Emperor's legendary 10,000 sen (= £0/10s/6d) notes, “good everywhere throughout the Great East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere and in any Imperial Japanese Army Gifte Shoppe, canteen, comfort women's hostel and all luxury POW restaurants from Rabaul to Nagasaki.”

Ah, the good ol' days, when pig-iron slipped freely over our docks.

(signed) Private Ho Chi “Blue-Red with a Yellow Star Algae” Woodforde, OAM, former slave, Long Tan Rubber Plantation, 1942-75, now a free man, c/- Post Office, Binh Ba SRV.

Hmm blued a bit, David 

Hmm... blued a bit, David  wrote it, not  Margo.

Seems the substantative argument seems to occur in the conflicting trajectory  of the posts of David  and Mary  J.  I say this because  David's tone seemed to change rapidly from the intro to the thread, to his response to  Alga.

I see this as slightly more"shades of grey' than  Daniel Smythe might allow though and am actually glad for  David's comments.  Even though  I remain more subscribed  to  Mary  J's engagement, David's comments  asked interesting questions of me.

WD continues to work for multiplicity of views forming a developing synthesis, if that's not too contradictory. But  Daniel was shrewd to notice the difference- David's alienation versus Mary J and  Algas engagement and then query what these divergent  positions might represent.


I'd like to recommend two readings that bear very much on the "nationalism" themes that will continue to reverberate in and around the arguments that renegotiate our relationships with the US. 

From America’s Guardian Myths (pay for view) at New York Times:

Sept. 11 cracked the plaster on that master narrative of American prowess because it so exactly duplicated the terms of the early Indian wars, right down to the fecklessness of our leaders and the failures of our military strategies. Like its early American antecedents, the 9/11 attack was a homeland incursion against civilian targets by non-European, non-Christian combatants who fought under the flag of no recognized nation. Like the “different type of war” heralded by President Bush, the 17th and 18th century “troubles” — as one Puritan chronicler of Metacom’s Rebellion called them, refusing to grant them “the name of a war” — seemed to have no battlefield conventions, no constraints and no end.

Unfortunately, by replicating the Colonial war on terrorism, 9/11 invited us to re-enact the post-Colonial solution, to bury our awareness of our vulnerability under belligerent posturing and comforting fantasy.

Like the cultural imagineers before them, our post-9/11 press, entertainers and political spin doctors set to work to prop up our sense of virile indomitability — “the return of the manly man” and a reconstituted “John Wayne masculinity” were on every media lip, as the triumphs of torture-prone Jack Bauer heroes were on every TV. The 2004 presidential campaign was given a Western stage set — with the candidates proving their ability to assume the mantle of Crockett in Chief by bragging about their gun collections, hacking at brush and tree stumps and shooting at wild animals. (John Kerry spent so much time in hunting camouflage that he was dubbed “John the Deerslayer.”)

Also restored was the defense of helpless femininity. Witness the Bush administration’s much-trumpeted claims to be saving Afghan women from their burqas and Iraqi women from Saddam Hussein’s “rape rooms.” Or the military’s much-ballyhooed “rescue” of Pvt. Jessica Lynch (albeit from a hospital whose caregivers had tried to return her to American forces, but had been driven back by American gunfire). Or the invention of a supposedly huge new voting bloc of “security moms,” trembling-lipped homemakers desperate to re-elect the sheriff who would keep terrorists from their suburban ranches.

Or “The Hug,” the photo op that was turned into the most expensive political ad of the 2004 race, in which President Bush embraced a teenage girl whose mother had died in the World Trade Center. In the commercial, which analysts viewed as the most effective of Mr. Bush’s campaign, the girl told voters, “He’s the most powerful man in the world, and all he wants to do is make sure I’m safe.”

Such reversions have led us in some terrible and self-destructive directions — loss of civil liberties, endorsement of torture and a misbegotten war paramount among them — because they are based on a need to deny, not address, a disturbing national reality. But we shouldn’t be so afraid to countenance the ghosts of our Mary Rowlandsons.

The founders of our country were steeped in the experience of Metacom’s Rebellion. In the Revolutionary era, Rowlandson herself had a curtain call as an American icon: her book was reissued in the 1770s and once again achieved popularity, along with the narratives of a number of other women who had endured trials in the embattled wilderness. It was in these very times, with recent knowledge of domestic attack, that our founders expanded, not contracted, the concept of democracy, authoring the very liberties we have been tempted to renounce in our own time of “troubles.”

If the polls recording widespread disenchantment with the Iraq war and the Bush administration’s performance are any indication, we may finally — a half-dozen years after 9/11 — be prepared to ask some hard questions about our response. That suggests we may be at a moment of clarity and, hence, of great possibility. By returning us to the trauma that produced our national myth, the 9/11 attacks present the opportunity to look past the era of buckskin bravado and unlock the cabinet wherein lies America’s deepest formative fear, the fear of home-soil terrorism.

One ultimate casualty of Metacom’s Rebellion was the Puritans’ determination to face that fear. By revisiting our ancient drama, 9/11 gives us a chance to regain that abandoned resolve, to see our frailties in a realistic light, instead of papering them over with dangerous delusions.

Susan Faludi is the author, most recently, of the forthcoming “The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America.”

Michael Gawenda's book 'American Notebook' is in the libraries. I'd call it essential reading for anyone with a political nose, especially living in Melbourne. Gawenda (immediate past editor of The Age) has paid the price for his expressed views. He does not shy away from those controversial issues that, he says, threaten to drive people mad in their attempts to make rational decisions. He seems genuinely fearful of the involvement of America's lunatic fundamentalists in the political affairs of Israel. AWB is not indexed, but on page 139 he labels it "he biggest single corrupter and briber of Saddam's government". It's curious Gawenda does not mention Martin Indyk (Brookings Institute).

Gawenda probably would discount the typical 'Jackboot Johnnie' and 'Bush Nazi' banners that have defasced most gatherings of protest in the last decade.  

Were any of the APEC protesters as useful as the Knoxville antiracists?

Hopefully, Labor will detoxify (or deTexafy) our bonds with the US,  and some deft footwork by Rudd will save us from the fate of Major Kong.  

Margo: Thank you,  Trevor. I didn't know Gawenda had written a book! I met him at this year's Byron Bay Writers Festival, and he too has left Fairfax. He was editor of The Age before his posting to Washington,  and did his best to stop the rot. But no-one who cared could.  Like me, he doesn't want to work for the biggies ever again, because they're rotten and dying. I look forward to reading Michael's book.

AWB - the biggest corruptor?

Well in that he is wrong Trevor. AWB accounted for only 300 million of the estimated 10 billion that corrupted the sanctions. The largest component was as I understand it the illegal oil sales, while around 1.6 billion of that was by way of kickbacks by some 2000 companies from a whole host of countries, including Australia's AWB.

This attempt to downplay the real size of the abuse of the santions really irritates me. If Gawenda is to have any credibility he should get his facts right and not be so selective.

And I notice there are not too many Cole inquiries going on around the world are there? Are we the only mugs doing the navel gazing?

And in any case, Australia wrote off some 600 million of wheat sale debt to Iraq so the Iraqis were in effect compensated two fold.  So in my opinion that should be the end of it, except for those executives in the company who should be held to account personally for what they did. I resent their walking away with their big severence packets while we shareholders and wheat farmers carry the losses they have brought to the company and growers.


An Interesting Contrast!

To read the ho-hum, dismissive comment by David Davis then the passionate one preceding it by Alga demonstrates clearly how differently people see things, how far apart we are as humans.

Police Power versus The Right to Protest was on show and massive force won hands down!

The Police win meant that Democracy lost and demonstrated that Australian citizens were easily cowed by their own State and Federal Governments.

One wonders where this trend will lead.

Where? Libs Are Paying Big Bux At Centerbet

Danile E Smythe One wonders where this trend will lead. Nach Weinachts, um noch eine Dunkelsieg, Maüschen! So start singing for Kirribilli: "Die Fahne Hoch ..." Go on, we all know the words and the tune - we learned them at school under the compulsory union jack flag-poledancing! (SIGNED) Reichsliedfuher am Kirribilli

Reynard Pretty Boy Heydrich-O'Woodforde, OAM (with Oak Leaf Cluster), liaison officer for the Reich to Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, AKA Queen Elizabeth die Koeniginsmutti, and Hon Patroness of the British Union of Fascists and the Antipodean neo-Nazi New Guard, incubator at Canterbury of HMAS Kirribilli House and all who sail beneath her fluttering swastika flags.

David Jones is the canary in the coalmine.

The point is that David Jones is the canary in the coalmine. Old ladies have long known that it costs no more to shop there and that indeed there's no other store like David Jones. This is part of the bedrock of commercial Sydney. If this is under threat, even if only for some hours it is the canary in the coal mine of our democracy.

As for the police, I have no issue with them at all. The uniforms they wear and the equipment they have are entirely fitting for a riot. That the riot did not happen was a combination of factors. They could wear light cotton shirts and have them torn to shreds in a riot but that doesn't make much sense. They were just doing their job.

Everyone was just doing their job. Sad old communists were marching and campaigning about the end of capitalism. There was the inevitable old wire man and the nuclear fusion woman. It was a tiny little crowd for a city like Sydney. It had nothing in common with the marches held back in 2003 against the Iraq War. In fact it wasn't even clear to me what the march was about. A lot of people were promoting a leader in South America. Many were promoting long dead socialist and communist causes and others were muttering on about climate change and condoms.

I got caught up in the actual march at Park and Elizabeth and was forced to join it because there was no way out. I was marching beside a fire union person who was blathering on about workplace relations. The protest had no focus and no outcome. It was like orientation week at university except the students were decades too old.

Personally I had rather a nice day. The best parts were the interludes in David Jones and the carnival like atmosphere in Hyde Park. So while my day was very nice I think for many of the protesters the whole thing was rather pointless. Sure it may have been a good day out but that was the extent of it. This was hardly a changing of the world as we know it type protest. The protesters became like circus animals at one point with people like me simply taking pictures of the sideshow.

If I was in charge of planning for the police, I can't see how I would have done it differently. Assets had to be protected as did public order in general. The record in Melbourne and other cities had been that protests can turn violent. I think that is more of a Melbourne thing anyway. In Sydney people don't care as much. With a greater metro population of well over 4 million, the best the lefties could do yesterday was present a tiny grab bag of weirdos and strange causes. Three cheers to the leader no one cares about in South America and thanks to the woman who tried to convince me of the nuclear fusion cover-up.

Bad day? More like priceless day.

Margo: Hiya David, and thank you for your eyewitness report. Gee I'm glad I dropped the 'G'Day' opener to my work since I retired. Now even bloody Bush is doing it! 


"HO-HUM" DD: Later I saw another old lady asking police if she could go to David Jones. They told her it would be always there and it would be best if she went home. Kindly old ladies being discouraged from David Jones? Consigliere Scipione It was a mistake, a terrible mistake … my boyz shoulda k'n pistol whipper her and clubbed her down then set the giant attack dawgs on her corpse, and if she tried to run for it – as these cowardly violent leftist anarchist Marxian protesters often do – summoned a sniper-chopper to cut her to ribbons, along with any other brutal leftwing greenie David Jones shoppers we so please! And anyway, one would bet "ho-hum" DD’s LOL wasn’t goin' in lookin' to be ekin' out her ration cards buyin' some crappy shit brown Big Dubya-OPEC rain coat, the nasty garb which epitomises a grubby decade of Kirribilli rule, under Crawford TexAmericana’s shiny jackboot heel. But those Chaser blokes were brilliant to lampoon all the pompous APEC farts by dressing them up as the Howards of Kirribilli … in cack-brown raincoats, with a bit of Packer Birthdayesue trophy bling on the side. While we're ekin' out a livin' with our ration cards.

 I bet Consigliere Scipione is very cross indeed with them as with the LOL violent showdown. Why weren’t the attack dogs, water cannon, house-pet Howardista columnists and sniper choppers called in? Huntin' down the raincoat perpetrators and killin' them to give both the Iemmas and the Kirribillis simultaneous double viagro-snoregasms. Then swooping Skorpione’s killer sniper choppers over David Jones to shoot depleted uranium bullets into the barbers shop, known to house ho/hum.com dissidents.

(signed) Major-General Harald-Jacques Mohammed Sholto McJihad Goretex™only McWoodforde, VC, OAM, Ho Chi Minh Star for Bravery as a Defector in the face of the US Imperialist Warmonger Foe, Member of the Club of Rome-inspired EuroParliament (including the Austrians beloved of Dubya) in which OPECalypse Now! shitty raincoats are not really banned as such, but may appear only with loud American claque guffaws as used on the most stupid of shopping channels dumbshowz, of the kind specified by Watson’s Bay Mega-Judgerina Helen Coonan QC, the Techno-Brabarian, an hopefully soon-to-be-routed Howard frontbencher. I bet there’s a few people at the big end of town hoping she has the skills sufficient to drive a Maxi-shreddder™ on election night. And run mulch-shuttles to the government incinerator through to her glum Sunday brunch, with Akkimoto-san’s withered corpse placed atop the pyre, buckling and twisting in the heat like a union-busting businessman doing a knocking shop on the side during a HR Nicholls Society SE Asian "study tour" of ultra-cheap non-unionised, unskilled disposable workforces. And while we’re on shredders … Kevin Rudd has good memories and excellent remnant forensic backup of the National-Liberal multiple-monster shredder panic after Wayne Goss smashed their similarly corrupt edifice way back in the mists of time when Sir Peter Beattie was but a tiny squalling (and teething) infant. Let’s hope the sinister PMO has ordered the right gear. After all, there’s nothing like the single forgotten piece of paper to put the lot of them in jug for a bit of long term forcible sodomy, a bit like a private school, really, but without cadets, or at the National Party's Spatulas and Spindorksters Big Dirty Weekend Out at Dirranbandi.qld.4486.org.

A bumpy ride down the tube

What else can anyone expect, when the people give power to a fascist coalition dictatorship, we see the only outcome possible. Old ladies being abused by police, a bloke taking his son to buy lunch is threatened, arrested beaten and locked up without rights for 22 hours and charged with assault of police. Only the ignorant or total fools, would be stupid enough to not realise the monster they have created by supporting the right wing religious neo con lib/lab dictatorship.


APEC has shown us how far down the hole those supporting the lib/lab coalition have pushed this country. The entire APEC conference has done nothing for the future, except to enshrine the incumbent coalition of dictatorship, allowing them to determine their next suppressive steps in secret. It won't matter which of the lib/lab faction is elected, this country will be forced into suppressive enslavement as they continue to sell off everything the people own, promote the proliferation of destructive and polluting monopolistic corporate regimes and lie their hearts out. Fools are easily fooled and it seems the people this country have allowed themselves to be come the biggest fools in the world. We once had a lovely country of freedom, peace and reasonable tranquility. Now the academic drive for constant economic growth and the centralist corporate monopolisation of all aspects of life has taken over and all we will see is growing suppression, collapsing environment, economically enslaved chaos and a fast slide into the abyss of totalitarianism. Enjoy the ride down, it will be really bumpy.

Even Miranda's Mortified !

It had to finally happen: Miranda Devine has got a glimpse of what we have all known because it happened to a friend of hers - the frightful thuggish behaviour of police goons and the jailing for 22 hours of an innocent accountant as his terrified young son looked on.

This past week and the weeks  leading up to APEC with Commissioner Maroney, the little buffoon and Bob Carr acolyte Morris Iemma and all the reprehensible police talking heads from the Minister to the new , so-called Christian Scippione.has been the very worst in yapping Fascism I've ever witnessed in this country.

Even during the old Vietnam protests the police, whilst never pleasant, were somehow more honest in their approach. There was none of puke making macho and Nazi style thuggery we've seen in Sydney during APEC. A bit of biffo yes but these guys today have turned into some sort of weird private army.

This cannot be allowed to stand. We have to organise to demonstrate to these thugs in blue who appear to be the most mindless bunch I've ever seen, and their anti-Democratic bosses that this is still Australia.

Stopping a busload of young people with a search warrant - what appalling behaviour. Good on The Chaser team for showing up the cretinous behaviour of the NSW state Labor government.

I'm ripping up my membership this minute and posting it to Iemma.

I rest my case on facism


Worse still the clowns arrested a friend of the devine Miranda who is rightly foaming at the mouth.

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Margo Kingston

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