724 thoughts on “V.I.P. Milestone Birthday!

  1. Lady Gaga is unrivalled. Her work with Tony Bennett – Cheek to Cheek – is one of the all time great collaborations. Her Julie Andrews was even better than Julie Andrews. She might even have more talent than Kylie!

  2. Click to access essential_report_150224.pdf

    Also see Crikey paywalled analysis http://www.crikey.com.au/2015/02/24/essential-voters-unimpressed-with-abbotts-indonesian-diplomacy/



  3. Guy Rundle has done it again. It’s pay-walled, so here goes –

    Rundle: we are watching the throes of a dying govt, and it is so good

    Like Howard in 2007, Abbott is politically dead — he just doesn’t seem to have noticed yet.

    How good is this? Seriously, how good is it? I know I should start a piece about the Abbott government in some more serious vein, about the new stuff about redrawing the line between security and freedom being the desperate act of a dying government but no less dangerous for that, but ehhhh …

    Whatever advantage the Abbott government gets from another plunge into national security politics is being offset by the uproar it’s creating in Muslim community circles, the further disquiet in wider multicultural power networks and the consequent panic in the same backbenchers who had to cop the flak during the 18C debate.

    As is usual today, it’s difficult to tell how much is planned and how much is Abbott putting that extra 10% on the top and cancelling whatever political advantage may have been gained. By now Abbott’s distinctive combination — surplus aggression and surplus sycophancy — should be utterly familiar. It’s had the exact effect here that it always does.

    The whole point of national security politics is to move with gravitas, as if this is sheer statesmanship by the natural party of government. Fanging it on Muslim community leaders, who all but the most blinkered can see have bent over backwards to tackle Islamist radicalisation, is a) sucking up to the people who want you to go in harder, gain some advantage, b) finding an outlet for your surplus aggression; and thus c) looking like a dickh — a hothead.

    Well, maybe it’s good for a coupla points. But for how long? Abbott looks exactly like Howard did in 2007. Nothing works. Magic acts only work when you like the magician, hence the show and the glamorous assistant (who appears to remain unsackable). When you stop liking him, show’s over — he’s just a bloke with a rabbit down his pants.

    There’s now far too much happening to contain in a single narrative. Seven ministers previously loyal announce that Abbott’s on notice. The party’s treasurer says he didn’t sit through years of meetings with blue rinses and loonies to put up with the dysfunctional threesome at the heart of power. We should ask them to pace it out, so we have something to read on the weekend.

    Meanwhile the collapse of trust between the news-propaganda wing of the Right and the propaganda-propaganda wing widens even further. John Lyons’ backgrounded piece claiming that Abbott had explored the option of a unilateral Australian anti-Islamic State mission in Iraq involving 3500 troops gained two reactions: 1) Greg Sheridan saying “well of course he did, don’t be stupid”; and 2) Andrew Bolt saying “well of course he didn’t, don’t be stupid”.

    Bolt’s reasoning on this is particularly specious: he claims that since the alleged conversation is claimed to have taken place in late November 2014, after American and other support troops had already been committed, it could not have been unilateral, so there. But as Lyons’ report made clear, Abbott’s inquiry was about a full independent military force, going after IS, which is quite a different thing.

    Which seemed to be what Greg Sheridan was saying, although really, the piece was so self-parodic — Sheridan has enough self-parodies for a slim Christmas stocking-filler by now — it was really hard to tell. The man seems to have taken on Zhdanov’s wager: if you’re going to abase yourself and turn all your intelligence to the service of political kitsch, commit to it totally, make it your project.

    Sheridan presumably believes Abbott to be a goner now, and all he has left to do is throw himself on the rock-hard corpse (“has rigor mortis set in?” “It’s Tony Abbott, how would you tell?”). Speaking of Sheris, even Markson got a piece of the action, with table talk in the media section reporting that John Howard had told what sounds like a dinner party in hell, or, y’know, Deepdene, that he couldn’t understand why Tony Abbott hadn’t become more prime ministerial. Yes, what is it about the deadbeat-teenage-dad-Oxford-blue-failed priest-mediaevalist-who-lives-in-the-police-college that could possibly have suggested difficulties in adjusting to changing realities?

    The leaks come so fast now that they take on a compulsive and occult quality. This appears to be less an attempt to position or influence than simply to disown. At some point it becomes a matter of personal shame to have it believed of you that you believed in Tony Abbott. An anecdote, a rumour or, best of all, hard fact, as to his ineptitude or doubtful sanity serves as a sacrificial offering, a token of separation. “Me? I was never fooled. I heard he was a trucker on the Belanglo Forest … “

    With the exception of Sheridan, who’s in love, and utterly counter-productive, the only two water-carriers willing to bail Tony out are the Bolter and Gollum Henderson. Gollum, he of the Ratty Room In A Terrace House Institute, is always careful and has of late confined himself to pointing out that Tony Abbott was not the only politician to use the term “Holocaust” for things they didn’t like. True, but all the others weren’t being scrutinised by their close colleagues for evidence of poor judgement at the time. Gollum is, in his own way, backing away from Mr Tony too.

    But the Bolter! The Bolter is going in hard for Tony. He’s doing magnificently. For what he’s doing for Tony, he should get a Tony. Having attacked the integrity and reliability of The Australian (“The Oz can’t run this bull and not say sorry”), he went on 2GB and described Lyons and others as “far-Left journalists”. Ladies, gentlemen, welcome to the far Left. Smocks are over there. Barista class in five minutes. I hope you like lentils.

    There are three possibilities from this malarkey: 1) The Bolter is deranged and genuinely believes they are far-leftists, 2) The Bolter believes his own publicity and thinks he has more power than the Newscrap hierarchy; or 3) The Bolter knows something, i.e. that Chris Mitchell’s editorship is in the terminal ward, and can afford to go in hard. Interesting.

    Also interesting and deranged at the same time has been the outbreak of bitter right-wing elitism that followed the Queensland election and the spill. It’s ably covered by Jeff Sparrow in The Guardian, but I propose to go over all the details again in loving detail tomorrow, because it is so good.

    It is all so good


  4. Max Chalmers’ companion piece to the one Leone has already linked is well worth reading too:

    You wouldn’t be hard pressed to find ironies in the PM’s latest act of dog-whistling (or, as Junkee called it ‘dog-airhorning’) but one is particularly striking when thinking about Veiszadeh in particular.

    The government’s turn against Muslims seeks to build legitimacy on the assumption that they are a hostile outsider group in Australia, prone to ignoring domestic law and custom, and the civil rights of fellow citizens.

    But the end goal of these insinuations has been to allow the passage of legislation that eats away at civil rights, due legal process, and privacy. Even if you’re a good little bigot living in the nation’s whitest suburb, the government could still soon be sifting through years of your phone and internet data, sans warrant.

    Veiszadeh is trying to yell over the dog-whistling, but as a lawyer she’s also a symbol of the kinds of processes, procedures, and checks on executive power that the Abbott government has consistently pushed against.

    It’s Veiszadeh who acts within and respects Australian law, not the supposed patriots who go after her, or the government that subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) gives a nod to their racism.


  5. This is not pay-walled.
    Disgraceful – the army was sent into Queensland to help clean up after Cyclone Marcia, but the shattered NT communities have had no help at all. Even more shameful when Abbott was in Darwin last Saturday, but ignored the members of indigenous communities who had been evacuated to Darwin. He preferred playing Action Man with the troops.

    Send in the troops – Arnhem Land has been ‘smashed’

  6. Ah – cool, got it now Ducky, thanks again. Will keep in mind for the future.

    That image came courtesy of Samantha Maiden’s Twitter feed, with the comment: “To the fool who texted this to me – ENOUGH – have some respect for our national symbols and tin. “

  7. Abbott is clearly insane.

    This afternoon he said the government wanted to see children out of detention and the way to do it was to “stop the boats”.

    But he has been telling us for months that the boats have stopped.

    Last week, while the furor over the release of The Forgotten Children was in full swing, the government quiety moved children from a Darwin detnetion centre to Nauru – where they had come from some time earlier.

    If the boats have stopped and the only way to get children out of detention is now clearly open why are children still being sent to Nauru? And why are they being sent back, after being told they were being taken to Australia to be housed in the community?

    I’m not expecting any sort of sane answer from Abbott. All the fool can do is chant slogans, like a demented parrot. (My apologies to any parrots who may be offended by that.)

    Nothing this government says makes sense.

  8. The full post is not yet up, but via the side bar on the front page, I can see…
    Federal 2 Party Vote
    Morgan Poll – February 14/15 & 21/22. 2,639 electors Party
    ALP 56% L-NP 44%

    Also you can click through the “view more” trends for more info…

    Last Election preferences is ALP 55 L/NP 45

    (note, to compare to other polls by the Kevin Bonnham method, its -1.5 from the last election prefs for the RM multimode poll lean to ALP = TPP ALP 53.5 L/NP 46.5)

    ALP 40.5
    L/NP 37.5
    GRN 10
    PUP 2
    OTH 10

  9. ” Jaycee,

    D’you think if you gave her a bit of a hug you might get sliced up?”…pls’ Fiona…the created image !!

  10. Jaycee,

    I did consider including a pic of a mandoline (food slicer, not musical instrument) but thought it might be – um – a little pointed.

  11. Jakarta. Vice President Jusuf Kalla said on Monday that Indonesia was prepared to return the $1 billion in aid that Australia provided following the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.

    The comments were in response to a reminder from Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who last week mentioned the relief when making a plea for two Australian drug traffickers on death row in Indonesia.

    “I have explained that we understood during the tsunami, there was humanitarian aid from 56 countries, including from Australia,” Kalla said on Monday. “If it was not considered humanitarian aid, we will return it


    Over to you, Tony. Will you take it back? I think Indonesia has won this one.

  12. I am back home after two uneventful flights. I met my eldest son in Adelaide airport as he was waiting to catch a flight to Melbourne, from where I had just flown in.

  13. abbott is stupid enough to accept the offer. After all, it would make a nice contribution to the plus side of the ledger.

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