Thursday, January 31, 2008

keeping the sorry in apology

This is from today's crikey!, and something that we'll have to be well versed in when brendan (the Anti-Kev) nelson gets his shit together.

Editor of The National Indigenous Times Chris Graham writes:

There’s nothing like a little ‘sorry’ debate to get white Australia all red and puffy. Here’s a punter’s guide to exploding 10 of the more virulent myths surrounding a national apology to members of the Stolen Generations:

It was done by a previous generation.

Not correct. Of all the Stolen Generations myths, this is the biggest. If it were “previous generations”, then surely there’d be no-one left to apologize to? The facts are that the removal of Aboriginal children continued well into the 1960s and early 1970s. It’s worth noting it was absolutely raging during the late 1950s, when a small, lispy man named John Howard was serving as president of the NSW Young Liberals.

Saying sorry won’t deliver better results in health, housing or education.
Here’s a surprising revelation for you -- saying sorry is not supposed to deliver health, housing and education. Equally, saying sorry won’t prevent governments from delivering health, housing and education. This particular objection is perhaps the dumbest of them all and is run by conservatives like Warren Mundine, Noel Pearson and The Australian. Its fundamental flaw is that it relies on the premise that Australia is so backward as a nation we can’t deliver practical outcomes while simultaneously delivering symbolic gestures. In other words, we can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.

I will not be made to feel guilt and shame for something I didn’t do.
In the case of younger Australians who were not alive during the removal practices, the word ‘Sorry’ does not have to be an expression of shame or guilt. It can be an expression of empathy, as in ‘I’m sorry to hear your mum died’ or ‘I’m sorry you got hurt in that car accident’. Personally, I was born in 1972 when government started to abandon the removal policies. I don’t feel shame at my personal actions, but I do feel shame at the actions of my country. As for older Australians, many claim ‘I had nothing to do with it’. Well, that’s part of the problem – bad things happen when good people stay silent. The point is not that older Australians participated in the removal process, but that they did nothing to stop it. Saying ‘But I didn’t know it was happening’ is certainly more than sufficient to keep you out of a court of law, but it’s not enough to excuse you from a collective national apology. If you’re still confused on this front, you might recall that several years ago, John Howard apologized to Vietnam Veterans for their treatment when they returned from the war. Again, having been born in 1972, I didn’t mistreat Vietnam Veterans. But I had absolutely no problem with the PM saying sorry to them on my behalf, because I am sorry (and I ashamed for my nation) that they were treated so poorly.

Some Aboriginal leaders have said an apology is not important.
Sure, but almost every one of them (hi Warren, hi Noel!) are not members of the Stolen Generations. Their views on whether or not an apology is warranted are no more or less relevant than your or my view… because none of us are victims.

Aboriginal people can’t even agree on an apology.

Wow, Aboriginal people have this amazing thing called ‘independent thought’. The facts are that some members of the Stolen Generations don’t want an apology. That’s their right. But the overwhelming majority do. That’s also their right.

It costs us nothing.

Contrary to popular opinion, a national apology will have no legal affect on the capacity of members of the Stolen Generations to seek compensation. As a nation, an apology costs us nothing. Period.

I didn’t do it!
No, you didn’t. But you certainly benefited from it. Just as all Australians today, even some black Australians (hi Noel, hi Warren!) have directly benefited from the theft of Aboriginal land, all Australians have benefited from the removal of Aboriginal children. Why? Because almost all children who were removed to government institutions were then forced to work for the government or private citizens for little or no pay. In America, they called that process slavery. In Australia, we called it ‘apprenticeships’.
In December 2006, both the federal parliament released a report supported by the ALP and the Liberals acknowledging the stolen wages scandal.

The people who performed the removals were good people who did a bad thing.
Big f-cking deal. Good people do bad things all the time, but that doesn’t mean they’re excused from apologising.

It won’t affect white Australia, so why worry?
The removals practice AND the use of this issue by John Howard as a race wedge is a stain on white Australia’s recent past. Just as Aboriginal people need an apology to move on, white Australia needs to apologise to move on.

Saying sorry won’t change the past.
Sadly, it won’t. But it will have a massive impact on the future. That’s the whole point. A real apology will mean an enormous amount to Aboriginal people. I still can’t fathom what sort of a nation would deny them one.


Back in the Day

I loved this TV review from Miss Fits yesterday.

'For all that, I don't know if teenagers in real life watch Skins. I don't know if they should watch it. They're better off sitting on the couch eating Burger Rings and masturbating sullenly, or whatever it is young folk get up to when they're not downloading Grinspoon songs off iTunes. At best, they'd realise through the word-perfect portrayal of their lives and dealings that someone was on to them; at worst they'd find all sorts of Rather Inappropriate behaviour to emulate. It's a series for adults, particularly those who might have somewhat of a chequered moral past themselves.'

I remember eating a lot of burger rings in my youth, but cannot recall much sullen masturbation or Grinspoon.

Don't get me wrong, there was plenty of masturbation, I just don't think sullen is the correct adjective to describe it.

passionately (maybe not)
quixoticly (maybe not)

and sometimes


but never sullenly.

I could go on, but i have already said far to much.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

in the event of a protracted, stagnate liberation

ensure that manchester city is allowed to pick up a promising young iraqi midfielder, Nashat Akram

in the words of Brit Labour MP Keith Vaz

"I shall be calling on the home secretary to review this decision... Here we have someone who wants to come and work legitimately, a role model for his country, whose presence here can heal divisions in Iraq."

ignore the fact that manchester city is owned by thaksin shinawatra.

and wait for goals to be scored.

Mission Accomplished.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Workplace sametime conversations

Timboy... Hey- you walking punk?
JM... i'm getting a thai chicken deli choice from maccas
Timboy... you sicken me, almost more than Clint Collins sickens me
JM... thai chicken deli choice is 99% fat free.
Timboy... disgusting
Timboy... I'm going to get a schnitzel with approximately 50grams of fat.
JM... disgusting
JM... you sicken me, almost more than Clint Collins sickens me
Timboy... Call me when you want to eat some real food.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Yesterday Billy Bragg spoke about cynicism in the political process.

He made the point that it is the Conservative's stock in trade.

Too often during the last year we heard commentators proclaim that there was no difference between John Howard and Kevin Rudd, or that it doesn't matter who you vote for. The old me-too chant.

I agree wholeheartedly with Bragg, cynicism is the fallback of conservatives and reactionary types the world over.

It's for that reason that I'm please that Barack Obama has put hope as a central theme to his campaign.

and as per usual we get the usual cynical chorus that these are just words, or that he is just telling us a 'fairy tale'- sadly coming from Bill Clinton.

But those words do mean something, and it is up to us, the citizenry, to hold politicians to their words.

It's much better for us to be trying to get progressive politicians to stick to their guns, than reactionaries to change their stripes.

Just my view

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Angela Davis in todays Guardian, on Barack Obama, race and the composition of the current Republican administration:

'This Republican administration is the most diverse in history. But when the inclusion of black people into the machine of oppression is designed to make that machine work more efficiently, then it does not represent progress at all. We have more black people in more visible and powerful positions. But then we have far more black people who have been pushed down to the bottom of the ladder. When people call for diversity and link it to justice and equality, that's fine. But there's a model of diversity as the difference that makes no difference, the change that brings about no change.'

Rogue Trader: a leason in fair weather friends

The Guardian has reported today that Rogue trader Jerome Kerviel has lost a few friends due to his fraudulent trading activities:

'When the news broke yesterday morning, he had 11 friends on Facebook who steadily deserted his page throughout the day.'

Poor kid

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Me-tooism: Are the chickens coming home to roost?

During the Federal election campaign I felt that Kevin Rudd conceded too much ground to the Coalition.

By adopting many Coalition spending committments, I thought he would place at risk Labor's ability to set it's own agenda once in office.

In no area was this more true than in relation to the coalitions $31 billion tax cuts.

With rising inflation a growing threat in the second half of 2007, Rudd should have adopted a much more conservative fiscal outlook than he did.

Maybe it is easy to say in hindsight, but he didn't need to spend up big during the election campaign because the Howard government had simply run out of puff.

The coalition could have been knocked over with a feather, rather than bucket loads of cash as was the case.

Now labor finds itself in a tight position with less money to spend on investment in infrastructure and skills, and with savings needing to be found in existing programs.

No doubt the first budget will be an unpopular one for many voters. However, the problem for Labor is not a stingy first term budget, but rather the impact electioneering profligacy will have one the rest of its first term in office.

Rudd will be preying for two terms for the Labor agenda to shine through.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Obama and Rudd: Generational Change

This brief piece in the Australian reminded me that Senator Obama's focus has been on generational change.

I wonder if he has picked up this theme from the Rudd campaign downunder where approximately 70% of under 39's voted for Rudd.

Clearly younger voters in the US, like in Australia, have been neglected for a long time on the basis that they represent a smaller proportion of the population base.

But as the Rudd victory showed, if you alienate one generational segment, you have a lot of ground to make up in other segments.

The Democratic nomination campaign has touched on issues of race, gender and class- but in the wash up, it may turn out that generational politics may play a larger role than expected.

This will be particularly dangerous for Hillary, especially considering the perception that 'she had her chance'.

It may be a case of 'Get out of the way, it's our turn now'!

All this inter-generational warfare talk makes me want to read 'Gangland' by Mark Davis.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Scientology a Form of Facism?

I liked this article in the Guardian today.

'Guido Knopp, who has written a number of books on Hitler and his inner circle, said the video, which surfaced on YouTube last week, "inevitably" recalled Goebbels' speech in a Berlin sports stadium when he asked "Do you want total war?" and the crowd thundered "Yes!"

The Scientology footage shows Cruise, wearing a large medallion and speaking from a podium. "So what do you say, we gonna clean this place up?" he asks. He is greeted by zealous cheers.

"It may be the case that Cruise's delivery style is not uncommon in certain religious movements in the US," Knopp told Bild am Sonntag in an interview. "But for Germans with an interest in history, that scene where he asks whether the Scientologists should clean up the world and everyone shouts 'yes' is inevitably reminiscent of Goebbels' notorious speech."'

The man gets more and more unlikeable by the minute.

And to think how many Australian women were dying to have a lamb roast with him in the early nineties.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Victoria Police: A Good Week

Well it's been a good week for all the reactionaries down at Victoria Police.

Trying to charge Corey WORTHINGTON $20,000 for damage caused by OTHER people who crashed his house party and then, spraying unruly tennis fans with capsicum spray.

I think they may have over-egged the oppression pudding this week.

But the Tabloid press approves, so downward unto a Bjelke-Petersen style police state hell.

Citizens, grab your hand baskets!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

This Blog is Dead

This Blog is dead. This Blog remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become Blogs simply to appear worthy of it?