Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I Won't Use Egg or Humble Pie in This Recipe

When Matt Price - whom I usually consider to be a fairly balanced, unbiased sort of columnist - is smugly suggesting critics of the new anti-terror laws and people sceptical about rushing through this legislation as a smokescreen for the IR changes should be eating humble pie, have egg on their face, etc., I feel, as one of these people, a response is needed. I'd expect this sort of gloating from Henderson, Devine, Tell-Us-About-It Janet etc but not Price, and it leads me to believe even unblinkered commentators and spectators might be getting taken in by Howard's latest machinations.

Democrats leader Lyn Allison yesterday wondered aloud 'if Howard hadn't personally contacted the cops and asked: "Is there not a raid that could take place at this time to justify it?"'

Yes, it's a conspiracy theory but why is it so implausible?

Do we need to go over the nearly 10 years of Howard political opportunism and capacity for exploiting situations for his own gain?

Come on, the timing of this is ridiculously convenient. A raid at exactly the same time Howard is looking for some kind of event that vindicates the so-called need for extreme legislative measures? Or distracts from the increasingly unpopular IR changes?

And before anyone points out that all but one of the Labor premiers and chief ministers were on board with this, I concede that, yes, they're going along too easily here, but that's because it's too thick and strong a grain to go against. If the AFP claims they have to act, of course they're not going to say no, they shouldn't.

But why the need to act now? The people whose homes were raided had been under scrutiny for a long time. And of course, "for security reasons", we Joe Publics may never know how specific a threat was known and therefore if these raids were absolutely imperative to prevent a terrorist attack within 24 hours. But again, that works so well in Howard's favour.

As karter put it in a recent posting to MrLefty's site - and I couldn't put it better myself, so I'm not:

...If you think governments are above using terrorism and alleged terrorists for political ends and with complete disregard for the rules of evidence and the law then you are sadly naive - Guildford Four (and the Macguire Seven) and the Birmingham Six anyone?

I expect to be branded a Howard-hater - I'm not, I don't hate anybody; a conspiracy nut - I'm not, I just don't blindly accept what the Murdoch media tells me; a terrorist apologist - wrong again, I fear and condemn extremists murdering innocent civilians in the name of Allah or any diety, and as a gay man I'm fully aware of what some countries operating under fundamentalist Islamic law do to my kind and no, I'm in no rush to integrate that mentality into the Australian psyche, or any other label this government's fervent supporters wish to throw at me.

The reality is fear has worked a treat for this government. Fear of immigrants, fear of terrorism, fear of interest rates rising - they all work to further the myth that the boat should not be rocked and to stick with the government and steady-as-she-goes PM that one can "trust". Now, with these raids, there's fresh cause for fear, fear that will only aid the government's cause.

Terribly, terribly convenient.


At 9/11/05 12:56 pm, Blogger JahTeh said...

It's not Howard I hate, it's his unrelenting mediocrity, his whining, his lying and his breathing.

At 9/11/05 1:34 pm, Anonymous Philip Gomes said...

There is no reason to defend yourself when the truth is self evident QP. You're right about Price, I read that and also Shanahan as well on the vindication meme and thought what tosh.

It appears that sometimes Price has to pay the piper though, his long walk in the Tarkines elicited a strong criticism from Bolt and other non global warming believers so this is probably his column of atonement.

But your'e right about this coloumn in particular, it's fawning genuflection to our Dear Leader was particularly odious and is a disservice to his usual quality.

At 9/11/05 2:31 pm, Blogger Ron said...

I heard Matt Price sprouting the same stuff on the ABC afternoon drive program yesterday. I had to keep listening to make sure it was Matt Price talking.

I think Philip has it right:

"It appears that sometimes Price has to pay the piper though"

At 10/11/05 12:25 am, Anonymous philbert83 said...

Once earlier this year, while on air with ABC New England Northwest Tamworth, I likened the power of the government as dilligently taught in both politics and law classes to be nearly absolute, and subject to the constitution have power over the individuals life and death. Furthermore, that unless we as the people are vigilent, parliament and the government could just as easily pass Hitler's Enabling acts again. Still, I don't think the compere quite understood my point.

Still, we as a society get what we deserve I think. Ok, so the baby-booming bible belt set to lose social security benefits will anyway. But the disinterest and willingness to go along with the government is most concerning.

As Goering said:

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

-- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

At 10/11/05 4:51 pm, Anonymous maddy said...

"I just don't blindly accept what the Murdoch media tells me". How about what your common sense tells you? It appears to have left you judging by this post. Allegedly these people were found with enough chemicals to construct 15 bombs.

I'm sorry but after reading this post it seems to me you obviously ARE a conspiracy theorist.

I would suggest Mr Price was probably right to suggest that there was no smokescreen - i didn't hear his response personally. And to suggest his 'smugness' as meaning he is no longer trustworthy? Let me remind you of your post of just over a week ago:

"There's only one thing left to say to the Dubya true believers:

Suck shit.

You vote for a monkey, you're gonna get parasites and disease. Fact of life.

Do I sound smug and self-righteous? Yes. Do I deserve to? Hell yes."

Using your own logic does this mean we can no longer trust you?

At 11/11/05 9:24 am, Blogger Sam said...

Maddy: you've deliberately or otherwise misinterpreted and/or distorted my post at three significant points:

1/ I never questioned the likely guilt of the people arrested, I questioned the TIMING of the raids.

2/ I also never said Price is now no longer "trustworthy" - in fact I never used that word in the posting. It's Howard that I don't trust, and as a regular reader of my site you would know I have been consistent in that belief since I started QP. If you choose to have faith and trust in Howard go nuts. I just won't be joining you.

3/ I have likewise always been consistent in my views of Bush, and the events I referred to there - none of which are really ambiguous, which would explain Bush's current plummeting popularity even with conservatives - I believe justify my Bush line.

At 11/11/05 1:20 pm, Anonymous maddy said...

1. The timing of these issues is coincidental. Federal and state agencies advised the government that they needed the law to be changed to carry out these actions. You ask "But why the need to act now?" Because they believed these people had the capacity to make 15 bombs "within days". This was the police talking - not the govt. Enough reason to my mind.

2. Trustworthy is a word I deduced you were implying from the fact that you felt Price had been "taken in by Howard's machinations" and was possibly therefore no longer "Fairly balanced" and "unbiased" - in large part due to the smugness of his article. PS I don't think anyone is unbiased..

3. I understand your feelings towards Bush. I am no great fan myself (understatement). However I was using the logic you used to argue against Price on words you had previoulsy posted. Seemed to me either a little hypocritical or to prove that your posts were not balanced is all.

My "faith and trust" in Howard or anyone else is not a be all and end all kind of thing. On this issue, however, I think everyone (federal and state police, govt on both sides, federal and state) did the right thing. This idea that seems to permeate a lot of what you say, that Howard is some kind of puppet master pulling people's strings for his own political gain, is a little far-fetched. He's a politician - and a very skilled one at that. And no, I don't "blindly accept what the Murdoch (or Fairfax or anyone else) media tells me".

Just as background I guess you could call me a libertarian centrist. I.e. I think balance is always important :)

At 11/11/05 1:46 pm, Blogger Sam said...

That's fine maddy, identify yourself however you want - just please don't read conclusions into my postings that are not there and then argue against them. That's not productive for anybody concerned.

At 12/11/05 7:24 pm, Anonymous maddy said...

Just trying to highlight the facts of the current situation.. not relaying and reiterating opinion and biased speculation from the Democrats and "MrLefty" :)

PS So I'm clear could you please then explain what you DID mean by "but not Price, and it leads me to believe even unblinkered commentators and spectators might be getting taken in by Howard's latest machinations."


At 14/11/05 9:22 am, Blogger Sam said...

I thought it was pretty self-explanatory maddy, but just for you I'll explain it again:

I believe - as I've argued - that these raids were more about a smokescreen for IR changes and a justification for extreme anti-terror laws, than containing a real, tangible terrorist threat. I believe the reason for this is the ridiculously coincidental timing. I may be wrong on this but I haven't heard or seen enough yet to shake my belief in this theory.

I certainly don't think there's enough evidence to suddenly cry mea culpa and admit Howard was right all along, at Price suggests.

I don't apologise for having parity of thought with the Democrats and MrLefty on this issue.

At 15/11/05 10:35 am, Anonymous maddy said...


You don't need to apologise for thinking along similar lines to the Democrats and co., but I think it would help your argument (and theirs) if there was some evidence besides speculation.

I personally think it was a case of the government wanting to get the IR changes through this year, and the terrorism issue came up after prompting from external parties.


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