Sunday, July 22, 2007

Prime Minister John Howard is so spooked by his inability to get back in the favour of the majority of Australia's voters that he is refusing to commit to even running for prime minister again, and has taken to babbling like a loon in response to unremarkable questions :

...when asked if he would now guarantee he would lead the Government into what is expected to be an election as close as October, he refused.

"Look I know the games you fellas play," Mr Howard said.

"I have a position in relation to this and it, it, it applies for all time. For all time that's relevant. And I just don't intend, I just don't intend. I know you'll start saying: 'Oh Howard, you know, he's altered his formulation'. Come on, you know that, I know you. Situation normal. Situation usual. Response usual. Response normal."


Maybe the medical reason Howard will cite as a reason to to bow out of running for re-election will be dementia.

If you get picked up
by police in New South Wales for so minor an offence as jaywalking, they will soon have the power to take a DNA sample from you and store it in a database. Naturally, it's supposedly all part of the effort to fight terrorism. The new police powers are already being called part of "a police state by stealth." But where's the stealth?

John Howard's beloved "battlers"
are abandoning the prime minister in droves. He is widely seen by former Liberal voters as "too old, desperate and sneaky." Not exactly the kind of descriptions you'd want blasted across Sunday newspapers in bold type, but there they are.

Howard is also suffering a "youth revolt", particularly over climate change and WorkChoices. One in four young voters are said to have switched to backing opposition leader Kevin Rudd.

The number
of prominent religious leaders, lawyers and politicians demanding the Howard government get its shit together over the treatment of alleged terror suspect Mohamed Haneef grows by the day. At the same time, letters pages and online comments are, in the majority, faulting the government and AFP's handling of the case, and even usually pro-Howard media are raging against the spectacular abuses of civil and human rights now on show.

So what to do?

Slurry the waters even further by getting out rumours that Haneef was somehow possibly involved, or possibly linked to, a possible terror plot in Queensland because he had photos of Queensland buildings in his possession. His lawyer summed up the new rumours that are not yet charges, or even official AFP allegations :
"Obviously if you're Muslim and you come from India, don't dare take any photos of any structures ... or that will be interpreted by the Queensland police force of having a sinister intent."
Another option under consideration is simply to deport Haneef, as soon as possible :

“Our best option is to cancel the Criminal Justice Certificate .... and that is my understanding of what our intentions are,” the source told the newspaper.

“Cancel the certificate and get this guy out of Australia...”

The string of apparently baseless allegations and media leaks against Haneef has proven to be a major international embarrassment, not only for the Howard government and Australia's fight against terror, but also for the Australian Federal Police, who are being referred to as Keystone Kops, "bumbling" and "hopeless" in British and Indian newspapers.

He was bitten three times on the leg by a bronze whaler shark, but the 15 year old boy fought back and has survived the attack. His mother thinks he was inspired to defend himself, and to try and stop the bleeding, after having recently watched a horror movie where a man bled to death.

John Howard
was rallying the troops yesterday in western Sydney, while all the usual key Liberal Party media addicts were hiding from the cameras and microphones.

Howard told a Liberal Party conference he was "very proud of the fact in the 11-and-a-half years we have been in government ... we have lifted defence expenditure by 48 per cent in real terms..."

Curiously, this is almost the exact same percentage by which US defence expenditure has risen since the Project For A New American Century architects, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, 'Scooter' Libby and Paul Wolfowitz, started rallying for 1995 and 1996 for less money to be spent on education and health and more on weapons and bombs. Luckily, Al Qaeda and Islamic extremist-linked terrorist attacks rose dramatically around the same time.

Australia will spend more than $23 billion on 'defence' in 2008, giving Australia the second highest per person defence expenditure in the world, after the United States. The Iraq War has already cost Australian taxpayers $4 to $8 billion.

More than 130 people have attended the funeral of a baby boy they didn't know. The baby, named Luke for the service, was found dead and abandoned in rubbish. Many of the people drawn to the funeral, some of whom wept openly, said they didn't want the infant to be unrecognised in death. Police believe the unknown mother of the child may have been amongst the mourners. A christening gown and headstone were donated by the public and funeral directors.

Piers Akerman stabs fruitlessly at his keyboard : "It's no real surprise that the book actually flying out of the stores this weekend is the new Harry Potter novel, and not John Winston Howard: The Biography..."

It's no real surprise because John Winston Howard : The Biography hasn't been released yet.

Akerman claims "the biographers can only recycle and repackage past events, adding a little light and shade gleaned from interviews with some of the participants but nothing that was not already known."

The biographers interviewed more than 70 people, including John and Janette Howard. If Akerman is so keen to write off this book by claiming there is nothing new inside, you can rest assured that there is actually reams of valuable information and important insight to be learned that the vast majority of Australians, and probably lots of federal politicians, didn't know about John Howard.

To show just how ridiculous Akerman's attempts to claim there's nothing new, or of interest to the voting public, to be found in the new Howard biography, in the very same pages of the Sunday Telegraph, fellow columnist Glenn Milne writes :
The most damaging insight to emerge from the new biography of the Prime Minister comes, remarkably, out of the mouth of his chief loyalist: his wife, Janette.

The problem for Mrs Howard here is that she has inadvertently shone a light on the darker recesses of Howard's modus operandi that were for years hidden, but have now come to dominate the public debate about whether he deserves another, final term.

The Sunday Telegraph's lead editorial finally admits that the majority of Australians are unlikely to vote for John Howard come election time :
...the situation for the Prime Minister looks dire.
It's a crushing loss of confidence for John Howard from one of the primary newspapers he has long counted on for support, and to paper over his numerous lies, deceptions and faults, particularly on the eve of yet another Newspoll which is likely to show that Howard has already lost his chance for a fifth term in Kirribilli House :
After 11 years in office, the idea that he is a bit too sneaky has taken hold in the public psyche. It is a culmination of the "children overboard'' affair, the AWB wheat scandal and the ongoing suspicion that he dudded loyal deputy Peter Costello on when he would hand over the job.
Not to mention the widespread realisation that he deceived the nation into joining the United States in the illegal and horrific War On Iraq, and spat in the faces of the 75% of Australians who didn't want their country to be involved when he did so. Not to mention the wage-and-benefits stripping IR reforms. Not to mention the David Hicks fiasco and the widespread disgust Howard's generated by his acquiescence to Indonesia over the Schapelle Corby trail in 2005. The list is long, and grows longer by the week.

ABC Radio's
coverage of the horrors of the Iraq War once made John Howard so angry his "face went red and his lips white." That's the trouble with the truth, it often sparks emotional and physical reactions in the people who don't want it to get out.

More than 150 people have died in just four weeks of Sydney's flu epidemic. Hospitals are crowded with the sick and close-to-dying. Hundreds of babies and children have needed specialised care, pushing hospital capacity to the brink. Compared to last year, viral infections are up by an astounding 200%, with respiratory illnesses ratcheting up by 70%.

Australians may soon have to come up with a 20% deposit to secure a home loan. Considering most young Australians don't have $30,00 or $40,000 kicking around, they'll have to get their parents or grandparents to put up their homes as security. Personal bankruptcies are rocketing towards record highs, and falling house prices mean that tens of thousands of families will be left with enormous debts if they are forced to sell the family home due to "economic shock". The Howard government continues to claim that there is no housing crisis in Australia, that the Australian economy is booming and rock solid and that Australian families have "never had it so good."

A former bodyguard of Saddam Husein wants to open a fish and chip shop in Sydney.