Friday, 9 July 2004

Said with a Straight Face Department

From The Australian :
The father of a terrorist suspect will lose $150,000 after his son fled the country and skipped bail.

Saleh Jamal, 29, fled Australia using a fake passport in March while on bail for his alleged involvement in the 1998 shooting attack on a Lakemba police station.

He was arrested in May on terrorism charges while trying to flee Lebanon, again using a false passport.
In his application to the court, Mr Jamal said he should be able to keep the money because it was the job of the Australian authorities to ensure his son did not leave the country.
"It is not really my fault," he said.

"It's the fault of the Government, the fault of the police, it's the fault of ASIO."

Mr Jamal said he harboured no ill feelings towards his son.

"Not my son let me down, the Government let me down," he said.
From the Los Angeles Times :
L. Paul Bremer III, the civilian administrator for Iraq, left without even giving a final speech to the country — almost as if he were afraid to look in the eye the people he had ruled for more than a year.
From Iraq The Model :
The hall was busy and everyone was chatting and laughing loud. They had Al-Jazeera on (something I never managed to convince them to stop doing). Then suddenly Mr. Bremer appeared on TV reading his last speech before he left Iraq. I approached the TV to listen carefully to the speech, as I expected it to be difficult in the midst of all that noise. To my surprise everyone stopped what they were doing and started watching as attentively as I was.

The speech was impressive and you could hear the sound of a needle if one had dropped it at that time.
Ah, but there's an excuse! Only the Iraqis heard about it! No-one told, for example, CNN. From the Los Angeles Times again :
A news analysis about the new Iraqi government in Sunday's Section A stated that outgoing administrator L. Paul Bremer III did not give a farewell speech to the country. His spokesman has since said that Bremer taped an address that was given to Iraqi broadcast media. The spokesman said the address was not publicized to the Western news media.
From CNN :
The new Iraqi government which took office today will shepherd the country to elections by January 31, 2005. Ambassador Paul Bremer formally ended the U.S.-led occupation by turning over sovereignty to Iraqi leadership today, two days ahead of schedule. Bremer then left the country. But before he did, he had a farewell message for the people of Iraq.

As for the Washington Post? It's still sticking by its story :
When he (Bremer) left Iraq on Monday after surrendering authority to an interim government, it was with a somber air of exhaustion. There was no farewell address to the Iraqi people...
Closer to home, we have newly annointed (as in, with Midnight Oil) Labor Candidate Peter Garrett doing a flip-flop in real time : (Transcript courtesy of Tim Blair)
INTERVIEWER: In the past, you have described US bases in Australia as the biggest pimples on the face of adolescent Australia. Is that what these new bases will be?

GARRETT: I don't know. I haven't seen the details. I don't know that much about it and that's the point. We need to have an open, generous and considered discussion about these issues so Australians themselves can weigh up the merits. It's been conducted in a fevered atmosphere. This is something for Australians to think through and Australians to discuss.

INTERVIEWER: Mark Latham (leader of the Australian Labor Party) thinks it's a good idea.

GARRETT: Well, if Mark Latham thinks it's a good idea and that's what the party view is, there's merit in it and we'd accept it.

INTERVIEWER: You turned around quickly there. That was a quick turnaround.

GARRETT: That's not the point. If Mr Latham thinks that's a good thing to happen, he will have considered it properly and everyone in the Labor Party will respect it. No question marks about it.
Or in other words, Comrade Napoleon is always right.

As for Mark Latham himself: (From The Age, July 9, 2004 :
I'd ask these commentators overseas to respect Australia's democratic processes just as we respect theirs, and basically stick to their own election campaign and arrangements just as we're going to stick to ours
and from the ABC, December 12, 2003,
Bush himself is the most incompetent and dangerous President in living memory.
From The Australian :
Remember that Latham told The Bulletin back in 2002 that "this idea that politics can be too rough and too personal is a bit rich ... It's part of the Australian way. We're not a namby-pamby nation." When, in response to that comment, I argued, on this page, for more civility in public life, I copped a serve from Latham, "for trying to take the passion and commitment out of life ... [for trying] to take the irreverence and spark out of the Australian character". Then, a little later, he lobbed the "skanky-ho" sobriquet at me.
From The Age :
Mr Latham defended his past vitriol, including calling former Liberal Party president Tony Staley a "deformed character", calling columnist Piers Akerman a cocaine user and saying columnist Janet Albrechtsen was a "skanky ho".
From the ABC again :
Let me quote you from the 'Bulletin' of June last year, "Look the idea that politics can be too rough and too personal is a bit rich.

I can take you to any sports field any Saturday and show you parents getting stuck into it, having a go at the ref, yelling abuse.

It's part of the Australian way."

Do you really believe that?

Part of the Australian way for parents to yell abuse at some poor volunteer ref trying to control a bunch of kids at a footy or soccer match?

MARK LATHAM: Well I'm sure parents get worked up.

MARK LATHAM: But do you endorse that?

MARK LATHAM: Everyone sees a rough decision and might make a commentary about that.

I mean, if you don't care about how your kids are going on the sporting field, you're not passionate about how your children are going out there --

KERRY O'BRIEN: But you exercise judgement too, don't you?

Mature adult judgement as an example to the next generation?

MARK LATHAM: Yeah, sure sure.
Yeah, sure sure.
KERRY OBRIEN:What is this obsession you have with bottoms?

MARK LATHAM: I've no particular obsession with bottoms, it's a figure of speech --

KERRY O'BRIEN: Howard the arse-licker and the brown nose kissing bums, as you put it, Abbott hanging out of the Queen's backside, the conga line of suckholes.
And quoting a comment at Tim Blair's place :
Don't forget that Latham has mentioned and cruelly ridiculed Abbott for fathering a child as a teenager. The baby had to be put up for adoption. Abbott has spoken of it and said how much sadness it caused him and those close to him. Latham's morally sensitive comment: [playing on Abbott's regular criticism of unions]: "Tony's had one too many unions, that's his problem."
But now? From The Age :
Opposition Leader Mark Latham today choked back tears as he urged the media to lay off his family and called on Prime Minister John Howard to disband an alleged government dirt unit.

Amid intense scrutiny over his personal life, Mr Latham today called a press conference in Canberra to try to clear the air.

"Some time over the next couple of months we're going to have an election campaign and I believe it should be about the positive things we should be doing about Australia's future rather than the old politics of fear and smear," he said.

Over the past week, Mr Latham has dismissed reports of a violent altercation 15 years ago when he was a Liverpool councillor.

He has also dismissed reports that his first wife Gabrielle Gwyther felt intimidated by him and that he cheated on her with his new wife Janine Lacy as old rumours.
(More on Mark Latham here.)

My point is... don't you feel insulted? That people expect you to swallow this tripe? The hypocricy? The Internet has made fact-checking the historical record of what people have said and done in the past far easier than it was even five years ago. Was it always like this? Even if it was, the ignorance, the arrogance shown by people who now should know they can't get away with it any more is breathtaking.

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