Saturday, November 12, 2005

"The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist."

Winston Churchill

Here I go again, but something in all this nonesense in Australia simply doesn’t smell kosher (not the right word here I know but somehow, somewhere, we have to all coexist). Australian politics really holds little interest for seems to be populated by scumbags on both sides of the political spectrum. I mean Hawke was a scumbag, Fraser was a scumbag, and I have trouble thinking of any politician of any note or of any political colour...maybe that guy from the Greens... who couldn’t, even in my most forgiving and generous moments, be reasonably described as a scumbag. Honesty and a respect for the electorate and the office seem to be alien to the world’s dullest city, Canberra (although it has a massive sex and drug industry to alleviate that boredom).

My problem is that John Howard is a scumbag tour-de-force, pure and simple, and he leaves the rest in the dust. There is ample evidence of that. Look at the appalling Tampa incident and the children overboard incident when he was caught blatantly lying to the electorate (but still won). Then there is the shameful episode with the East Timor reserves. I genuinely believe the NZ Government went into Timor in a naïve moment, for the right reasons. Australia did no such thing, it was an oil and gas grab pure and simple and it served a double purpose in that it destabilised the Indonesian Government, something that has been at the core of Australian Foreign policy for a long time. That they seemed happy, no actually, to be more precise, totally unconcerned about the suspect legalities of the grab and the effect it would have on of the world’s poorest nations is more evidence of the real motives. Then there is Kyoto and the whole Iraq thing. Howard’s gutless toadying towards the Bush regime makes Blair (almost) look like a man of integrity. I have trouble attributing a rationale to Howard’s motives in all this beyond some self serving self aggrandisement. Certainly it was in no way in the best interests of his nation and if there is substance in this week’s raids that further illustrates that. No-one can seriously think that a fundamentalist attack would have happened on Australia’s self-described hallowed earth, if Howard hadn’t become Bush’s pembantu in recent years...actually that’s not fair on pembantus..they are usually hard and decent workers and are often well regarded by their employers. I really doubt whether, Bush and those that control him hold Howard in anything but contempt, despite the façade that greets him in Texas or DC. Anyway the point is, Howard is a proven liar and a person who, on past evidence is happy to manipulate events and human lives, regardless of the pain it may cause, to his own end.

And, despite the increasing “revelations” by the powers that be this thing stinks badly.

There is the scant evidence, now being held behind closed doors and leaked bit by bit to increase the public unease. Lawyers are being denied access and those arrested are being held “Guantanamo Bay style conditions”. There are the comments from a whole variety of “establishment” figures, not the least was this from an Australian police counter-terrorism chief:

"their motivations were the same motivations that terorrism has in its form all around the world" - but also as followers of Osama bin Laden. "There's no doubt that this group followed that same philosophy."

The pre-determination of guilt does neither Australia nor the victims any good and whips up the sort of scarily ignorant verbiage illustrated by many on this page.

Those arrested are an established, well known and convenient target, and if London showed us anything, the real threat (and I firmly believe there is a strong and imminent threat against Australia and this has done nothing to alleviate it) comes from a place you least expect it to…

Maybe I’m wrong and this bunch were about to take out Central Station during rush hour but it’s far too close to all those terror alerts that the DOHS have fired off in the US at appropriate moments. And with Howard aspiring to be a low rent sub Neo-con, it’s all too convenient timing wise, the evidence seems incredibly thin; and hopefully will cause Howard to suffer the sort of damage that Blair suffered this week. But I doubt it…the UK’s scumbag–to-politician ratio is much healthier than the Great Southern Land.

On a similar note, I read with increasing horror, several hate filled anti-Muslim (or anti anyone who isn’t god fearing (as long as it’s the right one) and freedom-lovin’) web-blogs this week in the aftermath of the terrible beheading of the three young girls in Sulawesi. The black and white hate therein belies the fact that in Indonesia, nothing is what it seems. That simple concept would be absolutely alien to those righteous armchair soldiers. So it is with interest I read this analysis of the recent events in Poso, which put a somewhat different light on it, a light which, having lived here for only a short time, already makes perfect sense in an Indonesian way. The ignorance or indifference that much of the world shows to this, the worlds largest Muslim nation is betrayed by the fact that Microsoft Word’s spell checker puts a red wavey line under Sulawesi….part of a chain of islands, along with Maluku (which also gets wavy lines, Bill) which drove the direction of the world’s history for several hundred years.

If someone had had told me when I was, for want of a better word, young, that I would be in Indonesia at this time in my life……

But what an odd thing it is for me see the punk generation, of which I am proud to be one, head towards fifty. Kerry Buchanan, whom I’ve known for 28 years, since he and a few mates turned up to Disco D’ora’s in Newton Road to see the Suburban Reptiles, told me he was about to turn fifty soon. It’s still there…D’Ora’s that is…if you stop at the Caltex Station and look up to the left of it, it was the top floor. I booked the Reptiles in there early 77, it was a failed disco, and we managed to pull an ok crowd plus the odd bemused disco kid. There was a broken mirror ball, a smoke machine and some bad dayglo graffiti. Perfect. The most memorable thing about it was original Reps drummer, Des Edwards, pulling a big hunk of raw meat out of his trousers (he was a butcher’s apprentice by day, and not a great drummer….last heard of he was a juggler in Australia..nice guy) and slamming it down on the snare, to some effect. Anyway, other big thing was a bunch of kids arriving from the North Shore for the first time. One was Kerry, another was John No-one. They later become Rooter and then The Terrorways.

So we punks are getting old. Some have been past the cusp of 50 for a while and I turned over a few weeks back. I guess like every generation we assumed we would never get old, that it would last forever, and we were the ones, but we had the perfect soundtrack to our assumption, the nihilistic self styled revolution that was punk rock. My Generation was never as fuck-you as White least to us. But the initial burst of UK punk (as derivative as it was of the NY scene, it added a certain snottyness that the CBGBs crew lacked), as a musical revolution was incredibly short lived and the radical had turned to the cliché almost as soon as it happened. What broke new ground in January 1977 was stale and formulated by the time The Sex Pistols released the over-produced Bollocks album in August or so. The revolution had moved on and I like to think those of us there then rolled with it. Some of us anyway…. So, we are aging, and generally, fairly gracefully, even if I do say so myself. Bad drugs or the misuse thereof took a few early on but the survival rate to the half century, at least amongst those I associated with (god knows about those that disappeared back into the public bars of the North Shore and Avondale) has been pretty good and I get quite a buzz out of having known some of these people for so long. If punk did anything, it pulled the cream to the top… ……………………….

Songs in the sun today:

2 Phat C**ts-Ride….the last decent thing either Sasha (who did some great remixes at the dawn of his career…Urban Soul etc) and BT (who made two magnificent 12s for Deep Dish way back when but then immediately turned to complete shite) did...but what a record

James Brown I Wanna Be Around…off the peerless Ballads collection…the GFOS goes schmaltz

Pashka -Island Breeze (Trentemoller Remix)….almost Balearic…the title says it all..not sure about the vox but the underlying swell is just fine

Theo Parrish-Falling Up (Carl Craig Remix)…ha! I’ve finally got my hands on this one sided 10” Japanese single. Deep as fuck…pure genius

Angie Stone- I Wasn't Kidding…the killer new song off the Greatest Hits that’s going around and round in my head day in day out