Saturday, October 18, 2003


Poly sent me two op-eds from the Sydney Morning Herald, concerning Bush's visit to Australia. The background to this visit is that Bush said that friends had told him Oz is a lot like Texas and that John Howard's government is no mere duputy but actually America's "sheriff". Thus Bush not only massively insults Oz's landscape and people but, nicely, fixes their diplomatic wagon (pardon the Texan expression) with their Yank-phobic neighbours. Good Job. Of course it wasn't intentional, but then that's the beauty of it.

Should they sit or stand while Bush speaks?

"Forget education and health, Labor has spent the week locked in a debate over whether to sit or stand for the US President. By week's end, the search was on for a compromise, under which the party will presumably spend the week hesitantly hovering, half-up, half-down, in a kind of skier's crouch.

It's going to put a lot of pressure on the backs of the honourable members, but at least it might remind Labor that human beings come equipped with spines. Others say Labor should give a standing ovation, as it will be the first time the party has stood for anything in years.


The President, of course, is on a flying visit. His aim is to thank us for helping out with the war, and for providing the birthplace of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Californian governor-elect. He'll visit Parliament House, the US embassy, plus the mountains where we shot Sound of Music. If he asks about our world-famous cakes, it would be polite to play along and offer a slice of zachertorte."

LOL. Link here.


"My old sixth-class teacher, John "Beaky" Morris, has sent me what he says is an old Ethiopian proverb that may be helpful when President Bush addresses Parliament in Canberra next week. "When the aristocrat comes, the peasant bows low and farts silently," it goes.


I urge Quick and Co to wolf down copious quantities of an explosive rogan josh before Dubya's appearance and then to let their digestive organs erupt in mute, gaseous protest. The rest of us can watch eagerly for a puzzled clouding of the presidential brow, a slight flaring of the already rather simian presidential nostrils. The Quick and the dead, you might say.

(..) [Now more seriously..]

If Labor MPs absent themselves in disdain for Dubya's disastrous adventuring in Iraq, surely it would be hypocritical for them to appear next day for the speech by President Hu of China, whose record on human rights leaves more than a bit to be desired. Then again, Hu is not holding Australians as political prisoners without trial, as Bush is doing in Guantanamo Bay. Such an ethical dilemma. MINDFUL of the horrifying protests which met Lyndon Johnson on his visit in 1966, the powers-that-be are determined that the great unwashed will not get within a bull's roar of the festivities on Thursday. It is an outrage, but the Australian people will be kept away from their Parliament. "

How typical. Link here.