Monthly Archives: July 2011

Self Promotion

Hey, You Can Buy My Stuff From Amazon Now!

I’ve got my songs up on Amazon now. You can purchase mp3 files for download, here.

I’m slowly working up to a proper CD release, but for the moment I’m posting up songs that may be (and hopefully) the wider public beyond on-line musos might be interested in.

Songs I’ve put up are mostly the most naughty ones I could find from my own catalogue, just to see if Amazon has a good taste policy – and they don’t seem to have one that stops my music from being available to the general public, so there you go. Yes, ‘Dungeon Dad’ and ‘Pony the Orangutan’ and ‘Pasta Sauce Man’ and ‘Astronaughty’ are all available for your purchasing pleasure!

So hop right along to the link above and start buying! 🙂

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Eminently Despicable

The first time I had to consider what it might be like to work for Rupert Murdoch was when I was in high school. My parents made friends with somebody who worked in newspapers for years and he was so kind as to invite our family over for lunch and regaled some interesting stories about the time he was a strapping young journalist and a young Rupert Murdoch turned up as the owner of the paper. According to the old journalist, Rupert was certain there was only the three ‘esses’ that could sell newspapers and they were Sex, Scandal and Sensation. When you think about it, one leads to the other and it’s exactly the kind of bundle that Rupert Murdoch’s muck-raking rags have long made an institution thereof. It seemed like a very cut-and-dry proposition, even for a kid like me – if a little vulgar. But you could see that that could be a style that worked with a vulgar public of which we could all count upon.

The second time I seriously had to consider Rupert Murdoch’s style in the mid-90s when I popped over to Hong Kong for a short contract working for Star TV Japan. That too was an interesting business because once you’re inside the Murdoch machine, you really do feel the cut-throat corporate culture of Murdoch’s companies, right up against your nose. At the time it was a little contentious because I might have stayed on had they offered the contract with the terms I wanted, but at that point in history they were making a point of not handing out ex-pat deals, and so our negotiations hit the rocks pretty quickly. I was told they would play hardball, and I figured there was no point being polite about it, so in the end I flew back.

The third time I came across the Murdoch corporate culture was when I was working on a music project with an elaborate proposal and a business plan which ended up being presented to people in Lachlan Murdoch’s orbit. It went nowhere as more and people attempted to pee in the same pot. Again, we came up against some hard-ball style negotiations and this time I sat back and watched as my colleagues wilted under the withering pressure. And I recognised the style from when I dealt with Star TV Japan.

All this is to say that even if you’re just drifting along in the world, you can run into a lot of Murdoch enterprises and they’re invariably crass, vulgar and promote a kind of idiotic dualism which makes you wonder if they are twisted Manicheans. What’s really amazing is that nobody seems to tell Rupert how stupid this is and how he and his press organs are contributing the significant dumbing down of the public. But even if you could mention it, it would appear he would hardly listen, after all why should a man as powerful like Rupert Murdoch suffer such contrary opinions? What’s infuriating is that because his papers spread fear and ignorance like black rats bringing the Bubonic plague, it finds converts everywhere, writing in ill-informed  comments on newspaper sites, arguing arcane right-wing paranoia shit.

Anyway, here’s something in ‘The Economist’ which is interesting in the light of the recent developments.

One of the distinguishing features of News Corporation is aggression. The firm combines the heft of a big company with the scrappiness of a start-up. Even more than at other media firms, executives sometimes seem inspired by Machiavelli—or Richard III. Competitors are to be crushed. Executives in other companies that take an opposite view on strategic questions are idiots. In 2009 the usually cerebral James Murdoch launched a scathing attack on the BBC, whose size and zeal for expansion into new areas he described as “chilling”.

This take-no-prisoners approach makes the company extremely bold. It was News Corporation that broached the possibility of releasing films early on pay-television—a move that still enrages cinema owners. Together with the Financial Times (part-owner of this newspaper) it has led the charge to demand money for newspapers on the web. In America the firm drives a particularly hard bargain over payments from cable and satellite carriers for its broadcast network. BSkyB is a similarly brutal negotiator.

Unfortunately, this attitude earns the company enemies as well as revenues. Over the years News Corporation has offended governments and regulators. Its aggression and sheer size terrify rival media firms. In October 2010 the BBC and the owners of the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mirror and the Guardian newspapers signed a letter opposing its bid to take complete control of BSkyB, in which it now has a 39% stake. Part of the reason News Corporation has handled the phone-hacking crisis so badly is that it tends to view hostile reporting as motivated by rivalry.

As the company braces for further embarrassment and disruption, it will also have to work out a future without BSkyB. Public and political opinion have become so hostile that the government may refuse to sign off on any attempt to renew the bid, even at the risk of a judicial review. This makes the transition News Corporation wants to make to a new, eventually post-Rupert world a lot harder.

You’d hate to be a News Corporation shareholder right now. The other part of the business, the newspapers themselves might be in for some stick too.

Frankly, Murdoch’s political leverage has been spent. The era of media moguls bullying politicians is finished. It went down the plughole from the moment the Milly Dowler story broke and it has diminished further with each passing day. News Corp’s leverage will be completely shot in the US if it is discovered its employees or agents have hacked the phones of the families of September 11 victims. The Justice Department has been asked by members of Congress to investigate that issue.

If the capacity to hold politicians to ransom is critically injured, what is the point of continuing to own newspapers that do not return a profit? That is the question which in the days and weeks ahead will open up some deep divisions in the upper reaches of the News Corp estate.

There are other possible violations to be weighed. If a subsidiary in London made illegal payments to police officers, that is a breach of US law.

This story is unravelling so fast that it’s impossible to predict all the ramifications. Nick Davies, the Guardian journalist who has done so much to crack open this scandal, says Murdoch has lost control of the outcome. It now has a life of its own and to a very large extent markets, not oligarchs, will determine what happens.

What has risen so quickly to the surface is the deep dislike and resentment of Murdoch on the part of the political establishment. For years they had to fawn all over him, now they’re pleased as Punch to be kicking him all the way down.

We can well imagine there would be much joy amongst the ranks of politicians. Somebody was describing somewhere – I can’t find it now – that the British Parliament resembled a populace freed from tyranny once they realised they all hated the tyrant.

Paul Keating Says…

This one came in from Pleiades. It’s a transcript of an interview with Paul Keating from Lateline on the 14th. It has several interesting portions on it covering Julia Gillard and the Carbon Pricing reforms, but while we’re on the topic of Murdoch, he had this to say:

PAUL KEATING: Well there’s one thing that’s clear for sure comes out of this and that is self-regulation by the media is a joke. A joke. You know, I notice tonight John Hartigan talking about the Press Council of Australia. I mean, people shouldn’t have a right to appeal about invasions of their privacy to some body funded by newspapers; they should have a right at law.

What we need, what we seriously need, which has been now recommended by the Commonwealth Law Reform Commission, the Victorian Law Reform Commission and the New South Wales Law Reform Commission is a separate right-of-action in privacy, a separate tort.

So in other words, you don’t have a right of appeal to some body, you have a right to action, you have a right to the law. In the end, the only regulator of this bad behaviour is the law. And, this episode in Britain …

TONY JONES: Well there’s certainly no right to privacy in the law in Australia at this time. And in actual fact, at a broader level, it’s sometimes said that privacy will be one of the great issues of our time, because of the internet, because of Facebook, Twitter, etc., etc. But it doesn’t seem that there’s any chance at the moment you’re going to get a consensus on this. Could the Murdoch issue reflect into this debate in Australia?

PAUL KEATING: Well, I mean, Minister Conroy’s now sitting on the Commonwealth Law Reform Commission report. Very reasonable recommendations. It basically says if you had a reasonable right to privacy and there are no public issues involved and they are infringed, you have a right of action at law.

For instance, those people in London who News International or the News of the World was asking the police to finger by their movements off their mobile telephone, those people had a reasonable right to believe that their free movement through London was their own affair, that they weren’t to be tracked by the police via the telephone system for the benefit of a newspaper.

TONY JONES: But do you believe this sort of thing only happens in Britain? I mean, could it also have happened in Australia?

PAUL KEATING: It could have happened in Australia. In fact, your chief executive officer made the very same point in a speech a year or so ago. He – I brought the quotation in, which is a point.

He said that – Mark Scott, “With digital surveillance, location tracking and genetic tracing becoming commonplace, there’s a very firm case for the law to allow people to protect their privacy.” Correct. Correct.

TONY JONES: Let’s talk about the politics of this with the time we’ve got left. Do you think Murdoch’s News Limited is effectively at war with the Gillard Government?

PAUL KEATING: I think it’s beyond doubt. I mean, when the Daily Telegraph yesterday is saying, “Let’s have a national election,” why do we need a national election? We have an operating – a clear operating majority in the House of Representatives, it’s a stable majority, the business of the Government is reasonable business, that is the controversial matter is putting a price on carbon.

There is a consensus, it seems, in both Houses of Parliament for it. Why should there be an early election, other than the editors of that newspaper believing that were there to be an early election, the existing government would be defeated.

So this is why ministers are saying News Corporation is after – or News Limited is after regime change. You know, I think, you know, how can you read it any other way?

So there you have it. In a nutshell, our privacy could be law, but Stephen Conroy is just sitting on the report not doing anything. I’m sure Stephen Conroy’s ears were stinging when he got a wind of that one. Anyway, it’s also quaint to note that Paul Keating knows exactly what’s going on over at News Corporation – they’re after a ‘regime change’. He always had a way with words.

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Blast From The Past – 12/Jul/2011

This Is Serious, Mum

When I was eight, I was given this album for a present.

It’s a Russian dude by the name of Leonid Kogan playing Tchaikovsky’s famous Opus 35 Violin Concerto in D. I randomly came across the page in Amazon the other week, and it set my mind racing, at first wondering if I still owned that LP – I did! – and whether I could get a CD of it. To the best of my knowledge, I think this performance is now re-packaged in this CD here.

It arrived today, and I skipped the piano concerto bit and went straight to the violin concerto, and sure enough it was the recording I thought it was. They even had the photo from the LP in the inner liner notes.

I’m not big on romantic period composers, but this record is an exception because of my own sentimental attachment. I don’t know much about Leonid Kogan except that he played a violin that was strung with steel strings right across, and that his technique has been likened to ‘heavy metal of violinists’, which I think it means, he had prodigious technique which he liked to flaunt. Certainly a fresh listen to this recording revealed that he had exquisite tone out of his 1729 violin, and played with amazing gusto. I have a Izthak Perlman version somewhere which is also played aggressively, but Kogan in this version supplies plenty of pyrotechnics. I don’t know how important a recording it is in the annals of classical recording buffs – I imagine it doesn’t rate that highly, but having revisited it after all these years, I’m very happy I managed to track it down.

Anti Everything, Don’t You Mean?

The other album I want to share with you today is this one, ‘We Are The League’ by the Anti-Nowhere League.

I was introduced to  recordings by the Anti-Nowhere League by a girl who was really into obscure crazy punk bands from the UK. It was white-bread milk-and-cookies rebellion, but it was rebellion all the same. Even back in the day it was obvious Punk was pretty silly in parts, and the Anti-Nowhere League certainly inhabited the silliest areas of Punk. Mind you, make no mistake, these guys were superlative bad-taste punk players. Their records are brimming with dissident energy and anti-social rants.

I always liked their song ‘So What’ because it lyrically echoed King Crimson’s ‘I Talk To The Wind’ while the actual sound was more or less Sex Pistols on ‘roid rage.

Well I’ve been to Hastings
And I’ve been to Brighton
I’ve been to Eastbourne too
So what, so what

Well I’ve been here
And I’ve been there
And I’ve been every fucking where
So what, so what

So what, so what you boring little cunt
Well who cares, who cares what you do
Who cares, who cares about you
You, you, you

Well I’ve sucked sweets
And I’ve sucked rock
And I’ve even sucked an old man’s cock
So what, so what

Well I’ve fucked a sheep
And I’ve fucked a goat
I’ve had my cock right down its throat
So what, so what
So what, so what you boring little cunt
Well who cares, who cares what you do
Who cares, who cares about you
You, you, you, you

Well I’ve drunk that
And I’ve drunk this
And I’ve spewed up on a pint of piss
So what, so what

And I’ve had scag
I’ve had speed
I’ve jacked up until I bleed
So what, so what
So what, so what you boring little cunt
Well who cares, who cares what you do
Who cares, who cares about you
You, you, you, you

Well I’ve had crabs
And I’ve had lice
And I’ve had the pox and that ain’t nice
So what, so what

Well I’ve fucked this
And I’ve fucked that
And I’ve even fucked a schoolgirl’s crack
So what, so what
So what, so what you boring little cunt
Who cares, who cares about you
Who cares, who cares about you
You, you, you, you….

I mean, how can you turn away from such honest, forthright, brutally frank, ugly sentiments? For years I would snigger through listening to Miles Davis’ track ‘So What’ off ‘Kind of Blue’ because the title reminded me of this song.

It took me a long while to track down this album too, but in the end I relied on Amazon’s third party seller to send me this number. I cherish it like I cherish my other CD by the Anti-Nowhere League, ‘Kings & Queens of Rock’n’Roll’.

Look, I’m probably the only guy to recommend both Leonid Kogan and the Anti-Nowhere League in the same entry, but that doesn’t mean I’m completely without taste.

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Carbon Price Banter

Finally Something In Place

We know the story: Kevin Rudd swept to power in 2007 with the promise of an ETS. He decided to negotiate one with the Coalition, finding common cause with his counterpart Malcolm Turnbull, which led to the demise of both men as leaders. Julia Gillard became Prime Minister having buried both the ETs and Kevin Rudd, went to the polls promising not to price carbon. Tony Abbott did worse, he supported the ETS, then in the expediency of his leadership challenge opposed it and buried Malcolm Turnbull. Both went to the polls and the electorate were so disenchanted, it resulted in the hung parliament. So off they went talking to the cross bench independents and the lonce Greens MP who negotiated the carbon price back on to the agenda, – which made Julia Gillard a ‘liar’  but that was the price of keeping office. Tony Abbott’s been running around siding with the loonies and climate change deniers drumming up a fear campaign, while the Greens and independents negotiated with the ALP to get this legislation.

And that’s how we got the second-best policy according to Petr Hartcher.

For Gillard, carbon pricing is the reform she didn’t want. She proposed the vacuous “citizen’s assembly” as a way of killing carbon pricing. She has negotiated this tax not because she believes in it but because it was the price of bringing the Greens and independents together in support of her minority government.
Brown decided to block Rudd’s emissions trading scheme in the Senate to hold out for a more ambitious one, then bewailed the government’s failure to reform carbon pricing. He is now supporting Gillard’s second-best scheme in an effort to salvage something from nothing.

And Abbott once urged the opposition to support the Rudd scheme in the interests of expediency, and then, as leader, opposed it in the same cause.

Even so, industry leaders thought he should have negotiated the terms of the carbon tax with Gillard. This would have reduced the power of the Greens and made it more business friendly. Instead, he pursued his populist oppositionism and left Gillard to deal with the Greens.

And there’s the crux of the biscuit for the industrial lobbies that opposed the carbon tax along with Tony Abbott this time through. In a game of double or nothing, they doubled down on the side of not having any kind of policy on carbon in this country but badly misread the prevailing winds. If Julia Gillard’s only reason for being PM was that she negotiated *something* with the independents and Greens, then they should have been awake to the probability that this time, the thing was going through. The greater irony is of course is that had the last one gone through, it might have been a bit better for the industry lobbies.They really misread the public mood, which has resulted in this legislation.

The funny thing is that this was on the cards ever since the hung Parliament election last year and when Julia Gillard announced she would price carbon as a result of her deals. It’s amazing such a poliy got through in a hung Parliament, but maybe sometimes that is what it takes to get change.

Phil Coorey writes the Greens had to compromise greatly too.

The Greens complained last time abut the lack of restrictions on polluters to stop them buying permits overseas, enabling them to keep polluting at home. This scheme has restrictions but they do little more than pay lip service to the concern.

The CPRS was to start with a fixed price of $10 for a year before turning into an emissions trading scheme with an estimated starting price of $26. This scheme will start as a fixed price of $23, indexed upwards for three years, and has a floor. The government claims it will be a net lower carbon price over the first three years.

Today, the already febrile nature of federal politics will increase to that of an election campaign, with Gillard and Abbott locked in a fight to the death. The Greens and the government can ill-afford to bicker.

Either way, the Greens’ policy purity of two years ago has gone. Like Labor, the minor party could not afford to fail to reach a deal this time. It’s called compromise.
Welcome to political reality.

It seems in the final wash up, the Greens didn’t come close to getting everything they wanted, and that perhaps this is a good thing for industrial Australia. After the last time through, it raised serious questions as to what on earth the Greens were doing in parliament if they couldn’t get some kind of carbon trading scheme up and running. So it seems this round of negotiations was indeed a last ditch effort to salvage something from a real political opportunity with their names carved in to it. It was do or die for the Greens as much as the ALP.

Why Are You In Politics, Tony?

Which brings me to Mr. Abbott, who made a laughable speech after the Prime Minister made her speech. He said taxation was bad. I laughed out loud because if taxation per se was bad, then the Liberal Governments he was part of did a lot of bad things – like introduce the GST. There is no way taxation in of itself is ‘bad’ – it depends on the tax policy and this why policies get debated (like, d’uh Tony). So it seems it’s quite appropriate to point out that had Mr.Abbott done some negotiating instead of fear-mongering in the public arena, they might have gotten something that better suited their perceived constituency of big business.

I guess he decided it was better to play the political game than to wrestle policy – which he already seems to choose every time – but just this once it seems he missed an opportunity to do something worthwhile and participate in a historic decision. Instead he’s going to go down as the clown who went jumping around playing politics in the polls while an important legislation worked through Parliament with nary an input from his party.

The polls might suggest he’s way ahead of Julia Gillard right now, but once this thing goes through, he’s going to look weak and powerless for not being able to stop it. All this talk of repealing it is not going to help his cause at the next election when the pricing will already be in place. So really, what the hell are you doing in politics, Mr. Abbott?

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Dumb And Dumber

Men Who Fake Feminism

There’s something really unedifying about two blokes arguing hammer and tongs about feminism. I don’t know about you, but it’s irksome in the same way as say, two atheists arguing about the interpretation of passages in the bible. In both cases, the participants are endowed with the wrong set of tools that disqualifies them from having any kind of credibility in the field. If you’re a guy, having a penis sort of disqualifies you from having too much moral authority on the topic expect to say, “yeah, what she said.” And in the instance of the atheists, having reason but no faith, is the wrong equipment with which to wrap one self around the arcane illogicality and irrationality of religion.

In that light I bring you today’s internet biffo between Bob Ellis and John Birmingham. It’s really obtuse and idiotic, but I guess Bob Ellis kicked off the stupidities first:

Why are deeds long common at office Christmas parties used by women to ruin good men’s careers? Why are left-wing harassers smashed, and right-wing harassers like Bill O’Reilly unharmed by it?

The Strauss-Kahn Moment has arrived, and the question must be asked: has wowser-feminism gone too far?

For, if we look back a bit, we will see I think that the Socialist Oscar Wilde, accused of pederasty, rightly, wrote no more plays, and the pro-Communist Charles Chaplin, accused of engendering a bastard child, wrongly, made only three more films in 36 years; and the Jewish ex-Communist Roman Polanski, accused of pederasty, correctly, made no more Hollywood films, and despite his evident genius was blocked, harassed and menaced for 35 years and faces jail in his 80s.

You wonder if this Bob has lost the plot. What has feminism got to do with the downfall of Dominic Strauss-Kahn, one can only guess at. Yes there’s been a lot of moralism disguised as feminism, but I don’t think any sane person is going to pin DSK’s woes upon the general acceptance of feminist ideas. Then you get John Birmingham lambasting Bob Ellis:

What you wrote yesterday wasn’t just any old bullshit. It was dangerous, hurtful bullshit of the worst kind. It didn’t set women’s rights back by years or decades or even five lousy minutes, because these days women don’t hold their rights at the whim of fools who think assault, harassment and betrayal are no big deal. Women are stronger than that and we are all better for it.

But mate, you set back the cause for the rest us; for every bloke who ever decided to keep his pants on, and his hands to himself; for every bloke who took seriously the admonition that it wasn’t all about him and his one-eyed little friend. That crap you filed yesterday, sure, it insulted women. But it insulted men on a much deeper level. It implied we can never change, we can never get better. And hell, maybe, as a gender, we can’t. But as individuals we can and do every day. And the first step is not making excuses for our bad behaviour or shifting the blame onto women as a whole, or on to some ill-defined political construct.

The moral indignation is a bit on the nose. I always found it highly suspicious when guys back in the 1980s would take up the cause of feminism to such an extent you’d wonder if they’d forgotten that they were blokes and as blokes still had those entitlements, but were willing to overlook that and to relentlessly argue on behalf of women – to impress women. I figured it was a brilliant new tactic to get laid. I don’t know if it worked but there were sure as heck a lot of guys wanting to argue about ‘The Female Eunuch’. I guess I was a little too rigid (and therefore an unreconstructed male chauvinist pig, penis-like – read, “dickhead”)  that I found those guys to be a new variety of hypocrites running around being moralistic.

To that degree, I sort of get Bob Ellis – I don’t agree with him, but I can extend the charity of understanding what he’s trying to say. And I get that Birmingham thinks this is bad and understand why one might morally  (self-)righteously take that position. But I think John Birmingham is being incredibly uncharitable when he says Ellis’ entire point is to justify criminal acts such as sexual assault and rape. It’s way overstating what can be inferred about Bob Ellis from what he has written in that entry.

What’s really surprising is the gusto with which people are lining up to kick Bob Ellis for being wrong-headed. it’s like there’s been an outbreak of sanctimonious feminism-sympathy by a bunch of guys. For my part, I intensely dislike moralist critiques in general. If you’ve been any reader of this blog and the ones before it, you’ll know I squirm in discomfort at moralists thumping on their tubs. Where there’s a moralist, my experience tells me there’s always the foul stench of hypocrisy, and by my own nature I can abide hypocrisy less than failure to adhere to strict moral codes. Laws are one thing, they must be obeyed as Socrates noted;  but moral codes as dictated by the clergy or the general discourse of feminism are highly suspect things, for they invariably invoke an ‘ought’ out of a described state of ‘is’. And any ideology is a catalogue of ‘oughts’ construed out of what they see in the way the world ‘is’. There is no categorical imperative. Kant’s simply wrong.

The last time I looked at this direction, feminist moralists were lining up to hang French culture in its entirety as an extension of the Dominic Strauss-Kahn case. I think Bob Ellis did a terrible job of writing about it, but it is a line of discourse out there. And maybe labeling it ‘wowser feminism’ does get you into the dog house of intellectuals in this country, it’s still worth asking the question all the same. Similarly, John Birmingham is right that we cannot condone rape and sexual assault no matter how culturally normative it once looked – but who is really arguing against that? Put on the spot, Bob wouldn’t say that rape and sexual assaults are good things or acceptable to society. By deliberately ignoring the ramification of such moralist argumentation, Birmingham is also deliberately underplaying that there might be a problem in burying a person’s accomplishments for their peccadilloes. When Ellis asks if he is willing to bury Kennedy’s legacy in exchange for Kennedy’s moral failings, Birmingham says:

Er, I think you’ll find JFK was president. A large part of his voter appeal? A fresh clean image. A war hero and family man with a beautiful, glamourous wife.
To bad he was banging the actress.

But it wouldn’t be for me to say whether that disqualified him from office. (My personal opinion? ‘Meh’). That’d be the choice of voters in November 1960. It wasn’t one they were offered, because they had no information about his future sexual trangressions. Just as they had no information about Nixon’s future crimes.
Do you really think it’s helping? All this time you spend in the TARDIS?

In other words, he’s deliberately not seeing the point of the hypothetical exchange. Nor shall he make commitments:

Ellis: No, no, do YOU think he should have been elected President? He was a serial harasser, a grinning adulterer, he knowingly transmitted non-specific urethritis to unsuspecting film stars, he availed himself of the mentally unstable Marilyn Monroe and sped her suicide…
Just do it, Birmingham.
Man up.

Birmingham: t’s a silly question, Bob. An undergrad question. You’re asking would I make him President knowing now what I know about him. What you need to ask is ‘would JB vote for him knowing ‘was a serial harasser, a grinning adulterer, he knowingly transmitted non-specific urethritis to unsuspecting film stars, he availed himself of the mentally unstable Marilyn Monroe and sped her suicide…’
Knowing just that? And being voter in 1960? Probably not, no. I wouldn’t have voted for him.
But nor would I have voted for Nixon.
In the US system you dont have to vote.
In the Australian system when faced with unpalatable choices I usually just deface my ballot paper with some sort of message for the scrutineers. Just because a candidate hitched his or her wagon to the ‘progressive’ mule isnt reason enough for me to climb on board.
I’m not seeing a lot of point in voting for Gillard for instance. Other than to keep Abbott out. And that’s not nearly enough.

So Birmingham says he would trade off Kennedy’s legacy for his moral failings, even though he wants to hide behind the caveat of historically not being able to do so because there is only one history. Frankly, it’s weak and dumb. If one believes there is only reality and no hypotheticals in history, then one must necessarily embrace both Kennedy’s legacy AND his moral failings. If Bob Ellis’ argument was arcane and abstruse, bordering on the nonsensical, Birmingham is plain obtuse. But this is what I mean when I say dumb and dumber.

It’s a strange media spectacle when two people generally on the left side of politics have a go at one another for not being politically correct or astute enough. It’s even worse when they choose to misconstrue the other party for their own moral indignation. I guess these thing are amusing because people get so hot under the collar and a good argey-bargey beats a unison chorus from the choir.

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