Is Scott Morrison the fatberg lurking in the #auspol sewers?

March 26, 2021

Do you remember a couple of weeks ago when one of the government’s favoured Accredited Stenographer®™’s Phil Coorey described Twitter as Australia’s political sewer and his pal Chris Uhlmann took great delight in calling people like us ‘sewer rats’?

Well, you won’t be surprised to know that both of these fine and well-credentialed apologists are not really all that good at political geography.

As it turns out, what we’ve learned over the past few months is that the real political sewer runs deep and wide through the corridors of power.

The waste treatment plant of this system of pipes, tunnels and odure-filled trenches is actually situated on a hilltop inside the Parliamentary Circle. It is the political heart toilet cubicle of our nation’s capital.

Over recent weeks, we’ve all seen how totally dysfunctional this poo-processing facility is. Some of us—in fact many of us—have been saying for some time that the Morrison government stinks but now nobody can deny the rising stench emanating from the grease traps of Canberra.

You don’t need me to tell you about all of the scandals, the corruption, the self-serving, insider trading, treachery and dirty double-dealing. IA has been covering it for ages, but let’s just recap some of the highlights.

Reefgate. Angus Taylor. Barnaby Joyce. Michaela Cash. SportsRorts. Peter Dutton. Christian Porter. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of the scandals. Forgive me if I missed your favourite.

All of this was common knowledge well before Louise Milligan pricked the Canberra Bubble on 4 Corners back in November 2020.

Since then, we’ve learned of the severely problematic, brutal and deeply misogynist frat-boy culture inside Parliament House and heard allegations of rape, assault, sex workers smuggled into MPs offices, and debauched ‘solo sex acts’ by a cabal of depraved and privileged young men who think they are born to rule the world via their big swinging dicks.

We—the voters of Australia—are entitled to ask “What the actual fark is going on?”

Well, I haven’t said much about federal politics for a while. I was finishing a book and obsessed with the American election right up until Joe Biden was safely inaugurated at the end of January.

I have been watching closely though, and I have a theory. I suggest you refrain from eating while you read the rest of this piece, I don’t want to be responsible for causing you to gag on your cereal or spit back into your coffee mug.

So, put down the cup, the knife, the fork or spoon…and read on.

If my analogy holds true—that the corridors of power are the national political sewer—then what role does the Prime Minister play in this toxic eco-system?

It’s simple: Scott Morrison is the fatberg blocking the drain.

A fatberg is a giant mass of sludge that solidifies inside the sewer system. It’s mostly composed of grease and dirty cooking oil tipped down kitchen sinks, but they can grow to an enormous size and their contents provide a remarkable insight into the daily habits of everybody who contributes to its mass. The biggest fatbergs can weigh upwards of 100 tonnes and grow to around 80 metres in length.

According to the New York Times, a fatberg forming under the city of London was analysed by scientists a couple of years ago, and they found it contained traces of narcotics, condoms, wet wipes and incontinence pads.

I’m sure a chemical analysis of the Morrison fatberg would reveal similar results.

The major problem with fatbergs is that they clog up a system that’s designed to drain away all the nasties for treatment and recycling. When properly cleaned and decontaminated, waste-water can be safely re-consumed by humans.

There’s not much chance of that happening in Canberra.

When a fatberg blocks the natural drainage system of sewer pipes it backs up and contaminates the whole site.

An early Roman public toilet

The Romans invented urban sanitation, and called their first sewer system the Cloaca Maxima. Do you think that if Morrison was a Caesar perhaps he’d choose this as his moniker.

Compared to modern standards, the Roman cloaca was pretty inadequate. It stank and it didn’t really do much for public health or reduce the number of parasites feeding in the putrid waste.

I’m sure all of this sounds familiar.

The Morrison fatberg has pretty much the same effect. All of the waste and its parasites back up right through the corridors of power. The fatberg makes it impossible for them to be drained away.

The results are on display now.

The over-compensated and over-rated cohort of parasitic man-acting boy staffers who teem and squirm in the slime follow their leaders, looking to them for examples of how to behave.

When senior ministers are rewarded for loyalty to the fatberg, rather than exemplary performance of their duties, the parasites learn to mimic their behaviour.

When senior male members of the government indulge in ostentatious, publicly promiscuous sexual charades, and treat their female colleagues as disposable sex toys, the parasites feel emboldened to act the same way.

A fatberg survives by collecting all of the wet wipes, the cum-stained tissues, the discarded roaches, crack pipes and oxycontin packaging, and adhering all this sexual detritus to its swelling torso.

A fatberg attracts the most unsavoury and unflushable lumps of muck to itself. It feeds on the discarded evidence of gluttony and infamy.

A fatberg sees the world as fodder to feed its putrid appetites. This is what Morrison has done this week.

Morrison has this same transactional tunnel vision as a parasite-ridden fatberg. His outburst on Monday (23 March) accusing some Sky News journalists of the vile behaviours he has tacitly condoned among the parasites shows how gluttonous the Prime Minister is.

In April last year a fatberg was pulled out of the sewers under Melbourne’s streets. It was longer than a petrol tanker according to news reports (though no mention of how many Olympic-sized swimming pools it would fill, unfortunately).

The Melbourne fatberg weighed 42 tonnes (a small one by global standards) but it still took nine hours and a couple of giant cranes to remove.

The Morrison fatberg is at least that big, though my guess it’s at least twice the size of the Melbourne giant.

Morrison is wedged into a narrow pipe, deep inside the system and it will take a plumber’s friend of enormous size and power to shift him.

The plumber’s friend. $4.95 from Bunnings

Until we can find plunger that’s up to the job, the backed-up drains on Capital Hill will continue to throw up more toxic sludge, and feed the parasites.

The Romans were apparently wary of connecting their domestic sewer pipes to the Cloaca Maxima because they were afraid of what might crawl out of it to literally bite them on the bum.

The sewers of Rome were also notorious for the emissions of toxic and flammable mephitic gasses that were oxygen depleted but rich in nitrogen. Now we know what it is that keeps the Canberra Bubble inflated.

The Romans also used to wipe their arses with a sponge on a stick and then pass it around.

How long before we hear something similar from the sewers of power?


Protected: Tiff’s party photo gallery

December 9, 2020

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Julian, Neil and me

April 13, 2019

It’s fair to say I’m basking in some reflected glory this morning. The author and great mind, Neil Gaiman, has engaged me in a lengthy Twitter conversation on the vexing subject of Julian Assange.

It started with this exchange between Gaiman and an author who’s science fiction I love, Charlie Stross.

D386OtyUIAEnAjO.jpg large

I sent a rather snarky response, but to his credit, Neil Gaiman engaged and then we had a respectful dialogue about the Assange case.

Our basic disagreement is that Neil seemed exclusively focused on the outstanding rape and sexual assault allegations against Assange, while I was trying to point out that the plan to extradite him to the US was the bigger picture issue today.


Photography Assignment – Portraits of my cat

April 1, 2019

A collection of cat photos taken with my DSLR in manual mode and lightly edited in Lightroom.
The cat’s name is “Callie”, which is short for “Calliope Cutlass, the pirate cat”.


Protected: The Stanistreet family portrait

March 30, 2019

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Morrison will deal with One Nation on preferences because he has no choice

March 28, 2019

In the wake of the Christchurch massacre, Scott Morrison has called for an end to “toxic tribalism”, but this doesn’t mean he won’t exploit it in the federal election.

Morrison sets 'tribalism' agendaTwo things are fairly certain in the wake of the Christchurch massacre and the NSW state election: Scott Morrison will not let go of his commitment to toxic white nationalism and the Coalition will preference One Nation and other racist factions above Labor and the Greens in the federal election.
The third predictable leg of this tripod of tribalism is that most of the news media and commentariat will go along with Morrison’s decisions and ideology because they treat politics as a game of appearances rather than a matter of real consequences for real people.
Perhaps we all thought that the shock of a self-confessed “eco-fascist” who was groomed into murderous violence by his connections to Australia’s home-grown white supremacists would shift the political debate decisively.

It hasn’t. Maybe it did for a few too short days and hours, but by the end of last week it was back to the same old same old, just as I predicted in IA on Thursday last week.
Just six days after Christchurch I wrote that “normal transmissions” would be resumed quickly and that Morrison would lead the way by:

…returning to the rhetoric of border security and community safety as quickly as possible and spinning the Christchurch attacks into the Government’s re-election strategy. The media plays along with this because that is the game they know well and are most comfortable with. But there’s also another reason that the news media plays along — journalists share the broad world view of the Government.

Unfortunately, that is precisely what has happened.

It has taken less than two-weeks after the worst terrorist attack in our region since 88 Australians died in the Bali bombings of October 2002, for the COALition to work out how to adjust its rhetoric and get its re-election strategy back on track. The key shift has only been in the messaging, not in the policy direction and not in Morrison’s intent.

For all his bluster in the interview with Waleed Aly, in which he sought to re-frame the now infamous 2010 cabinet discussion, Morrison is a leopard who cannot and will not change his spots.
The Prime Minister stands accused of seeking to inflame divisions by using Australia’s Muslim community as a political punching bag in order to connect to voters still stuck in the racist dialectic of Australia being a white, European country.
In the interview he attempted to deflect criticism by claiming that he had merely been “addressing” the issue. This mealy-mouthed response dodged the central question about whether Morrison was seeking to inflame the issue or calm it down and it was delivered with all the shouty arrogance that we’ve come to expect from this hollow tin barrel of a man.
That Morrison is his own aggressive and endless echo chamber on legs is not the issue. As Katherine Murphy wrote in The Guardian over the weekend, we already know this about the Prime Minister; he will be judged on his record, not on some cardboard cut-out reinvention of a person with empathy.
Like most things with Morrison his empathy is as fake as his glad-handing and his smiling jocular public persona. He is indeed a shallow pond, full of scum and toxic algea blooms.
In this vein we can confidently say that Morrison’s new-found concerns with “tribalism” is just as fake and transactional. He is not interested in healing wounds in our national psyche, he is still intent on stoking division for political gain. Invoking “tribalism” is just a slight modification of his earlier very explicit anti-Muslim dog-whistling. That is why I am so disappointed that the commentariat Press Gallery opinion writers have fallen for it.

Let’s return for a moment to Katherine Murphy’s Saturday column. Most of it was pretty good. She rightly saw through Morrison’s attempt to bluster and bully Waleed Aly and his pathetic plea to be given a second chance. “Don’t pre-judge me,” he pleaded, and Murphy skewered him with precision:

You cannot outrun your record as a public figure, because you are still that public figure, and your identity is the sum of your record.

But there is also a problem in Murphy’s analysis. When Morrison talks about trying to end “tribalism” as he did early last week, Murphy agrees with him.

Now, Morrison, prime minister of Australia, believes there is too much tribalism, and the current excess of tribalism is corrosive to social cohesion…
He’s absolutely correct; I applaud this sentiment.

This is disturbing, but not surprising. By conceding this point to Morrison, Katherine Murphy reveals, again, that there is far too much ideological agreement between supposedly independent journalists and government figures. Instead of critical distance and critique the political agenda of the government is endorsed.
Importantly, it also allows Morrison to continue setting the agenda. Funnily enough – though it’s not at all funny – this is precisely what happened.

“Tribalism” is junk science

The idea that Australia is riven by tribal division has now become the media narrative, even though in terms of sociology and political science it is, at best, a nebulous concept that displaces other important categories of analysis, such as class, economic division, ethnicity and gender.
“Tribalism” is an appealing trope of pop psychology and by invoking it Morrison is only after one result – to signal to One Nation voters and supporters of the conservative fringe that he is still on their side.
This is what he is reported to have said in a speech to the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, just days after Christchurch:

“I see every Australian as an individual, not part of some tribal group to be traded off against another.”

While denouncing racism and “tribalism”, Morrison also said the community needed to be free to hold “legitimate policy debates” on issues such as migrant intake and border security without the conversations being “hijacked” by accusations of intolerance or racial hatred. This betrays Morrison’s true intentions. He is signalling to the hardcore racist rump that they are free to continue their slander of Muslims because both “tribes” are as bad as each other. And, it was confirmed by further remarks in the same speech reported in the Nine newspapers:

“This is true of the left and the right, and even more so from those shouting from the fringes to a mainstream of quiet Australians that just want to get on with their lives.”

This is the same “both sides” language that Donald Trump deployed after white supremacists marched through Charlottesville and Heather Heyer was murdered by a maniac Nazi in August 2017. Even conservative US commentator Christopher Chantrill correctly describes nationalism of figures like Trump and Morrison as “fake tribalism”.

Patriotism is when the ruling class keeps tribal feeling in reserve, to crank it up only when it is necessary to send a generation of young men onto the killing fields against an enemy. Nationalism is when the ruling class loses control of the narrative to some yahoo like Trump.

Morrison is using “tribalism” to the same effect. The use of both-sides are bad rhetoric is an attempt by the PM to place himself in the middle ground and the mainstream media amplify it because they are in synch with the ideology behind it.

After Gladys: To boldly go where racists have gone before

The re-election of the Berejiklian government in NSW on 23 March will only embolden Morrison to continue down this path.
In the Waleed Aly interview he refused to commit to putting the racist fringe elements last on the Liberals’ preference allocation. This was a “wait and see” decision and, now that it’s clear that One Nation has a sizeable base in NSW, the wait is over.
Liberal Party strategists know that the coalition needs to harvest the seven to 10 per cent of voters who are willing to cast a ballot for out-and-out racism if it is to have any chance at all of winning the federal election in May.
When asked about preference deals with One Nation on Sunday’s Insiders, Liberal senator Arthur Sinodonis also refused to commit to putting them last. He managed to get around the question by saying that he personally would “repudiate” the racists but didn’t go so far as saying he wouldn’t accept their preferences.
Morrison knows his only option is to continue to play the race card, he is carefully recrafting the message post-Christchurch, but the message has not changed.

I have no doubt that the COALition will do preference deals with One Nation, Morrison cannot even come close to winning the election without them.


Social media doesn’t shoot people. Nazis with guns shoot people

March 20, 2019

There’s been an inevitable backlash against social media in the wake of the Christchurch massacre. Mainstream news organisations have been quick to jump on the bandwagon of blaming Twitter, Facebook and sections of the more obscure ‘dark web’ for the radicalisation of young men into the political orbit of white nationalists. However, I don’t think we should blame social media for the rise of Nazi shooters.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrrison is among those calling for a “crackdown” on social media supposedly to prevent further terror incidents. However, this is putting the cart before the horse and then flogging the cart even though the horse is, itself, almost dead.

And of course, The Australian is out there whipping away hysterically.

Yes, a strained metaphor, but I think an apt one.
Let me explain.

It’s easy to blame the machines

The idea that social media is somehow responsible for capturing the minds of susceptible people and turning them into homicidal racist monsters is easy to grasp and it’s comfortable; but it is wrong. It plays to a generalised anxiety about the potentially harmful effects of too much technology and it seems to offer an easy solution, but it really means more surveillance for all of us.

If the technology itself is a corrupting force, then why don’t we just ban it or at least impose some proper controls mandated by a responsible authority – the government, for example.

The simplicity of this idea is its major appeal, but there is a secondary appeal in this argument, one that is very useful for politicians, mainstream media and journalists seeking to deflect any blame that might attach to them.

I am not questioning the idea that social media channels and platforms can play a role in ‘radicalising’ some people, particularly teenagers. In fact, there are some forms of online radicalisation I’m in favour of. A good example is the recent global student strike around the lack of serious political action to stop climate change. The fact that hundreds of thousands of school and university students can see their peers take action and feel inspired about joining in is a good thing. However, the real political movement coheres on the street, or as we increasingly feel it necessary to emphasise, in the ‘real’ world as opposed to the ‘cyber’ world.

The climate striking students gain an initial sense of solidarity from being able to connect online via Facebook groups, WhatsApp and other chat forums, but they really only see the real power they have when they come together and march, rally, paint placards, chant and, in some cases, defy their parents and headmasters to cut school for the day.

It is instructive to note that when politicians wanted to attack the climate marches and berate the students into staying in class, it wasn’t social media that they chose to blame it was mysterious ‘adult’ activists pulling the strings and manipulating pliable and suggestible young minds.

Read the rest of this entry »


After Christchurch: I’m not grieving, I’m just really angry

March 17, 2019

I spent two hours at my local mosque on Sunday afternoon. It was mosque open day in Victoria on 17 March, coincidentally just a couple of days after 50 people were gunned down at two mosques in Christchurch by a white supremacist.

I was planning to go to the open day before Friday’s mass murder, but my sense of outrage added a certain determination that I wouldn’t miss the opportunity.

I’m very glad I went. The local Muslim community was pleased to see about 100 infidels turn up to share lunch, to learn some of their history, acknowledge their right to religious observance and to show solidarity.

mosque poster 7

It was a solemn occasion given the horror of Friday is rightfully still on everyone’s mind, but there was also a sense of joy. The faces of the children were lit up with curiosity. It’s not every day that dozens of mostly white strangers turn up at the mosque.

The wife of the local Imam, Sister Mary, told us that the mosque elders had thought briefly about cancelling the open day out of fear that some gun-toting Nazi chud might want to attack them. But the community held strong and the open day was a commemoration of loss but also a celebration. I’m glad I went because it helped me find a place of some quiet after two days of restless agitation. I wrote on Twitter that I had been more profoundly affected by the Christchurch massacre than I thought possible.

 

you can read the rest of this article on my Patreon page, if you like it please consider making a contribution.

Here’s a clue about the source of my rage – fuckwitted dregs like Greg Sheridan pretending to fucking care.
FYI, he doesn’t give a shit about Muslim lives.


Venezuela – regime change by coup

March 13, 2019

The United States is once again agitating for regime change, this time in Venezuela. There is an economic crisis in Venezuela, and the government of Nicolas Maduro is under immense pressure. However, a US-backed coup led by neo-Fascist elements will not benefit the Venezuelan people. Our response must be to oppose regime change and support and self-determination.

There is a simple definition of regime change and it stands the test of time: “toppling an existing regime that displeases or worries the United States Government”.

The recent history of regime change in the Middle East reminds us that such military adventures lead to chaos, collapse and a tide of refugees. Three million Venezuelans have already left the country and American economic sanctions are making the situation worse.

Venezuela has been subject to US sanctions since August 2017 which means it cannot sell oil on the global market. The consequences of this are devastating for ordinary Venezuelans and the oil embargo has deepened an economic crisis across the nation. The economic pressure on Venezuela has been increased this year with the freezing of the nation’s bank accounts and seizure of Venezuelan assets held offshore.

nicolas-maduro-730x524_0

Attacks on Venezuela infrastructure

Over the last few days, there have been several highly-coordinated cyber attacks aimed at disrupting Venezuela’s electricity supplies. While there has been no claim of responsibility for the attacks, the self-declared “interim” leader of the opposition, Juan Guaido used the blackouts to renew his calls for a military coup against the Maduro government.

The Trump regime is also upping the pressure by tightening economic sanctions and leading US officials are not even attempting to hide their regime change agenda.

National Security Advisor, John Bolton has made the American support for a coup in Venezuela absolutely clear:

“We’re looking at new sanctions, new measures to tighten our grip on Maduro’s financial wherewithal, to deny his regime the money that they need to stay in power,” Bolton said.

American imperialism is out to wage war on Venezuela, as it has done in other Central and South American nations for the past 100 years.

My take on why regime change is never a good idea is published at Patreon.


Invasion Day 2019: Ethical Martini’s image catalogue

January 28, 2019

This is a watermarked catalogue of all the photos I took at the Melbourne #InvasionDay rally on 26 January 2019.

I had a particular interest in documenting all of the homemade signs and placards. A lot of people went to quite a bit of trouble to get their points across with humour and sharp politics.

If you’d like a non-watermarked copy please get in touch. I am happy to give a free copy to individuals for private use. If you’d like to reproduce any of the images for publication or for commercial purposes, please get in touch as I have to charge a nominal fee to cover my own costs.

If you like my photographic work and / or my writing please consider becoming a patron and supporting me with a small regular contribution. You can find out more at my Patreon page.

The images are in seven different galleries. Scroll down, click an image to enlarge it.

Gallery 1: Stop pretending your racism is patriotism

Gallery 2: Respect Existence or Expect Resistance

Gallery 3: Abolish Australia Day

Gallery 4: I am the future / I am not the problem

Gallery 5: Stop black deaths in custody

Gallery 6: No pride in genocide / Cook was a crook

Gallery 7: Burn Australia / Abolish Australia Day