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109 responses to “Saturday Salon”

  1. Caroline


  2. Danny


  3. LuckyPhil

    Couldn’t agree more.

  4. Paul Burns

    I’ve just heard by e-mail that Belesconi has gone into formal coalition with the descendents of Mussolini’s Fascist Party. Seriously. I’m not indulging in socialist humour here. I can’t get the image out of my mind of Ratty nearly wetting himself with delight, in I think, 2006, when he was with Belesconi when he was out here. You know what they say about birds of a feather. And remember, Ratty might be gone, but the Liberal Party hasn’t changed. At least its out in the open now.
    It will be interesting to hear what, if anything, Kevin Rudd and Stephen Smith have to say about this.

  5. HuggyBunny

    Well Ratty’s dad and Mussolini shared similar views. Only RD was a dumbarse and Mussolini was smart enough to get himself hanged from a lampost. Shame it did not happen to RD before he got to beget the rat.

  6. Paul Burns

    Huggybunny @ 5,
    The only really smart thing Ratty ever did was marry Hyacinth.

    When he’s in the presence of more powerful RWDBs than he is (which is now just about every RWDB in the world) he behaves a bit like this dog I adopted years ago in Sydney. Unlike Ratty, the poor bugger had been badly mistreated by his earlier owner (unlike Ratty’s owners who keep him on the TV all over America and award him gongs most Aussies would be ashamed to wear). Now every time this poor dog would roll over belly up, when you scratched him on the belly, he’d piss in delight with being treated with kindness.

    But the real point with Belesconi is that the evil of Fascism – real fascism of the Hitler/Mussolini/Franco variety is rearing its ugly head again. And nobody, so far, is really doing anything much it.Yet.

  7. Chav

    But we need these laws to protect us all from being blown up on the way to work and to stop our female friends being forced to wear the Burqua! They’ll never be used against the Left! Why are you leftists so paranoid!?

    “The force has refused to rule out the use of anti-terror legislation, with Sir Paul Stephenson, the Met commissioner, conceding that the week ahead, in which President Barack Obama will lead a cortege of other world leaders to the UK, will be the Met’s greatest challenge.”


  8. Paul Burns

    I gather there’s this show on commercial TV that clashes with the ABC News called Home And Away. It seems the Xtan Right are getting their nickers in a knot over it because next week there’s going to be a scene of a deckhand and a copper kissing. Oh, I forgot to mention, they’re women. So Channel 7 has bowed to the wowsers and toned it down.

  9. Barge

    The juvenile comments on here make me remember why I think those of the left are a bunch of twits.

  10. joe2

    Well da diddly da to you, Barge. No one forced you come here did they? Like it’s not really compulsory, if you know what I mean, man.

    “Twits” eh..

  11. HuggyBunny

    I guess “Barge” has taken off the brown shirt, turned the portrait of Hitler to the wall and steeled himself to speak to the unwashed pseudo-left on this site. He should go to Strange Times, they will love him there.

  12. Caroline

    Is it just me, or as LP gone a bit peculiarly minimalist?

  13. philip travers

    The sitting member for Armidale one Burns is an example of the non birds of a feather Leftists who haven’t got the time, I suppose to be original.Try cartooning Oliphant style,to see if it is the macabre Right hunting down the extremely small nation of Israel and its very small Defense budget and its very small friendly Lobby groups in the U.S.A. and everywhere.And not the Nationalists sons of bus drivers who dag out at New England University,where old parasite Suzuki had a spell from his daring-dos on TV via a person very similar to myself,and with others helping him ride me.

  14. Caroline

    Teh BBC world service 8.pm’s Australia News misinformed me by telling me that Earth Hour was due to start at 9.30 pm. I just had a look at the SMH site. Small heart failure.

    “The event, which started in Sydney two years ago,”

    Bloody hell. Lights out.

  15. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    Barge is what I call a “seagull commenter” – flies in, makes a noise, drops a shit, and then flies out again. LP gets a few. I don’t know why they bother. I guess it makes them feel better.

  16. Zarquon

    This is Barge’s milieu.

  17. Patricia WA

    Paul at 4. Ratty was friends with Ms Liu too! Back to Berlusconi and the Fascisti – I have long thought of Joe Hockey as a likely latter-day Mussolini, hair and height aside. He is showing his true colours with his sinophobic attack on Joel Fitzgibbon, more subtly echoed by Malcolm’s sly comments on Rudd’s pro-China lobbying. Hockey may seem cruder but if Turnbull loses his job and Costello refuses it then Hockey will be Shadow Leader “faute de mieux”. If the GFC isn’t resolved and things get bad here Hockey will come into his own with populist rantings like this.

    I’m surprised there’s been no LP posting on this anti-China stance of the Opposition. Both Smith and Swan have responded.

  18. Barge

    Down and Out of Sài Gòn – wrong again. I occasionally take a look at the ‘mass debate’ that goes on around this site and I occasionally take the time to comment.

  19. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    Down and Out of Sài Gòn – wrong again. I occasionally take a look at the ‘mass debate’ that goes on around this site and I occasionally take the time to comment.

    Your name doesn’t jog my memory. I guess you’re a serial seagull commentator, because it appears you’ve left no commenting worth remembering.

  20. Andrew Reynolds

    Paul Burns,
    On a philosophical point – would invoking Godwin’s Law on this be appropriate or does it not hold for discussions of Mussolini? If this is the case is it because you regard Mussolini as not as bad as Hitler and therefore any discussion of him does not raise a Godwin problem?

  21. Paul Burns

    Andrew Reynolds,
    My comment arose because of a news item sent me by e-mail about Belesconi’s Forza Italia merging with Italy’s modern neo-fascits party which is directly descended from Mussolini’s Fascist. In any case, the anarchist in me tends not to take very much notice of laws, internet or otherwise, if they don’t contravene natural law.

  22. tigtog

    @Down and Out of Sài Gòn:

    The email address associated with Barge’s comments has been commenting sporadically since 2006, with the display name varying over time (not an accusation of malfeasant morphing – no reason for a net-handle to not evolve over a few years). So serial seagull squawks would appear to be an adequate description, yes.

  23. Andrew Reynolds

    Surely your linking of that to a former Prime Minister of this country as well as one of the political parties was not canvassed in that way in the email?

  24. Barge

    Down and Out of Sài Gòn – if you talked or debated anything in a sensible manner with mature comments, maybe more people would join in. The drivel that passes for comment on this site is not really worthwhile. If you find this level of commentary up to your standard the so be it. Enjoy but meanwhile there are people all over the WWW discussing issues in a sensible way. They don’t still have a fixation on John Howard who has been out of office for around 18 months now – you’d have to wonder how long people (such as the majority it seems on this site) can continue denigrate him for their own amusement (because beyond that it doesn’t achieve much). Have fun and continue to Mass Debate.

  25. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    The drivel that passes for comment on this site is not really worthwhile.

    So why do you care and why do you worry? If you were really that contemptuous of this site, you’d piss off and bother us no more. You’re like those wankers in the States that wanted to “go Galt” because the tax rate increased by a measly 2.5% on top income earners. They assert that their services are indispensable, the taxes are an abomination, and they’re being driven out of the country. Yet weeks go by, yet their bags are unpacked, and they haven’t even cut off the phone line. It’s all an empty bluff.

    So why don’t you go? Something’s holding you back. Something’s keeping you here spouting fallow words about “maturity”. I think it’s your ego. You want the last word so you can “win” the thread. Am I right?

  26. Ozymandias

    Barge, you mention that Howard has been out of office for 18 months now. Historically accurate, but irrelevant. His malign influence continues to pervade the party he so debased for years, and the country whose values he corrupted. He therefore remains a valid topic for debate.
    Gough Whitlam has been out of office for nearly 34 years, but that hasn’t stopped the Liberal Party kicking him in the head at every opportunity.

  27. Paul Burns

    Andrew Reynolds.
    You don’t consider it significant that an ex-leader of the Liberal Party who still has massive influence in that party despite even his own electorate kicking him out, praises a world leader who now has openly declared ties with a classicly fascist party? Do you really believe Howard has no pull in the far right in this country or with far right parties overseas? I would suggest that’s more than a little naive.

    Barge @ 23,
    perhaps my comment just made here explains some of the pre-occupatuion with Ratty. He hasn’t gone. He’s just in hiding.And why are you so sensitive that some of us on LP occasionally still focus on Howard? That in itself is very curious.

  28. Melbournienne d'antan

    I think it’s Hyacinth.

  29. Leigh


  30. HuggyBunny

    I have to agree with Paul Burns, The Rodent and Hyacinth belong to a long fascist tradition inside the liberal party. It goes all the way back to Menzies who made more than footsie with various unsavoury Fascists. The Hyacinths and Rodents come from a tradition that blamed the Depression of the 30’s on the wage demands of the communist unions. That people with such a myopic world view ever got to run this country is amazing. Well the US was until recently rubn by the spawn of a family of Fascist collaborators; so nothing should surprise us.

  31. daggett

    Courier Mail, ABC back housing Department of Main Roads land grab

    On 25 March Madonna King, the morning presenter of Brisbane’s local ABC radio station gave her listeners a small glimpse of how the Queensland Government’s frenzy of road construction is destroying the lives of many ordinary citizens. However, the case of those standing up to the Government was undermined when she stated that ‘you can’t stop progress’, a view which curiously echoes what was stated in the previous day’s editorial in the Courier Mail, which her husband is editor of.

  32. Paul Burns

    HuggyBunny @ 30.
    Ah yes. Our Bob. Some people do not take kindly to one pointing our Bob thought Herr Hitler was good for Germany because he was keeping its unruly yoof under control. (I presume he meant the German equivalent of the Eureka League being kept under control – in concentration camps and the rest conforming by joining Hitler Youth.)
    Don’t anyone dare mention Godwin’s Law. Theseare valid historical examples, not some twit-minded reference to the Holocaust. 🙂 )

  33. zorronsky

    You gotta love the way our acting Prime Minister brings uppity interviewers in to line with patient insistence of facts. This AM on Insiders with Hopalong Cassidy was just great. Comparing her lucidity with the hysterical rantings of one after another of front bench Opposition members, that seem to always get over representation on the program, was a joy to behold. I’d say Jules for PM except that as she patiently explained to Hoppy, at the moment she is!

  34. Stephen Hill

    Out of curiosity in what context did John Howard praise Berlusconi?

    I remember some right-wing Liberal when he was trying to get Malcolm Fraser expelled from the Liberal party mentioning that Fraser upon Mao’s death offered a tribute to parliament. World leaders are always praising one another, plenty of leaders have praised Mao and others in the similar leadership positions to maintain trade ties. Of course Howard did some pretty silly comments, like suggesting Osama Bin Laden was counting on a vote for Obama (and he problem went in hiding last November as a result) and the pre-emptive strike comment during the 2004 election, but I can’t remember any comments on the mafia backed Bella-dona. Interesting one of the best critiques of Berlusconi comes from the Economist magazine, which would usually endorse centre-right leaders.

  35. Andrew Reynolds

    The far right has about as much pull in the Liberal Party as the far left has in the Labor Party – and possibly less. Personally, I would disagree with much, if any, praise of Berlusconi as I believe he is a self-aggrandising corrupt politician. Not quite as bad as Chavez or Castro, but heading that way. Howard, like any other person is entitled to his view, however.
    To say that because Howard has praised someone that he must, therefore, agree with every subsequent political manouver by that person is, IMHO, more than a little dishonest.
    As for dealing with classically fascist parties – if there were political points on which I could agree with classically marxist parties I would be prepared to work with them to achieve a defined aim. If I opposed any aim merely because a marxist agreed with it I would not be much of a one for principle.
    Sometimes you just have to hold your nose in politics.

  36. HuggyBunny

    You dont get the world view of the Rodent or any-one else from a scattering of public or sotto voce statements. You get it by analysing the life, the public utterances and the political and philosophical oeuvre (sorry about the Mediterranean words). On this basis I would say that the Rodent is definitely to the far right of the political spectrum; likewise the wife. They spent the first years of their ascendency eliminating all those to their left. Thus they have destroyed the Liberal party – just look at the pathetic uber girls pretending to be men that remain.

    Andrew @ 35, you don’t do deals with Fascist parties – you do exactly as you are told.


  37. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    Out of curiosity in what context did John Howard praise Berlusconi?

    Using Google, I can’t find any recent instance of Howard praising Berlusconi. Berlusconi praising Howard? Yes, from 2002.

    Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi has praised Prime Minister John Howard for setting what he has described as a good example on industrial relation changes.

    The mood between the two men seemed exceptionally warm. They hugged and exchanged kisses on the cheek while praising each other’s efforts to reform industrial relations.

    Mr Howard says if the Senate would allow, he would follow Italy and suspend unfair dismissal laws for three years.

    Throwing the blackshirt accusation at Howard is hyperbole. It’s not him, but Berlusconi, who is making kissy-kissy with the “postfascist” National Alliance.

  38. Casey

    I dont understand what you mean when you say “pathetic uber girl pretending to be a man”, Huggybunny?

    Given this site is infested with uber girls, I feel you are saying that like its a bad thing. And uber girls are never pathetic natch, so what is it you mean?

  39. HuggyBunny

    Casey; erm uber girls are very welcome on this site I imagine. In the liberal party uber girls are converted into jokes such as the Smirk and that retarded fat guy. It’s all a matter of perspective.

  40. Association for the overweight consumers of mental health services.

    And Huggy Bunny goes from one gaffe to another – slick mate , slick.
    You are one sharp piece of analysis!
    Also much appreciated the clever joke about perspective too.

  41. Andrew Reynolds

    Huggy @36,
    With statements like that you sound as if you would leap at joining the pantheon that includes Mussolini, Chavez and Castro. Fortunately I still have the freedom to make my own mind up.
    Of course, if you choose to take that freedom away I will merely salute and obey, Comrade.

    BTW, Paul – you have got a link for Howard praising Berlusconi, haven’t you? I was merely taking it on trust that you had it when I responded to your #27.

  42. Paul Burns

    DAOAS @ 37, seems to have the occasion. I recall seeing it on TV and nearly throwing up. Like I said, birds of a feather, Howard and Belesconi.I suppose you could split hairs and say Howard didn’t actually wet himself or bow down before him as the font of all wisdom, but it was pretty close.

  43. Andrew Reynolds

    Is that your way of saying “I could not find any words of praise by Howard directed at Berlusconi at all and I am sorry for stating anything else?”
    Odd way to say it, but apology accepted.

  44. Casey


    Here Andrew, for your reading pleasure is John Howard speaking at a press conference with Berlusconi in 2002. Paul’s not apologising cause he’s referring to this and to the very revolting footage of the two embracing like moonstruck teenagers, which you can go find yourself if you like.

    “Thank you very much Mr President of the Council, Prime Minister, it is a great delight to be here with you and I want to thank you and your Government for the great hospitality you have extended to me and my party. Our meeting today was an enthusiastic reaffirmation of the very close affection and friendship between our two societies.

    Added to that was my great admiration for the reform program that you’ve committed yourself to as Prime Minister of Italy and the change that I believe that that commitment is bringing to your country and also to the European Union. It’s no secret that on many policy areas we have a similar approach. I have followed with interest your changes to industrial relations law and the Australians travelling with me would be very familiar with my long-standing commitment to change and reform in that area.”


  45. Paul Burns

    Exactly, Casey. Spot on. Much thanks/much appreciated.

    Andrew Reynolds @ 43,
    Absolutely no bloody apology. “It’s no secret that on many policy areas we have a similar approach”. (Ratty to Mussolini Mark II.)

    In other wards: “I. John Winston Howard, am a fucking Fascist and proud of it!’

    Got that, AR?

  46. Casey

    I respecfully suggest the matter of perspective, Huggy, is the problem here. Perhaps I could stick my fingers into your brain and re-arrange your synapses so that they no longer throw up very boring sexist binaries as the only available perjoratives for the Libs? No? Oh well, if you ever change your mind…

  47. The Groke

    “It’s no secret that on many policy areas we have a similar approach. I have followed with interest your changes to industrial relations law and the Australians travelling with me would be very familiar with my long-standing commitment to change and reform in that area.”

    Oh sweet FSM I’m so glad ratty’s out of here.

  48. David Irving (no relation)

    The Groke reminds us all why we shouldn’t whine too much about how disappointing Rudd has been. Yes, he’s a big disappointment, but at least he’s not John Howard and that, after all, is why we elected him.

  49. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    Folks, let’s not get carried away. Everyone should know that Berlusconi stands for one thing: Berlusconi. If praising Mussolini will benefit him, he will praise. If denouncing Mussolini will benefit him, he will denounce.

    Yes, the man has just formed himself a party called The People of Freedom (Il Popolo della Libertà or PdL). And what a confusing grouping it is. The core is Forza Italia and the National Alliance, but there are a smattering of other parties in there. Mostly conservatives, or liberal conservatives, but there are a few social democrats for some reason. I don’t understand it, but then Italian politics ain’t your normal Westminister parliamentary system. They’re Right, but generally not blackshirt Right. (Although they have Mussolini’s granddaughter somewhere in the melange.)

    As for the association between Howard and fascism – now I’m even less convinced. Yes, I could see him as secretary of some “New Guard” branch if the organisation had survived to the 21st century. But it didn’t. We can only deal with the history we have.

  50. Huggybunny

    [email protected]
    Look I only used the sexist binary card to provoke. The project to re-arrange my brain may or may not be distasteful to you as it lives in the same place that most male brains live. But it does get us (almost) through high school.
    Be that as it may I am known in real life as a SNAOG (Sensitive New Age Old Guy) or as the mother of my children once said a false SNOAG – took her 27 years to find out but.
    I am truly sorry. I won’t do it again. Promise.
    You sound nice.

  51. Andrew Reynolds

    I am not sure if you are serious or not. For your own sake I hope not – but as I have no way of really picking any irony off a blog comment, let’s summarise.
    1. JWH makes a standard diplomatic compliment on a normal visit to Italy in 2002. This compliment in no way indicates that any of Berlusconi’s policies will be implemented in Australia – merely that some may be “similar” and that they will be making changes in a similar overall policy area.
    2. Seven years later Berlusconi works with a party whose intellectual heirs were, 60+ years ago, associated with Mussolini.
    3. Intellectual leap!
    4. Ergo, JWH is a Fascist
    Explain step three to me, please.

  52. Casey

    Heh. Cool Huggy. Thanks

  53. Casey

    Well given how they pashed each other senseless*, from memory, you can understand how one could get the idea of fascist lovers in the sunset, (the sunset emanating from Silvio’s radioactively scorching orange tan)…and ok, there is no proof they made a secret fascist lovers pact, but then, but to bring it into context and taking Silvio out of the equations – You didn’t think that the Pacific Solution and the Anti Terrorism laws were dangerous moves by the Howard govt? – laws that a lot of people thought were moving into police state territory? Or was Howard a good guy for messing with civil liberties and destroying our collective humanity in the process?

    I thought this was an interesting article


    Yes the mind is capable of reproducing images in a lurid kind of hyperbolic way when one is traumatised by a scene of unspeakable horror. But its not like the tree in the forest, mind, – just cause Google doesnt have it, doesnt mean it didnt happen. Just means a lot of people are trying to suppress the same memory all at once, I reckon.

  54. HuggyBunny

    Andrew, read what I said at 36, as for Howard so for Berlusconi they are both attracted to the same fascist shit, they are just different flies. Neither has the balls to stand up and say Il Duce for me, instead they dog whistle at the world. Really pathetic.

  55. Nabakov

    Oh FFS, if yer gonna call Howard a fascist, then what do you call Benito or Adolf? Young liberals?

    Throwing a powerfully loaded word like that around so easily just renders it less effective in describing the real thing. Exhibit A: Jonah Goldberg. I bet the shades of millions of murdered people are not gonna thank you or the likes of Jonah for so easily cheapening what that word really meant in their lives.

  56. Casey

    I cant help it now. When you see read stuff like this


    you cant help but remember this


    I know I know no pact or anything. No fascist tryst in the woods, nothing at all really, but their tactics do seem awfully similar, the law making on the run, manipulating through issues of race, bowing to the most craven of human instinct….etc, etc, etc – if you were the romantic type, how could you not imagine their love has lasted through all this time?

    Okay okay back to the thesis now. Im up to 2007, the bit where where Howard has singlehandedly decimated the reconciliation movement into oblivion, the invasion of Indigenous land has been enacted under emergency powers…and we hear mainly silence pealing throughout the land… Fascist much? Of course not.

  57. Andrew Reynolds

    Thanks, Nabs – my thoughts exactly. Guys – if you want to say “conservative social democrat” for Howard then I might agree with you. To call him a fascist I just find offensive to the memory of the millions who died under the truly fascist or national socialist regimes. Just as me calling any of you Stalinist-Leninist or Maoist would be (I hope) truly incorrect and offensive to the memory of the millions more that died under the banners of those particular paths to disaster.

  58. Nabakov

    “if you want to say “conservative social democrat” for Howard”

    Yes it’s true that by US standards Howard is a “conservative social democrat” about three millimeters to right of Obama.

    My personal epitaph for him is “nation shrinker”. He blew billions on short sighted electoral bribes that could have been much better spent on renovating the place for the 21st century while using his bully pulpit to cut any mutual vision of our future down to his size.

    On the other hand, he did handle real crisis like Port Arthur, the late nineties Asian currency meltdown and the Boxing Day Tsumani very well.

    Sure you could call him a short-sighted little prick that’d you trust with the house keys while you’re on holiday but not with mortgage refinancing advice. But he was never a fascist. For starters, from what I’ve heard of people that working with him, he always enjoyed a drink and had quite a sharp sense of humour. Mind you, so did Stalin. But unlike fascists, he never thought big.

  59. Nabakov

    ” No fascist tryst in the woods, nothing at all really, but their tactics do seem awfully similar,”

    Casey, why don’t you have a Bex and a nice lie down? Instead of a big force-fed dose of castor oil.

  60. Casey

    Oh relax. Nobody is saying John Howard murdered millions. No one is disrespecting the dead. No one is minimising the horrors of those regimes. Its relative – there is a spectrum and there is also a trajectory. His policies and his law making on the run were heading into dangerous waters which provoked many intellectuals and commentators into using the term ‘police state’.

    You know I started out with this fascist meme just mucking around really. But if you want to get serious, as to the memory of millions, I do remember plenty of Jewish friends of mine, children of the holocaust survivors, criticising the Tampa incident and pointing to the inevitable comparison with the St Louis in 1939. So it’s to them I defer in matters such as these, given their parents and grandparents perished under these regimes. And also to my parents – my mother who grew up in fascist Italy and my father who fought in Mussolini’s war, so its to them I also defer, when for my father and his brothers, it was either be shot or wear the uniform. Listen, something went very wrong here in this country not so long ago. I spent most of the Howard years utterly ashamed to be an Australian. You have not even acknowledged his appalling record on human rights in your defence of Howard as fascist. Not once. There are similarities enough in terms of his interferences with our civil rights. If you cant bring yourself to consider his grievous record on asylum seekers and Indigenous issues, and particularly how he set back Indigenous rights for years, and how he, without conscience, harnessed the fear of the other to win elections, then maybe consider the memory of those who perished on the Sievx – Well over 300 and with questions still remaining on the role of border security. questions which have not been adequately answered. Here is the Dateline transcript which outlines all the unanswered questions on this matter. They will never be answered probably. But the question mark remains.


  61. Casey

    Nice Nabakov. Nice.

  62. HuggyBunny

    Its alright Andrew and Nabakov, you will both be bleating about how nice Howard was when they truck you off to camp freedom.

  63. Nabakov

    “…when they truck you off to camp freedom.”

    I’ll be flying on a RAAF Falcon to cast an eye over your self-imposed stress positions.

  64. Nabakov

    The real test of a democracy is not whether you can win an election but if you can hand over power when you lose one.

    Howard, like a whole bunch of Labor and Liberal PMs before him did this with good grace. Not a fascist.

  65. Andrew Reynolds

    If we had to list all of the points on which we may disagree with a person about whom we are arguing then every single argument would be a long one and we could just start pasting huge amounts of text. If you can be bothered to go and read what I have said about Howard and some of his policies over the years then go ahead.
    When writing a blog comment I try to keep to the point – in his case meaningless comparisons between the massive crimes of Italian Fascism and the (if only by comparison) small transgressions of our own JWH.
    If you want to paint horns on him, go ahead. Perhaps we can start a later discussion where I start spraying about that Whitlam was really a marxist, bent on turning us into the Soviet Union – based solely on a meeting he may have had with one or another world leader who may have cooperated with someone who in the past had had a nice word or two to say about Mao or Stalin.
    It would have about the same amount of impact that your speeches would be likely to have outside the little echo chamber you seem to have found for yourselves.

  66. joe2

    “Howard, like a whole bunch of Labor and Liberal PMs before him did this with good grace.”

    And wasn’t it a surprise that the little twerp let go of the levers of power? I am not sure where the “good grace” came in, with him and his thugs. They still run around now, like they own the country, making threats about another undemocratic dismissal and happy to see the economy smashed for their political advantage with any handy brick they can find to throw at it.

    Howard handed over to a new government not because of his love of democracy but because he had run out of tricks. If he could have come up with a despicable stunt, on election eve, that would have had the liberals over the line, he would have used it. There was just no opportunity to grab and the people had woken up to him.

  67. Paul Burns

    Casey @ 60, Joe2 @ 66,
    You’ve said it all. I have little to add. Except this and I’ve said it before in regard to John Howard, we forget or minimise what he did at the peril of our democracy. (And if you don’t believe me, just look at this current Manchurian Candidate rubbish Bishop, Malcolm and various other unreconstructed (or in Malcolm’s case, reconstructed in Howard’s image)Libs are bantering about.
    Shit, I might bag Rudd and his minions from time to time, but so far I don’t think they’ve done anything to merit that kind of treatment.

  68. Casey

    Andrew Reynolds

    It really started out in a humourous vein for me, but the internet is a funny place and it was, what seemed to me, to be your uncritical defence of John Howard combined with your continous badgering of Paul Burns that irritated me. Though I was riffing off the word fascist with a certain liberty last night, I was actually more concerned to show how Howard’s introduction of certain laws moved us,as a nation, into some dangerous places during his terms as PM, rather than label him a out and out Fascist. If you have previously written that you also had concerns, then sorry, havent read it. And my critcism of Howard’s legislating, for the record, moves onto this current government who have not dismantled much of what he put in place regarding the intervention and the anti terror laws.

    If I thought Howard’s enactment of certain legislation was moving into police state territory, then it really was with Berlusconi that the comparison lay, not with anyone else. It was you who brought up the comparisons to Hitler and Mussolini – not me. I do not accept that in suggesting that both Howard and Berlusconi are/were cunning politicians who manipulated fears in their countries to stay in power, I insulted the memory of millions. You two can get upset if you like but I didnt. If there are similarities between the two men it goes to how well both play the race card, which is what I was pointing out.

    You have a right to your opinion of course, just as Paul and Huggy have a right to theirs. But there was no need for you to impute Paul fabricated John Howard’s ‘words of praise’ as you put it (which is why I got involved in the first place). But since you pushed it so, I became concerned to show that there are many here in this country who regard what he did in his years as PM as violations of human rights and civil rights. Thats not a small transgression to some of us. If you and your supporter did not like my jokes about H & B, fair enough, but there was no need to get nasty about echo chambers and, in particular, the very lazy and sexist “bex” rubbish.

    And sorry for the meta, thats my final comment.

  69. Andrew Reynolds

    From the bottom:
    I can hardly have been sexist in any comment on “bex” for two reasons – I do not know (nor do I care) what sex you are and secondly I did not make that comment.
    It was not me that brought the comparisons up. If you doubt that in any way, I suggest you re-read the thread. Paul clearly tried to connect Howard to Mussolini through Berlusconi – I link I found tenuous at best. This was made absolutely explicit in Paul’s #45, which really went way, way, way out there.
    There are plenty of ways you may legitimately attack JWH but trying to paint him as a Fascist is not one of them and, IMHO, an attempt to do so minimises the crimes of that theory. It is intellectually dishonest at best – again, IMHO.
    If you want to invoke a police state I would suggest using a better example than Fascist Italy. Whatever it was, it was never very good at it. If JWH had wanted to create a police state he would not have chosen Fascist Italy as a model for it. Stalinist Russia would have been a better model.
    My “uncritical defence” of JWH purely directed at correcting what I saw as the sort of ridiculous hyperbole I saw and still see from members of the Left (and the Right) who insist on demonising as either a Fascist or a Communist anyone who dares to deviate from some concept of ideological purity. JWH was and is many things, but he is not someone who insists on the torture and murder of political enemies and is guilty of genocide.
    To use terms that imply that he is (as Paul did above) is to me (IMHO) to denigrate the struggle of those who fought against such tyranny as well as to make any such attack on people like JWH seem ridiculous, whatever the merits of the attack itself.
    For example, if I were to call UK PM Brown a Stalinist just because he has been nationalising some of the commanding heights of the financial system and also because he is plainly guilty of wasting vast amounts of money I would look ridiculous. To me at least, calling JWH a Fascist merely makes me shake my head and laugh at the person who seems to be trying to look like a zealot.

  70. Paul Burns

    Andrew Reynolds @ 69,
    Racist attacks on Aborigines.
    Demonising of the disabled, single mothers.
    Imprisoning non-white people in immigration camps.
    Introducing anti-terrorist laws that take away basic civil liberties.
    Condoning imprisaonbment without trial (in the case of David Hicks.)
    And that’s off the top of my head.
    The only reason Howard wasan’t far worse was because he didn’t think the Australian people would let him get away with it.In many other countries he would have been positively dsangerous.

  71. Nabakov
  72. Fine

    Yo, Nabs. As the Wiki entry points out Bex was seen as the drug of choice of ’50’s and ’60’s housewife. Using the expression is an excellent way of telling a woman that she’s just being a ‘frazzled housewife’ and she should just forget about whatever sge;s getting stirred up about. It’s a very gendered expression.

  73. Nabakov

    Ah. Having not grown up in Aus, I was unaware of the phrase’s exact nuances and just recalled it as an archiac version of “take a chill pill.”

    OK Casey. Take a chill pill.

  74. Andrew Reynolds

    Even if all of those things were the plain, unvarnished, truth (and, as the last one is an unsubstantiated opinion they could be) it does not make him a Fascist, any more than similar charges that could be laid at Brown’s and Blair’s door makes them Marxists.
    However, go on screaming “Fascist” at the top of your voice as, outside a tiny minority of our community – a minority to be found mainly on university campuses, it makes the rest of your argument seem as ridiculous as the charge of Fascism is.

  75. Casey

    No. Bugger off, or go stir yourself a campari, or whatever it is you do.

  76. Paul Burns

    Like the way the Libs are currently running with the Manchurian Candidate/Madame Liu libel. What was it Goebbels (surely a fascist?) said about the bigger the lie?

  77. Liam

    That was Hitler, Paul. If you’re going to accuse people of fascism, you should at least get your fascists straight.
    I am sad, needless to say, to find that I agree almost entirely with Andrew Reynolds. If fascism lay in a shopping list like the one in your 12:41 comment, then almost every wartime ALP government Australia has ever had—in particular the Second one, which had the enthusiastic support of the pro-Soviet CPA—would qualify easily as Fascist. Do you see how bizarre this conversation is?
    Me, I reserve epithets like these for when I’m out motorcycling and someone opens a car door on me.

    No, officer, I called him a “deviationist social-fascist fifth columnist lackey of the bosses”. And I’m sure he didn’t hear all that through my full-face helmet.

  78. David Irving (no relation)

    Actually, Nabakov, I recall the original expression was, “Have a cup of tea, a Bex, and a nice lie down.”

  79. klaus k

    There is an important distinction being obscured here between concern over the direction that policies and cultural forms seem to lead and actual, historical versions of totalitarian fascism.

    I tend to agree with Andrew and Liam about taking care not to efface that distinction. But, I think it is fair enough to make comparisons like Buchanan’s in Casey’s link above, in order to highlight the risks associated with certain undertakings or with certain identifiable features of a society. I also think there is an identifiable left tradition of usage for the word ‘fascist’ to describe something quite distinct from actual, historical fascism: that is, an authoritarian personality type or even an aspect of the modern psyche. I’m not sure how valuable these models really are, but this history of usage suggests that the word has broader connotations.

  80. David Irving (no relation)

    Liam, my uncle loved suicide doors (hinged on the centre pillar). He said if a driver opened one of them on you, you’d generally break at least one of his legs when you kicked it shut again on your way past.

  81. Liam

    Your uncle was a man of taste, David, though it does work on some cars better than others. Fifties American Ford? Cool. Torana? Not so much.
    I once saw a Beetle cabriolet with suicide doors. That was pure WTF.

  82. Paul Burns

    Look, I haven’t looked it up, Liam, but I’m pretty sure it was Goebbels, Minister for Propaganda and all tthat. Though I’ve no doubt Hitler said something similar or exactlky the same. As for the rt of the argument, I’m ewxhausted./ This has been going on sincew Saturday. its Tuesday. Not that I mind, but I’ve run out of stuff to say.

  83. Liam

    I don’t like to link to it, Paul, but it was definitely Hitler. Ch. 10.

    All this was inspired by the principle–which is quite true in itself–that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.

    Man had a way with cliché.

  84. Paulus

    Andrew, Liam and Nabs are perfectly right. We should not fling around accusations of ‘fascism’ lightly, both because of the disservice to the historical victims, and because it is simply wrong.

    Fascism had a distinctive ideology, developed well before WW1. It drew a bit from the left, a bit from the right, and added in a whole bunch of unique and weird stuff that had no basis in traditional conservatism or socialism.

    In my view, fascism was the real ‘Third Way’ of 20th century politics.

    And the closer you look at it, the weirder it gets. (To the ever-lasting gratitude of documentary-makers and the SBS.)

    I can think of no modern politician who is remotely fascist. Certainly not Howard. The term should not be used as shorthand for “a conservative politician who I dislike”.

  85. Liam

    Pinochet was the last of them all, Paulus. And I hope for disquiet in his grave—on the parrilla, if there’s any justice.

    a bit from the left, a bit from the right

    Mostly the Right, I think. The corporatists, the right-wing Jesuits, and the Futurists, and every other book with fun artists’ impressions of bombers. Fascism was as much an Italian/Spanish thing as much as anybody else’s.
    The pre-1940s Left was just as bizarre, in their own way, to modern sensibility. The Amigos de Durruti? Alien, entirely.

  86. Katz

    Hitler said it first, but Goebbels turned the assertion into an operational system:

    If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.

    And he performed a tricky dismount with a paradoxical corollary.

  87. Nabakov

    “In my view, fascism was the real ‘Third Way’ of 20th century politics.”

    Not a bad line there at all, Paulus.

    Some fun quotes from the bloke (ole Musso) who invented fascism.

    “Fascism is a religious concept.”

    “Fascism is not an article for export.”

    “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”

    “Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity, quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace.”

    “Inactivity is death.”

    And then along came Adolf with his “blood and soil” and “racial hygiene”.

    A couple of autodidactic wannabe messiahs looking for “action and movement” to fill the holes in their souls. Whereas Stalin and Mao were more yer good-old fashioned evil bastard Czars and Emperors.

    Actually this quote by Benito is quite amusingly provocative.

    “The history of saints is mainly the history of insane people.”

  88. Nabakov

    Dammit, forgot the punchline re Paulus “third way” line.

    Yes, Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Mussolini were pretty much the four apocalyptic horsemen of the 20th century.

  89. Katz

    As were Mo, Larry, Shemp, and Curly, in their own collective individual ways, of course.

  90. Andrew Reynolds

    If Mussolini had been even mildly competent then he may deserve (?) to be included in that list. As it is, I would remove him and add Pol Pot.
    As for whether more came from the Right or the Left – does it really matter? Both sides probably have some shame to put into the question. Where nationalism and socialism combine in the glorification of the State over the individual to get to the point where the over-riding philosophy is, as quoted over at Catallaxy – “What’s one more body in the foundation of utopia?” you inevitably get disaster. Is this the Right or the Left? While I like to think that it is more from the Left the real answer probably is “Who gives a damn? We should just work to prevent it.”

  91. Nabakov

    While yes Pol Pot was a grim reaper, Mussolini planted the seed,

  92. Paulus

    Hmm. Without wanting to get into the ancient stouch about whether Fascism was really of the right or of the left — which has been raging ever since the Baghdad Battery was built to power the first Mesopotamian PC — nonetheless, when you investigate the early fascist theoreticians, you almost always find yourself looking at a socialist.

    Carsten’s The Rise of Fascism lists the doctrines of the early NSDAP — before Hitler had anything to do with it — and guess what the major elements are? Nationalisation of “large capitalist enterprises”, people’s banks, the evils of international finance, etc etc.

    Sure, Mussolini and Hitler’s actions when they gained power were very different from early rhetoric. Both of them sailed off into racialist, militarist, and totalitarian waters which were basically off the left-right one-dimensional chart.

    I would sum up their economic policies as pro-industrialist but anti-capitalist. In The Deutsche Bank and the Nazi Economic War against the Jews, Harold James observes that the Nazi “commitment to an anti-capitalist and especially an anti-finance capital ideology saw to the limitation of profits emanating from the regime and the party’s measures”.

    Anyway, why do you say Pinochet was a fascist? I know little about his regime, but I always thought he was just a common-or-garden military dictator.

  93. Paulus

    My comment above was in response to Liam @ 9.37pm.

    “In my view, fascism was the real ‘Third Way’ of 20th century politics.”

    Not a bad line there at all, Paulus.

    Thanks, Nabs. Perhaps an alternative punchline would be: Tony Blair, eat your heart out!

    Also, I’ve been rambling around on the internet for the last hour or so, and I’ve spotted something very disturbing.

    A bunch of kooky sites claim that one of Hitler’s first economic steps was to abolish fractional reserve banking in Germany. They also point out, as is well known, that the German economy lifted off rapidly out of depression.

    If this is true, you know what it would mean: Graeme Bird is right!!! 🙂

  94. Nabakov

    “Graeme Bird is right!!!”

    Or else.

  95. Andrew Reynolds

    Problem there is two-fold – they did not abolish fractional reserve banking and they did not lift rapidly out of recession. Other than that, absolutely correct.

  96. Kim

    In my view, fascism was the real ‘Third Way’ of 20th century politics.

    Indeed. In Mussolini’s view as well:

    Mussolini and the fascists managed to be simultaneously revolutionary and traditionalist;[20][21] because this was vastly different to anything else in the political climate of the time, it is sometimes described as “The Third Way”.[22]


  97. Liam

    For various reasons I’m reluctant to get into the (usually enjoyable) discussion of whether Fascism was left or right, Paulus and Andrew, especially if it involves Catallaxy and Graeme Bird, and I somewhat regret having pushed the thread in that direction.

  98. Paulus

    Fair enough, Liam.

    Nonetheless, one day here at LP we should have a special thread devoted to the historical links between Fascism, fractional reserve banking, and Martian pyramids.

    It would be promoted world-wide as a celebrity event. Mark B could pick some names out of his little black book and invite them to participate.

    Imagine: the first ever on-line public debate between Paul Krugman, Silvio Berlusconi, Graeme Bird, and Bono. Profits could go to a worthy major charity, such as the AIG Executives’ Retirement Fund.

  99. Paul Burns

    There is that face on Mars. Could be yonks ago some-one important in Martian history who had an edifice complex flourished. All fascists have edifice complexes.
    Ands in light of above discussion on thread will revise my opinion, slightly. JWH was a crypto-fascist. 🙂

  100. joe2

    Beware: firebrands, P.Burns, Billy Bragg, etc, etc.

    The L.P. official word police have already spoken on this matter. “Fascist” is, in future, only to be used on very special occasions…see Hitler, Stalin, Mao. (Maybe/maybenot Mussolini and/or Pol Pot.)

    Under no circumstances, repeat, no circumstances ,is the word to be used in describing the previous P.M., John Howard. Just call him “right-wing authoritarian” and almost everybody will be happy.

  101. adrian

    Be careful joe2. There may be people who have suffered under right wing authoritarian governments who will be deeply offended at characterising the harmless and entirely benign Howard government in such a way.

  102. Paul Burns

    Like Afghani/Iraqui boat people kept in detention without trial or rdress at Woomera,Port Hedland, Baxter, etc?

  103. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    Was Augusto Pinochet Ugarte a fascist? I don’t think so. Fascism generally aims to be a mass movement, so that everyone comes decked out in neat little uniforms to support the regime. In contrast, Pinochet’s “ideology” was “Shut up or I’ll kill you.” There were no civilians play-acting soldiers in his regime.

    There are other differences – the corporatism of Mussolini was quite different from the Chicago Boyz Liberalization Programs. Yes, he was right wing and an asshole, but I think he wasn’t a fascist.

    Mind you, I am quite willing to be persuaded otherwise.

  104. Paul Burns

    Some Chilean friends of mine certainly thought he was. I suppose they’d know, eh?

  105. Ambigulous

    Not all Latin American dictators are fascist.

    Now, “to discuss anything I like”: here’s Louis Nowra reviewing Kristen Williamson’s biography of her husband David [and referring to David’s mother]
    She thought she was better than her husband, belittled him when she could and showed little love for her children. It doesn’t take much to imagine her as ridiculously self-centred and acerbic as comic creations such as Edna Everage and Germaine Greer.
    – The Australian Literary Review, 1st April 2009

    Whatever can he mean?

  106. zorronsky

    Pinochet WAS the friggin army.. And so of course there were uniforms.

  107. Andrew Reynolds

    Perhaps if your Chilean friends were less liberal in the use of the “F” word than you have been (at least on this thread) then they may have an opinion on the matter that is worth listening to.
    As it is we will probably have to let it rest there.

  108. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    And now for something completely different: Australia nearly qualified for the FIFA World Cup.

  109. Andrew Reynolds

    I will get excited when you can remove the “nearly” from that. That said, I might start to think about booking tickets.