Saturday 23rd of March 2019

Blogs

Initial impressions (Ashley Herring)

I just went out and bought your NHJ! book at lunchtime today... sat down to read the first few pages over an afternoon coffee break, then before I know it I had found myself 30 pages deep and had to force myself to get back to work. I'm knocking off early tonight so I can get back to it! Your writing prose is very engaging.

Just a quick question: is the book cover done by the same people that do Peter Moore's great travel books (NSITT, The WrongWay Home, etc.)? That's what got my attention in the first place, I loved those books so your cover immediately hooked me in when I was in the book store.

Margo: The cover design is by Penguin's top inhouse designer, Sandy.

If citizens are consumers... (Russell Marks.)

..then John Howard is the product. Indeed, he's the 'product' of Australian voters, most of whom, I still believe, are staunch party loyalists, and many of whom are naturally influenced by popular media. After all, in today's bureaucratised democracy (once, twice, three times emoved from 'the people'), the media is far more than the prism through which events are viewed: it is the *source* of news, and opinions, for many Australians.

I'm in the final chapter of your book, Margo - which I really only consigned from the bookshop I work at because I heard you on the radio (the A-B-friggin'-C, I believe). The point is made by 'Harry Heidelberg' that the title and cover emphasis gives an impression that its content will be not much more than just another partisan whinge. (Not that we've actually had too many in this country of late, particularly when compared with the plethora of 'Not Another Bush Book' titles that fill the shelves in politics and current events.)

In ma

The courage to call the government what it is ( Nadim Joukhadar)

Margo, congratulations on the release of your book and thank you for printing Tony Fitzgerald's speech. I would like to ask why no one seems to have the courage to call the present Government by its rightful name. Tony Fitzgerald has stated clearly that this Government is neither conservative nor liberal. That is because the word best describing John Howard and his Government is usually associated with Hitler, Franco, Mussolini et al.

According to the dictionary Fascist means 'A reactionary or dictatorial person; an advocate or adherent of fascism.' Fascism means 'A system of government marked by centralization of authority, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.'

I know we have not quite gotten that bad but it is not that great a leap for the three key players, namely, Howard, Ruddock and Abbott. When our Federal Government uses the public purse for

People think I'm mad... ()

G'day. Ever wondered how it would feel to have your life interpreted in 800 words? I found out today, when the Sydney Morning Herald's Spectrum section profiled me at Power to the people. For the rough right's reaction, see Margo quiz.

Good morning, I'm incandescent with rage. How are you? ()

I am definitely a liberal in all of the best senses of the word. That's why issues that offend liberalism make me incandescent with rage. Really? Yes. I don't bloody care who is behind Johnhowardlies.com. Think how far this could go. Let's say I set up an anti-Latham site. We all know how easy I could do that. I could have the domain name and some initial material up in about 15 minutes. It'd cost me less than US$15. Would someone say I was once a supporter of the Liberal party and make a big deal of it? Would they threaten me with the asinine law?

This is why the internet will change the world more than we realise now. We heard these dreams 8 years ago......then we went through a phase where people said 'yeah that is crap, it doesn't enable anyone'. Who thinks that now?

What is different about Person X setting up John Howard Lies and a person standing in the Domain in Sydney or Hyde Park in London? When you do an open top double deck tour of London..

Let's be proactive! (John Joseph)

I am thoroughly enjoying my read of your book. Now what can we do about it - that is where my mind is going. Let's try to be proactive! As a baby boomer (born 1952) I was quite active in the 1972 McGovern campaign in the Californian primary - I drove from Arizona to San Diego and pounded the pavement to help him win that primary and he became the Democratic candidate ( little did the voters know that the Watergate break-in was happening before the election).

Anyway, my point is that I was 20 years old - going to university and feeling I could make a difference - and I did something about it through the democratic process.

Can people make a difference today? Imagine a grass roots movement- with posters and bumper stickers saying- 'NOT HAPPY, JOHN!' It might make some voters think - it might make some more people read your book- and it might make a difference to the next election result.. I was wondering what others thought. It might help overcome the unbalanced medi

The trashing of the people's house goes on (Andrew Bartlett, Democrats leader)

Congrats on the book - I've got through it all and it's a very good and thought provoking read. I gave the book a brief mention in the Senate - see http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/dailys/ds240604.pdf (the debate is from page 24868, the reference to the book is at page 24873)

I draw your attention to the 'debate' in the Senate authorising more works around the outside of Parliament House, as it is germane to your section in the book which dealt with the symbolism of Parliament House and public access to it.

The good news is the big white Lego blocks will go. The bad news is other more permanent changes will now be made. Whilst overall they are better than the Lego blocks, they still involve significant changes from the original design. I'm not happy with the changes, although they certainly could be worse and some effort has obviously gone into trying to make the changes sympathetic to the original design (unlike with the Lego blocks). However, I was more

Barbecue for fingers in the till (Jane Rayner)

I'm only 41 pages into NHJ, but am having all my worst fears about this government confirmed. I have never trusted or respected Howard and everything he has said and done since he conned his way into power (with the help of the tame media), has reinforced my opinion of him and his camp followers.

It's not just the fingers in the till for Dubya's BBQ. What about Reith, Abbott, Heffernan & Co? Then there's the GST, the relentless dismantling of our health, education and welfare systems and undermining of the public broadcaster.

Finally, the lies. And they're not the 'does my bum look big in these jeans' type, are they? Falsely accusing people of murdering their children for personal gain is about as low as you can go, although I'm sure he can and will go one better.

George Orwell was a prophet.

But, in the end, it's up to us to stop the erosion of our democracy at the ballot box. And to send a clear message to all aspiring politicians and pretenders to th

Getting pissed each night and charging out at $200 an hour ()

What great news that this NHJ website will be archived on the National Library's Pandora Archive. You are so right about them Margo. They did it themselves and the whole world noticed. Passionate librarians finding revolutionary ways to archive the medium of our age: the internet. Imagine if you had Accenture doing it? There'd be all these Young Turks from Sydney staying in hotels in Canberra......getting pissed each night and charging out at $200 an hour.

Two years later something with a slick exterior but a clunky, malfunctioning thought process underneath would be up and running.

Two years after that, they'd abandon the whole thing and start over. There'd be a new paradigm they'd say.

Necessity is indeed the mother of the best inventions. They never come from Accenture or McKinsey!

Howard and company lie to the beat - 5 high-quality political mash-up tracks now online (Tom Compagnoni)

Wax Audio presents : WMD ...and other distractions. 21 regurgitated-media-minutes of cut & paste audio montage, hip-hop, political rhetoric and on-location travel recordings, painstakingly re-edited in perfect synchronicity with recycled beats, original samples and a wealth of other digital media materials.

Hear our prime-minister free-style rap with George W Bush, Tony Blair, Philip Ruddock, Peter Reith, Colin Powell and many other renowned liars! Download the high quality tracks for free, play them to your friends, family, work colleagues and crank them loud and the next protest rally!

A condensed, concise and transparent run-down of the most high-profile political manoeuvres of the last 3 years, WMD

I am afraid (Maurie Grealy)

Congratulations on your book. It has comfirmed what I have been feeling for the last few years - that we have lost control. For that reason I have been putting minor party's first on my ballot paper hoping to loosen the grip of the major partys.

Where to from here? Can good independent candidates be found to oppose sitting members in Government and Oppositon seats. How can we mobilise?

Ashrawi controversy lives on ()

In the last few weeks, The Australian Jewish News (AJN) has been covering NHJ, and more specifically, my chapter on Hanan Ashrawi and the pro-Zionist lobby.

After running an opinion piece by Margo and myself last week, we expected the predictable amount of letters attacking our position (pro-Palestinian? Questioning the domination of self-appointed Jewish leaders? The status quo on Israeli politics?). The AJN did not disappoint this week, with a number of letters online and for good measure, another one in print.

They were all highly critical and yet failed to engage in the issues we'd raised.

I know for a fact that a number of letters supporting our position were sent to the AJN and yet the paper refused to publish them. It is this kind of self-censorship that is stifling real debate on Israel/Palestine in our community. Is it not time to honesty discuss where current US/Israeli policy is ta

It's Time (for a change) (Bruce Paton)

Congratulations to Margo for putting into the mainstream the collection of untruths and manipulations our PM has done to us. Previously this was only done by what could be described as single issue publications which have been seen as some to be in the ratbag or extreme right category.

I am a firearms owner and have been hit twice now by our PM's bias and desire to control the States laws. I haven't enjoyed being made an instant criminal under an amnesty. These two events awoke me to our PM's attitude of knowing what is best for us and foisting it upon us in an undemocratic manner.

It truly worries me that if he is not voted out we will have our first Ruler of Australia. He certainly acts as if he is the Head of State already. As time has gone on in terms of office, he seems to be less incined to react to public opinion and more inclined to tough it out or bully his way through. It really is not good for us as a relatively young country to have the mindset that our po

Failed Latham analysis (Denis Daly)

Margo

Wonderful book! However, you really should have revealed the key and extremely damaging Howard election attack weapon; ie, that the terribly dreadful rotter (AKA Mark Latham) was also a compulsive bed wetter and thumb sucker as a child! Denis

What some Australians are doing to take back our democracy ()

G'day. I've just published a few emails from readers with their actions and ideas to take back our democracy over at Webdiary. One bloke registered to vote for the first time after reading the book - that alone makes writing the book worthwhile for me. Have a look at Liars for Howard.

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