Saturday 20th of July 2024


Provocative and constructive read (Thomas W Goninon)

Congratulations Margo! Your book brings together in a logical, sometimes emotional and perceptive manner many issues which highlight the problems facing our unique form of democracy. May it prompt many like me to move out of their comfort zone and become involved in defending our participative democracy.

While painting a bleak picture of the impact of Big Media, Big Parties and Big Money on democratic proceses in Australia, your book also provides ideas for people reclaiming our democratic birthright.

The Other Howard ()

The rise (and fall) of Howard Dean in the US was a bewildering example of people power. His campaign may well have stalled, but John Kerry has stolen many of his best ideas, especially in relation to internet activism and generating real public interest in democracy.

Joe Trippi was the brains behind the Dean campaign. He now runs his own blog and has written a book on the rise of the internet as a tool for true democratic change.

In this interview, Trippi explains the philosophy behind the Dean campaign and how he believes Dean proves that with a group of dedicated contributors, an increasing number of citizens will participate. 'I think that's what we need to do', says Trippi. 'Build an active community, a community that's actively involved in policy and the future of the country. I mean, if we had two or three million Americans that were active, just look

Trade unions and Howard's war on workers (Terry Costello)

I enjoyed the book immensely but was perplexed that trade unionists and the attacks on working people as well as the attacks on workers basic rights of freedom of association and the right to organise by the Howard goverment, were not covered at all in the book. Some of the Howard government's most questionable actions, such as its role in the Patricks dispute and its Workplace Relations Act, took place in the Industrial Relations arena.

Margo is looking at building democracy by getting people to unite over particular issues, however she has ignored organisations that have millions of Australians as members who can and are being mobilised to resist Howard's policies. She has ignored the largest group who have been severely attacked and marginalised by Johnny and his neo liberalist thugs - Australian workers.

I found the publishing of the Robert (Pig Iron Bob)Menzies quotes equally perplexing given he tried to outlaw a political party as well as cyncially using secta

Calling All Wise Oz Elders ()

Inspiring email from senior CITIZEN Peter Leith last week, which speaks for itself about what could be a crucial constituency in the coming election.

I am 75 years old and, though not Australian-born, I chose to live here. Throughout most of the last 63 years I had always been proud and glad of my choice. Tampa, Detention Centres and our participation in the attack on Iraq have made me ashamed. With four Australian children, eight Australian grandchildren and not much life ahead of me I am desperate to do something to arrest the dying-of-democracy in Australia.

Over the last ten years I have facilitated a U3A 'Current Affairs' Group in some of Melbourne's comfortable, middle-class suburbs. I have tried, hard, to shake the status-quo-complacency of a hundred or so 60+ men and women and get them to think outside the square of the evening TV news and the commercial radio shock-jocks. But it is not enough; to encourage them into thinking outside their own comfort-zones.

Mandatory reading (David Allen)



Pandora reckons NHJ is worth saving ()

G'day. I got some great news from the National Archives this week - the NHJ Website has been selected for its PANDORA archive of online sites. PANDORA is a great example of how people working together for a common cause can do just about anything. The National Archives - without any funding for it whatsover - created a team of committed employees to create an online archive, mostly in their own time and without payment, to meet its statutory obligation to archive Australia's history. What they came up with is so good that it's being copied by libraries around the world! Imagine outsourcing such a project - the cost wouldn't allow it to happen. Here's the email from the National Archives.

Dear Ms Kingston

Thank you for granting the National Library of Australia a copyright licence to include the Not Happy, John! web site in the PANDORA Archive. This licence permits the Library to copy your publication into the Archive and to retain it and provide online public access

Is NHJ being suppressed? (Phil Edwards)

Hi Margo - Last week I called into Angus & Robertsons at Salamander Bay shopping centre to see if they had NHJ. This is in a very large and recently expanded shopping centre in Port Stephens that services Nelson Bay and environs. A&R said they did not have the book and though they might be getting it in August, there were no plans to get it in that they knew of. They told me (somewhat vaguely) that someone else had asked about it.

Today (15/7) I called in again. This time I was told they did not have it but might be able to get it on a special order. I said, 'But this book is in the top 10 non-fiction books, why don't you stock it?' They told me they were not going to stock it, had no plans to get it in but might be able to get it on special order.

Isn't this rather bizarre? The ONE major bookshop in the whole area that is part of a major chain (now owned by W.H. Smith of U.K.) does not have a book that is #4 on the Non Fiction best seller list? They have Bill Clinton'

Make Voting Representative (John Z)

Participation in our democratic process is compulsory. You have to make a decision. Do you opt out after getting your name crossed out, cast a donkey vote or vote for a donkey? What if you dislike/distrust all the donkeys and you are part of the majority who thinks like you? This can't be real DEMOCRACY. What do we need to do to have an additional box on the ballot paper. 'NONE OF THE ABOVE'. That way, if this box counts as a significant proportion of the vote, they will know the voters are NOT HAPPY.

Margo: Hi John. To me, there's no excuse for voting informal because by doing so you're opting out of the privilege and responsibility of living in a democracy. Look around, find some people who also see no acceptable choice in your seat, and talk a person you all trust to stand with your total support when the going gets rough. Or join a party and do your best to ensure that party picks a trustworthy candidate who believes in service to the people. That's a long term solution

Had to put it down (Dave Cornford)

I had to put it down for a while to let the blood pressure subside, and I'm only on page 78. But I must finish it so I can get a few select others to read my copy, because they are in denial (or read The Oz) and need to read the book (they would never buy it).

A depressingly necessary book.

Not so much a review... (Mike Greenwood)

Thoughts occurring as I read the book: How come I was so unaware of Margo's weblog? How come so many people believed the Iraq war lies when so many of us saw the truth at the outset? Why isn't NHJ at the front of the bookstalls like the Clinton, Bush and Michael Moore varieties?

On reading this site's reviews, I don't see how critics of the book can deny the conclusions drawn from references laid out as fully as in any university assignment.

Thoughts now - isn't it great that we have nearly three months to engage in discussion that can cut through the advertising, spin and promises made to be broken, leading to the next election. Isn

A transplanted Yank who most often agrees with Margo's view on the political situation. (James E. Leslie)

I heard Margo being interviewed on ABC radio and she said a 'NOT HAPPY JOHN' bumper sticker was in the works. I and a number of people I know would like to have one on our bumpers. May I suggest, if they are not yet in print that instead of John holding an Australian flag that he be holding an American flag In any case, I anxiously await their availability.

Margo Hi James. Penguin printed 15,000 stickers and they've just about all gone. Quite a few people have inquired about printing more so there should be some more around soon. In the meantime I'll send you one of the few I've got left. Re the American flag, that was suggested but I decided that Australians still have the chance to forge a proud, independent identity.

Margo Kingston gives voice to the 'silent' majority. (John)

Thanks Mr Howard. You turned me into a 53 year old 'hippy/radical.' I once was your humble, conservative, well educated, professional, hard working, liberal, family man, servant. I had never marched/protested in my life (not even against Vietnam).

With my wife, I joined thousands on the streets of Melbourne last year for the first time. We told you, you were wrong. But you knew better. On every key issue that matters, we kept telling you, you are wrong. But you told us you know better.

We thought you must know something you could not tell us about. The evidence is growing against you, every day. Still you refuse to admit you were wrong. When is it that you will listen to the majority telling you, you are wrong and say sorry? I am sounding like a broken record.

Anyway, who is this Margo Kingston? She sounds just like me.

Responses to Howard ()

NHJ is much more than simply Howard-bashing. It's a rational and measured examination of the ways in which our Prime Minister and his minions are slowly but surely dismantling our very democratic institutions. In other words, we hope it's a wake-up call.

Michael Duffy was recently appointed presenter to Radio National's Counterpoint. Known for his conservative views, his appointment was undoubtedly an attempt to find a 'left-wing Phillip Adams.'

In a recent program, he discussed why 'intellectuals hate [Howard] so much.' It's a fascinating read, and although I disagree with many of the assertions, partially due to its overly simplistic reading of the so-called elites, it's an interesting discussion of the culture wars currently raging throughout this country.

All views welcome here.

My gift to you, by the Dalai Lama (Sam Ashton)

Good afternoon Margo. It is rare for me to provide observations on anything that is ever written in print. In almost 50 years, I have only commented once and that was to the author of a book called 'Wild Swans ' which was written several years ago. I wrote to congratulate her on her excellent, beautifully crafted work on her life's' experience and she was gracious enough to write back.

However, I feel compelled to write to you about your book 'Not Happy John' and to say to you, that I found it both compelling and frightening; having said that, I would also thank you for the gift given.

Gift, you say? - What Gift?

The gift of insight that now compels me to begin to think very carefully about governments at work - 'welding their will' to public opinion; their actions surreptitious and seductively maneuvering towards swaying the community in a scurvy manner causing us to lose the very thing we prize the most - our democratic right to be informed automatically a

It's a Start (david booth)

Margo you have written an excellent book, but volume two will be better. You have left out soooo much about Johnnie. Like his demolition of education. Like his Americanisation of health. Like his aim to build a two tier Australia.

Every Howard Minister represents the opposite to what we expect. The Minister for the environment is the minister for destruction of the environment, the Minister for Defence is the Minister for Attack (pre-emptive preferably), the Minister for Immigration is the Minister for immigration prevention, the Minister for Education is the Minister for privileged non-public education. Likewise the Minister for Communications is the minister for restricting or controlling all communications and muzzling the ABC, the Minister for Trade is the minister for US Trade, the Minister for Foreign Affairs is the Minister for regurgitating US Foreign Policy, the Attorney General is the minister for restriction of Civil Liberties etc etc etc.

I also love John'

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