Saturday, March 21, 2009

Piers Akerman, Ice Rattling, the Medicare Safety Net and arguing with gate posts

(Above: British 1939 poster offered as a counter-balance to anyone reading the hysterical rantings of right wing loons about the end of the world being nigh, not released at the time, but now a testament to under-stated British pluck. Jolly good, carry on number one).

If you spend too much time actually reading right wing loons on a regular basis, you rapidly get the impression that not only is the end nigh, it's all the fault of selected minority groups, offered up for ritual bashings with an axe handle, like eels caught at night in a shallow river bed.

Surprisingly right wing loons themselves, or their acolytes, have very little to do with the end of the world being nigh, not withstanding many of them are fundamentalist religious loons who expect it to arrive at any minute, or they're fundamentalist economists who've preached the logic that's got us into the current pretty pickle, or they're untrained for everything except screeching like Chicken Little from the comfort and safety of a newspaper column.

You have to think that Piers Akerman fits neatly into the latter category. It would get tiresome to keep quoting Hanrahan and his 'we'll all be rooned' line, but Akerman, our very own fat owl of the remove, so fits the stereotype that it's devilishly hard to resist the temptation.

Yep, you might be astonished to learn that, despite George Bush being in power for eight long years, the sub-prime crisis is all the fault of the Democratic Party, and the cushy way the Howard government travelled on the mining boom had nothing to do with the way the Australian economy nose dived when exposed to international economic forces. No, the sublime Howard left us in totally awesome shape, and the evil new Labor regime ruined it all in a flash. Welcome to the sublime world of Piers Akerman.

So tell us how we'll all be rooned this weekend fat owl. How will the Sunday Terror, stripped of the pleasure of titillating us with a perhaps Pauline Hanson's perhaps teenage tits bound in a leather belt, amuse and entertain the masses with tales of woe and doom? 

Oh I see a new and original slant - Labor party sells out.

So who's buying? Oh, I get it, they're acting like capitalists. Huzzah, they're no longer socialists, they're like us, little piggies running Animal Farm. What's that Piers? People who like iced drinks and junkets and plane rides and cash bonuses and lavish payouts are bad, bad capitalist people. Well sorreee ... I thought they were the goodies.

Yep, it seems our very own Christian Kevin - that toxic bore of a PM, known around these parts affectionately as the Ruddster - is this weekend flying off overseas, off on a junket. Now you might think it strange that the fat owl should care - after all, the Ruddster is so hopeless that any minute he's actually in the country brings us closer to anarchy, socialism, Satanism, communism, bankruptcy, and moral panic.

So you'd think he'd be pleased the PM has actually left the country, and might even be persuaded to stay away for a week or two. It might just save the country.

As the sage owl wisely notes, the Kevin 747 craft pumps out life-healing carbon that is essential for plant life and the salvation of the planet. I hope the fat owl will join in our new campaign to increase the presence of life healing carbon in the atmosphere to at least double its current level - incidentally we're hoping this will bring forward by a couple of decades the new beach we're hoping to see form a couple of blocks away from us, so it'll be a win win for us and for the planet.

After this typical piece of nonsensical pleasantry, the fat owl then launches in to his main crusade - the evil Ruddster is about the ruin Medicare and its safety net, which has been universally supported and loved by all politicians of all stripes.

Introduced by the Whitlam Labor government in 1973, the safety net has always enjoyed bipartisan support - until the arrival of the Rudd vandals in Canberra.

One poor hapless reader, Christopher.t, had the cheek to tweak the fat owl about the number of blatant errors in this single statement. Responded the fat owl: If you did your home work, smart alec, you would know Howard expanded Medicare coverage.

Strange, I thought to myself, the Howard government wasn't the biggest fan of Medicare during its long history, and had indeed at various times contemplated doing serious damage to the socialist health scheme, only keeping it because Howard was a clever politician and knew that taking it down would be electoral suicide. 

Way back in 1997, that socialist communist front, the Doctors Reform Society, was criticising the Howard government for its tactics on Medicare:

Despite the promises, cuts to Medicare began within months of this government taking office. Health Care Card holders had their pharmaceutical costs increased by over 20 per cent, Medicare rebates have remained frozen, people with psychiatric illnesses had their access to benefits cut. The poor and disadvantaged have certainly not been spared. Despite all these changes in the name of saving money, Federal funding for public hospitals has continued to be cut while more and more people are trying to utilise them.

Okay, so that's just the pinkos at work, bleating about the way aboriginal health programs were being ignored, and so on and on. Sure, I could go on compiling anecdotes and examples of the Howard government at work during the rest of its time in power, but maybe you have a life to lead outside of reviewing the various follies of jolly John and his now largely dispersed band of merry men (and a few women).

Let's flash forward to 2005 and a report in The Age:

Prime Minister John Howard has refused to rule out further cuts to the Medicare safety net, following yesterday's announcement that low-income earners face a 75 per cent rise in out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Subsidies for 400,000 Australians with big medical bills will be axed under the clawback of the Medicare safety net, announced yesterday.

In his second broken election promise in six months, Prime Minister John Howard yesterday announced that the poor will now have to spend $500 - up from $306 - before the Government picks up most of their health costs.

Others will have to pay $1000, compared with $716 under the existing system.

"This is not a popular decision, I understand that," Mr Howard told ABC radio this morning. "People will be disappointed, people will be critical, I accept that."

"I don't like having to make this announcement, but I had a choice between maintaining something, the cost of which was ratcheting up, or alternatively taking some unpopular decisions now so that in the long term we can keep the safety net."

He said while a safety net would remain under the Coalition, he refused to promise that there would be no more changes.

"We don't have any (changes) in mind, but I am not going to give an iron-clad guarantee in relation to that," he said.

There's more of it here under the header PM cops Medicare anger if you're still interested in ancient history.

So what's this say about the fat owl, who just loves to abuse his readers for not doing their home work while he collects an F for his own efforts? Well either he's delusional, he has a faulty memory, he doesn't mind a little fibbing or distortion of the truth - let's just say he might be economical with the truth - or he just doesn't give a fuck.

Anyway you cut it, he's a fraud and an hysteric.

In fact the fat owl is so shameless that he reminds me of Pauline Hanson without any clothes on. Not only is Rudd responsible for dumping the Medicare net, he's responsible for the war in Afghanistan, and the ten soldiers killed there. Never mind that we're supposed to be fighting Islamic terrorism, and the Taliban, as started by the Howard government, and that men died under Howard's time as well as under Rudd's regime.

But that's what we love about the fat owl. He has such tremendous mendacious cheek, he's the flim flam man, he's the original tin man - he'd sell you aluminum sidings in a flash, and tell you how grand they looked while chortling into his beer about what a sucker you were.

As a result, you can't trust a word he  writes. He just wants to let the hatred roll out, he just wants to vent his spleen, and never no mind the truth of the matter. In many ways, he's the Bob Ellis of right wing columnists, and all the sadder for it.

The cheap jibe, the easy shot, is his stock in trade. That's why he starts his column with a snide joke about three Labor men being asked their favorite sounds - Hawke says it's an MCG sized crowd cheering him on, Keating that it's one of Mahler's symphonies, and Bill Hayden that it's the tinkling of ice as the drinks trolley rolls down the Qantas first-class aisle on the way to Europe.

The fat owl can't even tell a decent joke. It was of course Paul Keating who famously was reputed to have said that the best way to see Darwin was from overhead as you fly to Europe, presumably with the tinkle of ice in the drinks trolley as an abiding sound, along with Mahler on the noise canceling earphones.

So when the fat owl jokes that "the only sound Kevin wants to hear is the ice rattling on the drinks trolley on his own jet", you know it's not a sense of humor that motivates him, but a sense of rage. He hates Kevin being in power, and he uses things like the jet as populist rabble rousing, never no mind that John Howard (sensibly) had his own jet and flew overseas on any number of occasions. In a global world, that's what sensible PM's do if they want to take care of Australia's national interests.

So Christopher.t don't worry about terse abuse from the fat owl. He can't help it, any more than a sufferer from Tourette's Syndrome can help letting off the odd swear word. 

It's best just to keep calm and carry on, and if you still want to read Akerman, treat it all as a joke. Whatever you do, don't take it seriously, and don't argue with him, and never ever worry about actual facts of the matter. You may as well argue with a gate post.

Come to think of it, the gate post probably has a better grasp of facts and reality. Maybe the Sunday Terror should think about getting the gate post to write a regular column? Or at least show off its leather bound tits ...

1 comment:

Nico Bell said...

Piers Akerman, for journalistic standards, for vicious name calling,for double standards, for poor fact checking, would be the worst columnist in this or many other countries.

And his readers! Lord help us! Who are these people?!?

(I will no longer have the Terrorgraph in the house, due to Mr Akerman's presence on the pages)