Thursday, September 11, 2014
Roof caves in on Gillard reno troofers
If this was the sort of poliblog that was in the live cattle business - carving up fresh meat for a ready audience of like-minded noddie merchants who want to have their prejudices confirmed in tasty fashion on a daily basis - I would probably spend a lot of time making fun of Michael Smith, whose career has gone seriously downhill in the last two years since being sacked from Fairfax for smearing Julia Gillard. His post yesterday about Gillard's appearance at the Trade Union Royal Commission had it all: emotion-based reportage, incredulity in the face of stark facts, conspiracy theorising, empty posturing, flailing aggro, and a comment thread full of hilariously butt-hurt insanity.
While a dispassionate observer might wonder what all the fuss is about, the truthers can not be swayed from their conviction that Gillard is guilty of the most heinous crimes. Witnesses have been leaned on, lawyers are protecting one of their own, the commish has been nobbled... it's all straight out of a Jon Grisham movie. The ultimate theory put forward by Smith, and taken up with desperation in the comments, is that the Royal Commission is merely a sideshow, a fishing expedition, to fuel the ongoing investigation into the AWU WRA by the Victorian Fraud Squad.
I would remind the court of public opinion that the AWU scandal is over the sum of $400,000 (admittedly in mid-1990s dollars, so that's about $680,000 in 2013 money according to the RBA inflation calculator). The TURC is budgeted at $53.5 million. Add that to the cost of all those detectives from the Fraud Squad swarming all over this cold case for years with precisely zero to show for it after all this time. At this point, the person most likely to face charges is Kathy Jackson, the right's favourite "whistleblower" and friend of the H.R. Nicholls Society.
Today is also the 40th anniversary of the resignation of Richard Nixon, which lead one US blogger to reminisce that it was the last time that the system worked. This is not technically true. Since Nixon (and in Australia, since the Dismissal), time and again the right has subsumed its guilty conscience and used the system against the left despite no crimes having been committed - Bill Clinton's faults were a private matter, and Gillard has evidently done nothing to warrant charges. It "works" to the extent that it provides a taxpayer-funded platform for the right to smear the left for years on end, with no accountability. The system continues to fail when it comes to right-wing leaders: witness the lack of a need for a pardon for any LNP politician involved in the AWB wheat-for-oil scandal, which involved over $220 million in kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's regime.
One mustn't get too cynical about these things, nonetheless. That's what being a truther is ultimately about: feeling like you and your mates are the only ones possessing the True Vision of reality, and the rest are sheep who don't accept your blinding insight. False consciousness is a powerful but ultimately futile distraction.