Malcolm Turnbull, Liberal Party leader:

Maciej Zurawel writes: Re. “Nelson dies with dignity, Turnbull born again” (yesterday, item 2). How come, that basically any speeches by any political party in Australia is full of…. all the same “paste and copy” key words and slogans? (Basically political plagiarism.) And, quite by chance, I happen to know what I am talking about. Politicians are treated here worse than Sarah Palin (Hanson) who (predictably cannot possibly write a speech of her own) has to rely on the worn-out clichés which have been written for her to just “read and make an impression”. Anything not accepted by the democracy like: “Wait a minute, guys, we have a problem here” is “out of order” and will never be accepted by our political gurus who think that a mediocre politician is a national hero. Do not stick out your head in the direction of “hoi polloi”. It may offend oil companies or some anonymous lobby groups.

Alan Lander writes: Now that Brendan’s hair has been demoted, I am watching that truly tough-talking character, Kevin Rudd’s cat, push for a Labor spill.

Skink, a loyal Sandgroper, writes: Re. “Talkback on Turnbull: he’s been a bully” (yesterday, item 12). Why no talkback comments from Western Australia? Our fright-wing radio hosts are just as biased and partisan than those in the East, and our talkback callers are even more ignorant and opinionated. I demand that our bigots get their fair share of indignant malapropos printed on your site.

Crikey: Here you go Skink…

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

  • ABC 720 (Perth), Mornings, 08:48AM: Caller Daniel says Malcolm Turnbull is a good speaker and this is dangerous as it’s easy to believe what he says.
  • 6PR (Perth), Drive, 03:18PM: Caller Ross feels sorry for Brendan Nelson but he wasn’t ready to lead. Malcolm Turnbull is qualified to be Prime Minister.
  • 6PR (Perth), Drive, 03:20PM: Caller Margaret reckons former WA Premier Brian Burke “is no doubt influencing things from behind the scenes”.

Wall Street meltdown:

Thomas Richman writes: Re. “Steve Keen: Welcome aboard the FF Titanic” (yesterday, item 21). When Winston Churchill, as Chancellor of the Exchequer (and in the spirit of John McCain’s et al) free market capitalism, decided in 1925 to return the UK to the gold standard it imposed catastrophic results. Indeed, this act, according to noted economist, the late John Kenneth Galbraith in his The World Economy Since the Wars, was called “the single most damaging error of modern economic financial policy” in that it made British exports “far too costly in the dollars, gold or other currencies now required to buy the pounds and thus the products”. In response, there followed a business driven collapse in prices and wages, resulting in a General Strike and a decade of economic stagnation and unemployment. All this, I might add, in a book that draws some pretty sobering parallels between 1929 and the present.

Stephen Matthews writes: I’m hoping that the report in the NYT that the Federal Reserve Bank will be taking an 80% equity in AIG for US$80bn is unquestionably the very best news to emerge since the crisis began on 7 August 2007. Up until now the regulators couldn’t evidently face the logical decision…to inject equity as distinct from another round of debt. And by taking defacto control of AIG and its US$1tn in assets they can make good investments in other bombed out financial stocks. Expect a rally on Wall Street tonight and a retreat by the short sellers.

Advertising on Aunty:

John Pye writes: Re. “Advertising on abc.net.au? That’s old news” (yesterday, 4). I looked at the page you cited. For what it’s worth, that “free to browse” image in the top right corner is currently used on all Telstra Mobile/Bigpond pages that I see currently on my Telstra phone, so there is some credibility in the ABC staff comment. What is questionable is whether ABC’s technical resources should be utilised for the technical job of hosting ads on the ABC website, given that the revenue is most surely being collected by Telstra, and the taxpayer shouldn’t be funding the work required to collect advertising revenue. Hosting these ads is work that ABC people will be performing, given that the website is operated by ABC.

Rundle in Alaska:

Dean Galloway writes: Re. “Rundle08: Letters from Palin Central, crystal meth capital of Alaska” (yesterday, item 3). Guy, love your work, but your increasingly poor grasp of popular culture is starting to concern me. 30 Days of Night is about a vampire invasion, not zombies. Google could have confirmed this in seconds so it seems the relentless grind is starting show. Tell those slavedrivers running Crikey that you need a week off, for both your sake and ours!

Wes Pryor writes: Re. Justin McMurray (yesterday, comments). Guy Rundle’s a handy writer, but a Walkely? I’ve had a chip on my shoulder ever since we engaged in a half-comical, half-petulant Letters to the Editor parry and thrust some years ago. I took offense at his proposition that drought relief should apply to his window box in Brunswick, and not be distributed to fat cats in moleskins. I’d like to see him re-run that hilarious gag in the Murray Darling catchment, or any other drought affected region.

So for sure I’m biased. But these are times where Facebook and blogging and emails and the written word are the machinery of human communication. Mouths and ears are like so last year dude. Even email, like, sucks. Every 22-year-old Facebooker, every 31-year-old chief-operations director of something or other whose bookshelf includes heady titles like GQ and What Bikini is That? is about as snappy as Rundle. Are his insights are interesting? Sure. But finding humour in McCain/Palin is journalistic fish in a barrel, surely? Ha ha, she comes from a poor place and has a crap track record. Whoo, my sides are splitting.

Rundle’s achievements are to bring comic relief to what is, frankly, a pretty desperate and astonishing reality. His achievements are to be there and have an audience. I’m not a journalist’s bollock, but I do know that Walkley’s recognise quality, sustained, creative and interesting journalism. Rundle’s probably got those in spades, by most interpretations. But the other criteria must surely be “deep”. Rundle is about as deep as the Murray. He adds something unique to the coverage, but let’s not get carried away. The leader of the free world is being debated and we’re p-ssing ourselves about crackwh-res and snow machines. Walkely my a-se.

Libs and Nats:

Roger Mika writes: Re. “Libs and Nats in WA: the back story” (yesterday, item 16). Personally I was disappointed that the Nats formed a coalition again with the Libs. Here was a chance to be really independent and they couldn’t go through with it. The party which is more for the Squattocracy than every other bloke in the bush had the chance to do something new and exciting. They could have changed the face of politics in Australia what have we got now, still the same. The people in rural Australia are extremely innovative, but it doesn’t show up politicly, still want the same old team. I nailed my colours to the mast and voted Independent federally in Lyne (so did everybody else) and if there is a true dinky-di Independent for the State, I’ll do the same. Least now in the Federal arena there will be tension. Crikey, (apologies to Steve Irwin) there must be someone out there with balls or get some real woman who can do the job. Matter of fact, get rid of the blokes, they have stuffed it up for years and get some tough woman.

Sophisticated Tasmania:

Peter Lloyd writes: Niall Clugston (yesterday, comments) appears to take the current absence of legal indictment to suggest that the NSW ALP is a paragon of virtue, dedicated to self-sacrificing public service. I have watched years of the same sort of thing in Tasmania: back-room deals, politicians stating that there’s no deal while companies tell shareholders the deal’s done, gutless backbenchers and junior ministers silent with fear lest they lose their pre-selection. Corruption is pretty sophisticated these days: bribes can be consultancies or deferred symbolic jobs, favours can be filtered through all sorts of bent decision-making bodies. Puppet premiers can be appointed as front men for the old guard. Even Al Capone only went down for tax fraud, so it is little wonder that political leaders have adapted to a post-ICAC world. Or in the case of Tasmania, made sure no such body can exist.

Elect me:

Mick Callinan writes: I can’t decide if it is touchingly sweet, or just dim, that Margaret Dingle (yesterday, comments) thinks Cossie has been a “good local member”. Make me a local member and I’ll write a book too. That’d be good.

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and c*ck-ups to [email protected]. Preference will be given to comments that are short and succinct: maximum length is 200 words (we reserve the right to edit comments for length). Please include your full name — we won’t publish comments anonymously unless there is a very good reason.

Peter Fray

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