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Bobbie McCee

'Good enough for me.'

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'Busted flat in Baton Rouge, waiting for a train,
Feeling near as faded as my jeans.'

The inspiration for the Aussie WANKer worm that crippled a NASA shuttle launch comes from the cult group Midnight Oil. In particular a song written about Hiroshima, penned after singer Peter Garrett and his spouse paid a visit to the city on the anniversary of the US love bomb dropped there.

The shuttle was carrying enough plutonium to destroy the entire state of Florida and the environmentally sensitive Australian hackers didn't exactly like that. They knocked out most of NASA's DECnet.

'Bobbie thumbed a diesel down just before it rained
Took us all the way to New Orleans.'

Midnight Oil are probably the biggest rock music export from Australia ever. The non-compromising group turned down recording offers with A&M and others and finally made it onto the big stage in 1988 with 'Beds Are Burning' and the album 'Diesel and Dust'. The followup 'Blue Sky Mining' (with 'Blue Sky Mine') was perhaps an even bigger commercial (if not artistic) success and one track was actually nominated by fans for the new national anthem.

Then things turned slowly downhill for the Lucky Country. By the end of the last millennium voters were confronted with a Sophie's choice of their own: pick the lesser of two evils for the PM post. Midnight Oil reacted by penning and recording the song 'Redneck Wonderland' and putting it on a new album of the same name.

This live version is from the MCG for Sound Relief last year.

The lyrics are a bit obtuse but the general idea is the group are frustrated by the degression of Australian culture with the advent of an unpleasant political right.

Politics haven't always been clean in Australia. Alan Bond and Rupert Murdoch saw to that. Once the country with the most antiauthoritarian independent newspapers per capita, the uppity Oz was transformed by B&M into one of the most 'downity' of them all. And at least Murdoch got ample help from PM Bob Hawke.

The continent passed through 'Redneck Wonderland' and suddenly the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics loomed. Midnight Oil drummer Rob Hirst was one of those put in charge of entertainment for the closing ceremony.

At the same time there was a movement on to formally apologise to the aboriginals for centuries of persecution. We're not talking about getting sent to the back of the bus here: early settlers used to invite their friends and business associates out to their country estates for the weekend where they'd hunt aboriginals for sport before afternoon tea. And so forth.

But Redneck Wonderland Australian PM John Howard refused to apologise. So Hirst and the others in the group ambushed him at the closing ceremonies: they donned jump suits with the word 'SORRY' written all over them.

You can click the image below to be transported to the YouTube clip. Unfortunately the Australian Olympic Committee have removed all other clips of the ceremonies (and blocked embedding) so you can only catch a few seconds of the group starting at 0:34.

'I pulled out my harp and my dirty red bandana
I was playing along while Bobbie sang the blues.'

2007 gave way to a new PM in Australia. At last, said some. Now it was Kevin Rudd who ruled in Canberra. And with him he took along the singer from Midnight Oil. The one who was once inspired to write about Hiroshima and who in turn inspired the Aussie WANKer worm creators. But that's another darker Darth Vader type of story.

Kevin Rudd represents 'Labor', presumably the more thoughtful of the two 'schools of thought', as does Peter Garrett, the Frankenstein monster singer, but thoughtfulness will have to wait longer. Rudd and the rest start putting together a plan to build a 'great wall' around their continent, to block access to any Internet sites they want. Of course the 'wedge' used to build public opinion is child pornography (it always is) but the super-secret list of blocked sites which No One Was Supposed To See got leaked to a certain other website where people could see that less than half those listed should have been there.

But plans continue. As the Gillards replace the Rudds and the Conroys suck the blood out of everyone. And right in the middle of this fine mess sits Bobbie McCee.

'Windshield wipers clapping time
I was holding Bobbie's hand in mine
We sang every song that driver knew.'

Bobbie McCee aka Robert McClelland is Australia's attorney general. Bobbie likes to hang out with diplos at embassy cocktail parties. Here he is with a couple of his buddies preparatory to such a party. (Bobbie also used to hang out with Dickie Cheney but that's years ago now.)

The thing that's particularly repulsive about Bobbie - aside from being a fascist liberal which in itself is a fabulous feat and contradiction in terms only he and his mates in Australia's new Labor could pull off - is that he seems to bend over backwards (or perhaps forwards) to lick the boots of his buddies with the big bombs.

Of late he's been really putting his foot in it, making the most outrageous statements about Julian Assange. And it's not just that he's turned on his fellow countryman Assange but that he insists time and again on making such a mess of it. Australian politicians are historically notorious for boot licking ('whilst Menzies fawned at royal feet') but this is ridiculous.

  • Attorney-General Robert McClelland urges media to accept security curbs
    For the first time since the Cold War, the federal government has called on the media to agree to a national security protocol for reporting sensitive information.
    This one's got even Murdoch's media in an uproar. 'Mr McClelland denied he was seeking to censor the media.'
  • McClelland's humiliating bill of rights backdown
    The announcement today by Robert McClelland that the Rudd Government would dump the proposal for a bill of rights is yet another humiliation for the lame duck attorney general.
    The Rudd Government wasted more than $2 million in promoting an idea which never had community support, to appeal to a self-regarding elite of legal academics and activist judges.
  • Crikey: Missing the Point on WikiLeaks
    Robert McClelland made vague threats about arresting Assange and providing 'every assistance' to the US on 'law enforcement action' and a 'taskforce' has been assembled to consider the implications of the material being released. More seriously, McClelland has spoken of criminal offences in relation to publishing WikiLeaks-related material and said that the media may be asked to refrain from publishing certain material on national security grounds.
  • Brisbane Times: Australia to Help US over Assange
    'I'm aware the US attorney has said that US law enforcement authorities are looking very closely at the fact that United States laws may have been breached. And the Australian Federal Police are looking at whether any Australian laws have been breached', Mr McClelland told reporters on Saturday. 'We have also indicated that we will provide every assistance to United States law enforcement authorities.'
    Mr McClelland also said the government had considered cancelling Mr Assange's passport but there were 'issues in respect of serving a notice of cancellation'. 'More importantly, there are issues as to whether it would be constructive or counter-productive to the law enforcement', he said.
    Assange's passport would set off alarms if presented at an airport, and Mr McClelland questioned 'whether it would be counter-productive to remove the identification that would in fact trigger the law enforcement process'.

And so forth. Julian Assange left Australia before the July release of the Afghan War Diaries because of murmurs heard from Bobbie McCee's office and hasn't returned - and he had this to say at yesterday's Guardian chat session.

'I am an Australian citizen and I miss my country a great deal. However the Australian prime minister Julia Gillard and the attorney general Robert McClelland have made it clear that not only is my return impossible but they are actively working to assist the United States government in its attacks on myself and our people.'

'Are we all to be treated like David Hicks at the first possible opportunity merely so that Australian politicians and diplomats can be invited to the best US embassy cocktail parties?'

'Feeling good was good enough for me and Bobbie McCee.'
 - K Kristofferson

See Also
Crikey: Robert McClelland (Collection)
Brisbane Times: Robert McClelland (Collection)
Guardian: Julian Assange Answers Your Questions

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