March 03, 2004


AIEEEEEEE! Margo’s back!” writes Kingston fan Nemesis. “And she’s loony as ever! Yeeee-ha!

Well, just hold on there a second, li’l Nemmy. Us experienced Margo wranglers know better than to judge the quality of Margo’s madness before it’s met federally-approved Margo madness standards. She’s been away from Webdiary for a long time, “writing” a book; her talents for logical disconnection, explosive exaggeration, and hilarious fact-bungling may have atrophied. Now, let the examination commence:

OK, the book's done - Not happy, John, defending Australia's democracy - and Webdiary is open for business for 2004.

Question: If Webdiary was a business, what would it sell?
a) scraps of dog meat
b) DIY welt kits
c) autographed non-celebrity stools

First correct answer wins a copy of Margo’s book. What does that title mean, exactly -- isn't Margo happy defending Australia’s democracy? So quit, already! And why no caps, or a colon following “John”? The book, by the way, was originally scheduled for sale in April; it’s since been shunted back to June. According to Penguin’s tragic summary:

What Mike Moore does for the US, Margo Kingston does for Australia. Her new book is a gutsy, anecdotal read with a deadly serious purpose: to show why Australia has reached the point where Howard's 'Anglo-fascist' agenda seems unstoppable.

Margo wants to be Mike Moore!

The latest evidence of the real reasons for war came via US defence department whistleblower Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, who used to work next to the US government's propaganda intelligence service the Office of Special Plans, set up to get around the professional intelligence agencies who wouldn't cooperate with Bush's scam. She says there were three reasons - to ensure American multinationals got a slice of the Iraq action, to move US bases from Saudi Arabia to Iraq, and to reverse Saddam's decision that his oil sales to be made in Euros, not $US dollars.

Possibly so he could more easily transfer funds to his European pals.

The Parliaments of all three countries have fought mightily to get the truth behind the war, although in comparison with Britain and the United States Australia has proved to have far less robust parliamentary accountability mechanisms, which are in urgent need of strengthening.

The US has a Parliament?

Looking back, knowing what we now know, we can see clearly the madness of Bush and the unforgivable decisions of Blair and Howard to go along with him. We now know that containment of Saddam's WMD plans had worked; as US Secretary of State Colin Powell said in February 2001, "He has not developed any significant capability with respect to WMDs". We know that he had no link to September 11 or to Al Qaeda, while Saudi Arabia had financial and personnel links at the highest levels. We know that British intelligence warned that invading Iraq without UN sanction would INCREASE the risk of terrorism and INCREASE the chance of any WMDs Saddam had falling into terrorist hands.

The last time Margo launched into capitals it was to announce: “As predicted by everyone except the Yanks, it appears, it's supposed be a LONG war, requiring PATIENCE and INTELLIGENCE.” She was talking about the war in Afghanistan, which ended a short time after this outburst.

We know that Bush ignored warnings from the cIA and many other experts that democracy would not be possible in the short term in a nation with no experience of democratic freedom and a culture alien to Western style norms.

”cIA”? It’s tough holding down that shift key when the tremors kick in.

We know that Bush also ignored expert warnings that a very large occupation force would be required and that billions would need to be spent on reconstruction by the American people, and instead lied to his people that the cost would be minimal.

Here’s what Bush actually said: “We will do what is necessary, we will spend what is necessary, to achieve this essential victory in the war on terror, to promote freedom and to make our own nation more secure.”

Bush abused his people's panic and fear after September 11 to get a war he and his neo-conservative advisers wanted under cover of the war on terror. There was dissent at the highest levels of government and from former Republican national security advisers, and the American people were loath to agree without the support of the United Nations. A poll at the time showed they trusted Tony Blair more than any other advocate for war. What if Blair and Howard had had the guts to say no, for America's sake.

What if they’d said no? Margo’s best-case scenario: Saddam Hussein would still rule Iraq.

Blair and Bush thought they had to say yes or the current American administration would stop being their friend. In doing so, they failed the test of true friendship with the American people.

Bush had to say yes to his own government or they’d stop being his friend?

For when you look at the results of this debacle, it is the American people who have and will suffer. Essential services are at breaking point, and will run down further as Americans try to pay for this war, currently costing $1 billion a week. American soldiers have lost their lives. And America is distrusted around the world.

Unlike the beloved French, for example. Care to supply any examples of essential services in the US breaking down, Margo? No? Okay.

For the Anglo-democratic system to survive and regenerate, it is imperative that Bush, Blair and Howard lose office and that their successors act urgently to ensure that the professional pride and dedication to truth of its public service is restored and the trust between leaders and citizens repaired.

In Margo’s world, Saddam is entitled to remain in power -- but Bush, Blair, and Howard must go. Welcome back, Margo! You’ve still got it!

UPDATE: Tim Dunlop has a Margo plan that will expose Webdiary readers to a whole planet of blogs. All hail our leader!

Posted by Tim Blair at March 3, 2004 01:48 AM

"What Mike Moore does for the US, Margo Kingston does for Australia"

What, you mean she increases the dividend per share of Hostess Bakery stock? Causes small tremors along fault lines? Help me out.

Posted by: JohnO at March 3, 2004 at 01:54 AM

Margo should write about somethng she knows about - oops, I guess she would have to stop altogether wouldn't she.

Her writing reminds me of those breathless movie trailers from the 40's and 50's that oversold Hollywood's wares.

Posted by: JEM at March 3, 2004 at 02:00 AM

"What Mike Moore does for the US, Margo Kingston does for Australia."

Aren't you guys lucky!! Mikey is so well respected here for his investigative skills, that it's nice to know others are following in his footsteps. Perhaps one day they'll write a book together. Wouldn't that be special?

/sarcasm off

Posted by: Chris Josephson at March 3, 2004 at 02:03 AM

Welcome back, Margo! You’ve still got it!

Was there any serious doubt?

Posted by: Roger Bournival at March 3, 2004 at 02:05 AM

``Not happy, John, defending Australia's democracy -''

I lost her right there. Is she addressing somebody named John? Is it she, or he, who isn't happy defending Australia's democracy?

And what ``essential services'' are breaking down in the US? Here in Chicago our goofy Mayor Daley is on the hot seat for spending millions of city dollars to hire trucks and drivers who did no work, but that's business as usual around here.

As for ``Bush abused his people's panic and fear after September 11 to get a war he and his neo-conservative advisers wanted under cover of the war on terror.'' Sorry Margo, but on the morning of 9/11, perhaps two hours after the planes crashed, I was sitting numbly at a public park watching my then 4-year-old play, and thinking, ``We're at war.'' Just those words, over and over. Some of us knew it then, and we didn't need the President to tell us. It's too bad you still haven't caught on.

Posted by: Annalucia at March 3, 2004 at 02:10 AM

"Care to supply any examples of essential services in the US breaking down?"

Why, I was without electricity for FIVE MINUTES a week ago during a thunderstorm! And once, my water was turned off... for MAINTAINANCE!!!

Our essential services are completely breaking down!

Or maybe not.

Posted by: Wonderduck at March 3, 2004 at 02:20 AM

I'm going to hazard that Margo's editors find her copy so painful to read - that they don't.

  • "The Parliaments of all three countries"

  • "the cIA"

  • "Bush thought [he] had to say yes or the current American administration would stop being [his] friend"
  • Posted by: Bruce Rheinstein at March 3, 2004 at 02:31 AM

    You're right on about Bush loosing the friendship of the American people if he didn't take care of Iraq. I was very pissed that we didn't go in in the fall '02. If Bush didn't make the big decision, I would have lost all respect him.

    Posted by: aaron at March 3, 2004 at 02:37 AM

    Fish. Barrel. Shotgun.


    Posted by: david at March 3, 2004 at 02:41 AM

    Clearly the Webdiary Retail Company would sell a wide range of Noam Chomsky showglobes, tinfoil hats, George W Bush voodoo dolls and clothing with such insightful-yet-hilarious slogans as "Bush stole Iraq's oil and all I got was this lousy t-shirt".

    Posted by: Rob at March 3, 2004 at 02:42 AM

    So, Margo dear wants to be Michael Moore?

    Plenty of pork chops, double-fudge chocolate sundaes, and lots and lots of reefer, Margo.

    Posted by: Rebecca at March 3, 2004 at 02:47 AM

    tim - you use words and language like blunt trauma weapons. most excellent post today on mad margo. you encapsulated the entire leftwing worldview in one sentence: saddam should be returned to power and bush blair howard anznar et al must go. thats a debate i'll take to the streets of the usa and the larger world any day.

    viva jake ryan

    Posted by: Cali White Bear at March 3, 2004 at 02:50 AM

    "c) autographed non-celebrity stools"

    Uh ... I hope you mean the kind of stools you sit on.

    Posted by: Floyd McWilliams at March 3, 2004 at 02:56 AM

    You know, given the ebb and flow of demands for services/tax revolts in the US, "essential services" are "breaking down" all the time, in the sense that bureaucracies find their blank checks have been stopped. But if Margo thinks that, say, Amtrak had all the money it needed until the war started, she's nuts. Oh wait, she is.

    Posted by: Mike G at March 3, 2004 at 03:09 AM

    Uh ... I hope you mean the kind of stools you sit on.

    Maybe not. Perhaps Margo marinates them in her unflushed loo.

    Posted by: reg at March 3, 2004 at 03:10 AM

    And what ``essential services'' are breaking down in the US?

    Probably trying to claim the blackout awhile back is a sign that the whole system is doooomed.

    Posted by: Patrick Chester at March 3, 2004 at 03:19 AM

    "The US has a Parliament?"

    We do indeed - a Parliament of Funk!
    And they were NOT consulted!

    Rock on, Margo!

    Posted by: Parker at March 3, 2004 at 04:14 AM

    Here's your breakdown in services. We have had a horrible time here in San Diego after a brutal winter storm. We got absolutely NO HELP from the public service people. I'm surprised Homeland Security didn't come to our rescues. Here's picture of the massive damage we suffered. Thank God we don't have to suffer this devastation more than once every 20 years.

    Posted by: Brian at March 3, 2004 at 04:27 AM

    Margo manages to make Dick Neville look downright sane.

    Posted by: mojo at March 3, 2004 at 04:30 AM

    Sorry about the long link. Just enter it into your browser "address" window. It'll take you right to the tragedy that has unfolded here in San Diego.

    Posted by: Brian at March 3, 2004 at 04:30 AM

    You wanna talk about the breakdown of essential services? My Net connection was down for four flippin' hours yesterday.

    The horror...the horror...

    Posted by: Angie Schultz at March 3, 2004 at 04:34 AM

    Poor Margo.

    The U.S., the U.K. and Australia are still the strongest and most free countries in the world today. What's a pathetic liberal to do?

    Unemployment in the U.S. Margo is 5.6%, what is it in France, Germany and Russia. You dumb cow.

    Someone needs to tell this stupid moron, that while she might want Michael Moore's money, she will earn his lousy reputation. The guy is toast in the U.S. His last book tanked.

    Posted by: Mahatma at March 3, 2004 at 04:46 AM

    Brian: my heart bleeds for your tragic loss.

    Posted by: Rick C at March 3, 2004 at 04:55 AM

    Major story lead for Blair: Find out exactly how Margo and Moore escaped their hospital rooms. Get photos of their straightjackets tossed on the floor. Interview distraught relatives and pharmacists.

    We need to know.

    Posted by: gary at March 3, 2004 at 05:12 AM

    What if Blair and Howard had had the guts to say no, for America's sake.

    No offense to the Brits and Aussies, but the outcome would have been the same. It's nice to have your help and companionship, but the US could have gotten the job done all on it's own.

    on the morning of 9/11, perhaps two hours after the planes crashed, I was sitting numbly at a public park watching my then 4-year-old play, and thinking, ``We're at war.'' Just those words, over and over.

    I was watching on TV when the second plane hit. I turned to my wife and said "That wasn't an accident. The United States is now at war."

    Posted by: Gary Utter at March 3, 2004 at 05:16 AM

    You had me at hello, Margo. Unfortunately you kept writing.

    Posted by: Randal Robinson at March 3, 2004 at 06:44 AM

    I wonder if Mike Moore will even know about this book? If yes, will he pitch it? Endorse it? Declare Australia his new enemy based on Margo's opinion? Fly in for some photo ops? Oyyyyy.

    Imagine Margo and Moore in the same picture. Stuff of nightmares.

    Posted by: Vikki at March 3, 2004 at 07:01 AM

    I used to think Maureen Dowd was entertaining, but Margo is going for world-wide dominance.
    She's right about the basic services breaking down. Only ONE concentration camp has been completed and people are allready leaving it!! Dammit, my taxpaying dollars demand the rest of those camps be built for the Constitution-loving dissenters Bush is trying to silence.

    Posted by: BC at March 3, 2004 at 07:04 AM

    Essential services are breaking down?

    So *that's* why the IRS sent me a refund check instead of depositing the funds directly into my account. If things get any worse, miles and miles of essential services like interstate highways will be partially blocked this summer for much needed repairs, thus endangering the mental health of American parents carting 2.5 kids from Kalamazoo, Michigan to Treasure Island, Florida. And you just know Bush will be hiding amongst the lollygagging repair crews, laughing and laughing and laughing at the agony of those traveling families who, not coincidentally, own no Halliburton stock and got no tax cut 'cause they don't earn $1 gazillion per year.

    Posted by: Tongue Boy at March 3, 2004 at 07:10 AM

    Couldn't agree more Mr Utter - I am glad that Australia did the right thing and joined the coalition (as opposed to siding with France and Saddam), but the US military machine could have handled the job quite nicely on its own. Then again, if we didnt go, we wouldn't have heard the cool story recently about an Aussie SAS trooper disabling a mortar by putting a bullet *through* the tube, whilst under small arms and mortar fire. The words bad mofos were invented for types like that...

    Posted by: Paul Dub at March 3, 2004 at 07:14 AM

    Yes, the US could have handled the war on its own, but has been so much easier with the help of our friends. Think of the British troops who took care of the south, especially Basra. Both countries supplied their wonderfully trained special ops guys, also a tremendous help. These countries didn't have the numbers the US had on the ground, but they are the only countries in the world besides the US with a military worth the name and we are lucky and greatful to have them.

    Britain and Australia were not acting merely as friends, however. Their leaders acted because, like President Bush, they could see that the past appeasments brought the same kind of murder that appeasment always brings. They had the courage to actually lead, even as they were, and still are, brutally criticised for it. The free world is fortunate to have men of such courage at this time. Too bad we didn't have leaders with the vision and intestinal fortitude to keep us from outrages such as 9-11 and Bali in the first place. Instead we got a "police" response to each outrage until enought people died that the US finally understood that war had been declared against us and anyone else who believed in freedom.

    I'm just sorry to see that Australia is also suffering from the MM disease (the female version, very virulent). You just keep doctoring the patient, Tim. You have the right idea of what constitutes a cure; fisking is the only known antidote to this type of disease. I'm just sorry the medicine is so bitter -- you have to actually READ HER STUFF in order to treat the symptoms. You are a brave man.

    Posted by: Debra at March 3, 2004 at 08:13 AM

    Got a link, Paul Dub, please? I missed that story.

    "Bad mofos" is my settled opinion of anyone in the SAS (Aussie or Brit). Sure, the U.S. could go to war without them, but damn, what a shame it would be.

    Posted by: JPS at March 3, 2004 at 08:15 AM

    Heh heh.

    Just wanted to make sure you'd noticed, Tim! At last the TB/MK mutual admiration society can resume normal business. Hits on both sites should soar to new heights!

    As to Margo's book - I'll have to take your word for it. Unlike you, who appear to hang on her every word, I won't be reading it.

    Posted by: Not at March 3, 2004 at 08:15 AM

    Not is not Not. Not is me.

    Posted by: Nemesis at March 3, 2004 at 08:31 AM

    Tim, you are a raving, obsessive, extremist, lunatic; essentially, you're the ‘white right’ equivalent of Margo.

    There has never been a truer yin to her yang.

    Posted by: Lucy at March 3, 2004 at 10:31 AM

    Can you do the rest of us a favor and stop hanging out here, too?

    Posted by: Sortelli at March 3, 2004 at 10:31 AM

    If 15 of 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, why didn't we attack Saudi Arabia? They still have some oil left.

    Posted by: IXLNXS at March 3, 2004 at 11:39 AM

    Finally, something worth reading again on the blogmire. It was getting so boring without the regular updates on Margo. It was getting so boring hearing all about Bolt, Henderson, Manne, Adams, Carlton, Marr, McGuinness, Albrechtsen, Sheehan... have I left anyone out?

    It's so beneficent to have the bloghead's perspicacious filter on the great thinkers of our time.

    Posted by: Miranda Divide at March 3, 2004 at 12:37 PM

    Well, Miranda, for someone who is so bored with this site, you sure seem to spend a lot of time here.

    Posted by: Andrea Harris at March 3, 2004 at 01:48 PM

    Margo wants to be Mike Moore! Here's a tip- if you really want to be like Michael Moore, reduce chemical intake and increase calorie intake. The mind boggles at what an obese Margo would look like; the image of a mammu with a major build-up of gas springs to mind.

    Posted by: Habib at March 3, 2004 at 01:51 PM

    Whew - that's a sorry list. But you left out the worst offenders of the lot - Greg "WMD Doubts are Ludicrous" Sheridan and the one and only Piers Akerman.

    Hmmm. On reflection, I think you're maybe a little harsh including Sheehan...

    And perhaps a little kind to include Andrew Bolt, whose rightful place would be several rungs lower down the journalistic ladder...

    Posted by: Neme at March 3, 2004 at 01:53 PM

    that was supposed to be mummy with a build-up of gas; I'm off with Margo's pixies at the moment.

    Posted by: Habib at March 3, 2004 at 01:53 PM


    Neme is me.

    Posted by: Nemesis at March 3, 2004 at 01:55 PM

    Paul Dubb - the SAS guy who put a round through a mortar tube (when the bad guys had dropped a round in and it exploded disabling the crew!) using a sniper rifle, was standing on the back of an open top landrover while 50 bad guys attacked. He had been engaging targets with the 0.50 cal MG, when some more bad guys rocked up (I'm not sure if in 4wds, but possibly Light Armoured vehicles) so he destroyed two vehicles with Dragon shoulder fired missiles before picking up the sniper rifle when he saw the mortar base plate being set up. All in a days work.

    I will accept correction, but that is the gist of it.

    Earned himself a gong. Well done that man!

    Posted by: Razor at March 3, 2004 at 01:56 PM

    Margo hopes to sell a book? Its not half predictable, "Howard Lied, Iraq, Anti-gravity, Howard sucks, Iraq, Bush Knew, Iraq." I hope to god that people don't think that this is what most Aussies think or care about!
    I love this:

    ends with a positive blueprint for change, which shows how communities can fight back to save democracy.

    Fighting against our democratically-elected representatives saves democracy.
    Mmm. Nice premise. Maybe Margo means "If you don't like what the majority think and who they elect, convince yourself that your view is better than theirs, and fight the majority until the minority's view wins. THAT'S democracy."

    Posted by: EvilDan at March 3, 2004 at 01:59 PM


    I hope your total destruction of Margo provides you and your minions with "A" class masturbatory fantasies for months to COME. Don't forget them tissues!

    Wayne Kerr

    Posted by: Mr Pants at March 3, 2004 at 03:46 PM

    "Essential services are at breaking point, and will run down further as Americans try to pay for this war"

    So THAT's why we had to have the plumber in for half a morning a week or two back - and just tonight the air-conditioning froze up. We thought it must be a Freon leak, but now we know - it's Bush's war! He's done something evil and Republican to utilities...

    Posted by: Baillie at March 3, 2004 at 04:31 PM

    "professional pride and dedication to truth of its public service is restored and the trust between leaders and citizens repaired."

    Predicted total sales of Margo's tome: 1 for Phil the Dil Adams, one for Bore of the Year, Michael Leunig, and a couple for guillible SMH hacks.
    Is Margo the stupidest woman in Australian or what? I suppose the above quotation is referring to such bastions of public rectitude as Graham Richardson.
    Pass the sick bag Alice

    Posted by: James Plevick at March 3, 2004 at 04:50 PM

    "Blair and Bush thought they had to say yes or the current American administration would stop being their friend." I can't believe she wrote this.
    Maybe she's been off writing a children's book. "Timmy and Hester thought they had to say 'Please" and 'Thank you' or the nice Farmer Smith would stop being their friend."
    I'm with Bruce: No editor has made a mark on Margo's copy.

    Posted by: m at March 3, 2004 at 08:03 PM

    Be sure to check out The Bunyip's wonderful retelling of Margo's "retour de force": a series of Margo/Rubenstein exchanges which the foolish woman not only fails hopelessly to comprehend that which any child could, but also details each exchange chronologically so as to further underline her stupidity. Hail the Prof!

    Paul Dubb has nothing on Margo's book editor for bravery. Could the phrase "I propose to record this in my book" be the new "This will go down on your permanent record"?

    Posted by: Craig Mc at March 3, 2004 at 09:14 PM

    Margo is clearly a loon. BTW, what break down of essential services is she raving on about? By 'essential services', I'm assuming she means more government give-aways. If anything, and don't think this doesn't annoy me greatly, Pres. Bush has expanded social services is a very big way.

    She can't mean cops & firemen - they got budget increases, too. So, where are these broken essential services?

    Posted by: Brenda Largent at March 4, 2004 at 06:37 AM

    Two things:

    1) Floyd, *of course* you could sit on Margo's non-celebrity stools, but that doesn't really mean you would want to.

    2) Suppose we (US) are spending $1B per week? That amount to .0001 of the GDP per week. 52 times .0001 equals .0052, or about 1/2 of one percent per year. If we invest at 2% or if GDP grows at (current) 4+% then . . . .At that rate we would be broke, well, never.

    I'm really, really sorry, Margo, truly, really, really, that we can fight the biggest war in the past 50 years or so out of the spilled portion of the petty cash box, but that's what we get for being the biggest, baddest, and best. I suggest you're trying to fight out of your weight class. (Although perhaps if you becme more Michael Moore-like that will no longer be true.)

    While, I and all intelligent Americans are certainly extremely grateful for the support of the UK and Australia, we could have done it alone. However, we remember "Cold indeed, is the back with no brother to cover it." We got your backs, mates.

    Posted by: JorgXMcKie at March 4, 2004 at 07:02 AM