Wednesday, June 30, 2004

John Kerry Backs Free Trade 

John Kerry buys into the Free Trade Agreement. This leaves Mark Latham out on a limb. Mark can make it or break it in the Senate. Hmmm, tough choice between a $6 Billion boost to Australia or ingratiating himself with the Left of politics?? I reckon it's 50/50...

DEMOCRATIC presidential candidate John Kerry has broken ranks with his Australian counterparts in the Labor Party to back the free trade deal, increasing the chances of its swift passage through Congress.

The quiet announcement from Senator Kerry - his second policy statement to embarrass Mark Latham, having already warned that pulling troops out of Iraq would be dangerous - dashes the hopes of Labor MPs that senior Democrats will block the legislation, currently before the US Congress.

"Hopes of Labor MPs that senior Democrats will block the legislation??" - they wouldn't hope for something that would damage Australia's interests now would they?

Open Public Criticism Privately Expressed 

Matt Price from News Limited writes this news item about the contents of a private letter sent by a Liberal MP to one of her constituents.

Matt pretends that the private letter sent to one constituent of the MP's electorate amounts to open criticism of the war on Iraq. This is then used to say that the MP "has broken ranks to attack John Howard over the war on Iraq."

To reward the MP for holding those views so close to Matt's heart he then describes the Liberal MP as a moderate.

Now consulting the book of antonyms that would mean Matt is implying that the other Liberal party MPs are immoderate or extreme.

A LIBERAL backbencher has broken ranks to attack John Howard over both the war on Iraq and the policy of keeping women and children in detention centres.

Moderate Judi Moylan, a former government minister, is the first Liberal MP to openly criticise the Prime Minister over the two key policies.

In a letter to one of her constituents in the seat of Pearce, the West Australian MP said she had "made representations to the Prime Minister not to enter into a war with Iraq" last year.

"Regretfully the decision was made to go to war," she said.

Her comments represent the harshest criticism yet by a member of the Howard Government of its decision to back the US-led war in Iraq.

The harshest criticsm yet expressed in a private letter to an individual.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004


Michael Moore's emetic spray Fahrenheit 9/11 is inflicting its damage on the Western psyche.

US filmmaker Michael Moore today claimed a major political coup against US President George W. Bush after Fahrenheit 9/11 earned more at the box office than any other documentary in history.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Labor Fines Conservatives 

Mark Latham has issued a threat to introduce the totalitarian measure of fining the main opposition party up to $120 million dollars if his Labor Party wins government at the next election.

Once in power, Labor under Latham could deem that that the former Liberal government's official advertising offered "an electoral advantage" to the Liberals and the punitive fine could be imposed. The measure would likely bankrupt the opposition making it hard to dislodge a Labor government willing to introduce other retrospective measures to ensure its permanent place in power.

A federal Labor government will make the Liberal Party pay back any money for current advertising that is found to be political, leader Mark Latham says.

Mr Latham says that if he is elected, he will ensure political parties rather than the government of the day pay for any advertising found to have any electoral advantage.

Mr Latham says the move will be backdated to today, so it would include the government's current programs.

The Federal Government is currently spending more than $120 million on advertising for programs such as its Medicare changes.

"All this advertising material here is being developed by the Government to assist its election prospects in the future when the money would be better spent on the basic services needed in the Australian community," Mr Latham said.

"This is the standard for the Labor Party, it's the standard for the Liberal Party, let's end for all time taxpayer funded political advertising and make sure the money is spent where it's needed, for the benefit of the Australian people, for essential services, for nurses in hospitals, teachers in schools," he said.

The Opposition says the advertising is a blatant attempt to buy votes for the coming election.

Special Minister of State Eric Abetz says it is a stunt.

"It is an unworkable proposal," he said.

"Mr Latham must know it and it's designed for a cheap quick headline."

Senator Abetz says the current guidelines put in place by Labor in 1995 are working.

The law would be retrospective. Retrospective laws tear at the fabric of the legal system. With Mark you can never be sure whether what you do legally today will result in punishment for you at a later date. You'll remember in February this year while attempting to embarass the Liberal and US governments he was forced to backflip after he proposed other retrospective laws designed to ensnare David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib.

True King of England Will Be True Blue 

Chrenkoff's huge Euro news roundup includes this little gem:

"The 'true' king of England - Jerilderie rice farmer Michael Hastings - is about to become an Australian citizen.

"New research into medieval England has shown Mr Hastings, an immigrant and the 14th Earl of Loudon, has the most viable claim to the throne of Elizabeth II. Scholar Dr Michael Jones has discovered Mr Hastings is the true heir to the throne of Elizabeth's ancestor, Edward IV, who reigned as the English monarch between 1461 and 1483.

"Delving into archives at a French cathedral, Dr Jones found that Edward IV - whose descendants included the Tudors Henry VIII and Elizabeth I - was the illegitimate son of a French archer. That meant the descendants of Edward's brother George, the Duke of Clarence, had the real claim to the throne."

Got in First 

Just when Iraq's insurgents had planned their big blast to celebrate the handover, the US imperial forces go and spoil things by pre-emptively handing control of the country back to the Iraqi people.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Carr: Did I Say that? No, I Don't Think I Said That... 

PREMIER Bob Carr denied yesterday he had split with Labor Leader Mark Latham over his Iraqi troop withdrawal policy, despite warning him to "think carefully' about it.

On the ABC's Sunday Profile radio program last night, Mr Carr issued a clear warning to Mr Latham about the dangers of upsetting the US.

Mr Carr said he was told in Washington that Mr Latham should think carefully about a premature troop withdrawal because helping in a "tough time" could give us influence over US policies.

Prime Minister John Howard had seized on Mr Carr's comments describing them as "Labor-speak" designed to tell Mr Latham his policy to bring home Australian troops by Christmas was wrong.

But Mr Carr said his comments were simple common sense and the claim of disunity was nothing more than a "beat up".

"[It is] stating the bleeding obvious to remind people that a disengagement from Iraq, given all the sensitivities of the Americans, will require diplomacy," Mr Carr said. "I'm confident that will be delivered by prime minister Mark Latham's government.

"Everything I said represented emphatic support for the Australian Labor Party position."

Mr Carr has also given Mr Latham some unwelcome advice on his opposition to the US free trade agreement, which he says should be accepted "the sooner the better".

Obviously, the Party Machine has asked Carr to shut up.

Bizarro World? 

Here's something you don't often see in politics.

A conservative government dishes out taxpayer largesse to new mums in the form of a $3000 bonus for pumping out a baby. The Labor Party then gazumps that payment with the promise of a larger one. It then sets out to punish the government complaining loudly (with media and welfare rights groups' support) that it's far too much cash to give to the lower classes in one payment. They just can't be trusted to do the right thing with it. We need more bureaucracy to supervise the payment in installments, mums are risking their babies lives, etc..

Labor today stepped up pressure on the Government to review its $3,000 maternity payment, citing a leaked cabinet document warning against paying it as a lump sum.

The cabinet document obtained by the Opposition warned that teenaged girls and low-income families could be tempted to make inappropriate choices if the payment, to start on July 1, was made as a lump sum.

"The size of the payment and surrounding publicity may inappropriately influence choices for low-income or welfare-dependent families," the document said.

"Special arrangements may be needed for teenage mothers to ensure payment is delivered appropriately (fortnightly rather than lump sum to under-16s); to connect teenage mothers to complementary counselling; and to offer other assistance."

Parliament last week heard concerns about women seeking to delay their baby's birth until after July 1 to claim the bonus, teenagers considering getting pregnant to reap a $3,000 windfall and the money being spent on gambling and alcohol.

p.s. the media and welfare rights groups are falling over themselves trying to blame birth complications on the Liberals who brought this wicked baby bonus causing mums to place their babies at risk. Thank God that story has only 3 more days left to run. I wish I could get statistics for births for the last week to compare statistics to see how many mums really did put their health and the lives of their babies at risk. I reckon there'd be about two. That's two too many, etc., etc.., [knot brow, push glasses down nose, furrow forehead, look sensitive...etc.]

p.p.s. The government's $600 one off payment has also caused aboriginees to be violent and to drink according to the chairman of the Garruk-Jarru council in the Katherine region.

Senator Patterson also dismissed claims the Federal Government's one-off $600 per child family payment bonus had led to a flare up of violence and alcohol abuse in Northern Territory Aboriginal communities.

The chairman of the Garruk-Jarru council in the Katherine region, Michael Berto, this week said some large families had received thousands of dollars and there had been no education of where the money was coming from and what it was for.

But Senator Patterson denied there had been an outbreak of drinking and violence since the payments went into bank accounts last week.

"There have been a couple of incidences within a couple of communities but on the whole we've been told that people are spending it on white goods, on books, on food and on other provisions for their children," she said.

I suspect the baby bonus has been criticised (in Bizarro World) for causing a shortage of white goods, books, food and provisions. Chooks have stopped laying and the curtains are fading.

Update: Padraic P. McGuinness writes a good article with more on this topic.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Close Call. Saudi Millions Raised, Just in the Nick of Time. 

Hardline Islamic clerics Sheikh Mohammed Omran and Sheikh Abdul Salam Mohammed Zoud may have been successful in buying the new mosque building in Belmore located not far from Sydney's Lakemba Mosque.

SAUDIS have donated almost $2.65 million to buy a mosque in Sydney for supporters of one of Australia's most hardline Islamic clerics.

Saudi fundraiser Sheikh Muhammad Bin Abdullah Al-Dawish said that his campaign to raise money for the mosque had been successful after the intervention of the mufti of Saudi Arabia.

Sheikh Al-Dawish told The Weekend Australian from Saudi Arabia that the mufti had "spoken to a few officials" and the money was raised.

The clerics and their friends were very worried about the tone of the Belmore neighbourhood:

"The Islamic community is concerned about the Judaisation of the neighbourhood and a deposit has been paid in case the mosque is sold to the Jewish community," one of their notices says.

The Belmore building is being purchased for the hardline Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah group run from Melbourne by Sheikh Mohammed Omran. The new mosque will replace Sheikh Zoud's Haldon Street prayer hall, which is in the Sydney suburb of Lakemba.

Sheikh Zoud's prayer hall has been much in the news lately in relation to persons allegedly associated with terrorist activities. Saleh Jamal skipped bail while on charges for allegedly shooting up the Lakemba police station only to be arrested in Lebanon on terrorist charges; Willie Brigitte, arrested in France, who allegedly planned to blow up Sydney's nuclear reactor; Bilal Khazal, convicted in abstentia in Lebanon and the CIA's alleged "man on the ground" for al-Qaeda in Australia; Faheem Khalid Lodhi, on charges for allegedly planning terrorist strikes; and Izhar Ul Haque, they are all associated with the Sheikh's prayer hall.

Latham Goes AWOL as Criticism Mounts 

Even Bob Carr, the Labor Premier of NSW is criticising Latham's leadership. Earlier, uncle Kim Beazley had put the boot into Latham's stance on the Free Trade Agreement.

Simon Crean and 15 other members of Latham's opposition ALP party crossed the floor and voted with the government to support the Free Trade Agreement. There were 41 ALP MPs who didn't know which way to vote and abstained.

All six of the State ALP Premier's are in favor of the FTA.

In February Mark Latham postured for the media after the announcement of the FTA and said, "This is not a free trade agreement, it is not a free trade agreement at all, it's a partial trade agreement that from our assessment this morning is not in Australia's interest."

Labor is now bitterly divided over the issue with half wanting to oppose John Howard and the other half wanting to do what's right for the country:

Mr Howard said Mr Carr was showing leadership on the Iraq issue in the same manner as former opposition leader Kim Beazley did during the week in a speech backing the free trade agreement with the US.

"Both Mr Beazley and Mr Carr are telling Mr Latham he is wrong both on the free trade agreement and also on cutting and running from Iraq," he said.

Mr Howard accused Mr Latham of going missing in action and leaving others to explain policy initiatives, particularly the opposition's about face on its former rejection of changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

"The role of a leader is to announce some of the bad news and the difficult news as well as the good news," he said.

"This tactic of letting somebody else be the fall guy is a mark of somebody who doesn't really quite know whether he has done the right thing or quite how to front up to the Australian public.

Just a little more time and Latham is a goner. Especially if he comes out of hiding and says something.

John Kerry Wants an Apology from Bush - for Kerry's Ads... 

A few months ago, the MoveOn organisation, a well funded unofficial support faction for the John Kerry campaign for President, created two ads that portrayed George Bush as Hitler.

Hoping to show the hysterical theatrics of John Kerry and his supporters, the Bush campaign has used excerpts from those ads on its own website.

John Kerry is demanding an apology - not for the original MoveOn ads - but for George Bush's use of them.

Kerry campaign spokesman Phil Singer said in a statement issued yesterday, "The fact that George Bush thinks its appropriate to use images of Adolf Hitler in his campaign raises serious questions about his fitness to spend another four years in the White House."

Baa Baa! We Want Moore. 

Lining up like sheep in their thousands the credulous and blinkered queue for their dose of Moore.

Crowds in the US capital have flocked to the opening of Michael Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11," some to get fired up about ousting President George W. Bush in the November 2 election, others to see what the controversy is all about.

Nurse Alexandra Moss, 31, made a point of seeing the vehemently anti-Bush documentary as a contribution to help defeat the Republican president in November. She even brought her mother to see the film. "I want to see Bush out of office," she said.

Chris Hitchens Turns Up the Heat on Fahrenheit 9/11 

The first paragraph flickers aflame with:

MICHAEL Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of dissenting bravery.

and the rest of the article fires up from there. Nice reading.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Blogger Todd McKenzie Runs for Parliament 

Todd is running in this year's FEDERAL election for the seat of Lilley. If you would like to assist this RWDB in his ruthless grab for power you can go visit his site and hit his PAYPAL link.

I must admit that I thought it would be a while before I said this, but I am taking the leap and becoming a candidate for the seat of Lilley in the upcoming Federal Election. I will be running as a National for the seat.

I know it will be a very tough fight. I am going up against Wayne Swann. Swann epitomises the saying "You can fool enough of the people, enough of the time."

Basically the nats asked me to stand to give people a choice and I am proud to do so.

Even though Swann's main claim to fame is the fact that he ISN'T the bloke that looks like a grown up Harry Potter, he will still be very tough to beat and I am realistic about my chances.

I will do my best to represent the people of Lilley and give them a real representative. I hope I can count on your support.

I will try to keep you up to date on the campaign in the future and hopefully give you a taste of the hectic life of a Candidate.

The More Things Change... 

The more they stay the same:

The chair of a New South Wales parliamentary committee says an "old girls club" of female managers in the health system have protected each other from criticism and continued a culture of covering up problems.

An Upper House committee has released its report into complaints handling today.

It says the culture is widespread across New South Wales and that many staff are reluctant to report problems because they are afraid of being sued.

But committee chair Gordon Moyes has partly blamed senior health management for perpetuating cover ups, using the sacking of the former head of Campbelltown and Camden hospitals as an example.

"They meet constantly, they see each other, so it wasn't surprising, for example, when Jennifer Collins was terminated as being the CEO of that area she was immediately offered a job by Diana Horvath in the Sydney Area Health Service, whom she has known for a long period of time," he said.

"That job had not been advertised."

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

No More Flexibility from Flipper and the ALP 

They call him Flipper. Flipper, faster than lightning. No one you see is smarter than he...

Mark Latham starring as Flipper   Another triple backflip with a half pike and twist   Good boy, Flipper!

Mark Latham's Labor Party has ruled out any more policy reversals. They will no longer respond to community concern or to reasoned argument to reverse a position. Instead they will be sticking to their plans no matter what.

"It is not a matter of backflip. It is a matter of us squaring away our responsibilities. It is a matter of us in opposition being responsible enough to point out where the money is coming from, unlike the government which seems to have a bottomless back pocket from which it can draw to pay for its most outrageous election campaign."

But from now on, no more "of us squaring away our responsibilities".

Good News From Iraq Part 4 

Part 4 of Chrenkoff's epic "Good News from Iraq" is now available. Heaps of links, lots of good news.

"After a couple of weeks of watching the news, I realized why the bleak attitude exists. The news we hear concentrates on the tragic setbacks and perceived shortfalls of our efforts, while minimizing our successes," says Maj. Rich Doyle, of Texas. For all the Coalition soldiers, frustrated that they only get in the news when shot at or blown up, let's publicise these stories:....

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The Australian Flag is Divisive - Jenny Macklin, ALP MP. 

The Labor Party thinks that flying the Australian flag over school buildings is divisive and unfair.

Every Australian school will be required to have a functional flagpole and fly the Australian flag if they are to receive additional funding, under Federal Government legislation to be introduced to Parliament tomorrow.

Schools will also have to set two hours aside every week for exercise for primary and junior high school students.

The flags and exercise regime are two of numerous new conditions that will be attached to $31 billion in Commonwealth school funding which was originally announced in March.


Labor's education spokeswoman, Jenny Macklin, told Parliament the conditions were unfair and divisive.

"The Government is actually more concerned about the condition of the flagpoles at our schools rather than the resources available to our children in our classrooms," she said.

Nonetheless, Labor says it will support the legislation to provide funding certainty to schools.

Flying our flag on school buildings is a very BIG story as far as the media is concerned. Much is being reported about it.

The Gnu Hunter predicts there will be many derisory opinion pieces in the papers tomorrow. The flagpole thing is just one of a small number of reasonable and sensible pre-conditions for funding (exercise and report cards, etc..) but guess which condition is getting up the nose of the lefties?

What are the odds that a school principal somewhere will use his school's kids to 'make a stand' and will refuse to fly the flag? There'd be much fuss and to do about it, I'm sure. Headlines: Principled Stance; The School with the Principled Principal; Principals for Principles...

Bilal Khazal Gets Bail 

Whew, that's a relief. Bilal Khazal, the man that the ABC's Four Corners reported was Al-Qaeda's alleged "man on the ground", poses no risk to anyone.

"I am unable to see that there's any particular flight risk, I'm unable to see that there's any particular risk of any harm to any individual or to the community," Justice James told the court.

That's very reassuring. It was only last year that:

According to Four Corners, the CIA report, issued last June and based on uncorroborated intelligence from the Palestinian Authority, said al-Qaeda was very active in Australia.

It said there were "rank and file and leadership elements heading to Australia with forged passports". It named Bilal Khazal, a resident of Lakemba, Sydney, as having connections with al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

"The al-Qaeda leadership has allegedly delegated responsibility to Bilal Khazal," it said.

It said Mr Khazal, named by the program as the man behind the Sydney-based Islamic Youth Movement's magazine and website, had been closely watched since September 11.

The report claimed Mr Khazal was "reportedly planning an explosives attack against some US embassies", including one in Venezuela, as well as against US interests in the Philippines.

The program also said that in mid-2000 "there was intelligence that Mr Khazal was sending recruits from Australia overseas to train in Afghanistan".

Four Corners said it had been able to verify much of the detail in the CIA report but that Mr Khazal refused to comment on the record.

It's Just Not Cricket, Mark. 

Via EvilPundit comes the news that Mark Latham once played cricket:

But by his sixth game 20-year-old Green Valley boy Mark Latham gained a new reputation by being the first person in the club's 115-year history to be suspended by the NSW Cricket Association for bad behaviour.

"Behaviour on the cricket field appears to reflect declining or at least changing standards of behaviour in the community at large," the club recorded that year.

"One member did come under NSW Cricket Association notice and this regrettable instance must be the last."

The future Labor leader was banned for a game after giving an umpire a two-fingered salute – "abuse of an official" – and a bit of backchat after a leg-before-wicket call.

Latham finished the season but quit the club that year after scoring just 13 runs in a semi-final loss to Petersham-Marrickville.

Presumably the incident still brings back bitter memories for Mr Latham, who yesterday refused to comment about the disgrace he brought his cricket club.

"We are interested in Australia's future not requests about a cricket match 25 years ago," he said through a spokeswoman.

Here's another story about Marky's bad temper. [To find it you'll need to scroll down to the title: Howzat? Er, not very good] Is this the same incident or another?

In 1979 he became the first player from Sydney University to be suspended for bad behaviour - for one game - for giving the umpire a two-fingered salute for turning down an lbw decision. His captain that season, Peter Gannon, says he had "no real problems" with Latham, though, the match ban more a reflection of how intensely he played the game.

Kevin Rudd Gets a Ruddy Fisking 

Tim Blair takes apart ALP Foreign Affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd, bit by bit:

Labor appeasement spokesman Kevin Rudd wants out of the war against terror:

Howard spoke of Iraq in the context of a "wider war" against terrorism. Rudd seeks to undermine him by narrowing Iraq's role to a possible involvement in September 11 -- which nobody asserted in the first place. Rudd, you get the feeling, doesn’t read much beyond headlines...

...And you’d think the Rudd would know that the Bali attack preceded our involvement in Iraq. Terrorists wanted us dead before Iraq, and they want us dead now. This is because they are terrorists.

...We certainly will be lying if Rudd has his way. Face-down and pleading; not exactly a position of strength. Rudd deserves to be run out of Parliament for these achingly empty lines:

...When he's got nothing to say, Kevin says it twice.

Yes, but he does have THOSE glasses to elevate, up and down his nose, to make him look intelligent.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Uncle Andrew - School Teacher 

Andrew Bolt may have missed his calling.

In among another four great articles he makes time to instruct our youth in the mysteries of science and logic:

But children, gather around and listen to Uncle Andrew: Almost all your "biological facts" are wrong. Wildly so.

Antarctica is getting colder, not warmer. There are no "30,000 people dying of cancer" caused by "Chernobly". The Murray was never fresh and "clear as crystal", but always brackish. Even in 1829 explorer Charles Sturt found the water of the Darling too salty to drink near where it fed into the Murray, which is no saltier now than it was 60 years ago.

Let's go on. People haven't got birth defects from uranium mines, and grandparents certainly couldn't pass on such defects to their grandchildren.

It's carbon dioxide that trees use, not carbon, and if we relied on "Common Knowledge" for our understanding we'd still believe the sun orbits the Earth and that witches make us sick.

Children, who told you these "biological facts"? And who failed to teach you to write basic English or to reason?

Introducing You to the Concept of Taqqiya 

Earlier this year, the media reported that the Grand Mufti Sheikh Hilaly of Australia traveled to Lebanon. While there the reports say he is alleged to have delivered fiery sermons praising suicide bombers. The media further alleged that he called the New York September 11 attacks "God's work". After the resulting media furore in Australia the Mufti via his spokesman claimed he was misquoted and was quoted out of context.

In 1986 the Grand Mufti was quoted in media reports saying that "Jews are the underlying cause of all wars ... who use sex and abominable acts of buggery to control the world". After a bigger furore at the time, the Mufti claimed he was misquoted.

Those of you who follow the goings on surrounding Australia's mosques will of course be a tad mystified trying to reconcile controversial media reports with later incomprehensible explanations provided you by the spokespersons who turn up afterwards to calm things down.

You wonder how the officials of a religious organisation are permitted by their congregation to make statements in the mosque and then confuse or reverse their position when they are talking with the media or politicians? Why is there this confusion between what you read in initial reports with what is afterward claimed?

What you are witnessing is the concept of Taqiyya, which is the concealment of one’s true feelings and religious beliefs to non-Muslims (infidels). If the faith or the faithful will be disadvantaged by telling the truth to the infidel then it is permissible to dissimulate and to confuse the infidel instead.

Now this explains a lot.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Fake Interview Exposed 

The Australian newspaper prints an absurd lie.

The opinion piece pretends to be an interview with George Bush.

Nowhere does it say that the supposed interview is a FAKE. In fact the footnote at the bottom of the article says:

Footnote: All quotes credited to US President George W. Bush are from the public record.

Lots of quotes from George Bush have been unskilfully pasted into the transcript of a faked interview. Phillip Adams did not interview George Bush.

The item discriminates against persons with English as a second language who may not realise the interview is not real. Persons with a Sydney public school education may be similarly disadvantaged.

A Litany of Woe 

I started reading this Reuters news item in the SMH about a US missile strike on a building in Fallujah. There was a two-liner explanation from the US military that the house was choc full of al-Qaida fighters. Then almost out of context the focus of the story switches to a string of one-paragraph items one after the other that appear to have been cut and pasted. Starting with the babies and women killed at "the wedding" and then strikes on an oil pipeline then a roundup of all the exclusively bad news (not all of it news or interesting) that's fit to print.

There's also the obligatory quote that the house only contained women and children. You've got to wonder why those evil and clever neo-cons don't target houses with a few men in them?

Furious Iraqis said the dead included women and children. But Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt said in Baghdad the house was being used by fighters loyal to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, accused by Washington of leading a bloody campaign of suicide bombings and of decapitating a US hostage last month.
"We have significant evidence that there were members of the Zarqawi network in the house," Kimmitt said. But officers said there was no sign that Zarqawi himself - who has a $US10 million ($A14.72 million) price on his head - was there when the house was destroyed.
Fallujah residents said two missiles were fired at the house by a US plane this morning, flattening the building. Kimmitt said the US strike caused secondary blasts as ammunition inside the house exploded.
"An American plane hit this house and three others were damaged. Only body parts are left," a witness said, as rescuers dug through the rubble of the shattered house for survivors.
"They brought us 22 corpses, children, women and youths," Ahmed Hassan, a cemetery worker, said after the blast

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Operating Outside Ones Comfort Zone 

The brains behind Labor's foriegn policy agenda has branded John Howard a liar. Latham has deserted the intellectual battlefield, due to a lack of armaments, leaving Rudd behind to set the ruddy policy agenda.

LABOR has criticised Prime Minister John Howard's defence of his strong stance on Iraq, placing it alongside the children overboard affair as "the second great lie" of the current government.

Last night Mr Howard accused Labor leader Mark Latham of increasing the risk of an Australian terrorist attack by adopting an isolationist foreign policy.

In a speech to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Sydney, Mr Howard said Labor's plan to withdraw Australian forces from Iraq would damage the Australia-US military alliance.

He said Iraq was the frontline in the war on terror, and warned that defeat there would embolden terrorists close to Australia.

His comments came a day after a US inquiry found no link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda's attacks on the US on September 11, 2001.

Today, opposition foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd labelled Mr Howard's claims "plainly ridiculous".

"He was busy attacking us yet again on national security," said Mr Rudd.

"What we increasingly see is a negative, carping prime minister who can only attack our policies."

Mr Rudd is not very comfortable with an attack on policies. Rudd is more at ease making personal attacks, such as calling someone he doesn't agree with a liar.

Wilkie Betrays His Country 

Andrew Wilkie admits it.

I can't recall precisely the origin of my decision to betray my Government. Probably it was during November and December 2002, when I prepared the detailed intelligence assessment for the Australian Government of the possible humanitarian consequences of the looming invasion of Iraq. It was a sobering experience, one that left me with a clear sense of how bad the fallout from the war could easily be.

He apparently believes himself to be a traitor. Betrayal is not a word that has featured in Andrew's dealings with the media. Here are some other words that may be useful:

trai·tor ( P ) Pronunciation Key (trtr)
One who betrays one's country, a cause, or a trust, especially one who commits treason.

trea·son ( P ) Pronunciation Key (trzn)
Violation of allegiance toward one's country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one's country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.
A betrayal of trust or confidence.

treach·er·ous ( P ) Pronunciation Key (trchr-s)
Marked by betrayal of fidelity, confidence, or trust; perfidious. See Synonyms at faithless.
Not to be relied on; not dependable or trustworthy.
Marked by unforeseen hazards; dangerous or deceptive: treacherous waters.

Perfidious? Now there's a useful word.

For a frank assessment of Wilkie and how he got everything so terribly wrong read this.

While Wilkie believed the threat of WMD was overplayed (“Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program is, I believe, genuinely contained”) he didn’t claim that Iraq had no WMD (“there is no doubt they have chemical and biological weapons”). His main concern was over something that never happened:

Wilkie thinks there are a number of ways Saddam could produce a humanitarian disaster. "He could do it with weapons of mass destruction. He's already used chemical weapons against the Kurds, and he could do the same again."

Wilkie quit because he saw an opportunity to betray the Federal LIBERAL Government. The cameras were all waiting for him as he walked out the door, ready for the nightly TV news in the week before the war began.

No matter if Wilkie was correct in his views, as he says himself, he still betrayed his country.

Friday, June 18, 2004


After reading this, instead of feeling the contempt and derision Michael Moore would like us to feel, I am in awe.

We see clear thinking. When the second plane hit, everyone knew it was no accident.

Then from all players we see a rapidly escalating response, exercised with caution and a deep and obvious respect for human life.

Did the generals delay giving the order to their pilots to shoot? Yes, sir.

In a time of peace, did they ask a second or third time if the order was to shoot down a planeload of civilians with your wife and kids on board? I hope so.

Did the thought of courts martial and manslaughter charges cross their minds? Duh, yeah...

Did people in authority respect the order, but ask for someone else in authority to confirm it? I really hope so.

When it was confirmed did they then prepare to do their terrible duty. Yes.

Were they too late? Yes.

A nation at peace was attacked with jet weapons. With human shields aboard.

What more could they do?

Closeup of a Comet 

If you ever wondered what a comet would look like up close then take a look at this. Forget the old theory about comets being just a big dirty snowball or grit and ice, this thing is a pock-marked chunk of solid rock.

"It's completely unexpected," chief investigator Donald Brownlee of the University of Washington, Seattle, said to reporters about the comet's surface.

"We were expecting the surface to look more like it was covered with pulverised charcoal ... like a dirty, black, fluffy snowball.

"Instead," he said, "it was mind-boggling to see the diverse landscape in the first pictures from Stardust, including spires, pits and craters, which must be supported by a cohesive surface.

The lies that the US keeps concocting. It's Capricorn One all over again. Everybody knows that the Earth is the centre of the universe and that the planets, comets and stars are chariots driven by angels across the celestial spheres. That picture's not real, it's a papier mache prop developed for TV and the gullible masses.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

And You Think The Socialists Have All Gone Away? 

If you are sceptical of the Gnu Hunter's assertions that the Far Left played a major part in orchestrating anti-war protests then read this:

The acronyms:
SA means Socialist Alliance,
ISO means International Socialist Org,
DSP means Democratic Socialist Party

Close collaboration in the anti-war movement reaps victories

By Margarita Windisch (Melbourne West branch)

This contribution is a brief reflection on our work in the anti-war movement and our work within the Victorian Peace Network (VPN).

First, we can pat ourselves on the back for the hard work done so far. Most of Melbourne SA's anti-war movement work was channeled through the VPN, a network of affiliates with a delegated decision-making structure.

Socialist Alliance affiliates (ISO and DSP) and individual members were instrumental in setting up a range of local anti-war groups (Moreland, Darebin, St Kilda, Maribyrnong), which provided some space for activists, dialogue with the local communities and sharper anti-imperialist politics.

Socialist Alliance's "Block the Budget" initiative in 2003 did not go unnoticed. The petitions went down a treat on stalls and a healthy debate ensured that went beyond the anti-war movement. On May 1, 2003, Lincoln Hancock from SA raised this demand from the Trades Hall sponsored May Day platform to massive applause.

Resistance, which at the time was not an SA affiliate, but with most of its active membership in SA, mobilised thousands of young people in March 2003 through the Books Not Bombs movement. This gave the anti-war movement the edge it was lacking and it also helped push SA as the radical political alternative on the streets.

Working in the VPN

The delegated structure of the VPN limits the coalition building possibilities outside this framework. It blocks the participation of individuals and consequently the development of new young leaders through struggle. The VPN structure is also prone to bureaucratism and unaccountability. It is generally very unclear where the real political decisions were being made; too many times it seems that the purpose of the affiliates' meetings is only to rubberstamp a decision made on the steering committee (which comprises a select few members of various affiliates and the VPN organisers).

SA did not affiliate to the VPN but three of its member organisations did (DSP, ISO and Resistance). However, it has become increasingly clear that when SA affiliates collaborated before VPN meetings we could win some arguments related to broadening out and mobilising the movement.

For instance, SA members consistently argued for "Troops out" as the key VPN demand (which it still has), and also for sustained but focused VPN-organised public mobilisations. Last year we put up a motion for VPN to organise an anti-Bush demonstration in October, a motion we lost only after one of the best political debates ever in the VPN until the chair cut discussion.

Consequently SA members set up an ad-hoc committee to organise the anti-Bush protest, which mobilised some 1000 people despite some sectarianism from some VPN members and Socialist Alternative.

March 20, another initiative SA members pushed in VPN, proved to be another success. Despite some nervousness within the VPN, the "Troops out" demand stayed. Every single trade union endorsement for M20 was organised by Socialist Alliance members, including a last minute endorsement by Trades Hall Council (they had forgotten!).

We organised the keynote speaker (Terry Hicks), fought to have a key trade union represented on the platform (Martin Kingham, CFMEU) and wore down the Age opinion editor to the extent that John Pilger's opinion piece on the war appeared on March 20.

SA caucusing helped to convince a VPN affiliates' meeting to take out an ad for M20 in the Age, however this decision was overturned somewhere, somehow.

The Victorian SA conference the week before March 20 was another useful vehicle to plan our intervention into the demonstration as a cohesive and militant force. We convened a workshop on the politics of March 20 and our tasks for the day.

Consequently, SA affiliates and individuals worked together very well on the day, with joint stalls and members equipped with contact lists and recruiting materials roving the crowd. We distributed nearly 2000 anti-war recruitment leaflets, got three new joiners and lots of names on our contact list. Our profile was good and our contingent was vibrant.

The ISO's decision to recruit to SA and carry SA placards on M20 had a very positive impact on SA's ability to present a growing united socialist front, something that was noticeable on the day.

The next step is to build on the existing collaboration and professionalise our interventions through caucuses, informal discussions and joint working bees. These united activities are also useful to build up greater political confidence and help train new activists for SA and the movement.

Sentence Reduced 

A man with an appalling criminal record, who smashed in a back door and terrified and traumatised two elderly victims by ransacking their house, has successfully appealed his sentence and had it reduced.

South Australia's Court of Criminal Appeal has reduced a jail sentence given to a man who broke into an elderly couple's house because he is Aboriginal.

The Appeal Court ruled that Aborigines are at greater disadvantage in society that whites.

Darren Clarke, 29, broke into the Port Pirie house of a couple in their 70s in November 2002 by smashing the back door.

He ransacked two rooms and stole alcohol and money.

The couple was terrified and traumatised.

Clark was sentenced to three years with a non-parole period of 23 months.

He appealed against that sentence and one of his grounds was that he was Aboriginal.

The Court of Criminal Appeal agreed saying an offender's aboriginality could be relevant.

It said many Aboriginal people were marginalised and lacked opportunities.

The judges acknowledged Clark's appalling criminal record and the seriousness of the offence.

But they reduced his sentence to two years and three months with a non-parole period of 17 months.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

HREOC Report Critical of Australian Racists 

The Federal Government's Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) has launched a report with an Arabic title "Isma" at a gathering of about 300 members of the Arab and Muslim community, including Australia's Mufti, Sheik Taj Aldin Alhilali. The report was composed after 69 meetings were held, with a total of 1400 muslim and Arabic Australians participating. The report is critical of Australians who are racist and who vilify Arabs and Muslims.

The report launched by HREOC's acting commissioner Mr William Jonas has prompted him to warn "Australia needs federal laws to protect people from discrimination and vilification on the basis of religion". It is thought that his proposed laws would be similar to Victoria's anti-vilification laws.

Australia's Grand Mufti Sheikh Taj Aldin Alhilali guest of honour at today's launch, was quoted in a sermon a few years ago and said, "Jews are the underlying cause of all wars ... who use sex and abominable acts of buggery to control the world".

The Grand Mufti was also recently reported as praising suicide bombers and calling the September 11 attacks in New York "God's work".

It is not known if the HREOC's proposed anti-vilification laws will be applied to all Australians.

Keysar Trad, spokesman for the Lebanese Muslim Association is the regular spokesman for the Grand Mufti. Mr Trad defended the Mufti after his sermons saying he was "taken out of context". Trad said, "The Mufti is a proponent of peace and peaceful solutions to any conflict"

Keysar Trad was another guest of honour at today's launch of the HREOC report:

Lebanese Muslim Association spokesman Keysar Trad labeled the report a sad indictment on Australia as a civilised society.

"One would have thought that our standards in Australia would not have brought society down to a level where a certain section of society was discriminated against because of their religion, because of their name, or because of the way they dress."

Ali Imron, the religious man who created the Bali bomb that killed 194 people and horribly maimed many more said he and the other bombers chose the Sari Club because they thought it would be full of Americans, but were not disappointed to kill mainly Australians. "Australians, Americans, whatever - they are all white people," Ali said.

Ali Imron and fellow bomber Imam Samudra said they did not regret their actions as those killed were "sinners" and "infidels" and the Sari Club was a "place of adultery".

The HREOC commisioner's attempt to eliminate racism and religious vilification like this is commendable.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Hicks Will Get His Day In Court 

The Editor of The Australian derides Bob Brown and the supporters of David Hicks:

DAVID Hicks is a violent religious fascist and anti-semite who trained with al-Qa'ida. As a member of the notorious Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, he spent weeks during early 2000 firing live rounds of ammunition into Indian Kashmir. These facts are not seriously disputed and can all be gleaned from an SBS documentary supportive of Mr Hicks and starring his father, Terry. Nevertheless, according to the weird protocols of the times in which we live, these facts have not prevented Mr Hicks garnering an impressive cheer-squad among "progressives", including Greens senators Bob Brown and Kerry Nettle, who wore Mr Hicks's image on their lapels during the visit to Canberra by US President George W. Bush last October...

...Those who believe that everything the US says must be a lie have tried hard to build a cause around Mr Hicks, but without conspicuous success. Most Australians are far more sympathetic towards the victims of al-Qa'ida and LET, and have not wasted much time feeling sorry for David Hicks.

Does anyone know if those badges (images) of Mr Hicks worn on Brown and Nettle's lapels were the badges that say "Fair Go for David" ??

Bail Granted. Bail Flouted. Bail Recovered? 

The long-suffering citizens of Sydney's southwest were denied justice when Saleh Jamal was given bail and promptly fled the country. Now it seems they may be denied recompense as well.

THE father of a terror suspect who fled Australia blamed lax airport security yesterday for his son skipping bail.

Mahmoud Jamal is fighting a $150,000 bail forfeiture order after his son Saleh fled to Lebanon in March.

Mr Jamal went to the Sydney District Court yesterday to oppose the order, which could see him lose his Abbotsford home.

The court has held the deeds to the house since Mr Jamal gave three separate $50,000 bail undertakings on behalf of his son in August 2001.

Saleh Jamal was bailed over his alleged involvement in the Lakemba police station drive-by shooting on November 1, 1998; Eveleigh St, Redfern, drive-by shooting on November 11, 1998; and the shooting of Elias Elias on October 12, 1998.

He has since been charged in Lebanon with planning attacks, links to al-Qaeda and possessing weapons.

Yesterday, Mr Jamal told Judge Greg Hosking airport security was to blame for his son jumping bail. "It is a shame of the government, they should have better security," he said.

Uh huh, so it's only the government that should be ashamed? Right...

Home Made Jet Engine 

GrinderCom visits an interesting acquaintance who built himself a jet engine and tested it - in his garage.

For pictures see here and here.

The ‘jet engine’ we’d come to see was placed on a small rubber mat pointing out the shed door. A 9kg LPG cylinder was connected to the primary inlet. Notably missing was any form of regulator, the only control being a ball valve at the cylinder end of the pipe. There were several gauges, an oil cooling system, an ignition system made from auto parts, a fuel pump and a second fuel line running from a 4 litre bottle of kero.

The starting procedure involved using a cut down blower-vac to accelerate the incoming air while LPG in the engine is injected and ignited. Soon enough the engine began to whine and whistle like a turbo. Next the kerosene was injected into the second stage to create an afterburner effect.

Instantly the whole place smelt like an airport. The engine roared and sounded like a Boeing 747 was winding up to takeoff. The metal outlet was glowing red and apparently the operating temperatures were reaching 900C, though when stabilised were relatively cooler at 300C.

After two five minute sessions, the LPG cylinder was icing up and two gallons of kero had been consumed. From my limited knowledge, that’s a lot of fuel. Maybe not as much as a commercial jetliner, but certainly evidence of a powerful piece of homemade kit.

This thing was truly awesome! At its peak, flame was about 5 inches wide and 2 feet long. The roar was deafening. I can’t remember for sure but I think Johno said the turbo was doing and estimated 80,000 RPM (maybe even 800,000?). Having done his apprenticeship working on industrial turbines, I’ll have to take his word for it.

You know this guy don't you. There's one in every suburb. He wakes you up at 8 a.m. Sunday mornings with the racket inside his garage two streets over.

Monday, June 14, 2004

The Real and Enduring Legacy of Ronald Reagan. 

This last week, I've read many moving and enlightening tributes to the US President. With 20/20 hindsight many media pundits see the great positive effects that Ronald Reagan's tenure had upon the world. Using the same 20/20 hindsight I recall that during the 80's most of Reagan's media profile was negative. He was portrayed as a gaff-prone, illiterate B-grade actor - a dangerous cowboy playing brinksmanship with the USSR and the world.

For all of this last week's positive commentary there was something missing from our blog posts and the media tributes and it took me a while to figure out what it was.

I remembered what I had thought, when I was a lot younger and read the news about the Soviet Bloc slowly imploding and watched on TV as the Berlin wall came crumbling down.

Maybe the world might not end in a nuclear holocaust.

Until the Berlin Wall came down I had lived my whole life bombarded from books, teachers at school, TV series, and films, news and current affairs - all with a recurring message. The Earth and mankind were pretty much doomed.

Finding solutions for runaway pollution and the greenhouse effect, for overpopulation and the ozone hole was all well and good, but no matter what we did with those issues we would still have to face the fact that two "halves" of the world were poised "three minutes to midnight" on the brink of MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) and that eventually maybe even after a few centuries someone would miscalculate and the end would come via the nuclear winter.

Just check out a few old movies and you'll know I am right.

"What's the point?" was a frequent question in the minds of many thoughtful youngsters as they set out on life's journey through school, uni and work. Seductive messages from the 60's counter culture persisted into the early 80's to "Turn on, tune in and drop out". Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.

And then without "a shot being fired" came disarmament, the wall came down, the menacing clocks were wound back and the missiles were reprogrammed with Hope.

This is Ronald Regan's enduring legacy.

Despite the threat of Islamo-fascism and perhaps because of it there remains hope that the world's peoples can come together as one. Maybe not now but soon enough to avert catastrophe.

Equal Time for Political Broadcasts 

A two minute free plug for the policies of opposition political parties went to air on Channel 10 when the latest Big Brother evictee grabbed his big chance for enhanced social status and more media contracts.

With night-vision cameras filming him 24 hrs x 7 days where is he going to acquire enough free time unseen to acquire the sharp stanley knife and the right tape required and to then so exactly sculpt the letters in his message? It seems more likely that someone gave him the completed message and the tape for his mouth prior to walking onstage. The fabric for the message was cut from a bed sheet. Just check the bed linen on the sets - did Big Brother notice any big chunks missing from one of his white sheets?

Now that his message and the messages sent via celebrity award shows have been broadcast it seems only fair that equal time be allocated for someone to put alternative viewpoints.

During the commercial break Big Brother psychologist Carmel Hill and executive producer Kris Noble attempted to encourage Luck to set aside the protest but after the break Luck had left centre stage....

...After the show, Luck continued to be counselled by the program's psychologist.

Hope she makes some progress. Let's wish him well.

Powell Vows Respect for Latham? 

Mr Matt Price wrote an item for News Limited in which the headline reads: "Powell Vows Respect for Latham".

Mr Powell made no vow and especially not a vow of respect for Latham.

Read the item for yourself. Nowhere does Powell say that he "vows respect for Latham":

"We value the friendship that we enjoy with Australian leaders and the Australian people. But in valuing that relationship we also understand that the Australian people are a sovereign, proud people who will determine who their leader should be," Mr Powell said.

Update #1: Another News Limited headline reads: "White House Would Welcome Latham". Nowhere does the news item quote any American citizen saying that the "White House would welcome Latham". Mr Rudd the ALP Opposition party spokesman for foreign affairs says it but no one else except the Editor who wrote the headline does.

Update #2: The reality is that there is no one in the US administration current or future who supports Latham:

The campaign of the Democratic candidate for the US presidency, John Kerry, has for the first time rejected Mark Latham's plan to recall Australian troops from Iraq by Christmas, leaving the Labor leader without support for the policy in America's political mainstream.

James Rubin, a foreign policy adviser to Senator Kerry, told the Herald in Washington: "John Kerry has been very clear that regardless of what you think about how we got here, here we are. And failure is not an option in Iraq. And the prospect of success in Iraq will be improved by maintaining a substantial contribution from friends and allies, including Australia.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Fruit Loop Consults the Stars 

Margo Kingston consults the astrological charts for a Latham victory:

Venus crossing the sun last Tuesday - an event the world's people watched in awe and that no one has seen since 1882 - heralded the confirmation of Howard's and Latham's war plans, and boy oh boy did their visions of who we are and what we stand for clash. Peter Garrett and the Bush boys bounced off each other to define the election battleground. It's David v Goliath folks, and Latham must be praying we'll live up to our reputation for backing the underdog.

Abstract thinkers have taken to calling Europe Venus and the US Mars. Which planet - which view of maximising the chances of peace and happiness - will we Aussies choose to hang our hats on in 2004?

That would have to be Uranus, Margo.

p.s. What is Margo's obsession with Tampa? George Bush's remarks are Tampa all over again. The 'new Tampa' is the war on terror. A few weeks ago it was the gay marriage issue which was the 'new Tampa'. Tampa, Tampa Tampa2... sheesh.

OK, it's Howard and Bush v Latham at the federal election. Howard's 2004 replica of his fear-and-anxiety 2001 Tampa victory is "Vote for me or the Yanks will abandon us".

Update: THIS is why Margo is obsessed with Tampa.

When the SAS boarded the Tampa, my readership trebled overnight and contributors buried me in emails. It didn't let go even when the bombs hit America. In my many years covering politics, I've never seen a issue hit something so deep in the Australian psyche, or create such a need in people to get their views on the public record.

Hmmm, very revealing Margo.

ALP Attacks US Again 

Rather than repairing relations with the US administration the ALP's Far-Left federal president, Carmen Lawrence is exacerbating the ALPs problems.

The Labor Party's federal president, Carmen Lawrence, has accused the United States administration of trying to help Prime Minister John Howard win another term.

US President George W Bush and two senior officials have attacked Mark Latham's commitment to withdraw Australia's troops from Iraq by Christmas.

Ms Lawrence does not think the comments will harm Labor's electoral prospects.

But she says it does appear the comments were designed to help the Howard Government in the lead-up to this year's election.

"They're probably working to support Mr Howard, who has aligned his fortunes precisely with those of Mr Bush," Ms Lawrence told Channel Nine.

Get Out of the ALP... Branch President Barred. 

The ALP Branch executive who was dragged from his car after midnight and bashed with an iron bar claims that at an earlier rowdy branch meeting the wife of the Police Minister yelled, "I'll bomb your house, do you want your house bombed?"

"Get out of the ALP, you c---": these were the words Jeff O'Donnell heard as he was dragged from his car and bashed repeatedly with an iron bar...

...Four members of the Deer Park branch, including Mr O'Donnell, recently found shotgun cartridges with their names scrawled on them in their mailboxes...

In an unrelated event, in November last year the Police Minister's wife Ms Tonya Stevens was accused of punching a member at the same Labor Party Deer Park branch during a rowdy meeting concerned with branch stacking.

In another unrelated event, Ms Stevens (who happens to be an Australian Workers Union official) has again been accused of physical assault. This time she is accused of assaulting the director of a factory.

The wife of Victoria's Police Minister has been accused for the second time of assault - this time involving the owner of a factory where she was trying to conduct a safety inspection.

Australian Workers Union industrial officer Tonya Stevens, who is married to Andre Haermeyer, has been accused of assaulting Richard Rees, a director of water heating manufacturer AquaMax.

More Good News for Australia 

Unemployment has fallen to 5.5 percent - a twenty-three year low. The last time unemployment was this low people were still wearing flares.

Poll Reveals Uncertainty over Garrett 

SIXTY-ONE percent of people surveyed did not think that Mr Garrett's candidacy would be good for Labor. Almost twenty percent thought it would not be good.

Three-quarters of people did not think his candidacy would make it more likely that the ALP would win government. Fully thirteen percent thought it would make it less likely.

In the Newspoll, 39 per cent said Mr Garrett's candidacy would be good for Labor, compared with 19 per cent who disagreed.

Twenty-six per cent thought his impact would make it more likely for the ALP to win government, compared with 13 per cent who believed it would make it less likely.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

George Bush Snr Calls Michael Moore a "Slimeball" 

George Bush has been asked what he thinks of Michael Moore. And this is his reply.

[President number] "41" has heard enough about "Fahrenheit 9/11," Moore's documentary indictment of President Bush, to know "it's a vicious attack on our son.

"It's a free country, so he's free to say whatever he wants," the former Oval Officer went on. "But I don't appreciate it. I don't like it.

"[My son] served with honor, and to get knocked down by this guy, " he huffed. "But you got to put up with it. That's what I'd say to [my son]."

We asked what he thought of Moore's use of the comment Barbara Bush made at the start of the Iraq war: "Why should we hear about body bags, and deaths? ... Why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that? And watch [my son] suffer."

Said her furious husband: "For him to take on Barbara is just beyond the pale. She's a decent, wonderful person, and to have to answer anything about what that slimeball says is just too much."

Meanwhile, to defend his film against the critics Michael Moore has hired two of Bill Clinton's most feared spin doctors:

Mr Moore has set up a campaign-style "war room" to counter his critics, headed by two veterans of the Clinton-Gore years, Mark Fabiani and Chris Lehane. "We will allow no attack on this film to go without a response immediately," Mr Moore told yesterday's Los Angeles Times. "And we will go after anyone who slanders me or my work, and we will do it without mercy. And when you think 'without mercy', you think Chris Lehane."

With every new documentary or satirical book, Mr Moore has come to regard himself as a political figure of real influence, not just a film-maker.

And therein lies a danger. No one voted for him yet he wields power to influence the way many people will vote. Because he's outside the political process politicians can't tackle his propaganda directly for fear of cries of "censorship". The man is a menace as well as a slimeball.

Soldiers, Men, Kittens and Mice 

An inquiry has been launched into a Brisbane hotel after the Courier-Mail uncovered a hotel competition that dared contestants to eat live mice.

The Queensland pub bar staff have sparked a storm of protest from people all across Australia, with reports of some hoteliers and staff refusing to wear their uniforms in public because of abuse from locals. Melbourne and Perth patrons have reportedly shielded their faces as they walked into their local pubs because of the backlash which has inflamed public opinion internationally against all drinkers and hotel staff nationwide.

Patrons who spoke to The Courier-Mail on condition of anonymity said an uneasiness entered their dealings with locals following the release of disturbing pictures of bound Iraqi prisoners being tortured by US soldiers.

It was like a guilt by association but it was all right – but after the mouse attacks it really stepped up.

"I have heard about a barman being spat at and I have been heckled down at the shops, I feel disappointed and shamed because I am really proud to wear the tee-shirt but I hate going out in public in it at the moment," one barman in Tasmania said.

Another said: "People I think were generally appalled by the Iraq stuff – as I was – but because it was not (Australians) it was not that bad . . . (but) then this mouse stuff happened, it was like you were scum after that and anyone wearing a uniform killed (mice)."

Pubs first opened in Australia in 1777. With thousands of personnel and their families employed, the pubs spend many millions every year and food supply and maintenance companies have become rich on the contracts. Multi million dollar upgrades and extensions planned for many premises will go ahead this year all across the country.

Soldiers who spoke to The Courier-Mail on condition of anonymity said an uneasiness entered their dealings with locals following the release of disturbing pictures of bound Iraqi prisoners being tortured by US soldiers.

"It was like a guilt by association but it was all right – but after the kitten attack it really stepped up.

"I have heard about a soldier being spat at and I have been heckled down at the shops, I feel disappointed and shamed because I am really proud to wear the uniform but I hate going out in public in it at the moment," one soldier said.

Another said: "People I think were generally appalled by the Iraq stuff – as I was – but because it was not (Australians) it was not that bad . . . (but) then this kitten stuff happened, it was like you were scum after that and anyone wearing a uniform killed (cats)."

Lavarack opened in 1966. With 6000 regular defence personnel and their families now there, the army spends $700 million every year and food supply and maintenance companies have become rich on the contracts. A $243 million upgrade of the barracks and the RAAF base will go ahead this year.

Stacks on Peter Garrett ! 

Politicians on both sides shamelessly stack branches. Mr Peter Garrett is no exception.

Dr Denborough said: "I had the top spot and when Peter saw how much interest the Nuclear Disarmament Party was receiving and decided to run, he wanted to be number one so he stacked the branch with Socialist Workers Party Trotskyites and got what he wanted."

The Socialist Worker's Party.

In politics branch stacking is a sign of greatness. Paul Keating paid tribute to outgoing politician Leo Mcleay:

"Former prime minister Paul Keating described his mate Leo McLeay as "the archetypical inner-city hustler" who had the passion, connections and loyalty to make it. "People say Leo was good at stacking branches, but he wasn't as good as me," he said.

In preparation to parachute someone like Peter Garrett into the seat of Kingsford-Smith a massive branch stack has been underway there for over a year.

Paul McGeogh On Sale 

For just $13.95 you can read stuff like this:

The US is making enemies of the very people it needs to ensure peace in Iraq. Paul McGeough reports on how priceless contacts have been destroyed by friendly fire.

Hurry, while stocks last.

Friday, June 11, 2004

ALP Branch President Bashed With an Iron Bar 

On May 31st 2004, Victoria's Police Minister and his wife refused to attend their local Deer Park Branch Meeting because of threats and violence surrounding the branch.

On Monday 7th June, the Branch, of which the Police Minister and his wife are members, was suspended from the party.

Now news emerges that on Friday 4th June the Branch President Mr Jeff O'Donnell was dragged from his car and bashed by two men. Mr O'Donnell has since declined to speak to the media.

"As he opened his door he was then dragged out of the car by two males and assaulted," a police officer told the program.

"He was punched and kicked and there was an iron-type bar used."

Mr O'Donnell is the president of the Deer Park ALP branch which has been embroiled in a turf war between two warring factions.

Last month shotgun cartridges were found in the letterboxes of four ALP members, including Mr O'Donnell, who were all from the same faction and contesting an election of the branch executive.

They found the cartridges, with their names on them, on May 25.

As Peter Garret used to sing, "..it aches like tetanus and reeks of politics..."

For a full rundown on past shenanigans at the branch read this post.

Fair Go for David 

Why are Senator Bob Brown and others so very keen to have David Hicks released from custody in America and returned as soon as possible to walk free in Australia? What charges could be laid against David Hicks that could possibly warrant his detention?

The three charges Hicks faces are: conspiracy to commit war crimes; attempted murder by an unprivileged belligerent; and aiding the enemy.

He is alleged to have attended a number of al-Qaeda terrorist training courses at various camps in Afghanistan, including an advanced course on surveillance, in which he conducted surveillance of the US and British embassies in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Hicks is also accused of returning to Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to fight against Australian and coalition troops.

"It is also alleged that after viewing TV news coverage in Pakistan of the Sept 11, 2001, attacks against the United States, he returned to Afghanistan to rejoin his al-Qaeda associates to fight against US, British, Canadian, Australian, Afghan, and other coalition forces," according to a US Defence Department statement.

Meanwhile, if anyone has seen news items with pictures of politicians wearing the "Fair Go for David" lapel badges could you please email me a link.

$3000 for Self-Abuse 

$3000 of taxpayers hard-earned money was given to a complete fruitcake to make an "artwork" that is just a home movie of the artist's self mutilation.

A VICTORIAN cultural agency has given a woman $3000 to make a video in which she nails her tongue to a tree stump, sews her legs together and simulates strangulation.

...The Shadowers, by Sydney artist Monika Tichacek, was commissioned earlier this year by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, for its exhibition 2004: Australian Culture Now opening today in Melbourne in conjunction with the National Gallery of Victoria.

Without sparing the sensibilities of the viewer, The Shadowers features in colour scenes of self-mutilation, degradation and abuse.

"My body undergoes certain procedures that show conflict between the physical and the psychological," Tichacek said yesterday.

"It's definitely confronting, there's no doubt about that."

In 2001, the art world encouraged Ms Tichacek to think she was going alright by giving her $40,000 in a private grant for doing this.

The Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship is the most generous art prize for emerging artists in Australia today. Established in 1997, it replaces the prestigious NSW Travelling Art Scholarship which helped launch the careers of many notable Australian artists since its inauguration in 1900.

She's got a career as an artist all sewn up.


When Mark Latham went to ground recently, only issuing a press release, Mark's sock puppets published headlines and opinion pieces on his behalf saying, "Marky-warky Won't Budge" but now Mark Latham's budged 180 degrees and he now says the troops will NOT be home by Christmas under an ALP government.

A LABOR government would consider leaving troops in Iraq to protect diplomats, federal Opposition Leader Mark Latham said today.

Mr Latham has previously outlined a timetable for Australia's withdrawal from Iraq under a Labor government, saying he hopes to bring soldiers back by Christmas.

However Mr Latham today said Labor would take advice from Foreign Affairs Department security experts on what needed to be done to protect Australia's diplomats.

"Whether that means leaving troops there or some other arrangement, we'll take advice when we come into government," Mr Latham told Sydney radio 2UE.

"We're talking about the end of the year, not the middle of the year."

Asked if he would leave enough troops there to protect Australia's diplomats, he said: "Yes."

He's slow but the message sinks in eventually. Taking advice from his Departments, like Foreign Affairs and security experts, breaks new ground for Mark and is surely a change in thinking that is to be welcomed.

Garret Fans are Spinning Porkies 

Spinmeisters for Peter Garrett are making out that he was on a silent roll and that's the reason his NAME hasn't appeared for 10 years on the electoral roll. Reader John L Devlin in the Gnu Hunter comments for this post writes:

Trouble with telling porkies in the age of the Internet is that so much information is available at the click of a mouse button. Try for example this link to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 Section 104:


If Garrett wanted to qualify for a Silent Enrollment he or his agent would have had to supply a Stat Dec giving the reasons.

The DRO is obliged to reply yea or nay in writing.

Ahhh....such an interesting paper trail.

Course the main point is still that no matter what the circumstances if your name is not on the Electoral Roll....and a Silent Enrollment is but a sublist of that Roll which in any event only suppresses the address not the name....you CANNOT vote.

No exceptions. Ooops !!

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Willie Brigette's Aussie Wife - Gay and Jewish? 

You read some strange things in the newspapers and here's an example. The Herald Sun ran this piece in January this year when Melanie Brown, the wife of alleged Muslim terrorist Willie Brigitte, was arrested in France.

Ms Brown, a former Australian soldier and student at Danebank Anglican School in Hurstville, met Caribbean-born Willie Brigitte in the middle of last year.

Like her husband she had become a follower of Islam shortly before the marriage.

Previously she had been a member of a Jewish lesbian group, even participating in a float for the organisation in Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in 2002.

1979: Transition 

IowaHawk writes a moving tribute to Ronald Reagan.

Roll the calendar back to 1979:

I was 18 at the time, a staunch Democrat like Dad and Grampa, and I sincerely believed all of it. I was riveting livestock trailers together for $4.75 an hour; after taxes and Machinist Union dues, six hours' wages might fill the tank on my Nova SS. At the end of the week, maybe a dime bag or a Ramones LP. I was to begin college in 40 days; why, I wasn't quite sure. It seemed pointless to dwell on things four or five years out.

Today I am twenty five years closer to my death, and yet the future seems a thousand times bigger and grander and more glorious than it did to me in July 1979. And I credit a washed-up B movie actor who naively insisted, against all available data, that the future wasn't limited.

It took until 1984, but I eventually came to accept the simple lesson that Ronald Reagan knew all along: the future doesn't just happen. We can create it.


Garret's Life Threatened 

Advocates for Peter Garret, rock-star and spaz dancer, defending his voting record (or lack thereof) have stated that at sometime past he was on the "Silent Voter" roll and that somehow he slipped off it.

In order to convince the Australian Electoral Commission to put him on the "Silent Voter Roll" Garret MUST have proven to the AEC, all those years ago, that his life was in danger.

AEC Assistant Commissioner Brian Hallett says that only a few Australians are on the silent roll and that it's not designed to protect the privacy of celebrities.

BRIAN HALLETT: The Electoral Act does make provision for people who in broad terms fear that their life might be endangered if their public details were shown on the public roll, for those details to be suppressed.

So while I can't comment about Mr Garrett, there is provision for, you know, people to apply for silent enrolment.

CATHERINE MCGRATH: So would being a celebrity be enough reason to get a silent enrolment?

BRIAN HALLETT: Look, in broad terms, no. The way the Act is worded, the person applying for silent enrolment would have to convince the AEC that the publication of their details would endanger their life.

I mean, we need to remember here that the principle is that the electoral roll is a public document available for public inspection, and that's a sort of cornerstone of the democratic process, so there are actually very few people who actually take out silent enrolment.

CATHERINE MCGRATH: But what you're saying is being famous as Peter Garrett is, isn't necessarily enough reason to be approved to go on the silent enrolment?

BRIAN HALLETT: Well, I can't talk about Mr Garrett's particular case, but in broad terms, being a celebrity is… would not generally be considered a reason for silent enrolment. It's really to do with the person's life being in danger.

CATHERINE MCGRATH: Brian Hallett from the Australian Electoral Commission. Labor says it's still checking the status of Peter Garrett's original silent enrolment.

More Good News From Iraq (Part #3) 

In the third installment of his series, Chrenkoff posts more good news from Iraq.

The news from Mesopotamia hasn't been too bad lately, with the successful UN resolution, countdown to sovereignty, and the new Iraqi government generating a lot of good-will throughout the world. Still, the prisoner abuse, terrorism, kidnappings, and casualties otherwise continue to crowd out and overwhelm any of the good news

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Paul McGeogh - Master Strategist 

Paul McGeogh who believes that the mere presence of US bullies in the Middle East is inflammatory is today all in favor of sending thousands of the infidel American troops into the very heart of the Holy Land in Palestine.

It immediately conjured up images of the US military convoy in Baghdad and what a test it would be of Arab and Israeli good faith if just a fraction of the US-led forces in Iraq had been landed in Jordan and Egypt with orders to march into the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, where they would camp on the 1967 Green Line, to stop Israelis and Palestinians killing each other....

The Indyk plan seems to be the only real option. Its execution does not require a dramatic Iraq-style invasion. But having that option on the table would be a good test of how genuine either side is in the search for peace...

...The US-led coalition has 138,000 troops in Iraq where they face a cruel insurgency. Indyk estimates that a force of perhaps 10,000 could do the job in the Occupied Territories. It seems like a small investment for an outcome that would likely transform the region. The question is does George Bush have the courage?

Has he forgotten what he wrote about "Western Vice - Iraq's New Threat"

Iraq's brutal dictatorship has been replaced by a crime wave. Now sex and drugs are freely available on the street, writes Paul McGeough in Baghdad.

This bold plan of course would be welcomed by everyone.

And if and when a fight started with jihadis flooding into the territory, Paul would set himself up in a nice hotel safe in Tel Aviv reporting for the Sydney Morning Herald. I don't think his news reports would be good, do you?

In the face of stiff resistance and severe front-line problems - security and logistic - US commanders have now decided on a pause of up to six days in their advance on Baghdad.

Over to You Niner Charlie 

Niner Charlie has three good posts well worth reading. On topics: Peter Garret; Malcolm Fraser; and Ronald Reagan.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Guantanimo Bay Aussie Assaulted ? 

Mamdouh Habib, camp X-ray detainee, was allegedly assaulted!

Bob Brown's Greens, the Democrats, the Labor Party and just about everyone except John Howard and George Bush want Mamdouh Habib released from Guantanimo Bay prison so he can return to Australia and get to work again with his old sparring partners from Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah. Success will be seen as a victory for the opposition parties and not as a threat to Australian security.

Mamdouh Habib, one of two Australians arrested on suspicion of terrorist links and held at Cuba's Guantanamo Bay, brought charges against Mr [Bilal] Khazal in November 2001, alleging he had beaten and threatened him in the main street of Lakemba. Mr Khazal denies ever attacking Mr Habib and in February 2002, with Mr Habib detained in Cuba, police withdrew the charges.

Mr Bilal Khazal's lucky streak with the law has recently continued when he was released on bail after being arrested on terrorist charges.

Mr Mamdouh Habib is alleged in news reports to be a sparring partner of Bilal Khazal and allegedly involved in raising finances and other activities for Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah run by colorful Melbourne identity Sheikh Mohammed Omran who's organisation's prayer hall in Lakemba has been home to several colorful Sydney identities who came to the notice of authorities in regard to alleged terrorism offenses.

The Gnu Hunter has been unable to get a response from Senator Bob Brown who has not yet contacted this blog to explain how much he knew of the assault allegations that were brought by Mr Mamdouh Habib against Mr Khazal. The alleged assault and close contact between Mr Habib and Mr Khazal was public knowledge as early as 2001 and yet in October 2003 Mr Brown invited two relatives of the Camp X-Ray detainee into the parliament to enhance his public profile and to enliven his shameful and dangerous "protest" in the parliament against George Bush - for detaining Mr Habib.

Bob Brown manipulated the parliament on this issue. When he was asked to leave by the Sergeant at Arms he disobeyed the will of the parliament and refused, so that for the first time in our history force was almost used inside the parliament against a member of the parliament. A dangerous precedent was averted when the Sergeant used his discretion and let Brown stay. All of this just for Brown to use Habib as publicity for himself and his political party. Shameful.

A European Roundup 

This item from Chrenkoff deserves a link if only as a tribute to the sheer effort that went into composing it. The man is a machine.

I like Europe, and things I like usually also make me laugh. Besides, aren't we supposed to hate the sin, and not the sinner? So let's check out what's been happening lately in the Old World.

How to Use Headlines for Spin - the SMH Guidebook Example #156 

A man in a wheelchair who was killed by a stray bullet while sitting in a cafe was gunned down according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The headline reads "Israeli troops gun down paralysed man". The accident becomes a murder - all through the words of a headline.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Quotes For the Future 

Gnu Hunter note to self: Some quotes that will come in handy. Drag these out a year or two from now when they could be very interesting and amusing...

Mark Latham making love to Mr Peter Garret - before Garret has joined ANY party.

"It would be a great honour for the Labor Party to have him among our ranks," Mr Latham said, adding the party needed idealistic high-profile members like Mr Garrett in Canberra.

Mr Garrett has not yet announced which party he will join, either Labor, Greens or Democrat.

"I think he would be a great asset to the parliament, a great asset to our national politics."

To parachute Garret into the seat of Kingsford-Smith will require breaking Labor Party rules, because candidates must be Labor party members of long standing.

The CFMEU union is not impressed and the local branch members are livid. A branch stack has been underway for about a year.

"There will be blood on the walls over this."

If the NSW or federal executive tried to parachute Mr Garrett in, only one thing would happen. The parachute won't open."

"It's all about the Oils"

Update: Here's an unrelated but highly memorable quote for use a bit later:

"Former prime minister Paul Keating described his mate Leo McLeay as "the archetypical inner-city hustler" who had the passion, connections and loyalty to make it. "People say Leo was good at stacking branches, but he wasn't as good as me," he said.

 More posts by the Gnu Hunter:
 September 2003
 October 2003
 November 2003
 December 2003
 January 2004
 February 2004
 March 2004
 April 2004
 May 2004
 June 2004
 July 2004
 August 2004
 September 2004
 October 2004

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