Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Greens' Brave New World 

In school my horrid teachers made me read Aldous Huxley's "A Brave New World". I am so glad they did.

At the time, despite the reality of Communism, it was fashionable to describe threats to democracy as coming from the Right, but as time has gone by the reality has sunk in, that the threat is actually still on the Left.

Huxley's brave new world was a scary distopia where modern trends we can all recognise have been taken to their extreme:

Love and marriage are forbidden. Promiscuous sex, only for pleasure is the norm.

Babies all genetically modified and decanted from bottles, not born.

Mistakes are discarded.

Babies are engineered into Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc. capability and indoctrinated from birth to be happy with their role in life and the policies set by their leaders.

The Alphas are, of course, the intelligentsia.

No voting is necessary.

Everyone is wealthy, or are at least very comfortable.

People are in perfect balance with the environment. The authorities are in complete control.

Ten intelligentsia control the world and decide what's best for everyone.

And just in case, to ensure that everyone is happy all of the time, there are drugs.

The drugs (called Soma) are supplied to everyone by the government.

This is the very vision of the distopian world of the Australian Greens.

Oh, what a brave new world! and such people in it.

The infants were unloaded.

"Now turn them so that they can see the flowers and books."

Turned, the babies at once fell silent, then began to crawl towards those clusters of sleek colours, those shapes so gay and brilliant on the white pages. As they approached, the sun came out of a momentary eclipse behind a cloud. The roses flamed up as though with a sudden passion from within; a new and profound sigruficance seemed to suffuse the shining pages of the books. From the ranks of the crawling babies came little squeals of excitement, gurgles and twitterings of pleasure.

The Director rubbed his hands. "Excellent!" he said. "It might almost have been done on purpose."

The swiftest crawlers were already at their goal. Small hands reached out uncertainly, touched, grasped, unpetaling the transfigured roses, crumpling the illuminated pages of the books. The Director waited until all were happily busy. Then, "Watch carefully," he said. And, lifting his hand, he gave the signal.

The Head Nurse, who was standing by a switchboard at the other end of the room, pressed down a little lever.

There was a violent explosion. Shriller and ever shriller, a siren shrieked. Alarm bells maddeningly sounded.

The children started, screamed; their faces were distorted with terror.

"And now," the Director shouted (for the noise was deafening), "now we proceed to rub in the lesson with a mild electric shock."

He waved his hand again, and the Head Nurse pressed a second lever. The screaming of the babies suddenly changed its tone. There was something desperate, almost insane, about the sharp spasmodic yelps to which they now gave utterance. Their little bodies twitched and stiffened; their limbs moved jerkily as if to the tug of unseen wires.

"We can electrify that whole strip of floor," bawled the Director in explanation. "But that's enough," he signalled to the nurse.

The explosions ceased, the bells stopped ringing, the shriek of the siren died down from tone to tone into silence. The stiffly twitching bodies relaxed, and what had become the sob and yelp of infant maniacs broadened out once more into a normal howl of ordinary terror.

"Offer them the flowers and the books again."

The nurses obeyed; but at the approach of the roses, at the mere sight of those gaily-coloured images of pussy and cock-a-doodle-doo and baa-baa black sheep, the infants shrank away in horror, the volume of their howling suddenly increased.

"Observe," said the Director triumphantly, "observe."

Books and loud noises, fiowers and electric shocks�already in the infant mind these couples were compromisingly linked; and after two hundred repetitions of the same or a similar lesson would be wedded indissolubly. What man has joined, nature is powerless to put asunder.

"They'll grow up with what the psychologists used to call an 'instinctive' hatred of books and flowers. Reflexes unalterably conditioned. They'll be safe from books and botany all their lives." The Director turned to his nurses. "Take them away again."

Still yelling, the khaki babies were loaded on to their dumb-waiters and wheeled out, leaving behind them the smell of sour milk and a most welcome silence.

One of the students held up his hand; and though he could see quite well why you couldn't have lower-cast people wasting the Community's time over books, and that there was always the risk of their reading something which might undesirably decondition one of their reflexes, yet � well, he couldn't understand about the flowers. Why go to the trouble of making it psychologically impossible for Deltas to like flowers?

Patiently Senator Bob Brown explained...

If you've never read the book, or seen the movie, I highly recommend both.

The Blasphemer 

Does this sort of thing make you tired.

The introduction to the linked story claims:

"PRIME Minister John Howard is facing uproar after one of his MPs compared asylum-seekers to cats and dogs trying to enter Australia.

But reading the quotation in the very same story the woman did not say what they are claiming.

I heard the news story covered on the radio this evening, saying that she had "likened refugees to cats and dogs".

An idiot that would start a sentence in the way she did, in front of a hostile crowd, does not appear suitable for a seat in politics, but in her defence she appears not to have said anything like what the media and her political enemies (same thing really) are claiming she said.

Ms Worth said during a public meeting in Adelaide there were "some very practical reasons" for the detention policy.

"I mean, if you bring a dog into this country or a cat from some countries ...," she continued before shouts and jeers from the audience drowned out her comparison with Australia's tough quarantine rules for animals.

"Look, can you just hear me out, please," she said. "There are certain tests to be carried out, there are health checks...," she added before again being shouted down.

And that was all she needed to say. You can imagine the roars of the partisan crowd, rending their clothes and pouring ash in their hair, pointing and crying blasphemer!

Let me finish the sentence she never got a chance to speak, "I mean, if you bring a dog into this country or a cat from some countries they have to be quarantined and given medical checks, why not humans who pose a potentially more serious health risk," she could have said.

Sounds like a reasonable argument. Certainly not demeaning, racist or in any way stigmatising of the poor old refugees.

Effective quarantine is one of the major reason for having strong borders.

No one honestly believes that she was likening them to animals or that she was suggesting that they be treated like such.

Not her enemies, not the media, not anyone. They are all just role playing.

She tripped upon sophistry.

She displayed her unsophistication in public and like unto the Greek debates of old this was her greatest sin.

Her naivete was apparent for everyone to see. She did not know how to play their game, so according to their rules they roared and shouted her down before she could finish.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Election Roundup 

Labor is calling for a new Senate enquiry even as word starts to filter through the media cone of silence about the findings of the last Senate enquiry. The enquiry found that at least one kid WAS thrown in the water and two women actually drowned the day before the last election when fellow asylum seekers set fire to their boat in a bid to force the navy to rescue them and take them to Australia.

Peter Costello has warned of a terror attack designed to influence the election (as happened in Spain) while Mark Latham's announcement made us a target by restating that if he is elected the troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by Christmas.

There seems to be consensus that debate about the US alliance will be a prominent feature of the election.

Mark Latham was accused of lying over claims the ALP was not planning any new payroll tax. John Howard educated Mark about the ALP's actual policy which is a plan to fund its 100 per cent employee entitlements policy with a 0.1 per cent payroll levy. When confronted with this news he said it was a levy and not a tax. When asked what the difference was he could not say. The SMH website helps out with dictionary definitions proving that a levy is a tax.

The stock market fell after fears arose of a possible ALP victory and higher interest rates.

John Howard has warned home owners who have borrowed heavily of the risks posed by high interest rates.

The Greens have emerged as the new third force in Australian politics with possibly 11% of the national vote, while the Democrats are facing oblivion with possibly no senators being elected.

The Greens and the ALP are making an "unprecedented" move to have the Senate sit while the election campaign is underway. Since the ALP and the minor parties have total dominance of the Senate they can abuse the parliamentary process and have the Senate vote in favor of any motion they think will help them during the election. Almost daring them to raise the "Children Overboard" affair the PM has asked the Governor General not to dissolve the Senate until the opposition have voted to begin the new enquiry.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Gnu Opinion Poll 

I've put up a gnu opinion poll on the left of screen.

I reckon Mark Latham will screw up badly in the last week of the poll, just because he likes living on the edge. It's his comfort zone.

Please exercise your democratic right and vote.

p.s. Have you checked that you are correctly enrolled to vote?

The ALP Have Won 

The Labor Party have won the election. I can tell by reading the headlines on the Sydney Morning Herald website.

The Fairfax Party are in full campaign mode and the Labor Party is too, although the Fairfax campaign is probably more effective.

As at 4:32 pm Sunday this is a complete list of the SMH banner headlines:

"Bring it On, says Latham"
"Nation Needs New Leadership, says Latham"
"Howard in Losing Mode: Brown"
"Labor win could see boost in women MPs"
"How angry voters forced the PM's hand"
"PM: I'll stay as long as the voters want me"
"Howard's vulnerable whatever the timing"
"Howard: Election to be about trust"

This is what the political editor thinks voters need to see.

The election's sewn up for the ALP and Fairfax unless the voters can somehow get different messages to the ones they're getting through the Fairfax media.

Should I or Shoudn't I ?? 

I may have been kidding myself thinking that the Great Fairfax Wall of Registration would not impact my blogging and that I could source enough links from elsewhere and bypass the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age.

Linking only to News Limited and the ABC does limit (by about half) what I can offer you dear reader, in the way of Aussie content.

Questions are: Are you all (both of you) registered? Should I register too? Do you want news links to the Age and SMH?

Does the SMH fulfill a need in our lives to be offended and scandalised ?

These are weighty matters dear reader and your feedback is earnestly and sincerely sought.

The Greens & Democrats 

Senator Meg Lees who fled the Australian Democrats, after being rolled from the leadership, has pleaded with the voters:

"If the balance of power is occupied by a party or person who is not willing to work constructively then the parliament as a whole will stop working," she said in a statement.

"Australia will suffer as a result."

Senator Lees said no matter who was in government, all legislation still had to go through the Senate where neither the government nor opposition held a majority.

She said voters could ensure more scrutiny of the government by giving their Senate vote to minor parties or independents.

"However, it is not the role of minor parties or independents to block legislation and hold parliament to ransom," she said.

"There is room in the Senate for many opinions but we must be willing to work together to get results for the country. We are not there to play party games."

Senator Lees former party the Democrats is tipped to get just 1% of the vote in the next election. The big concern is the Greens who are tipped to get up to 11% of the vote.

The Greens have never voted in favor of a single government bill, ever**.

Update: This was true circa March of this year. Does anyone know any different? Have they voted to pass any legistlation?

Update2: The Liberals need only win 3 extra seats in the Senate to control both Houses. Here's hoping. No, let's not just hope. Get out there and campaign you slackers!

Hi, Big Bunny! 

A big hello to the Blithering Bunny a.k.a. Dr Scott Campbell, Aussie expat and interesting young fellow doing something or other with something at the University of Nottingham.

The Blithering Bunny is otherwise known as Scott Campbell. (Actually, that's horseshit, he's not 'otherwise known as' because no-one calls him 'The Blithering Bunny' to start with - it's just one of those stupid web names that people call themselves so they stand out on Google).

The Blithering Bunny's website contains much that is good. He should be given other titles, for example: the Aussie Deputy Sheriff of Nottingham or Doc Big Bunny.

Anyhoo, he's a good read is our expat Blithering Bunny.

Art? Rubbish! 

Impressive. An ordinary woman, a cleaner, made a spot judgement about the value of a piece of art fawned over by the elite. She threw it out.

The authorities were not happy:

A BAG of rubbish was thrown away at London's Tate gallery after a cleaner assumed it was just that - a bag of rubbish.

But organisers of the Art and the Sixties exhibition confirmed yesterday that the bin-liner filled with newspaper, cardboard and other bits of discarded paper was actually a work of art by the German-born artist Gustav Metzger.

They conceded the contents were not in any way manipulated together other than being in the bag.

A Tate insider said: "A cleaner doing her rounds saw the bag of rubbish on the floor and threw it out with the rest of the trash. It wasn't roped off. How was she to know what it was supposed to be?...

...Asked how the Tate would ensure that no one else confuses a work of art with rubbish, the spokesman said: "We have briefed all staff about this. It's now covered over at night so it can't be removed."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the only way you can tell.

French Outclever Terrorist Kidnappers. 

The French Interior Ministry today announced, "We are more than ever mobilised" and made sabre rattling noises that everybody knows mean exactly nothing.

Those kidnappers can keep their hostages and do whatever they like to them with impunity. Apart from surrendering the French can and will do precisely nothing to prevent this happening now and again in the future.

"I unclog my nose at you 'so called terrorist things'. American silly knees-bent, running around, advancing behaviour will not outclever us. We are more than ever mobilised to defeat scarf-wearing threatening behaviours."

More than ever the services of the French embassy in Baghdad, like the French authorities, are mobilised.

"Once again we call for the liberation of the two French journalists."

The liberation of the French will occur not through their own honourable efforts, but as in the past, will occur only with the help of the the USA and Britain.

Eschewing unilateralism the French will depend upon the United Nations, a step that will not impact, one way or the other, on whether the two hostages have their heads hacked from their bodies.

Demonstrating that the kidnappings have had an immediate effect on French democracy the French have called for immediate meetings with the CFCM, an umbrella body for the Muslim faith in France, to discuss the hostage taking.

Apart from large sacks of cash, this is actually the only way that the French can get their hostages released unharmed. Large sacks of cash may still be involved.

No doubt, the CFCM will be laying down the law to the elected authorities telling them precisely what they must do in order for the hostages to be released.

A bit of give and take, a deal here and there, and Heh, Presto! those two will be released next week.

Or if you're French:

I used Google to translate the above text into French and then translated it back to English and this is what I got:

The French interior ministry now announced, "we than ever are more mobilized" and the noises of made rattlings of sabre that we all know the means nothing.

These kidnappers can keep their hostages and do that which they like with them with impunity. The French can and will not do with precision anything to prevent this which occurs from time to time in the future.

"unclog of I my nose to you ' alleged things of terrorist '. American idiot knee- yielded, current around, advancing the behavior not outclever us. We more than are ever mobilized to demolish threatening behaviors deport."... etc..

No Democracy Until the ALP is Elected 

Is it any wonder that a full 50% of our children have the absurd idea that Australia is not a democracy? That we are no better than China, Sudan, Iran or Saudi Arabia?

Apart from the very obvious sources, the TV and their school teachers, where else do kids get these ideas from?

From a continuous bombardment of snide, careless and dangerous cynicism.

Mark Latham speaking:

"I would have thought the only way the Parliament could be cancelled at this late stage is dissolving it if the prime minister goes to see the governor-general today," he said on Channel 10. "In a representative democracy the Parliament should sit until it is dissolved and it is scheduled to sit from Monday to Thursday this week."

The kids get it over and over from their teachers, their TV shows, journalists and community leaders who should know better but who apparently don't.

John Howard is operating within the parameters of our Constitution, but the message from Mark is that our democracy will only be a representative democracy if Latham and the Labor Party have their way, and by some miracle, get elected.

Kidnappers Target French Scarf Ban 

Has France's stalwart campaign against American adventurism in the Middle East helped it avoid being targetted by muslim extremists?

The answer appears to be 'Non'.

Kidnappings of journalists and other foreigners have become common in Iraq as insurgents attempt to force countries to withdraw their troops from the war-ravaged country or extort money.

However, both Mr Chesnot and Mr Malbrunot's employers and Sunni Muslim scholars had earlier expressed faith that if they had been kidnapped they would be safe because France had opposed the US-led war against Iraq.

Getting Paid to Vent 

Kerry Anne Walsh gets to tell us her world view and her opinion of John Winston Howard - and gets paid for it. It's like making a quid from a bad personal blog that's published to thousands.

There's no news in Kerry's piece, there's not even an opinion really.

The media have created the "phoney election" and now they are creating "the voter resentment" to it.

"How Angry Voters Forced the PMs Hand"

Gotta keep selling them ads.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Najaf Quagmire Hope Is Sinking 

The hopes of the Left, for a quagmire and defeat in Iraq, took a severe but only quietly reported turn for the worse this week when Moqtada Sadr, down to his last few cannon fodder, was pushed out of the Imam Ali Shrine by a rival Shiite leader acting with the backing of the US military.

In what looks like a carefully crafted plan, for weeks the US forces surrounding Moqtada Sadr drew the noose ever tighter, pounding carefully selected targets from AC-130 gunships in the air and from tanks and units on the ground. The leader of Iraq's most influential Shiite group Grand Ayatollah Ali Husseini al-Sistani was quick to leave the country. This was so he could not be called upon for assistance when the final US push began. He remained in Britain "for medical treatment" until the US tanks were parked less than 100 metres away in the streets ringing the mosque and then when Sadr made a show of handing over the keys of the mosque but staying put with his gunmen the Grand Ayatollah shows up leading a march of thousands of "pilgrims" all armed to the teeth.

The news of what was happening was always there for you to read but the opinion pieces and the spin in the news has to be read to be believed.

Read this article entitled "Troops caught in Najaf quagmire" and tell me if it does not reflect the media's coverage of Iraq generally.

WHEN US forces pushed through southern Iraq last year, Najaf was just another spot on the map to Baghdad.

But during the past two weeks of fighting in Najaf, the dusty holy city proved to be a glaring example of the limits of US military might in post-sovereignty Iraq...

...With every photograph and television shot of a Mehdi fighter daring to fight the US military, Sadr's support seemed to grow among Iraq's majority Shi'ite population, once counted on to be the backbone of post-war US policy in Iraq.

Throughout it all, US forces have been hamstrung. In the pauses between battle, Sadr played a game of military inches. Despite the overwhelming US firepower on the ground in Najaf, he looks to have gained ground.

Before handing over control of the mosque the holy man had just enought time to settle some accounts.

At least 25 charred and bloated bodies could be seen lying in the courtyard of a religious court set up by Sadr in Najaf.

The bodies were carried up to the courtyard by police and Iraqi national guardsmen after being discovered in the basement of the building in Najaf's Old City, near the Imam Ali shrine.

"We entered the building which was being used as Moqtada Sadr's court and we discovered in the basement a large number of bodies of police and ordinary civilians," said the deputy head of the Najaf police, General Amer Hamza al-Daami. "Some were executed, others were mutilated and others were burned."

Judge This For Yourself 

Judge Justice Gray like everyone it seems has his own unique view of what constitutes misbehaviour.

He said, "There is no universal meaning of the word misbehaviour" and so saying he declared that the government had no right to suspend poor old Geoff Clark.

The government suspended Clark when he was convicted of the lesser charge of obstructing police after wild melees at two Victorian pubs during which police were forced to subdue him with Capsicum spray.

Now via Al Bundy comes the news that the good judge has a different perspective than the one I have on the meaning of the word 'impartial'.

"...Aboriginal land Commissioner for the Northern Territory and Deputy President of the native Title Tribunal...

...Victorian AIJA Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Committee..."

Go read Al Bundy's view.

SMH Promotes Leftist Blogs 

Via Tim Blair comes the news that Robert Corr has discovered the SMH website is hosting secret blogs, but only blogs that support the Leftist agenda of its online political editor.

The Fairfax online empire is retreating behind its wall of Registration so you can't link or read the news on its website without Registering.

No registration is required to read the SMH's officially sanctioned blogs.

The blog may contain all the drivel in the world but the SMH website imparts to it the gravitas of a major daily news outlet.

Institutions Undermined 

Having worked so hard, all these years, to undermine them Philip Adams laments a perceived lack of credibility in our institutions.

We live in a world of suspicions and conspiracy theories, of spin doctoring and manipulation. And it extends to almost every aspect of society. Scientists are suspect, seen as mercenaries for the corporations, accused of Frankensteinian experiments on everything from human life to food. And once-admired universities are seen as little more than shopping malls for degrees, and dens of plagiarism.

Funding for Belmore Mosque Stopped ? 

Very, very Islamic clerics Sheikh Mohammed Omran and Sheikh Abdul Salam Mohammed Zoud leaders of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah group will be disappointed that the Australian government has intervened with the Saudi Arabian government to block the official transfer of $2.7 million. It was claimed that the money was to be used for the purchase of an unoccupied Belmore mosque.

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

Saudi Arabians had donated almost $2.65 million allegedly for the purpose of buying the mosque.

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.

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; Mamdouh Habib, on trial in Guantanimo Bay; and Izhar Ul Haque, they are all associated with the Sheikh's prayer hall.


The power of the human mind to hold two totally contradictory beliefs in one's mind while simultaneously believing whole heartedly in both of them is a feature not just of the Greens Party but of all people in general.

Take for instance the reporters covering the "Children Overboard Affair" or the refugees who collectively sunk their own boat in the open sea throwing themselves and their children into the water.

Is it not a thing of wonder to witness reporters and politicians getting so heat up about SIEV 10 (2001). The question of whether parents threw their children overboard or whether they sunk their whole damn boat putting everyone overboard is amazing. The fact that documented proof exists that, if not on this particular occasion then on one other occasion, a child was physically thrown overboard seems not to matter one whit. Other documented cases of child abuse also do not seem to matter.

AN Iraqi mother who almost drowned during the children overboard incident has given a harrowing account of the high seas sinking and rescue.

Sabriyah Al Raheemy told yesterday how she prepared herself to die, believing her two children were already lost in the near-tragedy off Christmas Island.

Around her, the rickety refugee boat was disintegrating and Mrs Al Raheemy was one of 223 passengers and crew scrambling to make it to Australian Navy rescuers.

"I knew life was not useful for me because I thought my children had died," Mrs Al Raheemy said.

But subsequent joy at being reunited with her terrified son and daughter turned to disbelief weeks later when Mrs Al Raheemy found out Australian voters had been told the asylum seekers deliberately threw their children into the sea.

So they make a decision to sink their boat in the open sea resulting in a situation where they believe their children had died and they are subsequently disbelieving that Australians think they put their own kids into the sea?

Friday, August 27, 2004

Not Welcome in the Land of Horror 

Mr Aljanabi is not happy that New Zealand taxpayers are paying him around $64 a day to sit around and do nothing. Also courtesy of the Kiwi taxpayer his kids are getting the best: education, language tuition and health care.

All those years training as an 'engineer' have paid off. He's done his sums:

"I could get some job as a storeman for $NZ9 or $NZ10 ($8.30-$9.20) an hour, but I have done my adding and subtracting and it turns out that I would actually get less money than if I continue to take the (welfare) benefit," he said.

In Iraq Mr Aljanabi could look forward to earning $4 per day.

It's far better to sit around and do nothing in New Zealand.

Volunteer and government support services were "excellent" but unemployment was psychologically crippling for refugees, said former Afghan foreign minister Najibullah Lafraie, a refugee who fled Afghanistan after his government was overthrown by the Taliban in 1996.

While Dr Lafraie found work as a politics lecturer at Otago University, he said wages were too low to encourage most refugees to leave welfare.

"That is an extremely difficult situation. The refugee might be all right financially on welfare, but psychologically it is very, very damaging for his own self-esteem and for his relations with his family."

In Iraq the unemployment rate was around 60 percent, prior to the war, and currently it is around 25 percent.

With high salaries, heaps of jobs and hot and cold running welfare cheques in a safe ordered society like New Zealand what's a guy to do except sit around and bitch and moan?

British Bulldog Triumphs 

Showing all the dogged determination, so characteristic of his bulldog British ancestors, Geoff Clark has triumphed over the forces of darkness.

Aboriginal leader Geoff Clark has won an appeal against his suspension as chairman of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC).

Former Indigenous affairs minister Philip Ruddock suspended Mr Clark as ATSIC leader last year.

The organisation was disbanded earlier this year.

Senator Amanda Vanstone, who took over from Mr Ruddock, upheld the suspension.

She believed Mr Clark's involvement in a pub brawl, and subsequent conviction, constituted misbehaviour under the ATSIC Act.

But in the Federal Court, Justice Gray ruled the Minister had applied a broader use of the term "misbehaviour" than the offence referred to under the Act.

No doubt Mr Clarke will be seeking redress and compensation for his wrongful suspension.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Modest Income Narrowly Averted 

Whew, that's a relief. Tasmania's Butler will get his steaming pile of $650,000 after all.

"Given the full vindication of the auditor-general on all issues related to the ex-gratia payment to Mr Butler, the way is now clear to authorise payment to Mr Butler after I receive final advice on all outstanding matters related to private expenditure during his term of office," he said.

To offset public disquiet about the payout, the State Government also introduced a Bill detailing the new pay arrangements for Mr Butler's yet-to-be-named successor.

Mr Lennon said the legislative amendment would save Tasmanian taxpayers more than $100,000 each year.

The changes will see the vice-regal representative's pay reduced from $370,368 to $264,549, the same level as a Supreme Court judge.

Hoorah, savings!

I wonder if Tasmania's Rescue services can now be restored?

Git Away! 

Our Aussie heeler Andrew Bolt gits away behind those artistic sheep, shooing them out from the Government Grants trough, out into the working paddock.

It seems our writers are in fact more vulnerable to herd-like conformity. Listen! They moo in unison. Baa in chorus.

No matter how divisive an issue is for the rest of us - war, republic, boat people, the Greens, refugees - you can bet most Australian writers will not deviate a comma from the party line. It's so predictable it's tragic.

The result is not just timidity where there should be daring, following where there should be leading, and platitudes where there should be insights.

We readers are also bored when we should be challenged. And there is no bigger subject for this week's Melbourne Writers Festival: Just why do so many writers baa together like sheep?

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

A Real Conspiracy 

I am speechless. I am without speech.

What is a Personal Video Recorder?

Personal Video Recorders have been on sale in the USA for FOUR years.

Like me you may not have known what one is because we are not permitted to buy one in Australia.

Like me you may have heard passing references in US TV shows about the TiVo, as in "I can't live without my TiVo".

A Personal Video Recorder is like your VCR but it uses a fast hard disk (instead of slow streaming tape) to store HUGE amounts of high quality video. It also uses codes to identify the start and end times for TV programs so you can record say all episodes of Four Corners (Sienfeld or whatever) - every program for a season.

At any time you can conveniently view any of the episodes you've recorded, even while new episodes of other shows are recording.


For a current TV program live on a free-to-air TV channel, if the phone rings you can pause the PVR come back and resume viewing EXACTLY where you left off. The machine records what you're missing, and when you come back plays back from the recording while at the same time continuing to record the real-time feed from the free to air TV channel. Wow.

A TiVo is a low cost (US$99) and very popular PVR. Hugely popular in the USA. Has been for ages.

And why can't you get one of these in Australia? Here is the answer.

Answer: PVRs have been kept out of Australia by a TV network conspiracy. That's because they allow advertisements to be easily skipped, either when you are recording or playing back.

They also improve the efficiency of recording TV in general by using electronic program guides (EPGs) to help pre-set the recorder weeks ahead, but the main thing is ad-skipping. "Ad-free TV" is the promise.

In the US, TV networks were unable to prevent PVRs. A device called TiVo has become a cult product and is selling well for $US99.99 ($139).

In Australia the networks have blocked them. TiVo has tried to get into the Australian market but failed. Go to the local Harvey Norman or JB Hi-Fi store and you won't find a PVR.

Forget "Children Overboard" this is the real scandal of the last four years.

I want my TiVO.

I am speechless. I am without speech.

Bring on the Free Trade Agreement.

Protection for "Local Content" be damned. More like protection for local commercial TV stations.

Let's re-examine some of those recent calls for protection of "local content".


Vanity of vanities, All is vanity.

What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains for ever.

The sun rises and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south, and goes round to the north; round and round goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.

All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there a thing of which it is said, "See, this is new"? It has been already, in the ages before us.

There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to happen among those who come after.

A message from a man now dust who lived 3,000 years ago.

3,000 years in the future, will there be sand where you're sitting now?

What did you do with your time?

Queen and Bohemian Rhapsody a Hit in Iran 

The very gay rock band Queen is the first rock band to be given the official seal of approval in Iran with the release of an album of their greatest hits.

Front man and gay icon Freddie Mercury died of AIDs in 1991.

He was proud of his Iranian ancestry and supposed Zoroastrian origins, which made Queen one of the most popular bands in Iran.

The following quote explains quite a bit about the mysterious lyrics of the Bohemian Rhapsody:

The cassette, costing less than US$1 dollar, comes complete with explanatory leaflet, which tells rock fans that Bohemian Rhapsody is about a young man who has accidentally killed someone and, like Faust, sold his soul to the devil. On the night before his execution he calls God in Arabic, Bismillah, and so regains his soul from Satan.

Easy come easy go-,will you let me go- Bismillah! No!.....

Other western acts to have had albums of selected songs released on the official Iranian market are Elton John, Julio Iglesias and Gypsy Kings.

A Tissue of Lies 

You will have heard lots in the media about the ALP's "Truth Overboard" document in which they claim 27 "lies" alleged of John Howard.

The ALP's document is itself a tissue of half truths and lies.

You can read the PM's 27 point rebuttal here.

Kevin Rudd, the ALP's shadowy spokesman for Foreign Affairs has been caught out:

Kevin Rudd said on 15 October 2002 “Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. That is a matter of empirical fact. If you don’t believe the intelligence assessments, you simply read the most recent bulletin from the Federation of American Scientists, which lists Iraq among a number of States in possession of chemical, biological weapons and with a capacity to develop a nuclear program.”

Who'da thunk it? Said Rudd: "Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. That is a matter of empirical fact...".

Monday, August 23, 2004

Aussie Symbols Fraying 

Peter Costello says our Aussie Symbols of State are fraying.

The symbols aren't so much fraying, as being white-anted from within.

The Governor General was brought down because he was seen as a conservative churchman who was hand picked for the role by the Prime Minister. They can't put a glove on Honest John but they got the Reverend Hollingworth.

The Butler was brought down because he was a Labor Party mate and although clearly unsuited to the role was hand picked by the Tasmanian Labor Premier.

A cynic might say it was tit for tat.

An arch-republican, the Butler was installed as a reward for services rendered to the Labor Party; for his never ending criticism of the Prime Minister; and to further politicise and destabilise the office of Governor.

Dear reader, could you be the next Governor General? Are you pure? Are you too pure? Could you make Labor, the Greens and the Libs all love you? They may like you but could you prevent them from tearing you to pieces anyway, for some party political chicanery?

Federal Treasurer Peter Costello says the roles of Australia's governors and governor-general have become so difficult that anyone approached to fill one of the posts would have to think very seriously about it.

Mr Costello says "the symbols of Australia at the moment are fraying" and the country will eventually become a republic.

He says the vice-regal roles in particular have become difficult.

"A lot of the magic and myth has been stripped away from that office and I think that's [made] it much harder for governors and governors-general to maintain the kind of vice regal status that they need," Mr Costello told ABC Radio National's Counterpoint program.

"You just have to look at what's happened to a few governors and governors-general recently to know it's a very hard office to fulfil now.

"You're expected to be vice-regal without any of the mythology that once surrounded the office.

"The press, of course, are only too willing to investigate all of your pecadillos and there's no vice-regal shield of protection anymore.

"You're more or less at the mercy of political factors."

The Treasurer added: "You'd have to think if you were a prominent Australian and you were approached to do the job, you'd have to think very seriously about it these days I would think."

The disgraceful way that Hollingsworth was hounded from office set the precedent for what will surely follow, unless common sense prevails.

The Governors should be chosen and approved by both sides of politics (Liberal and Labor, forget the Greens).

That's if they all want common sense to prevail (which is why I excluded the Greens).

Those who want a republic ASAP wouldn't mind seeing a bit of instability and uncertainty surrounding the Governor's office. Would they?

Those who want a republican constitution where the Head of State will be elected by voters should think twice after seeing what's occurred with just two Heads who had the appearance of being tilted too Right or too Left.

The Politicisation of the Public Service 

Via Al Bundy and the ABC comes this little nugget.

Eighteen months ago Kim Beazley appeared to know all about Mike Scrafton and his claims about the Prime Minister.

Eighteen months ago, in February 2003, Kim Beazley placed a series of questions on notice to the Prime Minister. The content of the questions very similar to the statements now being made by Mr Scrafton.

It seems that the Prime Minister, the cabinet and the country can have no secrets with the likes of Scrafton and Co. on the payroll.

Why from what Kim Beazley says Canberra is awash with information, with himself freely picking up bits and pieces hither and yon from only the best sources.

Is this more evidence of the politicisation of the public service?

KIM BEAZLEY: The detail – but over the next months, as various inquiries proceeded – I became aware that inside the Department of Defence there were quite a variety of people who believed that Mr Scrafton would have a very different version of events from that of the Prime Minister and I picked up bits and pieces and decided to ask a question about it.

DAVID HARDAKER: Was it Jenny McKenry who this week came out to support Mike Scrafton's versions of events?

KIM BEAZLEY: No person who's appeared, to this point at least, in any of the reports of what's going on now, are people that I talked to at that period of time. And I think some of the people who talked to me would not really be aware of the significance of what they are saying.

DAVID HARDAKER: So who is this person or persons?

KIM BEAZLEY: The people from whom this information appeared to be circulating were people who are officers of the Department of Defence.

DAVID HARDAKER: So are they serving officers now?

KIM BEAZLEY: Yeah, they would be serving officers now. And the point about them is that this is, if you like, this is a product of common chatter, if you like, through the department. There was a view that Mike Scrafton had a different recollection of events from that of the Prime Minister. Hence I asked the questions in the way in which I did.

DAVID HARDAKER: Now can you name these people?

KIM BEAZLEY: No, I wouldn't name them. For starters, some of them would not be what I'd describe as deliberate informants and they're all public servants and they're entitled to their privacy.

Except when hauled before a Senate enquiry.

If there has been politicisation of the public service one suspects it would be similar to that which has occurred at Your ABC.

Oh Manne... 

Labor's court jester Robert Manne opines that, "The constitution offers no mechanism to punish a deceitful prime minister."

Yes it does, stupid. The constitution allowed voters to remove the Prime Minister from office at the last election and they get the chance again in a few months.

Furthermore if any Prime Minister does something illegal he would face the criminal courts the same as anyone else.

The problem that Manne has is that the voters have judged that John Howard has not been a deceitful Prime Minister and of the available choices he was and remains the best Prime Minister - he and all of his government elected with him won the last two elections.

Manne can't figure out how people could be so dumb as to vote for Howard and all those Liberals.

For Manne and the Left, clearly it was a mistake on the part of the voters and Howard has no "mandate". Why? Just because.

The voters, poor fools, must have been tricked. Yes, that's it. They just wouldn't listen to the son of Manne.

Nevertheless, the voters keep voting for Howard and the Liberal Party. Chances are he will be returned to office again in the New Year.

With Labor or the minor opposition parties unable to construct coherent policies that appeal to the voters there is no other option for the son of Manne, Bob Browne and the Labor Party but to attack Howard's credibility; or try him before the International Court of Justice; or amend the constitution and impeach him.

Anything but getting themselves elected.

Democrats are History 

Who are they anyway?

WHEN pollster Irving Saulwick was recently asked by the Australian Democrats to gauge the public mood, he uncovered a rich vein of voter indifference towards the party that promised to keep the bastards honest.

Nobody, it seems, knew who the bastards were.

One in Five Bush Blazes Lit by Volunteer Firefighters 

NSW Police believe that a few thrill seekers within the ranks of the Rural Fire Service are responsible for one in five bush fires.

A NSW police investigation team estimates that close to one in five of the bushfires to have blazed across NSW during the past three years was lit by an RFS volunteer.

Perhaps an education campaign would be effective: "It's not cool to burn"?

Filth Not Wanted 

The ABC makes a big thing about letting us know that ninety-three, who it calls "prominent", Muslim figures have called on Muslims around the world to support resistance to US forces and to the Iraqi government installed in June.

In the appeal received on Sunday from the offices of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim figures from nearly 30 nations, from Germany to Indonesia, said the aim should be to "purify the land of Islam from the filth of occupation".

The ABC does not say who the "filth" are who are occupying Iraq.

The ABC's prominent figures include the leaders of bloody terrorist organisations Hamas and Hezbollah. The ABC's staff have been forbidden by senior management from describing these organisations as terrorist.

The ABC says the ninety mullahs signed a petition and called for democracy throughout the Muslim world through free and fair elections.

With the exception of India and Germany none of the listed countries in which all of the mullahs hold power is a democracy.

The signatories included senior members of the Brotherhood, leading Qatari-based moderate Youssef al-Qaradawi, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah of Lebanon, Khaled Mashal of the Palestinian group Hamas, two Egyptian opposition party leaders, Sheikh Abdeslam Yassine of Morocco's Justice and Charity Group and Yemeni Speaker of Parliament Sheikh Abdullah al-Ahmar.

Others came from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bosnia, the Comoros, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan and Tunisia.

A veritable who's who of terror get their say on your ABC.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

What Ails the Public Service Chiefs? 

Michelle Grattan has a few ideas:

Sometimes governments may have a good case in wanting to get a stronger grip on the bureaucrats. Take Defence - a huge, chronically lumbering empire. Aldo Borgu, staffer to Moore and Reith and now at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, insists: "A lot of (those in Defence) had the idea they worked for the Commonwealth, the Governor-General, or the Chief of the Defence Force. You had to get the message through that they worked for the government of the day."

But often the weightier hand of government has made for poorer service from the bureaucrats. Sometimes advice is not pressed because it is seen as unwanted. And record keeping has slipped. Ironically, freedom of information has contributed.

If a note is not made, it cannot be dug out. Bureaucrats know that if records obtained under FoI prove embarrassing, the government won't be pleased. But in his speech, Podger had a stern message for bureaucrats: "Having no record, or no recollection, is not a clever way of avoiding political embarrassment: it is evidence of a lack of professionalism and lack of appreciation of the (public service) value of open accountability."

Much of the tight political grip on the public service is because, with instant communications and wall-to-wall media, a government feels vulnerable. So it narrows the outlets for information - journalists have much less access to the public service than previously - and has the service concentrate a lot on the here and now.

Media coverage of issues becomes more superficial because they can't get directly to the experts, and the bureaucracy does less over-the-horizon work, because it is chasing the instant, often media-driven, agenda.

The whole thing is worth a read.

Buy Music and Support the Left.  

You don't have to vote for the ALP or for the minor parties to be a musician, but it helps. Especially with marketing.

The Rock Against Howard album, featuring top Australian bands including Something for Kate and Frenzal Rhomb, is due for release tomorrow.

Most of the tracks contributed by 34 bands criticise the Prime Minister, and other politicians also are targeted: TISM has recorded a track titled The Philip Ruddock Blues. US President George Bush also gets a mention. But the music centres on condemning John Howard in the lead-up to an election.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Constable Plod On Duty 

Oh, dear.

A POLICEMAN has damaged a 19th century painting belonging to Queen Elizabeth II after losing his balance while closing a window.

The painting was by a little-known 19th century artist called Morley, police and Buckingham Palace sources said.

"At 20.30 on August 10 a police officer accidentally damaged a painting at St James's Palace while carrying out routine duties," Scotland Yard said.

He had stood on a chair to close a window and lost his balance. He grabbed the curtains, then toppled to the floor.

On picking himself up he saw a gaping hole in the picture.

"There will be no action taken aginst the officer because it was an accident," police said.

How delightfully refreshing. I didn't think we had accidents any more. If he'd done the same thing anywhere else I'm sure the coppers would have had torts and publicity up to their armpits.

The Tragedy of MacButler by William Shakespeare 

FORMER justice minister Duncan Kerr, who holds the Tasmanian seat of Denison, likened Mr Butler's demise to a Shakespearean tragedy.

Imre Salusinszky slips back a few centuries and reports:

MacButler's Castle in Tasmania


Scene: Macbutler's 73-room, 147-year-old castle on the Derwent River. [See photo above]

Sir John Chilcott (official secretary to Macbutler): My lord, I present the ladies of the Glenorchy Country Women's Association.

Macbutler (aside): 'Tis those three witches I was warned about. I bid thee welcome, fair ladies!

First witch: Thank you, my lord. We come to give you news of our lamington drive to build a new bus shelter at Glenorchy.

Macbutler: Ah ladies, but who now offers shelter to the perfidious Arab? When Saddam called me "mad dog" his laughter haunted my dreams. Dragged from his filthy spider hole, in an undisclosed location he languishes. Ha! Ha! Who laughs now?

Second witch: But we were hoping you would open our fete!

Macbutler: Fate? I'll tell you of fate, weird sisters! It was my fate to become Ambassador to Washington, until that hideous pygmy won in '96!

Third witch: Will you at least buy a dozen of our lamingtons?

Macbutler: Lamingtons? What on earth are lamingtons? Begone, ye witches! (Exit Macbutler.)

Witches (together): He raves, he rants, he uses discriminatory gender epithets! The Hobart Mercury shall hear of this!

Scene: the Danish court at Copenhagen.

Queen Margrethe: My son, the Prince of Denmark – not Hamlet, Frederick – to Mary of Tasmania shall be wed. And I, Queen of Tassie shall become! Who can advise?

Polonius (for it is he): Your highness, Macbutler to the wedding feast comes, his ego checked as extra baggage. As your majesty welcomes the foreign royals, his drumstick with arsenic shall I spoil.

Margrethe: Way to goeth!

Scene: Singapore Airlines first class check-in, Sydney Airport.

Lady Macbutler: What? No upgrade? You impious ant, know ye not my husband?

Airline clerk: I'm sorry, madam, but the booking clearly says business.

Macbutler (draws): What? You would speak to my wife of business? And not even in blank verse? Show your weapon, oaf! It I shall inspect, then separate thine head from neck!

Clerk (fleeing): The Hobart Mercury shall hear of this!

Scene: the wedding of Prince Frederick of Denmark to Mary Donaldson of Tasmania.

Macbutler: What feasting is before us! Such spicy wings, such satays, such drumsticks! (He raises a drumstick to his lips.)

Lady Macbutler: My lord, shouldst thou not wait for the Queen's welcome, just as that nice Michael Jeffery is doing?

Macbutler: What, mild Jeffery? Didst he take foul Saddam's measure? I eat when I eat. Stay thy hand! (He necks a drumstick.)

Polonius (aside): Curse and cactus – our plot is foiled by his rudeness!

Scene: Macbutler's castle, midnight, the wind howls.

Macbutler: Where are Sir John and the rest?

Lady Macbutler: Why, dost thou need advice on matters of state?

Macbutler: No, I need an audience for my Saddam Hussein anecdotes!

Lady Macbutler: Sir John has gone, my lord, along with the others. But canst thou not sleep?

Macbutler: Sleep? Macbutler has murdered sleep! And besides, it's ten below.

Enter Sir Paul Lennon.

Sir Paul: My lord, whilst thou wast in Denmark, much occureth.

Macbutler: Forsooth?

Sir Paul: Well, for a start we agreed to stop using stupid expressions like "forsooth" – but that's not important now. According to the Hobart Mercury . . .

Macbutler: The Hobart Mercury! (Swoons.)

Sir Paul: They said you chowed down with unseemly haste in Copenhagen. And there was another story about an upgrade . . .

Macbutler: Foul lies! I swoon, I lapse, I . . . I . . .

Sir Paul: Would six hundred grand provide a tonic and an exit strategy?

Macbutler (reviving): Six-fifty and you're on.

Sir Paul: Close enough!

Scene: A heath near Devonport. Wild wind and rain.

Three witches (together): Fair is foul, and foul is fair,

Macbutler tried to put on airs.

For tossers, Tassie's quite a bitch:

You either end up dead, or rich.

Exeunt. Finis. Kaput.

Tee hee.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Labor Determined to Introduce Apparachiks 

LABOR today promised to introduce a public service apparatus that would not be subordinate to the elected government of the day.

Labor spokesmen have declared that in future Liberal Party ministerial advisers would be dragged before a parliamentary committe to explain Liberal government actions.

Opposition workplace relations and public service spokesman Craig Emerson said changes to the pubic sector under the Coalition had created a culture of fear and corroded the core principle of an independent public service.

'We aim to put the fear back into the general populace where it belongs', the Politburo member declared.

'We want a strong Public Service that can thumb its nose at any elected government of the day.', he thundered.

'The CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union)(Community Public Sector Union) must be able to block silly Liberal government decisions via the public service and implement only nice sensible Labor ones.'

'We consulted our CPSU members and asked them the question in a pop poll, "What would you do if you were Prime Minister for the day"':

You can read all of the brilliant suggestions from our members here: but here are the top 10 in reverse order:

10. Give Dave Runham a 50% pay rise because he works hard. DR - AFPPS
9. Divorce Mrs Howard and proposition Bronwyn Bishop. RS - Telstra
8. This survey is simplistic. I am not interested in participating. SM - Centrelink
7. Put contraceptives in all drinking water supplies. Reverse the onus of organ donation so that all suitable organs are used unless there are instructions from the deceased to the contrary. MD - NT Govt
6. I will ensure that all households clearly display their house number boards/plates so that the house seekers need not go in circles to locate a house. SG - IP Aust.
5. Dramatically increase ABC/SBS funding. IB - Commonwealth Ombudsman
4. Open the gates of the detention centres: FM - NT Health Services
3. I would bring the troops home from Iraq now, close the immigration detention centres and free the refugees and sign a treaty with Australia's indigenous nations. AT Centrelink.
2. Micro-chip all dogs to track pollution of waterways and fine owner. Exterminate all Indian Mynah birds in Australia. EH - SSAT

and my personal favorite the number 1 suggestion from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (stop doing that! -Ed.) CPSU is:

1. Legislate against vilifying public servants simply because they are public servants JM - DEH

Ah, the socialist Utopia is nigh.

Taxi Drivers Sigh in Relief 

All across Australia taxi drivers are breathing sighs of relief:

OPPOSITION Leader Mark Latham might have to give up alcohol to prevent a recurrence of the serious condition that put him in hospital this week.

Children Thrown Overboard and Worse 

The major media outlets are all still asserting that no asylum seeker children were ever placed by their parents at any time into briney water.

Fear of asylum-seekers peaked in the 2001 election campaign, after the Government falsely accused a boatload of asylum-seekers of throwing children in the water in an attempt to gain entry.

When in fact the evidence presented at the Senatorial enquiry reveals exactly the opposite. The vessel concerned was sabotaged by the asylum seekers and sunk throwing all onboard into the water including no fewer than 76 children who had to be rescued in the open sea. Numerous other incidents are recorded by the Senate for the year 2001 and for all to see:

Remaining PIIs in SIEV 07 gathered on STBD side of vessel yelling and screaming at men in water. One female PII dangled a young child over the side by its arm. Other women in the area were yelling and screaming and the child was screaming. The woman then dropped the child into the water. One of the male PIIs in the water swam to the child and recovered it holding it out of the water on his chest. He then returned to SIEV 07 with the child and was assisted by other PIIs to recover himself and the child from the water.

And another incident:

As a result of the torching and subsequent sinking of SIEV 10 by PII’s, 33 children under the age of 12 were recovered from the water by WOLLONGONG and ACV ARNHEM BAY crew. During the incident, PII’s were abandoning ship en masse. Some children were observed being held by adults as they entered the water. The method of entry into the water by the remaining children cannot be determined. Members of WOLLONGONG Boarding party do not recall any person physically dropping or throwing a child overboard. Worthy to note that WOLLONGONG and ARNHEM BAY recovered several children without parents in attendance and conducted boat transfers between the vessels for family reunification purposes.

Two women drowned fleeing the fire onboard that was lit by the asylum seekers.

And another incident:

BP boarded SIEV 12 and SUNCs were initially calm. BP attempted to start SIEV engines without success. At this stage there was a sense of tension, then a report of smoke forward was reported. A group of young SUNCs were yelling and then more smoke occurred from an area where fuel drums were present. At the same time a fire was lit aft. At this time the Quick Reaction Party were transferred to the SIEV to assist the BP. Also, at this time SUNCs were threatening to throw children over the side. These threats were intimated by taking children to side of SIEV and
demonstrating intent to drop children into the sea.


SIEV 07 to be escorted by ARUNTA from ASHMORE Island to Indonesian Territorial Waters. During the passage, several incidents occurred including attempts to set fire to vessel and attempts by PIIs to set fire to themselves, including dousing themselves with diesel fuel.

The precious nature of this furious debate centres on whether the Prime Minister and his aides knew that children were not thrown in an overhand, swinging manner effected with vigour creating a splash that rose to a height of more than 7.5 centimetres (measured trough to peak) or whether all 76 of the children onboard were lowered gently and caringly into the open sea by their parents after their boat was deliberately sabotaged and sunk.

By depositing all onboard into the water, and placing them at risk in the open sea, weren't the asylum seekers holding themselves, their kids and their rescuers hostage with no other option available but for the rescuers to take the asylum seekers onboard, and hopefully onto the promised land?

Is the truth so jarring that the focus of this debate must be about whether the kids were tossed, dropped or lowered?

The question for the Opposition and the media is, "Why the denial and self-censorship about hundreds of children being deposited (lowered gently) into the open sea?"

Is the Turn Bull another Butler? 

Is it just me or do you also worry about the Turn Bull?

ACCORDING to defenders of the Australian flag, it is simply a case of Malcolm Turnbull seeing the light.

But the colleagues alongside whom he fought 10 years ago for a new flag describe him as "Australia's consummate chameleon".

Mr Turnbull, for six years until 1994 a director of Ausflag, the organisation campaigning for a new Australian flag, has joined its arch-rival, the Australian National Flag Association, dedicated to preserving the existing flag.

It is another step in the evolution of Mr Turnbull, who was appointed by the Keating government to head the Republican Advisory Committee, led the subsequent republic campaign into the unsuccessful 1999 referendum and now aspires to be the Liberal member for the Sydney seat of Wentworth in a government headed by Australia's leading monarchist, John Howard.

The Australian National Flag Association, which includes the Prime Minister among its members, wrote to Mr Turnbull early this year inviting him to join. He replied in March, enclosing his membership application, the joining fee of $15 and an additional donation of about $35.

50% School Kids Don't Think Australia is a Democracy 

Where could a full 50% of our children get the absurd idea that Australia is not a democracy? That we are no better than China, Sudan, Iran or Saudi Arabia? That Bushitler and HoWARd are dictators?

Why from their teachers of course.

YOUNG people think Australia is undemocratic and unfair, and they cite their teachers as having the greatest influence on their political thinking, according to a provocative new national survey funded by the Government.

What an outrageous demonstration of the brainwashing now in vogue within our schools when fewer than 55 per cent of young people surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that "Australia is a democratic country".

And only 52 per cent said they had been taught about citizenship at school.

At one Sydney school, Year 10 students did not know what democracy meant and some students said that Australia was not a republic so it could not be a democracy.

For many kids, the only education they get about democracy, the rights of the individual and freedom is what they see on what we've all been told are evil American TV shows. No wonder the Left want to restrict US content.

The Left dominated teachers unions don't disagree with the findings of the survey, just the cause.

Teachers were rated the most trustworthy source of political information, with 75 per cent, followed by family at 73 per cent.

The media was trusted by 36 per cent and politicians were the least trustworthy sources of political information at 34 per cent.

A spokesman for conservative think-tank the Institute of Public Affairs, Alan Moran, said the survey results were alarming.

"It probably reflects more adversely on Australia's education system than on the reality of the Australian political system," he said.

He said it could be because teachers had the most influence on young people's political opinions that so many young people thought Australia undemocratic.

But Australian Education Union president Pat Byrne said the fact that so many young people thought Australia undemocratic was probably because they had experienced instances of injustice.

"It could be that students' experiences within their own lives is teaching them that democratic processes are not always used," she said. Ms Byrne said teachers did not teach that Australia was an undemocratic country.

She said, continuing her lessons that Australia is often an unjust country that does not always use democratic processes.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Latham's Flow of Bile to be Resumed as Soon as Medically Possible 

Mark Latham's steady stream of bile directed at journalists, the Prime Minister, the government and even the President of the United States shuddered to a sudden halt recently, stopped by what may be a gall stone blocking the bile duct in his pancreas.

Medical procedures are underway to resume Latham's flow of bile as soon as possible.

Latham's bile has in the past been vented at:

The journalist he called a smelly whore.

The Prime Minister he referred to as an arse-licker.

The President of another country he described as incompetent and dangerous.

The taxi driver whose arm he broke in a drunken rage.

The Shame of Australian Journalism 

The Australian people need to be asking some serious questions about the now very obvious partisan nature of the Australian press.

The sensationalism and biases of the press are now on display daily for all to see.

In making this criticism I am not contending that big media moguls are in charge, those puppet meisters pulling the strings on every media act we hear and see.

That is the commonly heard allegation and it usually is used to kill debate by one side or the other, alleging personal control of the news by either Kerry Packer, Rupert Murdoch, Fairfax or "the ABC". At least one lunatic at Fairfax believes that the "The fundamentalist Zionist lobby controls politics and the media in the US and Australia."

The common and accepted wisdom of the day is that the conglomerate "media" is guilty of all sins under the sun and is centrally controlled by one side of politics or the other, depending on which side of politics is making the accusation of control.

No, those who I'm talking about are the political journalists and editors who at a personal level are, quite literally, in charge of "making" the news, and they are the ones who really do control what it is that we hear and see on the TV and in the newspapers.

What I see and what I hear leads me to allege that political journalists and editors are not taking an impartial look at events and are not just reporting the stories of the day. The very questions they ask are loaded with spin. Consciously and unconsciously they report the news in the context of their own political agenda. If they do not like politician X or policy Y then they skew their questioning of X and coverage of Y accordingly.

This is normal human behavior (I guess) but the public expects the news that they read to be "the facts" and impartial. The major news outlets are not personal blogs and should not be used in that way.

If we see a headline that reads that a Liberal government senator says, "Brandis urges PM not to resign" we assume that the PM considered resigning, or there have been strong widespread calls for the PM to resign. Such a headline influences people's approach to the story before they even begin reading.

We should not have to be disappointed to learn that there NEVER WAS a call for the PM to resign except in a loaded question from a hostile journalist put to Senator Brandis on the ABC Lateline program.

And once one story gets out that is in broad agreement with the other journalists views of the world there exists a feedback loop of left-leaning journalists (the majority) feeding upon each others stories creating accepted truths that become common knowledge. So we have the left-leaning SMH headline created from a loaded question put by a sympathetic Lateline journalist.

This occurs in a cycle similar to what happens when you put a microphone next to its amplified speaker-box. Small crackles and sparks in the speaker are amplified which are picked up by the microphone and are re-amplified into bigger hisses and crackles repeatedly until what you end up with is a high pitched and deafening screeching created from almost nothing.

This hoary old chestnut of the Children Overboard affair is a national disgrace for the media and it ranks up (down?) there with their coverage of the Lindy Chamberlain saga in the 70's-80's.

On 7th October 2001 one public servant says to a meeting of other public servants (the People Smuggling task force) that "asylum seekers had thrown their children overboard". This was a meeting of high-powered public servants from the departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Defence, Immigration and Foreign Affairs.

It was two days into the election campaign in which border protection was a central issue and the story snowballed from there.

All these public servants would have appreciated that in the election climate this would be sensational news.

The Secretary for the Department of Immigration, Bill Farmer, got a call from his minister at 9:50.

He told Philip Ruddock the news.

By 11:30, the Minister had told the rest of Australia.

The facts (link thanks to reader Scott) disclosed in the records of the Senate Enquiry that boat people had actually threatened numerous times to throw their kids overboard, did dangle them overboard, did try to actually throw them overboard (but were intercepted and restrained) matters not. Coincidentally this information was included as an annex in the Labor dominated Senate report only at the insistence of the Liberal senator George Brandis. The information in the annex was not widely reported.

It matters not that the actual boat in question was deliberately sunk and all 233 passengers, 76 children included, were subsequently splashing around in the open briney sea anyway.

There are several well documented instances where asylum seekers threatened self harm and harm to their kids, some men even pouring diesel over themselves and the boat and threatening to ignite it.

All this matters not one whit. What does matter is trying to catch out the government on a technicality.

Nothing seems to break through. Not even the well documented case that occurred just two weeks later where an asylum seeker DID drop her child overboard.

Remaining PIIs in SIEV 07 gathered on STBD side of vessel yelling and screaming at men in water. One female PII dangled a young child over the side by its arm. Other women in the area were yelling and screaming and the child was screaming. The woman then dropped the child into the water. One of the male PIIs in the water swam to the child and recovered it holding it out of the water on his chest. He then returned to SIEV 07 with the child and was assisted by other PIIs to recover himself and the child from the water.

These items are hot news, but I've never seen any of these facts in bold headlines in the media. There have been no curly questions asked on the ABC's Lateline.

Why is that? Don't these facts fit within the framework?

The Quagmire Theory is Sinking 

Iraq's one-man quagmire, Moqtada Sadr, whose fiesty thugs gave the press and the ALP their hope of an Iraq quagmire is down to his last few cannon fodder.

A delegate at the national conference in Iraq said radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr had agreed to lay down arms and withdraw his fighters from the Imam Ali shrine to end the crisis in Najaf.

Gambler's Debts? 

ATSICs very former Deputy Chairman Sugar Ray Robinson is being asked to explain how he has spent around $700,000 of taxpayers money.

What the authorities have not yet asked is how could the Deputy Chairman spend up to $5 million dollars gambling in casinos?

THE Howard Government has asked Aboriginal leader "Sugar" Ray Robinson to explain 21 instances in which he allegedly used taxpayers' money for private purposes, including a legal attempt to overturn his 1963 conviction for rape.

The seven-page "please explain" from Aboriginal Affairs Minister Amanda Vanstone asks questions relating to more than $700,000 of public money.

Some of the money was allegedly spent by Mr Robinson contesting his mother's will, paying a $1300 tax bill, and launching defamation actions against the media.

$700,000? Chicken-feed. It would only take a year of taxes levied on twenty average Joes to get that back. Plenty more where that came from...

Currency Lad is On the Money 

New blogger The Currency Lad is putting in the hard yards and it's really paying off. I check his site regularly and you should consider doing so too.

The New York Times' Deborah Solomon interviewed Fair for an article on the professor's prediction. She found it hard to believe a forecast favourable to the Administration wasn't somehow a politically dishonest fix.

DS: Are you a Republican?

RCF: I can't credibly answer that question. Using game theory in economics, you are not going to believe me when I tell you my political affiliation because I know that you know that I could be behaving strategically. If I tell you I am a Kerry supporter, how do you know that I am not lying or behaving strategically to try to put more weight on the predictions and help the Republicans?

DS: I don't want to do game theory. I just want to know if you are a Kerry supporter.

RCF: Backing away from game theory, which is kind of cute, I am a Kerry supporter.

DS: I believe you entirely, although I'm a little surprised, because your predictions implicitly lend support to Bush.

RCF: I am not attempting to be an advocate for one party or another. I am attempting to be a social scientist trying to explain voting behavior.

DS: But in the process you are shaping opinion. Predictions can be self-confirming, because wishy-washy voters might go with the candidate who is perceived to be more successful.

DS: It could work the other way. If Kerry supporters see that I have made this big prediction for Bush, more of them could turn out just to prove an economist wrong.

Fair's 57.5% figure for Republican support - with an error margin of 2.5% - would, if accurate, deliver a landslide to the President. Make of that what you will. I'm somewhat sceptical about the numbers but what's noteworthy is the incredulity of a journalist faced with the shocking possibility that an academic could have the temerity to predict a Bush win based on nothing but objectivity.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Is there a Halfwit in the House? 

Teetotaller and respecter of women's persons in the parliament, Andrew Bartlett, the Leader of the Australian Democrats political party, wants the Prime Minister of Australia to submit to a lie detector test.

The fact that the Prime Minister rightly feels that it is beneath the dignity of that office is lost on Bartlett.

Since Bartlett is so keen on the lie detector machine being the determiner of Australia's political destiny he should himself submit, once again, to the machine and answer the following questions?

Does he really believe that John Howard lied?

Did he believe, before the war began, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction?

Does he really think that September 11 was really America's fault?

Does he think that a vote for the Democrats is a wasted vote?

Does he know of anyone who would make a better leader of the Australian Democrats?

Mr Howard denies he talked to Mr Scrafton about the photographs, prompting the former public servant to say he was willing to take a lie detector test.

The prime minister said he would not be taking up the offer.

``I'm not going to get into gimmicks like that,'' he told ABC radio.

``If people don't believe what I say on the basis of looking at me and listening to my words then going through a mechanical process like that is not going to alter their opinions.''

But Australian Democrats leader Andrew Bartlett, who took a lie detector test earlier this year, said by rejecting the offer Mr Howard was admitting to the Australian people he had lied.

``The fact that John Howard has deigned to respond to the challenge indicates that he is rattled and running scared,'' Senator Bartlett said.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Overboard Claims? 

A cynic would be skeptical about the timing for the unearthing of this hoary old chestnut.

The refugees sunk their own boat so they'd then have to be rescued. Their poor kids did end up overboard and at risk in the open sea. End of story.

The Opposition wants to re-open a Senate inquiry into the children overboard affair.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says there is no need for any further investigation into the children overboard scandal.

"I wouldn't have thought there was much new to be established on this issue," he said.

"The government called it as it saw it through quite a long period of time."

Speaking in Beijing on his way to North Korea, Mr Downer described the issue as "history".

"In the days immediately approaching the 2001 election, the last two, three days of the election campaign, I seem to recall there were assertions that children hadn't actually been thrown overboard," he said.

"The Prime Minister set up an inquiry into that and the inquiry produced its result.

"I don't know that there's anything much more to be said about it. It's history."

More Good News from Iraq 

Arthur Chrenkoff's epic continues in Part 8. It's now available online via the Wall Street Opinion Journal.

"...while the bad news in Iraq gets reported everywhere, the reports of good news you have to look for."

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Taxpayers Money Lavished on Governor. Sea Rescue Services Canned. 

To give you an idea of the scale of the payout made to the errant Butler, Governor of Tasmania, read on:

Last Friday morning all five of Tasmania's Volunteer Coastal Rescue service sites were padlocked, their equipment and vital coastline radio communications and rescue capability shut down.

A few days before, Tasmania's outgoing Butler, the ex-Governor, was slipped $650,000 hush money plus extras that could tally to $1,000,000 in a constitutionally shady deal that is now under investigation.

And what is the amount in question to get Tasmania's vital volunteer Coastal Rescue services operating again? Just $90,000.

The National RVCP notes that all Tasmanian operations for the last 10 years cost a mere $400,000.

"The board has decided that it is in the best interest of the RVCP to cease operations in Tasmania for financial reasons. We took legal advice and were told the best way to protect the assets was a complete shutdown.

Lives lost at sea in return for a silenced Butler. A fair swap, I suppose?

Olympic Catfight 

Women's beach volleyball. Ah, what can I say.

Australian buttocks and groin baring champions are miffed about a troupe of a dozen buttocks and groin baring dancers getting attention in the grandstand.

"I feel it's kind of disrespectful to the players to have other girls in bikinis out there dancing," said Australia's Nicole Sanderson after her opening match today.

"I'm sure some of the male spectators like it, but I'm not so sure about the players."

The problem is not noise or distraction or anything as simple as that. The problem is more complex, but the solution is simple.

Ms Sanderson and Cook suggested that one solution to the dancers, whose orange bikinis and exotic manoeuvres have attracted almost as much attention as the volleyball, might be to slip in a couple of male dancers.

"If it's equal, then it's fine," Sanderson said.

Home Truths 

Suprisingly good reading.

If you visit any strip club in the Cross late at night, you'll see the smacked-out girls lolling against poles, grinding in slow-motion, eyelids sagging, many with scarred breasts. The men in vinyl jackets who slouch on the plastic seats, drinking out of plastic cups, look as bored as the girls.


No doubt there are psychological reasons why someone who is captured, threatened, beaten and abused should be grateful to his captors if for any reason they should let him go.

This guy was a day or two away from having his head sawn off, him screaming all the while when supposed wonderful intervention of the thug Moqtada Sadr saved him.

There is a high probability that Sadr organises the kidnappings or at least supports the ones who do it. He then calls off the dogs by publicly calling for the release of the journalist and he's a hero.

Radical Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr vowed to stay in his Najaf stronghold until victory or death yesterday, shattering hopes of a compromise with US forces encircling the city's holiest shrines.

Hopes had been raised after he personally intervened to free a British journalist kidnapped by gunmen in the southern city of Basra.

They had threatened to execute James Brandon, an Arabic-speaking freelance writer, within 24 hours if US forces did not pull out of Najaf.

But Brandon's 20-hour ordeal ended when he was handed over to the cleric's lieutenants in Basra.

Brandon appeared with a black eye and bruised face at a hastily organised press conference at the offices of al-Sadr's organisation. "I'm OK - I'm recovering," he said. "I've been released thanks to the Mahdi Army, because they intervened and negotiated with the kidnappers."

Brandon said he had been treated harshly during his seizure at a hotel in central Basra. "All sorts of unpleasant things happened." But he added: "I want to say thanks to the people who captured me. Once they knew I was a journalist I was treated very well."

 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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