Thursday, October 28, 2004


Excuse? We don't need no stinking excuse...

Nemesis asked Tim Dunlop why he blogged.

I have a theory that if you're trying to [change] people's opinions, then blogging is not the medium to do this.

Sometimes blogging can change opinions. Tim Blair sometimes posts on excesses in the anti-smoking movement, and it probably played a role in my feeling that the NSW's proposed ban on smoking in pubs is going too far. So blogging isn't a total waste of time.

In addition, when blogging you can find out info that can be useful when talking with "undecideds" about an issue.

In a world where most people and political parties (in the West at least) are moving steadily towards centrist positions, the old Left/Right bollocks just doesn't work anymore - yet blogging still seems to be stuck in this old paradigm. Until it breaks out of this mould it will never realise its true potential, I fear.

Is it an either/or proposition? Either a one-dimensional political spectrum, or no spectrum at all?

Maybe some other bloggers have a view on this. Would love to hear from them.

The reason I have a blog? I wanted to make a comment at another blog, was told that I had to register or post anonymously, and ended up with this as a bonus.

Why do I blog? The advantage of blogging over commenting is that you can set the agenda. I don't have to look for some blog mentioning SBS's article on the PKK, or the obscene James Hardie payout.

Why do I discuss politics online? It allows me to discuss politics while keeping my "real life" friendships intact. Especially as most of my friends were opposed to the invasion of Iraq.

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Sunday, October 24, 2004


Salem, you cheese eating surrender monkeys!

French UMP party deputy Jacques Myard told Le Monde: “English is the most-spoken language today, but that won’t last. ... If we must make a language compulsory, it should be Arabic”. This is not a scrappleface article.

Meanwhile, the abscence of the 50-foot cone of silence for early voters is mourned here.

On ABC news tonight, they did a piece on women trying herbal medicines to treat menopause because of scares over hormone replacement therapy. Not one of the people interviewed noted that HRT has undergone far more scrutiny than herbal medicine, and therefore the absence of known problems with herbal remedies may well reflect our ignorance. Rumsfeld's talk about knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns comes to mind.

"Emma Bovary took arsenic; Anna Karenina went under a train, Tess of the D'Urbervilles was hanged." - Adele Horin on adultery. Um, yes, Tess got hanged, but not for adultery.

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Involuntary embedding

Meanwhile, it has been reported that SBS journalist John Martinkus was kidnapped by terrorists militants insurgents and was subsequently released.

My sympathy goes to those who have been kidnapped by terrorists. I am glad he made it back to Australia safely.

However, I take a dim view of someone who says "There was a reason to kill (British hostage Kenneth) Bigley, there was a reason to kill the (two) Americans (kidnapped with Bigley). There was not a reason to kill me."

After such a callous comment (though not as bad as comments by Moore or Pilger earlier this year), others saying unkind stuff about why the terrorists let him live seems minor in comparison.

Sure, you can claim that John wasn't explicitly condoning the murder of Bingley or his associates. But if someone had came back from Nazi Germany saying that "There was a reason to kill Anne Frank", I expect people would regard such a comment as offensive.

All I can say about John's account of how he was kidnapped is hmmmmm. 25% more offensive than Tim Blair's one-word-gate! No, actually, I've got more to say. If he was lying, then it was uneccessary. Many people in such a situation would have done what the terrorists had told them.

And what happend to John's driver and translator? Are they just redshirts, extras whose fate we are not supposed to be concerned about?

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SBS - now embedded with terrorists

SBS - now embedded with terrorists

The SBS's Dateline piece on the terrorist group PKK was one of the most subservient pieces of journalism I'd seen.

Apart from troubles elsewhere in Iraq, the north of that country is bracing itself for a another guerilla war - this time between Turkey and the Kurdish independence fighters of the PKK.

Except they say they don't want independence anymore - does SBS think "militant" is too harsh a word?

Matt Carney gained exclusive access to the PKK base inside northern Iraq and he discovers quite an anachronism for the region - a guerilla group that shuns religion and treats women as equals.

Treating women as equals isn't the anachronism, the rest of the region is the anachronism.

High in the Qandil mountains in northern Iraq, near the Iranian border, a volleyball game is under way. These are the woman guerillas of the PKK or Kurdistan Workers Party.

Governments can send olympic teams, but terrorist organisations can't. This is so unfair...

WOMAN (TRANSLATION): The only thing you want to do as you approach the enemy or as the enemy approaches you is to kill so as not to get killed yourself.

Try to think of the government's "root causes". Why do they want to kill you?

America and Europe call them terrorists, but to many of the 20 million Kurds of the Middle East, they are freedom fighters.

Yeah, and America claimed that Saddam had WMDs, and we know the truth about that, don't we?

This is the first time in five years they’ve let a camera in to film their mountain sanctuary.

The obvious question is "Why was the SBS the first in five years?"

The PKK is surrounded on all sides - Iran, Turkey and Syria all want to wipe them out.

The mention of Iran and Syria is news to me. A google of "PKK Iran" (without quotes) have some hits saying Iran supports the PKK, and some saying it is cracking down on the PKK.

Very often the enemy of your enemy is also your enemy. The PKK stays in that category for me regardless of their alleged opposition to Syria and Iran.

Even the other Kurdish parties in Iraq, along with their American allies, want to see the back of them.

Dare I suggest that to many of the 20 million Kurds of the Middle East, they are not freedom fighters?

RECRUITS’ PLEDGE (TRANSLATION): Our slogan is freedom for our leader Apo, peace for Kurdistan, my people, my martyrs, my flag, my party. On my honour, I swear, I swear.

The first and last things mentioned are the leader and the party. It appears loyalty to the organisation is more important than loyalty to the cause.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the PKK was involved in a bloody struggle for Kurdish liberation inside Turkey. 30,000 people lost their lives.

A prime example of the passive voice if ever I have seen one.

The PKK has spent the last five years building up its ranks. There’s about 10,000 fighters in these mountains. Half of them are women.

Half of them female? Perhaps. All of them 18 or older? Nope.

Unlike most of the Middle East, there is absolute equality between the sexes here.

Sure, the PKK has been accused of raising money from prostitution (by pimping, not by PKK members offering sex themselves, that is), but business is business, no?

LEYLA ZIREK (TRANSLATION): When I was a child I used to see women in my neighbourhood. Indeed even, my mother. At home they would force her. She could do nothing without my fathers permission. I used to think, why should women be controlled by men? When I found the PKK through friends, I knew I’d found my dream. This was the "better place" I’d always hoped to find.

The way SBS portrays it, it's almost like running away to join the circus.

What can a girl in such a situation do? Getting documentation would be difficult, and she can't sneak into a country as she isn't fleeing for her life.

Murad admits that abandoning the armed struggle and the movement’s Marxist orientation has not been easy. ... A paradigm has been developed based on democratic, ecological and gender revolution.

What? No mention of gay rights?

George Bush has already labelled them evil terrorists

If he did, google indicates that he didn't use that precise phrase.

Cicek is barely 5-foot high but she says, in her 10 years of fighting, she has killed countless Turkish soldiers. Cicek joined the movement when she was just 11.

SBS didn't comment on her young age. Kill early and kill often!

I started googling for the youngest girl soldier known, but when I came across one description of a girl being abducted into service (the organisation was not PKK-related) at the age of five, I decided I'd found out more than enough.

CICEK (TRANSLATION): When I was a child, we had no schools and no roads. We were deprived of everything.

This is the kind of thing SBS would have you believe is the "root cause" of terrorism. I guess it'd be inconvenient to mention that the PKK destroys schools and attacks teachers, and blows up bridges and plants mines on roads, wouldn't it?

The ideology here seems such a throwback to last century that it’s easy to forget the PKK is still a fanatically disciplined group that demands sacrifices.

Is that a polite way of saying "dictatorial"?

Marriage is banned because, according to the party program, it’s a bourgeois concept based on ownership and is an instrument of patriarchal and imperialist power. Sex is also forbidden until truly free gender relations exist and that won’t happen until the revolution arrives.

Well, I can't accuse the PKK of not knowing about sex and exploitation.

His ideas are paramount, even though they do study other feminist theories.

ZILAR SIBARK (TRANSLATION): We don’t consider it quite right that they consider the problem only within the context of being anti-male, opposing men. That’s not our philosophy. We even aim to include men and to transform them in the process.

Being told by terrorists that our idea of feminism is too combative. Ouch. That's gotta hurt.

But there is another reading to Murad’s optimism. America is committed to its war on terror and it’s probably only a matter of time before America moves with Turkey to destroy the PKK, the Kongra Gel and everything else here. The only cause for delay is America’s battle in the rest of Iraq.

Hasta la vista, PKK? One can only hope that now that Saddam is gone, the PKK will disintergrate without too much bloodshed.

It is reasonable to accuse SBS of being objectively pro-terrorist.

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Massive James Hardie payout

James Hardie has just paid an individual $9 million.

It didn't go to an asbestos victim though - it went to CEO Peter Macdonald.

To pay any CEO $9 million is excessive. To do so while current compensation for asbestos victims is inadequate is callous. But to pay that much money when they were guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct? Simply unbelievable.

Unless a very large cheque comes the way of asbestos victims soon, I hope Peter is unemployed until the day he dies.

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Friday, October 15, 2004


Poor taste by World Today

On Thursday's "The World Today". Media visits Saddam's mass graves on eve of US elections:

HAMISH ROBERTSON: Well, is there a link between the US presidential election campaign and the timing of a media visit to the site of a mass grave in Iraq's north overnight?

The grave containing the bodies of up to 3,000 Kurds was actually discovered two months ago, but pictures of the grave have only just been circulated.

How cynical can the media be? They're suggesting Bush doesn't care about the murder of these people, that all he cares for is a well-timed poll bounce.

The grave itself is nothing new, but the images serve to remind people of how evil Saddam Hussein really was. For once insurgents are off the nightly news, replaced instead by a reminder of Saddam's atrocities.

Stop beating around the bush and accuse Dubya of using propaganda.

The ABC also trots out a familiar furphy:

At the time, both Britain and the United States maintained close relations with Saddam's regime.

Britain and the US combined sold Saddam less than 1% of Iraq's weapons imports.

And a lecturer from Adelaide complains about trial by media:

GRANT NIEMANN: The evidence should be displayed before the court, preferably, rather than having a trial in the media.

You know, why is it being displayed now, when it's been around for a long time? You do ask the question.

Why don't you spell out the answer, Grant?

And should the war crimes trial for Saddam be long and drawn out?

ALISON CALDWELL: The world is familiar with the trial of Slobodan Milosevic. That's taken quite some time and faced many hurdles. Will the trial of Saddam Hussein be similar?

GRANT NIEMANN: Well it ought to be.

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Thursday, October 14, 2004


Australians Against Further Immigration For Forests

For the first time in my life, I voted Liberal. In all of the previous elections I voted in, I voted Labor or preferenced it after voting for parties even more left-wing.

This time, I voted in Bradfield for: first preference Liberal, then Democrat, ALP, Greens and put Families First last.

For the Senate, I decided not to vote directly for the Coalition, just so they don't get too cocky, but vote for Liberals for Forests - unless they got elected, their preferences would flow to the Coalition, right?

Wrong. Here's a sampling of some of their preference ticket:

1-2 Liberals for Forests (primary vote 0.5 %)
10-11 HEMP (0.61%)
31-32 Citizen's Electoral Council (0.06%)
33-34 Australians Against Further Immigration (0.27%)
35-36 Family First (0.54%)
37-38 Australian Progressive Alliance (0.06%)
39-41 Australian Democrats (2.12%)
42-43 Save the ADI site party (0.08%)
44-48 Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile group) (2.61%)
49-52 Labor (36.99%)
53-58 Liberal / Nationals (43.9%)
59-61 One Nation (1.86%)
62-67 The Greens (7.12%)
70-71 Nuclear Disarmament Party (at least of Yankee and Hymie) (0.05%)

After hearing that the Coalition could control the senate, I thought "maybe I should have voted against the Coalition in the Senate". And now it looks like I have. It reminds me of a joke in Cafe Arabica:

My Syrian friend told me this joke was going around when she was in Syria at voting time...
A sweet little old lady went to vote. After voting, she walked away and then realized she made the wrong decision, so she went back to try and change it.
''Excuse me dear, '' she said at the polling booth. ''I was wondering whether I can change my vote.''
''That's O.K, Ma'am. We've already done that for you!''

But I still feel dirty that my preferences may flow to ratbags like CEC and AAFI.

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Sunday, October 10, 2004


Dead tree news roundup for October 9

Stripped of facts: A page three (really!) article in the SMH stated that Tony Vincent was arrested by police. The article stated that Tony was "one of Sydney's old-time underworld figures", a "former friend of the late crime boss Lennie McPherson" and that he ran a strip club. If a terrorist had been arrested with no charges being mentioned, the paper would have complained long and hard about it.

One HECS of a claim: On page 11, the SMH claims Perth soccer coach David Piggott has said that HECS changes will force "your daughters and even your sons" into prostitution to pay debts. He cited Eros Association research that the proportion of students amongst female sex workers has doubled (anyone able to find this report?). Considering that HECS is deferrable and required repayments are based on income, the claim is just plain ludicrous. You have to worry about the amount of research that is more plausible, but is equally bogus.

Jailhouse rock the vote: "The Greens want all murderers, rapists, drug lords, and armed robbers to be able to vote on who makes the laws of this country". Apparently it's worse than it was a month ago, where the Greens only wanted to give the vote to murderers and rapists. C'mon Eric, we know you're just jealous that hardened crims don't vote Liberal.

Latham - hater or empty chatterer?: Latham said that he regretted saying he was a hater and wanted his children to despise his political enemies. "I shouldn't have used that word at that time. I'm raising my children in a loving way, and they'll make their own mind up about politics.". I don't get it - has his personality and parenting style changed, or was his statement about him and his children "inoperative" from the start? Perhaps we should ask Simon Crean, Mark Latham's mother.

Naked Bush: Barbara Bush reportedly was part of a naked party at Yale in 2002. This is not newsworthy. Really.

French whine: France is complaining about the US making allegations about French officials and companies receiving bribes from Saddam. This is good news - it means the allegations aren't just being ignored.

"Games turns deadly for Gaza children": the article reports some Palestinian children found it fun to make Israeli forces think they were firing a RPG at them, and two of them died from Israeli fire. Hillary Clinton talked about it taking a village to raise a child - here it is more like many of those in a village poisoning each other. I don't like to demonise any race or religion or nationality, but solving this conflict will involve more than just borders or settlements.

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Saturday, October 09, 2004


Australia decides ... at last

Who'll manage the majority of Australia's $800 billion economy? You.

John Clarke and Brian Dawe did a skit a while ago making fun of how we're supposedly capitalist societies, yet a major campaign issue is how well the candidates would manage the economy. Maybe Liberal party ads mention the size of the economy because they don't want to mention the size of the current government.


Wishing for a nuke-free Iran and North Korea? Don't vote for the Nuclear Disarmament Party.

A search of their media releases for Iran only finds two releases mentioning Saddam's war with Iran.

A search for North Korea finds a complaint about Downer "telling the North Koreans and the Chinese what they should or should not do", and a release alleging that "[the US] has done nothing about the far greater nuclear threat posed by North Korea", going on to say "This has sent the terrible message out to the world that the only way a country can prevent itself from being invaded by the US is to develop nuclear weapons" (but remember, the NDP is against nuclear weapons).

A search for Pakistan finds some complaints about the treatment of Mahmoud Habib, and a complaint about Pakistan and the Pentagon supposedly suggesting (American?) tactical nukes should be used. It also says (less than 2 weeks after September 11 2001) "On first examination of the problems which we all face the situation seems complex, with so much aggression being shown by so many people, but closer analysis suggests that a single diagnosis can be made and that is US imperialistic military aggression".

Neither hit for India were about its nuclear weapons.

No hits were found at all about China, or of France.

Guess who gets a mention with regards to nukes? Yes, the Zionist entity and loads of mentions of America.

In the policies section, mention is only made of the USA, Israel and China with regards to nuclear weapons.

And, surprise surprise, they opposed the invasion of Iraq, which was months away from acquiring nukes according to Mahdi Obeidi.

They aren't anti-nuclear-war, they're on the other side.


I predict that the Democrats will win at least 2 seats in this election, most likely in South Australia (a Democrat stronghold) and NSW (where people will be voting as much for melanin-enriched Aden Ridgeway as for the Democrats). The minor party with the most primary votes doesn't always win the final senate seat. In 2001, both the Democrats and One Nation got more senate votes than the Greens in NSW, and the Greens candidate got up. One Nation also didn't have any luck in Queensland or WA despite getting more primary votes.


And remember, a vote for Labor is a vote for Bashir!

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